For the Philadelphia Phillies, the recent ten-game west coast road trip was going to be anything but easy. The team had stumbled out of the gate to begin the 2014 season, and a tough road trip didn’t appear as though it would bode well for manager Ryne Sandberg‘s club. It was to be a measuring stick of sorts, even this early in the year.
The Phillies haven’t had much success on extended road trips over the last few years, but the team showed up impressively on its first big one of the new campaign. Philadelphia went 6-4 in 10 games against the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks. The most recent triumph came in the form of a 2-0 win over Arizona, in which Phillies starter A.J. Burnett threw eight innings of shutout baseball to earn the victory.
After losing the first two games of the west coast swing, the Phillies rebounded well to finish by going 6-2. This should put momentum on their side as they head back to Philadelphia for seven games against the New York Mets, Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Phillies have also gotten key contributions from some of the smaller names in their lineup. Center fielder Ben Revere and catcher Carlos Ruiz combined for 23 hits over the last week, with Ruiz notching a blistering on base percentage of .593. As a team, the Phillies hit a cool .273 over this same span and scored 40 runs.
For a team that’s far too often entrenched in mediocrity, Philadelphia’s performance over the difficult road trip should help set the tone for the next few weeks. A poor showing could have dropped the team’s confidence down to an unmanageable level, but that’s not the case after going 6-4. There are positive signs — from all areas of the game — that things are starting to click for Sandberg’s club.