Swag.ger /ˈswagər/: n. A very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive gait or manner.
Ah hell, we all know what swagger is. It’s what Jimmy Rollins eats, sleeps and breaths. It’s that sense of feeling Phillies fans are currently feeling.
And rightfully so, too.
Heading into the first real big series of the season for the Phillies, second meeting with the Atlanta Braves, the fans in the Philadelphia are are confident that the results will be similar to the first go-around.
The Phillies and Braves met early in the season, with Atlanta taking the first of the three-game series and then the Phillies absolutely dominating the next two games.
Cliff Lee was hit around pretty hard in the Phillies 6-3 loss. But then Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels shut down the Braves as the Phillies won 10-2 and 3-0 to win the series at Turner Field.
The conclusion of that series gave the Phillies a 7-2 start. They now stand at 21-9, the best record in the NL and tied with the Cleveland Indians for the best in the majors.
The Phillies pitching, which was slated the best in the game, is performing just that. Roy Halladay and Lee have been ace-like to start the season while Oswalt and Hamels have done an incredible job in their unfamiliar three and four roles.
Even the injured Joe Blanton was starting to get into a nice groove before going down with an injury but will return most likely to start the following series. And with him down, the young Vance Worley has given up only one run in his two starts thus far.
The offense has already hit it’s fair share of inconsistencies but this was expected from the fans. Placido Polanco has been on some kind of monster tear, hitting a team high .375 with 21 RBIs (second).
Shane Victorino has settled in nicely in the top of the line up, hitting .292 from the lead-off and two-hole spot with five homers and 16 RBIs. Rollins, the swagger man himself, was inserted back in the lead-off spot and has increased his average to .292 and OBP to .380.
Ryan Howard has provided the most power, hitting a team-high six homers and 29 RBIs (2nd in the majors). Most importantly, Raul Ibanez has found himself hitting again, boasting the most swagger of them all currently. After breaking his 0-for-35 slump on Tuesday in his second at-bat with a double, Ibanez nine hits in his last 13 at-bats with four doubles, two home runs and five RBIs.
The Phillies have a real opportunity to blow their team swagger through the roof in this series. They can distance themselves further from the Braves, who are more of a threat than the Florida Marlins long term, with a series win here.
The fans know it and the Phillies know it. This team is at the boiling point with their swagger. And soon, the Braves will know it too.
For more on swagger, check out ZWR’s “J-Roll’s Swag-o-meter.”