After batting a paltry .193 in the month of August, Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez appears to be heating up in the month of September. In his last 14 at bats, including his first three of Tuesday's series opener in Washington, Ibanez is batting .500 with three home runs and three RBIs.
Ibanez started his first season with the Phillies in blistering fashion, hitting .359 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in March and April. He followed that up with an unprecedented May in which he hit .312 to go along with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs.
Ibanez hit a wall in mid-June when he went on the disabled list, missing almost an entire month. Once he finally returned from the DL, Ibanez was clearly a different hitter, possibly still plagued by the injury. Ibanez hit .258 in July, and .193 in August, with a combined total of five home runs and 20 RBIs in 41 games.
The first series of September seemed to spell more of the same for the struggling Ibanez, who was oh for the series against the San Francisco Giants. However, a trip to the Lone Star state was a different story. Despite getting swept by the Astros, the series was a improvement for Ibanez, who went 4-11 with a walk and a home run.
As of the bottom of the seventh inning of Tuesday night's game against the Nationals, Ibanez had three hits with two solo home runs. It is Ibanez's 13th multi-homer game of his career.
It's still early, but if Ibanez can keep rolling along at this pace, he could be just the thing the Phillies' offense needed to get back on track. The Phillies have lost four in a row coming into Tuesday night, and six of their last 10. Despite winning the series against the Atlanta Braves at the end of August, the Phillies' offense has been largely anemic since the Mets series from August 21-24.
The Phillies have two three games series against the Nationals split up by a four game set against the Mets this week and next. In 12 games against the Nationals this season, Ibanez is batting .440 with six home runs and 18 RBIs.
Oh, make that .472 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs.