PHILLIES KEYS TO VICTORY OVER ROCKIES
STARTING PITCHING STAYS MENTALLY TOUGH: the Phils are starting a quartet of young pitchers in this series, none of whom has ever thrown at Coors Field. Even for a veteran, this is a difficult atmosphere. That is meant literally, not figuratively. The air in Denver, a city set a mile above sea level, will flatten out their curve balls, do crazy things with their other breaking pitches, and balls hit against them will tend to carry in the warm summer air. All that, and Coors has some of the more spacious outfield power alleys in the game. They need to just keep making pitches, try to keep the ball down, out of the middle of the zone. Most of all, they cannot let down mentally if they allow a handful of runs – that is to be expected here.
MATCH THE ROCKIES OFFENSE BLOW-FOR-BLOW: the Phillies have the best offensive attack in the game over the last few weeks, an incredible statement when you consider just how poor that lineup production was over the season’s first two and a half months. The Phils have scored 87 runs over the last 15 games, or nearly six per game. Maikel Franco has been powering up, homering in four straight. NL All-Star Odubel Herrera and scorching-hot right fielder Peter Bourjos need to keep producing hits in bunches at the top of the order, providing RBI opportunities for Franco, Cody Asche, Cameron Rupp, and Tommy Joseph, and those middle-of-the-order bats need to keep driving them home. CarGo, Arenado and company will produce offense. The Phillies bats need to keep up with them.
MAINTAIN AND EXTEND THE MOMENTUM: the Phillies enter this series on a four-game win streak, having taken eight of their last nine, and 10 of the last 13 games. They have worked hard to get back within a half-dozen games of the .500 mark, and a series victory here in Colorado would bring them within serious reach of that break-even point on their season, setting up a nice goal as next week’s MLB All-Star break ends and they resume play with a seven game homestand against division the division rival Mets and Marlins beginning next weekend.
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