Inside Pitch: Coors on Mets' minds

RHPs Pedro Martinez and Kris Benson are happy. They don't have to pitch against the Rockies at Coors Field this week. But LHP Tom Glavine, RHP Victor Zambrano and LHP Kaz Ishii do.

INSIDE PITCH

RHPs Pedro Martinez and Kris Benson are happy. They don't have to pitch against the Rockies at Coors Field this week. But LHP Tom Glavine, RHP Victor Zambrano and LHP Kaz Ishii do.

The Rockies are the worst team in the National League. But the prospect of pitching at homer-happy Coors still unnerves pitchers.

"It can get in your head," said Glavine, who is 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA in 10 career starts at Coors. "You realize that any mistake could be hit out."

The Mets are 10-3 against the Rockies over the last two seasons. If the Mets are serious about staying in contention, they need to take at least two of three from the dreadful Rockies, who have starting selling off players.

The Mets are only 18-26 on the road this season. The trip to Denver will be followed by a four-game series in Houston against the resurgent Astros.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • RHP Victor Zambrano had gone 13 straight starts without giving up more than three earned runs. That streak was over quickly Friday night.

    Zambrano lasted only 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits as the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to beat the Mets 6-5 at Shea Stadium, snapping the Mets' four-game win streak. Zambrano fell to 4-9.

    Home runs by Doug Mientkiewicz and Carlos Beltran drew the Mets within 6-5. But the Mets have not overcome more than a two-run deficit to win a game all season. Jeff Weaver and three relievers combined on an eight-hitter for the Dodgers.

  • OF Jesus Martinez, a 16-year-old Dominican who was signed to a $1.4 million deal earlier this month, took batting practice at Shea Stadium before the game Friday.

    "I really am happy to be here," Martinez said through a translator. "This is the team that my heart is with. It was a big decision for me."

    Martinez will report to the Instructional League in the fall and could play Class A ball next season.

    "What we saw in (Martinez) was a 16-year-old kid with power, great ability and great character, above everything else," GM Omar Minaya said.

  • 2B Kazuo Matsui, who has been on the disabled list since June 18 with a bruised left knee, was scheduled to run the bases in Port St. Lucie, Fla., this weekend. If he passes that test, his minor-league rehab assignment could start late next week.

  • SS Jose Reyes stole his 32nd base Friday. That's the most for a Met since Roger Cedeno swiped a team-record 66 in 1999. He added two more steals Saturday.

  • LHP Kazuhisa Ishii wasn't pitching to hold his spot in the rotation. Or at least that's what manager Willie Randolph said. But after having his last turn skipped, Ishii knew he needed to pitch well Thursday, and he did. Ishii (3-8) walked five and gave up four hits. But he induced two double plays and left six others runners stranded. His 97 pitches weren't particularly efficient, but they were effective. "It was an important start for me," said Ishii, who hadn't been used since July 9. "It feels good to get a win." Ishii worked on his mechanics from the stretch in recent weeks, improving his quickness to the plate. "I held runners better and pitched a little faster," he said. "It was progress today."

  • RHP Steve Trachsel's second minor league rehab start is tentatively scheduled for Monday. He would pitch against the Class-A Tampa Yankees in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

  • C Mike Piazza was dropped to sixth in the order and handled it well. He went 4-for-7 in one stretch and hit his 389th career homer, tying Johnny Bench for 46th on the all-time list. "It means a lot as far as him being the rule by which any catcher's judged," Piazza said. "It's a real honor."

  • LHP Tom Glavine struck out three on Wednesday to give him 2,296 on his career. He moved past former Met Dwight Gooden into 43rd place on the career list. "Not bad for a finesse pitcher," Glavine said.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Stolen bases the Mets had in their three-game weekend series against the Dodgers.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We want to be aggressive. That's part of our game." -- Manager Willie Randolph, on the Mets' eight-steal weekend.


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