First-place Rockies go for sweep of reeling Phillies
Rockies starter German Marquez tied a modern major league record Wednesday by striking out the first eight batters of the game, and the Rockies pounded the Phillies 14-0, scoring at least 10 runs for the third successive contest and giving them a 34-4 margin in the series that will end with Colorado's Antonio Senzatela (6-6, 4.52 ERA) opposing Jake Arrieta (10-10, 3.94).
The win boosted the Rockies' lead to 1 1/2 games over the stumbling St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League wild-card spot. More importantly, the Rockies took over the lead in the NL West, moving a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies, who are in their 26th season, are the only team in the NL West to have never won the division.
The loss was the season-high seventh straight for the Phillies (78-80), who have allowed double-digit runs in three straight games for the first time since June 1-4, 1958. The Phillies are 6-18 this month and have gone 15-32 since Aug. 5, when their 63-48 record was the second-best in the NL.
"We're playing really bad baseball right now, really bad baseball," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "There's no excuse for it, none at all, and we all have to look ourselves in the mirror, individually and collectively, and figure out how to be better. We need to do it right now. I think we can fight harder. I think we can grind harder. I think we can push each other harder."
The Rockies have won six straight games. Wednesday's win was the Rockies' second-largest victory margin in a shutout in franchise history, trailing only a 16-0 romp against San Diego on Sept. 16, 2017.
Outfielder David Dahl, who went 2-for-4, hit his 13th homer -- a three-run shot in the fifth that gave the Rockies a 5-0 lead. Dahl, 24, has homered in a career-high three consecutive games and is batting .309 with six homers and 21 RBI this month. The 10th player taken overall in the 2012 draft, Dahl has endured a slew of injuries, including a broken right foot that sidelined him for two months until early August.
"I think David has that inner confidence that he can handle it on this stage," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He understands where we are, and I think there's a confidence that he believes where he is now, where we are as a team, that he's going to be a contributor. He's got a good heartbeat. Obviously, there's a skill set there that plays in a big league game, and he's shone it."
Senzatela is 2-0, 1.50 in his past two starts, including Saturday at Arizona when he worked a season-high tying seven innings and allowed three hits and one run in Colorado's 5-1 victory.
This will be Senzatela's first start against the Phillies. He has made one relief appearance against them Aug. 4, 2017 at Coors Field, when he gave up three hits and two runs in two innings.
The Phillies are 14-16 in starts by Arrieta, who has given up four runs in five of his past six starts and is 1-2, 7.31 in those outings, a stretch of 28 1/3 innings in which he has yielded seven homers.
In his last start Saturday at Atlanta, Arrieta pitched a season-low two innings and gave up four hits, four runs and three walks with two strikeouts, throwing 51 pitches and just 28 strikes.
He's 2-2, 6.11 in five starts against the Rockies and 0-2, 14.54 in two starts at Coors Field, where he has allowed 22 hits in 8 2/3 innings.