DENVER — The last time the Mets faced the Colorado Rockies, they were at a low point. They were coming off series losses to the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves and they had just been swept on the road by the Detroit Tigers.
The Mets edged the lowly Rockies 1-0 in the first game of a three-game series at Citi Field, but the team failed to get back on track after that win. The bats weren’t showing up and the starting pitching was in rough shape.
That series began 21 days ago and since then the Mets’ bats have come alive and the starting pitching has started to as well. Memorial Day typically marks the time of the baseball season when the standings become relevant and the Mets look as though they might be righting the ship just in time as they head into Denver for another three-game set against Colorado having won six of their last eight.
This shouldn’t be an especially pressure-packed series, but given the troubles the Mets have had against opponents with losing records, like Colorado, Cincinnati, Washington and Detroit, their mistakes and miscues might be magnified.
Rookie catcher Francisco Alvarez has been one of the Mets’ hottest hitters as of late and he comes into the Mile High City riding a five-game hitting streak. He’s gone 8-for-18 (.444) over those five games with a double and three home runs. He’s posted two-hit games in each of the last two nights and he’s given the Mets a spark at the bottom of the order.
While there are arguments to be made for moving him up, the Mets aren’t getting much from their 6-8 hitters. Mark Canha was the only hitter to not reach base Thursday night in the Mets 10-1 route of the Chicago Cubs and DH Daniel Vogelbach has only five hits in his last 10 games, none for extra bases. The Mets have used Mark Vientos in the DH spot but still prefer to work the rookie in slowly and feel Vogelbach will return to his old form. The club continues to laud his on-base abilities, but one former Met isn’t buying it.
Vogelbach looked at two called third strikes in back-to-back at-bats against Chicago on Thursday and former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes tweeted some advice: “I’m not sure if Vogey understands this concept but… You have to SWING THE BAT to hit the ball!”
After Vogelbach got a hit later in the game, Reyes followed up with another tweet, saying, “Good things happen when you swing the bat.”
The Vogelbach vs. Vientos debate isn’t about to go away anytime soon, especially with the relative lack of power in the Mets lineup. The Mets are hitting just .241 with runners in scoring position, which ranks toward the bottom half of the league, and have hit only 57 home runs this season, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the 15th-most in the league. Pete Alonso has 19 of them and he has shown no sign of slowing down.
He’s hit while sick and while healthy, but Thursday night at Wrigley Field could be a new one. The first baseman told Foul Territory TV that he “had to poop so bad,” and ran straight inside to use the restroom after he rounded the bases.
It’s not exactly a huge series for the Mets but games always take on a certain meaning with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander on the mound, and it’s a chance for the team to show their struggles are fully behind them.