Much Improved under Thomson

Solid pitching from four of the five starters, and timely hitting have the Phillies finally on a roll. The young guys have improved the outlook of this team and team defense. The combination of Moniak and Verling in centerfield gives the Phillies better balance and defense. Both of these two players seem to be beginning to hit as they get more comfortable. Stott and Maton are an improvement in the infield. It is a shame Maton got hurt. He probably is the ideal fill-in for Segura who will not likely be back until September. As Stott becomes comfortable he may be the second baseman until Segura comes back as long as DiDi is at short. Carmargo will provide additional backup once he recovers from his injury. If both Stott and Maton hit the way they should, the Phillies may want to consider trading Di Di for a relief pitcher that throws strikes around the trade deadline. This is Di Di's last year of his contract. Another player that may be expendable is Herrera. Gibson continues to struggle in the 4th inning. This means if he continues to be the 5th starter, we need to have Nelson ready in the bullpen at the start of the 4th inning in case Gibson blows up. Another option would be to start Sanchez or Falter and move Gibson to 3 inning relief. With four of our starters pitching 6 to 7 innings in most starts, the pressure on the bullpen is less. That will help. The big thing the bullpen needs to do better is to throw strikes, and not walk people. Knebel needs to find command of his curveball again. If he does not, he is a one-pitch fastball pitcher that will get hit. The Phillies' best bet to replace Knebel as the closer, if needed, is Dominguez. This team is finally looking like the contender they were envisioned to be. Catching the Mets is going to be a difficult task. Making the playoffs should be a reality. Anything can happen once the playoffs start.