Dejan quoted John Russell a number of times over the past couple weeks stating that the team was really close to breaking out, and that he was trying to express to them, during their awful early July play, that they were ready to turn the corner, if only they wouldn't panic.
So, was it his years of baseball wisdom and experience with young players? Did he really intuit what was to come? Or is this just a crazy, flukey stretch, and little more than the law of averages making up for 20-0 and the like?
My sense is that they were clearly unlucky leading up to the All Star Break - pretty much all of the new guys were hitting at least OK, yet their overall offensive output was somehow close to nil. And while I don't expect the current 9.6 runs/game pace to continue, it wouldn't surprise me if the team really has achieved a new, higher offensive plateau. While we can expect all of the rookies to experience struggles going forward, they've all gotten past their initial adjustment periods, and should experience a bit more consistency. Throw in at least decent performance from Jones and Milledge, and this should no longer be the worst offense in baseball.
But I still don't know whether JR was just engaging in wishful thinking and motivational techniques.