Phillies next opponent: Colorado Rockies 8-9 (3rd place in NL West)
Click here to read my preseason preview of the Rockies.
After playing two straight 1-0 games, the Philadelphia Phillies should expect some higher scoring contests this weekend as they travel to the thin air of Colorado to face the Rockies.
The Phillies struggled against the Atlanta Braves’ touted young pitching staff, but the Rockies’ pitchers are far less imposing. They currently rank near the bottom of the National League in most pitching categories.
On the other hand, the Phillies’ pitchers will have their hands full with the Rockies’ offense. Rockies hitters currently rank first in baseball in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in runs scored. The offense is led by outfielders Carlos Gonzalez (four home runs) and Charlie Blackmon (1.023 OPS), although there are threats throughout the lineup.
Thanks to a rain out as well as two lengthy outings by the starting pitchers, the Phillies have only needed two innings of relief over the past three days. It’s nice that the overworked relief corps got that break, because they’ll likely be called on quite a bit this weekend.With Pettibone, Kendrick, and Hernandez slated to start this weekend’s games, there’s a good chance the bullpen will be used early and often.
Phillies vs. Rockies: The rivalry
The teams squared off against each other in the NLDS in both 2007 and 2009. The 2007 series gave the Phillies a rude welcome back to the postseason as the Rockies made quick work of them en route to the World Series. In 2009, the Phillies got some revenge, in a surprisingly nerve-racking series that featured the Ryan Howard “Get me to the plate” game.
Rockies player who isn’t awful
Coming into Spring Training, there was debate whether Charlie Blackmon would win a starting job in the Rockies outfield. It appears that he has made a solid claim to the job for the near future. He’s currently second in the National League with a .411 batting average to go along with a .589 slugging percentage.
Rockies player who is awful
Jorge De La Rosa gave the Rockies a surprisingly strong season in 2013. He recorded a 16-6 record to go along with a 3.49 ERA. As a result, he was named the Rockies’ Opening Day starter. He hasn’t lived up to that reputation this season, as his ERA currently sits at 7.58. Part of the problem is that De La Rosa has already surrendered four home runs this season.
Game time: 8:40 PM
Pettibone will be making his second (and perhaps final) start in place of Cole Hamels. Pettibone pitched well his last time out, giving up two runs in five innings. But it can be a challenge for any pitcher to take the mound in Colorado, and it will be interesting to see how Pettibone fares in the thin air against an excellent lineup.
He’ll be opposed by Chatwood, who is making his second start of the season. Chatwood had an encouraging 2013 season, and has given the team hope that they have a solid young starter on their hands. The Phillies hitters will need to shake whatever plagued them against Atlanta. It would help if they got back to the patient approach they had been taking prior to the Braves series.
Link of Interest
Phillies Team Site – Howard turns ‘day off’ vs. lefty into a positive
With the Phillies facing a left-handed starter in Alex Wood, Ryan Howard was not in the starting lineup. Manager Ryne Sandberg says that despite Howard’s career-long struggles against lefties (as well as his .176 average this season), the move was more about getting John Mayberry some at bats. It was a good sign that when Howard finally did appear as a pinch hitter late in the game he showed a lot of patience and drew a key walk.
Tweet of Importance
Phillies at Rockies tonight – The Colorado Rockies hit the Phillies better than any other National League team last year (.310)
— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) April 18, 2014
Hopefully the Phillies pitchers will fare a little better this season.
Phillies vs. Rockies tickets
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies