As the Phillies unwind at the All-Star break, let's take a look back at the highlights – and lowlights – of the first half of the season, from Ryne Sandberg's resignation to Maikel Franco's historic performance in the Bronx.
High: Herrera's first big-league hit is a walk-off (4/11)
After playing in his first major-league game on Opening Day, center fielder Odubel Herrera was searching for his first major-league hit in his second start with the Phillies. Hitless on the night, the 23-year-old rookie stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 10th with the scored tied, 2-2, and a runner on second. In a pressure situation, Herrera delivered, smacking a double to right that brought in the game-winning run.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY SportsEric Hartline
Low: Hamels shellacked on Opening Day (4/6)
With ace Cole Hamels taking the mound on Opening Day, the Phillies were hoping to start the season on a good note. However, Hamels' Opening Day start proved not to be his day. The 31-year-old lefty gave up four home runs to the Red Sox, all solo shots, and walked three batters over five innings. The Phillies didn't rebound from Hamels' poor outing and lost their first game of the season in front their home crowd of 45,549. As bad as Hamels' first start of the season was, his last start of the first half was even worse, as he was knocked around by the Giants for 12 hits and nine earned runs over 3 1/3 innings. The lefty ace, who holds a 113-90 career record, is 5-7 at the All-Star break.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY SportsBill Streicher
High: Hamels shuts down red-hot Cardinals (4/27)
Following his disastrous start on Opening Day, it was uncertain how Cole Hamels would respond and perform on a Phillies team that was bound to struggle in a rebuilding year. After starting the season 0-2, Hamels entered his fifth start searching for his first win against the red-hot Cardinals, who were off to a 12-5 start. Hamels put on a show, holding the Cardinals to four hits and one run while striking out nine, picking up his first win of the season. Hamels lost his next start, but would win the following four, recording a 2.11 ERA with 29 strikeouts during the stretch.
Getty ImagesDilip Vishwanat
Low: Blowout loss in Baltimore, Utley yells at coach (6/16)
Already on a seven-game losing streak, the Phillies found themselves in a ditch early on by giving up 12 runs to the Orioles in three innings, six of which were scored on five home runs. Baltimore wasn't done putting runs on the board, though. They hit an additional three home runs in the game and eventually won by a score of 19-3. The loss not only extended the Phils' losing streak to eight games, but also created tension in the dugout when Chase Utley berated pitching coach Bob McClure for leaving outfielder Jeff Francoeur on the mound for over 40 pitches.
Getty ImagesRob Carr
High: Ruf's walk-off single snaps 7-game skid (6/2)
After the Phillies capped off May with a seven-game losing streak that sent their record freefalling to 19-33, the team needed a boost to bolster morale. The Phillies' young talent delivered. With the Phils trailing 4-2 in the eighth, on the verge of losing their eighth-straight game, Maikel Franco hit a two-run home run to tie the game. Then, pinch hitting in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on third, Darin Ruf singled to right to win the game. The walk-off gave the Phillies momentum for another walk-off win the following night, which was once again enabled by a game-tying home run from Franco.
With the Phillies at a horrific 26-48 nearly halfway through the season, Ryne Sandberg resigned as the team's manager. While the move was seen as preemptive on Sandberg's part, as there was little chance he would've been kept after 2015 by new team president Andy MacPhail, who was officially brought in three days later, it raised questions as to why he didn't remain manager for the rest of the season. The Phillies haven't had any more success so far with interim manager Pete Mackanin than they did with Sandberg, as they are 3-14 since his departure, and stand at an excruciating 29-62 (.319) at the All-Star break.
Getty ImagesMiles Kennedy
High: Franco's offensive explosion in the Bronx (6/22-6/23)
Maikel Franco put on a show worthy of a curtain call in New York. In his first game in Yankee Stadium, the rookie third baseman propelled the Phillies to an 11-8 victory by putting on a hitting clinic, in which he went 4 for 5 with two home runs and five RBI. Certainly a once-in-a-lifetime performance, right? Not if you're Maikel Franco. The 22-year-old Dominican delivered an encore performance the following night, fueling an 11-6 Philadelphia victory by hitting 2 for 3 with a home run and five RBI. The awe-inspiring offensive display etched Franco in Phillies history as the only player in franchise history to drive in five runs in consecutive games.