Thursday's series finale between the Rockies and Mets pits a pair of managers still tinkering with their options after losing an All-Star from the middle of their order.
Mets third baseman David Wright was placed on the disabled list over the weekend with a hamstring injury. Then, on Wednesday, the Rockies put Carlos Gonzalez on the DL with a sprained right middle finger.
Mets manager Terry Collins has been tasked with re-creating the lineup depth he lost as a result of Wright's injury. On Wednesday, he moved Daniel Murphy to the third spot in the order and outfielder Juan Lagares to No. 2, as the Mets won, 5-0.
"We've got to take a look at what our best lineup is here," Collins said. "In my opinion -- and this is my opinion -- I think [Murphy] is probably as good a hitter as we have on this team. Therefore, I think he needs to be in a position where he can do some damage."
The change also bolsters the back of the order by moving Lagares up and sliding outfielder Marlon Byrd and first baseman Ike Davis -- two of the Mets' most potent power threats -- back a bit.
"By moving Marlon down one and Ike down one, all of a sudden the back end of your order has a little bit better shape," Collins said.
The Rockies have only played one game without Gonzalez, but manager Walt Weiss said Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson will likely get the bulk of the playing time in left field. Blackmon got the start Wednesday and hit second, going 1-for-4.
"They'll both get time," Weiss said. "Sometimes both of them will be out there. Sometimes it'll just be one of them. They're both going to get playing time."
Weiss named righty Jeff Manship as Thursday's starter after Tyler Chatwood was scratched late Wednesday night. Chatwood is headed to the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
Manship, 28, is making his Rockies debut after going 6-8 with a 4.85 ERA in 24 appearances (17 starts) at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He appeared in 41 games with the Twins from 2009-12, making six starts and posting a 3-2 mark with a 6.20 ERA.
Dillon Gee (7-8, 3.97 ERA) gets the ball for the Mets, who are looking for the sweep. Gee tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Royals on Friday, dropping his ERA below four for the first time since his first start.
Rockies: Francis recalled
Left-hander Jeff Francis was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs to replace Gonzalez.
Francis is 2-5 with a 6.63 ERA in 12 Major League games this season. Eleven of those were starts, but Weiss said the plan is to use Francis out of the bullpen.
As for Gonzalez, he's simply hoping for a quick recovery.
"It's hard," Gonzalez said. "Obviously I want to be in the lineup. I want to be able to help the team. It's just one of those things I tried to avoid the whole time. I tried to stay away from it. I took chances. I think the best thing right now for me and the team is to go on the DL."
Mets: Duda to Triple-A
The Mets activated Lucas Duda from the disabled list on Wednesday, before optioning the left-handed-hitting outfielder to Triple-A Las Vegas.
"I hope he just goes and tears it up and comes back," Collins said. "But with what we've got in the outfield and what Ike has done so far, I don't know where we're going to put him."
On the season, Duda is hitting .235/.353/.438 with 11 homers in 68 games.
• Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton are all 2-for-5 lifetime against Gee. Catcher Wilin Rosario (1-for-5) is the only other Rockies batter with a hit against the right-hander.
• Murphy is 19-for-57 (.333) with three homers and 12 RBIs since July 24.
• Helton has posted a .344 lifetime average against the Mets.