Bryce Harper didn’t mince words after the Philadelphia Phillies’ maddening 11-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday.
The Phillies responded to his criticism with a commanding 6-1 victory, anchored by Harper’s solo home run, over the Rockies on Saturday to help snap a four-game losing streak.
Philadelphia will now look to split the four-game series with Colorado in the finale Sunday afternoon.
While the Phillies’ playoff hopes have faded a bit, they’re still 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. The Phillies, who haven’t reached the playoffs since 2011, still have three games remaining against the Braves.
“We just need to be in striking distance when we get to Atlanta,” Harper said. “If we can do that, if we can be in striking distance as we go into that last road trip and we pick up the way that we’re playing right now, we’ll be OK going in there. I don’t fear that.”
The Phillies (72-70) avoided a five-game losing streak for the first time this season. With only 20 games left, they still have a shot at the postseason.
“We just need to be better,” Harper said. “I’ve said it so many times. I’m sorry I keep saying it, but that’s the simple truth. We need to be better.”
The Phillies will hand the ball to Aaron Nola (7-8, 4.57 ERA). Nola has had success in his career against the Rockies, going 4-0 with a 3.06 ERA.
But Nola has been quite inconsistent all season.
“All season, for the most part, it’s one inning that’s erupted on me,” Nola said.
The Rockies will look to capture this series with a win on Sunday.
Despite the setback Saturday, the Rockies (65-78) still have a lot of positives to take from this series. Manager Bud Black has shifted the lineup a lot, but the decisions have mostly worked.
“Before every game, we talk about lineup construction,” Black said. “And what makes the most sense, what looks right, what gives us the best chance to score runs.”
Trevor Story accounted for the Rockies’ lone run with a solo homer, his 21st of the season.
The Rockies likely will need some extra offense Sunday with Ryan Feltner (0-1, 20.25) making just his second start. Feltner, who will be facing the Phillies for the first time, gave up five hits and six runs in 2 2/3 innings in his debut against the Braves.
Feltner’s first career pitch was sent out of the ballpark for a home run by Ozzie Albies.
“Experience is the best teacher, being out there,” Black said of Feltner. “This was a situation where he was baptized under fire right away against a good team. He’ll learn from it. I don’t know the young man a lot. He wasn’t in big league camp the last couple of years. But he had a good season this year, split between A Ball and Double A. There’s still a month left in baseball. We’ll see where it takes him.”
–Field Level Media