Although one might suggest that they would stay down after trading away All-Star outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence before Tuesday's trade deadline, putting up the unofficial white flag on the season, the Phillies are instead on the upswing.
New right fielder Nate Schierholtz slugged a go-ahead, solo home run in his third at-bat in a Phillies uniform to complement two solo shots by longtime shortstop Jimmy Rollins en route to a 3-2 win over first-place Washington. The Phils have won back-to-back games since trading away two-thirds of their outfield.
"I think if you look at us, we've got some life to us, guys are having fun," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We've got some guys that are trying to show something. Hopefully we can get better."
In addition to hitting the game-winning home run, Schierholtz made the first out of the eighth inning when he robbed Nats rookie Bryce Harper of a base hit with a sliding catch in shallow right. The out proved to be important as Ryan Zimmerman followed with a pinch-hit single.
"I had to go a long way - I started out in the gap, I was playing away from the line - so I wasn't 100 percent sure I was going to get to it," Schierholtz said. "But I made it."
Schierholtz, who arrived from San Francisco in the Pence trade, was happy to join a team that might give him an opportunity to play every day. Despite San Francisco's revolving door of an outfield in the last few years, Schierholtz said he never got a chance to prove his worth.
"I had talks with the manager over the years," Schierholtz said, referring to Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "I just felt like I had a short leash. It was series by series. If I didn't perform for three games, that was my chance. It got frustrating at times."
Despite the Phils' current place in the standings, Schierholtz is hopeful he left one winning team to catch on with a Phillies club ready for a two-month revival.
"I know there's a lot of upside here," Schierholtz said. "The Phillies are up at the top, so I don't think there's any reason why we can't start winning games and make things interesting. For me, I'm excited to be here."