Notes: Rowand is on top of his game
All-Star center fielder swings hot bat as trade deadline nears
PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Rowand just wants to talk about the team but it's hard to overlook the individual numbers he's put up in July."He's been hitting the ball all over the field," manager Charlie Manuel said. "And he's been hitting it hard. The latest display came Tuesday night against the Nationals, a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, with two doubles and the game-winning homer. Not a bad night's work, but not a consensus pick for his best day at the plate in July. Rowand went 5-for-6 against the Dodgers just last week, with three doubles and a home run. He went 4-for-4 against the Cardinals three days before, also with three doubles and a homer. The July barrage sent the Phillies media relations staff scrambling to find where Rowand's run placed him on some all-time lists. Rowand is the first player in Major League history to have two games with four extra-base hits in the same month. He is the 13th player in big-league history to have two games with four extra-base hits in a season, and the first Phillies player to ever do it. The rise in production could be attributed to Rowand being in a contract year, or to him trying to boost his trade value. But Rowand said on Tuesday that he expected to remain in Philadelphia, and was concentrated on getting his team to the playoffs. "I'm happy that I'm playing well and that I can contribute to this team," he said. Century mark: Wednesday's game with the Nationals marked the Phillies' 100th game of the season. Manuel expressed before the game his desire to go on a run or two over the final 62. "Right now would be a good time for us to run off that five, 10, 12-game win streak," Manuel said, quickly reverting to the one-game-at-a-time mantra. "When I talk that way, I don't want to get too far ahead." The Phillies had won four in a row heading into Wednesday night's game. Another win would match their season-high streak of five games reached during late April. The final two wins of that April stretch came against the Nationals. Not back in a Flash: As soon as Brett Myers is ready, Manuel said Wednesday, he will be thrown in the fire. That could come as soon as this weekend. Myers pitched one inning during the Class A Clearwater Threshers game at Tampa on Wednesday. He allowed one hit and had a strikeout and is expected to be activated soon. Manuel said he would be comfortable throwing Myers back into the closer's role immediately. He's hesitant to move as quickly with the 39-year-old Tom Gordon, who Manuel said would need a day or two off between outings. "I think Flash is usually the one I want to use patience with, as far as cutting loose," Manuel said. Ho, ho, ho: Christmas in July? The Phillies were in the holiday spirit Wednesday, with Christmas music piped in before the game and the Philadelphia Pops Brass Section on the field playing along. The strange timing could be attributed to the toy drive hosted by the Phillies ball girls, who collected toys before the game to be donated to the Children's Crisis Treatment Center in Philadelphia. Philling in: Jayson Werth (wrist) will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Clearwater on Wednesday ... The Phillies improved to 5-2 Tuesday in games that are tied after seven innings ... Jimmy Rollins' celebrity BaseBowl event in May raised $64,665 for the Arthritis Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania. Coming up: Adam Eaton (9-6, 5.84) beat the Padres his last time out, giving up two runs over 5 2/3 innings. The win was second in his last three starts. He'll start the matinee Thursday against Nationals rookie John Lannan (12-3, 2.36 ERA in the Minors this season) who arrived in Philly on Wednesday fresh from Triple-A. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.
Stephen Fastenau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.