After the Phillies' hitting coach, Milt Thompson, was fired a few days ago, it looked like he was simply the scapegoat. But now that the Phillies are smacking the Rockies around a little bit, including a 10-2 shellacking of Ubaldo Jimenez, it looks like the move might have actually worked.
"It doesn't mean we're all of a sudden going to start hitting," Jimmy Rollins said following Thompson's firing, but that would seem to be the case.
Guys no longer seem to be pressing. They're standing tall at the plate, watching the bad ones go by, and taking what the pitcher is willing to give.
If that means a single base knock, then so be it. However, they're still getting their extra-base knocks and going yard because they're allowing the pitches to come to them rather than chasing them a foot out of the zone in any direction.
But if we're going to be pessimistic, they are still five games away from the Braves. The winning is nice for now, but they've still got a long way to go.
The hitting is a step in the right direction, and Kyle Kendrick and J.A. Happ were very good on back-to-back days. I would even go so far as to say Kendrick was spectacular.
Kendrick is certainly an odd player to watch because he could come back and not make it out of the second inning in his next start.
They've just got to keep it up. Really, that's it. They've got to continue coming up with the clutch hit, strikeout, catch, throw, and whatever else. If they keep doing the little things, they can put themselves in a position to catch the Braves.
However, if they fall back into a slump they're going to look up at some point and realize the Braves are too far ahead to be caught anymore. We're nearly into August, and it's time they play with some sense of urgency.
Because if all they're worried about is stringing a few wins together here and there and just trying to maintain, it's going to bite them—hard. Whether or not they want to admit it to themselves, it's crunch time.
Next time they fall into one of their 10 to 15-game slumps, they're not going to have enough time to dig themselves out.