The opponent and city may change, but the weather continues to be an additional hurdle for the New York Mets .
After having their last two contests postponed, the Mets try to solve Tulowitzki and end a four-game skid to the Rockies when these teams play a split-doubleheader Tuesday.
New York (7-4) spent the weekend freezing in Minneapolis, and Sunday's finale of a three-game series was postponed to Aug. 19 due to rain and snow. The Mets outscored the Twins 20-7 to win the first two games, overcoming temperatures in the 30s.
The first contest of this four-game set was postponed Monday because of a heavy snowstorm, and forecasts call for additional snow Tuesday.
The Mets have won four of five in Denver, including two of three April 27-29, but that series was played with temperatures reaching as high as 60.
New York, though, is 4-10 in the last 14 overall meetings with the Rockies (8-4), getting swept in a four-game set Aug. 20-23.
Tulowitzki missed that series recovering from a groin injury, and he has a .420 average with six homers and 11 RBIs in his last 12 matchups. The All-Star shortstop, a career .328 hitter versus New York, enters this series batting .325 with three homers and 11 RBIs.
Colorado is opening a 10-game homestand after completing a three-game sweep of San Diego with Sunday's 2-1 victory. The Rockies also swept the Padres from April 5-7 in their only home series so far.
"We've had some success on the road early, but for us to win a division we have to dominate at home," first-year manager Walt Weiss told the team's official website. "We have an opportunity now to make somewhat of a statement."
Weiss is scheduled to give Juan Nicasio (1-0, 4.91 ERA) his first home start of the season in the first game, but he's 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in his last four at Coors Field.
The right-hander struggled while not getting a decision last Tuesday, surrendering four runs and five hits with five walks in five innings of a 9-6 loss at San Francisco.
Nicasio is facing the Mets for the first time, and he'll have to contend with a team hitting .316 with two homers, six doubles and two triples over the last two games.
New York has a .272 average with 15 homers while averaging 6.3 runs - 2.3 more than last year when it batted .249.
The team has established a franchise record by homering in each of its 11 games this season, and is in position to become the first club to homer in its first 12 since Tampa Bay in 2007.
Despite the power display, David Wright is still seeking his first homer. The third baseman had four hits - two for extra bases - and five RBIs over the past two games, and owns a .385 average - his best at any NL park - with 33 RBIs in 29 visits to Coors.
Dillon Gee (0-2, 7.71) will start the opener for New York. He earned a 7-5 win in his only start against the Rockies on April 28, yielding four runs with seven strikeouts in seven innings. However, Gee allowed Tulowitzki to go 2 for 3.
The right-hander has a 6.86 ERA while losing four straight road starts. His latest performance away from New York was the shortest start of his career, as he surrendered seven runs and 10 hits - three homers - in three innings of last Tuesday's 8-3 loss to Philadelphia.
Jeff Francis (1-1, 5.87) gets the ball for Colorado in the second game. The left-hander beat the Padres 5-2 with strong six innings in his 2013 debut before getting roughed up at San Francisco in the shortest start of his career Wednesday.
Francis allowed seven runs - four earned - and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings of a 10-0 loss. He's 2-2 with a 4.46 ERA in six starts against New York, with Wright going 6 for 13 with three homers in their matchups.
Laffey made his New York debut April 7 and didn't receive a decision after giving up three runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Miami. The left-hander then pitched a scoreless inning of relief in Friday's 16-5 win over the Twins.
Hefner pitched well in his first start of the season but allowed five runs and six hits over three innings of a 7-3 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday.
"Now, your pitching is drastically affected, along with your pitching down the line a little bit," Collins said. "... When you're scheduled to play in these two towns that we were in, you've got a chance to run into bad weather at this time of year and we have. We just adjust."
|New York Mets|
|March 22, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Frank Francisco||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|March 22, 2013||Johan Santana||60-Day DL||Left shoulder surgery - out for season|
|February 14, 2013||Edwar Cabrera||60-Day DL||Left shoulder impingement|
DENVER (AP) -- Being nearly 40 now, Todd Helton doesn't particularly care for cold-weather games.
It takes him longer to warm up, he can't stay loose in the field and his grip feels all wrong at the plate.
"You just feel it a little bit more," Helton said.
That's why he wasn't too disappointed when he was given the nightcap off Tuesday. Hey, he did his part.
Helton hit a go-ahead single and the Colorado Rockies beat the New York Mets 8-4 in the opening game of a doubleheader that was delayed 2 hours as 8 inches of snow was cleared off the field.
"That's big," said Helton, whose team is 4-0 at home this season. "But this game's even bigger. The conditions aren't going to do anything but get worse."
One day after a spring storm postponed the first game of the series, the teams were scheduled to play two in frigid conditions. The temperature at first pitch was 39 degrees and dipped even lower to 36 to begin the second game. That was the fourth-coldest temperature at first pitch in the Mile High City.
"I used to love these games when I was younger, not so much anymore," said Helton, who will turn 40 in August.
David Wright homered twice for the Mets, finally back on the field after cold weather postponed two straight games. Wintry conditions in Minneapolis on Sunday prompted their game against the Twins to be called off and rescheduled in August.
Juan Nicasio (2-0) struggled with his command, unable to locate his fastball, but still earned the win. He lasted five innings and allowed four runs before being lifted for a pinch hitter.
Dillon Gee (0-3) had another rough outing, going 4 2-3 innings and giving up five earned runs. He yielded seven runs in three innings at Philadelphia a week ago.
"Seems like every time they hit a ground ball it finds a way through," Gee said. "That is the way it is going right now."
Early on Tuesday morning, Rockies owner Dick Monfort took the field with a shovel and helped clear the way for the game to be played. A crew of team employees lent a hand as well, as did Sandy Alderson, the general manager of the Mets.
Asked if he thought about helping out, Mets manager Terry Collins simply answered, "No."
"I don't shovel," he added. "I grew up shoveling snow. When I moved to Florida, I sold my shovel."
Players tried everything to stay warm. Some wore extra layers and others kept close to the dugout heaters as much as they could. Colorado second baseman Jonathan Herrera even wore a ski mask, just to keep the biting wind off his face.
The teams originally scheduled a split doubleheader to make up Monday's postponement. But all the snow and the late start Tuesday turned it into a traditional twinbill, with just a short break between games.
A sparse crowd showed up for the day game, bundled up in heavy coats and stocking caps. The Rockies didn't plow the upper deck and allowed all fans to sit in the lower level. Even then, the stands looked awfully empty even though the attendance was announced as 21,510.
Helton put the Rockies ahead with a two-run single that chased Gee in the fifth. Eric Young Jr. added two late RBIs for Colorado.
Carlos Gonzalez had a solo homer, a triple and scored two runs. Young knocked in runs with a single in the sixth and a triple off the fence in the eighth.
The Rockies had a reason for concern in the fifth when Troy Tulowitzki was hit on the left elbow by a pitch from Gee. Manager Walt Weiss came out to check on his All-Star shortstop, along with the trainer, before Tulowitzki motioned that he was all right. Tulowitzki missed the majority of last season with a groin injury that eventually required surgery to remove scar tissue.
He wasn't in the lineup for Game 2.
"I think he'll be fine. He's going to be sore," Weiss said. "They got him right on the elbow. Got him pretty good."
Colorado scored three runs in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. Helton had the big hit, a two-out single that just rolled under the glove of second baseman Daniel Murphy .
Wright hit his first homer of the season in the first, a two-run liner into the bullpen in right. The Mets have hit at least one homer in every game this season, the only team to accomplish the feat.
In the fifth, Wright hit another to center for his 19th career multihomer game.
This much is certain: Wright enjoys hitting at Coors Field. He finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs on Tuesday and is batting .398 with 10 homers in the ballpark.
Because the Mets and Rockies didn't celebrate Jackie Robinson Day the day before, the players all donned No. 42 on Tuesday.
"It's an honor," Collins said. "I really believe what somebody said yesterday - it's one of the most important days in the history of baseball. I agree with that. Every ethnic person who plays the game should respect what Jackie had to go through and what he meant. It's an honor to have No. 42 on for one day."
NOTES: Rockies OF Dexter Fowler rested a tender left foot. Fowler fouled a pitch off the foot on Sunday and had precautionary X-rays that came back negative. ... The coldest game in Denver was 28 degrees on April 12, 1997, against Montreal.