The Pirates seemed to catch the Phillies at the wrong time in the season. The Phillies were coming off a disappointing series loss to the Giants and had Halladay, Lee and Worley set to pitch in the 3 game series. When all of the dust had settled, the Phightin’s had swept the Bucs right out of town. While I think the Pirates are a solid team and a great story this season. This series shows that Pittsburgh is not an elite team in baseball and are not in the same league as the Phillies. After going 7-3 on a ten game home stand, the Phillies head out west to play the Rockies in a 3 game series. They will start their 10 game road trip tonight at Coors Field.
The biggest story of the weekend may have not been the sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was the accusation of right fielder and 5 hole hitter Hunter Pence. His presence in the lineup seemed to make an immediate impact as the Phightin’s scored 13 runs in his first two games. Pence looks like the type of player that Philly Phans will love, he goes out every day with a smile on his face and will do whatever it takes to win. His start to his individual Phillie career started off a little slow, he went 2-9 with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI through his first two games. But he did hit a double in extra innings yesterday and then scored the game winning run on the double of Raul Ibanez. The Phillies still have a MLB best 68-39 record and are 6 games ahead of the Braves for 1st place in the NL East.
Meet the Rockies
While the Phillies added a piece prior to the deadline, the Rockies traded their number 1 pitcher away. The Rockies decided to sell high on Ubaldo Jimenez and trade him for prospects while the righty still had significant value. They were my preseason pick to the win the NL West but have been a disappointment so far this season. Colorado enters the series with a 51-57 record and are 10 games behind the Giants in the division. The Rockies enter the series 10th in the majors in runs scored but rank 25th in the majors with a 4.25 ERA. Their high powered offense is led by SS Troy Tulowitzki and OF Carlos Gonzalez.
Monday August 1 8:40: LHP Cole Hamels vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacin
Hamels was brilliant in his start on Wednesday night against the Giants, but the Phillies bats were not able to score enough runs to get him the win. He gave up just 2 runs and 6 hits in 7.2 innings as he was handed his 6th lose of the season. Hamels is now 12-6 with a 2.61 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP so far this season. In his last start against the Rockies Hamels earned the win as he went 8 innings and allowed 1 run on 5 hits. In 2 starts against them, he is 1-1 with a 6.17 ERA. Tonight’s start will be his first career start at Coors Field. Current Rockies hitters are a combined 11-41(.268) while facing Hamels during their careers.
Chacin might be the Rockies best starter so far this season. The 23 year old righty has shown that his 3.28 ERA last season wasn’t a fluke and he can be a very good starter in this league for the next decade. So far this season Chacin is 8-8 with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. But Chacin hasn’t had a lot of success lately; he is 0-4 over his last 7 decisions. He has had his bad games during this stretch but it is also due to bad luck and lack of run support. Chacin gave up 1 earned run in 3 of those 7 starts and received the loss in 2 of them. He has pitched in 4 games (2 starts) against the Phillies during his career, in those games he is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 7-45(.156) while facing Chacin during their careers.
Tuesday August 2, 8:40: RHP Kyle Kendrick vs. RHP Aaron Cook
Kendrick has been a solid starter for the Phillies so far this season, but he obviously cannot live up to the performances of his teammates. Over his last few starts, he seems to be cruising for the first number of innings only to have his outing derailed in middle of the game and have it abruptly end with a bad inning. This could be his last start of the season as Oswalt could return to the rotation over the weekend. Kendrick is now 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP during his time between the pen and the rotation this season. He has started 7 regular season games versus the Rockies, in those games he is 2-2 with a 5.79 ERA. Current Rockies hitters are a combined 25-64(.391) while facing Kendrick during their careers.
Kendrick will be opposed by the veteran pitcher Aaron Cook. The 30 year old righty has spent his entire season pitching his home games at Coors Field and has had some solid season. He will never be a top of the rotation pitcher but Cook has filled his role as an innings eater nicely over his career. So far this season Cook is 2-5 with a 5.05 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP in 9 starts this season. He has pitched in 11 games (10 starts) against the Phillies, in those games he is 1-6 with a 6.05 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 45-132(.341) while facing Cook during their careers.
Wednesday August 3. 3:10: RHP Roy Halladay vs. RHP Jason Hammel
Phillies pitchers have not had a lot of opportunities to exist the game early because of a large lead. Their big three have had to pitch as deep into games as they can to try to give the Phillies their best chance of winning. Manuel was able to take advantage of a big lead and give Doc a little rest on Friday night. He gave up just 1 hit and 0 walks in his 7 innings of work but was pulled after the 7th as the Phillies had a big lead. Doc is now 13-4 with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He has pitched in 3 games (2 starts) against his hometown team, in those games he is 2-0 with a 0.77 ERA. Current Rockies hitters are a combined 15-60(.250) while facing Halladay during their careers.
Hammel (not Hamels) will take the hill for the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon. The 28 year old has been very streaky recently; in his last start he earned the win as he gave up just 2 runs on 5 hits. But in his previous start he gave up 8 runs on 12 hits as he was handed the loss. Hammel is now 6-10 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP so far this season. He has pitched in 3 games (2 starts) against the Phillies during his career, in those games he is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 20-67(.299) while facing Hammel during their careers.
Today is the first day of August and finish line is starting to come into sight for most teams. The Phillies enter play today with a 6 game lead in the division and are 9.5 games ahead of the D-Backs for the rights to a playoff spot. Perhaps the scary part about the Phillies right now is they are entering the part of the season where they play their best baseball. This is one the weather heats up and other teams get tired but the Phillies seem to put the pedal to the floor and sprint the finish. The pitching matchups seem to favor the Phillies this series but in Coors Field anything can happen. So I’m going to predict the Phillies will start their road trip by taking 2 of the 3 games against the Rockies.
Brotherly Love Nation Writer