Onward and Upward?
Down in the dugout yesterday, Charlie Manuel was asked by one of my brethren what it would be like for this Phillies team to actually cement itself into first place. Every one laughed. The good thing about this franchise is that it has been in contention for the better part of the last four seasons. The bad part, of course, is that you've never seen them really catch fire and put some distance between themselves and the .500 mark.
I mention this because last night's win improved them to 29-24. A win tonight would put them six games over .500 for the first time this season. With nine more games at home, including three against the NL East leading Marlins, now would seem to be a good time for the Phillies to make a move that would give them some breathing room for the rest of the first half of this season.
I got into this a little in the game story last night, and I think I'll try to explore it a little more today: It's all well and good when Chase Utley hits 6 RBIs, but the only way this offense can rattle off nights like the past couple is when someone besides Rollins is hitting at the top of the order (Victorino) and someone is hitting at the bottom of the order (Feliz). If you look, the upswing in the offensive production of Victorino and Feliz has mirrored the upswing of the Phillies offense. . .
Just a quick shout out to Jamie Moyer. Seems like every time he pitches, he gets overshadowed by a huge offensive night. First it was Jayson Werth's three home run night. Now it's the 20-spot the Phils hung on the Rockies. But Moyer has quietly put together three really good starts in a row.
Every time he pitches, Manuel seems to compliment him by saying he turned in another "Moyer like" performance. Are "Moyer like" performances going to win a World Series by themselves? No. But if he can keep them up, the Phillies will at least be in a position to win most games he throws.
Yesterday morning I rambled a little bit about Cole Hamels performance at night versus his performance during the day. I won't re-hash it all here, but I talked to him yesterday and he really didn't have much of a theory to offer. Essentially, both he and pitching coach Rich Dubee told me that it is too early in his career to really make any definitive statement about what may or may not be a trend. Bronson Arroyo of the Reds has said repeatedly he doesnt react well to day games, but Hamels said it doesn't make a lick of difference to him. Here it is in the notebook. . .