The road hasn't been kind to the Rockies.
With Sundays's 7-2 loss to the Orioles, Colorado fell to 8-24 over its last 32 games away from Coors Field. The Rockies hope they can start to reverse that trend against the struggling Phillies on Monday at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies grabbed just their fifth win in the last 25 games in Sunday's 3-2 walk-off win over the Dodgers, handing interim manager Ryne Sandberg his first victory since taking over for Charlie Manuel.
In search of their first consecutive wins of the second half, the Phillies turn to right-hander Ethan Martin (1-2, 6.28 ERA), who's making just his fourth big league start. Martin surrendered three runs over five innings to the Braves on Tuesday, one outing after earning his first win on Aug. 8 vs. the Cubs.
"Martin battled them," said Manuel after his last start, just days before he was fired as manager. "He stayed in there with them. He was aggressive. He went right at them. He was having some command problems. He was max effort, running some balls up and got into deep counts."
Rockies starter Jeff Manship (0-2, 7.20 ERA) doesn't carry much of an experience advantage over the rookie Martin, having made just two big league appearances this year. After an effective two-run, five-inning outing against the Mets, he took a significant step back in a loss to the Padres on Tuesday.
Manship allowed six runs over five innings but seemed to settle down as the game progressed, ending his day with two scoreless frames.
"Plain and simple, I wasn't executing anything," Manship said. "All I can take out of this outing that was positive was I was able to get to the fifth and save the bullpen."
A scuffling offense has been central to Philadelphia's post-All-Star-break struggles, as they sit near the bottom of the Majors with 459 runs this season. Sunday's tight win proved an anomaly for a club had lost 16 straight games in which it scored three runs or fewer. The Phillies are just 14-52 in such situations, a dramatic difference from their 40-17 record when they produce at least four runs.
Phillies suffer steep second-half fall
Just a month ago, the Phillies were still in contention in the National League East, 6 1/2 games back of the Braves.
But it's been a rough four weeks for the Phils, who now sit 21 1/2 games behind Atlanta -- its largest lead over its typically fierce division rival since 2002. The Phillies have lost eight of nine series since the Midsummer Classic -- swept by the Cardinals, Tigers, Braves and Nationals over that difficult stretch.
Rockies' bullpen stumbles Sunday
In two innings Sunday, the Colorado 'pen surrendered as many earned runs as it had over the last 10 games.
Reliever Josh Outman allowed two runs in the seventh to give the Orioles a three-run cushion, and Edgmer Escalona served up a two-run homer to Chris Davis in the eighth. Heading into Sunday, the bullpen had allowed only four earned runs since Aug. 8. However, the rough day pushed the unit's ERA from 1.26 to 2.30 over that 10-game stretch.
Right-hander Matt Belisle did not pitch Sunday but has allowed just one hit and a walk while striking out five over his last five appearances. Belisle's impressive numbers extent beyond that point, as he's given up only four earned runs and a walk over his last 18 games (18 1/3 innings).
• Rockies first baseman Todd Helton's double Sunday put him just eight hits away from 2,500 for his career. Once he passes that mark, he'll join Cardinals legend Stan Musial as the only other player with 2,500 hits, 550 doubles, 350 home runs and a career average of at least .310.
• Manship has faced the Phillies twice before as a reliever, giving up four runs in 7 1/3 innings.