NEW YORK METS (64-56, first place/NL East) at COLORADO ROCKIES (49-70, fifth place/NL West)
ROCKIES SHORT HOPS
In a major shakeup, the Rockies sent five-time All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki as well as reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 28 for Jose Reyes, reliever Miguel Castro and highly regarded prospects Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco. In 10 seasons with Colorado, the 30-year-old Tulowitzki hit .299 with 188 homers and 657 RBIs. He is owed $113.7 million through 2020. Reyes is owed $22 million apiece in 2016 and 2017. He also has a team option for that amount for 2018 with a $4 million buyout. Reyes’ inclusion was meant to slightly balance the contracts being exchanged. He is hitting .276 (21-for-76) with one homer and six RBIs since joining the Rockies. He continues to make his offseason home in Old Brookville on Long Island.
Rockies pitchers walked a combined 19 batters in the first two games of the just-completed series against the Washington Nationals. That was the most in a two-game stretch for the club since May 1-2, 1999 (20 walks).
Carlos Gonzalez earned NL Player of the Month honors for July. He batted .386 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs during the month. The production included three multi-homer games in a four-game stretch. Gonzalez’s 28 homers rank fourth in the NL, trailing Bryce Harper (30), Todd Frazier (29) and teammate Nolan Arenado (29).
Arenado, who became a first-time All-Star last month, ranks second in the league with 87 RBIs. Paul Goldschmidt leads with 89.
Jon Gray, who limited the Mets to one hit in six innings on Aug. 10, continues to be held to strict pitch counts. In his thee major league starts, Gray has thrown 77, 75 and 69 pitches. He threw 114 innings in the minors before his promotion. That already was within 10 innings of matching last season’s total. Gray, a former University of Oklahoma standout, was the third overall pick in the 2013 draft. He entered the rotation in place of Kyle Kendrick, who landed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
Chris Rusin became the 19th pitcher in Rockies history to throw a shutout. He threw a five-hit complete game on Sunday against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Rusin’s delivery is described as Johnny Cueto-like in that he varies his motion.
John Axford reclaimed the closer role this week after Tommy Kahnle flopped. Brooklyn native Adam Ottavino began the season as the closer, but he required Tommy John surgery. Hawkins then got a shot. Axford, next placed in the role, suffered three losses and four blown saves and allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings in a five-game stretch and was deposed. Kahnle, a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees in December 2013, has allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in two innings over his last three appearances. Axford allowed two baserunners, but notched the save Thursday against the Nats.
Left fielder Corey Dickerson landed on the disabled list on Aug. 1 with non-displaced fractures of two ribs on his right side. He suffered the injury diving for a line drive. The latest injury came a week after Dickerson returned from a second DL stint for plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He is batting .315 with five homers and 18 RBIs, but has been limited to 43 games this season. Kyle Parker, a former Clemson quarterback, was promoted to replace Dickerson.
Second baseman D.J. LeMahieu batted .400 in July. He is hitting .254 this month.