MLB Betting: Phillies and Rockies meet at Coors

By: Jimmy Sirody | Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard is hitting .341 (15-for-44) at Coors Field since 2007.

Despite their many issues, the Colorado Rockies have a puncher’s chance if they can figure out how to win on the road. Suddenly, their Thursday makeup game versus the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field is huge, and they are calling on a baby to lead them.

Jhoulys Chacin, a 22-year-old right-hander rated as the club’s top pitching prospect, faces the stiffest challenge of his brief big league career when he takes the mound in what could be a must-win game for the Rockies.

Colorado trails the defending champs by 4 ½-games in the National League wild-card chase with 30 remaining. If the Rockies make the playoffs, they will have earned it. No team has more games remaining against contenders except for division-leader San Diego and no team has a bigger gap between its home and road record than the Rockies.

Conversely, the Phillies play their next 11 games against teams that will not be in the postseason this year, following their brief trip to Denver.

After Tuesday’s win at Los Angeles, Philadelphia trails Atlanta by three games, but leads the wild-card race by 1 ½-games over San Francisco.

The Phillies entered the night having scored three or fewer runs in 10 of their previous 12 games including a 3-0 shutout at the hands of Hiroki Kuroda on Monday night before breaking out for eight runs, the first time they have plated that many since August 18.

Chacin has done a great job filling in for veteran southpaw Jeff Francis, who is expected to return to the rotation this weekend when the Rockies travel to San Diego for a crucial showdown with the Friars.

Chacin has whiffed 16 and allowed just one run in 14 2/3 innings over his past two starts, but he has also struggled with his control, issuing nine walks in that span.

Soft-tossing right-hander Joe Blanton looks to make the plan trip back to Philadelphia, where the Phillies will host Milwaukee this weekend, a pleasant one.

Blanton is slowly salvaging what looked like a terrible off year just a month earlier. In five August starts he dropped his ERA from 5.86 to 5.15 by sporting a 23:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Blanton is 3-1 with a 3.41 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break. He allowed just two runs in his last 13 innings pitched over two outings. The Phillies No. 4 starter has scuffled on the road, dropping four of six decisions with a 6.06 ERA and a .292 batting average against.

The Rockies have floundered against Philadelphia, getting swept at Citizens Bank Park from July 23-26. Blanton got the win in the series finale when he allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.

Philadelphia has won 17 of 21 against Colorado and five of its last six at Coors Field, where the teams split the abbreviated first series, 1-1.

The Phillies had won six of their last seven on the road heading into Wednesday’s series finale at Dodger Stadium and seven of their last eight against winning teams. They are 4-1 in Blanton’s last five starts, but 1-4 in his last five road appearances.

Eight of the last nine clashes at Coors have ended on the high side. However, Philadelphia has dipped ‘under’ the baseball betting number in nine of its last 10 games and in seven of eight on the road and the Rockies have followed suit in 10 of their last 14 contests.

The Phillies have managed to jump the number at an 11-4 clip in Blanton’s last 15 road outings.

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