Phillies’ road trip begins on a Rocky Mountain high

    The Phillies begin a ten game West Coast trip starting with a three game set with the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies are arguably the most disappointing team in baseball at 51-57 and ten games back in the National League West. After making a furious run for the playoffs last year, this year’s Rockies have basically closed up shop after dealing their ace, Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians for four minor league prospects.  The Rockies’ offense is led by Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton (yes, he still plays), and Carlos Gonzalez. Tulowitzki is arguably the second best shortstop in baseball with a rare blend of power and defense (20 home runs and .516 slugging percentage). Todd Helton still continues to mash the ball, hitting .311. Gonzalez is a five tool player with 15 home runs, 16 stolen bases and a .491 slugging percentage.  The Phillies and Rockies have split the season series so far 1-1. Cole Hamels threw a dominant eight innings in a 2-1 win on May 18th.  The following night in the rain Jason Giambi went crazy, hitting three home runs and seven RBIs for a 7-1 win for the Rockies.

  Game 1-Jhoulys Chacin (8-8, 3.50 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (12-6, 2.61 ERA). Chacin wasn’t very good in the month of July. Before his six inning, 1 run outing last week against the Dodgers, Chacin threw 23 innings in July with an ERA of 5.87 with 15 walks and 18 strikeouts.  The Rockies have lost Chacin’s last six starts. In his one start vs. the Phillies this year, Jhoulys threw seven innings, giving up just one run and striking out nine. For his career, Chacin has an ERA of 1.20 in 15 innings of work vs. the Phillies. Raul Ibanez is the only Phillie with success of Jhoulys Chacin, going 4 for 7 against him.  Cole Hamels was the tough luck loser in his last start against the Giants. Hamels went seven and 2/3 innings, giving up just two earned runs. The Phillies are 3-4 in Hamels’ last eight starts even though he’s only given up more than two runs once in that time span. Cole has only faced the Rockies twice in his career. His first outing came in 2009 where he got blown up for 7 runs in 3  1/3 innings.  However, his other start came this year and he was outstanding going eight innings and picking up a win.

Game 2- Aaron Cook (2-5, 5.05 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (5-5, 3.52 ERA) Cook had his best outing of the season against the Dodgers last week when he threw seven innings of shut out ball. He had seventeen ground ball outs, typical of a sinker ball pitcher. Prior to that last start, Cook’s ERA was hovering close to 6. He gives up a lot of hits, doesn’t strike out a lot, but can get a ton of ground balls. So basically, he’s an older Kyle Kendrick.  Cook is terrible against the Phillies lifetime, going 1-6 with an ERA over 6.  Since he’s so bad against the Phillies, I won’t list all of the Phillies that own him, I’ll just state that Phillies combined batting average against Cook is .344. With Roy Oswalt making his second rehab start on Monday, this is possibly Kyle Kendrick’s last start. Very nice send off by giving him a start in Coors Field.  Kendrick has done an admirable job as the 5th starter, posting a 3.32 ERA in his last three starts.  In his career against the Rockies, Kendrick’s ERA is close to 6. He got bombed in his only start against them this year.  The Rockies, as a team, are hitting .382 against Kyle.  At least Kendrick catches a break with Giambi being on the DL.

Game 3- Jason Hammel (6-10, 4.65 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (13-4, 2.44 ERA) With over 188 base runners in almost 128 innings of work, it’s probably a slight miracle Hammel’s ERA isn’t north of 5.  Hammel pitched into the seventh inning in his last start, allowing just two runs in a win over the San Diego Padres.  Even with that start, Hammel’s ERA in July was 7.  Jason has 5.40 ERA for his career against the Phillies. Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino are each 4 for 8 off of Hammel, while Raul Ibanez is 4 for 10 off with a home run.  Roy Halladay was fabulous in his last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He allowed just one base runner in seven innings and did that with his B stuff.  He’s first in the National League in wins, 3rd in strikeouts, 4th in WHIP, and first in complete games. Not much else you can say about the guy. Halladay is 2-0 with an ERA under 1 against the Rockies lifetime.  Jason Giambi and Mark Ellis are the only Rockies to have significant at bats against Doc. Giambi is hitting .309 against Halladay in 72 at bats, but is on the DL for this series. Ellis 3 for 16 against Halladay lifetime.

Prediction:

I’m not usually a betting guy but whatever the over/under in the Kendrick/Cook matchup is…take the over. I see the Phillies squeezing out a close game in Game 1, while outslugging the Rockies in game 2, and Doc finishing the sweep. The Rockies are done and they know it after the trade of Ubaldo. However, if you sleep on this offense in Coors, anything can happen.

Cousins? Brothers? They have to be relatives.

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