Friday, June 27, 2003

While I Was Out

I guess the key to a successful Phillies season is my not watching any of it. With company in last weekend, followed by a brief road trip, I've been really out of touch with the Fightin's – so of course they've played solid baseball and erased a couple of games off the Braves' National League East lead.

This despite Pat Burrell's ongoing cluelessness with a bat (d'oh!) and Kevin Millwood's struggles on the mound. The rest of the staff, though, has settled into a nice groove, and the lineup has found a rhythm, too. In days of old I'd concede the race to Atlanta -- 7.5 games up at the end of June was practically automatic for the Braves -- but I'm not ready to do that just yet. I still think they're capable of sliding down to a level of play that was predicted for them by a lot of observers at the beginning of the season. Yes, Andruw Jones is having his first truly studly season, Gary Sheffield continues to hit anything, Chipper Jones has been solid (though certainly not spectacular), and the Braves have been getting contributions from a lot of heretofore unremarkable players. But I still get this sense that Atlanta is playing on borrowed time, that its unsteady pitching will come into play at some point.

The Phillies showed considerable character by rebounding from that awful thrashing by the Reds -- in the Adam Dunn/Carlos Silva brawl game -- and winning two series from the Braves and taking a pair of games from the Red Sox. There may be life in these guys yet.


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