After going on a torrid run for almost the entire month of July against lousy-to-mediocre teams, the back-to-back series against the Cubs and the Cardinals—who represent the best the NL Central has to offer—were seen as a true test of how good the Phillies currently are. Has their success been a reflection of the competition, which is admittedly weak in the NL East, or are these guys truly back on their WFC track?
If the past two series are any indication, we are in for a fun ride the rest of the way, although there will probably a few bumps in the road. The Phils won both series by two games to three, with another W coming on the makeup game with the Padres in between. Since being swept by Atlanta (ugh) to end June and begin July, Philadelphia hasn't dropped a single series, and in their wins over the Cubs and Cards, they did it with a ton of firepower from top to bottom, as well as some timely pitching.
All joking from the title of this post aside, Albert Pujols is the best hitter in baseball—historically good. But his numbers against Phillies pitching this weekend, even with the 8-1 loss to start the series? In three games, he collected three hits (none for extra bases), only one walk, no homers, and a lone RBI. All at our little tiny park! Matt Holliday, who was brought in to protect Pujols just before the first game on Friday, had a nice showing, but without Albert's customary presence on base, Holliday's seven hits this series meant only three RBIs.
I'm not saying, Hey Ruben, don't go get another starter and a bullpen arm. Far from it. But it's encouraging to see that the Phils were able to ride Rodrigo Lopez and Joe Blanton
to a series win against a playoff team.