The Funk

howard strikeout.jpg

Some thoughts about the Phillies’ funk:

I understand why the Phillies have made, “That’s baseball,” their motto as they’ve tried to explain their unexplainable slump: there is no reason other than everybody has gotten cold at the same time and they miss Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco. And I understand why they have said, “We’ve been through slumps like this before.” Because they have been through team-wide hitting slumps. And in the end, talent always won and the Phillies always started hitting again.

But I also understand why fans are concerned. This isn’t just another slump.

Manuel loves to tell the story about how the Phillies scored 20 runs against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 13, 2008. He said reporters asked him afterward if they could score 1,000 runs that season, despite the fact they were on pace to score 875. Manuel then said the Phillies went in a slump to kill such talk.

The Phillies scored 31 runs in a 2-9 stretch following that 20-run effort against the Cardinals in 2008 — such a brutal slump that Manuel always, always, always brings it up whenever the Phillies hit a lull.

So then consider the Phillies have scored just 14 runs in their current 2-9 stretch, 17 fewer runs than the slump that is burned in Manuel’s memory like Black Friday or Joe Carter in Game 6. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is just the third time in franchise history the Phillies have scored 14 or fewer runs in 11 games. They scored 14 runs in a 0-11 stretch from Aug. 5-14, 1961, and 14 runs in a 2-9 stretch from July 22-Aug. 4, 1902. The 1902 Phillies finished 56-81 (.409), which was seventh in the eight-team National League. The ’61 Phillies finished 47-107 (.305), which was the worst record in baseball.

No Phillies team has been worse since the ’61 squad.

I understand why the Phillies are trying to remain calm and confident, even though they most certainly are pressing at the plate. They don’t care how many runs they’ve scored in the last 11 games. That’s in the past. But I also understand why we’re making an issue out of it: These aren’t the ’61 Phillies. These are the two-time defending National League champions, and they’re going through one of the worst offensive slumps in franchise history.

But after saying all of that, I think everybody should relax. It’s been a long two weeks, but it’s just two weeks.

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Nelson Figueroa cleared waivers yesterday and accepted his assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. … I went to Rollins’ Basebowl Tournament yesterday afternoon at Lucky Strikes. Phillies ball girls Lindsay and Perrin wondered why I haven’t shown their blog any love. So check ‘em out.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

15 Comments

The fact that they are the 2-time NL champs is what makes it all the more puzzling. If they were the ’61 squad, or even the 2000 team (that lost 97 games) we’d just figure it was because they stink.
We know this team is good, but the longer they struggle, the further behind they get, and it becomes difficult to leap-frog three teams to get to first place, and at this point they’re closer to being in 4th place than first.
With games against the Sox, Yankees and Twins looming, it’s way past time to get the bats going.

muleman: I agree. We know what this team can do and with everyone is such a slump its a bit discouraging. High Cheese /David Murphy wrote that he thought the Phils hit the ball better in the last two games against the Braves despite what the box score said. I know we’re all looking for something positive to cling to :-)

I hope Roy doesn’t have to pitch another perfecto to insure a win tonight, but I wouldn’t put it past him against the light hitting Padres.

I guess all these stats are being brought up because there’s nothing else to write about. I understand but at the same time I’m getting a little tired of it. No offense, Todd, but sometimes things can’t be rationally explained by numbers. The Phils need to get that fighting spirit back with determination and persistance and power through this slump. They need some sort of pep rally and know that the fans are backing them 100%. I believe in them and I believe that the spark will be ignited in them once again. I’m thinking this home stretch will get their heads and hearts back in baseball. I hope they prove me right. Go Phils!

Phan: I’m concerned that DOc pitches 9 innings of perfect ball and the score is still 0-0 and the phillies have only 1 hit as we go into xtra innings. THe guy pitching for the Padres has been hot lately.

f-i-j, Latos is a young guy who has pitched one complete game in his short career. His usual stint is 6, so he ain’t going 9, especially at CBP. Roy is the stopper-ace. They could send the eight other starters over to the Flyers game to borrow some inspiration and we still win tonight.

Yes, the last few weeks have been tough to watch and mind boggling. However, these are the two time defending NL champs. They will come out of it. Have Faith!

Not comparing the two, Phan, just saying that Latos has been hot the last month (4-0, 35 ip, 33 K, 1.29 ERA

This year’s Padres are 14-9 on the road so far. They have had the best starting pitching in the NL all season. How confident are you guys that the Phils’ bats will break out of their slump? When was the last time the Phils beat a decent young pitcher the first time they faced him?

Meanwhile, Juan Samuel became interim manager for the Orioles. And Pat the Bat is now on the Giants…..

They also started out the year averaging about 8 runs a game. I kinda figured they’d have a run like this to even things out.

The ump is defintely squeezing the strikezone for Doc today. Hundley and Gwynn should have been called out on strikes in the 2nd inning when they scored a run. This is definitely because of the uproar over the strikes that were caklled his way in his perfect game. I hope it doesn’t keep him from winning tonight….So far the offense is looking like the one that couldn’t beat minor league pitching.

What happened to Howard’s stance? He started out the year standing closer to the plate and squared-up. Now, he’s gone back to last year’s stance, i.e., further away from the plate and open. I thought at the start of the year he was actually laying off all of that off-speed stuff that was out of the strike zone. He cut WAY DOWN on his strikeouts with that stance!!! Now it’s back to trying to pull everything. When is he gonna get it through his thick head that he is most dangerous when he lets the ball travel more in the zone and drives it the other way? There’s usually only 2 guys on the other side of the diamond. But no…it seems that he is determined to hit the ball through the shift. I call that “thinking with the little head.”

Yes! Thanks for the Love!!! See you soon!

http://www.philliesballgirls.mlblogs.com

Is there any chance of the Phillies bringing up Dominic Brown with how Ibanez has been struggling? Or making some type of personel change?

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