Marcus Stroman was one of the hotter names in trade rumors leading up to the July 31 deadline, and the New York Mets snookered suitors by pulling off a deal on July 28.
His arrival has helped keep the Mets in playoff contention, and he will try to keep the push going when he takes the mound against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver on Tuesday night.
The Rockies took the series opener, 9-4 on Monday night, to drop the Mets five games back in the National League wild-card race.
Colorado will counter with fellow right-hander Tim Melville, who is trying to recapture his early success when he debuted with the Rockies in late August.
Stroman (8-13, 3.35 ERA) has been solid in eight starts since joining New York's rotation. He has a 2-2 mark with a 4.50 ERA, and the Mets are 5-3 in his starts.
He returns to Coors Field for the second time this season. He had not faced the Rockies before starting against them on June 1 while with the Toronto Blue Jays. Stroman had a solid outing in the thin air, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits over seven innings with two strikeouts and no walks. Nonetheless, he took the loss.
Stroman is coming off one of his best outings since joining the Mets, however, allowing one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings in an 11-1 win over Arizona on Thursday. The right-hander said a couple of mechanical adjustments helped with him against the Diamondbacks, but he wasn't concerned about his performance before Thursday.
"My confidence hasn't wavered," he told the New York Post. "I'll go through whatever spurts, but I don't hold on to a good win. I don't hold on to a bad loss. Truthfully, I let it go and I focus on five days after, so I battle and compete regardless of what I am going through each and every time out, and that is something I will continue to do."
Monday started a string for the Mets of 10 games against teams eliminated from the playoff race, with the first six coming on the road, in Colorado and Cincinnati.
The Rockies had high expectations coming into the season, but a 3-12 start and a swoon that started in late June led to early offseason after two straight playoff appearances.
Injuries have played a factor and have forced the Rockies to use more players than they had planned from Triple-A, contributing to the franchise's first losing season since 2016.
"We are relying on a lot of young guys right now, for sure," third baseman Nolan Arenado told the Denver Post. "I remember when I was young, I made a lot of mistakes, so I get it. They have to learn from their mistakes."
Melville (2-2, 5.16 ERA) made a splash when he was recalled on Aug. 21 to pitch against Arizona. He went seven innings to get his first major league win that day and then won his next start. Colorado is 3-2 in his starts, but he coming off a short outing against St. Louis on Thursday.
He went three innings, allowing five runs on five hits -- four of them home runs. Tuesday will be the first time facing the Mets in the journeyman's career.
--Field Level Media
Mets look to bounce back vs. Rockies, stay in hunt