New York Mets Have Always Gotten Low at High Altitude

By Paul Festa
Zack Wheeler
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Denver, Colo. is a place where the air is rarefied, and so are the wins. That’s been the case for the New York Mets since they’ve had to travel a mile above sea level to play the Colorado Rockies starting in 1993. The Amazins lead the all-time series against the Rockies, 86-81, but they’re only 32-51 in the Centennial State.

The expansion Rockies made their debut against the Mets in ’93. The Mets swept that two-game series at Shea Stadium. But it didn’t take long for the Mets to be introduced to the harsh climes of Colorado. They won two and lost four at old Mile High Stadium that year. They went 1-2 the following year. Things only got worse when the Rockies moved to their new home in Lower Downtown Denver.

The Mets went 3-13 in the first three years of Coors Field’s existence. As the Mets improved, so did their success in Denver. In 1998, they finally won their first road series against the Rockies, two games to one. However, losing would still be the norm, even when the Mets had another spate of success in the mid-2000s. From 2005-2008, the Mets had an overall winning record, and made the playoffs in 2006. In Coors Field, they were just 6-9, winning only one series in ’06, and one in ’08 (when they played two series in Denver, which is unusual with the unbalanced schedule). The Mets have never swept a series in Colorado, but they have been swept (in 2007).

That misery has continued into 2014. The Mets have been blown out in the first two games against the Rockies this year, 7-4 and 10-3. For the first time all year, a Mets starting pitcher failed to go at least five innings — and it happened twice. Bartolo Colon was lifted after 4.2 innings, and Zack Wheeler got the hook after four. For Wheeler, it was the shortest outing of his young career. Yes, it’s Coors Field: Where ERAs go to die.

The Mets also had a spot of bad injury luck in Denver in 2011. First baseman Ike Davis collided with third baseman David Wright pursuing a pop-up. Davis injured his ankle and ended up missing the season. Davis was hitting .302/.385/.543 at the time, and had all the makings of a guy who was going to stick around for a long time. Instead, Davis never hit as well again (save for a second-half power surge in 2012), and is now struggling to find his swing with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

So, with two games left at Coors Field, the Mets hope to even the series, or at least salvage one victory. Jenrry Mejia and Dillon Gee are the next victims … er … scheduled starting pitchers. Perhaps some day the Mets will find success at Coors Field. In the meantime, they’ll have to chalk it up to the altitude and put it behind them.

Paul J. Festa is a baseball writer for Follow him on Twitter @pauljfesta and add him on Google.

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