Shorthanded Phillies open three-game series vs. Rockies

MLB

A walk-off hit to avoid a sweep was a bit of good news for a Philadelphia team dealing with several setbacks.

The Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants with Andrew Knapp’s RBI single in the ninth inning on Wednesday, making Thursday’s day off a little more enjoyable. The short break is over when Philadelphia opens a three-game series at the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.

The Phillies will send right-hander Vince Velasquez (0-0, 9.00 ERA) to the mound in a spot start against Colorado righty German Marquez (1-1, 3.57).

Velasquez has been used in long relief, but with Matt Moore in the COVID-19 protocols, he is pressed into starting service.

Moore isn’t the only Philadelphia player on the sidelines. Pitcher Archie Bradley (strained left oblique) is out, second baseman Jean Segura was put on the 10-day injured list due to a strained right quadriceps and shortstop Didi Gregorius (sore right elbow) has also missed time.

In addition to those injuries, lefty Jose Alvarado, infielder Ronald Torreyes and five coaches are on the COVID-19 protocols list.

The Phillies recalled infielder Scott Kingery on Wednesday to take Segura’s place on the roster. Gregorius could be available to play Friday, and manager Joe Girardi said he would use Nick Maton or Brad Miller at second if Gregorius is back.

“Nick has played great,” Girardi said Wednesday. “I don’t think you can say enough about what Nick has done filling in for Didi. He’s played really good defense. He’s swung the bat well. The game has not sped up for him, which you’re never sure what’s going to happen.”

Velasquez has appeared in three games this season, all in relief. He has faced Colorado seven times in his career, all starts. He is 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA in those games.

Marquez is coming off a seven-inning complete game against the New York Mets on Saturday. He has pitched into the sixth inning in all but one of his four starts this season, and it was only a high pitch count in the opener that limited him to four innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Rockies have won two in a row and have gotten strong outings from their starters in four straight games. Marquez began that string against the Mets to earn his first win of the season.

This will be his fifth career start against Philadelphia. In the previous four he is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA.

While Colorado has gotten good outings from its starters, the offense had been struggling. That changed in the two-game sweep of Houston this week. The Rockies scored six runs in both games and totaled three home runs.

Yonathan Daza has been Colorado’s most consistent hitter this season. He is batting .357 in 14 games and blasted his first major league home run through the snow at Coors Field on Wednesday. His bat is making a case for him to stay in the starting lineup.

“I’ve been impressed with — we saw it a little bit in spring training — the quality of the at-bat, not expanding the zone, being a little bit more selective,” manager Bud Black said Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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