Phillies Head Out West to Take on the Colorado Rockies

MLB: SEP 20 Blue Jays at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Roman Quinn (24) and Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3)during the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays on September 20, 2020 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Phillies have definitely been an up-and-down team this season. Honestly, it’s been a tale of two teams so far. At home, the Phillies showcase a stellar 8-4 record, but a putrid 1-5 record on the road. They have a great chance to rebound and improve that record away from Citizens Bank Park this weekend.

Philadelphia travels out west to kick off a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies. As of Thursday night, Colorado owns the worst record in both the National League and entire MLB. As the Phillies salvaged one game against Gabe Kapler’s San Francisco Giants, the Rockies completed a two-game sweep of the Houston Astros.

Tale of the Tape:

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Game One- Friday at 8:40

Phillies’ Probable Starter:

Vince Velasquez

Ah, good ole Vinny Velo. It seems like the Phillies always end up having to sneak him into their rotation year after year. With Matt Moore in COVID protocols, Velasquez will replace his spot in the rotation Friday night.

This will be his first start of the season. However, he has made three appearances so far. He’s pitched four total innings in relief, allowing four runs and three hits. Most notably, he’s walked eight batters out of the 22 he’s faced. In his career, he’s also struggled against the Rockies, and specifically at Coors Field. He’s allowed an opposing batting average of .347 for his career.

As “That Ball’s Outta Here” notes, this does not fare well with the Phillies’ recent history at Coors Field, either. Philadelphia has not won a series at Coors Field since 2012 and are 2-9 in their last 11 games. In 2018 and 2019, Phillies pitchers allowed 58 runs in eight games in Colorado. They are 5-1 against the Rockies at home though, only allowing 24 runs in those six games.

Rockies’ Probable Starter:

German Marquez

German Márquez is the Rockies number one option; an ace one may say. In his most recent start, he held the Mets to two runs and two hits in a seven-inning doubleheader complete game. Most notably, he has not allowed more than three runs in any of his starts. Three of those starts have come at the very hitter friendly Coors Field as well.

Against the Phillies in his career, he’s pitched in four games (three starts). He has a 3.38 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched.

Game Two- Saturday at 8:10

Phillies Probable Starter:

Aaron Nola

The Phillies’ ace gets back on the mound. Nola has likely been itching to pitch again since his last outing, which was his first career complete game. The best of this was that it was a shutout as well, where he picked up 10 strikeouts as well.

Against the Rockies, Nola has had success as well. In four career starts there, he is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA. He did “struggle” in his most recent start at Coors Field, allowing three runs in 5.2 innings pitched. However, back in 2017, Nola completed seven innings of two-run ball in his first start in Colorado.

Rockies Probable Starter:

Antonio Senzatela

On the season, Senzatela has shown some inconsistency. Two of his starts have been short, while two have been quality. This has to be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the two poor ones were against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Against the Phillies, Senzatela has pitched in four games, totaling a mere 17.2 innings. He has a 4.08 ERA against Philadelphia, and looks to find some stability Saturday afternoon.

Game Three- Sunday at 3:10

Phillies Probable Pitcher:

Chase Anderson

So far this season, Chase Anderson has not pitched more than five innings in his three starts. This is a bit skewed, as he was pulled in a prime pitch hitting situation in his most recent start on Monday.

For his career, he is 2-2 with a 6.66 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies at Coors Field.

Rockies Probable Pitcher:

Jon Gray

Jon Gray has gone 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in three starts at Coors Field this season. Also at home, he has pitched at least five innings and allowed one or fewer runs on four or fewer hits in each of his starts. He did struggle in his only start on the road this season, but that’s obviously irrelevant for this specific game.

Against the Phillies in his career, Gray has done decent. He’s started in all seven games against Philadelphia, earning a 4.14 ERA in 41.1 innings pitched. Most recently, he pitched two games against the Phillies in 2019. Here, he only totaled 10.2 innings pitched and allowed five runs on seven hits total.

Player to Watch

Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon

It’s only a matter of time until the four-time All Star gets rolling. Charlie Blackmon is struggling mightily this season. So far in 2021, he’s batting well below his career average of .302, as he’s currently batting below the Mendoza line with a .176 average. Blackmon is obviously having career lows, but just like any MLB hitter, they’re usually in streaks. For the Phillies’ sake, it would be beneficial for this streak to extend, but he’s in a prime position to turn things around this weekend.

For his career, Blackmon has averaged a .337 batting average against Philadelphia. He has a great opportunity to start streaking with Velasquez and Anderson on the mound. Even against Nola, he has a .538 batting average in 13 at-bats. If there’s a chance for him to start salvaging his season, it’ll be this weekend.

Photo Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire