At some point in the near future, the Phillies front office is going to have to make some important decisions about the make-up of their roster as they contemplate potential additions prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Sunday, the offense seemed determined to make those decisions as difficult as possible.
Their message: Relax. We got this.
In its last game before before a four-day break for baseball's annual All-Star festivities, an injury-riddled and under-achieving line-up scored 10 runs in the final two innings of play as the Phillies cruised to a 14-1 victory over a Braves team that is expected to provide a stiff challenge for the National League East crown.
Cole Hamels finished off the finest first half of his young career, holding Atlanta to three hits and two walks while allowing one run and striking out six in eight innings of work. He improved to 11-4, lowered his ERA to 2.32, and showed exactly why he was voted into his second All-Star game (because he pitched yesterday, Hamels is not able to pitch in the game).
But it was the Phillies offense that made the strongest statement as every lingering question mark seemed determined to turn himself into an exclamation point before the break.
There was once-struggling veteran Raul Ibanez, who made a highlight-reel above-the-wall catch and drove in six runs, three of them coming on his 12th home run of the season.
There was seldom-used Rule 5 pick Michael Martinez, who had a career-high four hits in five at-bats while filling in for injured third baseman Placido Polanco.
There was recently-called-up John Mayberry Jr., who hit a career-high three doubles and drove in four runs.
The Phillies took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning, then scored six runs to blow the game open. They added four more in the eighth to cap off what can only be described as a loud statement to the Braves, who entered this three-game series trailing them by 2.5 games in the NL East. The Phillies took two of three games, extending their division lead to 3.5 while finishing the first half of the season with a 57-34 record.