Thursday MLB Preview – Phillies at Rockies

Two teams that are in the thick of the NL playoff race face off in a quick one-game series due to a rainout in May at Coors Field.

Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies

Philadelphia heads to Colorado to play a single game series due to a May rainout on Thursday night at Coors Field.  The Phillies followed a three-game sweep of the Padres in San Diego by picking up two of three versus the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  The team is 5-1 on its seven-game road trip and leads tonight’s opponent by 5 1/2 games in the NL Wild Card race.  Overall, the club has posted a fantastic 11-2 record away from Philadelphia since the start of August.  Their upcoming schedule of opponents has a combined .498 winning percentage over the final 29 games of the season and the Phillies will play 16 of those games at Citizens Bank Park.  Philadelphia started the month off with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday and the team has compiled a fantastic 35-21 record in September over the last three years (+190).

Phillies starting pitcher Joe Blanton is an even 6-6 with a 5.15 ERA in 22 starts this season and the team has won four of his last five outings.  He picked up a 3-1 road victory over the Padres last time out, giving up just a single run while allowing six hits in six innings of work.  The right-hander is 2-4 with a 6.06 ERA in 10 road starts, as opposing hitters are hitting for a .292 average.  He tallied a perfect 2-0 mark and 2.81 ERA in five August starts, which was a dramatic improvement from a 1-1 record and 5.26 ERA in six July outings.  Blanton has made just one career start versus the Rockies, picking up a 5-4 home victory on July 26 of this year.  In that outing, he limited the opposition to two runs and six hits over six frames.

Colorado dropped its final two games versus the Giants in its most recent series, but the team has still won seven of its last 10 games overall.  The Rockies remain seven games back in the NL West race behind the Padres and will turn their attention to the Wild Card race in tonight’s contest.  It’s important to note that the club has dropped five of six in the 2010 season series against tonight’s opponent.  One more factor that may play a critical role in this contest is the club staying in the Bay Area last night and taking a bus to the airport at 8:00 AM PST this morning.  Colorado is 44-22 in home games during the 2010 season (+1,120) and has a 12-6 record as a home favorite of -125 to -150 (+330).

Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin is 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 22 games (15 starts) this season and the team has won back-to-back games with him on the hill.  In those two starts, he has allowed just a single run and seven hits over 14.2 innings of work.  The right-hander has made 10 road appearances (seven starts), posting a 4-3 record and 4.94 ERA, issuing 20 walks and striking out 45 batters in 47.1 frames.  Chacin will be making his first career start (third appearance) versus the Phillies, tossing 2.2 hitless and scoreless innings while tallying four punch outs.

Bettors must respect the Phillies recent run of winning six straight games as a road underdog, but the club is 1-4 in Blanton’s last five starts away from Citizens Bank.  Colorado has posted a 10-3 record in its last 13 games following a loss, but are just 2-5 in Chacin’s last seven outings as a favorite.

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