The New York Mets are stumbling since sweeping their latest series with Colorado. They'll try to begin work on another as they go for a ninth straight win over the Rockies on Friday night.
New York (64-56) capped a four-game sweep of Colorado (49-70) with a 12-3 victory Aug. 13, winning for the 11th time in 13 games. That stretch propelled the Mets into the NL East lead.
They have a four-game edge on Washington despite losing four of five, with Carlos Torres allowing a walkoff homer in Wednesday's 5-4 loss at Baltimore.
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New York was off Thursday but got some help as the Rockies beat the Nationals 3-2.
The Mets' last seven wins over Colorado came at home, and they've dropped six of eight at Coors Field.
They've also lost nine of their last 10 with Bartolo Colon (10-11, 4.58 ERA) on the mound, with the right-hander going 1-7 with a 4.83 ERA in that span.
He's been wildly inconsistent in his last six starts, alternating bad and good outings. He's given up at least four runs in three of them while yielding one in each of the others.
Colon allowed a solo home run in the first inning Friday before tossing six scoreless innings in a 3-2 loss in 10 to Pittsburgh.
He's 2-1 with a 7.71 ERA in three starts against the Rockies - all at Coors. Colon surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-4 loss in his last matchup May 1, 2014.
Daniel Murphy had four hits in three meetings with Colorado last week, giving him a .387 average in the past seven. He's batted .361 with 11 RBIs while recording at least a hit in 13 of 14 games overall - during which he's started six times at second, four at third, three first and once as a designated hitter.
"When I first got here with Murphy, I thought he was going to be a guy on a good team who could play multiple positions and still end up getting 450 at-bats a year and that's exactly what he is doing now," manager Terry Collins told MLB's official website.
Michael Cuddyer is making his return to Denver after signing with the Mets during the offseason. He spent the past three years with the Rockies, hitting .331 to win the NL batting crown in 2013 before injuries limited him to 49 games last year.
He went 3 for 8 with an RBI in two meetings last week but is 2 for 13 in five games since.
Colorado has lost eight of 10 and gives the ball to Jon Gray (0-0, 2.40), who gets a fourth chance at his first win.
The rookie right-hander was outstanding in six innings of a 4-2 loss to the Mets on Aug. 10. He only allowed a solo homer to Travis d'Arnaud but the relievers wasted the effort with a three-run seventh.
Five days later, Gray gave up a run in the first inning before responding with four scoreless in a 7-5 loss to San Diego.
"His mental makeup is outstanding," catcher Nick Hundley said. "You can talk about the stuff all you want, but at this level, the mental makeup is as important as the stuff."
Gray held Murphy, Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson hitless in three at-bats apiece last week.