Jeff Francoeur had that “I told you so” grin. Earlier in the week, the perpetually cheerful rightfielder had a message for Metro: “We’re going to win more games than people think.
Francoeur is playing his best baseball of the year, as is the entire squad. The team added a fifth straight win Sunday afternoon over Colorado to end a 10-game homestand on a high note.
“We’re winning some games and it’s fun,” Francoeur said. “I think this could be a turning point for this team.”
Even with the club’s longest winning streak since August, entering Sunday’s game, the Phillies are seven games under .500 and in last place in the NL East. Most experts expect the Phillies to finish with the worst record in baseball.
Ryne Sandberg’s club has played decent ball of late and the team is performing with a tangible verve that has been missing for much of the last two seasons.
“I think things are a bit different this year and it’s positive,” Jake Diekman said. “This is the best vibe I felt here.”
Perhaps that has something to do with the spark that such first-year starters as Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera have provided.
“I’m just playing baseball and trying to do what I can to help this team win ballgames,” Galvis said. “I think we have some good ballplayers.”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle agrees.
“They have some talent there,” Hurdle said. “Galvis is hitting really well. Herrera looks really good and Ryan Howard is starting to hit. If they keep progressing, they’re going to give teams trouble, particularly when (Cole) Hamels and (Aaron) Harang start. They have a solid bullpen, which is anchored by a guy (Jonathan Papelbon), who routinely saves games. If you’re down against them late in the game, they’re especially tough.”
And Maikel Franco, who was tearing up the Eastern League, was promoted to the big club Friday. He slammed his first career big-league homer Sunday in the eighth.
“I think we’re going to make things interesting,” Ben Revere said. “We battle. We scrap back. We don’t give up. It’s been a good homestand. But I think you’ll learn a lot about this team on this road trip.”
The Phillies start in Colorado with a four-game stand against the cellar dwelling Rockies, followed by a series in Washington against the scalding Nationals and then face the scuffling Mets.
“I’m really curious where we’ll be at the end of the month,” Francoeur said. “Like I said, “I think we’re going to win some games. People shouldn’t take this team lightly.”
The Phillies’ team batting average during their five-game wining streak is a pretty impressive mark of .301. The team batted just .236 on the year heading into Sunday’s game.