Winning two of three games against the Colorado Rockies really isn’t much to brag about. Unless you’re a Philadelphia Phillies fan, and that would make it the first series your team has won since June 19-21 – a series win also over the Rockies. The last time the Phillies have won a series against a team that was not in last place within their respective division was May 28 through May 30, when they took two of three games against the New York Mets.
What This Means: The Phillies (39-51) are still mired in last place in their division, 14 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals and four games back of the Miami Marlins for the worst overall record in the division. The Phillies’ .433 winning percentage is still worst than all but the lowly Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Rockies, and San Diego Padres in the National League.
Grading the Offense: Jimmy Rollins has been on a hot streak over the last six weeks, and he continued it against the Rockies. Rollins went 5-for-12 (.417) with two doubles and a triple, plus three runs scored, an RBI, and a walk, justifying his spot in the leadoff role. The problem was that Ryan Howard went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts and Chase Utley played just two of the three games, resting for the final one. While it’s terrific having the two back, Howard is struggling and Utley not playing every day doesn’t help matters. For the series, the fact that the offense scored an average of five runs and collected an average of 8.67 hits per contest against the Rockies’ pitching staff (6.06 ERA from the starters) really isn’t that impressive. Grade: C+
Grading the Pitching: The Phillies actually got three straight quality starts from their pitchers in the series, which extends the team’s streak to four, dating back to before the All-Star break. Cliff Lee allowed just two earned runs in six innings, although of course he lost. Vance Worley gave up just two earned runs in 6.2 innings and Cole Hamels today threw a fine outing, allowing only one run on six hits, while striking out seven and walking just one. The bullpen was less than spectacular like always, allowing six earned runs in six innings, courtesy of Michael Schwimer, Jake Diekman, and Brian Sanches, and the 9.00 ERA from the unit in the series is why the Phillies are still in last place. Grade: C+
What’s Next: The Phillies have a day off on Monday which will be good in giving Howard and Utley more time to rest before they begin a three-game road series against the Los Angeles Dodgers from Tuesday night through Thursday night, followed by a three-game home series against the San Francisco Giants. The Phillies’ schedule gets notably tougher, and the next time they play a team with a worse winning percentage than them is when they play the Rockies again in early September.