Magic Number: 1

It doesn’t take a genius to know Charlie Manuel is worried about the offense.

The Phillies could have clinched the NL East last night, but failed to take advantage in a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in 11 innings. Asked how frustrated he was about that, he said, “We didn’t do enough hitting tonight to get there.” That’s what we call reading between the lines. Manuel was asked how frustrated he was to have to wait another night, and he answered a question about the offense.

The Phillies have averaged 2.0 runs per game in their last eight games (Sept. 10-16), which ranks last in the National League. They’re hitting .205 (last) with a .261 on-base percentage (last) and a .324 slugging percentage (14th). This is not the best time to get into a team-wide slump, considering a lack of offense cost them in last year’s NLCS. But the Phillies have not had their projected everyday lineup together since Aug. 6 in San Francisco. And lately, they have been without Jimmy Rollins, who has missed time with a strained groin; Chase Utley, who missed time with a concussion; and Ryan Howard, who has not started four of the last 10 games because of bursitis in his left Achilles.

Maybe that has something to do with it. I’m sure Manuel hopes that’s the case.

The offense has been a tale of two halves:

  • April – June: 4.01 runs per game (eighth in the league), .244 average (10th), .318 OBP (seventh) and .374 slugging (11th).
  • July – Sept. 9: 5.41 runs per game (first), .269 average (second), .337 OBP (second) and .439 slugging (first).

Are they turning back the clock at the wrong time?

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Keep an eye on Justin De Fratus and Joe Savery, who were called up last night. The Phillies’ bullpen has been a little rocky lately, so maybe they could pitch themselves onto the postseason roster. Savery is especially interesting because of Antonio Bastardo‘s recent struggles. Bastardo is the only left-hander in the bullpen, so if he is scuffling the Phillies might have to consider Savery as a second option.

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Sad news: KYW’s Jack O’Rourke died last night after covering the Phillies game. A very, very nice man. He covered every spring training since I’ve been on the beat, which is how I will remember him — getting interviews from players in Clearwater and returning to one of the radio booths in the press box to send sound back to Philadephia. He always had a smile on his face and always greeted me the same way:

“What’s up, Jack?”

“Hi, Toddy.”

He was the only person to call me that. Thoughts and prayers with his family. He will be missed.

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11 Comments

Sad to hear about Jack O’Rourke. Too bad we couldn’t have given him a win, and a Division Title, as his last assignment.

You didn’t do enough hitting to get there Norma.

Since the Phils always seem to have occasional hitting slumps maybe now is a good time for a mini-slump so they can turn it around right before the playoffs- better now than in October!

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Jack O’Rourke.

I think Charlie has to be careful. He hates to lose and as a hitting guru, he hates to lose because of his team’s lousy hitting more than anything else. The temptation will be to play his best players more. That may not be the best interest of the team going into the postseason. Charlie will have to balance playing time with rest for his starters. The key is to be playing at the highest possible level once the postseason begins…

Charlie, the hitting guru! What a myth!

pherris, your glass isn’t just half empty, it’s dry as a bone. Geez dude, try to enjoy it. This team is going to blow away the franchise record for wins.

JRoll: “Still the team to beat.”

Who says I’m not enjoying it? But Halladay the greatest thing since sliced bread and Charlie the Hitting Guru, give me a break. Maybe I believe in the team concept. Ever hear of it?

Is it just me or is Charlie Manuel a babbling retart. I mean sure…he will lead the phillies to a 100 +Wins this year, but with this rotation and line-up I think any manager in the game could do the same. When you listen to some of these speeches he gives up on the podium is there any doubt that he is way over rated. OMG. It’s like he is smoking drugs or something.
Im suppose to go to the game tonight but I’m not because I know he is going to sit the stars and play Pete Orr, Michael Martizez and the rest of the ELWYN retarts. I’m sure it will be funny to watch these two trip all over each other in the infield.

Dude, criticism is one thing, but insults is another. I suggest you change your tone or go to the ESPN boards where posts like yours are welcome and encouraged.

of course he’s going to play the non starters today. Why would you not rest your real team when the game has no meaning at all? Expect each of the starting 8 to get multiple games off from no until the playoffs. Utley will play more then most, as will JRol to get them back in the swing of things. I figure the last 2 games will be the only ones with all 8 of the regulars playing- just so they don’t forget how to play together

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