Phillies-Rockies 5 Things: Jerad Eickhoff, Tyler Anderson Duel for Series Lead

Phillies (41-47) at Rockies (39-47)
8:40 p.m. on CSN

The Phillies seek their second victory of a four-game series with the Rockies on Saturday at Coors Field with Jerad Eickhoff on the mound against 26-year-old rookie Tyler Anderson.

Here are five things to look for as we get ready for Saturday night's affair:

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1. Mr. Consistency
In just his second MLB season, Jerad Eickhoff has been the emblem of consistency. 

In 17 starts this year, Eickhoff has given up more than three earned runs in just two outings. He has gone at least five innings in all but one start. The Phillies have won five of his last six outings and the one loss came against former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.

His home runs per nine innings, batting average against and ERA are all worse than his eight start audition last summer, but that is more of a sign of how good he was last season than any overall slippage. While he is three years older, Eickhoff hasn't had any particularly bad stretches unlike Aaron Nola, who the Phillies skipped this weekend.

In his last three starts (all wins for the Phillies), Eickhoff has been essentially his average self. He's thrown 18⅔ innings, allowing 17 hits and walking seven. He's given up just five earned runs and he's struck out 18 batters. His last start was one of his most impressive, going 7⅔ innings on just 108 pitches in a win over the Braves.

Nearly one year removed from the Cole Hamels trade, it appears that both sides got pretty significant value out of the deal, a real life win-win that any general manager looks to accomplish but nearly never does. Alongside Eickhoff, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and especially Jake Thompson have had strong years in the minors, while Hamels has basically been the ace that was promised for the Rangers outside of his start Friday night.

2. Late bloomer
After years of promise and injuries, left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson made his baseball rebirth in 2016, finally making it to the majors. Here's a summary of how he got there.

Anderson became Oregon's all-time leading strikeout artist in just three seasons, was picked in the first round by the Rockies in 2011, suffered a stress fracture in his elbow in 2013 and then had that same injury keep him out for all of 2015. 

So when he finally made in to Triple A Albuquerque in 2016, it was a long time coming. But after pitching to a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings over three starts, Anderson received a call-up to the majors June 11, finally making his debut at 26.

For a pitcher who has made three of his first five career starts at Coors Field, he has a sterling ERA of 3.03, striking out 26 batters in 29⅔ innings. His good strikeout and walk rates are relatively consistent with his performances at each stop in the majors. In all three of his starts at Coors Field, he has had at least six strikeouts.

His last start was statistically his worst, although it was a quality start. He allowed three runs in six innings to the San Francisco Giants. He only struck out two hitters, his lowest total in his short career.

He's been consistent in length, pitching between 5⅔ and 6⅓ innings in each start. His main pitches are his fastball, his cutter/slider and his changeup, which is his primary offspeed pitch. His fastball tops out at 93 mph and he thrives off his command.

3. It keeps changing fast and it don't last for long
Ah, John Denver lyrics. Both of these squads' rosters are set to change fast with the trade deadline looming. So let's look into the trade candidates on both squads, who should each figure to sell at the deadline. (Reminder: the trade deadline is Aug. 1, not July 31, this season). 

Jeremy Hellickson: Another strong start for Hellickson on Wednesday cemented his status as one of the more consistent pitchers on a team out of contention. The Red Sox reportedly have scouted him, but as CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman pointed out, it may be better for the Phillies to hold on to him. 

Jeanmar Gomez: Gomez is having a career year, unexpectedly emerging as the Phillies' closer. The 28-year-old righty is under contract through next season and now has four straight seasons of a sub 3.50 ERA under his belt. All of his stats have been better with the Phillies over the last two seasons, as compared to his stints in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Now may be the time to sell on him to get maximum value.

Carlos Gonzalez: Gonzalez is set to make his third All Star appearance. He has spent all but his first MLB season with the Rockies and has won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers and the NL batting title. He's under contract through the end of 2017 and has reportedly told the team he is open to a trade. His 18 homers and .318 average this season could certainly entice a team in need of outfield help.

D.J. LeMahieu: This candidate is more speculative, but LeMahieu is similarly under contract through 2017 and has done nothing but rake in recent seasons in Colorado. He has a .336 average in 324 plate appearances this year. While he has only played second base this season, he has previously played all other infield positions, so he could be a versatile addition to a playoff hopeful.

4. Players to watch
Phillies: After a hot start, Tommy Joseph cooled off significantly in June, hitting just .204 with a .219 on-base percentage for the month. However, July has brought new life to his rookie season. He has six hits, including two home runs, over 17 at-bats. In Anderson, he'll face a lefty after hitting a home run off lefty Jake McGee last night. He has a .590 slugging percentage against southpaws.

Rockies: Mark Reynolds has picked up as the Rockies' slugging first baseman. Believe it or not, he has a better mark against right-handed pitchers in 2016 than against lefties with nearly a 200 point difference in OPS. This reverse platoon split is a new occurence for the 32-yea- old, who previously hit lefties better.

5. This and that
• The Phillies are 1-1 in four-game series this year with one split. 

• Neither Anderson nor Eickhoff have faced anyone on the opposing team before. 

• Phillies pitchers are fifth in baseball with 740 strikeouts while the Rockies are fifth worst with just 615 strikeouts.

• The Rockies are fourth in team batting average while the Phillies are 25th in baseball. 

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