Phillies looking for third straight win vs. Rockies
The Philadelphia Phillies will be looking for their third straight win and a series sweep over the visiting Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
The Phillies took a hard-fought 2-1 victory on Saturday when Bryce Harper reached base three times with a solo home run, double and a walk.
On Sunday, the Phillies will hand the ball to right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, who has a 2-2 record and a 2.65 earned run average. Eickhoff struggled in his last start, giving up five runs in four innings Tuesday in a 6-1 defeat against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Eickhoff had only surrendered five runs in his first 30 innings before this start.
"Eick just didn't have his best curveball or his best command," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "He battled, gave us everything he had, but just wasn't there for him. Turn the page and move on to his next start."
Eickhoff allowed a pair of home runs against the Brewers.
"Everything wasn't as crisp as I would have liked," he told reporters. "The homers didn't bother me as much. Looking back at them, they were actually pretty good pitches."
Eickhoff is 1-3 with 7.50 ERA in five games (four starts) against the Rockies. Earlier this season at Colorado, he took the loss in a 4-1 defeat when he allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings, with four walks and eight strikeouts.
The Phillies began this series against the Rockies with a 24-19 record. With a series sweep on Sunday, the Phillies would be eight games above .500.
Harper has keyed the surge with four extra base hits in his last 15 at-bats. He blasted a 466-foot homer on Saturday, his eighth of the season to go along with 28 RBIs.
"I think he's beginning to feel it," Kapler said.
Cesar Hernandez added a pair of hits Saturday and his average moved to .301.
The Rockies will be attempting to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat when they give the ball to Kyle Freeland.
Freeland has hardly looked like the pitcher who finished fourth in the National League Cy Young voting last season. Through nine starts this season, Freeland is 2-5 with a 5.68 ERA. Last season, he was 17-7 with a miniscule 2.85 ERA.
In two games against the Phillies, Freeland is 1-0 with a 0.0 ERA. That win came April 18 when he allowed just two hits in six innings in the Rockies' 6-2 win at home. He struck out seven with no runs and no walks.
In Freeland's last start, he lasted six innings in a 5-4 win at Boston. On Freeland's 26th birthday, he gave up five hits and three runs while striking out seven and walking three. He also surrendered three solo homers.
"His pitches have been hung," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He's got to get the ball down. There's a groundball component to his game that he's not taking advantage of because the ball's elevated."
The Rockies will have a decision to make at second base with prized prospect Brendan Rodgers called up. Rodgers was 1 for 4 with three strikeouts on Saturday as he started ahead of Ryan McMahon.
In that 2-1 loss, McMahon hit a pinch-hit RBI double to account for the Rockies' lone run.
"It's been tough," McMahon told reporters. "I'm just trying to stay positive. I'm trying to focus on who I am as a person. You can't always be a great baseball player, but you can always be a great person. You just focus on the little victories, that's the key. And not getting discouraged."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 19, 2019