How can it be that after just six games, Mets fans have already begun to fear the worst?
Johan Santana’s first-inning grand slam to Washington’s Josh Willingham, the disappearance of John Maine’s mid-90s fastball, and a 2-4 start after a 70-92 record last season, have offset the joy and hope they collectively felt upon seeing Jose Reyes dig into the batter’s box for the first time in almost a year.
And the toughest part of the season lies ahead for the Mets, who are now dead-last in the NL East. Their six-game road trip takes them from Colorado to St. Louis, before facing the Cubs, Braves, Dodgers and Phillies. Ouch.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
If Maine falters in Tuesday’s series opener against the Rockies, Jon Niese will again be called upon to help right the ship. He was efficient through six innings, allowing eight hits, two walks and three runs in a wasted effort against Florida.
In his last appearance against Colorado on July 30, the Rockies tagged him for four runs in 6 1/3 innings in the second game of a doubleheader in which the Mets lost.
At the plate, the Mets will need to stay patient against Colorado’s Aaron Cook, who's had issues with consistency. The righty allowed five runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings in the Rockies’ 5-4 loss to the Brewers Wednesday -- and it was his inability to retire hitters after getting ahead early in the counts, that cost him.
Mike Pelfrey will have to keep pace with Rockies’ lefty Jorge De La Rosa in Wednesday’s series finale. De La Rosa began his 2010 campaign with a one-hit, nine-strikeout performance over seven innings Friday in a 9-0 home-opener win over the Padres.
De La Rosa, who turned 29 on April 5, is 3-0 with a 3.71 ERA in eight career games (just two starts) against the Mets.
THINGS TO WATCH:
Monday's off-day will give Colorado center fielder Carlos Gonzalez some much-needed rest, after leaving Sunday's game with a tight left hamstring. The injury occurred when he tried to score from second on a Troy Tulowitzki double in the third inning against the Padres.
Gonzalez -- who is day-to-day according to manager Jim Tracy -- had gotten off to a strong start, hitting .393 and driving in a run in each of the Rockies’ six games. If Gonzalez is unavailable for Tuesday’s game, Dexter Fowler will likely fill in at center field -- and that could work in the Mets’ favor. Fowler is just hitting .263 with just five hits in six games.
Colorado’s bullpen has been stellar thus far, striking out 17 in 20 2/3 innings and posting a 2.18 ERA.
Jeff Francoeur, the Mets hottest hitter, has driven in seven runs in his last five games at Coors Field. So far, he has 10 hits (including three doubles and two homers), six RBIs and has scored four runs.