Rockies-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

A visit from the Colorado Rockies might be what the struggling Philadelphia Phillies need to end their latest rough stretch.

The Phillies look to snap a six-game home skid and continue their recent dominance over the Rockies on Tuesday night.

A sweep at the hands of Toronto to complete a 3-6 interleague trip added to the frustration surrounding the Phillies (31-37), who have lost 12 of 15 and are last in the NL East.

"It's not a good mood," said right fielder Hunter Pence, who is 4 for 21 in his last five home games. "When you don't win, it's not a good mood. It's horrible."

Philadelphia returns to Citizens Bank Park trying to avoid its first seven-game home losing streak since Aug. 12-19, 2004. Despite the struggles, Phillies players remain optimistic.

"That's why it's a long year," said slugger Jim Thome, who hit his 608th home run in Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays. "You keep battling and you obviously don't want to go through the times we're going through."

Thome went 12 for 36 with four homers and 14 RBIs as the designated hitter on the nine-game trip but will back on the bench for this series.

"It will be kind of tough," manager Charlie Manuel told the Phillies' official website. "But at the same time, we have to keep him ready to pinch-hit.

"First base is out of the question."

With or without Thome in the lineup, facing Colorado (25-40) could provide the Phillies with an ideal opportunity to get on track. Philadelphia has won 20 of 24 against the Rockies, including 11 of 13 at home, and Colorado enters having lost 10 of 11 overall.

Philadelphia also could catch a break if Colorado star Carlos Gonzalez is unable to play after he missed Sunday's 5-0 loss at Detroit because of a sore right hamstring.

"Right now, it is day to day," said manager Jim Tracy, whose team has totaled one run in two games following Friday's 12-4 win over the Tigers. "We'll have to see."

Gonzalez has batted .438 (14 for 32) with three homers and six RBIs in his last seven games. He's 5 for 6 against scheduled starter Cole Hamels (9-3, 3.34 ERA).

The left-hander helped end Philadelphia's three-game losing streak Wednesday despite giving up seven runs in six innings of a 9-8 win at Minnesota. Hamels is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA this month, and 11-16 in June during his seven-year career.

"I'm not concerned," he said. "I'm definitely frustrated. I feel like it comes and goes. I definitely have innings where things are working really well, and all of a sudden an inning comes and I can't hit a spot to save a life."

Hamels is 1-3 with a 5.22 ERA in five starts against the Rockies, including playoffs.

Colorado counters with Josh Outman (0-2, 8.44), who makes his fourth straight start since moving into the rotation. The left-hander has allowed five runs in each of his last two starts, the latest through five innings while not factoring in the decision of a 10-8 loss to Oakland on Wednesday.

Pitching for the Athletics, Outman gave up three runs in six innings of a 3-1 loss at Philadelphia on June 26.

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