Rockies hoping home more welcoming as Phillies arrive

Field Level Media

The Colorado Rockies got their first look at Manny Machado since he signed with San Diego in the offseason.

The big free-agent splash for the Padres bodes for better days for the organization, but not against Colorado this week.

The Rockies swept the two-game series in San Diego and now turn their focus on the other big name to switch organizations this offseason. Bryce Harper, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies weeks after Machado joined the Padres, is at Coors Field for the start of a four-game set on Thursday night.

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Colorado will send left-hander Kyle Freeland to the mound to face righty Zach Eflin in the opener of the series. The Phillies are coming off of a 3-2 home win against the New York Mets and sit in first place in the NL East.

Philadelphia leads the division despite having played only five home games. Thursday will be the first of seven on the road, and when the Phillies return home on April 25 they will have played 16 road games.

While Harper has earned the headlines, some of his teammates have quietly put together good seasons. Scott Kingery went deep in the 3-2 win over New York on Wednesday and is batting .480 on the young season. He has homered in two straight games -- his only home runs of the season so far -- and is making the most of his opportunities.

"I'm feeling good right now and I want to do whatever I can to help the team when I'm in the lineup," Kingery said after a 14-3 win over the Mets on Tuesday night.

Kingery's contributions might be a bonus for Philadelphia, but Colorado relies on its perennial All-Star to put up big offensive numbers. It might not be a coincidence that Nolan Arenado had zero home runs when the Rockies started the season 3-12 and has homered in each of the last three games, all Rockies wins.

His two-run blast in San Diego on Tuesday -- on his 28th birthday -- was the first time all season Colorado has scored runs in the first inning and it helped the team feel good heading home. The Rockies dropped three in a row in San Francisco before taking the last game against the Giants and then winning twice in San Diego.

"To be able to say we split a road trip, it's not bad -- you always go home feeling pretty good," Arenado said after Tuesday's win.

Coors Field has not been kind to Colorado so far this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers came in and swept a weekend series and then the Atlanta Braves took the first two of a three-game set that was cut short due to weather.

The Rockies have a chance to turn around their home woes starting with Philadelphia. Freeland (1-3, 5.40 ERA), the hometown product who has emerged as one of the best pitchers on the staff, will try to stop his personal losing streak.

After beating Miami on opening day, he has struggled and hasn't pitched beyond the fifth inning in the last three starts. Freeland was pulled from his start Saturday with a blister issue but is good to go Thursday. Freeland has thrown just 1/3 inning in his career against Philadelphia, giving up a hit but no runs.

Eflin (2-1, 3.94) was strong in his first two starts of the season, allowing just one earned run in 12 innings but was hit hard in a 10-3 loss at Miami on Saturday. He gave up six runs on 10 hits in just four innings. He is 1-2 in three career starts against Colorado and sports a 9.20 ERA.

--Field Level Media

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