Saturday, June 26, 2010

Are the Phils "back"?

Phillies fans have been looking for signs that the team is coming out of their slump since mid-May. They may just be back.

It started with Jamie Moyer against the Yankees. After Roy Halladay was roughed up by the Yanks in the series opener, Moyer was outstanding in an unlikely 6-3 victory. Kyle Kendrick followed with a brilliant performance the following day as the Phillies took the series from the Yankees on the road.

The bats stayed hot upon returning to Philadelphia in a 9-5 victory over the Twins. The following day's 13-10 extra inning loss was the most difficult of the season. On one hand, the offense was still hot. On the other, the Phils led 8-3 after the third inning, and blew a 9-4 lead in the ninth inning. Phillies fans , in a classy gesture, actually cheered Jim Thome's ninth inning homer because the Phils still led by three. Joe Mauer's home run off Brad Lidge tied the game and the Phillies were dealt a tough loss in a game that featured nine home runs.

The offense didn't show up against Carl Pavano the next day, who out-dueled Roy Halladay in a 4-1 loss for the Phillies.

Give the team credit though. Bolstered by the return of Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies swept the Cleveland Indians by a combined score of 21-10. Rollins' impact showed in just his second game back when he hit a walk-off two-run home run and the Phils followed with a 12-3 blowout the following day.

Last night, the Phillies and Roy Halladay dominated his former team in a 9-0 victory over Toronto.

The Phils have climbed to 2.5 games behind Atlanta. Do we need to take these games with a grain of salt though? Cleveland and Toronto are certainly teams the Phillies should be able to beat. But, during their slump, it seemed as though they couldn't do anything right. Jayson Werth and Chase Utley looked completely lost at the plate, but have both been stroking the ball as of late. The offense looks great again while the rotation and bullpen are coming together. It may just be safe to say, "the Phillies are back."

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