In particular, Raul Ibanez, who's climbing toward career norms, and Jayson Werth, who endured his RISP mix-up and delivered one of the greatest clutch hits of 2010. (Getty Images)
Retracting from a previous edition of Beerleaguer, Ibanez isn't washed up after all. In his customarily streaky way, and on the heels of a 3-for-4 with a homer, he's back to hitting .272/.351/.442 (110 OPS+). That's all one could have hoped for after the first three months or so, watching him drag his bat through the strikezone as if he was coated in a thick shell of molasses. Perhaps the groin is finally healthy. He's hitting it hard and hitting it the opposite way, just like he did in his superhuman opening months of '09. It appeared that those days were behind him, and perhaps even his status as a starting player. Ibanez was essentially platooned for a few weeks with Ben Francisco, an arrangement that seemed beneficial for both sides, but the plan was quietly scrapped, and now this second chance has also worked. Over his last dozen games, he's hitting .467/.529/.800 with three homers and 10 RBIs.
As for Werth, we've read a lot about how producing with runners in scoring position isn't an actual skill, but going 1-for-100, or whatever it was, must have chaffed his beard something fierce. Hang-ups like that are why slumps often go from bad to worse. Manuel benched Werth during several low points in an attempt to clear his head, just so he could be in the right state of mind when it mattered most, which is right now. Werth will never be my favorite player (and certainly not now that he's hired Scott Boras as his representation), but when the Phillies look toward their power-user run producers, there's no question where they're getting most of it.