Phillies Showing Signs of Life
The Phillies had not won a series since June 20th, the last time they faced the Rockies. It is fitting then that almost a month later, their next series win also came against the Rockies.
On Saturday, Vance Worley led the team pitching 6.2 innings and allowing only 2 runs. The game was almost a rout as the Phillies led 6-2 going into the 8th inning. But the bullpen struck again, allowing 3 Rockies runs and cutting the lead to a very uncomfortable 6-5. Jonathan Papelbon was forced into the game for a 5 out close attempt. The Phillies gave him 2 more runs to play with in the 9th and they walked away with an 8-5 victory.
Then today, Cole Hamels led the charge, pitching 8 innings with only 1 run allowed. For the first time in a long time, everything was clicking for the Phillies. Even without Chase Utley or Ryan Howard in the line-up, as it had been pretty much all year, they still scraped out 5 runs.
Carlos Ruiz normally sits for Sunday day games, but he has been so hot, manager Charlie Manuel had to play him. Chooch did not disappoint and went 2-for-4 with an RBI. He is now hitting an unbelievable .353…in the middle of July. Wow.
And Hunter Pence finally broke and 0-for-13 streak with a 3-run homer in the 5th inning. That had to be a huge relief for him.
Speaking of relief, no one was more relieved to have a little success than Antonio Bastardo. After allowing 5 runs in his last 2/3 of an inning pitched, Bastardo finally pitched a 1-2-3 inning using only 7 pitches, all strikes. That 9th inning performance may be the injection of life Bastardo has been looking for all season.
Now I do not mean to be a Debbie Downer here, but keep in mind, the Phillies just beat the 2nd worst team in the National League. The Dodgers are up next and that team is hanging right in there with the Giants for first place in the NL West. This will be a much bigger test for the Phillies.
The pitchers schedule to go against the Dodgers are in this order: Joe Blanton, Roy Halladay (his 1st start off the DL!) and Cliff Lee. This looks like a very solid opportunity for the Phillies if they can continue to build on this momentum.
Game time Monday night is 10:10pm (yikes!). Bust out the caffeine…
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography