The New York Mets don’t look like a team that should be in first place in their division.
Their top two pitchers, both of whom have multiple Cy Young Awards, are on the shelf and a third starter, Tylor Megill, is also on the injured list.
Yet the Mets are comfortably atop the National League East and have a chance to win a road series against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday in Denver.
The teams split a doubleheader on Saturday, with New York posting a 5-1 win in the opener. Rookie Brian Serven belted two homers to help the Rockies to an 11-3 victory in the nightcap.
The Mets will send right-hander Taijuan Walker (1-0, 3.52 ERA) to the mound against Colorado left-hander Austin Gomber (2-3, 4.38) on Sunday afternoon.
After a chilly day Saturday, temperatures will be in the mid-50s for the final game of the weekend series. A wintery storm that came through the state Friday night postponed the opener.
Walker will make his seventh career start against the Rockies on Sunday. He is 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his previous six previous starts versus the club. Walker has started four of those games at Coors Field, where he has recorded all three decisions against Colorado.
New York got a boost Saturday with the return of Starling Marte from the bereavement list. Marte homered in his first at-bat and finished 3-for-9 with two RBIs on the day.
It epitomized the way the Mets have dealt with adversity all year, manager Buck Showalter said.
“Their attitude is, screw it, we’re going to just keep showing up and giving ourselves a chance, and try to treat losing like it’s some kind of fluke,” he told MLB.com. “You know, who wants to listen to ‘Oh woe is me?’ Nobody. They’ve got their own problems.”
The Rockies have been going in the opposite direction of New York since winning 15 of their first 25 games. Colorado has lost 10 of 14 since and hope Gomber can generate momentum for the upcoming road trip.
Gomber has won his only start against the Mets, going eight innings and allowing just two runs and holds a 2.25 ERA against them.
Gomber received a no-decision in his last outing, an 8-7 loss to Kansas City last Sunday when he allowed three runs on four hits in six innings. Gomber has pitched at least five innings in his last five starts.
The Rockies played Saturday’s second game without shortstop Jose Iglesias. He was hit by a pitch by Carlos Carrasco in the fourth inning of the first game but stayed in until the ninth when he was replaced by Garrett Hampson.
It doesn’t appear to be a serious injury, manager Bud Black said Saturday.
“Sort of ballooned up with swelling. He’s going to be fine, long-term,” Black said. “But it’s swollen and we are working to get that down.”
–Field Level Media