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Commentary: ‘It’s The Attitude, Stupid’

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, August 26, 2008 11:53 AM | Comments: 6
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While it’s obvious the Phillies offense made it happen during the four-game sweep over the Dodgers, and it’s more obvious Phils pitching was downright dominant (five runs by the Blue), the answer to why the Phillies are suddenly rolling?

It’s the attitude, stupid.

To use a phrase during this political-heavy time, yes, it’s the attitude. Charlie Manuel, scratching his head during the worst times for the offense, said he didn’t know the source of the team’s lethargy. He pointed to guys forcing the issue, swinging for the fences and trying to be heroes. With mashers like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell in the abyss, the entire team seemed like a gelatinous blob. No movement, no momentum, no fervor.

Go back to the night the Phils last had offensive fervor, the 20-run explosion against Saint Louis. Then go to the next day — the day Eric Bruntlett plowed into Yadier Molina, taking him out of the game and evaporating the energy from Busch Stadium II. This moment has been pointed to by some fans as the moment the team switched gears completely, from high-flyin’ and chugging, to tired and bored. True or not, Bruntlett’s heavy slide represents the beginning of a long and strange trip, one where guys didn’t get pumped, blank stares came cheaply and bats were tossed nonchalantly after Ks.

Game three of the Dodgers series seemed to show the switch back. After the offense finally broke out of doldrums, the Phils found themselves in another classic zombie walk. But the ninth inning came, and who singled to lead it off? Shane Victorino. He scored the game-tying run on a clutch Pedro Feliz base hit. Vic again made it happen to start the 11th, hustling to an ad-lib double and setting up what would be the game-winning home run by Feliz. But Vic’s reaction after the double — that was the key. He applauded, jumped around, yelled “Let’s go!” (Not to mention his playoff-style facial hair, the “Victo-beard.”)

That’s the fervor missing from this team for so long. That’s the lead-by-example play that had been missing, the kind of play Jimmy Rollins ate up last season.

So what do you know — one night later, Rollins gets on base all five times, smiles, claps along and hustles. Fans respond, all is well. The Phils win 5-0 and suddenly it’s 2007 again. There’s energy, there’s fervor, there’s response. There’s attitude, and hopefully, it’s here to stay.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Todd

    how much of these wins and overall play has to do with Pedro Feliz, out of curiosity… i’m not in Philly, so don’t hear the interviews and reactions… but 3 of the games were on nationally, and he looked like a dude they’ve been missing for a while… really missing.

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    Yeah, Pedro is a big missing piece. If anything, he’s just another right-handed bat to get in there.

     
  • Posts: 0 Richie

    Pedro is more of a defensive presence than anything, a huge defensive presence, but he has come up big in big spots recently at the plate, let’s hope this is a sign of more to come.

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    We can definitely thank Victorino for that, right on Tim. He has seemingly forced a new energy onto this team in the last week or so.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lewisauce

    It’s funny. That Bruntlett-Molina play, you wouldn’t figure that would be the thing to start a downward slide. No one wants to see Molina (or anyone) get hurt, but if I recall correctly, Bruntlett scored on that play, so it was a play in the Phils’ favor. Why people are pointing to it as the point at which it fell apart, I have no idea. Psychologically, it makes no sense.

    Either way, yeah, it’s the attitude. Keep on rockin’.

     
  • Posts: 0 Mike B.

    I would be more inclined to say that it was the losing the last two games in that first series at St. Louis that affected the Phillies adversely rather than Bruntlett’s slide into Molina. The Phillies scored 20 runs that Friday night in a win and then could not muster more than 2 runs the next day in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. Then in the last game on Sunday they lost by a run again, 7-6. One of those losses was to Kyle Lohse who had a really good record at the time. Losing all those inter-league games kept them on the down-slide and the problems Brett Myers had at the time.

     
 
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