Thursday, August 11, 2011


It may be the understatement of the season to date, but here it goes: The Phils are on a major roll right now. All cylinders are clicking even when the injury bug bites their starting third baseman again. No deficit is too large to overcome, as they showed yesterday in Los Angeles. No Western swing is too daunting, as they showed by taking nine of ten games on the just-concluded trip. No pitching staff, Tim Lincecum excepted, is too tough, as they demononstrated in taking three of four from the Giants. No suspensions are too worrisome, as they await the outcome of Shane Victorino's appeal. No pitcher is an automatic out, as Cliff Lee proved in belting his second home run of the season. No trade deadline deal is too costly, as they clearly proved in acquiring Hunter Pence.

The Phils moved to 37 games over .500, their best record in 34 years. (I moved to Philadelphia 33 years ago and missed that last performance.) The hitting appears to be catching up with the pitching, facing Tim Lincecum excepted. They lead second place Atlanta by 8.5 games, a comfortable margin that normally would provide a cushion but which yesterday's monster rally demonstrates is not about to be taken for granted.

The Phils return home to face the Nationals and NL West leader Arizona, to whom they dropped 2 of 3 earlier this season. With the big lead over Atlanta the temptation will be there to pull starters a little earlier, perhaps even go to a six-man rotation at some point, with Kyle Kendrick the candidate to get another start.

It's nice to have so many options.

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