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Monday, May 16, 2011

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I repeat the statement I made during Spring Training:

The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies are not an offensive threat in the National League.

Josh Johnson had to leave his game after being hit by a ball off the bat of Carlos Beltran.

Marlins have scored 1 run so far off Pelfrey, Braves scored 3 vs the Astros.

@EastFallowfield

And, the Phils could only manage one run off a pitcher who had the following stats going into today's game:

ERA: 6.92
W-L: 2-3
WHIP: 1.82

PA-THETIC!

Season = over.

This Phillies offense may be the worst I've ever seen. And that goes back to the early 1960s.

Valdez in the two hole? Ibanez in the three hole? Charlie must have nothing in the brain hole.

If you're going to try to bunt to draw Pujols out, then you put ORR in the two hole. He's the best bunter and fastest runner on the team. But maybe Charlie doesn't know that. And if you don't have a three hitter, you move Howard up to three. NOT IBANEZ. What good does it to to automatically make Howard the leadoff hitter for the second inning?

I know the players on the team as constituted can't hit a lick. But why would you put them in the worst possible position as well?

Some thoughts:

- Davis had a minuscule strike zone but it was consistent and he called it both ways. Cards just had enough better ABs vs. Lee waiting him out.

- I hate it though when the umpire injects himself into the game by not calling pitches that clearly should be called strikes (a fastball at the belt is a strike & should be called). Not watching the game to see your interpretation of the strike zone Davis. This isn't a performance piece.

- Lee didn't get the job done tonight. Tend to agree with LA that he was being too fine against good hitters like Berkman and Holliday. Didn't make his pitchers & the BBs really hurt him.

- Valdez is brutal to watch. I would much rather have Punto on the bench. At least he works counts and takes his share of BBs. A guy with a sub .600 OPS who is a hacker at the plate and is only above average at one defensive position (SS) is easily replaceable.

- The common mantra is that it is LHP pitching who are soft-tossers with a bevy of offspeed stuff that gives this team fits.

That's half right. Instead it is RHP pitchers especially those with a decent changeup that just flummox this team.

Westbrook (a RHP who doesn't throw almost any 4-seam fastballs, has a decent changeup, and a guy the Phils hadn't seen a lot was the ideal match up against the Phils. My recipe for 'Pain!' for the Phils tonight was apt and made some nice coin taking Westbrook at +137 tonight.

- Howard didn't see a single 4-seam fastball. Other teams would be apt to take the same approach. Give Howard a lot of credit though for taking 3 BBs. He didn't try to force his ABs like he does from time to time.

- No reason to get that down on this offense. They weren't playing with their 2 best hitters in the lineup tonight (Polanco, Vic).

- Ibanez has had a solid month so far but tomorrow night is a night he should sit. Unfortunately with Vic hurt, he will be in the lineup when Mayberry should be in LF with Francisco in RF vs. Garcia.

- Call me crazy but I see the Phils winning a tight game tomorrow night. X factor though is Oswalt. No idea if he comes out surprisingly effective through 6 IP and the bullpen shuts down the Cards with a rested Bastardo/Madson or if he has nothing from the get-go and gives up 3-4 runs going only 5 IP.

- Phils just have to hold serve right now going .500 or so over the next 10 days. They are playing some really good teams on the road & scuffling a bit. It happens. Get some real reinforcements back by Memorial Day hopefully (Contreras, Vic, and hopefully even Utley).

- Mathieson will appear on the side of a milk carton at some point over the next 2 weeks.

Blow it up. Imagine the farm/s we could build with this lot?

aksmith - Agreed about the lineup. Cholly doesn't have much to work with tonight but this was a poorly-constructed lineup. Valdez isn't a good bunter, doesn't have good speed, and isn't a good contact hitter. He should be hitting 8th.

Sure the Cholly defenders will chide me for this but I would much rather have a La Russa managing in the clubhouse than Cholly when it comes to in-game decisions any day of the week.

The Phillies tried to bunt all of once tonight, & they had Valdez attempt it. I think that about covers the extent of Charlie's stubbornness &/or stupidity.

This team is not balanced at all. People are blaming Lee for the loss? 3-1 loss? omfg. I would hate to be a starter knowing I can only give up 1 run for a chance a t win!

Dave - Pretty much.

phanatic's brother: Actually, Lee would have had to pitch a shutout to get a Win. No pressure, though.

Normally, I would take Charlie over LaRussa any day of the week. I think the meme of LaRussa being a managing genius is garbage. He manages that team into losses all the time, and has frequently in the past against the Phillies.

However, tonight, he certainly outmanaged Charlie. Just the lineup alone was enough to say LaRussa had done his job. And I really wanted Punto last offseason. Too bad he isn't good enough to play on the Phillies anymore.

Will Schweitzer - "not an offensive threat" is an overstatement.

I can understand people's frustration, but the worst offense since the 60's? I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything or I would have shot said beverage out of my nose. Why is it so hard to grasp that this lineup, with the exception of Raul, is the injury lineup. If they perform like this with Vic, Polly, Utley and a healthier Chooch, then I might worry.

Phils have lost 3 straight on the road against their chief division rival and a team leading their division. Big deal.

When the Phils go out to Pittsburgh and inevitably lose yet another series in early June or potentially struggle against a terrible Mariners team out in Seattle, that's time to complain.

As bad as this stretch is right now, the Phils have a really brutal stretch too from June 21-ASB

3 @ StL
3 Oak
3 Bos
3 @ Tor
3 @ Fl
3 Atl

In my book, that stretch is even more brutal than the one they are going to play now.

Old Phan, so you're saying that Valdez, Orr and Francisco AREN'T the future of this team??

G T_D
I was kinda generalizing. But seriously, like you said, imagine being a pitcher and thinking heebee jeebee, I have to throw to the Cards with guys that have BAs in the upper .3s and try and win, when these sorry sob.s cant score more than 3 runs a game for me. That has to take you out of your game. I dont care how mentally tough you are.

Old Phan - Yeah the 'worst offense since the 60s' is a bit of hyperbole. I can remember plenty of rotten Phils' lineups from games I attended in the 80s/90s including some of the Francona 'Sunday Specials' where it seem every best player was in the lineup or the late 80s where V. Hayes was the best overall hitter in the lineup.

If they perform like this with Vic, Polly, Utley and a healthier Chooch, then I might worry.

Yup. If those guys don't hit like they didn't hit for so much of last season, the Offense will continue to suck.


Missing: Phillies Offense

Fata, believe it or not.

The '11 Phillies when they score 4 or more Runs: 17-2.

The '11 Phillies when they score less than 4 Runs: 8-13.

So a league average offense would be enough for this team to have a pretty good record, huh?

Does anyone think a lineup of:

Rollins
Polly
Utley
Howard
Mayberry/Francisco/Ibanez
Victorino
Brown
Ruiz

Won't at least provide us with league average offense?

GTown, where do you collect that info? I am curious to see how that compares to other teams.

Gaya, yes it would at the very least.

Old Phan: That bit of info came courtesy of Matt Gelb.

This team has always sucked through parts of May or June. They kick arse in the second half.

Looking forward to that lineup Fata.

Old Phan - Don't have a hemorrhage. I know we've seen a lot of bad Phillies offenses over the decades. But this offense wasn't much better last season when it was healthy. Chooch was the best hitter on the team for much of the year. And though I'm a Chooch fan, that is an anomaly. Polly can't stay healthy enough to be the hitter he used to be. His average will likely end up just south of .300 with little power and little OBP. And he will consistently hit into double plays and not move runners over, when they are out there, from the two hole. Utley? Your guess is as good as mine. Howard will continue to pull lots of balls to the right side which are outs. He will refuse to make the defense play honestly. And he has enough holes in his swing that the Phillies will gag on that contract within three years at the most. Mayberry may be your new right or left fielder. who knows how he'll play? Brown. Another question mark. Ibanez is done. His streak was a mirage. He has no power and he can't get on base if his hundred hoppers don't find a hole. Benny Fran? Sheesh. Chooch. Well, he'll be a .260-.270 hitter and take some walks when he's healthy. But I don't think he's healthy. And Jimmy Rollins? There's no replacement in sight and his best days are clearly behind him both at bat and in the field. Vic is solid.

That sounds like a pretty motley crew of an offense. Sil Campusano and Ricardo Joseph might find a place on this team. Johnny Hernstein and Roger Freed would probably fit as the stars of the future. Yuck.

Anonymous' suggested "damage control" lineups:

vs RHP:

Rollins
Polanco
Howard
Mayberry
Francisco
Ruiz
Ibanez
Orr

vs LHP

Mayberry
Polanco
Howard
Rollins
Ibanez
Valdez
Francisco
Ruiz

You can blame a lot of people, but when players don't do their jobs effectively it is up to management to set the tone.

As to the plethora of player injuries, especially Utley's and less Oswalt's, in what way does the organization consult their roster players with off season physical development? For Utley and his kneee, who in the world consulted and acted as this guy's off-season trainer such that the result of working out from November to March yielded a busted up knee by spring training?

Just as Milt Thompson was held under the magnifying glass and fired last year due the Phillies hitting slump how come the training and physical development folks are not subjected to similar scrutiny? The team has a lot of injuries, few of which seem game related. Something stinks in the training room, and it ain't the body odor.

Does anybody know if Greg Jeffries can still field?

Wouldn't it be an ugly mess in this town again if they spent 80 zillion dollars on pitching and the offense couldn't get them past the first round?

"So a league average offense would be enough for this team to have a pretty good record, huh? Does anyone think a lineup of: Rollins, Polly, Utley, Howard, Mayberry / Francisco / Ibanez, Victorino, Brown, Ruiz won't at least provide us with league average offense?"

How many games did the Phillies field all 8 of their starters in 2010?

"Lee didn't get the job done tonight."

He went 6 1/3 and gave up 3 runs. He wasn't at all sharp, but holding the opposition to 3 runs or less can't be classified as "not getting the job done." There should be a reasonable expectation that your offense can score some runs of a guy with a 6.92 ERA.

Lee was not a stopper tonight, but IMO the starters (the four Aces, anyway) have fairly consistently given the Phils an opportunity to win almost every time they've pitched. They have produced some lockdown games.

More often than not, the offense has not given the team the same chance to win with their bats. I can remember few offensive laughers this season. The pitchers simply have almost no margin for error.

People are calling the pitchers to account for not producing these "stopper" games, but thus far, I put the losses far more on the offense's shoulders than the rotation's. When your team scores three runs or (often) less, and the pitchers are holding other teams to 3-4 runs or less in most games, the vectors point toward the bats in my book.

Hopefully the team can scuffle through this stretch.

" But this offense wasn't much better last season when it was healthy. "

They scored the 2nd must runs in the NL.

Phlipper, stop mucking up the narrative with facts.

Unfortunately, they also scored the 2nd must runs in the NL in October.

"Hopefully the team can scuffle through this stretch." @Bob: Apparently, you don't know the meaning of "scuffle." That's exactly what they're doing and it's killing them.

Yes, the Phillies lineup (and rotation, and bullpen) if completely healthy would be, presumably, much better than this.

Expecting the oldest team in the league to be completely healthy for the entire year, or even most of the year, was a pipe dream to begin with, however.

"Lee was not a stopper tonight."

He would have had to throw a shutout to win.

These pitchers are going to be worn out by August. They are carrying way, way too much of the load.

Get Brown up here and lets start the corner OF platoon, that should have been used from day 1 of the season (had Brown been healthy). Ibanez and Francisco in LF and Brown and Mayberry in RF.

It is a drag that they can't win every game, but as bad as I feel for the pitching staff to lose some of these close games, I would imagine that they understand this is how baseball works. Does anyone really think that any of these guys are feeling extra pressure because of the offense? I highly doubt it. Doc is going to do what he does whether they score no runs or 10. His preparation and approach don't change. Obviously, it's always better to pitch with a lead, but they can only control what they do, not what the offense does. They're pros.

Lincecum also walked 6 batters today.

I'm not Scott Mathieson will ever see work in a Phillies uniform again.

mainerob,

I know what scuffle means and I know that's what they are doing. I think what we've seen recently is what is likely to continue for the rest of this stretch, and I'm hoping they can muddle through it with a .500 record until this tough stretch ends.

Now that St.Louis showcased Pujols at third, which Ace do they want for a half year rent?

oldphan,

We can't really know what they are thinking, but my guess would be that after a few games in a row with almost no run support, they would feel some extra pressure. It becomes not a matter of going out and throwing and doing what you can do, but rather, having to make almost zero mistaks, knowing if you you do leave a pitch or two hanging, you're probably going to absorb a loss.

I think it would pretty difficult to hang tough for the second time in a row like Halladay did on Sunday, even when you don't have your best stuff, battle to keep your team in the game, and have it go exactly nowhere. Sure, that will happen over the course of the season and if it happens from time to time, they likely shrug it off as simply being the odds.

No panic buttons yet and the sky isn't falling, but the lack of offense is starting to become more of a defining pattern than something that happens to any team from time to time. It's bound to get into everyone's head to varying extents.

Again, I don't know what was going on in his mind, but the disgusted expression on Halladay's face when Sunday's game ended and he headed for the locker room seemed pretty telling.

This offense sucks a bag of dicks. That is all.

That game last night is the reason why we don't want to play it.

Do you think the pitchers get annoyed with the hitters when they have streaks where they can't hit?

"Do you think the pitchers get annoyed with the hitters when they have streaks where they can't hit?"

I'm almost certain they do. They'll say all the right things, but they're annoyed knowing that they're busting their tail and if they give up 1-2 runs the offense isn't able to do squat.

The end is nigh.

Mayberry has shown that he should be getting more playing time. He's hitting well so far. I doubt that his hitting will continue at this level, but I also doubt that he's going to hit worse then BennyFran as been bitting. Of course, BennyFran is likely to start hitting better, but the bottom line is that there may not be much distance between them offensively.

However, seeing Mayberry steal bases and seeing him in the outfield, including uncorking that strong throw to the plate yesterday (it short-hopped Ruiz which isn't good but it was a really strong throw) has me convinced he brings more to the team than either BennyFran or Ibanez.

Start him everyday, replacing Ibanez against lefties and BennyFran against righties and see what happens.

I am starting to turn off Phillies games for the first time in my life. Unwatchable,and borint.
There is no guarantee the team will get into the playoffs losing 2-1 and 3-2 all year. Looks like the phillies teams of the 1960's with Bunning and Short having to hit home runs to win. Howard doesnt look as good as Allen and there is no Callison....

I wanted to save this type of rant for a day after a win, so as to not be called reactionary or a pessimist. But, since it was already brought up...

I've been a "Charlie-basher" on BL since as long as I have been posting. I get that the players like(d) him and play(ed) hard for him, and that is an extremely valuable skill to have. Honestly.

But, I don't think anyone can argue that he has been a horrible tactician throughout his tenure in Philadelphia. The only time I don't scratch my head at what he does during a game is when the SP throws a complete game and the starting 8 plays all 9.

As much as I appreciate what Charlie has done, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that he is going to do dumb things almost every game. It's difficult.

But, is Charlie's job in jeopardy? I know he has another year on his contract, but how long do they think Sandberg will be in the Lehigh Valley? I have a hard time believing that Sandberg would leave the Cubs because they wouldn't promote him, only to agree to come to a place where the manager will be a mainstay.

If the offense doesn't pick it up, I can see the Phils letting Charlie go at some point around the All Star break. For some reason, I don't think Rube is a "Charlie guy," and the two year extension was similar to the two year extension given to Moyer: "thanks for what you've done for us the past few years."

Let's be honest, Charlie's big contribution is as a "hitting guru," and this team hasn't been a consistent offensive force since the middle of '09. Throughout that time, they've had consistently bad ABs, poor situational hitting and have been given bad match-ups. The manager/coaching staff should be to blame. The manager's solution to the offensive woes? Hit more HRs. Perfect.

If this is the first time the Phillies have been unwatchable during your life, how do you remember the 60's team?

Padres have scored 45 runs in 5 games. Let's trade for some of their hitters, they're much better than our bums.

Cliff Lee was at his absolute worst last night and kept the Phils in the game all night long. If the offense (even without Utley, Polanco and Victorino) can't manage more than four hits off of Jake Westbrook, that's a problem.

Imagine if the Phils had a sub-par pitching staff. They'd be battling the Mets for fourth right now.

I don't watch these Phillies games beginning to end, either. They *are* boring when the offense isn't scoring. (Yes, I'm a Philistine but unless a pitcher is absolutely DEALING, like 9 innings of 12 K, 1 H ball, I think watching pitching is boring.)

"Cliff Lee was at his absolute worst last night and kept the Phils in the game all night long"

Which reminds me of another question I thought about last night. When, this season, has Lee been absolutely spot-on and dealing? Has it happened yet?

New thread...for some reason.

R. Bill - I'm starting to doubt Charlie's good qualities too. I can't tell if it's just because it's good players on the downturn of their careers surrounded by mediocre bench players or if Charlie just doesn't have that edge anymore. The guys do seem to like him but he doesn't light the fire under their asses anymore. He should send a message by benching Rollins or Valdez or someone for not running out ground balls to first (None of them do) or turn the lineup around. Anything to get these guys from being so complacent. It's getting really hard to watch.

Heather, his complete game, 12 strikeout shutout against the Washington Nationals.

Absolutely dealing that game.

But, FWIW, I think it's fair to say that so far, Lee has NOT lived up to the hype and his contract. He's been good, no doubt, but not $125 M good. I expect that to change at some point, but so far, he has no lived up to it. That's not to say it's his fault that the Phillies don't score any runs when he's on the mound.

is ken brett still around?

I realize i'm not in the clubhouse, but if UC is as hands-off with the players as he seems then it's time for a change. This offense has been declining overall for 3 seasons now, and his only solution is to keep throwing the same lineup out there and hope they find their swing or plate discipline.

I realize that it falls on the players shoulders to improve their game and have smart at-bats, but there is a purpose for a manager outside of filling out a lineup card.

Rollins
Polly
Utley
Howard
Mayberry/Francisco/Ibanez
Victorino
Brown
Ruiz

is a top 5 offense in the NL

Yo, new thread

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