Jason Jennings was named the National League rookie of the year in 2002. Making only his fifth start of the season, he’s already trying to avoid a sophomore slump.
Coming off one of the poorest outings of his young career, the Colorado Rockies’ 24-year-old right-hander will look for a strong effort in the middle game of a series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium.
In 19 innings this season, Jennings has already allowed 22 runs. Last Thursday, he was particularly dreadful, lasting only 4 1-3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He gave up nine runs and 11 hits in an 11-2 loss.
“I just didn’t have real good stuff today, and it was up in the zone,” Jennings said, “and that’s not a real good combination, especially against a veteran lineup like that.”
Jennings will now look to shut down the Phillies, who won Tuesday’s series opener 5-2.
The win was only the second for the Phillies in their last six games, while the Rockies had a three-game winning streak snapped.
“We had our some chances,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “We left 11 men on, that didn’t help.”
STANDINGS: Rockies - 2nd place, 3 1/2 GB, NL West. Phillies - 2nd place (tied), 1 GB, NL East.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Jennings (1-2, 8.05 ERA). In two career games against the Phillies, Jennings is 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Brett Myers (0-2, 3.32 ERA). Originally scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, Myers was pushed back a day so Millwood could work on normal rest. Myers pitched well in his last outing, but still walked away with a loss. In a 3-1 defeat to the Florida Marlins last Wednesday, the 22-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits while striking out four. He has never faced the Rockies.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Preston Wilson, .338 avg. and 3 SBs; Todd Helton, 5 HRs, 19 RBIs and 21 runs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .328 avg.; Ricky Ledee, Jim Thome and Pat Burrell, 2 HRs; Thome, 15 RBIs; David Bell, 16 runs; Jimmy Rollins, 2 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - Colorado hasn’t won a series in Philadelphia since Aug. 28-30, 2000. The Rockies’ last win in Philadelphia was May 2, 2001, as the Phillies swept the three-game series there last year. … 1B Helton is four hits short of 1,000 for his career. … Colorado’s 12-8 record is the third-best in franchise history through 20 games. Phillies - 3B Bell is batting .231 (3-for-13) in his career against Jennings. … OF Michaels was 0-for-7 this season before going 3-for-4 Tuesday. He started the season on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle and was also 0-for-14 on a rehabilitation assignment. … The Phillies’ bullpen had its 17-inning scoreless streak snapped when LHP Dan Plesac allowed a run in the eighth on Tuesday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 4-7 on the road; Phillies - 6-5 at home.
INJURIES: Rockies - RHP Scott Elarton (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Denny Stark (oblique), 15-day DL; IF Pablo Ozuna (knee), 60-day DL; IF Juan Uribe (foot), 60-day DL. Phillies - OF Marlon Byrd (knee), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Hector Mercado (hamstring), 15-day DL.