Friday, June 06, 2008

Time Will Tell

All of those years throughout the late forties and fifties the Yankees would beat up on the weak teams and split with the good ones. It's a formula for success that have never gone out of style.

The Phillies have been doing a pretty good job of beating up on the weaker teams with a few exceptions thrown in like last weekend's series with the Marlins but over the next weeks and months they are going to collide head on with many of the best both the NL and AL have to offer. We should know a lot more about these Phillies at the end of their series with the Braves, Marlins, Red Sox, Angels et al.

What we do know right now is that the Phils are getting contributions for the entire 25-man roster. Whether they are clubbing the opposition over the head with their bats or shutting them down with expected efforts from a few such as Cole Hamels and surprising efforts from many such as nearly the entire bullpen as well as much of the starting rotation, the Phils have moved to ten games over .500 and a 2-game lead in their division. Pat Burrell has been resurrected. Eric Bruntley has made not one but two key game-ending or saving plays while subbing for Jimmy Rollins. Chase Utley has been other-worldly. Ryan Howard has been mostly awful but still is among the league leaders in home runs and RBI's. The outfield platoons have been remarkably solid. Chris Coste has moved from backup catcher to catcher number one A.

Nothing seems to be slowing them down. Even the mid-game benching of Rollins yesterday is being viewed by all including J-Roll himself as a positive little kick in the pants. Charlie Manuel keeps playing his hunches and getting most of them right, whether it's pulling a starter he thinks has suddenly hit a wall or using pinch-hitter extraordinaire Greg Dobbs.

Even a three-game skid a ten days ago is a distant memory.

Like we said, crunch time arrives this evening in Atlanta, GA, and continues unabated for several weeks. We will know a lot more about this installment of the Phillies. What we do know already has been largely satisfying and fun.

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