It was a festive scene in the visiting clubhouse at Marlins Park on Sunday, because all is well that ends well.
Roy Halladay pitched eight strong innings and collecting his 200th career win after Laynce Nix hit a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning. Halladay got a gigantic bottle of champagne from his teammates for his accomplishment.
The win gave the Phils their second straight series win and it (temporarily) ended Halladay's early season struggles.
But the joyous mood in the clubhouse masked the fact that the offense sputtered yet again. The Phils won 2-1 but also stranded 10 runners on Sunday.
After 2 weeks of the season, what most needs to be fixed if the Phillies are to make the playoffs?
They left 27 men on base in the three-game series against the lowly Marlins. They went 6-for-20 (.200) with runners in scoring position in the series.
"We had situations . . . we just have to do a better job of getting those runs home," Ryan Howard said. "It's not like we're not hitting the ball - we just need timelier hits. We got ourselves in situations with runners in scoring position and two outs and we've have to get those hits."
Perhaps the offense gets its mojo going in Cincinnati tonight. The Phils face Bronson Arroyo.
The 36-year-old Arroyo has not been particularly good against the Phillies in his career: 2-7 with a 6.55 ERA in 11 games.
Arroyo did pitch well in his one start against the Phils in a 4-2 win here last year: 8 IP, 2 ER, 4 K, 1 BB.
But nearly everyone up and down the Phillies lineup has hit him hard in their respective careers.
Ryan Howard (4-for-14, HR, 2 RBI), Chase Utley (5-for-16, 2 RBI), Jimmy Rollins (6-for-18, 2 HR, 5 RBI), Domonic Brown (3-for-5, HR, RBI) and Michael Young (5-for-16, 3 RBI) are hitting .333 (23-for-69) with 5 home runs and 7 doubles lifetime against Arroyo.
On the surface, this would appear to be the chance for the Phillies to have hat's been a rarity int eh early stages of 2013: an easy game where they can coast to victory.
Cliff Lee is pitching opposite Arroyo. Lee is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA this season; he's allowed two earned runs in 16 2/3 innings of two starts.
Of course, when a gamer appears to be this easy, it rarely is. But the numbers, at least in the case of the Phils success against Arroyo, can't be a bad thing for Phils fans anxious to see the team climb over .500 and win for the fifth time in the last six games.
That would officially be the start of a hot streak.
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