Mets(courtesy of mlb.com)
For Niese, he’ll simply be looking to match his first start, and he’ll hope to get some run support this time. The 23-year-old had a quality start against the Marlins on Thursday — he allowed three runs in six innings — but the Mets scored just once and he was saddled with the loss. Niese, though, said he was “pleasantly disappointed” with the start because the Mets didn’t win the game.
“Yeah, that covers it,” Niese said. “An oxymoron.”
Niese has made just nine career starts, but has actually faced the Rockies once before. They beat him in the second game of a doubleheader at Citi Field on July 30, scoring four runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Niese’s goal is simply to match his first quality outing without worrying about how many runs his club scores, because that’s out of his control.
“The hitters’ job is to produce runs,” he said. “The pitcher’s job is not to produce runs.”
Left-hander Johan Santana is clearly the Mets’ ace, but manager Jerry Manuel said he will not rearrange the rotation to keep Santana on a five-day schedule, instead giving him rest when there are off-days this season. “I think the extra day early is always good,” Manuel said. “Historically, his numbers have been better with an extra day. With the other guys needing to almost stay regular, this time of the season you’ve got to give them every opportunity.”
Rockies(courtesy of mlb.com)
Meanwhile, Cook didn’t fare as well in his first start of the season, when he allowed five runs, four earned, in 5 1/3 innings during a 5-4 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday. The Rockies twice had three-run leads for Cook, but the club made several defensive miscues and ultimately lost the game.
Cook, who went 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA last season, didn’t have his best stuff. His sinker and curveball were working early, but he couldn’t finish off hitters late in the count.
“My hat’s off,” said Cook after his start. “They made me pay for some mistakes that I made. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep the team in the game. They gave me some runs early, and I wasn’t able to make it stand up.”
The Rockies will likely be without right fielder Brad Hawpe, who left Tuesday’s 11-3 win over the Mets with tightness in his left quadriceps after knocking a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning. He’s listed as day-to-day. Hawpe has started the season strong with a .350 batting average, two home runs and four RBIs.