Phillies Have “The Look” Again

Phillies_look
It's back.  Not fall, not the rally towel, not an idiot fan dressed in a red suit.  I'm talking about the look.

If you've watched the Phillies over the last two seasons, you know what I'm talking about.  Cole has had it for about a month now.  Chase?  Jayson Stark saw it.

Stark_look

Howard?  Him too.  He's batting .297 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in September.  Werth?  He's raking again.

This month, the Phillies have proven that you can, indeed, "flip the switch."  As frustrating as they have been at times this season, they have the second most wins in all of baseball (90).  The Yankees are the only team with more (91).

It's almost mind-boggling.  There were several stretches where it seemed as if the Phillies would never score again.  Now, it seems as if they might never lose again.  They're back to being that confident team we all know.  There was a point in the 2008 World Series (the 8th inning of Game 3, when the Rays tied it up) where I officially stopped worrying that they would lose.  Even when the Rays tied that game, I sat in my left field seat, only anxious to see how they would pull it off- not if they would.  Boom, Chooch walk-off dribbler.

That feeling resurfaced during Game 3 of last year's NLCS, as Jayson Werth crushed one over the center field fence.  And it returned last night.

Once the Phillies went up 3-1, it was a foregone conclusion they were going to win.  This team has the uncanny ability to elevate their game to ridiculous heights when it counts.

2007: four game sweep of the Mets in late August that set the tone for the stretch run.

2008: four game sweep of the Brewers beginning on September 11th.  They went from four back to tied in the wild-card standings, in four days.

2009: amazing comeback win in Colorado facing a Game 5.  Another one in Game 4 against the Dodgers.

2010: they are 20-4 since being swept at home by the Astros, 20 and 4.  They haven't lost in 10 days.

Imagine, just for a second, if the Phillies were healthy for the entire season.  How many games did we see Wilson Valdez, Cody Ransom, Dane Sardinha et al grace the starting lineup?  Too many. Still, the Phillies are on pace to have their most wins since this little four-year stretch began. Perhaps all of our panic was directly related to injuries.  Since the gang has been back together (sans Rollins), they have looked like the team we expected them to be.  You can't discount all of the injuries they had this year: Rollins, Howard, Utley, Madson, Lidge, Polanco, and Victorino.  Those man-games pile up quickly.

Well, all of those guys are back now.  So is the look.  And soon, playoff baseball will be back.  The 2010 World Series begins on October 27th.

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19 Responses

  1. Yeah I think too often they seemed to be waiting for a 2-run or 3-run HR in a lot of games this year. With the Big 3 rotation rolling, now it’s just important to get the runs home. Chip away, chip away. No need to score 7 runs if 3 runs will do the job most nights with Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt going. So you can play for 1-run innings sometimes rather than trying for the big inning. Now when Blanton and Kendrick are pitching…then we need some runs.

  2. Great article. It’s amazing that we are at 90 wins (one behind NYY for most in baseball) with all the injuries we have had this season. Call it drive. Call it resilience. But to me, there is no question a lot of keeping the team focused and believing they can win goes right to the manager. Charlie is without a doubt the Manager of the Year. For all of the reasons I have mentioned and it is impossible not to like Charlie, just I can imagine it’s impossible for the team to not rally behind him and believe in him. Go Phillies!!

  3. The things about the injuries to the heart of the lineup is that it gave a chance for Valdez, Castro, and others to play. They put it on the line and helped to keep the ship afloat til the boys came back in August and September. Now we know that we have some great bats on the bench!
    I also think it challenged the guys to up their game, as it (the efforts of Valdez and Co.) would’ve been for nothing if August and September wasn’t so good.

  4. You’re looking at this all wrong. The bench players got a ton more at-bats this year, and their bats will be much hotter at key moments in the postseason. Horrible bench play screwed us in last year’s playoffs.

  5. bill, the problem is a lot of those bench players probably won’t be on the playoff roster. castro, sardinha, ransom, dobbs- all guys who probably won’t even be on this team in october.

  6. Kyle, Dobbs will be there. According to an Inquirer writer anyway. Brown apparently won’t due to his quad injury. Sardinha, nah they called up Hoover as their 3rd catcher. Ransom, I’m not sure about him, honestly I dunno how many people we can have on the post season roster but considering Castro is a Dodger now anyway our only backup in the infield who can play SS and 2nd is Valdez, so wouldn’t be surprised to see Ransom. Sweeney can only play first and Dobbs is a 3rd or first baseman. Basically, I only know of Valdez who can really actually play SS and 2nd on the bench right now.

  7. That is a fact wilson has been such a asset to the team this year and now we have the most outstanding pitching staff in the majors

  8. That is a fact wilson has been such a asset to the team this year and now we have the most outstanding pitching staff in the majors

  9. That picture on the left sums up Cole’s year. Determined, never satisfied, and always, ALWAYS thinking. I wasn’t ever a huge Cole fan because I always had the “spoiled brat” impression of him. His season, his commentary, and pictures like that one there have shown me how much that boy has grown into a man — and a hell of a man for us to have in our rotation. Kudos to him, and my impression has been turned 180 degrees.

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