When the Phillies started the week, they were the hottest team in all of baseball. They have retained their title.
The bats came alive, the pitching was ample, and hits in clutch situations were plentiful.
Although there were two small hiccups the Phillies took both three game series’ and a makeup game against the Padres to finish the week 5-2.
The line-up had multiple hero’s this week, most notably Jimmy Rollins. Rollins put up numbers this week that should lead us all to believe the slump has ended. He finished the week batting .333 for the month of July with four bombs, including a go ahead grand slam on Saturday against the Cardinals. His two-run homer on Sunday capped off what was a brilliant week for Rollins who continues to increase his average, up now to .237.
Rollins has also scored 20 runs this month and now stands at 61 overall. Now that he is reaching base more frequently, the 100 runs scored plateau is not as far fetched as it once was a month ago.
Jayson Werth’s torrent streak also rolls on as Werth is now batting .271. Since the all-star break, Werth is hitting a lofty .353 with a .500 on base percentage. Perhaps his defining moment of the week was his 13th inning, walk-off three-run home run against Chicago to give the Phillies the series win.
Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz both slumped this week, but the rest of the line-up more than picked them up as the Phillies were able to score runs at will. It was fun to watch.
Joe Blanton continued to lower his ERA, dropping it to 4.11 runs per nine. Blanton threw seven strong innings on Tuesday but got the no decision as the Phils won the game in extras. Sunday, Blanton went eight innings, giving up two earned and striking out six on his way to his seventh win.
Cole Hamels looked o.k. against the Padres on Thursday despite giving up three runs. He doesn’t look like the Hamels of old just yet, but things are starting to look up.
Jaime Moyer and J.A. Happ both threw the clunkers of the week, with Happ giving up five earned in six innings pitched against the Cardinals on Friday. Moyer continues to show his age as he completed only five innings in the series finale against the Cubs. In that start, he allowed four earned as Chicago won that game 10-5.
The bullpen continues to be an issue as the Phillies sent three players, J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey, and Chad Durbin to the disabled list. The injuries paved the way for Kyle Kendrick’s return to pinstripes, although I don’t imagine he will see too much action during his stay in Philadelphia.
Other than the injuries, the bullpen had a decent week with the brightest spot being the continued success of long man Chan Ho Park. Park seems to have gotten comfortable in his new role, which is constantly changing. It doesn’t matter what situation he finds himself in, he seems to perform and has been a much needed injection of life in a pen decimated by injuries.
The Phillies didn’t gain any ground this week over the second place Braves, but they didn’t lose any either. They still sit six games up on the Bravos.
The Phillies played two tough teams this week and it seems as if at least one of them will be playoff bound. It was their true test in what has been a near flawless July. It is safe to say that the Phillies passed their test with flying colors and appear to be among the cream of the crop in the National League.