The series in Philadelphia went as well as could reasonably be expected, with the Mets taking the first three games of the series. Of course, when you take the first three games, including a double-header, the lack of a sweep is rather disappointing, especially when the Phillies throw a guy named Kyle Kendrick in the finale. The Mets (46-34) continue their road trip with a three-game set in the high altitudes of Denver, where they take on the Colorado Rockies (39-43), who are fresh off losing three of four to the Houston Astros.
The Mets have already seen two of the three starters they’re facing this week. In the opener, Tom Glavine (7-5, 4.12) goes for number 298 against Jason Hirsh (3-7, 5.21). On Tuesday, Oliver Perez (7-6, 3.14) hopes to pitch after getting bumped from his last start due to a stiff back. Aaron Cook (4-5, 4.70) pitches for the Rockies. Finally, All-Star snub John Maine (9-4, 2.74) pitches against Josh Fogg (3-6, 5.31).
Game 1: Jason Hirsh
What’s the Story? The gem the Rockies received from the Astros in the Jason Jennings deal, Hirsh has had a so-so start to his Rockies career. He has been occasionally effective, but has run into some trouble at other times, especially recently. He has given up five runs in each of his past three starts, making it past the fifth just once. Hirsh features a low-90’s two-seam fastball with some downward movement, a mid-90’s four-seamer, a good slider, and a decent changeup. While his stuff is quite good, he walks too many batters while striking out too few, and he has the terrible misfortune of being an extreme flyball pitcher who plays in Coors Field.
Last Year: Hirsh made one start against the Mets last September as a member of the Astros. He pitched fairly well despite taking the loss, giving up three runs over six innings. Only one of his runs was earned, and he allowed just six baserunners while striking out four.
What to Expect: As I mentioned, Hirsh doesn’t have outstanding control and will all too often leave his fastball up in the zone. This has led to sixteen homers in just 95 innings this season, and 27 in 139.7 career innings. Recently, inconsistency with his breaking pitch has haunted him, forcing him to throw too many fastballs over the fat part of the plate. It should be noted that Hirsh has improved his changeup this season, and he has started going to it when he would otherwise turn to his slider. Hitters need to watch his location on the offspeed pitches; if he can’t throw them for strikes, it’s just a matter of sitting on the heat.
Game 2: Aaron Cook
What’s the Story? To see my original scouting report on Cook, look here.
This Year: Cook pitched against the Mets on April 24th, in a game the Rockies lost 2-1. However, Cook cannot be blamed for that at all, as he provided seven shutout innings, limiting the Mets offense to just six hits and a pair of walks. He struck out just two batters.
What to Expect: Cook’s as predictable a pitcher as it gets. He’ll throw sinking fastballs, and tons of them at that. He will occasionally turn to his slurve or a four-seam fastball, but don’t expect to see too many, especially at Coors where the ball doesn’t break as predictably as any pitcher would like. He’ll throw strikes and let hitters put the ball in play. You can expect a few balls to slip through the Rockies infield, despite a solid defense. One last note: Cook has had a lot of trouble at home this season (6.43 ERA), which is slightly surprising as he hasn’t had as extreme a home-road split as most Rockies pitchers.
Game 3: Josh Fogg
What’s the Story? To see my original scouting report on Fogg, look here.
This Year: Yeah, Josh Fogg beat the Mets his last time out. He wasn’t perfect, but he was decent enough, holding the Mets to three runs on eight hits and a walk over seven frames while striking out five. He kept the ball in the park, and only two of his eight hits allowed went for extra bases, a pair of doubles to Shawn Green and Damion Easley.
What to Expect: Fogg’s a nibbler, and I mentioned in my last report that he needs to hit the corners with his fastball to be successful. And that’s largely what he did at Shea–he hit his spots while keeping batters off-balance enough with a deceptive changeup. However, he will have more difficulty at Coors if he gives up flyballs two-thirds of the time, as he did in Flushing. He should try to concentrate on keeping the ball down now that he’s back in the thin air of Colorado, and good command is always a necessity for guys like Fogg.
Overall: It’s a perfect time for a trip to Coors Field. The Mets offense is just starting to get going on all cylinders again, with Carlos Beltran simply exploding in Philadelphia. I can see a rough night in store for Hirsh in the opener, as Tom Glavine does enough to put the Mets on top. Game two is trickier; Oliver Perez has been shaky of late, and Cook handled the Mets very well at Shea his last time out. Finally, I think the Mets will get a little revenge on Josh Fogg in Wednesday’s game. My final prediction: Mets take the first and last, Rockies win the second.