The Phillies just played their best series of the year to date, as they swept the Florida Marlins in a four-game series to move to 5.5 games up on the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The Phillies have now won seven consecutive games.
What This Means: The Phillies (44-26) are an astounding 5.5 games up on the second-place team in the division and have knocked the Marlins (32-37) into last place, behind even the Washington Nationals. The Phillies are four games up on the San Francisco Giants (39-29) for the best record in the National League and 2.5 games up on the Boston Red Sox (40-27) for the best record in the major leagues.
Grading the Offense: The bats broke out in this series, as the Phillies scored an average of 6.25 runs per game, including a huge comeback in the nightcap of Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader. Jimmy Rollins broke out with a home run in his first two games, Shane Victorino went 8-for-19 (.421) at the plate with a game-tying two-out, two-run single in the third game, Chase Utley went 4-for-11 (.364) with a double and triple, and Ryan Howard got a hit in every game including a home run. Even Cliff Lee got into the act in the finale, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI in his start. Grade: B+
Grading the Pitching: As Ricky Bottalico said afterwards in his postgame show, you know it’s a good series when Roy Halladay has the worst start of any of the four pitchers. Cole Hamels was his usual superb self, allowing one run in seven innings. Kyle Kendrick shocked the world by matching Hamels’ start. Halladay gave up four runs in seven innings, although he did strike out eight batters to no walks. Cliff Lee topped it all off with a two-hit shutout to sweep the series. Even the bullpen was at its best, as six different relievers combined for seven shutout innings. Grade: A
What’s Next: The Phillies are the hottest team in baseball right now and will travel to Seattle for a late-night game tomorrow (10:10 PM), the beginning of a three-game series with the second-place Mariners (35-34).