The Phillies have off today and they sure need it after a rough weekend in the nation’s capital. Although the Phillies Nation crew provided some luck on Saturday (a full report of the festivities coming later this week), the Phils dropped 3 of 4 after winning 8 of their last 11. Cole Hamels recorded his first loss yesterday as the team could only muster three hits and were shutout for the first time this season after 62 games. That stat was bested only once in the past 80 years when the 1993 team went 158 games before being shutout.
As suggested by all too often by our faithful commenters, the Phillies lineup is in need of a shakeup. They are 11th in the league in batting average, 10th in K/BB (despite Bobby Abreu leading the league in walks), and 14th in singles. They do have some good numbers though as well: sixth in total bases (but 10th in hits), fifth in slugging, seventh in OBP, and fourth in home runs. All this adds up to – you guessed it – the Phils live and die by the long ball. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the problem is the Phils do not get enough hits. Looking at the rankings, the teams that are in the top of the league in hits – not home runs – are the ones that are leading their division or a close second.
Burrell, Bell, Rollins, and the catching platoon are all batting below .260. I can live with Burrell – a power hitter -, Bell, Liebs and Fasano – all have low expectations – but for JRoll to be hitting so poorly is inexcusable. He always says he loves he spotlight, well now we’re putting it on you Jimmy. Maybe Charlie Manuel can dim it a bit by moving him back down in the order, but this lack of production I believe is the key to the Phillies season. Sure the starting pitching needs help (and another arm for Saturday’s game), but the Phils do have offensive potential to overcome their pitching deficiencies. They’ll certainly have to fulfill it this week when the Mets, winners of their last five, come to town led by Tom Glavine on Tuesday.