NEW YORK — The Rockies’ 14-2 loss to the Mets at Citi Field on Friday night got so ugly, so early, it conjured up some classic quotes from legendary football coach John McKay.
Once, when asked about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ execution, McKay quipped: “I’m in favor of it.”
Another time, McKay famously said: “We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.”
Substitute pitch for tackle, and replace blocking with hitting and you get the gist of how the Rockies opened the second half of their season.
Jon Gray, the would-be ace of Colorado’s staff, simply could not command his usually potent stuff. His location was off, his slider was flat and he was gone after two innings, plus six batters. The Mets battered Gray for eight runs on nine hits. He walked three and struck out one.
The Rockies were feeling better about themselves before the All-Star Game when they took two of three from the Chicago White Sox at Coors Field. But in reality, the Rockies have been sliding for almost three weeks. They have lost 14 of their last 19 games since their high-water mark June 20 when they were 47-26.
Meanwhile, New York right-hander Jacob deGrom (10-3) handled Colorado as he always does. He pitched eight innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out 11 and walking only one. In five career starts vs. the Rockies, deGrom is 3-0 with an 0.99 ERA.
Plus, the Rockies were facing the Mets’ ace at the wrong time. He improved to 6-0 with a 1.53 ERA over his last six starts.
Gray, meanwhile seemed off the mark almost from the beginning. True, four of the Mets’ hits were bloopers, but they also roped solid hits off Gray (2-1), who saw his ERA rise from 3.75 to 6.23 after five starts.
New York scored two runs in a second inning that included a wounded-duck single by Lucas Duda, a solid double to right by Jose Reyes and a bloop RBI single by deGrom.
The Mets salted the game away in the third, sending 11 men to plate and scoring six runs. Yoenis Cespedes opened the inning with a looping double down the first-base line, followed by Jay Bruce’s single to shallow left. Those hits had no steam on them, but T.J. Rivera’s subsequent two-run double was blasted to right-center.
Manager Bud Black gave Gray the hook after Gray walked Travis d’Arnaud to load the bases. Left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup couldn’t stem the tide, giving up an RBI groundout to Michael Conforto and a two-run single to Asdrubal Cabrera.
Rivera opened the fourth with a leadoff home off Rosscup to make it 9-1. The Mets continue their onslaught in the seventh with a three-run homer by Conforto off Jordan Lyles. It was the ninth home run off Lyles in 40 ⅓ innings and his ERA is now 6.69.
In the Mets’ two-run eighth, Colorado reliever Scott Oberg walked three straight batters with two outs to force in a run to wrap a bow around the mess.
The Rockies actually took a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat on Gerardo Parra‘s RBI single. They scratched out another run off deGrom in the sixth when Charlie Blackmon (2-for-4) doubled and came around to score on a wild pitch. The mini-rally ended DJ LeMahieu was thrown out at home trying to score on a sacrifice fly. LeMahieu was erased by a great throw from Cespedes in left.