There were plenty of good signs from the Phillies on Friday night.
To the delight of many worried fans from April, two great signs were Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown.
The club's hottest bats homered for the second straight game as the Phillies (14-16) pieced together a good-looking win over the unfortunate Marlins (8-22), 4-1.
Howard and Brown, who both endured April slumps, have turned it on and kept it going Friday. A night after they each hit their fourth long ball of the season, Howard and Brown were back at it, each clubbing their fifth home run to boost the Phillies' offense.
Over the team's first 21 games, Howard posted one home run and six RBIs. In the past nine games: 10 for 31 (.323), four home runs, 12 RBIs, eight runs scored.
Same story for Brown. The 25-year-old was hitting .206 entering April 24, but since then: 13 for 34 (.382). Brown's five home runs are tied with Howard for second on the team to ...
Chase Utley. The Phillies' second baseman has shown no indication of slowing down. Utley nailed his sixth dinger on Friday, which leads all NL second basemen. He also has 21 RBIs, second to only Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips among NL second basemen.
The Phillies have hit nine straight solo home runs. Imagine if the Phillies' power threats start wreaking havoc with men aboard.
And not to be overlooked, Jonathan Pettibone pitched into the seventh inning for the first time in his big-league career, going 6 1/3 innings for his second win in three starts. The 22-year-old gave up one run, which came on a hanging curveball that Donovan Solano deposited into the seats.
The back-end trio of Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon was very strong. Bastardo displayed his biggest weakness: control. With a man on, he relieved Pettibone and walked two to load the bases. However, he then displayed his biggest strength: strikeout stuff. Bastardo escaped his self-induced jam by punching out the next two batters to finish the seventh.
Adams recorded his third hold, while Papelbon saved his fifth game.
Ben Revere returned to the lineup and delivered a two-out RBI single in the second inning.
Delmon Young started in right field for the second straight game and made a well-played, leaping catch at the base of the wall in the second inning. So far, so good.
Next up is Jose Fernandez (0-2, 4.50) vs. Cole Hamels (1-3, 4.78) on Saturday.