Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have been topics of conversation lately as the Phillies announced their plans to retire Dick Allen’s No. 15.
It opened the door for the organization to retire the numbers of other Phillies legends not in the Hall of Fame.
That trio played on some of the greatest offenses in Phillies history. The offense that showed up Tuesday night in a 13-6 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park might be the best since the Phillies won the National League East title in 2007 and snapped a 14-year postseason drought. The Phillies sent 12 batters to the plate Tuesday in a seven-run sixth inning to help them win their fourth consecutive game and improve to 9-9 on the season.
“We’ve got a good team and we’ve got a good lineup,” Bryce Harper said. “When we’re hitting on all cylinders, we’re a pretty tough team to get out.”
The Phillies are averaging 5.72 runs per game this season. It is the highest mark in baseball. Yes, it is just 18 games, but no Phillies team has averaged more in 90 years (6.05 runs per game in 1930). An offense like that can carry a team to the postseason. The ’07 Phillies can attest to that. They led the National League in scoring to help them overcome a pitching staff with the fourth-highest ERA in the league.
“I think it takes everybody,” Harper said. “That’s the thing about teams that get to the postseason and really have success in the postseason. Of course, our lineup is made to make the postseason and things like that, but we’re going to need everybody.”
“We try to divide our left-handers up so it doesn’t become easy for the other manager to deploy his left-handers,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “Then you have [Phil] Gosselin on the bench, if they do. A lot of times we can get two favorable at-bats, even if it’s left-right-left. That’s what we’ve tried to do and it’s been effective.”
The Phillies had Gregorius on first with two outs in the sixth when Girardi sent Gosselin to the plate to pinch-hit for Scott Kingery and face Red Sox left-hander Josh Taylor. Gosselin crushed a first-pitch fastball off the left-center-field wall to score Gregorius and cut Boston’s lead to 4-3. Gosselin is batting .474 (9-for-19) with three doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs against lefties. Look for him to be somewhere in the starting lineup on Wednesday afternoon against Red Sox left-hander Kyle Hart.
Roman Quinn ripped a single down the left-field line to score Gosselin and tie the game. Andrew McCutchen singled, scoring Quinn to give the Phillies the lead. Hoskins, who hit his first homer of the season in the fifth to snap a homerless drought of 124 plate appearances dating to Sept. 17, walked. Which set Harper up to crush a three-run home run to right field, his fifth homer of the season, to hand the Phillies an 8-4 lead. Realmuto doubled and Gregorius singled to make it 9-4.
Gosselin hit a solo homer in the seventh and Bruce hit a three-run homer in the eighth.
It was a good night.
The Phillies rank first in baseball in batting average (.268), third in on-base percentage (.349), second in slugging percentage (.478) and second in OPS (.827). Their on-base percentage is the Phillies’ highest mark since 2007 (.354) and the slugging percentage is better than that year (.458).
The ’07 team averaged 5.51 runs per game. It was the Phillies’ best mark since 1930, until this year.
Can this offense compare to those?
“I don’t know if we’ll go that far yet since they won a World Series,” said Gosselin, who grew up rooting for those Phillies teams in West Chester, Pa. “But we definitely have a good lineup. I think we’ve shown that. We’re going to score. We were working the starter. We didn’t get any runs off him, but we got him out early and got into the bullpen. I think we’ve done a good job of making pitchers work throughout the game. There were two outs in that big inning and we kept it going.”