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04/11/10 7:44 PM ET

Balls could fly as Maine, Smith square off

When John Maine and Greg Smith square off on Tuesday evening in the opener of a three game set between the Mets and Marlins, both veteran pitchers will be trying to keep the ball in the ballpark.

Both were victimized by two home runs in key spots in their respective opening starts of the season, each taking an early loss.

Their task isn't easy, as the series takes place at hitter-friendly Coors Field, known for its launching pad qualities.

Maine allowed four runs to the Marlins in his 2010 debut -- two of which, came via the long ball.

Maine's results in his first start likely stemmed from a decrease in his fastball's velocity. He also attributed the loss to bad location of his fastball and not enough first-pitch strikes.

Whatever the reason for his performance, Mets manager Jerry Manuel expressed his belief that his fastball would return to its normal velocity.

"We'll continue to hope for that," Manuel said. "He's healthy and I don't see why, being free from setbacks and those types of things, we won't see that at some point."

Smith, who was making his first start since 2008, gave up just four hits in his opening loss to the Brewers, but two of them were home runs. The most damaging was a three-run shot by Casey McGehee in the first.

"I just missed spots," said Smith after the game. "It's not like I got beat up too bad by them. It's not like they hit pitch after pitch after pitch after pitch.

Mets: Castillo expected to return
Luis Castillo, who hasn't played since Thursday with what Manuel has termed a "cranky" right calf, is likely to return to the lineup when the Mets open against Colorado. Castillo singled in a pinch-hit appearance in Saturday's game, but remained out of the lineup on Sunday. Alex Cora started in his place for the third-consecutive game. He went 3-12 in the weekend series against the Nats.

Rockies: Tracy pleased with offense so far
The Rockies have hit at least one home run in each of the club's first six games to begin the season, tying last year's team that had home runs in six straight games to open the season.

Manager Jim Tracy is pleased with his club's progress on adjusting to this season's hitting strategy of staying in the middle of the field and makign adjustments based on the count.

"What I really like is the fact that we've taken a program that was put in place and worked very hard at it over the course of six weeks [in Spring Training]. We're embracing it. We're doing it. We're not doing it to perfection just yet, but perfection is a very difficult thing to accomplish in this game."

Worth Noting
Tuesday's game vs. the Mets begins a stretch of 16 straight days without a scheduled off-day for the Rockies.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.