It's been said over and over again this season in many different ways for the Philadelphia Phillies: Once Chase Utley and Ryan Howard return, the offense will start hitting again and the Phillies will move up in the standings.
The good news is that we now know that Utley is returning to the Phils tomorrow and is expected to be in the lineup for tomorrow night's game. With Freddy Galvis down with both a pars fracture in his back and out for 50 games for a PED suspension, Utley will surely be welcomed back and is automatically an all-around better option over Michael Martinez and Mike Fontenot. That goes without saying, though.
The bad news? We still don't know for sure when Howard's coming back.
Howard infamously ruptured his Achilles tendon in the final at-bat of last year's NLCS against the Cardinals, which the Phils lost to the Cards in five games. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series, and Howard (nor Utley) hasn't been back since.
Simply put, this offense needs help. And while I'll say that Utley and Howard may not be the pieces to get the job done, anything new is a plus at this point, especially veterans of your own team who know how to get the team back into contention. They can do a few things, and I'll make my own adjustments to Charlie Manuel's lineup if need be. After all, it's been an elephant in the room all season long: Charlie's lineup is flat-out terrible and he needs to solidify the lineup positions so more guys get on base, are comfortable with their position, and ultimately, more runs are scored to win more ballgames.
Here's a five tweaks—whether in the lineup or in approach—that the Phillies can make until both Utley and Howard return.