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Thole, Misch prepared to show their stuff

Thole, Misch to show their stuff

DENVER -- The Mets hope Thursday's series finale against the Rockies gives them a glimpse into a promising future, as left-hander Pat Misch makes his second start of the season and teams with new batterymate Josh Thole, who will be making his big league debut after leaping from Double-A Binghamton to join the big league roster as a September callup.

For Misch, who tossed seven innings of one-run ball Friday in Chicago for his first start with the Mets after 19 relief appearances, September could be a chance for him to play his way into a prospective rotation spot in 2010, but he claims not to have that on his mind.

"I take it one day at a time," Misch said Wednesday. "You never know where you're going to be in this game. You just have to go out there every single day and get people out. That's what it's all about. We're all playing here to win. You can't think about next year. Next year is next year."

Hopefully, the same logic applies for past years, since Misch hasn't pitched all that well in Colorado when he faced the Rockies in 2007 and 2008 as a member of the Giants. He is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA in three Coors Field appearances, including two starts.

"The air's a lot thinner," Misch said of the difference he notices in pitching at 5,280 feet above sea level. "Sometimes you get tired quicker. You've got to enjoy your breaks, enjoy your time on the bench. You've got to take a breather sometime. If you're running to cover bases, it catches you a lot quicker than normal."

Misch has confidence in his batterymate for Thursday, the 22-year-old Thole. The rookie caught Misch's bullpen session his first day up from Double-A Tuesday, and they talked during the game, breaking down hitters and preparing to get on the same page for Thursday's game.

"He seems like a good kid, easygoing," Misch said. "I had him call a couple hitters [Tuesday]. We talked before about what I wanted to do, a little bit about it during the game. We talked about their hitters. He seems like a smart kid. The bottom line is [to] keep it simple. Let the defense play behind us, and let's go attack them. It's baseball."

For Thole, the callup to the bigs caps a crash course in catching, having played his first three seasons primarily as a first baseman before transitioning to catcher last season in Class A Port St. Lucie. He made a big impression at Spring Training this year, and worked extensively with catching instructor Sandy Alomar Jr.

"He's a solid guy, he can block balls," Alomar Jr. said of Thole. "He's a very smart kid. He can carry a game back there and defend himself calling the game. He also has a good ability to get rid of the ball. He doesn't have a cannon of an arm, but he has a good transfer."

Thole has been making a name for himself with his bat, hitting .300 at Port St. Lucie in 2008 and .328 in Binghamton, third best in the Eastern League when he was promoted Tuesday. He also posted the fourth-best caught stealing percentage in the league, throwing out 26-of-86 attempting base stealers for a .302 percentage.

"That's one stat in baseball that's always misleading," Alomar Jr. said. "You can't just look at numbers. You have to analyze everything -- the fielders, the guy that's holding the runner, stuff like that. I'm not realy concerned about that. I know what he can do."

Thole can't help but look forward to the chance to show what he can do at the highest level, calling a meaningful game against a tough Rockies squad that is protecting a one-game lead in the Wild Card race.

"I had no idea what was going to happen," Thole said of his callup Tuesday. "It's amazing, there's no question about it. It's been a dream come true."

Pitching matchup
NYM: LHP Pat Misch (0-1, 3.41 ERA)
Misch produced an 0-1 record and 2.89 ERA in 19 appearances (22 innings) in relief with the Mets this season before allowing one earned run in seven innings against the Cubs on Friday. He came within eight outs of gaining his first big league victory -- in what was his 12th big league start. He has an 0-8 record, and his teams have lost each of his 12 starts. He and John Cummings of the 1993-94 Mariners are the only two big league pitchers who have begun their careers with 12 starts in which their respective teams have lost 12 times. Misch was a starter for most of this season in Triple-A with the Mets' Buffalo affiliate in the International League and the Giants' Fresno team in the Pacific Coast League. His Triple-A work this season includes 18 appearances, five of them starts, that produced a 4-2 record and 3.10 ERA in 52 1/3 innings. He has allowed three home runs in 81 1/3 innings (big leagues and Triple-A).

COL: RHP Jason Marquis (14-9, 3.60 ERA)
Marquis will again be looking to match his career high for wins when he faces the Mets at Coors Field. Marquis pitched decently on the road at San Francisco in his last start, but was done in by a lack of run support and a couple of soft hits that fell in during the Giants' biggest inning. Marquis is 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA at Coors Field.

Tidbits
David Wright's helmet was the featured subject of a "Pardon the Interruption" segment that played in the Mets' clubhouse before the game, with Tony Kornheiser role-playing Wright. "It's 12 times as big as a normal helmet, and it took three guys to put it on my head," Kornheiser said as Wright. Michael Wilbon mentioned that the new helmets are now required of Minor Leaguers, and gave Wright props for wearing something that could encourage enhanced safety.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SNY, MLBN

On radio
• WFAN 660, WADO 1280 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Mets (Bobby Parnell, 3-7, 5.81) vs. Cubs (Carlos Zambrano, 7-6, 3.91), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Mets (TBD) vs. Cubs (Rich Harden, 8-8, 4.19), 1:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 9-10, 5.03) vs. Cubs (Randy Wells, 10-7, 2.90), 1:10 p.m. ET

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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