Rollins, Phillies showing renewed confidence

Jimmy Rollins (11) is congratulated as he walks back to the dugout after hitting a home run in the seventh inning of a game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 6-2. (Bill Streicher/USA Today)

It’s a question that would have seemed preposterous less than a week ago, but nobody, including Jimmy Rollins did a double-take when asked if the Phillies still thought they could win the division.

“Playing this way, we can,” Rollins said.

The comment came after Friday’s 6-2 win over the visiting Washington Nationals which tied the Phillies season-best five-game win streak.

Believe it or not, it’s the longest active streak in the Major Leagues.

The Phillies are eight games behind first place Washington and Atlanta in the N.L. East with 69 left to play.

“Fortunately we are not completely out of it,” Rollins said. “We have been in this situation before and come back and won the division.”

Just last Sunday the Phillies were 12 games out of first, but they seem to have regained their confidence during their win streak.

Of course that same observation about regaining confidence was made after their other five-game win streak this season. That one ended on June 21 and began a 3-13 slide.

Now during this current win streak, the Phillies have outscored their opponent, 31-13.

 After this weekend series with Washington, the Phillies begin play following the four-day all-star break in Atlanta.

 “The guys are sticking together and fighting each game and right now we are going out against teams in our division with Washington, and Atlanta after the break so we have a chance to make a move,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “So that is primarily where the focus is.”

Sandberg and Rollins weren’t being boastful. They were just answering questions and both expect the Phillies to make a run.

The Phillies have been so inconsistent this season that there is no telling whether this current stretch will last.

Less than a week after being buried, however, they are showing some life. There is still much work to do, but the fact that there is even a discussion about them contending, shows what a turnaround it has been in less than week’s time.