Phillies-Rockies: What you need to know

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Phillies-Rockies: What you need to know

Phillies (32-37) vs. Rockies (25-41)7:05 p.m. on CSN

For one night on Tuesday, the Phillies set aside their struggles and played like a complete team (see story).

The real challenge is to do it again tonight.

The Phils took Game 1 of their series against the Colorado Rockies with a 7-2 rout. Cole Hamels pitched eight innings, John Mayberry and Carlos Ruiz each hit two-run home runs, and Jimmy Rollins reached base in all four of his plate appearances, scoring three runs.

But they have won two games in a row just once this month, and have not won more than two in a row since May 23-26. Wednesday night's game presents a golden opportunity to start a winning streak against a sinking team.

Starting pitchers
Joe Blanton (6-6, 4.93 ERA) finally snapped out of his funk in his last start, twirling a complete game in Minnesota last Thursday. He allowed one run on seven hits and struck out seven.

In the five starts prior to that effort, Blanton posted a 9.91 ERA, allowing 11 home runs in 26.1 innings.

The right-hander has made only two career starts against Colorado, in which he is 1-0 while giving up six earned runs in 10.1 innings.

Alex White (2-5, 5.56) starts for the Rockies, but he shouldnt last too long. Jim Tracys rotation is in such shambles (last in the majors in team ERA), he has elected to go with a four-man rotation with a 75-pitch limit on his starters.

White has not lasted beyond seven innings in a start this year. He has allowed at least four runs in four of his last five starts. The right-hander has never faced the Phillies during his two years in the MLB.

J-Rolling
Rollins has looked like the J-Roll of old in June. He is hitting .320 with a .909 OPS this month, including a .433 average with six doubles and seven runs in his last seven games.

The shortstops season average has climbed from .240 to .261 during that stretch.

Big John
John Mayberry will start his third straight game, this time at first base. He has homered in three consecutive games and four of his last five to raise his season total to six.

In his career against the Rockies, Mayberry is 3 for 10 with two home runs. He gets a rare start against a righty tonight he is hitting just .213 with one home run against righties this season.

Ups and downs
The Phillies have won 23 of their past 28 meetings with Colorado, including 12 of their last 14 during the regular season at Citizens Bank Park.

Overall, the Rockies have lost 11 of their last 12. Tuesdays lost dropped their June record to 4-12, below the Phillies June record of 5-12.

Colorado leftfielder Carlos Gonzalez is a .452 lifetime hitter against the Phillies, including the 2009 Division Series. He is 4 for 5 off of Blanton, and could return after missing the past two games with a strained left knee.

Sound off
Can a hot Jimmy Rollins carry the Phillies lineup until Chase Utley and Ryan Howard return?

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

WASHINGTON – It looks as if the Phillies will have some action at the winter meetings.

The team is close to signing veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit, sources tell CSNPhilly.com. The winter meetings officially begin on Monday. The signing is expected to be announced before the meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, is a veteran of 15 seasons in the majors. He is coming off a strong 2016 season in which he pitched in 51 games for Seattle and Toronto and recorded a 2.81 ERA.

Benoit began the 2016 season with the Mariners and had a 5.18 ERA in 26 games. He was traded to Toronto in July and gave up just one run in 23 2/3 innings over 25 games, but did not pitch in the postseason after suffering a torn calf muscle in late September.

The right-hander has pitched for six teams in his career and has a lifetime 3.79 ERA in 712 games.

Entering the offseason, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said he wanted to improve the bullpen. He opened the offseason by trading for veteran right-hander Pat Neshek and last week claimed lefty David Rollins off waivers from Texas. Now, Klentak is poised to add Benoit.

Benoit has mostly pitched in a setup role in his career, but he does have closer experience. It is unclear what role he’d pitch in for the Phillies. The Phils have Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Neris returning to the back of their bullpen in 2017. Benoit could complement that pair or the Phillies could choose to trade Gomez or Neris.

Neris pitched in 79 games in 2016 and had a 2.58 ERA, so the Phillies would only deal him if they were to get a strong package of talent in return.

Phillies tender contracts to 3 players as Cody Asche becomes free agent

Phillies tender contracts to 3 players as Cody Asche becomes free agent

The Phillies tendered contracts to three arbitration-eligible players on Friday night and set another free.
 
Reliever Jeanmar Gomez and infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis were tendered contracts for the 2017 season while outfielder Cody Asche was let go after four seasons with the club. 
 
The Phillies signaled their intention to let Asche go when they designated him for assignment, a move that removed him from the 40-man roster, on Friday afternoon. The club had the option of trading Asche — and likely had discussions with other clubs — but ultimately decided to non-tender him before the 8 p.m. deadline. The move made Asche a free agent.
 
The Phils had removed Asche from the 40-man roster to clear a spot for David Rollins, a left-handed reliever who was claimed off waivers from Texas on Friday (see story)
 
Galvis and Hernandez, the team’s regular shortstop and second baseman, respectively, were certain to receive contracts for 2017. Gomez was less certain. He saved 37 games for the Phils in 2016, but struggled badly late in the season.
 
Phillies officials will try to negotiate 2017 salaries with all three players. If an agreement cannot be reached with a player, an arbitration hearing will be held later in the winter to determine that player’s salary for the coming season.
 
Gomez made $1.4 million in 2016, Galvis $2 million and Hernandez $525,000. According to mlbtraderumors.com, Gomez projects to make $4.6 million in arbitration, Galvis $4.4 million and Hernandez $2.5 million. 

The Phillies' roster is full at 40.