Setting the Pace

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For much of the young season, the Phillies have been on the low end of the offensive spectrum. Coming into the series against the Diamondbacks, they've scored all of 43 runs in their 16 games, which comes out to just under three runs per game. Even though offense has been down over the last couple years, that level of production puts them near the bottom of the league in offense.

With an offense that is lacking any significant amount of power, that standing doesn't figure to change without a drastic new approach by the Phillies' hitters, who have been content to walk up to the plate and hack away, without so much of a sound strategy.

So when the opposing team puts up a few runs in the early innings, a relatively small deficit turns into a significant one, thanks to an offense that can't seem to score with any sort of consistency.

That was, until the ninth inning on Monday night, when the Phillies put up five runs in the top of the ninth inning – which is more than they've scored in all but three of their previous 16 games. Despite the fact that they lost the game (they came into that inning trialing, 9-0), the Phillies' offense, for once, didn't look limp. Sure, they took advantage of a struggling pitcher and some suspect D'backs defense, but they kept fighting, when it would have been easy to roll over and call it a night.

The offensive explosion carried over into Tuesday night's game, when the Phillies blasted three homers and put up eight runs in the win. And with the series on the line on Wednesday, they put up seven runs on 13 hits, en route to their second straight victory. And for the third time since the ninth inning of Monday's loss, the Phillies looked like they had a real offense.

Granted, this deluge of offense is at the expense of some less-than-stellar pitchers. It's not like the Phillies suddenly flipped the switch and figured it all out. But runs are runs, and the sudden surge cannot be taken for granted, especially if there are future implications at stake.

In my opinion, the Phillies just trounced on some bad pitchers and took advantage of the sloppy D'backs defense, but that doesn't mean there can't, or won't, be some kind of carry over. Maybe they changed their plate approach at the behest of Charlie Manuel or hitting coach Greg Gross. Maybe they collectively broke out of a team slump. Or maybe Jimmy Rollins, the de facto leader of the team, gave them all an earful after an embarrassing start to the season.

Whatever the case may be, they'll certainly take it. They say hitting is contagious, and with any luck, the Phillies just caught themselves a nasty cold.

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