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Friday, June 7, 2013

Phillies Getting Downright Offensive

by: Chris Creighton
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Domonic Brown enjoying
the single life last night
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports
The Phillies arrived in Milwaukee last night having won their previous four games by scoring seven runs in each of the first three games during this streak and finished the home stand with a six-run outburst on Wednesday afternoon. Tack on another five runs in last night's solid win over the Brewers and we have ourselves an offense that is officially getting hot in five consecutive wins. 

But it's not just the bats talking the talk, the Phillies are finally walking the walk to the tune of 37 free passes in their last 10 games. That's 16 more walks drawn than in the previous 10 contests. Setting the table for the meat of the lineup has been Jimmy Rollins, who has drawn 11 bases on balls in that same period along with Ryan Howard strolling for five.

The Big Piece, who is beginning to show signs of turning things around at the plate, smoked two balls right at Brewers defenders last night, one was good for a solid sacrifice fly to deep center plating the game's first run. Howard's BAbip over the last 15 games posts a portly .382 and with Domonic Brown still swinging a hot bat, it's just a matter of time before he begins to find his stroke with tastier pitches coming his way.

Courtesy of
However,  Rollins has been the true catalyst to revive their revving engine as all he's done since being inserted into the 3-hole in the lineup on May 27th is hit for a .281 Batting Average with an OBP of .477. J-Roll is smart enough to know that in order to catch a ride on the Dom Brown Express, one simply needs to get on board, even via free passes. More often than not of late, this service has also been the fastest train home.

In the 11 games with Rollins batting third, the team has won seven games while slashing .266/.339/.504 and bashing 21 of their 63 home runs with 51 of their 215 RBIs in 2013. The team has also catapulted from 12th to 8th place in the National League in Walks and 12th to 10th in Runs Scored. The Phillies have also been far more active on the base paths, swiping 15 bases during this 11 game period after only six steals in the previous ten.

Supporting all of the positive activity throughout this recent stretch of success for the Phillies has been the meteoric rise of Domonic Brown. Over the same 11 games, Brown has delivered a .419/.457/1.093 slash line with nine home runs and 17 RBIs while drawing three walks of his own in the process. His overall season totals have exploded as follows:

May 27L,3-94111200.257.295.475.770
May 28W,3-14111100.257.294.486.780
May 29W,4-34222201.262.298.519.817
May 30L,2-94020000.267.302.518.820
May 31L,5-84222400.272.306.549.855
Jun 1L,3-44110011.271.308.543.851
Jun 2W,7-53131410.282.321.574.895
Jun 3W,7-24131200.291.329.592.921
Jun 4W,7-35100000.284.321.578.900
Jun 5W,6-14111200.284.320.586.906
Jun 6W,5-13120012.289.328.587.915
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 6/7/2013.

The timing of this lineup coming together could not be any better as the current and upcoming schedule gives the Phillies a golden opportunity to make some noise behind the Atlanta Braves. With the team travelling to visit the Brewers (22-37), Twins (26-31) and Rockies (32-29) on a ten game roadie, the Phillies can make up some valuable ground as the Braves are facing a healthier Dodgers team and the pesky San Diego Padres on the road for seven games. Atlanta returns home to host a very tough San Francisco Giants club for three more next weekend.

Courtesy of USA Today
After the Phillies efficiently finished off Milwaukee last night, the Dodgers sudden secret weapon, Yasiel Puig, hit a grand slam in the eighth inning to break open what was then a close contest in the Braves 5-0 loss in Los Angeles. Puig is handling the duties in right field while Andre Ethier spells the ailing Matt Kemp. Puig has only played in four games so far, but has busted out of the gates with guns blazing, hitting .438 (7-16) with three home runs and nine RBI. Puig gave the Phillies exactly what they needed to begin inching closer to the NL East Division leading Braves last night.

With Cliff Lee taking the hill tonight in Milwaukee and the offense fueling their season-high five-game winning streak, this road trip may become the pivotal point of the Phillies 2013 campaign. Please keep all hands and feet inside the ride, it's about to take off.