Rockies bear witness to Phillies’ hit parade, swept on the road

May 18, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) hits a double during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The City of Brotherly Love once again gave the Colorado Rockies the cold shoulder in their 7-5 loss on Sunday to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Another pitching performance to forget for the starting rotation and an explosive day from the Phillies’ top player spelled doom for the visitors. Despite coming back from an early 3-1 deficit, they once again fell prey to the long ball.

Ahead are takeaways from the latest blunder.

The regular season farewell to Harper is a sweet one for Rockies

The cure for Philadelphia fans booing their highest-paid player appears to be a visit from the Rockies.

For his latest dent in the Rockies’ armor, Harper put the hosts ahead against Mike Dunn on a middle-of-the-plate slider:

In a pair of three-game series against the Rockies this year, the slugger went 11-for-30 (.367) with three home runs. Against all other teams in the league, he’s hit a mere .214.

The breakout continued a trend of high-level hitters taking advantage of the club this year. Cody Bellinger, Manny Machado and Freddie Freeman have all combined to go 19-for-49 (.388) to add to the club’s woes against the elite. 

Back in the lineup, McMahon has career day

An unheralded factor in the promotion of top prospect Brendan Rodgers was the demotion of Ryan McMahon to the bench. In his first start since Rodgers joined the club, the youngster took charge.

The action started with an opposite-field line drive:

Only an inning later, he sent one 437-foot long ball to centerfield. The two homers brought McMahon’s season total to five and served as his second game of the year with multiple home runs.

The pair of shots from the young second baseman was part of a four-homer day for the Rockies, their single-game high for 2019.

The going for McMahon has often been tough in his first full season. In 10 of his starts, he has gone hitless on the year en route to a .260 average.

His inconsistencies notwithstanding, it appears the search for a replacement may have been premature.

Blackmon takes the role of creator

Charlie Blackmon continued his reign as the ruler of the leadoff spot, breaker of tie games and conqueror of the self-enacted offense on Sunday. 

Once again, for the 33rd time in his major league career, the outfielder made his mark in the first at-bat of the game:

Among National League leadoff hitters in 2019, none have been able to replicate the overall stats of Blackmon, his slow start notwithstanding.

In May, Blackmon now has seven home runs, a mark that is tied for second in the NL. On the season, he ranks second in home runs (10), second in batting average (.294) and second in slugging percentage among all NL hitters that occupy the first spot.

Few hitters have been as hot as Blackmon in the league since the calendar flipped to May. For the Rockies, they’ve needed every bit of it to stay afloat.

Freeland endures worst outing of the year

In the case of Kyle Freeland’s 2019 season, the days have only gotten worse as the campaign’s progressed, culminating into the shortest non-injury outing of his career on Sunday.

From the leadoff hitter to his final batter faced, things were off. Andrew McCutchen, after a third pitch that appeared to be strike three, worked a 10-pitch walk.

Following his opening walk, Freeland retired only four of the next 11 hitters he faced. In all, he threw 1.2 innings and allowed four hits, three earned runs and walked three.

Not everything was in his control.

The leadoff borderline call notwithstanding, Freeland dealt with a missed pop fly in shallow center field by Trevor Story and a botched double play chance, courtesy of a McMahon whiff on a throw from Story.

Balls in the middle of the plate plagued Freeland, though they failed to break him:

Chart courtesy of Statcast

The lowly outing marks the seventh time in his 10 starts that Freeland has given up three-or-more earned runs. On the year, his earned run average now sits at 6.02, just a year after registering a 2.85 ERA en route to a top-five NL Cy Young finish.

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