It’s Not 2008 Anymore

Charlie Manuel expressed deep concerns about his offense before last night’s 6-3 loss to the Brewers.

Where’s the pop?

He mentioned Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and Pat Burrell in a lengthy discussion. Utley is hurt, Werth is in Washington and Burrell is in San Francisco. Each of them had high on-base percentages, and each of them knew how to work counts. They also could drive the ball. The Phillies certainly have been missing that lately. The Phillies have just nine extra-base hits since April 9, which is last in baseball. (The Cardinals are first with 42. The Marlins are second-to-last with 14.) Those numbers are a bit misleading because some teams have played nine games in that span while the Phillies have played seven. But here’s what is not misleading: the Phillies also have a .290 slugging percentage in that span, which is last in baseball.

The Phillies, whose 38 extra-base hits for the season rank 25th, have a serious power outage.

But before folks say, “It’s a long season,” remember, it’s Manuel expressing these concerns.

“I know people are going to say, ‘Well, you’ve got the starting pitching.’ Yeah, that’s part of it,” Manuel said. “But at the same time, usually when you talk about a World Series team or something like that, you’re talking about a top-notch team. I’m not saying we don’t have that, but we could have it. It’s going to take some work. We’ve got to improve in some areas, and we’ve got to hope our players live up to their career averages and their career performances.”

A couple random thoughts:

  • When is John Mayberry Jr. going to get a start? Raul Ibanez has started every game this season. Ben Francisco has started all but one. Ibanez has hit .189 (7 for 37) in his last nine games. Francisco has hit .111 (2 for 18) in his last five. The Phillies are facing left-handers Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson the next two games. Mayberry has been great off the bench, but he’s got to play to stay sharp. Manuel expressed his concerns countless times this spring about his outfield’s defense. He lamented the fact yesterday his corner outfielders haven’t hit for power. Mayberry can play defense and hit for power. Throwing him out there at least once a week wouldn’t seem to be the worst thing in the world right now.
  • One second Danys Baez is pitching in a big spot — replacing J.C. Romero and remaining in the game to face Greg Dobbs on Friday —  the next second the Phillies are bringing in long man Kyle Kendrick in a tie game and Baez is the last man standing in the bullpen. How quickly things change.
  • Who knows if this is just a rough stretch for the offense or not, but what if this is who the Phillies are? Say they are a light-hitting team. You can’t look around and say, “Well, here’s an obvious way to upgrade the lineup.” Manuel just has to hope things return to normal and Utley comes back and stays healthy. Otherwise they’re really going to need the rotation to be superheroes.


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While I would agree they miss Utley and Werth, I wouldn’t put Burrell at the top of my woes list.


Is there a discussion in the clubhouse on playing more small ball?

As far as the offense “returning to normal”, I questioned where the power was coming from even before the season began. Other than Howard, there isn’t one guy who you can confidently expect to hit as many as 15 HRs. It’s great to have starting pitching, but as we’ve seen over the past few games, this offense will become a problem as the season goes on.

Another thing is Ibanez’ horrifically inaccurate throws to home plate. The last 3 throws in recent games were all 15-20′ up the 1st base line. It’s time to replace him. He’s not hitting and he’s a liability on defense.

If I’m not mistaken, Charlie has been part of the decision making especially when it comes to on field decisions. Victorino is not a leadoff hitter, Rollins cannot obviously hit third, you can’t continue to hit Francisco behind Howard and Valdez is not an everyday player. How about this lineup: Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Howard, Ruiz, Mayberry, Victorino, Orr. Move Polanco and Ibanez when a lefthander is pitching. If Charlie is in love with Valdez, play him against lefthanders.

Amazing how time works. Burrell was badmouthed for his monster contract while it was in effect, and now he’s missed.

Not a big Pat B fan,since last year…but he man does have 5 HRs allready…we are going to win or lose like the 1965 Dodgers,Folks! Get used to it.

For 12 innings last night I watched hitters hack at bad pitches, gaze at good ones while they whistled by and the topper was Kendrick coming in looking like a deer in the headlights complete with his rapid, nervous bird-like twitches to give the game away. You can’t be a big league pitcher if you are too scared to make a mistake.
Charlie’s a hitting guru. Time for him to start guru-ing.

talking about a ‘nine game span’ while the Phils are 4th in runs scored in the NL as well as 4th isn slg% doesn’t really make any sense. Stats are great but winning games is what matters and that is what they have done.

Since the comeback opening day, we have lost the first game of each series and then won the rest, maybe this is a mental thing in the first game of each series?

For what it’s worth, like Charlie, I am concerned also…

How is this for amazing futility. In the 12th inning, the Brewers did not have an official AB until the 8th batter. Walk, sacrifice (and an error), sac fly, HBP, intentional walk, sac fly, intentional walk and, finally, a single.
You can’t make this stuff up.

What about moving Chooch up to the 5-hole to jumpstart the lineup?

this is not the 2008 team!! We all knew that, so stop trying to play 2008 ball. THi steam is built to win 100+ games 4-1 or 3-2. Stop thinking of winning 10-7 games with this team. Bat Victorino first, get him on and give him a green light. He and Rollins each need to steal 30+ this year. small ball is what this team is designed for…its the game they need to play. Don’t look back, Cholly, look forward

I really wonder if some of you guys even know what small ball is or if this is just a talking point that people have regurgitated so much over the last 5 years that its lost all meaning. Just because the stolen bases aren’t there yet doesn’t mean they aren’t playing small ball.

The Phillies this year have been scoring with walks, singles, sac flies, sac bunts, RBI groundouts. Virtually no extra base hits to speak of. That is small ball. Some of you guys need to stop complaining and realize the Phillies are playing small ball.

We’re just gonna have to be patient. In an ideal world, you’d have Utley at 2nd, Brown in one corner outfield spot, and Ibanez/Francisco platooning in the other. Neither of these guys is good enough to play every day….and if Brown can’t earn his way back up here by the break, or Utley doesn’t come back, they are going to HAVE to make a trade for some pop at the corner outfield position.

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