Phillies’ Offense Left Behind for Second Straight Night – Phillies Nation
2010 Game Recaps

Phillies’ Offense Left Behind for Second Straight Night

As I watched the Phillies’ offense do next to nothing for the second straight night in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park, all I could think of was Domonic Brown.

No, not because I think they should call him up in order to light a spark under a flagging lineup (c’mon, people, that’s a terrible idea). No, I thought of Brown because of what the two starting pitchers who have iced the Phillies the past two nights have in common: they’re both left-handers (OK, mediocre left-handers, to be specific).

If the Phillies can’t afford to give Jayson Werth the massive payday that surely is coming his way, his logical replacement in right field would be Brown, who was hitting .327 with seven homers and 23 RBIs heading into Wednesday night. Problem is, Brown bats left-handed. So if you assume that Raul Ibanez will be back next season – he is due $11.5 million in the final year of the three-year, $30 million deal he signed in December 2008 — (and while he’s off to a slow start, that’s a pretty safe assumption at this point) the Phillies’ lineup goes from lefty-heavy to lefty-morbidly obese.

As it is, the lineup’s orientation sets it up to be tamed by southpaws such as Tom Gorzelanny and Zach Duke – pitchers who don’t have dominant stuff but who can move the ball around and change speeds. And that’s what happened the past two nights. In 12 2/3 innings against Duke and Gorzelanny, the Phillies mustered one run on nine hits – amazingly, all singles.

In addition to their weakness against lefties, the Phillies’ bats often go quiet right after a game in which they score double-digit runs. Call it a statistical correction, the law of averages or whatever you want, but it’s been an undeniable pattern for the past few seasons – and evident once again, following the Phils’ 12-run outburst against the Pirates on Monday.



  1. Brian Sr. of CO

    May 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Honestly another damn nice outing by Moyer. No mention of that again huh. ERA of 4.30 or so now. Not bad at all for a 47 year #5 starter, who has pitched into AT LEAST the 6th inning in EVERY outing.

  2. BurrGundy

    May 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Tip of the hat to Moyer. Offense cannot produce small-ball runs. We either stink or swim. Tonight we stink on offense. DAMN

  3. Section118

    May 19, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    What happened to the Ashburn/Jeltz Award. Keep up!

  4. Nunzio Scholeri

    May 19, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Well-said, Brian. Moyer doesn’t get any credit for what he does on this site (I could grumble for ages about him not getting the Ashburn for pitching a goddamn complete game shutout). But the blind fans on here don’t matter to the Old Man, as he gives us 7 strikeouts in 7 innings tonight, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, and for the second night in a row the offense wastes a great performance by the starting pitcher. Infuriating. What is it about the Phillies that when they face someone with a mediocre or poor record they so often manage to make him look Cy Young-caliber?

  5. George

    May 19, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Let me think…in the past two games, didn’t Ryan Howard get nearly half those nine hits? Seems to me he is a left handed hitter. What kind of hits did the right handed hitters, Ruiz, Werth, Francisco, and Polanco get? And how many were gotten by Rollins and Victorino, who also bat right against lefties?

    Saying the Phils are vulnerable to left handers because they’ve got all those lefty hitters seems to me an oversimplification. When the offense slumps, their right handed batters don’t get any hits, either, and sometimes none of them hit against righties, either. Sometimes credit has to be given to the pitchers. Duke is generally above average, and Gorzelanny had a mid-3s ERA coming in.

    I’ll grant that the Phils don’t do much against people with average stuff who can change speeds with good location. But a lot of teams don’t, or Jamie Moyer would have been out of the game 15 years ago.

    The lineup has its ups and downs; we all know that. You should devote more time to the Phils’ great starting pitching of late, and particularly Moyer’s fine outing tonight.

  6. Brooks

    May 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Moyer was awesome tonight. Nothing to worry about regarding the offense, nothing at all. It was 2 bad offensive showings in a row, not a huge deal. There were men left on base (bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th), only 4 hits total but, they had their chances and they will score.
    Moyer was great tonight, a win or a loss, what more could anyone expect out of a starting pitcher, let alone a #5???

  7. Manny

    May 20, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Moyer was a stud tonight. Hell, even if Roy Halladay could give me a 7 inning, 2-run outing every start, I’ll take it every single time.

    When Moyer gives you 7 innings, 2 runs… you know that something is working for the old man… and it is extremely frustrating to let one of those starts end up with a L.

  8. Pingback: Jamie Moyer Strikes Out Seven As Nothing Else Close To Competent Occurs | That Balls Outta Here | A Philadelphia Phillies Blog

  9. MikeB.

    May 20, 2010 at 4:55 am

    Two losses in a row is nothing to panic about but still, when the Phils played an inferior team like the Pirates and got a pretty good pitching performance like they did from Halladay on Tuesday, they should have found a way to win that game against that weaker opponent.

  10. MikeB.

    May 20, 2010 at 5:04 am

    I agree with George’s post. The thing with the left handed pitchers constantly being able to shut down the Phillies offense because of all of the left handed batters is overplayed/overstated.

  11. bfo_33

    May 20, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Nice outing by Moyer. Most nights, that will get him a win (same with Halladay the night before). Agree with George/Mike B – bad timing on the lefty argument, as Howard, Utley, and Ibanez each got a hit last night, whereas Werth and Ruiz did not.

    With the exception of two players, the Phils are pretty neutral, regardless of the side the pitcher throws from (must be a better way to say that) – only two players have favorable splits (2007-2009 stats)

    Player vs lhp vs rhp
    avg/obp avg/obp
    Utley 293/402 305/391
    Ibanez 283/343 287/356
    Howard 219/308 295/395
    Werth 319/418 256/356
    Rollins 282/331 272/329

    Werth and Howard are the only two who hit opposite handed pitchers significantly better.

    This isn’t to say that Brown can fill Werth’s shoes (I don’t know his splits), but you can throw out the conventional wisdom that the lefties on the Phils can’t hit lefties. Only Howard can’t hit lefties consistently, and he appears to be improving this year (so far, batting 261 vs lefties)

    I think the two recent losses are more a factor of weather (more so Tues night), wear and tear (going right from the road to home with no day off), line-up turmoil (Utley out a few, Rollins back), and playing down to the competition than a lack of ability of hitting average lefty pitchers.

  12. shag beta sigma delta

    May 20, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I have to agree that the lefty lefty argument is lost on this team to me. Raul historicly hits lefties pretty well as does Chase. And if you watch the game both runs given up by Moyer we inches away from not scoring. Two RBIs off PP glove. I am not saying he should have made those plays, but the first on if he was a step slower JRoll would have picked up the ground ball it would not have been an out but the run would not have scored. And the second RBI liner was just off the end of PP’s glove. Great outting by Moyer, this is three solid starts by your 4/5 pitcher. The offense will be fine, would not be surprised to see JRoll leading off today, and if it was me, I would put Vic in the 6th hole leaving Raul in the 7th spot.

  13. Chuck

    May 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I was at the game. Moyer was awesome and the crowd..(at least the folks around us)…was acknowleging it. We score 4 more runs, which isn’t all that much to ask of our offense,….and Moyer is 6-2, same record as Halladay.

    As it is, if you would have told me two months ago that Moyer would have 5 wins and an ERA of less than 4.50 in the middle of May…I would have laughed in your face.

  14. The Original Chuck P

    May 20, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Love Jamie… didn’t expect him to be as effective as he has been this far into the season but then again, I am the only one to blame for thinking that because time and time again, the old man has proven everyone wrong. I’m a Souderton grad… live and work in Souderton… we’re proud of what he does and he certainly does not get the credit he deserves. Did anyone see the stat that they put up during the game that showed that during his tenure with the Phillies, Jamie Moyer holds the record for highest winning percentage of any pitcher in Phillies history? Pretty damn hard to overlook that…

    Last night showed why baseball is such a fickle game… Polanco doesn’t go for that ball early on and Rollins holds that man on third and we’re looking at a tie game heading into the latter innings. A few favorable bounces for the Cubs, a few unfavorable bounces for the Phils… lady luck was certainly not with us. That’s not an excuse for lack of production but it’s hard to overlook in a tight pitcher’s duel.

    Hey, don’t feel so bad… the Mets turned a triple play and hit an inside the park homerun in the same game and still blew it.

  15. Manny

    May 20, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I agree with George’s post.

    Also note that Werth this season has hit all of his eight home runs off RHPs. He’s usually a lefty-killer (as far as power numbers are concerned)… but this time it’s the complete reverse. While I’m glad that he can smash righties now, we’re gonna need him to keep those awesome-power-numbers-against-lefties he had in 2007-2009. In the middle of a lefty-heavy lineup, we can’t afford for Werth to go 0/4 in these type of games.

  16. Mike D.

    May 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Thanks for trying Jamie!

    Thanks for lowering your price tag, Jayson!

  17. Sam

    May 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Here’s a fun fact, its about time we stop let mediocre pitchers like Gorzelanny look like Cy Young Award winners. Ben Francisco needs to be booted out, maybe the return of Pat Burrel to the bench haha

  18. Philly Texan

    May 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    bfo 33,
    Brown can’t replace Werth.

    There’s a difference between hitting well against lefties (or just ok in Howard’s case) and knocking the hell out of lefties, which is what Werth does.

    Werth isn’t just a right-handed hitter, he’s one who murders left-handed pitching and the Phils’ lineup MUST HAVE THAT. If they don’t re-sign him, they need to find a replacement who kills lefties (the role Burrell used to serve too).

    We can’t have Howard, Ibanez, Utley, Brown all in there with no power righty. We’ll get killed in the late innings by every team with a tough lefty in their pen.

  19. Chuck

    May 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Jayson Stark was on Mike Missanelli’s show yesterday and more or less said that he heard from a pretty reputable source that the Phillies were NOT going to let Jayson Werth get away.

    For what it’s worth…..

  20. bfo_33

    May 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Tex, I realize it is early in the season, but all but one of Werths homers are against righties this year. Could be that he just happened to face weak righties and sinkerball lefties. I’ll have to go back and look at slugging % (probably would have been better than ob%). 98% chance that Werth will be better next year than Brown, and I’d love to keep him in Philly, but on this current team, the lefty heavy argument is more conventional based wisdom than a statistical truth.

    Stark is one of the few journalist who I trust (my only beef is he rarely gives sources, just says “a high ranking official”, but if he did provide names, he’d probably stop getting info) – so if he is reporting it, it’s a good sign.

  21. Phan in the outfield

    May 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    @Chuck – Wow, interesting. How often is Stark right, do you know? I honestly don’t know what his record is.

    As far as the lefty/righty thing goes & proof of whether or not Werth’s right is nec to the line-up, whenever numbers are tossed I have this strange feeling that the numbers are being used to help an argument, whichever argument is being put forth. Those same numbers can be used for another argument. Anyway, last night’s game is one of darn few that Werth has been 0-4. In fact he’s one of the few who hasn’t had that prob so far (let’s not start w/Howard). It’s one of the reasons Werth’s name is being mentioned as MVP. His avg has been #1 & #2 on the team & in the top 5 & top 7 in the NL this entire season until this past wk when it has declined w/the past couple of games. (hope the ankle isn’t behind this, he’s fouled off it twice now)

    Thankfully til this point the discussion of Werth’s value to the team has been purely academic. But last night quite literally put a spotlight on the necessity of Werth hitting well & hitting lefties well. As has been mentioned by Manny & Philly Texan, the interesting thing is that his 8 (or 7 of them) HRs have been off RHPs. But the truth is in any case at all that this team needs Werth to be there – playing well & hitting any pitcher.

    Brown can not replace Werth as is so often said. To me that’s kind of a lazy, thoughtless “replacement” that doesn’t fill the real needs of the team. Ppl negate the nec of a real righty (not switch hitters) in this line-up, and/or who undervalue Werth’s abilities are missing the dynamics of this team, and of any quality, winning team.

  22. Phan in the outfield

    May 20, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Omg – sorry – that was a book.

  23. Brian Sr. of CO

    May 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    who cares Phan in the outfield, we have all written books on here before. I know I am notorious for re-writing war and peace on here. We are ALL passionate on here.

  24. Phan in the outfield

    May 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Brian Sr. of CO – Thanks. I just didn’t realize. To be honest, it was a stream of consciousness response to previous posts. Everyone has salient points. I was speaking to them. I hit ‘enter’ and AY! suddenly there was a tome.

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