New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters recently his team plans to sell at the trade deadline unless it performs “exceedingly well,” which is exactly how it has played in its first two contests following the Midsummer Classic. New York will attempt to complete its first three-game home sweep of the season Sunday when it looks to finish off the struggling Colorado Rockies.
The Mets came out of the All-Star break trailing the Rockies by 10 1/2 games for the second wild-card spot in the National League, but New York has been the far superior team this weekend - outscoring Colorado 23-5 through two games. T.J. Rivera has played as big of a role offensively as any Met in the series - going 3-for-7 with a home run, four RBIs and four runs scored - and is batting .444 during his career-best 10 game hitting streak. The Rockies still have a 5 1/2-game edge on the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card chase, but they have dropped 15 of their last 20 and find themselves 11 1/2 games out of the NL West race after leading the division for 67 days earlier in the season. Colorado welcomed Nolan Arenado back to the lineup Saturday after he left early during Friday’s 14-2 setback with a minor hip injury but watched starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood leave with a calf strain after only 19 pitches.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, ATT Sportsnet Rocky Mountain (Colorado), SNY (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies RH Jeff Hoffman (5-1, 4.15 ERA) vs. Mets LH Steven Matz (2-2, 3.05)
Hoffman has cooled off considerably since going 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA over his first five starts of the season. The East Carolina product is coming off a no-decision against the Chicago White Sox in which he surrendered four runs in seven frames, although he is still 1-0 with a 3.92 ERA since getting pounded by Arizona for nine runs on June 21. Hoffman has been sensational away from Coors Field entering his first career start against the Mets, posting a 3-0 record and 1.67 ERA in four outings (2-1, 6.44 in six home appearances).
Matz entered his final start prior to the All-Star break riding 17-inning scoreless streak before getting pummeled for a season-high five runs on seven hits - including two homers - over a season-low 4 1/3 innings at St. Louis last Sunday. The 26-year-old has only pitched at Citi Field once this season, taking the loss against Washington after yielding four runs across seven frames. Matz was saddled with the loss in his only previous start against the Rockies last July after he allowed two runs over six innings.
1. The Mets notched their 100th victory against Colorado on Saturday, improving to 64-33 at home in the all-time series.
2. Rockies 1B/OF Ian Desmond, who has been out since July 3 with a right calf strain, is expected to return to the lineup Sunday.
3. New York OF Yoenis Cespedes left early Saturday after slamming his right knee into the ground while trying to make a sliding catch.
PREDICTION: Mets 6, Rockies 2