Perhaps the Phillies will look back at Aaron Harang's effort in Saturday's 5-3 victory as the turning point. Harang threw six solid innings, allowing three runs while striking out six and walking two.
"He's a veteran guy out there," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He doesn't give in, he makes big pitches, he minimizes. He hung in there and gave us the quality start we needed."
Harang doesn't necessarily view himself as a stopper, but he did register just the second win of the season by Philadelphia's starters -- both of which belong to him.
"Every one of these starters in here wants to be that guy," Harang said. "You never want to see your team go on a slide like that, but to be able to go in and try and keep the guys on their toes, help keep a positive attitude and try to get in and out of innings very quick, that's always key in those situations. The quicker you can get the guys off the field, the more they're going to go to bat for you."
Rupp, who was making his fourth start of the season behind the plate, said it was too early for any kind of panic around the starting five, who saw their collective ERA dip to 4.84 after Harang's effort.
"When they've made mistakes, hitters have taken advantage of it, so obviously you want to eliminate those mistakes," Rupp said. "But Aaron has pitched well for us so far. Cole [Hamels], for the most part, has been good. In certain situations, you may get out of a jam instead of giving up a hit, but that's part of the game. And it's what? April 18? There's 150-something games left."
Rupp said he and fellow catcher Carlos Ruiz have not seen the starters waver in their approach despite the early season woes, a fact Rupp noted will eventually pay dividends.
"They're all confident in their game and their game plan, as well," he said. "You make adjustments on the fly when you need to and go from there."