Mets fly to Denver in hopes of better starting pitching

The Mets’ pitching staff better hope the humidor at Coors Field works properly this week.

After a disappointing home stretch came to a crashing halt against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on Sunday, the Mets flew to Denver in hopes of better results.

Jose Reyes will be playing his first full series, and his first road game, since May of 2009. Reyes has two hits in his first two games back, including a double in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Washington. The Mets were having difficulty scoring runs off of former Met Livan Hernandez, who cruised through the first seven innings and never gave up a run. New York left too many runners on base, specifically Gary Matthews, Jr., who left four runners stranded.

On the bright side, first baseman Mike Jacobs showed flashes of the dominant power hitter he was in 2008, as he cracked a low fastball from former Yankee Mike Bruney over the right field wall for a two-run home run. Another bright spot for New York is Jeff Francoeur, who tears up opposing pitchers regardless of how the rest of the Mets are doing. He did it last year while 90% of the team dropped like flies to injury, and he continues to find gaps in the Citi Field outfield. Francoeur ripped a triple in Sunday’s game to improve his batting average to .476 in this young season, by far the best average on the team.

What went wrong in the rubber game on Sunday? Well, it began to unravel too early when staff ace Johan Santana gave up a grand slam in the first inning. The grand slam, followed by a run later in the game, completed what was quite the off day for the usually-sharp Santana. Considering Santana is arguably the game’s top pitcher and the question marks surrounding the rest of the rotation, it is crucial that the Mets receive what they want out of him. It really isn’t time to worry, though, as he has only had two starts in this very young season.

What should the Mets look forward to if their rotation isn’t what they hoped and the offense doesn’t produce? Well, the return of Carlos Beltran in the coming weeks should drastically improve the lineup, especially to compliment the presence of Jason Bay and David Wright. A powerful lineup like that could offset any shaky starting pitching performances enough to keep the Mets in the race throughout the season.

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