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.