Nola, Hoffman square off as Phillies aim to avoid 10th sweep, 70th loss


Colorado Rockies RHP Jeff Hoffman is 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in three day game starts this season. (jenzbie/Flickr Creative Commons)

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

DENVER — The Philadelphia Phillies (39-69) will look to avoid their 70th loss and 10th sweep of the season in Sunday's series finale matinee against RHP Jeff Hoffman and the Colorado Rockies (64-47) at Coors Field.

The Phillies will send right-hander Aaron Nola to the mound, whose 1.32 ERA in July was the club's lowest by any starter in a month since left-hander Cole Hamels' 1.23 ERA in June 2014.

Rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta suffered his seventh loss Saturday evening, matching his career-low of 2 2/3 innings with eight runs allowed (six earned) on seven hits, one walk and one strikeout. The Phillies fell 8-5, with three of their runs coming off the bat of right fielder Daniel Nava via an eighth inning home run. In relief, RHP Mark Leiter Jr. tossed 4 1/3 scoreless frames with nine strikeouts. Leiter Jr. is just the sixth reliever all-time — and the first since the Rockies' Bruce Ruffin in 1993 — with nine strikeouts without allowing a run or a walk.

The Phillies have fallen in five straight games and are just 5-17 against National League West teams this season.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (39-69) Colorado Rockies (64-47)
RHP Aaron Nola RHP Jeff Hoffman
(8-7, 3.16 ERA) (6-3, 5.38 ERA)

Nola Career vs. COL: N/A

Nola, 24, will make his first start against the Rockies and his 51st career start overall. The right-hander is 5 2/3 innings shy of matching his career high set last season (111) and three starts shy of matching southpaw Cliff Lee's franchise record (August 4, 2011-April 7, 2012) of 11 straight outings with at least six innings and no more than two runs allowed.

Since June 22, Nola is 5-2 with a 1.66 ERA and a 63-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Opposing batters are hitting .205/.260/.315 against him over this stretch (54 1/3 innings) with 41 hits — 28 singles, eight doubles, one triple and four home runs.

Season Splits, By Month:

  • April: 3 GS, 2-0, 4.50 ERA, 16 IP, 15 SO, 6 BB, .317/.377/.413
  • May: 3 GS, 0-3, 5.63 ERA, 16 IP, 14 SO, 5 BB, .242/.309/.387
  • June: 5 GS, 3-2, 3.24 ERA, 33 1/3 IP, 35 SO, 11 BB, .220/.284/.350
  • July: 5 GS, 3-1, 1.32 ERA, 34 IP, 43 SO, 8 BB, .192/.241/.304
  • August: 1 GS, 0-1, 3.00 ERA, 6 IP, 3 SO, BB, .320/.346/.360

Hoffman Career vs. PHI: 1-0, 1.29 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 7 SO, 0.429 WHIP

Hoffman, 24, was victorious in his first career start against the Phillies on May 22 at Citizens Bank Park. The Latham, New York native retired his first 11 batters faced before allowing a double and RBI single to left fielder Aaron Altherr and first baseman Tommy Joseph, respectively in the fourth. Altherr would double against Hoffman again in the seventh, the Phillies' third and final hit in the 8-1 loss.

The right-hander is coming off of a no-decision quality start, home against the New York Mets on August 1. In six innings, Hoffman allowed two runs on five hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Hoffman's 8.00 ERA in July was the third-highest among qualified pitchers, trailing only the Chicago White Sox' James Shields (9.00) and the Baltimore Orioles' Wade Miley (8.68).

Season Splits, By Month:

  • April: 0 G, 0 GS
  • May: 3 G, 2 GS, 2-0, 3.29 ERA, 13 2/3 IP, 17 SO, 2 BB, .196/.226/.412
  • June: 5 G, 5 GS, 2-1, 4.40 ERA, 28 2/3 IP, 27 SO, 9 BB, .252/.311/.324
  • July: 5 G, 5 GS, 2-2, 8.00 ERA, 27 IP, 14 SO, 13 BB, .324/.400/.581
  • August: 1 G, 1 GS, 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 6 IP, 5 SO, 3 BB, .227/.320/.364

Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies (39-69) Colorado Rockies (64-47)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 2B Cesar Hernandez S 1 CF Charlie Blackmon L
2 SS Freddy Galvis S 2 2B DJ LeMahieu R
3 1B Daniel Nava S 3 3B Nolan Arenado R
4 RF Nick Williams L 4 LF Gerardo Parra L
5 CF Odubel Herrera L 5 1B Mark Reynolds R
6 3B Maikel Franco R 6 RF Carlos Gonzalez L
7 LF Hyun Soo Kim L 7 SS Trevor Story R
8 C Cameron Rupp R 8 C Ryan Hanigan R
9 P Aaron Nola R 9 P Jeff Hoffman R

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 3:10 p.m.
  • TV: CSN
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • Last night, Rockies RHP Pat Neshek allowed a RBI single to shortstop Freddy Galvis in his first start against his former club since being dealt on July 26. Neshek has allowed an earned run in three of his five appearances with the Rockies so far. He allowed earned runs in just two of his 43 appearances as a Phillie prior.
  • Injury Report:
    • Phillies
      • Altherr (strained right hamstring), possible mid-August return
      • C Andrew Knapp (bruised right hand), day-to-day
      • RHP Pedro Beato (strained left hamstring), out indefinitely
      • RHP Casey Fien (rotator cuff strain), out indefinitely
      • RHP Clay Buchholz (forearm surgery), possible September return
    • Rockies
      • LHP Kyle Freeland (left groin strain), possible late August return
      • 1B/OF Ian Desmond (right calf strain), status uncertain
      • LHP Jake McGee (minor mid-back strain), possible early August return
      • LHP Tyler Anderson (left knee arthroscopic surgery), possible late August return
  • The Phillies have lost five of their six meetings with the Rockies this season, with Colorado recording double digits in hits in all but one of the contests.

What's Next:

  • Tuesday, August 8, 2017: at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 p.m.
    • SunTrust Park
    • TBA vs. RHP Julio Teheran (7-9, 5.10 ERA)
    • TV: CSN; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP