Rockies-Phillies Preview

Joe Blanton took the loss in his last outing, which began a

four-game losing streak for the Philadelphia Phillies. With the

streak over, he’ll look to get back on track.

Philadelphia hosts Colorado on Thursday night when the teams

finish their brief two-game set.

Blanton (1-2, 5.50 ERA) allowed two runs in five innings of a

5-3 loss to Atlanta on Saturday as the NL East-leading Phillies

(26-16) began a four-game stretch in which they scored seven runs

combined.

The offense sputtered again Wednesday against the Rockies,

though Philadelphia’s skid ended with a 2-1 victory as Cole Hamels

outdueled Jorge De La Rosa.

Shane Victorino missed his third straight game with a sore right

hamstring, which hasn’t helped the already struggling offense. He’s

scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday.

Jimmy Rollins, who is 4 for 20 over his last four games, drove

in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly.

”I’m concerned about it,” manager Charlie Manuel said of the

team’s offensive struggles. ”But with the pitching we have, we’ll

keep chipping away and we’re going to improve our offense. We’re

gonna get it done.”

Blanton hopes to follow Hamels’ performance with a solid outing

of his own. He last faced Colorado (22-19) on Sept. 2, allowing six

runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 12-11 Phillies victory.

The right-hander will be opposed by Jhoulys Chacin (4-2, 2.89

ERA), who allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings of that same matchup

in September.

Chacin has pitched well in has last three starts, though he

hasn’t factored into the decision in his last two. The right-hander

allowed five runs – three earned – in six innings of a 9-7 loss to

San Diego on Saturday.

The Rockies had won two straight prior to Wednesday’s loss,

their only back-to-back wins since April 25-26. Since beginning the

season 11-2, Colorado has gone 11-17.

The Rockies have lost six of seven on the road and 12 of 18

overall. Still, manager Jim Tracy believes his squad will turn

things around.

“We know what we have. We know what we are capable of doing,”

Tracy told the team’s official website. “Like I always say, once in

a while, you get off the beaten path. It happens in a 162-game

season.”

Todd Helton had a game-tying RBI double in the seventh, but the

Rockies were unable to add to their NL-leading 15 come-from-behind

victories. Helton has been hitting well lately, going 10 for 25

(.400) with three home runs and five RBIs over his last seven

starts.

Troy Tulowitzki’s average dipped to .248 after a 0 for 4

performance Wednesday. Carlos Gonzalez, the reigning NL batting

champion, went 2 for 4 but has also struggled this season.

After hitting .336 with 34 home runs and 117 RBIs in 2010,

Gonzalez is hitting .242. Wednesday was only his second multihit

game in May.

Colorado has lost seven straight games in Philadelphia.