The Phillies have won three of four for the first time since the All-Star break, and on Thursday they look for their second four-games series win of 2013. The Rockies are pretty bad.
Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.36) is charged with the task of continuing the Phils' recent run of strong starting pitching. Throw out Tyler Cloyd's weak spot start vs. Colorado Tuesday and Phillies starters have a 2.65 ERA since last Friday. Cliff Lee has allowed five earned runs in 15 innings, Cole Hamels gave up two runs over seven innings, Ethan Martin allowed two in six and Kendrick surrendered just one earned run in six innings vs. the Dodgers.
Kendrick desperately needs a string of quality starts. He has a 5.82 ERA over his last dozen outings and has seen his opponents' batting average skyrocket from .247 to .280. His ability to minimize damage and induce 14 groundballs in his last outing was a positive sign.
Kendrick is opposed by Rockies rookie right-hander Chad Bettis, who is 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA. Bettis, a second-round pick in 2010, has a mid-90s fastball that enabled him to blaze through the minors, where he struck out 9.3 batters per nine and walked 2.1.
Bettis has been rocked in two of his four big-league starts, and all told hasn't exhibited the kind of command he did in the minors. In 18.2 innings, he's walked 12 and struck out eight.
Keep an eye on Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz tonight. Rollins snapped out of a 1-for-22 skid by doubling and walking twice on Wednesday. It was his first multi-walk game since the last contest of the first half.
Ruiz has hit .333 with a .900 OPS in August. In his only at-bat Wednesday, he hit a game-tying, pinch-hit, RBI double. Chooch has more extra-base hits in his last 16 games (six) than he did in his first 49 of the season.