Phillies’ Lineup Still MIA as Skid Hits Four – Phillies Nation
2010 Game Recaps

Phillies’ Lineup Still MIA as Skid Hits Four

The NBA in late May: Where Amazing Happens.

The Phillies’ offense in late May: Where Nothing Happens.

After the Phillies’ 5-0 loss to the Mets at Citi Field tonight, what else is there left to say about the offense’s slump? (Other than that word “slump” doesn’t come close to quantifying whatever has sapped the offense the past four games.)

When a team gets shut out, that’s normal. Back-to-back nights, well, that happens, too. But three times (nearly four) in four games, and being held scoreless in 37 of 38 innings? That’s no accident. It’s a sign that something isn’t right. The pitchers the Phillies have faced the past four games are Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi. That’s not in the same class as the starting rotation of the 1971 Orioles. If the Phillies faced Tim Lincecum four straight times, they’d probably score more than three runs, which is what they’ve managed against those four … shall we say lesser-caliber pitchers.

The truth is that every offense goes through slumps, some worse than others (and some really, really bad). While the Phillies haven’t had a dry spell quite like this the past few seasons, the combination of a couple of slow starts (Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez) and having two starters either on the DL or severely banged up (Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz) has caused a perfect storm.

I’ll spare the highlights of tonight’s game because, frankly, there aren’t any. But for the Phillies, one moment stood out above the rest. With Victorino on second base in the sixth inning and one out, Chase Utley lined a solid single to right field. We’re used to seeing the fleet Victorino zip around third on plays like that, but he was held at third. With the offense needing a spark, Victorino had to score on that play, but the fact that he didn’t served only to illustrate how the offense has lost its way. Third base coach Sam Perlozzo thought he was playing it safe by holding Victorino, but it was the wrong decision – especially considering Ryan Howard’s propensity to strike out against left-handed pitchers (Howard entered Wednesday with a .308 career OBP against lefties and a nearly 40 percent strikeout rate).

If there’s any positive news from tonight, it’s that Charlie Manuel held a short team meeting after the game. When Manuel gets mad, good things often follow.



  1. John

    May 26, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Wow – it’s really hard for this team to hit when they’re not able to steal signs.

  2. Dan

    May 27, 2010 at 12:06 am

    John, it’s hard for them to hit? Were you watching the same game I was? They had 7 hits. Didn’t the Mets also have 7 hits? So why did the Mets score 5 runs and the Phillies score none? That’s simple. Timely hitting. Is this really so difficult to figure out? Fun fact, even though the Mets won 2/3 so far the Nats are winning right now and if/when they do the Mets will STILL be tied for last place.

    I will admit these following, undeniable facts: The Mets played better the past 2 games. They did what they had to in order to get RISP, stealing bases, bunting etc, and here is the most important one, TIMELY HITTING. The Phillies have recorded plenty of hits in this series, but none of them w/RISP. What this says to me is they’re running into horribly bad luck, combine with great defensive plays by the opposing team when there are RISP.

    If this game proved anything it’s how badly a lack of timely hitting is hurting the Phils. Both teams recording the same amount of hits but one team clearly making them count more. If they haven’t been using binoculars, how do you account for their average of 6 runs a game several games after the whole binocular thing? How do you account for the hits they’re still getting? If they were so dependent on said binoculars they wouldn’t still be getting so many hits.

  3. Dan

    May 27, 2010 at 12:11 am

    My whole point is, this whole binocular thing is silly. Like I said, they went on a winning streak where their offense was putting up good numbers even AFTER the binocular thing. That proves without a doubt that even if they were stealing signs they don’t need to. They proved they could get plenty of runs across without them. They proved they can get hits without them. I don’t know if I can really call this a slump since they’re still getting plenty of hits (with the exception of the Dice-K game). Sometimes the ball just doesn’t fly the right way when there are RISP, it’s called bad luck, and it’s bound to turn around eventually. You can’t continue to put up like 6, 7, 8, etc hit games and not plate runs. Sooner or later you’re going to start getting timely hitting. Enough excuses, the facts don’t back up the binocular thing. I could see a case for argument if they only got like 1, 2, or 3 hits a game since he binocular thing, but that simply hasn’t been the case.

  4. phlsteaks

    May 27, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Is something wrong with utley’s hips? he hasn’t been looking good of late.

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  6. Jeff

    May 27, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Please stop with the stealing of the signs. STUPID ALREADY. Howard looks so lost at the plate. He just swings at everything. The team in general are not hitting. To much pressure on the pitching. What bothers me is they look like there just going through the motions. Look at the Mets. Playing hard. We dont run the bases at all. Reyes gets on and he finds away. Victorino should of run through the stop sign tonight. When they stopped him at third I knew Howard would k. They need to play some intense ball. We are better then the Mets. When I say better I mean much better. We need to get this thing back on track and we will. Beofe you know it the Mets will be back in last by 8 games.

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  8. Brooks

    May 27, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Dan, I believe that’s the at least the third or 4th time little john posted that same thing.
    Ignore it and they’ll crawl back into their holes.

  9. bfo_33

    May 27, 2010 at 6:49 am

    I have never felt this team was out of a game before when down single digit runs in the early-mid innings. Last night, down 2 in the 4th, I had a wave of panic that the game was already out of reach. They are hitting, but whenever anyone is in scoring position, they seem to tighten up.
    I know it is a short term slump, bats will come back around, but they are tough to watch right now. Hopefully, tonight is the night.

    I agree on sending Victorino – I know Francouer has thrown out his share of guys, but when you can’t score runs, you’ve got to take the chance.

  10. NJ

    May 27, 2010 at 6:52 am

    The good thing is it can’t get any worse for the Phillies and the teams still in a really healthy position in the standings. This seems to be the time of year the bats have struggled in recent years and history says somewhere between June and July the Phils will be terrible before tearing it up again.

    You hate to lose games (especially so many) against rotation fillers but better them than the arms we’ll be seeing in the big games. I know there’s the logic if you can’t hit a Takahashi how are you going to hit a Johan but the Phillies have before so guess we just have to have faith…

  11. Brooks

    May 27, 2010 at 7:43 am

    bfo – I know that sunken feeling in your chest from last night. Anyone remember 83 when the Phils went over 40 innings without scoring a run? The Phils scored a run in a (probably only game I went to all year) 1-0 victory with Carlton pitching and a Matthews HR.
    I digress – (we oldtimers do that) this offense is certainly better than any I have seen from the Phils or anywhere in my long years of watching baseball. That’s why its soooo darn frustrating. Last night I just felt it was going to continue on. I called the 6th (chatting with my friend). When the Phils had a runner on second and did nothing, again – I predicted that not only would JB give up a few but the men he left on base would score as well. Durbin only gave up one of those runners (leadoff single, first *&# pitch) but, JB’s line is looking all too familiar and other than the obvious – big hits, we need some stellar pitching. Neither of which are happening.

  12. Brooks

    May 27, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Anyone else having a problem with the content on this site lately? If you did not try to post last night or see updates, you missed the trash that came out. Not only muts fans in droves but nasty stuff was being posted. Hard to read. Some racist remarks, too much cursing – look, I enjoy going back and forth as much as the next Phillies fan but this needs to be monitored.

    There’s a ‘contact us’ access on the right hand side if you feel that way too. I used it last night (and I will let you know if I hear anything back).

  13. George

    May 27, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Phils’ third base coach has always been too cautious, but the team itself hasn’t been helping. Near zero stolen bases lately, almost no extra base hits, no timely hits. Luck may play some part, but a good team makes its own luck by taking a few chances and hustling. This team lately has not done that.

    I also don’t care to hear about the “black hole at the bottom of the order.” While those guys (Castro, Ruiz, Valdez, and the pitcher aren’t great, they have gotten some of the team’s paltry hits. The top and middle of the order haven’t been any better than the bottom lately.

    One other thing: the starting pitching lately has been bad, too. Over the last four games, no one has made it through six innings. Even a good offense can’t always overcome a 5, 6, or 8 run deficit.

    Manuel did hold a meeting after the game. I hope he inspired his players to be more than the complacent lot they’ve been this week.

  14. George

    May 27, 2010 at 9:04 am


    I learned quite awhile ago to not bother with the “gameday” posts because of the things you mentioned. I particularly take issue with the implied racism and the swearing. It bothers me intensely that “phuck” is allowable, but if someone uses the diminutive of “Richard” as in “D— Scofield,” or if he misspells “Kend(r)ick”–as happened to one poster, his comment is flagged for moderation. Ridiculous.

    The rest of the site can be interesting, though, and most the commenters are polite and intelligent. Unfortunately, there are always going to be idiots, and I, too, wish there could be some REAL moderation; even the better threads lately have had a tendency to degenerate into name-calling. It certainly isn’t a violation of free speech to remove distasteful language or incendiary remarks, because this is a private enterprise, just like a newspaper, magazine, or book publisher. If you can be thrown out of a theater for cell-phone use, you can surely be thrown off a website for inappropriate behavior.

  15. Stuart

    May 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

    George I agree 100 percent. All of these mets fans and even some of the Phillies fans has caused me to not really come to this site as much. I used to be on it ALL the time. Checking numerous times a day, reading the posts and comments and commenting back but recently I have stopped. The quality of a lot of the comments have gotten awful, too many trolls from other teams ruining it as well. I think there should be some sort of a sign up form. That will absolutely get rid of a lot of the other teams trolls and some of the people who are here just to be here and are bored. Not because they know baseball, love the Phillies and know what they are talking about. I wish the staff of Phillies Nation would do something about it. The more it goes on, the more this site is going to deteriorate, people who enjoy baseball and know what they are talking about but dont want to deal with this will go somewhere else, I have been on a few other fan sites more than this one lately. Its a shame too, this site has mostly all good writers and good articles, too bad the people commenting ruin it.

  16. Stuart

    May 27, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Also my comment goes to you too Brooks. Did not realize what you said earlier. I back you 100 percent.

  17. Ted Bell

    May 27, 2010 at 9:37 am

    The Mets are 18-9 at home, but only 6-14 on the road. Interesting.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  18. Todd

    May 27, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Want a spark? Call up Domonic Brown June 1st if this continues. Ligtht a fire under Ibanez’s ass.

  19. mrphill1110

    May 27, 2010 at 9:45 am

    mets win, mets win, mets win, and phillies lose, phillies lose, phillies lose. Bring out the brooms baby

  20. mrphill1110

    May 27, 2010 at 9:48 am

    How bout those metsies?????????

  21. mrphill1110

    May 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Any phillies fan around or are you guys still venting

  22. JoefromCamden

    May 27, 2010 at 9:58 am

    That Shane was held @ 3rd was pretty incomprehensible to me. Why? The offense needed a big spark. Especially with all the runners they stranded the night before. Worst case he’s thrown out @ home. But at least they would have tried. Dumb, dumb move.

  23. mrphill1110

    May 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

    funny how all of a sudden, the phills get caught for cheating, and the offense looks like a bunch of minor leaguers, I knew all along they were a bunch of overated bums. Looks like Charlie M might start using NASA and use the space satelites to steal signs again. LET’S GO METS

  24. mrphill1110

    May 27, 2010 at 10:19 am

    And oh yeah the whole they were winning and scoring after that incident, you guys played the brewers, the pirates, and a slumping cubs team, so spare the bs. Another thing even if they do win the division make it the last, cuz it looks like they are getting old, and their losing some good players, so philly enjoy while you can.

  25. Darren Daulton

    May 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Am I crazy or did the Phillies not score a run in the last two games? Wait… don’t answer that.

  26. The Original Chuck P

    May 27, 2010 at 10:55 am

    When you’re playing with a bulls eye on your back, you can’t afford to make mistakes and you have to make teams pay for theirs. Opponents are generally going to be more focused and eager to beat us than the Nationals… beating the Phillies earns respect… that means, we have to play up to our potential. Right now, the clubhouse is a little bit tense (like bfo said); they’re seeing injuries and other teams in the division getting better and they’re clamming up. What they’re not seeing… even with our flaws, we’re still the best team in the division. It won’t take a “Cliff Lee” to get us there in 2010… we just need to play better.

    If you’re going to hit a rough patch, it’s better to hit it early in the season when you’re up 3 games than late in the season.

  27. David

    May 27, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    One of the Mets fans at work sent me a bereavement card today. Too early to plant the flowers. Lets not lose hope.

  28. Bob in Bucks

    May 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I earlier complained about Victorino not stealing bases. Is Victorino injured? Is there a reason he is not running?

  29. Chuck

    May 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    We’ll be fine. It hurts more losing to the Mets….it’s like everything is magnified a little more.

    Hamels vs. Pelfry will be a good matchup tonight. Honestly….maybe that kind of hype is just what the team needs to get re-focused and motivated. Time for Cole to step up big-time and be the stopper!

  30. philsgirl

    May 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I agree with JoefromCamden – incomprehensible is the only word for Vic being held at third. What was Davey Lopes thinking? Shane rounded the bag at a great angle and was doing one of the things he does the best – run like lightning. He looked like he had at least a good chance to score, and in a situation like ours where one run might be the psychological spark the offense needs… I think the guys looked even more like they were just “going through the motions” after that inning. One run at that time, even if it didn’t ultimately result in winning the game, could have done something for confidence-building.

  31. Brooks

    May 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    philsgirl, I believe Davey Lopes is at first base and Sam P is at 3rd. Sam would have had Vic running or staying, not Dave.
    Regardless – the aggressiveness issue: I go back to Sunday when Utley hit the triple with 1 out. The shift was on for Ryan Howard, the 3rd baseman playing at the ss position and possibly the slowest pitcher on the earth (Wakefield) – what more could you ask for? I know, a base hit by Ryan or a fly ball at least (everything else he hit in the air) – Ryan struck out and Utley was stranded at 3rd as Werth grounded out.
    Utley should have stolen home, if Ryan’s not going to break the shift, someone has to.

    Original Chuck – I agree. Lets get this crap over with early.

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