Philadelphia Phillies: This Offense Sucks!

Jimmy Rollins seems rather confused but not as confused as the Phillies hitters have looked at the plate this season.Yes that is Dick Vermeil’s famous description of the Penn State offense in 1993 near the end of a game with Iowa- a game the Lions won 31-0! However, it also describes something a lot of people seem to be missing in the aftermath of the Phillies 2nd 14-2 loss in less than a week. The Phillies have no O-and that is never a good thing. Just look at the numbers. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .244 with almost no power and an OBP barely above .300. He is batting lead off only because Ben Revere is even worse: .204 BA with a .243 OBP and of course more MLB  at bats without a homer than any non-pitcher currently on a big league roster. Michael Young has a .318 BA but almost all of his hits are singles.

In addition, Chase Utley has cooled off after a hot start. John Mayberry and Laynce Nix are at best borderline major leaguers. Only Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown are having what could be described as seasons relatively close to expectations-and even Howard’s power numbers are down. And now after scoring 2 runs in 2 games against the second worst team in the majors the Phillies head west to face a team with a good pitching staff in a pitcher friendly ballpark. Yes it is early-and the Braves have come back to earth-but nothing about this offense makes me optimistic that this team can stay even on the fringes of an expanded playoff race.

Of course all this will be lost because of the Roy Halladay situation. Who knew how hurt he was when? Are the Phillies lying to the fans once again? Honestly though other than Halladay the starting pitching has not been all that bad. Given some offense Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee should be able to win some games. Unfortunately both of them to date this season have been supported like Lee was last season-not at all. This puts inordinate pressure on a starting pitcher and usually results in a mistake or two-such as Hamels made Saturday night. Again it is the offense primarily at fault.

A bad road trip (say 1-6) will increase the call for changes. Sure the manager can be replaced-but let’s face it-Cholly is in all likelihood gone after this season anyway. Trades? Who on the Phillies has any real value to another team. Certainly Hamels but he’s not going anywhere. Lee or Howard? Maybe but trading either of them would probably require the Phillies to continue paying a substantial portion of the traded player’s salary. And Howard probably would only draw interest from a limited number of AL teams (Texas and Baltimore come to mind.). So there probably isn’t a quick fix to the Phillies’ problems-certainly nothing that will turn around this season.

Ultimately I put the blame on the GM: Ruben Amaro. He built this team. He says walks don’t matter when constructing a potent offense. Personally I prefer people on base no matter how they get there. There needs to be accountability. If there is none and this team goes south and stays there we may be looking at a return of the late 1990s-with crowds at CBP barely half the size of those during the recent glory years.

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Chuck Reynolds

Chuck has followed PSU football and Philly sports since coming to Philly for law school in the late summer of 1981. In fact he went to his 1st live Philly sports event-a Phillies game at the Vet against Cincinnati-before attending any law school classes. Chuck currently practices civil trial law in New Jersey which unfortunately results in a lot of contact with New York sports fans. You can follow Chuck on Twitter @SportsChatChuck, a handle invented by his wife Mary Kay, a PSU alum and diehard Phillies fan.