Time to Score

Charlie ManuelThe last six games could not have been more painful to watch, if you like any semblance of offense.

I’m not even talking about a lot of offense. I’m talking about a little bit of offense. You know, like a four or five-run game every once in a while. But the Phillies hit their high-water mark on their just completed six-game road trip through Miami and Cincinnati on Friday, when they scored three runs against the Marlins. And they needed 10 innings to do that.

Let’s take a look at some of the wretched numbers:

  • The Phillies did not score a single run before the sixth inning in any game during the road trip.
  • They hit just .205 and scored a mere 10 runs overall.
  • They failed to walk once in the entire series against the Reds. It is the first time since Aug. 13-15, 1995, they had no walks over a three-game span. It is just the second time it has happened to them in the past 50 years. It is the first time it has happened in baseball since Aug. 2011, when the White Sox failed to walk in four consecutive games. Walks matter. On-base percentage matters. You can’t score if you don’t get anybody on base. Ever.
  • The Phillies are averaging 3.47 runs per game this season, which ranks 12th in the National League. They are 12th with a .667 OPS. They have walked just 34 times, which is tied for the second-lowest mark in the league. They have struck out 120 times, which is third. Remember how people said, “The Braves are going to hit home runs, but they are going to strike out too much?” Well, the Braves have struck out a whopping 121 times, just one more than the Phillies. But they also have walked 10 more times, and have scored 16 more runs. Of course, the biggest difference is the Braves lead the National League with a 1.77 ERA, while the Phillies are 15th with a 4.90 ERA. But pitching wasn’t the problem during this trip, other than John Lannan‘s performance last night. It was the toothless offense.

I got a ton of tweets last night during the game basically saying everybody must go. Ruben Amaro Jr. to Charlie Manuel to the lineup. Basically the entire team. Let me say right now: if you really believe this on April 18 don’t hold your breath. If you can find another team in baseball that made wholesale changes 15 games into a 162-game season, please let me know. The Phillies are going to see what happens when Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young join the team. They are going to give themselves time. It might be fruitless. It might be a gigantic waste of time, but this is what they are going to do. So if you are breathing fire today you should relax. It will get you nowhere.

I’ve also gotten more than a few tweets and e-mails about the Phillies changing their lineup. The folks that absolutely demanded Manuel hit Ben Revere leadoff suddenly have changed their tune as he is hitless in his last 14 at-bats to drop his batting average and slugging percentage to .194. But the alternative is Jimmy Rollins, who went 1-for-18 on the trip.

The only real option to improve the lineup? Keep playing and hope things get better. Yes, that’s it. It’s not much of a plan, but it’s the only plan they’ve got. Ryne Sandberg can’t make these guys hit. Screaming at them won’t make them hit. Punishing them won’t make them hit. (Some fans seem to think treating professional baseball players like they’re freshmen on a JV team is the way to go. Not sure the Mike Rice method would be effective in the Phillies’ clubhouse.) Either they’re going to hit or they’re not. But massive changes 15 games into the season? Not going to happen. But Amaro won’t wait forever, either. He showed last July 31 he will make changes if needed. But it’s April 18. We’re a long way from there.

Your best option? If you’re of legal age, crack open a beer or have a scotch. It’ll help calm the nerves.

15 Comments

You aren’t kidding, it has been very painful to watch. I even had to stop watching last night once it got to 9-0, and I have watched every single pitch since ST started.

I don’t know what they need, but there really isn’t much you can do at this point but wait, so I think you are right. Why take Revere out of leadoff unless you have someone else that has been hotter recently to put there? Like you said, Rollins hasn’t done anything recently either. And I am pretty surprised that Revere is struggling so much with the type of player he is at the plate. I know the defense is trying to nullify his speed a little bit by playing him in but it also means he has been very unlucky with where his batted balls have been going. Seems like every time he hits it directly to where a defender is waiting with open arms.

Chooch coming back will certainly help, especially with how badly Kratz and Quintero have done at the plate, but just how much, I don’t know.

I hate to say this, but at least offensively, maybe Delmon Young will provide a little bit of what we need as well. I was against his signing from the beginning, due to his total lack of recent defensive credibility, especially in RF, but we need somebody to hit.

Not sure what is going on with Brown yet, as far as his back is concerned, but I believe he will start hitting when a few others start hitting as well. If he is hurt, though, maybe Ruf gets pushe up to help out offensively, at least until D. Young is up with the club. We shall see.

All I know is this is a boring brand of baseball, and something needs to happen.

It will be a lo——–ng ugly season with many to follow.

Wait, you say, until Ruiz and Young join the team. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, last year when this collection of under achievers couldn’t hit their way out of a wet paper bag and we were told to wait ’till this season when Chase and Ryan return. All this ‘hope for a change’ is for the birds. I fear the Phils will be battling the Fish for the cellar dweller spot. Oh, but it’s early you say…stay the course. Things are bound to turn around; this bunch of T-ballers can’t possibly stay this bad for very long? Now that the injuries have started with Brown and Lannan, they just might. And it won’t be long ’till the Bank has a many empty seats as Cincy did during this series.

I’m not saying stay the course in the big-picture sense. I’m saying there’s nothing they can really do right now. If things don’t get better they will make changes.

You tell them Todd. :) They do look pretty sad though. Oh, well, better days ahead. I’m looking forward to Ruiz re-entering the lineup.

The Phillies started 2008 with a record of 8-10.
The Phillies started 2008 with a record of 8-10.
The Phillies started 2008 with a record of 8-10.
The Phillies started 2008 with a record of 8-10.
The Phillies started 2008 with a record of 8-10.

Come on, Zo. The offense has been an issue since Sept 2011. Stop being an April Apologist. This is an ONGOING problem. 15 games? Try close to 200 games. There have been changes in that time, but a reincarnation of Endy Chavez, a 37 year old 3B who will lose more games with his “defense” than win with his bat, and a guy with a busted ankle who, stop me if you’ve heard this, will lose more games with his “defense” than win with his bat, are NOT the answers!

Also, you know just as well as I do that wins in April count just as much as wins in September. In fact, for the Phillies in the CBP era (since 2004), the seasons they had a winning record in April, they made the playoffs. And the seasons they had a losing record in April, they just missed out. The lone exception was 2007 when they had a losing April, but ended up barely squeaking in on the last day (a few more wins in April would’ve made it much easier).
I’ll say it again, wins in April count just as much as wins in September.
That being said, it is only the first week. Let’s let April play out. But it’s not looking good…

I’m not saying things will turn around. I’m saying this “blow up the team” talk is ridiculous … right now. Like I wrote above, things will have to be MUCH better by July 31.

The lineup is 1/2 old, 1/4 journeyman and 1/4 triple a players. No one is a power threat in the lineup. The book to pitch to Howard can be found at Barnes and Noble “Inside Breaking Balls for Dummies.” The big acquisition in the off-season is hitting below Mendoza with terrible OBP but tweets well. Jimmy is jimmy. Putting him in leadoff doesn’t do a thing but boost his ego.

Point is, whether its April 18th or August 18th, this team can’t mash with the Nats or Braves and our pitching staff has gotten woefully thin. Better get used to 4th place for the next couple of seasons b/c we don’t have a farm either.

Shame on Ruben for not going all out this offseason after dumping Victorino (.333) and Pence (4 hrs).

::gets popcorn::

Great analysis Todd. As usual. You’ve almost walked me away from the edge of the cliff. I think my biggest problem last night (aside from the 9-minute conclusion to the suspended game and watching the endless bottom of the 2nd inning in the second game) was that I was watching Jimmy joke around with Brandon Phillips like they were on a playground. Cut to Manuel, who looks like he’s seen a ghost. Cut to the starting pitching staff, who are joking around about something (ok maybe not last night but we’ve seen it in other games).
I get the fact that they play 162. That we’re so early into the season.
But there is, and has been, something’s seriously wrong with the Phillies. It became evident last year and has carried on into this year. I’m not saying I know what it is. But I don’t need to be a medical doctor to tell you if someone’s really sick.

Todd, don’t you listen to RAJ, prodiction equals RBI, not walks!

Sorry for all the commas. I love you, Zo.

Sit around and hope sounds like the Sixers strategy with Andrew Bynum. Dump Ezequiel Carrera and bring up a right handed hitter, either Josh Fields or Darin Ruf. Bench Ben Revere. Play Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen for the guys who aren’t playing well. Stop letting Ryan Howard and Chase Utley hit against lefties. These aren’t permanent solutions, but if you want to win a game or two right now, try them.

Boy WeinusWan has disappeared from the blogs. I guess,he is home licking his wounds, or whatever he can reach with that tongue of his. Maybe he should come to the ATL site and tell us how bad we s*ck.

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