Rockies-Phillies Preview


The Philadelphia Phillies returned to their winning ways in their series opener with the Colorado Rockies.

Matchups with the Rockies tend to turn out that way for Charlie Manuel's club.

The Phillies try to build on an encouraging victory and continue their dominance over sputtering Colorado on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

With a 7-2 victory on Tuesday, Philadelphia (32-37) snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the fourth time in 16 contests. John Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Ruiz each hit two-run homers, while Jimmy Rollins had two hits, two walks and scored three times for the five-time defending NL East-champion Phillies, who trail division-leading Washington by eight games.

"It hasn't been as consistent as we would like," said Rollins, batting .433 with six doubles and seven runs in the last seven games. "It's been a long climb up, but we're taking it one game at a time."

Two more against Colorado (25-41) should certainly help.

The Phillies, who ended a six-game home-losing streak Monday, have won 23 of the last 28 games against the Rockies, including the 2009 playoffs, and 12 of the last 14 regular-season matchups at Citizens Bank Park. Rollins is batting .400 with 10 RBIs and 11 runs in his last 10 home games in the series.

Philadelphia isn't the only team causing problems for Colorado, which has dropped 11 of 12. The Rockies have totaled three runs during a three-game skid, but could be getting Carlos Gonzalez and his 17 home runs and 51 RBIs back in the lineup after the .335-hitter sat out the last two games with a strained left knee.

His possible return would seem to present significant challenges to Joe Blanton (6-6, 4.93 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 5.23 ERA in two career starts against Colorado. Gonzalez is batting .438 with three homers and six RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak, and is 4 for 5 with a homer and a walk lifetime against the right-hander.

Blanton has struggled this season, but he is coming off his second complete game of 2012.

After posting a 9.91 ERA while serving up 11 homers in 26 1-3 innings over a five-start stretch from May 19-June 8, Blanton allowed a run and seven hits while striking out seven in Thursday's 6-1 victory over Minnesota.

"I felt like the last two I was getting close but just not quite there, and kind of the same (Thursday),'' he said. "It's not one where quick fixes have all of a sudden made it better. It's been trying a few things and grinding on it.''

The Rockies, who are going with a four-man rotation with each starter being limited to 75 pitches for the foreseeable future, counter with Alex White (2-5, 5.56).

White lasted four innings in Thursday's 8-2 loss to Oakland before exiting because of a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. The right-hander, who allowed four runs, seven hits and four walks, said after the game he frequently gets blisters in the same spot after pitching and said it was nothing to worry about in his first career outing against the Phillies.

Having to face Mayberry, though, might be reason to worry.

Mayberry has homered in three straight games, and is batting .381 with four home runs, two doubles and 10 RBIs in his last five.

"He's one of these hitters that builds his confidence,'' Manuel said. "He's starting to swing very good.''