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Rockies Head To New York To Take On The Mets

(Sports Network) - Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez appears to have put his brief troubles behind him. New York Mets starter Mile Pelfrey has not.

Jimenez aims for a club record 18th victory of the season, while Pelfrey tries for his first win in over six weeks, when Colorado and New York begin a three- game series this evening at Citi Field.

Though in the midst of a Cy Young Award-worthy season, Jimenez struggled to a 2-1 mark and 7.64 earned run average during a six-start stretch from June 23- July 24. That included allowing 10 earned runs over his first two starts following the All-Star break, but the right-hander has rebounded with a pair of seven-inning, one-run victories to up his record to 17-2 with a 2.61 earned run average.

The major league leader in wins, Jimenez held San Francisco to just four hits and a pair of walks on Wednesday, while striking out nine.

"It's his best start since post-All-Star break," Rockies manager Jim Tracy told his team's website afterward. "He was in command and in control of everything today. He was dominant today."

Jimenez matched three other Rockies hurlers with 17-win seasons -- Kevin Ritz, Pedro Astacio and Jeff Francis -- and the 26-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in four career starts against the Mets.

New York can only hope for a similar turnaround tonight by Pelfrey, who is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in seven starts since his last victory on June 25. The right- hander has fallen to 10-6 with a 4.16 ERA this year and is coming off a loss in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Pelfrey allowed five runs -- three earned -- on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Braves and has yet to reach six innings pitched over his winless drought. The 26-year-old hopes to have corrected an arm-speed issue during Saturday's bullpen session.

"I could feel it sometimes, that I was slowing down on offspeed pitches," Pelfrey told New York's website. "They just tried to emphasize again how important it is to keep the same arm speed on all your pitches."

Pelfrey beat the Rockies back on April 15 with seven scoreless innings of five-hit ball, improving to 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA in six career starts against the club.

Tonight he'll have to deal with Carlos Gonzalez, who is hitting .500 (24- for-48) with eight homers, 15 RBI and 16 runs scored over his last 11 games for the Rockies. He owns just two career at-bats with a walk versus Pelfrey, but one resulted in a home run.

Gonzalez had four hits, one a two-run homer, and finished with three RBI in Sunday's 8-4 victory over Pittsburgh.

"I'm just following the pitcher's sequence," Gonzalez said. "That's been the key for me. I just see the way they're pitching me the whole game and I kind of know what they're trying to do. That's the key about hitting, if you know what's coming."

Dexter Fowler added two hits, two RBI and a pair of runs scored for the Rockies, who split a four-game series with the Pirates and have also split their last six games since winning four contests in a row. That has Colorado five games behind San Francisco for the National League Wild Card lead.

The Mets, meanwhile, have lost five of seven and dropped Sunday's rubber match with Philadelphia, 6-5. Angel Pagan drove in two runs, Jose Reyes scored twice and R.A. Dickey allowed six runs -- four earned -- over just three innings. New York also left the game-tying run on third base in the ninth inning.

New York is eight games off the pace in the Wild Card race.

Colorado took two of three at home over the Mets in April and has won five of the last seven meetings. New York, though, has won six of the last seven played in Queens.