Relax for a Second

The Phillies have played seven consecutive games with six or fewer hits and three or fewer runs.

Gotta get a bat, right?

Hold on just a second. Actually, hold on for a month. I’m not ready to start trading prospects or key players on the 25-man roster for a few reasons:

  • Chase Utley hasn’t played yet.
  • Domonic Brown hasn’t played yet.
  • Shane Victorino is on the DL.
  • A couple key hitters are slumping.

The Phillies have not played one game this year, including Spring Training, with their everyday lineup. I want to see what happens when everybody is back. I want to see how Utley plays. I want to see how Brown handles right-handed pitching on a regular basis. If they play like the Phillies expect, their lineup just got a whole lot better. The Phillies are in the perfect storm of slumps right now. They’re missing two of their everyday players, and their other everyday players are in a deep funk. Ryan Howard is in the worst slump of his career (0-for-23). Placido Polanco is hitting .231 this month. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .233. Carlos Ruiz is hitting .211. We know about Ben Francisco‘s struggles, which is a big reason why Brown is here. We know Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr have not been productive offensively at second base. The .567 OPS for Phillies second basemen is 15th in the National League.

Raul Ibanez is the only hitter in the lineup hitting right now. He is hitting .344 this month.

You have to assume Howard, Polanco, Rollins and Ruiz turn things around, although Ruiz has struggled offensively the entire season. If Utley and Brown do their things they should be OK. But if things don’t work out like the Phillies hope, realistically, they don’t seem to have a lot of options. They basically only can improve in the corner outfield spots or second base, if Utley gets hurt again.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. It’s May 21. Tell me the last time a team made a blockbuster trade before June 1? If the Phillies make a move it’s much more likely to happen closer to July 31. That is more than two months away. A lot can happen in two months.


Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter. Pick up a copy of my book.


Hey Todd, thanks for the perspective. I’m with you. But here’s a suggestion (a serious one). The Phils hitters might benefit from the services of a sports psychologist. The have all the physical skills, but aren’t taking the right approach at the plate. Slumps have a lot to do with mindset, and falling back on bad habits. There’s no good reason for us to be seeing these ridiculous swings from Howard, Rollins, et al. I know it’s much easier to say than to do, but It seems that their mental approach is what has to be fixed, and I’m not sure Gross is equipped to help them with that.

What would a sports psychologist know about a hitter’s approach at the plate? That’s what the coaches are for.

Why does it matter if Brown is in the line up? He’s an unproven hitter who played horrible in winter ball and spring training and has just come on as of late in triple A.

Todd, this might be the smartest post you’ve ever written.

Dom Brown needs to fit in with the TEAM chemistry and show his Werth. In my estimation he didn’t do that in the past. I’m hoping for his success this season.

Don’t forget that when players are slumping it affects everyone. When you lose big bats opposing pitchers don’t have to pitch around hitters and can hang longer in games. It’s an overall team effort and it can easily have a domino affect. All it takes is one guy getting his groove back and it can change everything. Even minor tweaks to the roster or lineup can often help.

I’d rather see the Phillies slump now and figure out how to overcome it than blow through the season and slump as the playoffs approach.

Panic, no … concern, yes.

Who is gonna be the right-handed bat with pop that Philly can bank on come playoff time? With Werth gone we are left with Victorino (switch, better on right), Polanco, Mayberry, and Ruiz. Sure Rollins can switch, but he’s better from the left side. And Rollins’s BA the last 3 years is: .243, .250. 277, he’s declining, let’s not ‘hope’ he turns it around. Also, this month the Phils are facing ‘winning’ teams, are they slumping because they’re facing top pitching or just slumping? Unless Mayberry catches fire the next month, I’m not feeling comfortable with the pop from our right-handed sticks. Philly needs another bat with pop on the right side or a lefty-dominant staff will send Philly home in the playoffs.

Reuben should wait until plenty of teams are “out of the hunt” to have a bigger pool of players in a grab for a righty-stick.

I say Brad Lidge might be excellent trade-bait if Madson can stay strong as a closer.

Nobody wants Brad Lidge, probably not even the Phillies. Lidge can’t throw over 90 anymore and has to have a precise slider 100% of the time to be effective.
If Contreras is healthy, they have the last two innings covered with Bastardo, Contreras and Madson.

Pitchers get hurt all the time (e.g. Lidge), so if Brad is healthy in July and another contender (preferably in AL) loses one of their bullpen guys for the season … a trade is possible. Besides, few teams believed in Lidge after Pujols destroyed him in Houston, Philly brought him back to 2008 dominance. Another team may try to capture lightning in a bottle.

Todd, “Hittin’? Hittin’ ? Who needs Freakin’ hittin’ when youse gots 4 aces!!!” was a chant often heard here at The Philadelphia Chapter of the Chicken Little Society when this 2011 baseball season first opened. Now as both the second month of the season and the dog days of May are coming to a close it appears that the usual doom and gloom of Phillies fans is returning. What with the appearance of hangnails and hiccups among the Phillies players nothing less can be expected. No doubt the situation has not been helped by so many fans waking up this morning only to find themselves still among us and, evidently, not “raptured”. Apparently some confusion reigned among fans who though their status as Phillies fans could substitute for either being a Christian or being a Republican, the two primary qualifications for rapturing, since they though they could whine with the best of both these groups. This is PherrisPhain reporting live from The Philadelphia Chapter of the Chicken Little Society. Back to you Todd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: