Quantcast


Phillies continue to lack offensive production

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Mon, March 10, 2014 06:34 PM | Comments: 57
2014 Spring Training

I know, I know, it is only Spring Training and it means nothing once April hits. But regardless, it is worth pointing out after another one run effort today against Atlanta, that the Phillies are still lacking incredibly at the plate.

Apart from an 11-run outburst against Houston on Saturday, the Phillies have scored just 16 runs in their other nine games since March 1- an average of less than two per game. Today, seven different Braves’ pitchers combined to allow just a run on six hits, and the run didn’t even come across for the Phillies until the eighth inning. Five of their six hits were singles.

Currently, the Phillies are in dead last place in all of Major League Baseball in batting average, and by a hefty margin. The 29th place Dodgers are hitting .228, more than 30 points more than the sub-Mendoza line .194 from the Phillies. They also rank dead last in on-base percentage, and are in the bottom third in baseball in runs and RBI.

The big guns-Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, who they will so desperately count on this season, have combined to go 9-for-56. Marlon Byrd, one of the only players producing this spring, has the same number of hits in almost half the at bats.

What does it mean? Maybe nothing. But it is certainly not good. As the minor league pitchers start to get weeded out, the talent they will be facing is only going to get harder throughout the spring and especially into the regular season. Something needs to change, because .194 is not going to score a whole lot of runs.

On a different note…

The starting pitching has been great the last couple of days. Jeff Manship, who could be an important piece in the injury ravaged rotation, made his first start of the spring Sunday and was lights out. He allowed just a run on two hits in three innings of work. It was the only run he has allowed the spring so far.

Today, Cliff Lee pitched well despite taking the loss, tossing 3 2/3 innings while striking out five. He gave up two earned runs on three hits, but one run was a leadoff homer from Jason Heyward and the other was a runner that was his responsibility who came around to score after he was lifted. Twenty of his first 26 pitches were thrown for strikes, and he walked just one in the outing.

 

Avatar of Kenny Ayres

About Kenny Ayres

Kenny Ayres has written 68 articles on Phillies Nation.

WCU class of 2014 majoring in communication with a journalism minor.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Art

    This is a team with ownership nearly as old and inept as the players. Time to clean house from top to bottom. While doing this, they should fire their entire farm team scouts and look there for new management. If they win as many as 60 games this year, it will be a success, and don’t expect improvement next year or soon thereafter.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      60 is possible. 90 is at least as possible.

       
    • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

      I’m making a note of that right now.

       
    • Posts: 0 Betasigmadeltashag

      You really need to get over the negativity. I know it is what Philly is about. But to make such obnoxious statements 2-3 weeks into spring training is no only annoying but totally rediculous

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        It’s actually kind of amusing that that is “what Philly is about” (although you’re right).

        Since baseball expanded in 1969 (i.e. the majority of the lifetime of most fans):

        - only 7 of the other 29 teams have a better record than the Phillies
        - only 6 of the 29 have more postseason appearances

        Whether some fans accept it or not, recent Phillies history is a winning tradition, not a losing one.

         
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        Schmenk,

        You’re absolutely right about the team’s modern success, especially in recent years.
        Of course, that’s still not enough to overcome being the losingest major professional sports team in history, but to be fair, the Phightin’s been around longer than most franchises and have a largely dreadful past.

        The Sixers haven’t won a championship in 31 year despite multiple rebuilding efforts and high draft picks. The Flyers have the second highest winning percentage of any hockey franchise (after the Habs) but haven’t won a Stanley cup in 39 years. The Eagles recently fired their winningest coach in franchise history but haven’t won a championship in 54 years.

        Speaking as someone who has survived through 8 decades of Phillies baseball, modern Phils fans you young whippersnappers out there) have much for which to be grateful.
        Count your blessings – and trust that, sooner or later, they will return to greatness.

        That said, while I believe the Phillies have the bats (if healthy) to outperform last year’s anemic runs per game average, I doubt it will be a significant improvement and probably more than offset by a shaky starting five staff and still questionable pen.
        Additionally,most observers give high grades to the Nats, Braves and Mets for their off-season acquisitions while the Phillies have received low grades. If things play out as widely predicted, that too may weigh heavily against the Phillies’ chances of improving over last year’s performance.

        So if I were a betting man, I’d say they drop to 68 wins, low enough to be in a pitched battle with the Marlins for sole possession of 4th place. They could fall apart and win just 60 with a few key injuries but also win as many as 78 if they stay healthy and experience a few positive surprises. But as Hogey suggested, I just wouldn’t hold my breath for an encore of 1993.
        Maybe next year – or next decade. I’ve waited longer.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        “Of course, that’s still not enough to overcome being the losingest major professional sports team in history, but to be fair, the Phightin’s been around longer than most franchises and have a largely dreadful past.”

        Teams with similar franchise W-L%’s to the Phillies (within 5 points): Mets, Brewers, Rangers, Orioles, Rockies, and Marlins. Teams more than 5 points worse: Mariners, Padres, Rays.

        And while they had a 30-year period (1919-48) with an incomprehensible .371 W-L% (i.e. like going 60-102 every year for 30 straight years), in the other 101 years of their history they have a winning record.

         
    • Posts: 0 Chris

      Good idea Art. We have not developed the players that we should have. The Cardinals are the team to model.

       
  • Posts: 0 Fan 74

    The Phil’s lineup is awful.

    On a separate note, whoever at Comcast hired Matt Stairs ought to be fired. Not only is it hard to understand what he is saying because he doesn’t annunciation well, but he talks incredibly fast. Talking that fast is typical of someone that doesn’t have enough experience. If you’re going to hire stairs, at least get him a coach. The 1st message should be speak clearly and slow down. Less talking is better. Don’t be afraid of some silence, let the game breathe.

    There is not a lot right with the phillies,
    They need to cleAn house.

     
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      Keep the faith, Fan74.
      If the Phillies’ Grapefruit League performance spills over to the regular season, Moyer and Stairs may be suiting up, again.

       
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    By scoring 6 runs today to the Phillies’ 1, the Red Sox passed the Phils to move out of last place in runs per game this Spring (3.58 to the Phils 3.46).

    The Phils’ offense is going to be average at best this year, and that’s regardless of what they do in the Spring.

    One bright spot from these first 13 games:

    After being near the bottom in walking the last two years, they have the 7th highest walk rate in MLB so far. That’s still not enough to get their OBP out of last place though, thanks to that .194 batting average.

    One other ray of hope, which goes along with the fact that a 13-game sample is miniscule, and produces results like the Red Sox being next to last in scoring:

    A major reason the Phils’ batting average is so low is that their batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is a miniscule .219, indicating that in addition to poor hitting, balls just haven’t been finding many holes so far. The next lowest in baseball so far is .264. The lowest any MLB team had in 2013 was .275 (the Phils’ BABIP last year was .293).

    A BABIP of .219 is simply not sustainable, no matter how badly a team hits, and the Phils’ batting average cannot help but improve. The high walk rate on the other hand, is less susceptible to statistical blips, and might be more sustainable. Sure, pitchers are still finding their command, but ALL teams are facing pitchers like that.

     
    • Posts: 0 davep

      While I agree with you that a .219 BABIP is unsustainable, hitters definitely have more control over their BABIP than pitchers do. I’d be interested in seeing the spring training batted ball profile of the phillies. Remember that line drives land for hits around 70% of the time, followed by ground balls at 20% and fly balls at 12%. Maybe they aren’t hitting many line drives, or hitting too many fly balls (though more fly balls tend to lead to more HR, hence being 8th in HR).

       
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      All true, but we don’t have batted ball profiles for spring training.

      In any case, the .219 will rise to the .260+ range during the season.

       
    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      Schmenk I have determined that the Phils should skip the rest of ST. Because they are already in mid season form. No hitting, injured pitching staff, bench still up in the air, and last but not least Amaro is upbeat! He thinks we have the talent. Actually so do I! With a couple of caveats. One everybody has to stay perfectly healthy, Two everybody has to have some semblance of at least an ave. stat year. So with that said. we’re good to go. Lets get this moving. Every day will bring us closer to a top five draft pick next year.

       
  • Posts: 3084 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Schmenk – with all due respect, I don’t think 90 wins is possible. Maybe as much as possible as 60, but certainly not very likely. I’m thinking somewhere closer to 90 than to 60… say 78-82 wins. If they can be a .500 ball club I will consider it a successful enough year.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I didn’t say either extreme was very likely :-)

       
      • Posts: 3084 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        Maybe they will surprise us all and perform unexpectedly well like the ’93 team.

         
      • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

        Just don’t hold your breath

         
      • Posts: 0 Jebidiah Atkinson

        The ’93 team had a lot of help from pharmaceuticals.

         
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    Just the fact that we have to rely on Manship is scary thought on its own. Im aware of reclamation projects going well but well…..

     
  • Posts: 0 wbramh

    Manship may be two aging arms away from being the Phils’ ace this year.
    If he wins 20 I’m bidding on the film rights.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    I actually think O’Sullivan might be a better choice. Though they will go with whomever has the best Spring Train.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I don’t know which would be better, but I would hope they don’t base the decision on 15-20 innings of pitching against a mix of major and minor leaguers. Surely there is a track record and scouting reports for each one that should count way more than how they do in Spring Training.

       
  • Posts: 0 Chris

    Other than hitting, starting pitching and relief pitching, the Phillies really don’t have any holes.

     
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    Kris Medlen exited his game with what is being called a forearm strain… he grabbed his elbow after feeling something grab after throwing a pitch and walked off the mound. You never want to see a player get injured but that’s the guy pegged to be the ace of the Braves…

    You really can’t read into spring training stats… we’d all love to see these guys ripping the cover off the ball but there is little (if any) correlation between spring training stats and actual in-season production. I think it’s more important to “see” the player… does he look in shape? Is he running well? Does he appear to be focused? And, of course, getting through ST healthy is of utmost importance.

     
  • Posts: 0 JP

    According to Jimmy Rollins this morning, who cares about spring training.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Amen, Jimmy.

       
    • Posts: 0 Dave

      That’s a stupid comment by Jimmy, but not surprising considering the source. He should care since he’s coming off the worst year of his career. Plus, even if he doesn’t care, he shouldn’t say that to the media as he knows how that comment will play in Philadelphia.

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Maybe he shouldn’t say it, but he’s right. As OCP pointed out above, there’s very little correlation between Spring Training stats and “real life”.

         
    • Posts: 191 photoFred

      Avatar of photoFred

      >>…What are we talking about? Practice? We’re talking about practice, man.<<

       
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Here is a question: If Phils want a LH bat off the bench does Abreu qualify? He gets on base but does not get hits. He has one of the best all time OBP so this is no fluke. On the other hand his batting average was already going down the last few years he played so it is indeed possible that he could bat .200. Do the Phils want someone to mash or walk off the bench?

     
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    Jayson Stark wrote a piece on Bowa/Rollins “Bringing Out the Best in Rollins.” Good stuff… I hope Bowa can stoke the fire with Jimmy because we do need him to be better.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I actually hope Bowa manages to stay out of the way and not screw up the team too much.

       
  • Posts: 0 JP

    Yes, because the team is doing so well right now.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Imagine losing with the team pulling together to turn things around, vs. losing with Bowa throwing people under the bus in the media. Should be entertaining at least.

       
      • Posts: 0 Dave

        I see Bowa’s comments differently. He’s trying to motivate Rollins – not throw him under the bus. Bowa speaks the truth and that’s why people in Philly love him.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        He’s trying to motivate Rollins by bad mouthing him to the media. What could go wrong?

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        By the way, Bowa seems mostly concerned with running out every sure out (something only a rare few do all of the time), which is about #355 on the Phillies list of problems for 2014.

         
      • Posts: 0 Tom

        Your boy is out of the lineup for the second day in a row after his “who cares” comment…coincidence?

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Ask me on opening day :-)

        Also, it’s not unusual for veterans to not make the hour-plus bus trips. Maybe Ryno is rewarding him, but more likely it actually is a coincidence.

         
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        “By the way, Bowa seems mostly concerned with running out every sure out (something only a rare few do all of the time).”

        Exactly how much does a multimillionaire player have to be paid before he’ll run 90 feet?

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        Actually, the more they’re paid, the less they should run on sure outs. If an expensive and important player gets injured roaring down the line and misses a month or two, maybe people would realize that that one time in ninety he could have reached on an infielder’s bobble isn’t going to win as many games as that player would have had he stayed in the lineup.

         
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        Maybe there should be a new rule allowing millionaire players to have pinch runners standing right in the matter’s box with them. That way the high-priced players wouldn’t risk getting hurt at 2nd, 3rd or home, either.

        Sorry, but I only see a lack of hustle (or a lack of discipline) from players who don’t run out grounders – and on a team that’ sucks and is near the bottom in scoring, walking towards 1st base on ground balls is that much less becoming. At best, it reflects a total lack of spark ,sets a lousy example says to some fans (like me).that they’re really not very into the game.

        I really couldn’t care less about the statistical chances of a batter running out a routine grounder and forcing a bad throw as opposed to the infielder who can take his time because the batter is begrudgingly walking towards 1st. If these tender players are pulling a groin muscle every time they run the bases then maybe they should practice running more often.

        Why not just pull up at 2nd on a sure double play rather than risk a slide to break up the DP? Should we expect big money players to walk around every base since they’re all potentially hazardous? Maybe teams should allow fans to pinch run by lottery draw. I’d risk injury for the league minimum salary.

        Pete Rose managed to avoid getting injured running to first and the guy even ran out walks.

         
      • Posts: 0 Dave

        Guys…here’s an article in today’s Inquirer. I knew something was up when Rollins was benched. For a team that’s looking to get back on track…Sandberg is definitely sending a message.

        http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/phillies/Jimmy-Rollins-Ryne-Sandberg-is-upset-about-something.html

         
      • Posts: 904 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        I agree, Rollins is in his doghouse. But who is Sandberg sending a message to? The media? The fans? Because he doesn’t seem to be communicating with Rollins very well. As usual, we don’t know the whole story, but I question whether a 1950s hard a** management style is the most effective tool here.

         
      • Posts: 0 Dave

        I agree with you wbramh. Rollins has not learned and it doesn’t seem like he will ever learn. There is a reason why this has constantly been an issue with him. I watch all the Phillies run to first base and he is the only one i see dogging it. Heck, even Howard runs harder to first and he’s been hurt the last 2 years!

         
      • Posts: 904 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        Rollins is far from the only player not running all out on every ball. I’m not even sure he’s in the minority. And again, to me it’s a matter of style vs. substance. It makes zero (or close to 0) difference in winning games, but it doesn’t look good.

         
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        Schmenk: I think the statistically low chance of beating out a throw to first is irrelevant for four reasons:

        1. A hustling player changes those odds if only by occasionally forcing a throw to first when the fielder sees the guy running at full speed.

        2. Playing “no quit” ball in every possible aspect of the game lifts the overall output and spirit of the team. It’s what winners are all about.

        3. If only one player’s hustle to first in 162 games turns out to be the winning run, that one forced throw or bobbled ball by the fielder can mean the difference in October between an also ran and a pennant winner. In fact, there are probably enough lackadaisical plays and players all over the field to collectively cause an uninspired team multiple wins in any given season.

        4. While it may be impossible to quantify the importance, fans love a hustling team even if said team is not championship caliber. If fans love a team, they support a team and the the club makes more money. Clubs that make money can afford to accumulate better players. Personally, I’m turned off by players who don’t hustle and managers who are too gun shy to complain. When a player gets away with dogging it, I stop watching – and certainly don’t reward the team by buying tickets and spending hundreds of dollars per game between gas, parking fees, seats and food. tI’d sooner buy Sixers tickets because even in losing they’ve continued to play hard – and that’s all a true fan really asks for, isn’t it?

         
      • Posts: 0 Scotty Ingerton

        Under the influences of Sandberg and Bowa this clubhouse will be tighter than a drum. Nothing good will happen under those circumstances. Sandberg can’t even communicate to a player in spring training?? There will be a clubhouse implosion at some point this season.

         
      • Posts: 0 Dave

        Sandberg did communicate with his player – he benched him. Sandberg already laid out his philosophy for doing things when he took over. Rollins knows exactly what he did wrong. He just plays that “too cool for school” attitude like he has no idea. Sandberg is trying to fix something that’s broken and in doing so he is asking for his players to be positive. “Who cares” is not a positive statement.

         
      • Posts: 0 Scotty Ingerton

        Benching him is NOT the problem. Not saying a word to him about why he was benched IS the problem. Management is all about communication. Sandberg won’t get far using this method of management.

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        wbramh, you are carrying your argument to the ridiculous. Breakintg up a double play is entirely different than not running out a routine g5rounder, and I’ve yet to seer Rollins or anybody else meander into second when the batter is rushing down the line. A DP CAN be broken up, and many times is. A routine grounder rarely results in an error. And your comment about delicate players pulling muscles because they don’t run enough is nothing short of idiotic. Even a well conditioned athlete can strain anything no matter how much he runs; all it takes is a slight bump in the baseline to throw a runner’s timing off, ruin his stride, and if he’s going full bore, breaking stride can be disastrous. By this kind of logic, maybe pitchers should throw a thousand pitches between starts so they have less chance of needing Tommy John surgery; they’re obviously too delicate or too overpaid or underpracticed and need more pitching exercise.

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        In response to Dave saying Sandberg DID communicate by benching Rollins:

        Obviously, if Rollins doesn’t know why he was benched, Sandberg didn’t communicate anything whatsoever, except maybe his own s tupidity in managing. There is absolutely no way in the world that ANY player learns from being benched if he’s never given a reason why. To me, it’s like the man who comes home to a pissed off wife, asks why she’s upset, and she refuses to tell him, saying instead “You ought to know.”

        It’s no way to accomplish anything except disgust and ill-will. Thankfully, Rollins has been pretty decent about this whole thing so far. Personally, I’d have gone to Sandberg and asked why, and if he still refused to say, I’d have told him where he could shove his lineup card.

         
      • Posts: 0 Dave

        Some of you guys are such fans of Rollins you stick up for him no matter what, but most of us have long grown tired of his antics. The poll results on Comcast.sportsnet tonight have 70% for Sandberg and 30% for Rollins – 47,000 votes.

         
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    Ouch! Tell us how you really feel schmenk…

    I’m sort of there with you schmenk but I also believe that the core of this team did need a reality check.

     
  • Posts: 0 DavidE

    This is the preseason. We should be looking forward to big things. So far, the performance has been so depressing!

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    I have been calling for Ruben to go away for years.

    Here it is 2014 and heres Rollins and Howard still inhabiting 50% of your top 4 spots in your batting order.

    Gee guess what? No shot.

    For me this will be a tough season because I believe until Ruben is gone there is no chance.

    So the sooner the team tanks enough for him to be fired the better.

    I am hoping the empty seats may make it happen faster.

    The guy has ruined the franchise for years to come most likely.

    You still have a top 3 pay roll in a sport without a salary cap so it may be able to fix it faster.

    But there can be no fix until Ruben is gone.

    The incompetence level is truly spectacular.

     
 
Leave a Comment

>> Create a new Phillies Nation account.
>> Already registered with Phillies Nation? Log in here.
>> Comment without logging in:






Please ensure your comments comply with our Comment Policy.