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The Philadelphia Phillies, who seem to always be the talk of baseball in the offseason, seem to have stumbled on a huge bump in the road. They are only one game under the .500 mark, but the Nationals and Braves seem to be running away with the East, and they keep declining.
Of course, as predicted, their pitching staff continues to pitch well and put up strong numbers. As a group, they sport a 3.39 ERA, which is good for sixth place in the National League, and third in their tough division.
Led by ace Roy Halladay (3.20 ERA), their pitching staff is the only thing keeping them afloat and around the .500 mark. Their starting pitchers all have ERAs below 4, except for Kyle Kendrick (5.30 ERA), who is currently filling in for Cliff Lee.
There is really nothing to worry about pitching-wise. Lee is on the DL and will be back sometime in June, and Kendrick will head back to the pen. They need to focus on their offense and get their power hitters healthy and back in the lineup.
Their downfall this season has been their offense; as a team, they are hitting .252, which ranks them fifth in the National League, and you might be thinking that fifth out of 16 teams is not bad. However, if you take a deeper look at the numbers, it will be more evident why they have struggled.
Slugger Ryan Howard and former first-round pick Chase Utley’s absences have really caused problems for the Phillies. Not to mention, leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins has gotten off to a tough start with the bat; he is hitting just .223 with five RBI and has yet to go deep. He’s the table-setter, and only has scored 12 runs all season.
Both Hunter Pence (18) and Shane Victorino (17) have scored more runs than Rollins, and if they’re going to win, they need to get him back on track and hitting well at the top of the lineup.
The Phillies are only holding on because Pence, Victorino and the surprising power/batting from catcher Carlos Ruiz; he’s batting .318 with five home runs and 19 RBI. Pence leads the team with six home runs and 20 RBI, but is only batting .274 on the year.
Not only are Utley and Howard still out, but slugger Jim Thome, who was brought back to the City of Brotherly Love because of his ability to smash home runs, is on the DL as well.