You're going to need a program when the Phillies return tonight to Citizens Bank Park. Some unfamiliar Phillies have stepped up during the young team's series in the empty South Florida ballpark.
The Phillies offense was in one of those familiar funks until Darnell Sweeney, who was acquired last week in the Chase Utley trade, pinch hit in the eighth inning.
The intriguing, powerful former Dodgers farmhand hit a mammoth 445-foot homer to left center for his first major league hit.
His blast was infectious. Aaron Altherr and Darin Ruf followed with solo blasts catapulting the Phillies to a meaningless but encouraging 4-2 comeback win over Miami.
Sweeney, who had 15 family members and friends travel from his native Fort Lauderdale, which is a short trip down I-95, impressed with his power.
"He can hit with that kind of pop from both sides of the plate," Pete Mackanin said. "He crushed that ball. He won a starting job (against the Marlins Sunday). His swing is impressive."
Sweeney, who is a soft-spoken, humble prospect, smiled while recounting his memorable feet.
"I was just trying to get something going," Sweeney said. "I wanted to be aggressive and put a good swing on it."
Sweeney, who played in the Dodgers system with Marlins All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon, spoke to his pal after the game.
"He was saying 5 Gs for [the home run ball]."
Sweeney didn't have to drop a cent. The ball was at his locker. Perhaps the Phillies have a young core to build around. Since the Giants were in a bidding war for Utley, the Phillies picked up the impressive and athletic Sweeney. And Altherr, who failed to get a hit in five-at bats in his cup of coffee last season with the Phillies, is looking good. Altherr stepped it up in AA and AAA posting a collective .293, with 14 homers and 67 RBIs in 111 games. Altherr, who is noticeably more aggressive at the plate the second time around in the majors, has hit a pair of homers and doubles in four games.
"I'm more comfortable this time around," Altherr said. "I think it has something to do with the experience I picked up (in the minors) this season and also in winter ball (in Venezuela). I'm not trying to hit homers. I'm just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere."
Altherr and Sweeney can each play all three positions in the outfield, finally possibly giving the Phillies some gap power and strong defensive play.
Mackanin is finally giving Odubel Herrera some time off. "He's played great but he's played about every inning for a long time," Mackanin said.
Mackanin is going to let the kids audition the rest of the way and so there will be more reason to catch the Phillies in September than in April. What a way to cap a strange, trying season.
Maikel Franco said that his injured wrist is at 60 percent. "It's coming along," Franco said. "It's still not there yet. There is no reason to rush back." Franco hopes to return to the lineup this week.
Aaron Harang, who has struggled mightily during the second half, pitched very well against the Marlins. Harang allowed only two hits over seven innings. "He pitched great," Mackanin said. "That was impressive."