Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies Series Preview
Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
In a season that has been maddeningly inconsistent, Sunday afternoon’s debacle may have been rock bottom. Josh Beckett, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, hurled a no-hitter at Citizens Bank Park, further accentuating the struggles at home.
During their 5-year reign as National League East Champions, the Phillies were dominant in their home park. Opposing teams knew they were in for a battle as soon as they landed in Philadelphia. Opposing pitchers knew they would leave with inflated earned run averages.
These days tell quite a different story. These days, it’s news when the Phillies score a run at home. How times have changed. Dating back to May 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Phillies have played 10 home contests – they have failed to score a single run in half of those games.
The Phillies are a paltry 9-14 at home – that translates to a .391 winning percentage. They have been outscored 77-92 at home and 183-219 overall. The home field advantage that was so prevalent just a few short years ago, has gone up in smoke.
As the weather has gotten warmer, the Phillies’ offense has gone in the opposite direction. Ryan Howard has not homered since May 8. Since May 9, Howard is batting .196 (10-51) with only 3 extra-base hits.
Domonic Brown has an unsightly slash line of .202/.254/.304 and a .558 OPS. Ben Revere who was supposed to be a catalyst as the leadoff hitter, has a .295 on-base percentage and only three extra-base hits in 153 at-bats.
Cody Asche was starting to heat up at the plate until he had to be placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd, who have been a pleasant surprises this season, have cooled off.
Friday night, against the Dodgers, was a classic example of how completely inept the offense has been in recent weeks. In a 2-0 loss, they left eight runners on base and were 0-9 with runners in scoring position. Second and third, nobody out – no runs. Bases loaded, nobody out – no runs, again.
The Colorado Rockies come to Philadelphia having lost six of their last 10 games. As is customary throughout their history, they are a much better team in Denver than they are on the road. The Rockies come to town sporting an 11-16 road record.
The Rockies are led by All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Based on his numbers, he is the early favorite for National League MVP: .375/.480/.725. A whopping OPS of 1.205. 14 home runs, 36 runs batted in, and 27 extra-base hits. That also includes Gold Glove-caliber defense.
First baseman Justin Morneau has been rejuvenated with the Rockies. After playing his home games in two spacious ballparks (Target Field and PNC Park), he has seen his power numbers spike since moving to Coors Field. He is hitting .314 with nine home runs, 32 runs batted in, 23 extra-base hits and an OPS of .909. He also, provides solid defense around the first base bag.
On the injury front, third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was having an All-Star caliber season has been placed on the disabled list with a broken finger on his left hand. Starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood, who the Phillies faced earlier this season, is on the 60-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. Tulowitzki has been hobbled by a sore left ankle recently. He was lifted early from yesterday’s game against the Braves. He should be ready to go tonight.
Surprisingly, the Rockies bullpen is led by 41-year old LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins took over the closer role in April and have 11 saves. The ancient reliever made his major league debut in 1995 – the Rockies third year of existence and the inaugural season at Coors Field.
Monday, May 26 (5:05 PM)
COL: Jhoulys Chacin, RHP (0-3, 4.76 ERA)
PHI: Kyle Kendrick, RHP (0-5, 4.53 ERA)
Tuesday, May 27 (7:05 PM)
COL: Jorge De La Rosa, LHP (5-3, 3.9 ERA)
PHI: Cole Hamels, LHP (1-2, 4.30 ERA)
Wednesday, May 28 (7:05 PM)
COL: Jordan Lyles, RHP (5-1, 3.45 ERA)
PHI: Roberto Hernandez, RHP (2-2, 3.83 ERA)
The Phillies are falling further and further in the standings. There is no dominant team in the National League East. With each series loss, valuable opportunities to gain ground in the standings are falling by the wayside.
Offensively, the Rockies are nowhere near the team they are at home. (They have scored 62 more runs at home than on the road this season.) The Phillies will face tough starting pitching this series – the Phillies offense will have a tough road.