There was a time during the start of the season which many thought this team might not lose three games in a row. People said that the pitching is just too good to go on a prolonged losing streak. Well after tonight’s losing, the losing streak is now 4 and the pitching has actually been very good during the 4 games. They have given up just 13 runs over the last 4 games but the Phillies bats have been nonexistent. Players like Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez shouldn’t be in a championship contending team’s lineup and they have batted 2nd during the losing streak.
The only reason they were able to push a run over the plate tonight was due to a “Luis Castillo like” drop by the Cardinals 2nd baseman. They spoiled another solid pitching performance by Oswalt and the bullpen and have honestly become difficult to watch. But it’s a long season and we should start getting players back eventually. Victorino looks to be out a few more days and Utley’s return looks to be on the horizon. Over a promising 3-1 start to the roundtrip, they return home going just 3-5. The Phillies are now 25-16 and are just .5 game above the Marlins and 1.5 above the Braves.
Tomorrow night they will welcome in the Rockies for another 2 game series. Colorado had a hot start to the season but has fallen off over the last few weeks. They are now just 22-18 and have a .5 game lead on the Giants for 1st place in the NL West. They have lost 4 of their last 10 games, but they will enter the game on a two game winning streak. The Rockies have always been a team that has been built around their bats, and this season isn’t any different as they are currently 4th in the NL in runs. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and LF Carlos Gonzalez are a very dangerous duo at the middle of their order and are a major reason for their recent success. They have also gotten solid seasons from veteran 1B Todd Helton and OF Seth Smith.
Wednesday May 18 7:05: LHP Cole Hamels vs. LHP Jorge De La Rosa
Cole Hamels will see if he can do something that his fellow aces couldn’t do, as he will see if he can break the team’s losing streak. Sadly it seems a pitcher will have to throw a complete game shutout to get a win, but that is something that Hamels can do. The bats were able to score 5 runs for him last Friday and gave him a no decision despite him allowing 4 runs over 6 innings. Cole has just made one career start versus the Rockies and it wasn’t a good one. He gave up 7 runs in just 3.2 innings. But to be far to Hamels, it was his first start of the season in 2009 after he missed the first week with an injury. Hamels is a completely different pitcher than he was when he started that game. Current Colorado hitters are 9-28 (.321) while facing Hamels during their careers.
De La Rosa signed a 2 year $21.5 million contract with the Rockies over the offseason to remain the team’s number 2 option behind Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies may have overpaid for a pitcher with a career ERA of 4.93 and someone who has never had an ERA under 4 for a season. But hard throwing lefties are difficult to find. So far on the season, De La Rosa is 5-1 with a 3.70 ERA. He is coming off a rough outing during his last start despite getting the win; he went 5.2 innings and gave up 5 runs on 9 hits. Jorge has not had a lot success against the Phillies during his career and that should we great news for Phillie Phans. He has made 4 starts (6 games) versus the Phillies; he is 0-3 with a 9.78 ERA while facing the them. Somehow his numbers at the Bank are even worse, in 2 starts he is 0-2 with an atrocious 14.04 ERA! Current Phillies hitters are 23-60 (.383) while facing De La Rosa during their careers. This should be the formula for success for the Phillies but this isn’t the same lineup he has faced in past starts and they scored just one run against a struggling Jake Westbrook, so I guess you never know.
Thursday May 19 7:05: RHP Joe Blanton vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacin
Big Joe Blanton has lowered his ERA in every start he has made since his horrible first start. He has allowed 3 or fewer runs in his last 4 starts but he has not been able to go deep into the games. Blanton has lasted just 5 innings in his last two starts, but that could be because of his recent injury and Charlie could be trying to ease him back in. Blanton is now 1-2 with a 5.50 ERA on the season and has actually been a solid starter despite a lot of criticism from the fans. He has made 2 starts versus the Rockies during his career, in those starts he is 1-0 with a 5.23 ERA. Current Colorado hitters are 30-74 (.405) while facing Blanton during their careers.
The 23 year old righty has had a great start to the season. He is now 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 8 starts this season. Chacin is coming off one of his worst starts of the season; he received a no decision despite giving up 5 runs (3 ER) in 6 innings. He has only made 30 career starts and only one of those came against the Phillies. In 3 games against the Phillies, he is 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA. The Phillies scored 12 runs on 15 hits the last time he started against them, but he only allowed 3 of the runs (1 ER) during his 5.1 innings. The Phillies rallied from a 7-3 7th inning deficit to score 9 runs in the 7th to win the game 12-11! Current Phillie hitters are 3-17 (.176) while facing Chacin during their careers.
The Phillies are now in new territory for the young season, they are in the middle of their longest losing streak so far and hopefully their longest of the season. As the offense continues to struggle, phans will become even more restless and needy for the return of our 2nd baseman. Their best chance to end the streak looks to be tomorrow night as they will send ace number 4 to the hill against a pitcher who they have been able to hit in the past. The way the bats have been no existent lately, it would be easy to say they will lose both, but I am way to optimistic of a phan to do that! I think they will at least take one of the two games as they get ready for the always dreaded interleague play.