Recent games have been rather meaningless for the Phils and the final eight are important only in keeping the team fresh for the NLDS. Even still, getting the offense back to the high level of August is a necessity.
The Phillies have scored 31 runs in their last thirteen games, an average of 2.4 per contest. Take away the 9-2 win over St. Louis Saturday and the Phils have scored 22 combined runs in twelve of thirteen games, or less than two per.
Where has the offense gone?
Well, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have been out of the lineup for seven of those games. Jimmy Rollins has missed five.
But Shane Victorino’s September slump might be the principal factor.
Since September 10, Victorino is 6 for 44 with four runs scored. Two of those runs came in that aforementioned Cardinals blowout, as did three of his five RBIs.
Victorino has gotten on base consistently all season. His on-base percentages per month prior to September were: .351, .327, .383, .462 and .393. In September it’s been .267. Victorino has also been consistently powerful, posting slugging percentages of .490 or better in each month except for the final one.
A dynamic, top-of-the-order threat who can beat opposing teams with speed and power, Victorino is the type of player the other NL contenders do not have. The closest match might be the Brewers’ Rickie Weeks, but he is still recovering from a severe ankle sprain and is barely playing.
The health of Howard, Rollins and Utley will be key to October success, but getting Shane Victorino back on track will be just as important.