Phillies look to turn things around in Denver

Philadelphia visits Colorado to open weekend series
The Philadelphia Phillies are aiming to get back in the win column Friday night in Denver following a three-game sweep in Anaheim to open the current eight-game road trip. The club had won five straight before embarking out west.

Toeing the rubber in the series opener against the Rockies is righty Vince Velasquez who pieced together his best start of the season on Sunday, tossing seven scoreless innings against the Braves. He has a 2.81 ERA over his last three starts.

"It was the best he's looked this year," said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. "He worked out of tough spots and he's demonstrating maturity out there, especially over his last few starts. He's young and he's still learning, but I like what I'm seeing from him as of late."

The Phillies coughed up a lead late on Thursday night in their series final with the Angels in a 5-4 defeat. The offense was carried by rookie Nick Williams who collected three  extra-base hits. Since his major league debut June 30 he has 21 RBIs in 27 games.

"I just try and do what I can," Williams said earlier this week. "Hitting is contagious and I think when one of us get going it creates a spark for all of us."

Rookie Kyle Freeland, a Denver native, is 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his past four games for the Rockies. That stretch includes three starts and his only professional relief appearance July 15, when he pitched three scoreless innings.

During the four-game hot streak, Freeland has allowed six walks while striking out 20 in 22 1/3 innings.

The Rockies won three of four games at Philadelphia in May and trail the Arizona Diamondbacks by a half-game for the top National League wild-card spot, but more important, they lead the Milwaukee Brewers by 5 1/2 games for the second wild-card berth.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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