After an absolutely horrific run, the Phils swept a three-game series from the incompetent Muts this weekend, and even beat their ace, Johan Santana, today. The key to the series sweep was excellent starting pitching. Jamie Moyer pitched a terrific game last night, and Joe Blanton pitched an even better one today to beat Santana. Brad Lidge had a couple of saves, and is finally starting to look like an effective closer again.
The other key is that Jimmy Rollins finally showed some offensive spark this weekend after being benched for four straight games last week. He led off today's game with a homer, setting the tone for the win over Santana, and was on base all weekend. The Phillies offense depends heavily on JRo getting on base and scoring runs, and when he doesn't do so, the team does not win. That much became painfully obvious during the recent eight-game losing streak, including the four games when Rollins sat. He has raised his batting average from a really dismal .206 to .217 in the past couple of days, and is showing signs of returning to form.
Let's hope so, because without JRo providing the spark, the Phillies have absolutely no chance to repeat. If the starting pitching comes around--and they will need better and more consistent performances from their ace, Cole Hamels, if they are to repeat, they will be in reasonably good shape. They've managed to stay in first place in spite of it all, largely due to the rank incompetence of the Muts, so we can only hope that they can hang onto first place for the rest of the season.