DENVER -- From simple tasks such as throwing a baseball, to more complex ones such as shifting schedules on the fly, the Mets have been at the mercy of horrendous weather. The latest concession to the bitter cold came Wednesday when a snowstorm prompted the postponement of a scheduled game against the Rockies.
The snow should let up enough for the teams to play the series finale Thursday. But because the Rockies passed on making up Wednesday night's contest in a doubleheader Thursday, the Mets will be forced to add an unplanned detour back to Colorado later this season to play the lost game.
During the first two weeks of the season, little has gone right weather-wise for the Mets, who have had three games in this road trip alone postponed. With the exception of two games in Philadelphia, every contest in the Mets' scheduled 10-game swing has been played in rain, snow, cold -- or some combination of the three.
Though Collins and his players have taken care not to use the weather as an excuse for their uneven play, it's impossible not to see the difference on the field. Consider Tuesday's doubleheader against the Rockies, when the Mets dropped a pair of games marked by poor pitching and sluggish defense.
Pitchers from both sides struggled to throw strikes as they tried to get a feel on frozen baseballs. Outfielders typically use batting practice to get a sense of how much farther the ball flies in high-altitude climates, but the cold and snow has forced the cancellation of regular BP, leaving them vulnerable to misreading fly balls. Infielders have lost half a step in the cold, allowing more grounders to sneak through for hits.
In the case of shortstop Ruben Tejada, even when he gets to certain grounders, he has had a tough time making throws.
"I have to do something to stay ready, but it's tough,'' said Tejada, whose critical throwing error cost the Mets dearly in a 9-8 loss in the second game of the doubleheader. "I've played in cold weather before but not like that.
"Two weeks is kind of hard. It's tough, but you have to keep working, keep learning."
Duda left the second game of the doubleheader with back tightness prompted partly by the low temperatures. Buck and his hot bat could play only one game of the twin bill because Collins wanted to spare the wear on his body. And Burke was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas for a fresh arm, righthander Jeurys Familia, because Collins was forced to empty his bullpen during the doubleheader.
Indeed, each was a concession the Mets were forced to make thanks to the inescapable cold.
"It's been odd,'' Collins said. "This is a game of consistency, this is a game of repetition. When you lose those reps, you can change the outcomes a lot, and how things go.''