The Phillies have scored two or fewer runs 10 times in 21 games. The 21 double plays they've grounded into leads the National League. They don't walk, they don't hit home runs, and they hit more grounders than every NL team except the Padres.
Want to know why the Phillies can't score? That's why they can't score. They can't make a difference with one swing, they don't have enough ways of putting runners on, and when they do they're making weak contact.
We all used to bitch about the strikeouts. But wouldn't you take that true outcome if you could have the other two, like you once did with Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth? The Phillies had the fifth-most walks in baseball from 2007-11. The last two years they're toward the bottom.
From 2007-11 the Phils barely hit into double plays. They averaged 110 per season, fourth-fewest in MLB. Why? They barely hit anything on the ground, period. During that span only two NL teams hit more grounders than the Phillies. Since Opening Day 2012, only the Padres have hit more.
Michael Young leads the majors with six GIDPs. Erik Kratz has four. Ben Revere -- who has an enormous lead in groundball rate at 75.8% but just two infield hits -- has grounded into three double plays.
For several years, the Phillies have traded off power, patience and the side effect of strikeouts for more contact. But that contact is significantly weaker contact and this lineup is a significantly weaker lineup.
No, I'm not saying the Phillies should have matched the Nats' silly offer for Werth, but they absolutely should have made a run at Josh Willingham or Carlos Beltran after 2011. Both signed bargains and both have produced. Willingham hit 35 homers last year and has a .370 OBP since signing a three-year, $21 million deal with Minnesota. Beltan hit 32 last season and has an .839 OPS with the Cards.
There was also Nick Swisher this offseason, but the Phillies didn't even pursue him.
No, the move they did make was trading their best position player prospect in years (Jonathan Singleton, whose best skills just so happen to be power and plate discipline) for Hunter Pence. Pence helped in 2011 but perfectly exemplifies the organizational trend of swing, swing, swinging no matter what.
It's frustrating to re-live these situations, because I'm sure many of you wanted Willingham, or a player like him, multiple times over the past several seasons. This weak offense is a result of shunning those skills.
We're left with an offense that needs BABIP luck to be successful.