An Ugly NLCS by the Numbers

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, October 20, 2010 09:46 AM | Comments: 136
News, Opinion, Posts

You’re looking for a shakeup, but Charlie Manuel doesn’t work that way. After watching the Phillies lineup plunge back into the depths of their oft-seen slumps this year, there needs to be a mix-up, right? Don’t bet on it.

Going into Game 4 tonight, you’ll be lucky to see a switch like Ben Francisco in for the struggling Raul Ibanez. Manuel already spoke his peace following last night’s game saying it’s too late for any moved to be made. You go with what got you here, Charlie says. That faith in his players has served him, and them, quite well for several seasons now. I expect to see that same lineup trot out there again this evening.

However, it’s not just Ibanez having a down postseason. As a unit, 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position is on the lot of them. All players in the lineup are guilty of flopping at an inopportune time. Take a look:

Shane Victorino: 2-for-11 in the series with one extra base hit and one steal. Not exactly what you want to see from your leadoff hitter.

Chase Utley: A error that wasn’t in Game 3, plus a few really bad at-bats that resulted in weakly grounded balls. Utley 1-for-10, although he does have three walks and two steals. HIs presence has been felt on the basepaths, but that’s about it.

Placido Polanco: 2-for-11 with no walks. The patience that made him so valuable is missing.

Ryan Howard: He’s 4-for-11 with two doubles. The problem is, he hasn’t knocked in a run, meaning there is little power. This from a guy who six home runs over the past two postseasons. Unacceptable in that regard, although he’s really the only Phillies player somewhat-consistently getting on base.

Jayson Werth: Although he does have five strikeouts and has looked lost at times at the plate (including throwing his bat like he had walked on a ball right down the middle) his three walks almost make up for that. Werth’s 2-for-9 at the dish is sad, but who’s numbers aren’t right now?

Jimmy Rollins: He had the hardest hit ball in Game 3, smashing one off the wall in the ninth off Brian Wilson. But he still doesn’t look right. All of J-Roll’s damage was done in Game 2 when he knocked in four runs. Do you move him to the leadoff spot if he’s the only guy who has done anything with runners in scoring position this series? Tough call.

Raul Ibanez: He’s mired in an 0-for-14 slump, including 0-for-11 in this series. There have been calls made to put Ben Francisco in the lineup as a shot of life, but that’s a pipe dream. Charlie will stick by his guy, even though his bat looks considerably slower. Ibanez has just one walk and five strikeouts. Would a move to eighth spark him?

Carlos Ruiz: Hard to find much to bitch about with Chooch. He’s been handling the pitching staff the way he normally does, which gives him an edge over most of the guys. He and Werth are the only two with home runs in this series, but he also has been aboard just twice. Top to bottom it’s ugly.

You should be used to this, right? It’s what we’ve seen all year. Perhaps they just peaked too early – at the end of the regular season as they were locking up the National League East? That momentum hasn’t really carried into the playoffs offensively, even though they found a way to score 13 runs against Cincinnati. That final tally was more a mirage than anything; it was clearly the Reds defense that aided them in scoring all of those runs.

So, the options are basically limited. At some point, one or two of these guys has to pick up the slack. But in case they don’t, you’re already prepared for it.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1704 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 CHRIS

    “go with what got you here” Jimmy rollins didn’t get you there. Valdez should be playing. I’m not saying that they would be up right now, but Charlie needs to think before he speaks. Rollins didn’t do squat to get this team where they are now. The guy who played that part is on the bench….

    All in all this team is not the best Phillies team ever. They are the most inconsistent team ever! They may be the best pitching team the phillies have ever had, but they are definitly not the best offensive team.

    They need to man up and play aggressive now if they want to get by the Giants.

  • Posts: 0 sportsphan

    What’s really sad about this is that it’s probably the last hurrah. After the Yankees sign Cliff Lee in the off-season, they’ll be unbeatable for a few years. This team is beginning to show its age. The only consolation is that the Yankees aren’t going past this round of the playoffs, either.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Like I said in the other thread….what’s the point of having guys like Francisco (not just a pich-hitter) on the roster if you’re not gonna use them?

    The one change I would make is Ben Fran for Raul.

    But, I agree…would be no surprise if Charlie didn’t do it.

    He’s the manager. We’re not. He’s earned the right to have our trust and to make the calls.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Some of the offensive challenges will be resolved tonight by facing a lefty. Vic is terrible from the left side (231), Rollins even worse (219) – both are around 300 from the right side. Plus, we’re facing a rookie making his first playoff start at home – jitters may be an issue. Add into that, we’re playing back to back games, get a night game, the bullpen is rested, Blanton is very rested. Now if Utley can get his head in the game, Werth take a few swings instead of waiting for a walk, we’ll be in good shape. Confident isn’t quite the right word, but I’m optimistic.

  • Posts: 0 sportsphan

    Also, I give Polanco a pass. He needs elbow surgery and is probably playing with pain. It’s the others that are inexcusable. The usually reliable one that’s not coming through now is Chooch.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    The “last hurrah” ???


    H20 is in place for next year. Rollins will bounce back after “one of those years” The rest of the lineup in unchanged except for Werth and I think D Brown will do just fine.

    Do I really need to go into all the rest, sportsphan??

    Give Ruben props….he’s got this team set up for contention.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    How is Chooch not coming through any more than some of the others? He’s 2 for 9, but does have a HR….AND…is handling the pitching staff like he does.

    If you want to pick on anybody look at Raul’s numbers. Everyone else has at least 2 hits except for Chase and he’s been on base via walks.

    I’m not saying that we’re great offensively, but to single out Carlos Ruiz is ridiculous.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    sportsphan, while I agree on giving Polanco a pass, I hope that conceding the next several season to the yanks is due to a temporary moment of despair due to last night’s loss. Even if the Yanks get Lee, their line-up is going to stay pretty much the same (switch Crawford for Swisher, which is a big upgrade, on the other hand, Jeter, A-Rod, and Posada, who look very old right now, will be another year older).

    We’re only down 2-1 in a 7 game series. The fat lady is still in her dressing room. I’m not saying that the Giants can’t win, but from their manager on down (with the exception of Cody Ross) I haven’t seen anything that indicates the Phils can’t take 3 of the next 4. Will they? That’s the fun of postseason.

  • Posts: 0 Sam

    I say this should be the the lineup for tonights game.

    1. Polanco
    2. Rollins

  • Posts: 0 Sam

    3. Victorino
    4. Utley
    5. Howard
    6. Werth
    7. Brown
    8. Ruiz
    9. Blanton

  • Posts: 0 Sam

    or put valdez in there somewhere

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Sam, do you actually follow the Phillies??

    Look at your lineup… Polanco leading off?? D Brown…a rookie with ZERO playoff experience…facing a lefty?? Utley batting cleanup???


  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I feel that if we insert Frisco in the lineup in the 7th hole… the lineup suddenly looks well-balanced. I would assume that they would leave Utley batting 2nd since it’s against a LHP. (However, I think I’ll never come to terms with Polanco batting 3rd, especially when he’s playing injured… The 3-hole is for the team’s best hitter and Polanco isn’t that guy right now. Werth should be batting 3rd, but it’s not gonna happen.)

    1. Shane
    2. Utley
    3. Polanco
    4. Howard
    5. Werth
    6. Jimmy
    7. Francisco
    8. Ruiz
    9. Heavy B!

  • Posts: 0 Jay

    I agree with that, Charlie is loyal to a fault sometimes; it’s great he sticks by his players but averaging 3 runs a game in the NLCS? Sweeney and Valdez have come through a few times in big situations as PH. They usually score runs for Joe. I like bfo’s the fat lady is still in the dressing room. GO PHILS!

  • Posts: 0 Terry

    Sam, you sound like you’ve been hanging out with Tim Lincecum. Polanco doesn’t hit leadoff, and Howard hasn’t hit anywhere other than 4th once this year. Why not hit Blanton cleanup? He had that homer against the Brewers in the ’08 NLDS… If that’s what tonight’s lineup card looks like, I’ll personally buy you tickets to each World Series game, no matter where they are. With airfare and hotel.

    The whole team looked lost up there yesterday, but like Pat said, Charlie sticks with his guys. The only real change we might hope for is Francisco over Ibanez. Other than that, I’d expect more of the same with Utley 2, and Polanco 3, since they’re facing a lefty in Baumgarner. They also tend to not fare well against guys they haven’t seen much, let’s hope that changes tonight.

  • Posts: 0 jeff

    I said it all along. The Phillies would sweep the Reds. Right on

    I said if we do not hit in this series we lose 4-2. Right on

    I agree Jr has done good things. Pitching. He has also done bad

    Howard’s long term deal. Raul’s deal. He looks old. Giving Jimmy the extention to quickly. Bullpen. I am the biggest Utley fan. I named my son after him. Maybe he is hurt. If he does nothing next season then maybe its a fluke. Yes he hustles and I love that about him. He is a very average fielder. He is not hitting now. Maybe the hand. We will see. To lose to the Giants is horrible. They have solid pitching but there offense is terrible. To walk around Pat. He is nothing. Cody Ross are you kidding me. DO OR DIE

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    jeff, are you looking for some kind of validation for your words and predictions?

    And, better check your facts. Phils haven’t lost the series 4-2.

    You’d should wait til this actually happens…if it even does…before you start tooting your horn on here.

  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Charlie Manuel is also failing his team by not using his bench. He said regarding Ibanez’ slump that what is the use of making changes this late. That is bullshit. Charlie needs to sit Ibanez and play Francisco. Our bats are getting old and weak very fast. Howard has lost his pop. Utley and Polanco are getting weaker. During the season, Manuel needs to rest these guys from time to time. USE THE BENCH.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    The Giants did and it paid off: see Renteria, Rowand…

  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    ….sounds like a lot of bloggers are like me at this point. confused and pissed. Oh well. Blanton will save the day. Just wait and see. He will pitch like Don Drysdale tonight. And Francisco and Howard will hit long balls. Ya Gotta Believe !!!!

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I think they’ll use the Panda today… this year as a LHB he hit .282 with 12 of his 13 HRs (only .227 and 1 HR as a RHB).

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Panda also hit .330 at AT&T and only .208 in away games. Crap.

  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Jeff – RAJ did not give Jimmy Rollins a contract “extension”, he simply picked up the 2011 option that was part of Rollins’ existing contract.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Charlie might have said that….about it being too late for changes….but we all know that he never REALLY reveals what he’s gonna do.

    Nothing would surprise me.

  • Posts: 0 jeff

    Not tooting my own horn just telling you how it will go. I also picked the Colts to lose to the Jags. There is nobody on this Giants team that scares me. Nobody. If we win tonight we are in good shape. Even if we go down 3-2 coming home I know we can take two in our buidling.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    No excuse for not using Ben Fran tonight. When they platooned the Phils got hot and Raul corrected his swing against just righties. Charlie, do what you did that turned the team around during the season. Start Ben Fran against LEfties!

  • Posts: 0 Jay

    I think he will do something with tne line-up. He has done alot of tinkering this year already.

  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    Cholly is, for better or worse, old school. Dance with the girl who ya brung. In that regard he’s like Torre and Cox – stick with your vets.

    As he said to Jimmy – “Son, if you go down I’ll go down with ya”

    Yeah – there may be a little tinkering with the lineup but no whole scale changes.

    Earlier in the year Ibanez got out of his funk when Howard went down and Cholly batted him 3rd. Maybe that would help.

    The bottom line with this team is that they’re veterans and they know what they have to do. Therefore, they either do it or they don’t. Going into panic mode isn’t going to help – or motivate ANYONE.

    Lastly, we’re talking like the season is over; still a ot of baseball left. I don’t see no fat lady warming up.

  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    I meant a little tinkering with the batting order – not the lineup.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe


    True, but Charlie went to a platoon with Ben Fran and Raul when Raul’s swing went south. Phils were dominant during that time. So Charlie should do what he did during a good portion of the succesful part of the season and use Ben Fran.

  • Posts: 0 frank

    oh well i tried to submit lineup for blog maybe it will work the third time.


  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Jeff – you are a prognosticator of the highest order. Feel better? A soothsayer. Can you pick some stocks for me?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Seems to me that Ibanez is just swinging late on everything. That is a sign that he is tired. We all know he is old. He needs a rest.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    jeff, you make no sense.

    First, you pick the Giants to win 4-2

    NOW, you say that “Even if we go down 3-2 coming home I know we can take two in our building”

    Not sure if I’d trust you to pick stocks.

  • Posts: 0 sportsphan

    Oh, and I forgot….the Giants are going to have this pitching staff in place for a long time to come. They are a lot younger than H2O is. So, it’s this year or not for another long time. I’m not singling out Chooch, by the way. I’m saying the only usually reliable one that isn’t producing right now is Chooch. He and Polanco are the only two that have been reliable for the whole season without going into prolonged hitting slumps. I agree that Ibanez is horrible, and should be out of the lineup, but he doesn’t qualify as “reliable”–he slumped the entire first half of the season.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck


    Raul Ibanez pretty much CARRIED this team the second half of the season. Without him we probably don’t make the playoffs.

    I’m pretty certain that would qualify as “reliable”

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    So much for my RAUL – NLCS MVP prediction… :(

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    sportsphan, somebody run over your puppy this morning, or did Jeff hack into your account? This is a best of 7, not best of three series. If we were playing Texas, who seems to be able to score runs at will, I’d be worried. We were in the 2 losses, had plenty of baserunners, just couldn’t get the big hit. We’re still in this series, why even worry about next year right now (I also wouldn’t pencil in a Giants-Yanks WS in 2011).

    I also don’t buy the Raul is tired argument. There has been plenty of down time in this postseason. Raul ripped a ball down the 1st base line yesterday (unfortunately right into Huff’s glove). His foul balls are sprayed on both sides of the diamond. This season, he’s just not very good at hitting lefties (like Vic and Rollins). It’s not something a nap is going to cure. He’s a platoon player at this point in his career. I have faith that Charlie will do the right thing and start Ben Fran tonight.

    I’m also hoping that PP goes back to #2, which is much more fitting for a 1 armed hitter. Chase rarely has two bad games in a row, and yesterday may have been his worst start of the season. For whatever reason, this line-up hits when Joe B is on the mound. I’m predicting an offensive explosion from the Phils to even up the series.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    “I don’t hear no fat lady!”

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Ugly would be an understatement…

    Who is this jeff impersonator… saying that the Phils should be alright if they win tonight is not very jeff-like.

    Every game from here on out is the most important game of the season. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little bit concerned heading into tonight’s ballgame but I know this team is probably dying to get back out there and that’s what I love about them.

    I think that Joe B could have some success tonight… he doesn’t have to worry about being perfect in that ballpark so hopefully he won’t give up that big inning that has caused him so many problems this year.

  • Posts: 0 sportsphan

    I guess I’m just easily made hopeless because I’m 55 years old and have been a fan of all Philadelphia sports teams for as long as I can remember. There’s been so much hurt and so much losing when it seemed impossible that I immediately revert back to that fatalistic mind set as soon as things don’t go smoothly. That said, I still think the Giants win in 6. But those of you who are younger and haven’t lived through all the “cursed years”, give us oldsters a break. We’ve been conditioned to think the worst is inevitable.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I’m the same age as you SP. I rememeber the Tugger telling everyone “Ya Gotta Believe” , and I do.

  • Posts: 0 jt

    why can’t just one guy slump in the lineup at a time whenever a slump happens they all jump on board…if guys like utley,howard and werth were producing rbi’s we could surive ibanez 0-14 slump but nobody is hitting and we need a change to get some spark going the san fran manger is change his lineup left and right and their up 2-1 we stick with our same lineup and were down 1-2 francisco needs to start they need a different bat in there to get a spark going and i want chooch hitting 6th in the lineup.

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    I hope all the “doomsdayers” don’t even turn on the TV tonight…why bother since you already have the Phillies done. Even if they somehow lose tonight, I won’t be waving the white flag. This is the best Phillies team out of the last three years, mostly due to H2O. Unfortunately, when they slump they do so as a team and when they hit, they do so as a team too. I also wish Benny F. started tonight…but I will stick by Charlie M. no matter what as his team seems to really respond to him. What if he listened to the fans in game 2 and benched Rollins? Let’s avoid Cody Ross and get over the time change…GO PHILLIES. BTW…the Rangers now appear to be the scariest team still in the playoffs…they are friggin good.


    Howard (Hit a Fn homerun please)
    Ben Fransisco
    Joe The Pitcher

    and go out and win the damn game.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Also SP,
    When RAJ told us we can’t keep Cliff Lee because we have to refresh the young ones given up for Doc, I don’t believe anyone in Philadelphia believed we were too old at that time. All we could think about was win now, the window is now. Well, we ended up giving up the prospects anyway for Oswalt, and now you are posting that this team is starting to show it’s age?

    You can’t have it both ways. Who came to RAJ’s defense when we traded Lee? Nobody!, I know I didn’t. There should be no complaints about how “old” we might look going into next year, we were warned.

    But for the here and now, You just got to believe!

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    So now that we have real contenders to deal with instead of the 2008/2009 Dodgers (whose luck finally ran out in 2010), everyone’s ready to throw in the towel because we’re not up 3-0 or 2-1.

    And I was being laughed at for saying Phillies in 7. Not here, elsewhere.

    These guys have been coming from behind all season long.

    Yes, as a sports town, we’ve been disappointed a lot. Pain, heartache, devastation, everything.

    But this Phillies team has not disappointed us (unless you’re one of those losers who consider going to the World Series twice and winning once disappointing). Given every chance this season to throw in the towel, they’ve FOUND ways to win games. Why don’t we have some PHaith in THIS team?

    Trust Charlie. He’s brought us this far.

    They’ll find a way to send this series to Game 7 and they’ll find a way to win Game 7. And in the off-chance they don’t, I’m still proud of these guys for the year they’ve given us.

    Phillies in seven.

  • We win today, we win the series.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    We’re going to break out of the funk tonight folks, and it will be glorious.

  • Posts: 0 jt

    win the next 2 bring it home and finish it off in 6 if we can win joe start tonight i like our chances with doc going again and oswalt for a game 6…lets break out the bats and get this going.

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