Phillies homestand short, but hopefully sweet

After a ten-game road trip out west, the Phillies return for a short four-game homestand against the Chicago Cubs. It's a short layover before the team travels to Atlanta and Washington.

The Phillies will open a four-game homestand Friday with a wrap-around weekend series against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park.

On Monday night, five days after returning home from the longest trip of the season, the Phillies will be back on the road with a six-game trip through Atlanta and Washington.

Jimmy Rollins, who is hitting .440 (11-for-25) in six games at Citizens Bank Park this season, was among the many Phillies who were ready to get home, no matter how long it was for, following a 7-2 victory at Chase Field in Arizona on Wednesday, the final game in a 10-day, 10-game, three-city West Coast trip.

"No road trip lasts forever, although this has been a long trip," Rollins said. "We get to go home for four days, which is always good. You wake up, you're on your own schedule, you're back home.

"Juan (Pierre) doesn't even know what his apartment looks like. Home cookin'."

The Phillies have played only six of their first 19 games of the season at home in 2012. They hope their brief homestand will help continue to ignite the awakening of a sluggish offense.

The Phillies enter play Friday having scored 63 runs in their first 19 games. Only three teams in baseball have scored fewer runs. The Pittsburgh Pirates are the only team with fewer extra-base hits.

But manager Charlie Manuel's lineup began to show life in Phoenix. After being on the verge of being shut out for the third time in 10 days on Monday night, trailing 9-0 in the ninth, the Phillies scored five runs in their final at-bat.

The late rally sparked the offense for the rest of the series. The Phillies scored 15 runs in their final two games against the Diamondbacks, outscoring Arizona, 15-7, to take the series.

Before Wednesday, the Phillies hadn't scored 15 runs in any series this season, let alone in back-to-back games.

"Even though we lost the first game, scoring those five runs in the ninth, that showed that no one is going to roll over," Rollins said of the rally that ignited the offense.

"You have to start somewhere, so hopefully that was the start. I'd like to believe it's a start."

The Phillies had 13 extra-base hits, including five home runs, in their three-game series at Chase Field. They batted .327 with an .896 OPS.

In the first two legs of the trip, in seven games in San Francisco and San Diego, the Phillies batted .212 with a .545 OPS; they had only 11 extra-base hits.

While the offense on the whole has appeared to come around, there were several bright spots, as Placido Polanco had his first three-hit game on Wednesday, Juan Pierre had his seventh multi-hit game and Ty Wigginton has hit in 11 consecutive games.

However, the middle of the order remains a concern.

Hunter Pence broke out of an 0-for-16 funk Monday, Shane Victorino is 2-for-21 in his last five games and Rollins went 3-for-33 on the trip. Rollins, who was out of the lineup for the first time this season on Wednesday, has hit in the third spot of the order in each of his 18 starts this season.

Rollins' struggles are a big reason Phillies' three-hole hitters have a major league-worst .522 OPS and .263 slugging percentage. But Manuel isn't as concerned with one spot in his batting order as much as he is in getting consistent production from the lineup as a whole.

"They say your best hitter is in the three hole," Manuel said. "I say my best hitters are in one through six. You have to have a potent lineup to go all the way."


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