Series Preview: Can the Phillies keep up in Colorado?

MLB: SEP 26 Pirates at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 26: Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) during the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 26,2021 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia,PA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

So, the Phillies have started the season on a sour note. Their current record is 4-6. It isn’t the end of the world but it sure is disappointing to lose back-to-back NL East series.

The biggest problem for the Phillies to date has been the offense. They have the pieces but they haven’t truly clicked yet. We saw a peek at what they can do when they scored 9 runs on Opening Day and 10 in game 3 of the Marlins series. Those are outliers compared to their average 3.9 runs per game.

Luckily for the Phillies, they’re headed straight towards the Mecca of all offense: Denver, Colorado.

To put into perspective why Colorado is the perfect place to get the bats going, Larry Walker almost missed out on the Hall of Fame because voters believe that Colorado inflates offensive statistics. A more current example would be Nolan Arenado. With the Rockies, he had a .293 batting average with a .890 OPS. With the Cardinals, he’s hitting .263 with a .841 OPS.

Other than Coors Field, there could be other good news for the Phillies’ bats. Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber may have awoken from their respective slumbers. Harper started the season hitting .138 with a .567 OPS. In his last 2 games, Harper is hitting .500 with a 1.725 OPS. Schwarber started out even colder, only hitting .094. In the last game of the Marlins series, he went 2/4 with a homer.

Progress!

The Phillies will have to combat a 6-3 Rockies team that has already won a series against the Dodgers AKA the best team in the NL. They’ve also won a 2-game set over the Rangers and split a 4-game series against the Cubs.

They currently have 3 hitters all hitting over .300. Their catcher, Elias Diaz, is hitting .345, newly acquired Kris Bryant is hitting .344, and Connor Joe is hitting .361. Oh, and CJ Cron leads all of baseball with 5 home runs while hitting .297. In reality, only 2 Rockies hitters are slumping to start the season: Brendan Rodgers and Charlie Blackman.

Yes, that includes the bench, sans backup catcher.

While the Phillies pitching will have their work cut out for them, Phillies hitters will need to get to the Rockies’ starters. Their bullpen has been one of the best in the NL. Through 40 IP, their bullpen has the lowest ERA in all of baseball at 1.80. Their bullpen has already recorded 6 saves (tied with Toronto for most in baseball).

This won’t be an easy series to win but it could be the perfect time to start hitting season.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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