When Philadelphia and Colorado met at Coors Field in May, their two-game series was overshadowed by an alleged sign-stealing incident. This weekend their collective focus should simply be to win games.
Colorado manager Jim Tracy insists he has no hard feelings for Philadelphia (49-46) or manager Charlie Manuel following a brief war of words after their last series. The Phillies received a warning from Major League Baseball after bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught using binoculars while Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo(notes) was giving signs.
“That situation has already been rehashed, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s over with,” Tracy told the Rockies’ official website. “He takes care of his flock and I take care of mine. It’s that simple.”
What has not been simple for either team lately is winning.
Philadelphia improved to 2-6 since the All-Star break after snapping a four-game skid with a 2-0, 11-inning victory at St. Louis on Thursday. The two-time reigning NL champions are seven games behind first-place Atlanta in the East.
Colorado (51-44), losers of six of seven at Philadelphia, is 2-5 on an 11-game trip after dropping three of four at Florida, including its last two.
“We’ve got to find a way to win a couple more games on this trip,” Tracy said. “Hopefully, we can win four more.”
The Rockies could have a hard time doing that with Halladay (10-8, 2.40 ERA) on the mound for the opener, although the Philadelphia ace is coming off an uncharacteristically rough outing. After yielding one run in 18 innings over his previous two starts, Halladay gave up six in six innings of an 11-6 loss to the Cubs on Sunday.
“You don’t want to beat yourself with big runs,” Halladay said. “You don’t get away with mistakes. It’s going to cost you.”
The right-hander allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings at Colorado on May 12, when the Phillies lost 4-3 in 10 innings. His only other start against the Rockies was a two-hit shutout for Toronto in 2002.
The two runs in Thursday’s win are becoming the norm for Philadelphia, which has totaled four runs in its last three games and is averaging 2.9 since the All-Star break.
“We have to do something about it,” Manuel said. “It’s hard to explain.”
Howard and Rollins are a combined 19 for 49 against Colorado’s Aaron Cook(notes) (4-5, 4.56), who looks to build on the best outing of his season. The right-hander allowed six hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win at Cincinnati on Sunday.
Cook is 1-5 with a 5.85 ERA in nine starts versus the Phillies. He allowed three runs in six innings against Halladay in the May victory.