The inevitable late-summer push.
The Phillies have turned it into a habit of playing the first three-quarters of their season like they were still down in Florida. Rollins can’t find his swing, Howard doesn’t homer for the first half of August, etc. etc.
Then, all of a sudden, Jimmy can hit again, Ryan is dropping bombs and stolen bases are no longer a novelty.
New to this year’s power offense is the much-hyped Werth. I say that in the most endearing tone, since I always liked Jayson. Werth has been a player constantly on the rise. I mentioned his breakout earlier this season and I’m glad to see he’s continuing the climb.
It’s hard to say if Werth will ever be a great player. You don’t get the sense he has some kinks to work out or there is unleashed power hiding somewhere in his dominating frame. He’s an everyday man, and that is exactly what the Phillies need more of.
Howard is often touted as being able to “put the team on his back” and other such clichéd hoopla. And when he’s wiffing, whose there keeping players on the bags? Werth, Victorino and the like.
Luckily Manuel is smart of enough to see the value of his consistent base runners — Ryan wouldn’t be “blowing games open” with a handful of solo shots. Howard looks so good because he has people waiting to cross the bag. And Charlie is always the first one to make sure the media gets that.
Anyway, back to the late season push.
I’m fine with it. Keeping yourself above .500, at the top of the division and playing decent ball until your ready to really turn it up a notch. It’s risky business, but it got us a ring last year.
If the Phils can keep this fire stoked through September, I think we may have a live one on our hands, Philadelphia.