They don't call him "Hollywood" for nothing.
Cole Hamels continued his mastery of the Dodgers last night at Chavez Ravine, needing fewer than 100 pitches to post a five-hit, 3-0 shutout that extends the Fightin' Phils' winning streak to seven games.
The win also increased the team's lead in the NL East to four games over the NY Mets.
The Phillies now have the second-best record in baseball (32-20), behind only the Dodgers, and have the league's best road record (20-6).
The defending World Series champions (or WFC's, if you prefer) also have something else going for them: momentum.
While many, including ESPN's Chris Singleton, worry about the Phillies rotation—which, admittedly, has one of the highest ERAs in the majors—I see a team that appears to be hitting its stride just in time for the summer push.
In years past, a starting rotation that struggled as badly as this one had early on (now down to a 4.79 ERA, ranked 25th in the majors) would have meant a terribly slow start, leaving the team facing a very long climb over the summer.
The bats have come alive this season, led by offseason steal Raul Ibanez, former MVP Ryan Howard and future MVP Chase Utley.
And now, the pitching may be shaping up for another run at postseason glory.
Hamels appears to have shaken off his early-season injuries, and may be poised for a dominant second half.
Moyer finally got past win No. 250, which may have led to him pressing a little bit—not that he would ever admit it.
Chan Ho Park (or "Duck," as Bill Conlin likes to call him) is now out of harm's way, safely tucked in the bullpen for mop-up duty.
J.A. Happ has stepped in nicely and is looking to play the role of Kyle Kendrick (pre-September).
"Average Joe" Blanton may have a 5.86 ERA, but he's 4-3. In fact, all the Phillies current starters are over .500, except for Moyer (4-5).
Then there's this Bastardo kid that seems to like pitching in the majors and may stick around for a while.
Not to mention that the Phillies managed to survive the 50-game suspension of J.C. Romero and early-season hiccups from closer Brad Lidge.
And, after all that, here they sit: first place in the NL East, second-best record in baseball.
If this is how good they are with so-so pitching, imagine what lies ahead if they get their act together.
And they seem to be doing just that.
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