Remember when the Phillies went to Colorado back in 2007? The image to your right was one of the more memorable events from that season. Strong winds had made unfurling the tarp quite a tall task for the Colorado Rockies grounds crew, so the Phillies came out to assist.
Don’t expect the Phillies to be so nice this time around.
Cole Hamels is set to make his season debut tomorrow after nursing a sore left elbow. He has never pitched in Coors Field (never faced the Rockies in the regular season, in fact), so it will be interesting to see how well he handles the thin air and the extra push given to fly balls, which account for about 40% of his batted balls in his career.
Hamels will be opposed by Rockies newbie Jason Marquis. The middle of the Phillies’ lineup loves to hit off of him, as Utley, Howard, Werth, and Ibanez all hit him for an .850 or better OPS in their respective careers.
Game two will feature Brett Myers against Jorge De La Rosa. Myers, who appears to be more like his first-half version from 2008, gave up three home runs on Opening Day against the Atlanta Braves. A homer-happy Myers in Coors Field spells disaster. Not to worry, though, as Phillies hitters love De La Rosa a lot more than they love Marquis. Of the Phillies regulars, only Ryan Howard hasn’t enjoyed success against De La Rosa. If Myers doesn’t improve, expect a game similar to the score of yesterday’s thriller against the Braves. Oddly enough, Myers is 6-0 in 7 games (6 starts) against the Rockies, so you never know.
Chan Ho Park will make his starting debut for the Phillies in the series finale. Park already has one inning under his belt — a perfect sixth inning in the Phillies’ 4-0 loss to the Braves. Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe seem to like his pitches (Ian Stewart only has 3 PA, that’s why his OPS is at 3). Park will be opposed by sinkerballer Aaron Cook, who does not pitch well against the Phillies.
Once again, enjoy the data I’ve collected. The first two tables detail the hitters’ success against each of the three starters using OPS. The next two show the pitchers’ success against the opposing team in their careers.
The Phillies won all five games they played against the Rockies last season, outscoring them 50-21 (avg. score 10-4).
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