The Phillies are writing a new script with every game en route to eight-straight wins and a comfortable position in the playoff race. (AP Photo)
It’s impossible to rattle off a long winning streak like this without at least one unorthodox, out-of-the-box method like the one the Phillies used last night. In a game where Cody Ransom, Carlos Ruiz and Wilson Valdez – the Phillies’ 6-7-8 hitters – pestered the D-Backs all night, Valdez’s walk-off single in the 11th secured victory and typified the “nightly hero” technique we’ve grown accustomed to over the last several years. Yet as fans, we’ll never kicked habit of counting them for dead. Granted, this happened against an exceptionally amateur 37-65 Diamondbacks team and an exhausted Rockies squad. Still, there’s no reason to feel guilty about improving to 32-17 at home by smacking around a pair of flimsy road teams like the D-Backs and Rox.
I don’t know that I’d call it “swagger,” but the Phillies look comfortable in their own skins again after losing Chase Utley. It starts with good pitching and a few breaks. That's how two wins become three, four, five, etc., and now we're talking about a confident club that just put their top prospect online and will add Roy Oswalt to their rotation tonight.
They needed to make the right adjustments, too. Charlie Manuel hit on something when he moved Raul Ibanez higher. (And on a separate note, Ibanez is not only hitting the ball hard, but he looks fresh in the field and on the bases. Finally healthy?) And as I said earlier, Milt Thompson’s ouster seems to have served its purpose.
One last point: What a rock Ruiz has been. He’s hefting a .397 on-base percentage into August. He plays through pain. He played through a concussion for goodness sake. And think of how he’s handled this staff. What a player.
What a team ...