During the Philadelphia Phillies recent surge, they have been lifted largely by two players; slugging 2009 All-Star Jayson Werth and trade deadline acquisition Cliff Lee.
All is going as planned.
The Phillies have won seven of their last eight games and have sustained a comfortable lead of 5.5 games in front of the nipping Florida Marlins. The key has been Cliff Lee shutting down opponents and Werth cranking home runs. Simple.
Cliff Lee has been stellar as a Phillie to say the least. He has only given up three earned runs in 33 innings pitched yielding a skinny 0.82 ERA thus far. His play on the field has left highly acclaimed Blue Jays' pitcher Roy Halladay an afterthought in most of the minds of south Philadelphia's faithful. Who needs 'im?
The former Cy Young winner has continued the success he was having with the Cleveland Indians with the Phillies. He is 8-0 in his last eight decisions, dating back to his stint with the Tribe.
On August 19th against the Diamondbacks, Lee went the distance allowing one unearned run, striking out 11. His consecutive dominating outings have created a buzz around the Philadelphia area, making everyone think about the postseason.
With the latest struggles of Raul Ibañez, manager Charlie Manuel has switched Werth and Ibañez in the batting order. Now Werth is sandwiched between left handers Ryan Howard and Ibañez. This gives Werth excellent opportunities when situational left handers come out late in ballgames.
Werth is hitting .297 versus left handed pitching, including ten homeruns.
With Lee's and Werth's current hot streaks, the Phillies will be looking for other players to catch a flame going into September.
Once again the Phillies will be the team to beat going into what matters most—the postseason.