DENVER — The altitude in Colorado will sneak up on you if you’re not careful. The 5,200-foot elevation makes it the highest park in the Major Leagues by a long shot. Chase Field in Phoenix is the second-highest at 1,100 feet.
When professional sports teams come through town, they have to have to take extra precautions. It’s not as tough for NHL or NBA teams who come to town to play one game in about 48 hours, but baseball teams have to figure out how to adjust and adapt over a three or four-game series.
The Mets sent Kodai Senga and Carlos Carrasco back to New York early in order to allow them to get their work done at sea level. They tried to convince Max Scherzer, who pitches Friday in the series opener, to go back with them as well, but he wanted to do his work in Colorado. The reduced oxygen level at high altitudes can not only affect breathing but hydration, sleep and the ability to recover, which is why the Mets wanted their starting pitchers to be able to work out and throw their bullpens in New York.
Should the Mets end up losing the series, they won’t use the altitude as an excuse.
“It’s different,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Obviously, the hydration is a huge thing. But does anybody here not have a headache right now? Some form of it? I mean, it’s part of the gig playing up here.”
The trainers have had players cut back on running and lifting while in Denver. They’ve provided the team with IVs for hydration and oxygen is available if needed. Pitchers around the league are having a difficult time adjusting to long innings with the pitch clock. Their cardio gets tested when they can’t take a break and stroll around the mound like they used to do, but so far the Mets have handled it fine.
“The game doesn’t stop,” Showalter said. “But, you know, we started before we got here and the trainers are on top of it. We had some IVs and things ready. We’ll get into whose done that whose not, but it’s a challenge.”
It makes Adam Ottavino’s numbers at Coors Field even more impressive. Ottavino pitched for the Rockies from 2012-2018 and posted a 3.41 ERA in that span. His splits were not all that drastic. In 208 innings pitched, he held hitters to a .231 average and owned an ERA of 3.33 at the league’s most hitter-friendly park — a number that made right-hander Drew Smith’s eyes go wide.
In his final season in Colorado, the veteran right-handed reliever was better at home than he was on the road, going 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA and three saves at Coors Field in 34 and 1/3 innings, and 4-4 with a 2.70 ERA and three saves on the road. He converted his seventh save in the Mile High City on Friday.
“He’s not a guy that lets a lot of circumstances get in his way,” Showalter said.
ON THE FARM
Left-hander David Peterson made his third start for Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday, starting off strong before allowing four earned runs on six hits, walking five and striking out 10 over 4 and 2/3 innings against the Louisville Bats. After earning International League Player of the Week honors May 22, Peterson has struggled once again and now has a 4.08 ERA.
The Mets still aren’t sure what to make of his struggles considering how good he was last season and during spring training, especially since he’s healthy. But Showalter thinks he could be feeling pressure to perform and stay in the rotation as it finally starts to come together the way the club intended it to.
“A lot of the focus fell on him and Tylor [Megill] and that created a little more pressure on him than they should have,” Showalter said. “That’s another byproduct of getting everybody healthy and get them on schedule.”
Catcher Omar Narvaez (left calf strain) continued his rehab assignment with High-A Brooklyn on Saturday, catching for the second time. He’ll move his rehab to Triple-A next.
Source: Berkshire mont