|Rockies halfway to series sweep of Phillies|
The Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies aren't division rivals, but they do have a significant history together.
In 2007, when the Rockies won 13 of their last 14 games on the way to winning the National League wild card game, they faced the Phillies in the divisional round. Philadelphia had won the NL East but it was Colorado that won that series in a sweep and went on to play in the World Series.
Two years later the Phillies got their revenge, beating the Rockies in four games in the NL Divisional playoffs to go on to their second consecutive World Series.
The stakes aren't as high this weekend, but it doesn't diminish the importance of an April four-game series at Coors Field.
Colorado is trying to re-establish its dominance at home after losing its first five games of the season at Coors. Winning the first two of the series, including a dramatic 4-3, 12-inning thriller, helps.
The Phillies lost more than the game on Friday night. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen (undisclosed) and shortstop Scott Kingery (right hamstring) left with injuries.
The third game of the series on Saturday night features two young right-handers. The Phillies will send 25-year-old Aaron Nola to the mound against 24-year-old Antonio Senzatela, and both have faced their opponent twice in their careers.
Nola (1-0, 7.45) has had more success against the Rockies in his career than he has in his four starts in 2019. Nola is 1-0 with a 1.98 with 17 strikeouts and just two walks in his two outings against Colorado. He pitched well in his only other Coors Field start, getting a no-decision in 6-2/3 innings.
He hasn't found that magic so far this season after finishing third in the NL Cy Young voting in 2018. He opened the year by holding Atlanta to one run over six innings in a win on March 28 but has allowed 15 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings in his past three starts. He lasted just four innings against the New York Mets on Monday.
"He's just not throwing the ball where he wants it," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said after Monday's loss. "I'm concerned he's not where he wants to go. Flip side is he has a long track record of success. He deserves as much confidence as anybody does."
Senzatela (1-0, 1.35) began 2019 on the injured list with a blister infection in his right heel but made his season debut Monday in San Diego. He allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings in a Rockies win.
He doesn't have a decision in his career against Philadelphia, which includes one start and one relief appearance. He has given up three runs in 6 2/3 innings and owns a 4.05 ERA against the Phillies.
Senzatela got the start against San Diego after Tyler Anderson went on the 10-day IL with left knee inflammation. He has alternated between starting and coming out of the bullpen in his first two seasons and has a chance to stay in the rotation with another strong outing against the Phillies.
The Rockies are trying to keep the momentum that started Sunday - they are 5-0 since - and become a formidable home team. The offense has come alive and the pitching has stabilized.
"After the first couple of games, we just didn't swing the bats," Colorado manager Bud Black said. "The (0-5) homestand, we had three or four starting pitchers who didn't have good games. The consistency of play is what's important, and now we're starting to get some consistent play and consistent offense."
--Field Level Media