Perhaps a return home is just what the Philadelphia Phillies need. Or maybe not. Tonight, they try to stop a six-game home losing streak when they open a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies return home after going 3-6 on a nine-game trek through the American League that culminated with a three-game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend.
Philadelphia has now lost 12 of 15 overall and is nine games back of the Washington Nationals in the National League East. Another loss tonight would give the Phils their first seven-game skid since Aug. 12-19, 2004.
"It's not a good mood," said right fielder Hunter Pence, who is 4 for 21 in his last five home games. "When you don't win, it's not a good mood. It's horrible."
One player who didn't struggle on the trip was Jim Thome, who was 12-for-36 with four home runs and 14 RBI. However, he will return to his role as a bench player, as the team returns home.
"It will be kind of tough," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "But at the same time, we have to keep him ready to pinch-hit.
"First base is out of the question."
Cole Hamels could be the perfect pitcher to get the Phils off the schneid, but the left-hander hasn't been himself over his last four starts. Hamels snapped a two-start losing streak on Wednesday against Minnesota, but was far from effective, as he allowed seven runs (6 earned) and eight hits in only six innings. Still, he improved to 9-3, but saw his ERA sky rocket to 3.34.
Since holding the Nationals scoreless over eight innings back on May 23 to lower his ERA to 2.17, Hamels has surrendered 18 earned runs on 26 2/3 innings of his last four starts.
"That's quite a few in a row," Hamels said. "They're not good moments. ... It's not the right time to have poor starts when the team isn't doing that well. We can't afford that."
Hamels has faced the Rockies three times and is 1-1 against them with a 5.09 ERA.
As bad as the Phillies have been this season, Colorado has been worse and comes into tonight's tilt having lost 10 of 11 after dropping two of three to the Detroit Tigers over the weekend.
To make matters worse, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is nursing a sore hamstring and might not be available tonight. He was hitting .438 (14-for-32) with three home runs and six RBI in his last seven games before the injury.
"Right now, it is day to day," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "We'll have to see."
Getting the call tonight for the Rockies will be lefty Josh Outman, who is 0-2 this season with an 8.44 ERA. Outman didn't get a decision his last time out on Wednesday against Oakland, as he allowed five runs in five innings. He has surrendered 10 runs in eight innings of his last two starts.
"Both the mistakes I made ended up in the seats," Outman said. "We're playing good baseball, but we can't catch a break. Every time we make a mistake, it gets magnified. Just the way the game goes sometimes."
Outman lost his only other start to the Phillies.
The Phillies won four of their five meetings with the Rockies last season and are 19-4 against them since the start of the 2008 season.