I had been on a terrible kick of pessimism with this Phillies team over the past two weeks. Can you blame me? This team scuffled awfully against the A.L. East before lugging some of their bad play back into the division.
They were hitting, but sporadically, and certainly not enough to compensate for a tired, ineffective pitching staff.
And then, a magical thing happened: Rodrigo Lopez reentered the world. Lo and behold, making his first start in two years, the journeyman with a reconstructed arm pitched wonderfully in kick-starting a sweep of the Mets at home.
But before that happened, let’s take a look back at the three weeks leading up to that Lopez start.
From June 12 until July 2, arbitrary endpoints of pain, the Phillies were 4-14. They batted .233 as a team. They struck out 153 times. They managed to average 4.2 runs per game in that stretch, but allowed 6.1 runs and surrendered 28 home runs.
They were bad. Very bad. So bad that their listlessness rubbed off on me, and as such I was pretty angry with this team for a solid 2 1/2 weeks.
I suppose there’s nothing to bust a slump or my Walter Matthau Grumpishness quite like a depleted Mets team coming in to Citizens Bank Park. Phillies starters went 20 innings in the three games and surrendered just three runs. Brad Lidge saved consecutive games and struck out five batters within his six outs, never making things interesting.
And then Monday happened.
Twenty-two runs. Twenty-one hits. Four home runs. Eight extra-base hits. One run allowed with no walks against a free-swinging Reds lineup. Raising Johnny Cueto’s ERA about 0.8 runs in two-thirds of an inning.
A whole lot of stuff went right, and not even I can find something wrong with the past four games. Here’s hoping I’ll stay quiet for the next fourteen, too.