Today, the Phillies will start a seven day, six game road trip after their most successful homestand of the season (7-3). The start of the roadtrip will begin with a National League Division Series rematch between a strong Colorado team. Although they will not see ace Ubaldo Jimenez and possibly Troy Tulowitzski (out day-to-day with a quad strain), this series again provides a glimpse into October. Last year, the Phillies won the season series 4-2 (two wins and one loss at both home and away) and defeated the Rockies 3-1 in the NLDS.
GAME ONE: Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 5.87) at Greg Smith (1-2, 6.35)
Kendrick hasn’t faced the Rockies lineup since the 2007 NLDS. He is coming off of his most successful outing of the season; throwing seven shutout innings against St. Louis. A performance that may have saved his spot in the rotation. Kendrick must keep the ball down at a ballpark like Coors Field or it could be a very short night against a lineup batting .333 against him. Both Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe have Kendrick’s number; batting .444 and .500 respectively against him. Coincidentally, if the matchup between Kendrick and Smith seems even, weirdly enough, the Phillies are also batting .333 against Smith. Smith is coming off a mere five innings against San Diego; walking five batters in the process. His struggles can be attributed to falling behind in the count to hitters. Chase Utley is a lifetime 3-3 against Smith (who has only faced the Phils once). The Phillies should be patient at the plate against Smith based on his last outing; work the count and make it another early night for the young lefty.
GAME TWO: Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.45) at Aaron Cook (1-3, 6.03)
In game two, Halladay returns to his home state to face a team that has little experience against him. It will be his first start of his career in Coors Field and there is no reason not to expect Doc to pick up where he left off on Thursday against St. Louis; his third complete game in six starts. He has faced none of the regular current Rockies starting lineup. Cook has been nothing but inconsistent this season; in his last start he seemed to be cruising until losing control in the fourth and giving up four runs against San Diego. Cook pitches to contact; relying heavily on ground ball outs, and lifetime the Phillies are .354 against him. Chase Utley is 8-21 with 11 RBIs, including a triple and home run. From the bench, Ross Gload is 5-7 with two doubles and three RBIs. Phils should look to get to Cook early, and let Doc take it from there.
GAME THREE: Jamie Moyer (4-2, 4.38) at Esmil Rogers (0-1, 6.39)
Moyer is coming off his most improbable and best start of the season; throwing nine shutout innings against Atlanta and became the oldest pitcher in League history to throw a CGS. For his follow up performance, Moyer will have his work cut out for him. In hitter-friendly Coors Field, Moyer is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two regular season appearances, however he only allowed one run through six innings during the final game of the 2007 NLDS. The current Rockies are batting .287 against the 47 year old Moyer; with Ryan Spilborghs with the hot bat against him, batting .545 in 12 plate appearances with six hits and six RBIs. Though its not confirmed by the Rockies website, it appears as rookie Rogers will get the nod. Pitching out of relief in his first two games of the season, Rogers will be making his third start of the year, and will look to go longer than his season high of four and two thirds innings. In his two starts this season, he has allowed four earned runs in each start. Like us chicks, he also digs giving up long balls, giving up two in his last start and walking four. The Phillies should take advantage of the rookie who they’ll be facing for the first time.
Also, congratulations go to Jayson Werth who was named National League Player of the Week. He had four home runs, four doubles, nine runs batted in, and a total of 25 bases.