National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, June 21st (All times Eastern)
Colorado Rockies (25-42) at Philadelphia Phillies (33-37), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Colorado - Jeff Francis (0-1, 12.46) Philadelphia - Vance Worley (3-3, 2.80)
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies and winning haven't coincided recently until this series with the Colorado Rockies.
The Phillies have a chance to record a sweep of the Rockies tonight at Citizens Bank Park and earn a measure of consistency. They have yet to sweep a three-game series this season, but did knock off both Houston and the Chicago Cubs in two-game sets from May 14-17.
Philadelphia needed some last-minute heroics to take last night's middle portion of this series by a 7-6 score, as Hunter Pence scored the game-winning run when Placidco Polanco was called safe on Rockies first baseman Todd Helton's error at first base. Helton's foot was off the bag when he received the throw.
"We gave them five outs in the ninth inning," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
Pence's RBI double scored Ty Wigginton for the tying run, as the Phillies won for only the fifth time in their last 17 tries. Michael Martinez hit a three- run homer and John Mayberry added a pair of runs scored in the win.
Joe Blanton did not record a decision and was banged around for five runs in seven innings. After Antonio Bastardo tossed a scoreless eighth inning, closer Jonathan Broxton allowed a run and two hits in the ninth, but still came away with the win thanks to a two-out rally in the bottom half.
"Hopefully we take the momentum and keep it going," Polanco said. "We're going to try to turn everything around."
The Phillies are 2-0 so far on a 10-game homestand and will pin pitching duties on Vance Worley tonight. Worley is 0-1 in his last three starts and was dealt the loss in Friday's 3-0 setback at Toronto in which he yielded three runs -- one earned -- in seven innings. He is now 3-3 in 10 starts with a 2.80 earned run average.
Worley has made one relief appearance in his career against Colorado and is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in four starts at home this season.
Colorado has dropped four in a row and 12 of its last 13 games, and is only 1-4 on a 10-day, nine-game road trip. The Rockies are 2-6 over their last eight road games and 10-21 away from Coors Field.
Michael Cuddyer, Wilin Rosario and Chris Nelson all homered for the Rockies, while Rafael Betancourt was slapped with the loss and his third blown save. Alex White started for Colorado and lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and five hits in that short stretch.
"My job is come in there and get three outs. Those guys battle for eight innings," Betancourt told the club's website. "It's hard for me to explain it, but I take [the blame for] that one because, after it's two outs, you can't let that happen. That can't happen right there."
Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez went 2-for-4 after missing the previous two games with a strained hamstring. All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is on a rehab assignment because of a groin injury, but now must face surgery. He is expected to undergo the procedure in Philadelphia on Thursday and a timetable for a possible return is unknown.
"There's some scar tissue that is built up over a nerve," Tracy said. "We're very hopeful they're going to successfully relieve that and get us beyond these problems and situations we've been dealing with over the course of the last year or so."
Tulowitzki was hitting .287 with eight home runs and 27 RBI in 47 games before the injury occurred on May 30 versus Houston.
Meanwhile, Rockies starter Jeff Francis will try to salvage the finale of this series when he toes the rubber tonight. Francis is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA in two starts and did not record a decision in Friday's 12-4 win at Detroit. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, one start after permitting eight runs and 10 hits over 3 1/3 frames in an 11-5 loss to the Angels.
Francis, a left-hander, is 1-1 with a 6.84 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies.
The Phillies won four of their five meetings with the Rockies last season and are 21-4 against them since the start of the 2008 season.
06/21 10:31:30 ET