The New York Mets were expected to be sellers at the July 30 trading deadline, but instead they added a key arm. It appears to have been a smart move for them.
New York has one of the most surprising turnarounds in the second half of the season. On July 12, the Mets were 11 games under .500 but since then have gone 37-21 and put themselves in the thick of the NL wild-card race with two weeks left in 2019.
New York starts its final push at Colorado following a tough 3-2 loss at home to the playoff-bound Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night. The Mets will send left-hander Steven Matz against Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela on Monday night in the first of a three-game set.
New York is four games out of the second wild card with its next 10 games against three of the bottom teams in the NL. It will take leaping a couple of teams to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
"You see a couple teams are winning, a couple teams are losing, it's going up and down," third baseman Todd Frazier said after a win over Arizona on Wednesday. "It's that chess match of not worrying about anything else, but worrying about us winning games. That hope is there."
Colorado's fall to the bottom of the standings was a little surprising considering it was coming off a 91-win season and had a solid rotation to begin the year.
Injuries and ineffectiveness from the starters and bullpen - Wade Davis, the $17 million former closer, has been relegated to mop-up duty - are a big reason for the fall, but the Rockies have started to play better at home. They have won five of the first six on this homestand, including a pair of 2-1 wins over NL Central leader St. Louis and a sweep of San Diego over the weekend.
They have a chance to derail New York's playoff hopes at Coors Field.
Matz (10-8, 3.84 ERA) has been brilliant at home, going 7-1 with a 1.94 ERA this year, but he's less effective on the road. In 14 starts away from Citi Field, he is 3-7 with a 6.08 ERA. He will make his third career start at Coors Field, where he is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 10 2/3 innings.
Overall, he is 1-4 with a 6.07 ERA in six career starts against the Rockies, with the one victory coming June 8, when he allowed two earned runs over six innings.
Senzatela (9-10, 6.87) earned his first win since July 14 when he tossed six innings of one-run ball against the Cardinals on Wednesday night. It was his first quality start since June 23 and his first home win since June 2.
"I had it a little bit on my mind. 'It's September. I've been throwing good in September,'" Senzatela said after beating St. Louis. "I just tried to get my confidence back and make good pitches."
Monday will be his third career start against the Mets - his second at home - and he is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA in nine innings in the first two outings.
He beat the Mets in New York on June 7 with six solid innings.
--Field Level Media