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The Offense Has Gone Bad

This video, for some strange reason, reminded me of the Phillies offense.  It has gone bad.  It’s gone sour.  It’s just plain terrible right now, and there are no two ways about that.

Let’s start at the beginning; April 13.  That’s when Jimmy Rollins hit the disabled list (technically he missed the game before, but for all intents and purposes lets say the 13th)with a calf injury. The bats, which were singing harmoniously like a beautiful choir, became out of tune and flat, and then basically silent. Since J-Roll sat out, this vaunted Phillies offense has scored three runs or fewer seven times in 13 games.  Is this a product of his DL stint, or merely a cold streak?

Shane Victorino has always been lauded for his speed and skill, which make him the perfect leadoff hitter.  However, he’s taken just one walk and of his 13 hits from the number one spot in the lineup, four of them came in J-Roll’s first game away.  Other than that, he’s been struggling at the top.  The trickle down effect has hit a number of players as well. Chase Utley has just three hits in his last six games, hasn’t homered since April 16, and looks lost at the dish.  After a blazing start, Ryan Howard has stretched his  career long homer-less drought to 64 at-bats, or since April 10 at Houston.

Hitting with runners in scoring position as become a lost art for this team.  On occasion, this offense is a machine with men on base. Now, they’re staying stranded on those little white islands.  Their RISP average has dipped to .246 – only the Mets, Cardinals, Pirates, and Braves have a figure worse than the Phillies in the NL.  They’ve only managed to plate 78 baserunners who have been at second and third; many of those coming in that ridiculous 7-1 start.  Milwaukee leads the National League with 109 runs scored from second and third.

During the decline, the pitching hasn’t performed well enough to keep them afloat and the NL East lead has been lost.  Don’t look now (try not to look, really) but the New York Mets have take over the division with the Phils latest loss.  Without Rollins they’ve faltered badly going 5-8, including three losses in a row.

Yes, it’s very early in the season.  And just a year ago, the fans were clamoring for a breakout after an April that saw the Phils go (gasp!) 11-9.  Look familiar?  Early season kinks need to be worked out, and they will be.  Just give it time and that offense will not leave you with such a bad taste in your mouth.

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