Excited isn't the word. Pleased. That seems to fit better.
The Phillies seem pleased that they finally have started to play better baseball after a horrendous start, but they emphasized after last night's 6-3 victory over the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park that they're not in the clear yet.
"It's just four games," Jimmy Rollins said.
"I've played this game too long and you can't get too excited about a game, a couple of games or a series," Jamie Moyer said. "You enjoy it. But as we all know as players, it's a long season. To me, the poor start is over and we're going to continue to play baseball and good things are going to happen. Do we go into another rut? Possibly. Do we run off a bunch of wins? Possibly."
The rest of the week should clarify that. But we know this: A week ago today the Phillies were 3-10 after a 5-4 loss to the Nationals in 13 innings. They are 5-1 since, which includes a four-game winning streak to improve their record to 8-11.
"The attitude is right, the mind-set is right, the results are right," Rollins said.
Case in point:
The Phillies are hitting .359 (14 for 39) with runners in scoring position since Charlie Manuel called a team meeting Saturday in Cincinnati. Their starting pitchers have a 3.46 ERA (10 earned runs in 26 innings). Their bullpen has a 0.90 ERA (one earned run in 10 innings).
"There's no rush to get anything done," Rollins said. "There was a rush to beat everybody out of the gate. That's what our focus and emphasis was and we let ourselves get caught up in that, which we shouldn't have. We got our focus back on the game in front of us and it's working."
The Nationals had a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning when Nationals manager Manny Acta removed Jason Bergmann, who had allowed three hits and one earned run in six innings. Bergmann had retired 12 of 13 batters at one point.
Aaron Rowand, who had knocked in a run with a double in the second, hit a leadoff homer off Nationals righthander Saul Rivera to make it 3-3.
The Phillies took a three-run lead in the eighth off Micah Bowie and Jon Rauch.
Bowie hit Chase Utley with a pitch to lead off the inning. Utley has been hit seven times this season, which is four more than any other batter in the National League. After Bowie struck out Ryan Howard, Rauch entered and walked Pat Burrell to put runners on first and second.
Wes Helms singled to center on a 1-2 pitch to score Utley to make it 4-3. Ryan Zimmerman couldn't handle the throw from the outfield, allowing Burrell to score to make it 5-3. Carlos Ruiz singled up the middle with two outs to knock in the final run.
Moyer allowed three runs in six innings, which often will be enough to win with this offense.
Ryan Madson and Antonio Alfonseca each threw a scoreless inning and closer Tom Gordon pitched well in the ninth to pick up his fourth save.
The hot topic the last few days has been Manuel's meeting, and understandably so. The Phils haven't lost since.
"I'm sure it's played somewhat of a role," Moyer said. "Personally, I think the way Charlie went about the whole thing was great. . . . Things aren't going well and I've seen managers come in and tear up the room. It wasn't like that at all. Charlie sat and spoke and said, 'I'm going to leave the floor to you guys.' We spoke. . . . If anything, I think maybe it forced people to take a step back and see where their priorities are."
They seem to have a better idea of where they're going. But they also know they have a long way to go.