I wanted to write about “where the offense went wrong” this season, but there is no theory that the offense actually went wrong. Instead, it seems truer that for a few weeks, the offense was going right.
The good stretch began May 25. At Houston, the Phils pounded the ‘Stros for 15 runs on a Sunday afternoon. At the time the Phils were 28-24 and 2.5 back of the first place Marlins. Down 6-4, they opened up on the Astros bullpen, scoring 11 runs in the sixth and seventh innings. The star of the game? How about the bottom of the order — Geoff Jenkins, Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz went a combined 7-for-15 with seven runs scored.
(The good stretch ended with the 20-run win over Saint Louis June 13.)
That led me to figure out how well the bottom of the order was hitting during the hot streak.
- Geoff Jenkins was hitting .283 after that game, and .275 after the 20-run win. In four days, his average would decrease to .260 and would start losing playing time. Jayson Werth, by the way, was out with an injury during this time.
- Before the May 25 win at Houston, Pedro Feliz was hitting .253. Between May 25 and June 13, he’d raise his average to .271 (season-high) but would dip into the .240s before ending at .261.
- May 25 signified the best day of the season for Ruiz. He was hitting .246 after that game. After, he would slink into the .220s before ending June 13 at .235. The next couple games would see his average fall into the .220s, then .210s, then .200s.
- It was, however, interesting to find out Jimmy Rollins was hitting .321 after the May 25 game in Houston. He also had a very good .894 OPS. By June 13, however, he was hitting just .278 with a .784 OPS. The streak had a reverse effect on Rollins.
- Then there’s this telling stat: Chase Utley was at .303, coming down a little from a hitting tear on May 25. Then he went on his big tear, ending the streak June 13 at .317 with 8 HR during. He’d soon fall out from the .300 club and hasn’t returned since.
Everyone else performed pretty steadily during that period. The two statlines that really jump out are Jenkins and Utley. Both were on a tear during that period, with Jenkins playing pretty well as he got consistent playing time.
Which leads me to this: Could Geoff Jenkins be the offense’s missing piece down the stretch? He hasn’t been used much lately, and mainly because he has struggled. But when he’s given consistent playing time, he responds. He’s hitting under his career norms of .275/.344/.490, so wouldn’t it be possible that if given playing time, he’d revert to those numbers? Or is this an older player wearing down completely?
Maybe Jenkins isn’t enough — and he probably isn’t. But it might not hurt to start him exclusively in the Washington series, especially as the Nats will throw right-handers exclusively to the Phils. Maybe he’s the medicine this offense needs.