Johan Santana hasn't won since June, and that's not going to change for a while.
With Santana out for the season, Collin McHugh is scheduled for his major league debut Thursday when the Mets try to avoid another four-game series sweep at the hands of the visiting Rockies.
Santana was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday due to inflammation in his lower back, and New York (57-67) has opted to shut him down for the rest of the year.
The struggling ace, who missed all of 2011 due to shoulder surgery, went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts, losing each of his last five with a 15.63 ERA - a stretch that includes a DL stint with a sprained right ankle. However, he also tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history June 1.
"At this point I'm very confident he'll be back next season and ready to go and hopefully in a stronger position than he was coming into this year," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "I can't sit here and say this is a shock or even a surprise. It's disappointing, but that's the nature of things. I don't think he was overused."
McHugh, an 18th-round pick in 2008, will be the fourth rookie to get a turn in the Mets rotation this year.
The right-hander started the season at Double-A Binghamton, going 5-5 with a 2.41 ERA to earn a promotion to Triple-A Buffalo. He went 2-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts there, allowing one run in 12 2-3 innings while going 1-0 in his last two.
"I've seen every stop that the Mets have to offer," McHugh told the Mets' official website. "They do a good job of developing. It doesn't really matter if you're a first-rounder or a 35th-rounder, they take a lot of pride in you as an organizational piece."
McHugh will now try to help New York beat Colorado (49-73) in Flushing for the first time since Aug. 12, 2010.
The Mets were swept in a four-game set there April 11-14, 2011, and have dropped the first three of this series after falling 5-2 Wednesday.
The Rockies are last in the NL West, but have won four in a row and eight of 10. They're expected to be without Dexter Fowler , though, after he suffered a sprained right ankle Wednesday.
Fowler is hitting .452 in 12 games, and catcher Wilin Rosario may be back in the lineup to help pick up the slack. He has a .360 average with two homers, seven RBIs and eight runs in eight contests.
Tyler Chatwood (3-3, 5.46) is expected to get the ball in an effort to rebound from his worst start of the season.
The right-hander was battered for six runs and nine hits in four innings of a 6-5 loss to Miami on Saturday. That came after he went 2-1 with a 1.26 ERA in his first three starts replacing injured rookie Christian Friedrich (back) in the rotation.
Chatwood was terrific in his only meeting with the Mets on June 19, 2011, tossing seven scoreless innings and allowing four hits in a 7-3 win for the Los Angeles Angels at Citi Field.
|August 22, 2012||Dexter Fowler||Day-to-Day||Left game - right ankle injury|
|August 20, 2012||Eric Young||15-Day DL||Left intercostal strain|
|August 19, 2012||Michael Cuddyer||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|August 19, 2012||Josh Rutledge||Day-to-Day||Left game - left quad tightness|
|August 14, 2012||Drew Pomeranz||Day-to-Day||Chest soreness|
|August 06, 2012||Todd Helton||60-Day DL||Torn labrum, right hip|
|New York Mets|
|August 18, 2012||Johan Santana||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|August 15, 2012||Rob Johnson||15-Day DL||Torn ligament, left thumb|
|August 02, 2012||Tim Byrdak||15-Day DL||Sore left shoulder|
|July 31, 2012||Andres Torres||Day-to-Day||Strained right thumb|
|July 31, 2012||Jason Bay||Day-to-Day||Bruised left calf|
|July 21, 2012||Johan Santana||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jim Tracy wants his Colorado Rockies pitchers to take it to the limit.
And his 75-pitch boundary for starters seems to be working of late.
Tyler Chatwood combined with four relievers in a 1-0 victory over the New York Mets on Thursday, completing a four-game sweep and giving the last-place Rockies a five-game winning streak that tied their season high.
"What we just did today is not easy to do. It's not easy to do - sweep a four-game series on the road," Tracy said.
Ever since the Rockies went to a four-man rotation in June, their starters have been on tight limits. The Colorado manager has kept the restraints in place even as the Rockies have gone back to a quintet of starters.
Chatwood was pulled after allowing three hits over three innings. He needed 65 pitches to get nine outs.
"I was getting close to the 75 pitches, so they made the decision," Chatwood said. "You always want to be economical. I think that's your job as a starting pitcher, to go as deep as you can in a game. And I think that 75 pitches kind of makes you go right after the guy."
No Rockies starter has reached 100 pitches since Jeremy Guthrie threw 102 against Oakland on June 12, according to STATS LLC.
Forget about complete games - they've gone the way of the Dodo bird in Colorado. The Rockies haven't had one since Jhoulys Chacin in a 2-1 loss at Cincinnati on Aug. 11 last year. Tracy still was raving about Chacin's six-inning, 73-pitch effort in Tuesday's 6-2 victory.
"Fifty-one of the 73 were strikes," he said. "In my opinion, that's quality major league pitching. When you throw 80 pitches or you throw 75 pitches in three innings, or 78 pitches in three innings, and someone's going to sit here from what I've experienced in over 36 years and tell me that that's quality major league pitching, I'll strongly disagree with whoever is uttering it to me. I want our guys to understand what quality major league pitching is all about."
On the other side, New York's Collin McHugh pitched two-hit ball over seven scoreless innings in a dazzling big league debut. After he left, the Rockies quickly went ahead against Bobby Parnell (2-3) as Jordany Valdespin misplayed Tyler Colvin 's leadoff drive in the eighth into a game-changing triple.
Colvin hit Parnell's second pitch to straightaway center, where the rookie Valdespin took two steps in, then realized he had misjudged the drive. He backpedaled a half-dozen steps and tried for a leaping, backhand grab, but the ball sailed over his glove.
"I knew I hit it well, and I knew it had pretty good backspin on it," Colvin said. "It was going to be decided on how he read it, and he took a couple steps in.
Chris Nelson fouled off a pair of 0-2 pitches, then singled to center past the drawn-in infield.
Brooklyn native Adam Ottovino and Rex Brothers (8-2) followed Chatwood with two innings each, and Willie Harris escaped a runner-on-second situation in the eighth.
Matt Belisle got his first save since June 22, 2010, against Boston following some ninth-inning drama. Pinch-hitter Justin Turner singled leading off and was sacrificed to second by Valdespin. Daniel Murphy flied to center and David Wright flied to right.
Colorado also swept a four-game series at Citi Field from April 11-14 last year - the Rockies' longest road winning streak at one opponent in team history, STATS said.
"I think we're throwing the ball really well right now as a staff," Chatwood said.
Punchless New York went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and was held to two runs or fewer for the sixth straight game. The Mets dropped to 11-28 since the All-Star break, which includes a 2-14 mark at Citi Field, and are 11 games under .500 for the first time since they finished 70-92 in 2009.
"It's a nightmare for everybody in this clubhouse," catcher Josh Thole said.
"When it happens once, OK. When it happens again, all right guys, you've got to move on. But three nights in a row. And then four. And then it keeps mounting up. You can only say we've got to put this behind us so many times," he said.
NOTES: Rockies CF Dexter Fowler was on crutches, his ankle wrapped, after spraining it Wednesday night. Manager Jim Tracy said he wasn't available but the medical staff told him Fowler was day to day. ... The Rockies also won five in a row from May 28 to June 1. ... Gold medal-winning American gymnast Gabby Douglas threw out a ceremonial first pitch. It was a high, arching pitch from the front of the mound that was caught to the first-base side of the plate by pitcher Robert Carson . Having not bounced the ball, Douglas raised both arms in triumph.