Cold Bats Drop Phillies From First
They started the season 8-2, but are 3-7 since. Is it the pitching? They had a 3.94 ERA in their first 10 games, which ranked 12th in baseball. They have a 4.19 ERA in their last 10, which ranks 19th.
But pitching is not why the Phillies are not in first place in the National League East for the first time since May 29, 2009.
It’s the offense. The Phillies led baseball in runs (77), on-base percentage (.400) and slugging percentage (.535) through their first 10 games. They ranked second in batting average (.315). But they have experienced a dramatic drop since. They rank 27th in runs (30), 29th in batting average (.219) and slugging percentage (.320) and 30th in on-base percentage (.282) in their last 10 games.
They went from being the best offense in baseball to one of the worst.
Shane Victorino is hitting .194 (7-for-36) with four RBIs in his last nine games, Placido Polanco is hitting .152 (5-for-33) with one RBI in his last 10, Chase Utley has hit .182 (6-for-33) with three RBIs in his last nine, and Ryan Howard is hitting .185 (7-for-40) with two RBIs in his last 10.
“That’s life,” Charlie Manuel said. “I’ve seen the greatest hitters in baseball be 0-for-30, 0-for-40, 1-for-54.”
“That’s baseball,” Howard said. “That’s what happens. You go out, put up a bunch of runs early. You have your hot streaks and your cold streaks, and right now it’s just not going the way we want it to. We’ve just got to keep swinging.”
The good news? They get Tim Lincecum in the series finale today at AT&T Park.
I will be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square. I’ll also be signing books beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday at Citizens Bank Park, on the Main Concourse behind Section 111. The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.