Philadelphia Phillies: Roster Shows Life Despite Challenges

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Phillies Charlie Manuel
Derick Hingle–USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies need to be given some credit. This hardly dominant squad isn’t quitting, even though it faces numerous challenging roster issues.

After reaching the .500 line (30-30) it certainly feels like Charlie Manuel’s team is back in the hunt. Yes, it’s early June and there are 102 games left to play. But, it’s fair to feel generally optimistic about the Phillies’ chances of remaining in the playoff race this summer.

Domonic Brown’s 11 home runs in the past 13 games and his National League-leading 18 home runs overall (generated through his powerful short stroke) may signal a potential seasonal breakthrough for this highly hyped ‘prospect’. Doing his best ‘Roy Hobbs’ imitation, this real-life number 9 appears to be beyond a ‘streak’. It seems as though this young man could become the consistent pivot point this lineup needs.

If ‘Dom’ can maintain his energy, the ‘Big Piece’ seems likely to potentially be one of the the biggest beneficiaries of his success. With a hot Brown standing in the fifth-hole, Ryan Howard has and will continue to see pitches. That reality could enable the Phillies’ former home run threat to get back on track if he can remain healthy.

Cole Hamels broke the ‘schneid’ by getting his second win of the season this week. He needs to string together a series of victories in order to re-balance his mental approach to the game. Based upon the past, ‘Hollywood’ certainly is capable of making that happen.

There are other positive signs that could be referenced, like Ben Revere’s apparent offensive progress, the continued rhythm within Kyle Kendrick’s starts and Cliff Lee’s regular excellence. But, for now Phillies’ fans are satisfied that their team has evened the score.

The manner in which Manuel’s baseball boys respond to any summer storms will lead all roster occupants toward a likely important late-July trade deadline.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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