The New York Mets have struggled to score as their slump has deepened over the past two weeks. The Colorado Rockies have had even bigger problems of late, pairing a similar lack of hitting with ineffective pitching.
These teams open a three-game series at Citi Field on Tuesday night in a matchup of scuffling clubs that have fallen toward the bottom of their respective divisions.
New York (49-60) has totaled 11 runs while losing four of five and has scored 13 times in its past nine defeats. The Mets have dropped seven of 10 after a 6-2 loss to red-hot Kansas City on Sunday.
Center fielder Marlon Byrd misplayed two flyballs and New York committed two errors, while Zack Wheeler wasn't at his best in allowing four runs - three earned - in five innings. The Mets - missing recently injured slugger David Wright - managed eight hits, the eighth time in 10 contests they were held to single digits.
New York could move second baseman Daniel Murphy back to third to fill Wright's spot. Murphy, though, struggled in the field when he was being moved from position to position before settling in at second.
"He's played over there enough in the past that I don't think that's going to be a huge transition," manager Terry Collins told the team's official website Sunday. "It's just that that ball gets to you a lot faster, too."
Jenrry Mejia (1-1, 2.08 ERA) will look for his third strong outing in as many starts this season. The right-hander gave up three runs in six innings of 3-2 loss at Miami on Wednesday after a seven-inning effort in an 11-0 win over Washington on July 26.
Mejia will be making his first career start against Colorado after facing it twice in 2010.
While New York has had trouble generating offense, the Rockies (52-61) haven't hit much or pitched well during their rough stretch. Colorado has scored 12 runs in a 1-5 stretch - it's 1-6 in the previous seven - and has posted a 6.51 ERA in the past 11 games, going 3-8.
Even one of the Rockies' top hurlers struggled his last time out, as Tyler Chatwood (7-4, 3.15) allowed a career-high seven earned runs along with 10 hits in 2 1-3 innings of a 9-0 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday. The right-hander gave up more than two runs for just the second time in his past 14 starts.
"I felt good about having Chatty out there (Wednesday), the way he competes," manager Walt Weiss said. "He's throwing the ball good."
That may not matter if the Rockies, who lost 5-1 to Pittsburgh on Sunday, don't start getting more from their two key hitters. Troy Tulowitzki has gone 3 for 21 in the last seven games while Carlos Gonzalez, among the NL leaders with 26 home runs, is in a 1-for-9 slump as he struggles with a chronically sprained right middle finger.
Gonzalez hasn't homered in 10 games.
"It's still real sore," he told the team's website following his return to the lineup Sunday after not starting for four straight contests. "But as players, we prepare the entire winter to play the whole season. I know I might not be 100 percent, but I can't stand sitting in the clubhouse or in the dugout when my team is playing. I want to be out there."
Chatwood gave up one run in six innings of 3-2 loss to the Mets on June 27. He's 1-0 with 0.56 ERA in three career starts against them.
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