The Philadelphia Phillies haven’t gotten off to the start they wanted, but there’s no panic in the ranks. The team is stocked with veterans who understand that a less-than-ideal April doesn’t doom the final five months of the regular season.
The Phillies fell 6-5 on Tuesday night to the Colorado Rockies and will complete their seven-game road trip Wednesday afternoon in Denver, then head home for 13 of their next 16 games.
A good way to kick off that stretch would be a win in Colorado, and that’s what right-hander Zach Eflin (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will hope to deliver when he takes the mound on Wednesday. The Rockies will counter with German Marquez (0-0, 3.97) as they wrap up a seven-game homestand.
The Phillies are 1-5 on their trip while the Rockies are 4-2 on their homestand.
Eflin is slated to make his fifth career start against Colorado and fourth in Denver. Overall he is 1-3 with a 7.40 ERA against the Rockies, having allowed 17 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings. He is 1-2 with a 5.52 ERA in three starts at Colorado.
Philadelphia has one of the most potent lineups in the National League, but it hasn’t produced consistently. The Phillies scored nine runs in one game and 10 runs in another, but they have just 20 runs in their eight losses.
“It just kind of feels like we really haven’t had that inning where we’re compounding baserunners — whether it’s through singles or walks — instead of everybody hunting the long ball,” Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos said. “Just spitting out thoughts and ideas. We’re brainstorming as well.
“Every game that we lose, I’m frustrated. Especially to teams that I feel like we’re better than. But it is 162 games. All we can do is stay the course and continue to put the work in.”
At 8-3, the Rockies have gotten off to a better start than many predicted, and it has helped that 10 of their first 12 games were at home. They have gotten results up and down the lineup, and the seven-year, $182 million deal Kris Bryant signed in March has looked like money well spent.
He has yet to hit a home run but he is batting .359 with four RBIs and has played well in left field.
One player trying to get going is Colorado second baseman Brendan Rodgers. Once a heralded prospect, he has had an inconsistent start to his career, due in part to injuries.
To start this season, Rodgers is hitting just .105 (4-for-38) with 14 strikeouts. A double is his only extra-base hit, and he has just one RBI.
“I’m not trying to stress about it too much,” Rodgers said recently. “Obviously it’s not a great start, but I’ve been through minor slumps like this before. I just have to keep my confidence high, continue to believe in myself.
“It’s not really needing to change anything in my swing — it’s timing, it’s swinging at the right pitches, not chasing. I need to continue to be aggressive, but in my counts.”
Marquez pitched well in his first game on April 9, giving up one run on three hits in seven innings in a no-decision game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but struggled against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 1/3 innings.
He has pitched well against the Phillies, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.75 ERA in six career starts against them.
–Field Level Media