The Colorado Rockies just got through one right-hander with three Cy Young Awards to his name. Now they face another one.
Colorado lost to New York Mets starter Max Scherzer on Friday night, and now it's Justin Verlander on the hill for New York on Saturday in the second contest of a three-game series in Denver.
Scherzer pitched seven strong innings and Francisco Lindor homered and drove in four runs to lead the Mets to a 5-2 win on Friday.
Verlander (2-2, 3.60 ERA) will match up against Rockies right-hander Chase Anderson (0-0, 1.15).
The Rockies are 3-2 on their homestand and can finish with a winning record with a win in one of the final two games.
Verlander is in his first year with the Mets after five-plus years with the Houston Astros. He won two of his three American League Cy Young Awards with Houston, including last season, which was made special for the fact that he pitched in one game in the previous two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery in late 2020.
Even at 40, he is still a workhorse at the top of the rotation. He and Scherzer combined to allow one run in 14 innings in a doubleheader sweep of Cleveland on Sunday.
That sweep comes during a stretch of seven wins in nine games for the Mets.
"We have some momentum. It's not as inconsistent as it was at the beginning," Lindor said. "Max is healthy, Verlander is healthy. Thank God the bullpen is healthy. It's slowly getting here and when you have a performance like the one Max had (Friday), winning's a little easier."
Verlander is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in five career starts against Colorado. His last win came Aug. 30, 2017, in his final start for the Detroit Tigers. He was traded to Houston the next day.
Anderson is slated to make his third start since the Rockies claimed him off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays on May 12. He hasn't recorded a decision in his first two starts but has pitched well, allowing just two runs over 10 2/3 innings.
He hasn't been as effective against New York in his career, going 3-4 with a 4.22 ERA in 11 starts.
The Rockies have had to put together a patchwork rotation due to injuries, and they also are dealing with a revolving door at first base since C.J. Cron went on the 10-day injured list with back muscle spasms on May 15.
On Friday, Colorado optioned Michael Toglia to Triple-A Albuquerque and recalled fellow infielder Nolan Jones.
Jones was hitting .356 with 12 homers and 42 RBis in 39 games for the Isotopes.
"Ever since Cron went out we've put a few guys there," manager Bud Black said, referring to first base.
Acquired in a trade with the Guardians in November, Jones played his first game of the season for the Rockies on Friday night -- and his debut could have gone better. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, struck out twice, committed a fielding error and made a baserunning blunder in the ninth, when he was thrown out overrunning second base.
--Field Level Media