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Lumber Slumber

Posted by Paul Boye, Fri, April 30, 2010 11:03 PM | Comments: 49
Analysis, Posts

The Phillies lost the opening game of their series against the Mets, 9-1. There was basically nothing positive about this game, except Dave Herndon. It even included Brad Lidge serving up a home run to the very first batter he faced this season! Kyle Kendrick struggled, Danys Baez ruined a 1-2-3 inning by following up with a much rougher one, and no Philly batter recorded an extra-base hit as the hitters struck out eight times. What stands out, though, is the continued lack of offensive production from the frigid Philly bats.

There are few things more irritating than watching the Phillies’ offense go into extended offensive slumps. A lineup stacked with good hitters – Utley, Howard, Werth, et. al – goes into a prolonged period of futility every year, almost without fail. Whenever the struggles come, they almost always manifest in the form of a full-team slump. No one hitter rises above the mess to salvage these ugly stretches, so it seems. Compounded by tonight’s rather embarrassing loss to the Mets at the start of a homestand, the offense’s struggles seem to have the same symptoms of past seasons’ ills, only happening a couple of months sooner.

Granted, struggles often come with some poor pitching interspersed throughout. I’ll put those aside, as we focus solely on the offensive side of things. In the end, even through the doom-and-gloom, you’ll see the silver lining.

2008

The Stretch: 14 games, 16 days, from June 14 to June 29
The Record: 3-11
Standing in Division: 41-28, 4 games up before; 44-39, 1 game up after
Real Aces Faced: Jon Lester (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 5 K, 1 BB)
New “Aces” Created: Eric Hurley (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 K, 2 BB), Kyle Lohse (8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 K, 2 BB)
Total Runs Scored: 47  (3.4 per game)
Team Batting Line: .206/.291/.342

A tough interleague stretch that started immediately after the Phils dumped 20 runs on the Cardinals made the Phillies seem like anything but a legitimate World Series contender at the time. Ironically enough, this stretch also included a series against Oakland, where Joe Blanton would defeat Jamie Moyer three weeks before coming to the Phillies in a trade. In a six-game losing streak that included a sweep by the Angels, the Phils managed to score just 11 runs.

Lester entered his start against the Phillies with a poor ERA, but those numbers belied his true talent; the man is/was an ace and proved it. Hurley, meanwhile, hasn’t pitched in the Majors since that season.

2009

The Stretch: 18 games, 21 days, from June 12 to July 2
The Record: 4-14
Standing in Division: 41-28, 4 games up before; 44-39, 1 game up after
Real Aces Faced: Jair Jurrjens (7 IP, 1 H, 1 R [0 ER], 6 K, 4 BB)
New “Aces” Created: Scott Richmond (8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 11 K, 1 BB), Rich Hill (6.2  IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 K, 4 BB), Jeremy Guthrie (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 4 K, 2 BB)
Total Runs Scored: 76  (4.2 per game)
Team Batting Line: .233/.308/.387

Oh, hey, interleague troubles again. While the hitting was a bit better here than the June swoon the Phils trudged through in ’07, their record sure wasn’t much better for it. Averaging better than four runs a game really isn’t all that slouchy, but that number is skewed by three 10-plus run-scoring outputs, which resulted in three of the four wins during this stretch. An awfully bizarre dichotomy, as the Phils only averaged 3.0 runs per game when they didn’t crack double digits.

Cole Hamels, meanwhile, in losing three straight starts at one point during this span, had a grand total of six runs of support in his four starts (not that he pitched all that well in that time), with one of those scored after he had left the game.

2010 (after Game 1 vs. NYM on 4/30)

The Stretch: 12 games, 14 days, from April 17 to 30
The Record: 4-8
Standing in Division: 8-3, 1.5 games up before; 12-11, 1.5 games back after
Real Aces Faced: Tim Lincecum (8.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 11 K, 1 BB), with Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson as honorable mentions
New “Aces” Created: Todd Wellemeyer (7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 K, 3 BB), Nate Robertson (6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 K, 4 BB), Kris Benson (6 IP, 8 H, 3 R [2 ER], 5 K, 0 BB)
Total Runs Scored: 38  (3.2 per game)
Team Batting Line: .214/.282/.313

Record-wise, this one hasn’t been as bad so far, and that’s a good bit of luck for the Phils. They find themselves back just 1.5 games as April turns into May. What stands out here is the awful team slugging; repeating, the Phils did not manage an extra-base hit Friday, and they have just 27 in this 12-game slide.

There were wonderers-aloud about the Phils’ offense this year, mainly about how long they could sustain such a hot start against better competition. The injury to Jimmy Rollins sure hasn’t helped, but no one has really produced well in his absence. We can’t blame this on one player missing. Additionally, the Phils seem to even be drawing fewer walks than in slumps past. The mathematical difference between on-base percentage and batting average – isolated discipline or IsoD – is only .056 here, meaning just five-and-a-half percent of Philly plate appearances are resulting in walks. That’s the sort of walk rate you see out of a guy like Bengie Molina. For a team that bases a good chunk of its success on taking pitches – Werth and Utley, especially – having such poor plate discipline isn’t exactly fast-tracking this slump to its conclusion.

So, what’s bright side? Well, the Phils have managed to rebound. After their 2009 slump, they finished the year on a robust 54-32 run, hitting .260/.334/.449 the rest of the way. In 2008, the Phils went 48-31 with a  .255/.329/.438 combined line after the selected slump above. Is this cherry-picking? Of course it is. On both ends. But it’s certainly worth noting that this sort of thing is typical of the Phillies offense, for whatever reason. It’s also worth noting that the team turned out just fine on the other side of the other two slumps.

With the talent of the hitters in the starting lineup, it’s hard to imagine this year’s slump lasting much longer. So, chin up. Things are slow right now, but the light at the end of this tunnel will start growing brighter any day now.

Avatar of Paul Boye

About Paul Boye

Paul Boye has written 58 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 miked63

    great post , fantastic info , gives us some concrete facts to sink our teeth in. i agree completely. i am concerned with the pitching though. i dont disagree with howards contract , but if they have that kind of cash howard could have waited and lee would still be here. i know its more complicated than that but i’m not gonna write a small novel. bottom line is it was doable. after next year ibanez and moyer are gone so only 2010 and 2011 would have been a little expensive, so what , how many times in over 100 years have the phillies been in this position with a chance for a real dynasty , with halladay , lee , hamels , haap , blanton this team could have won 2 or 3 more championships between 2010 and 2014 with 2008 already in the bag. oh and by the way this is the only time in theyre over 100 year history to win 3 or 4 titles in a 6 year span .

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Great information retrieval. I do remember horrible April starts before and those prolonged spells you mentioned without the details. Tonight’s game was awful. Victorino looks lost, there were a few balls (very few) hit hard but were all caught. Ibanez is just about a sure out anymore. The first 4 batters in the lineup had 1 hit between them. How do you keep a team with this much talent down? The pitcher for the Muts tonight, Niese looked like nothing special at all yet the Phils struck out lots and seemed to hit every ball directly at someone.
    I have not been to a game as bad as this one since probably 06.
    It almost seams that regardless of how good Roy pitches tomorrow, if the Phils cannot score any runs, it wont matter.

     
  • Posts: 0 Morris Buttermaker

    The pitching looked horrible, the bats were invisible, and the defense was downright pathetic. But other than that, the Phillies played a good game tonight.

     
  • Posts: 0 joe

    this should make us all feel better..

    Cliff Lee only went 7 innings tonight… with 3 hits…0 runs…0 walks…and 8 ks….on a pitch count…

    so..yeah…

    why did they trade him?

     
  • Posts: 0 Stuart

    I am so sick of people complaining about Lee. Get over it already. Whats done is done, stop whining.

    Pathetic game tonight. Hopefully with Roy on the mound tomorrow they can get it back on track.

     
  • Posts: 0 joe

    it was a dumb move.

    you know it.
    i know it.
    ruben knows it.
    everyone knows it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Johnny Snowden

    well Kenrick sucked, but we knew that he would.

    last thing i’m ever gonna say about cliff lee and the trade ever again is:

    unless he can hit 300 w/ 10-15 HRs as a pitcher it really is no use complaining at all as in whatsoever about him being traded because all kendrick did was meet expectations.

    yes the pitching was horrible but with a pen stretched and with the loss of mad dog … stretched father still.

    the offense lost this game flat out. not cliff lee, or anyone else.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tadahito Iguchi

    Joe, you are right. I don’t complain about the Lee trade. It’s not worth the effort. Nothing to gain from it. And my simple peon mind will never truly understand it. And it’s one of the few trades that you immediately knew was a bad idea. Right up there with the Polanco for Ugueth Urbina trade from a few years ago, but more significant. To be honest, I have blanked it out since it happened. It will only annoy you if you think about. And the only way the Phillies can prove to the fans it was a good move is to win the World Series this year. Or Lee blows out his shoulder/elbow. So here’s to hoping we win the Series. Go Phils.

     
  • Posts: 0 Johnny Snowden

    the difference here tad is that the polanco trade didn’t gave us roy halladay. i don’t even know how you can compare the two unless of course doc plans of getting charged for murder in Venezuela next week or something … btw did urbina ever get a trial?

    i also don’t understand how cliff lee’s being in seattle lost us this game tonight.

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    The odds of resigning Cliff Lee was extremely low, even if we didn’t pick up Halladay. The odds of getting back to the World Series even with Lee and Halladay for a third year in a row is low.

    Combine those two odds together and you try to move Lee and get as much as you can for him, esp. since once you throw in a depleted farm system with aging starting players into the mix.

    I really like Cliff Lee and will always be thankful for his time here. But let it go.

     
  • Posts: 0 LetsGoMets

    HAHAHAH! You got spanked! The Sillies are the most overrated team in baseball!

    Get the broom, b/c you are about to be SWEPT!

    LET’S GO METS!

     
  • Posts: 0 Tadahito Iguchi

    Neither the Polanco trade nor the Cliff Lee trade landed us Halladay. Cliff Lee was traded from the Phillies to the Mariners for Aumont and other prospects. And yea, Phillippe looks good in the minors so far. In the minors. Kyle Drabek is what landed us Halladay. Honestly, there is seriously no good reason the Phillies don’t have Halladay and Lee. Unless both wanted to be 34 that badly. My comparison to the Polanco-Urbina trade was that 99% of Phillies fans instantly knew it was a horrible trade the second it happened.

    Hey, look, Mets trolls on the Phillies boards. I guess it must be May. I reckon we won’t see them come June, July, August, September or October.

    Back to the original point. The Phillies need to start hitting. Wake up boys.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Every time Kendrick pitches, I’m firmly convinced that it will be his last appearance for the Phillies. Yet they inexplicably keep trotting him out there somehow hoping the results will be different the next time.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tadahito Iguchi

    Every time Kendrick pitches, I go get a bucket of fried chicken, because I know I am in for a long night.

     
  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    How did a fantastic post by Paul turn into a discussion about Cliff Lee and Ugueth Urbina?

     
  • Posts: 0 Morris Buttermaker

    Corey, I’m going with “alcohol”.

    Great original post tonight. Good to see originality and sound research going hand in hand.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    This homestand has the potential to turn ugly real fast.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    It’s truly sad when people are so convinced the Phils could have kept Lee. He would have cost Halladay like money, the farm system would have been bankrupt, and there would have been nothing left to resign Howard (his “pay raise” doesn’t even kick in for a few more years) or Werth. Long term, Lee would have ruined the team.

    That said, the offense is pulling its typical slide, just a bit earlier than usual. I hope it’s not a sign of aging. What I find troubling is that Polanco, signed for his steady bat, has joined in with the rest and isn’t hitting. He’s drawn very few walks and seen very few pitches. He hasn’t performed as expected. Another thing which worries me is the lack of focus and hustle, but I think Manuel will address that, if he hasn’t already. This team should be better, even with the lackluster pitching of late.

    Next post should address the bullpen. I don’t honestly see that as a plus. Baez has been terrible. Madson, even before he stupidly kicked a chair, was terrible, and would have been terrible even in a set-up role because teams are on to his pitching patterns. Lidge is still a question mark. The team has starters who will be back, but there’s no one to replace the bad bullpen arms.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phils_ftw

    The Jeltz on this site makes NO logical sense. Halladay gives up 5 runs over 7, while Ben Francisco leaves 8 men stranded on base, who gets the Jeltz? Halladay. Kendrick, however, gives up 4 over 5 and Victorino gets the Jeltz. Do the people who do this site even think about their choices or just toss up whoever the first to come to mind is?

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    1. Happens ev-ery year. And the remedy is to LOOK AT MORE PITCHES PLEASE! Walk! Ryan, while not as bad as last year, is starting to get antsy at the plate again. I’m not complaining. Not worried about the offense.

    2. The Cliff Lee stuff has to stop. What do you gain by bitching one more time about a trade you don’t like?

    3. I got news. Lidge throws 95-96. If he’s throws 91, 89, topping out at 93. Its sooo over. I know he’s rehabbing but he has got to get his velocity up and you can’t put him out there till he does or he’ll get pummeled. Slider looks great though.

    GO PHILS!

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Phils_ftw, wouldn’t you agree though that Baez is more deserving…? he also gave up 4 runs, but in 2 innings only! When KK left, the game was within reach… when Baez left, we were done.

     
  • Posts: 0 Scotch Man

    I don’t recall Lidge ever hitting 95-96, at least as a Phillie. I think the slider is definately back though. Not going to judge a guy that was thrown in to face a few hitters in a game that was out of hand anyway.

    The game was an embarrasment last night though, for the Phils. They should no heart whatsoever.

     
  • Posts: 0 Steve. M.

    You are nuts if you think fans will stop talking about the dumbest trade in the history of baseball, especially on a night when the Phillies lose and Lee wins. Get over it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Keith E

    Last night’s game was pathetic!
    Confucius say: “No Hit-ee, no win-ee”
    GO PHILS!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 O'Malley

    Good post. The only thing that concerns me, as someone else had mentioned, is that in both ’08 and ’09 the Phillies had similar Aprils, so another cold streak is bound to be on the way. As far as Lee goes, I fall on the side of “get over it.” And Kendrick? Kendrick is pitching as well as can be expected for a 6th starter because that’s exactly what he is. Things should turn around soon enough.

     
  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    Anyone who defends the lee trade is crazy. It was a slap in the face to the fans. Lee for one year at 9 million gave you a great one two punch. The three prospects are a joke, gillies is a toolsy undrafted outfielder which we have a lot of in the minors, aumont is a hit or bust who is very inconsistant, and ramirez is another 22 year old low minors undrafted free agent. The owners showed you there loyalty to the loyal fans ,by worring about 9 million when you have people in lines trying to get in a ton of money pouring in and they bottom line us. The phillies wouldnt have sign lee we all know that but two first round choices are good if you are committed to sign them and pay the money it takes to get some good high school kid not to go to college. this year is loaded with pitchers and catchers coming out.so you can kiss the phillies ass by saying it over done , it doesnt change the fact. You loyalty was reward with a slap in the face by these five dont care owners. and howard was signed because he puts people in the seats, people will go to see a homerun hitter nomatter how poor the team is doing. baez should be release and mathieson should be up today .

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Wait. You guys keeping bitching about the Lee trade, clogging up the message board, and I’M the one that’s supposed “to get over it”??? You’re shouting at the rain. The trade was bad, there was pain and anger, and its over. Now, when the trade deadline rolls around and the Phils have the chance to get Lee back for the stretch, then I will yell with you to trade for him, but cmon already. Thanks.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Halladay did not pitch as expected, (5 in 7 would have gotten Hamels booed out of Philly) and Francisco didn’t hit much worse than anyone else; he just happened to do it with runners on. Could have happened to Utley or Polanco, who haven’t been hitting worth a crap lately, either.

    Victorino gets the Jeltz because he made stupid mistakes, like not running on a dropped third strike, and generally not being Victorino-like, whereas Kendrick pitched no worse than expected. Baez was horrible, but with the offensive slump, the Jeltz pretty much has to be awarded to a position player. Baez came into a game that was already hopeless given the garbage hitting.

    I totally agree with the Dipsy. Walks need to be coaxed, Lee is gone, period, and Lidge isn’t ready if he’s maxing out at 93mph. Any major league hitter can slam a totally straight fastball that isn’t exactly fast.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Lidge only managed 93 on one pitch, too. The rest were between 89-91. That’s “finesse pitcher” territory, and those types have the fastball movement Lidge does not. He won’t get by with just a slider, because players are wise to it’s dropping out of the strikezone and will force walks, instead.

    Even if Lidge has supposedly never hit 95, as Scotch man claims, he did hit 94 consistently. That’s a far cry from 89.

    I’m not yet worried about Lidge, though. You don’t have much of an adrenaline rush coming into a game that’s already down the toilet. If you want worries, think about Baez.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    George – I think he had an adrenaline rush last night pitching in his first game of the year and after two surgeries. We may all have to face the possibility that he can’t close anymore. Did you guys see how those guys were all over that fastball? The ball on Barajas was on the hands and he still got around and crushed it. I hope Lidge comes back strong – but the odds are against him.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Phils_ftw

    Why do I keep getting Malware popups when I come to this site? (Only this site no other sites)

     
  • Posts: 0 Adam F

    I know a lot of people want the Cliff Lee comments to stop but they will continue all season. You just can’t help but notice how paper thin our rotation is. People are acting like Joe Blanton is a shutdown starter. This guy is “serviceable” at best. Hamels is not a number 2 for a WS caliber team. And then you’re still going to have to watch Moyer or Kendrick go out there every 5th day. It’s an ugly picture right now and it doesn’t help seeing Cliff Lee dominate in his first outing of the season. It was a terrible decision to trade him because it didn’t have to be done. Prospects are just that, prospects, and its not like our minor league talent pool received a humungous upgrade with what Cliff Lee fetched. As JRoll said when asked about the Lee trade and why they didn’t keep him…”I thought we could keep him. I guess that’s just the moves the Yankees do.”

    I think the bullpen is in shambles too but at least Lee would have helped preserve the pen too. The lineup needs to come around although I hate hearing fans talk about how J-Roll was the glue that held this lineup together. He sure didn’t feel like the glue last year when he was hitting .200 for the first 2 months of the season. But because he started off hot before being injured, everyone wants to reason that he’s the missing link. I got news though, the entire lineup started off hot. JRoll would probably be in this batting funk along with everyone else.

    Is anyone else surprised that the best and most consistent hitter in the lineup right now (the only one really hitting) is also the only one that is in a contract year? Just coincidental, I’m sure.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phils_ftw

    I think one of the ads rotating into the main page has some sort of integrated Malware.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jay

    whaaaaaaaa cry baby philly fans you had your one lucky year and now that is over see you in another hundred years!!!! enjoy the worst contract in baseball history!!! In 5 years when Ike Davis is winning MVPs and The Big Nostril is all broken down…….phillies are done!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Lidge sure looks like he’s done…at least we can always remember 2008. RAJ has some real problems on his hands.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Jay, unless I’m wrong the Phillies have won three consecutive Eastern Division titles, two consecutive NL Pennants, and one World Championship in the last three seasons. In 2007, they came from seven games back with 17 left to play to win the East (I forget exactly who they overtook…you may have to look that up yourself). That hardly seems like one lucky season. When was the last time the Mets won anything?

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Adam – All the reasons you give for incessantly talking about Cliff Lee don’t matter. That without remedy should be without regard. And, Blanton is more than serviceable. He’s a good starter in the major leagues. And, if you wanna look at the pin action from the Lee trade, Howard doesn’t get signed if we keep Lee and extend him. Its just the same thing over and over again with you guys so let it die. You must be hell when girlfriends break up with you.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Please don’t talk to Jay.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Second Place

    If you think Jay is a ‘rhoid, wait till you see what crawls up out of the toilet if the Phillies lose again today… to the Mets… with Doc on the mound for us.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Good points on Lidge, Dipsy, but I think he still may have had a bigger rush being in a REAL game. Manuel is bringing him back slowly, though, and probably for good reason: he’s just not completely ready yet. It’s as if he’s just nearing the end of spring training, and he may yet improve.

    Blanton is definitely more than serviceable. He’s a double figure winner with a decent ERA, pitches a lot of innings, and is just now hitting his peak years.

    Lee would have been gone without an expensive extension, and an expensive extension would have precluded signing some other key players. Two draft picks does not equal three prospects, either, and one possible pennant doesn’t equal four or five.

    And why is everyone so down on Hamels? He’s had one bad year (in which he still won 10 games) out of four, and has taken the effort to improve his repertoire. If he could win 15, then 14 games, and four playoff and series starts with only TWO pitches, why will he be so bad with an added cutter and an improved curve? Give him a little time.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Of course, if Lidge can’t get up any more speed, he’s cooked as a closer, and the Phils are screwed.

     
  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    The bats are undisciplined. The pitching is weak and will improve when Blanton and Happ return. Lidge may be done as a closer. I hope not, but feel that there are strong possibilities that this may be true. May will be better than April. I am feeling optimism — at least I think that feeling is optimism. Could be my blood sugar, though.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jay

    If the Mets win again today, I wonder which of you Philly fans will put your fingers down your thoat and vomit on another little girl last week

     
  • Posts: 0 Second Place

    Pukemon just adds to the list that already includes snowballs being thrown at Santa and batteries being thrown at… I think JD Drew. At least THIS TIME, most people agree that Pukemon’s actions were vile and he deserves ridicule.

     
  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    This has got to be the most depressing stretch the phils have looked in a while they just don’t seem to have any fight lately.

     
  • Posts: 0 philsgirl

    Look, we’ve all had a nasty but small look at what Lee might have done for us in 2010 had he still been here, but he’s not. Would he have been gone *this* year without an extension? If so, then I’m confused and stand corrected. I thought we’d just have to pay 9 mil for an ace that would have gone a long way to taking us back to the WS and with a good chance of winning this year, so I don’t agree that it’s one probable pennant against 4 or 5.

    What Adam F. said about preserving the pen is a huge point and one that is *so* important this year in particular, since it’s a need that hasn’t been addressed. Especially in times when the bats go cold, which obviously they can. Other than Halladay, who do we have that can go 7 deep with 3 hits, 8 Ks, and no runs – back in the AL no less (I look forward to stats of our current starters from future comments..). If “that which is without remedy should be without regard”, I guess a lot of history books should be burned. Do we have a remedy? Dipsy, are you peeved at commenters who bring up CL because you’ve managed to find an explanation you can live with (if so, I’m really happy for you and I agree with your posts more than most, but can’t get with the program here) and would like to forget the whole thing like a bad dream? Your “bar analogy” of the not *so* distant past is still one of my faves.

    Again, Phils fans will probably not let the Lee thing die if the pitching aside from Halladay continues to be a concern, unfortunately.

    Ignoring the Mets trolls has to be done, though 8)

     
  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    The one thing so far is that the east is weak . braves I thought were better Marlins inconsitent, and Mets forget, it they stink and will fade, this isnt the miracle of 1969.

     
  • Posts: 0 Yankee Fan, Phillies Phriend

    I laughed out loud at LetsGoMets’ post after tonight’s game.

     
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