No time for caution if the Phillies want to go interstellar

MLB: JUN 12 Yankees at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 12: Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Ronald Torreyes (74) during the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees on June 12, 2021 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA.(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

The schedule makers might be the best friends of Phillies fans across the country at the moment. After dropping two of three in Milwaukee to the playoff bound Brewers, the Phillies need a bounce back to stay in the tight playoff race in the National League. They’ll welcome the Colorado Rockies to town in what should be a wide open dunkeasy shot from the free thrown line… a bounce-back series for Philly. The Phils should rise to the occasion as the Rockies have been not-so-good on the road this year, and they will need to if they stand any shot of staying in the hunt for their first postseason berth since 2011.

Last time these teams met was back in April, when Colorado took two of three from Philadelphia. Their record might be bad on the road, but the Rockies are pretty strong at home, posting a 45-27 record in Coors Field. That’s better than the Phillies are at home, and makes for a historical home-road split. The difference in their home and away winning percentage is .408, on pace to be the record for largest differential over a full season in league history. Of course this ties into Philadelphia, as the 1945 Philadelphia Athletics are the current records holders with a .356 differential (winning %: at Shibe Park, .527, .171 on the road).

When taking a deeper look at some of the Rockies struggles, you can see why they struggle on the road. Thursday’s starter for Colorado, Antonia Senzatla, seems to struggle a bit when leaving hitter-friendly Coors Field. In Colorado this season, he has a 3.89 ERA and 1.195 WHIP, while opponents are slashing .269/.308/.399. He only has one win on the road, thanks to his ERA jumping more than half a run to 4.56. Opponents slash .298/.347/.450 against him outside of Colorado. That’s a 90 point jump in OPS against. To make things worse for the Rockies chances of playing spoiler for the Phillies in this series, German Marquez is scheduled for game two on Friday. Let’s take a look at the difference in slash lines for Marquez:

  • German Marquez, opponent slash lines:
    • Coors Field: .202 / .279 / .320 / .598
    • On the Road: .270 / .327 / .459 / .787

Marquez simply falls apart outside of Coors. That is a huge jump in all offensive numbers against him. Even their big hitters in the lineup, like Trevor Story and CJ Cron, have been average or worse when not in Colorado. Story, the biggest name to not move at the trade deadline, is hitting just .198 on the road with a .396 slugging percentage and a .691 OPS. Cron came off an extremely good month, taking home National League player of the month honors for August. He is having a great season, no doubt. But his batting average drops 80 points, and his OPS tumbles more than 300 points (1.080 at home, .747 on the road) when leaving Colorado. Over their last ten games, the Rockies struggles have continued. They have a 3-7 record, the offense has a .218 batting average, and their pitchers have a 6.55 ERA during that span.

The Phillies are still only two and a half games out of first place in the NL East, behind the Braves, and they are very much alive in the packed NL Wild Card race. They are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals at three games out of the second WC spot. The San Diego Padres currently hold that slot, and the Cincinnati Reds are between the Phillies and the Padres, while the New York Mets only trail them by one and a half games. If the Phillies want to keep pace with this many teams and stay in the race, they need to take advantage of appetizing matchups like this one.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire