Generally speaking, a strong remedy for an offense looking for some added punch over the course of a MLB season is a trip to Coors Field to play the Rockies. The thin air and hitter-friendly park is tailor-made for crooked numbers and can sometimes even mislead one’s opinion of a team’s offensive firepower. Apparently the Philadelphia Phillies did not get that memo this season, as their showing over the first two contests in the Mile-High city make you wonder what is going through the hitter’s head at the plate.
For the second time in as many nights, the Phillies were held without an extra-base hit and fell with little resistance to a mediocre Rockies team by a 3-1 mark. Aside from the offense, one had to be happy with Kyle Kendrick pitching seven productive innings while keeping the team in striking distance. Not to mention the fact that Jake Diekman pitched a strong eighth inning to give the team a chance in the final frame. Unfortunately, the offense that was to be depended on so much for this team is not coming through for them when the pitching holds up their end of the bargain.
Impressively, only due to the fact that it seems impossible when one thinks about it, the lack of production at the plate over the last several games from the Phillies is bordering upon historic futility.
— Comcast SportsNet (@CSNPhilly) April 20, 2014
What’s worse is that this brutal stretch is coming at a time where the Phillies could be positioning themselves favorably for the bulk portion of the season. However, with missed opportunities piling up and the Braves continuing to win against division opponents, Philadelphia could lose any opportunity at contending for the division before even being in a position where they could enhance their roster at the trade deadline.
Saturday’s affair in Denver was a clinic in putting minimal pressure on a pitching staff. 18 of the Phillies outs came via groundball and the order was littered with hitless nights and low pitches faced counts. The Rockies cashed in during the top of the 3rd inning when D.J. LeMahieu drove in Nolan Arenado from first base to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. After Domonic Brown grounded into a devastating inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the top of the 4th, Colorado added to their lead in the bottom half. On one of his few glaring mistakes of the evening, Kyle Kendrick left a ball over the plate and allowed Justin Morneau to deposit it over the right-field fence. Despite a strong showing from Kendrick on the evening, his team would be unable to make up for his ill-fated pitch.
The Phillies only run came in the top of the 8th inning, a frame that should have held much more of an impact on the game. After getting their first two runners on, the Phillies recorded three consecutive outs while yielding just one run. A Jimmy Rollins RBI groundout, scoring Cody Asche from 3rd base, would be sandwiched between unproductive outs by Ben Revere and Chase Utley as the team’s last-ditch effort fizzled away as fast as it materialized. Ageless wonder LaTroy Hawkins closed the Phillies out with ease in the 9th and, four games removed from their last extra-base hit, Philadelphia fell to 7-10 on the season.
The two teams close out their three-game set on Sunday, as Roberto Hernandez returns to the mound to try and give the Phillies a win before kicking off a 4-game set with the Dodgers. Even with Cole Hamels returning to the team as they tangle with their old National League rivals, his strongest efforts may go to waste with the way the offense looks as they match up with the top-end Dodgers rotation.