Phillies try to end skid in second game vs. Rockies

National Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies are trending in the wrong direction.

A frustrating 4-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Thursday was the Phillies’ third straight defeat. They’ll hope to avoid a fourth when they host the Rockies in the second game of a four-game series on Friday.

What’s especially maddening is this fact: The Phillies have blown 30 saves this season. Closer Ian Kennedy gave up a two-out, two-run home run to pinch hitter Ryan McMahon on Thursday.

The Phillies (71-69) will need a late season surge if they want to reach the postseason for the first time since 2011. They’re 3 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.

“It hurts a lot,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “We can’t change it. We’ve got to come out and play better tomorrow.”

Bryce Harper hit his 30th home run of the season on Thursday, but he’s not receiving much assistance. J.T. Realmuto went 0-for-4 with five runners left on base on Wednesday. On Thursday, Realmuto struck out as a pinch hitter to end the game with Andrew McCutchen on third base.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that are struggling,” Girardi said.

The Phillies’ rotation continues to be in flux, and they’re scheduled to throw a bullpen game on Friday.

“I think our rotation is fine,” Girardi said. “Obviously, everyone this time of year is going to worry about fatigue for every player that’s out there. But that’s just the nature of the game, and you’ve got to find a way to fight through it.”

The Rockies (64-77) will look for their second straight win after a stirring come-from-behind victory Thursday, when they scored three runs in the ninth inning.

Colton Welker added the first two hits of his career to provide an unexpected spark.

“We’ve seen him in major league camp for three years, so we have an understanding of who he is as a player, where he’s come from as a minor-leaguer to where he is now,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “There’s a maturity that has taken place. There’s a skill level that has improved. I think the bat has sort of been the trademark of Colton.”

The Rockies will hand the ball to German Marquez (11-10, 4.08 ERA). After a strong start this season, Marquez has allowed 19 hits and 13 runs in the last three games.

Marquez, who’s 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA in his career against the Phillies, earned a spot in the All-Star Game this season.

“I knew my talent from the beginning, even from the day I signed,” Marquez said. “I just knew I had to work.”

Black has witnessed the work on and off the field.

“There wasn’t a given that he was going to be this good,” Black said. “His potential and what he’s done on the field are attributable to him. I’ve always thought that there was an everyday consistency to him emotionally. I always thought that he was going to grow into something good. That’s part of his strength — his consistency emotionally. Behind that, there’s a confidence.”

–Field Level Media

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