Sunday, April 22, 2012

Phillies' Offensive Woes Continue

            The Philadelphia Phillies’ offensive woes continued Sunday with their 6-1 loss to the San Diego Padres.  It was the first time this season the lowly Padres have won back-to-back games.
            Much was made about the Phillies’ powerless lineup entering this season.  However, it is hard to believe that anyone thought it would be this abysmal.
            Pitching certainly hasn’t been the problem for Philadelphia.  Entering Sunday’s contest, the Phils were ranked in the top-five in all of baseball in team ERA (No. 2 at 2.41), walks allowed (No. 5 at 36) and WHIP (No. 5 at 1.11).  Then again, with the starting staff that Philly possesses, those kinds of numbers were expected.
            It is the offense that has failed to show up through the first two weeks of the season.  Sunday marked the tenth time in 16 games that the Phils scored two or less runs.  It wasn’t until May 15 of last year that the Phils failed to score more than two runs for the tenth time.  They went on to do that in 50 of 167 games in 2011.  Although it may be a stretch to actually happen (or is it?) and Philadelphia fans sure hope it doesn’t happen, the Phils are on pace to score two or less runs in 100 games this year.  The return of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will definitely help matters, but neither had a timetable for their return.  Their supposed eventual return, or a trade, may turn out to be the only way to find some offensive production.
            Philadelphia’s offensive futility isn’t fun to write about, but the numbers have to be documented.
            Philadelphia is one of five National League teams with its leading hitter batting less than .300.  Through Saturday, Shane Victorino led the team with a .293 average.  The other four teams include Cincinnati (7-9), Milwaukee (7-9), Arizona (7-8) and San Diego (4-12).  It isn’t surprising that each of those teams is under .500.
            The Phillies’ RBI leader, Hunter Pence, has a mere seven on the year.  Only Pittsburgh possesses a team RBI leader with less than Pence.
            Things only get worse when looking at the team stats.  The Phillies rank in the bottom half of all of Major League Baseball in seven major offensive categories.  These numbers are through Saturday.
  • .239 average – 22nd
  • 42 runs scored – 29th
  • 121 hits – 19th
  • 7 homeruns – T27th
  • 40 RBIs – 29th
  • .279 OBP – 27th
  • .320 SLUG – 29th

Despite the terrible numbers and being in last place in the NL East at 7-9, there is still more than enough time for the Phillies to right the ship.  The Washington Nationals lead the division with a 12-4 mark, but have only played one team with a winning record (New York Mets) and will be hard pressed to keep up their winning play all season long.  Also, the Atlanta Braves (10-6), Mets (8-6) and Miami Marlins (7-8) have failed to take any real advantage of the Phillies’ downtime.
Still, a game lost is a game that can not be made up in the standings and the Phils’ offense hasn’t shown any signs of waking up.  While it is early, Philly shouldn’t be wasting any time in trying to find a solution to its offensive problems.

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