Rockies-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies have been plagued all season by an inability to push runs across the plate.

Cliff Lee is certainly no stranger to his team's lack of production, be it this year, last season or in his career against the Colorado Rockies.

The left-hander looks to avoid losing a fifth straight decision Wednesday night as the Phillies continue a four-game series against the visiting Rockies.

Lee has a 5.06 ERA over his past five starts, but Philadelphia's lineup hasn't exactly done its part, either. Lee (10-6, 3.19 ERA) has lost four times over that span with the Phillies giving him six runs of support.

Philadelphia (55-70) ranks near the bottom of the majors with 467 runs, and Lee's run-support average of 3.68 is among the lowest in the NL. He pitched well his last time out, allowing three runs and five hits over eight innings of a 4-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

Lee last lost five straight decisions to open the 2012 season, with the Phillies giving him an average of 2.92 runs. His run-support average of 3.20 last year was the fourth-worst in the majors.

Lee has received an average of 1.86 runs of support in three career regular-season starts against Colorado, going 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA.

The Rockies (59-68) counter with Juan Nicasio (7-6, 4.94), who is coming off a solid outing. He was 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in his previous four starts before allowing two runs in six innings of a 6-3 win at Baltimore on Friday.

The right-hander, though, walked four, raising his total to 12 over his last 20 innings.

Nicasio gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings while not receiving a decision in his only career start against Philadelphia, an 8-7 loss for Colorado on June 14.

The Rockies won 5-3 on Tuesday night to end a three-game skid. It was their third victory in 15 road games overall and fourth in the last 21 regular-season meetings between these teams in Philadelphia.

Troy Tulowitzki and Wilin Rosario homered, and Michael Cuddyer had two hits to make him 6 for 15 in the last four games. Cuddyer is hitting .306 (11 for 36) with three home runs and four doubles against Lee.

Tulowitzki also homered Monday, and he's batting .407 during a seven-game hitting streak.

"He looks a lot more ease at up there," manager Walt Weiss said. "His timing looks really good."

The Phillies struggled offensively again after opening the series with a 5-4 win Monday. They managed three hits for the third time in five games since Ryne Sandberg took over as manager for the fired Charlie Manuel on Friday.

"There are not too many options," Sandberg said. "All the guys have a chance to be out there."