Colorado Rockies (25-40) at Philadelphia Phillies (31-37)

Posted: June 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

OF Carlos Gonzalez leads a struggling Rockies team into Philadelphia

Fresh off a three game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Philadelphia Phillies return to Citizens Bank Park for a three game set against the Colorado Rockies.

The weekend set north of the border went about as poorly as it possibly could have gone. The Phils were beaten in every fashion possible. On Friday night, Toronto RHP Carlos Villanueva (2-0) dominated in relief of the injured Drew Hutchison. A former Milwaukee Brewer, Villanueva tossed 4 shutout innings allowing just two hits. Phillies’ starter Vance Worley pitched admirably through 7 innings, but the hapless Philadelphia lineup was unable to break through against the Toronto bullpen as the Phillies fell, 3-0.

On Saturday, Cliff Lee remained winless despite pitching into the eighth inning. A costly throwing error by Jimmy Rollins, his fifth error of the season, led to a 5-2 lead slipping away. In extras, Phillies 1B/LHP Joe Savery failed to retire Rajai Davis and the Blue Jays handed the Phillies’ their 8th walk-off defeat of the season.

Sunday was more of the same for the Phils. Kyle Kendrick was not awful by any means. But, 5 earned runs over 6.1 innings will not get the job done with the Phillies’ lineup behind you. Rollins and Placido Polanco combined to go 0-7 with 4 strikeouts at the top of the order as the Blue Jays completed their first sweep of the Phillies since 2009 with a 6-2 victory.

The Phillies, losers of 12 of their last 15 games, return home against the Rockies. Here’s the pitching breakdown for the series:

Josh Outman (0-2, 8.44) vs. Cole Hamels (9-3, 3.34)
Alex White (2-5, 5.56) vs. Joe Blanton (6-6, 4.93)
Jeff Francis (0-1, 12.46) vs. Vance Worley (3-3, 2.80) 

A 10th round pick of the Phillies in 2005, Josh Outman was traded to Oakland in the 2008 Joe Blanton trade. On Tuesday, he’ll face the team he once was a highly regarded prospect for. This is not the first time Outman has faced the Phils. On June 26th, 2011, Outman lost to the Phillies, 3-1. His line: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K was very Kendrick’esque. The Phillies hope to have success against the lefty. Most notably Shane Victorino, who hit Outman hard in their meeting last season. Meanwhile, Phillies LHP Cole Hamels looks to rebound. He is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in 3 June starts. This coming after a spectacular May in which the 28 year old went 5-0 with a 2.25 ERA. One thing to look out for: Hamels tends to struggle mightily in the middle of starts. From the fourth through sixth innings, batters are hitting .286 off the lefty. His worst inning by far is the sixth frame where Hamels surrenders to hitters a line of: .377, .393, .642. To make matters worse, Cole has struggled in three career starts against the Rockies. His 5.09 ERA against Colorado is the fifth highest such mark amongst all the teams Hamels has faced in his career. Watch out for Carlos Gonzalez against Hamels. The superstar OF is 5-6 against the Phillies’ lefty in his career.

On Wednesday night, former Cleveland Indians prospect Alex White will face the Phillies for the first time in his career. White came over to Colorado in last August’s massive Ubaldo Jimenez deal. The RHP struggles more on the road than at home. In his career, he’s 3-5, with a 6.80 ERA on the road. This bodes well for the Phillies, who send  Joe Blanton to the mound to face him. “Pancakes” Blanton has struggled in two career starts against Colorado (1-0, 5.23 ERA) but had a strong performance his last time out, tossing his second complete game of the season. Should Blanton get another CG in 2012, he will tie his career high set in 2007 with Oakland.

The series concludes on Thursday, with former Rockies’ 1st round pick Jeff Francis taking the mound for his third start of 2012 against young RHP Vance Worley. Francis has been smacked around lately, allowing 18 hits and 12 runs over just 8.2 innings this season. Making matters more bleak for the Canadian born lefty are his career numbers against the Phillies. Francis has given up 36 hits and 20 ER over 26.1 innings. Expect Mike Fontenot to get the nod for the Phillies. The veteran utility man is 3-3 in his career off of Francis. Other Phillies to look out for against the 9th overall pick in 2004 include Jimmy Rollins (6-14) and Juan Pierre (17-39). The Phillies counter with Vance Worley, whose 2.80 ERA has brought his career average down to 2.84 over his first 33 starts. Worley has never started against Colorado and will look to continue to build back the arm strength he lost during his lengthy stint on the disabled list.

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