A few weeks ago, the Phillies seemed hopeless. The team has lost 11 of 18 since July 1st. They dropped 7 games back in the division, and their offensive rank in the NL had dropped from 2nd to 12th.
Although the Phillies line-up was often reduced due to injuries, on July 22nd, Charlie Manuel said goodbye to hitting coach Milt Thompson in an attempt to shake up the ball club. Greg Gross, the former hitting coach, replaced him, and it was met with immediate success.
In fact, as of now, success is a poor word. It’s been perfection. The Phillies have gone 7-0 since the replacement, and have had 4 games with 6 runs or more.
Last night was one of those games, and I managed to make it down to Citizens Bank Park to catch what is now once again a beautiful team to watch.
Due to Shane Victorino’s abdominal strain (on a routine pop up mind you,) the highly anticipated Domonic Brown was called up from Triple-A to make his debut for the Phillies last night, starting in right field. Werth was moved to center, and they both batted in the 5th and 6th positions in the line-up.
Before Brown’s named was even announced for the at-bat, the 45,000+ in attendance were standing in ovation for the debut. There was a feeling in the air something special was happening and I was glad to witness from 20 rows back behind home plate.
The prospect flourished in the minor leagues, and all the hype building up to last night made what happened even more special. Domonic went 2-3, scoring an RBI double in his first at bat. Overall, he had 2 runs, 2 RBIs and a sacrifice fly for the night. Not too bad for your first game in the major leagues.
It was also nice to see Roy Halladay finally pitch, and he was outstanding. 6 hits, 9 strike-outs, 1 earned run. Doctor’s doing some surgery.
The Phillies finally have momentum carrying into the stretch, and with news of Roy Oswalt coming to town, things should only get better from here on out.
Earlier this morning, news was released that the Astros and Phillies have come to an agreement for Roy Oswalt to come to Philadelphia. The sad news is most likely J.A. Happ is going to Houston. I’m not a big fan of this, but something of this magnitude was going to require a little sacrifice. Another prospect being speculated in the trade is Triple-A 1st basemen Jonathan Singleton. We’re pretty OK on the first basemen front, so I think I’ll be able to sleep at night.
None of the official names or figures are being released, and there are still possibilities of Joe Blanton being the pitcher to go (hopefully,) but according to the Phillies official website, a deal is “in-place” and it’s awaiting Oswalt’s OK. This is going to happen, and it will probably happen by the end of the day.
The Phillies are getting back to their form, and a Halladay-Oswalt-Hamels starting rotation sounds pretty damn good to me. The Phillies projected starting line-up has only been on the field 8 times this year. With that number set to increase in the upcoming weeks, and a stronger starting pitching rotation, I’d expect to see the Braves’ 3.5 game lead in the division diminish.
Do work, fellas.
This post was written by Randy Neil