Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Can 'CarGo' get going against Phillies?
Having lost four straight games -- their first losing streak of more than two games all season -- the Philadelphia Phillies will look to right the ship tonight against the Colorado Rockies at 7 ET on ESPN.
Since 2008, the Phillies are 15-3 against the Rockies, their best winning percentage against any National League team in that span. However, Philadelphia is going to have to start scoring runs if it wants to build on its record against Colorado.
The Phillies are 4-7 in their last 11 games, and have scored three runs or fewer in eight of them -- including all seven losses. This season, the Phillies have scored three runs or fewer in 22 of their 41 games. Only the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have had more three-run games (23 each) in the National League.
Cole Hamels Matchups to Watch
Cleanup hitters this season are 1-for-23 (Mike Stanton has the lone hit) with nine strikeouts against Cole Hamels. In fact, No. 4 hitters are hitless in their last 15 at-bats; Hamels has retired 12 straight since allowing a walk to Stephen Drew. His .043 opponent batting average against No. 4 hitters is the best in baseball.
The Rockies Carlos Gonzalez will be facing Hamels for the first time in his career. Although he has seven RBI in his last four games, "CarGo" is hitting just .193 since April 19. And he’s struggled mightily against left-handed pitching.
Last season, Gonzalez hit .320 against left-handed pitching, which ranked 10th in the National League among players with at least 150 plate appearances against left-handers. In 2011, he’s hitting only .159.
Left-handed pitchers have been able to bust Gonzalez inside (2-for-9, .222), compared to last season when he hit .364 (16-for-44) on inside pitches from left-handers.
Gonzalez also is hitting ground balls at a much higher rate this season. In 2010, he hit only 41.8 percent of pitches for a ground ball. This season he’s at 52.1 percent. He’s also missing pitches right down the middle, from both righties and lefties. In 2010, Gonzalez hit .352 with a 1.080 OPS on pitches right down the middle. This season, he’s hitting just .231 (3-for-13).
Jorge De La Rosa Matchups to Watch
Hamels will be opposed by Jorge De La Rosa, who is 0-3 with an 11.34 ERA in four career starts against the Phillies. He's even worse at Citizens Bank Park: 0-2 in two starts with a 14.04 ERA.
Expect the Phillies to stack tonight's lineup with right-handed bats. Left-handed hitters are 3-for-28 against De La Rosa this season and hitless in their last seven at-bats. The three lefties to get hits against him: Miguel Montero, Pedro Alvarez and Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Saunders.
Left-handed hitters in the last three seasons against De La Rosa have struggled: .107 this season (with no home runs), .206 last season and .204 in 2009. Right-handed hitters haven't fared much better, hitting just .242.