Life looked pretty grim for the Phillies on July 25.
Charlie Manuel had benched Jimmy Rollins a day earlier at Shea Stadium, the same day the Phillies fell out of first place in the National League East -- the first time they hadn't been in first since May 31. Manuel called a team meeting on the 25th at Citizens Bank Park to clear the air, but the Phillies lost that night to the Braves to fall two games behind the Mets in the standings. The Phillies were 13-21 in their previous 34 games, hitting just 3.91 runs per game with a 4.42 ERA.
But the Phillies are 7-1 in their eight games since, including last night's 5-4 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, to make them the hottest team in baseball. They're back in first place and have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Marlins and a three-game lead over the Mets. They're averaging 6.25 runs per game with a 3.68 ERA in that stretch.