If you have been watching the Phillies lately you may be wondering just where exactly DID the offense go? Or you may be wondering how it is possible that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were a combined 0-22 with 12 strikeouts in their series with the Dodgers this past week. This is a very tough concept to grasp after what the team showed last season.
Scoring only 24 runs their most recent home stands against the Braves and Dodgers, the Phillies just cannot seem to get the ball moving.
Leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins has struggled almost the entire season, and was dropped to fifth in the lineup this past week for back-to-back games. Last night after resuming his role at the top of the lineup against the Dodgers, Rollins was still unable produce runs.
The offense has been a huge problem for Philadelphia but the defense is also on its way down the elevator as well.
In 5 straight appearances Brad Lidge has surrendered at least one run, Jamie Moyer got “waxed” on Wednesday night after throwing three solid innings, and after the best start of the season for Cole Hamels (who struck out 9 through 7 innings) Chad Durbin surrendered two critical runs that lead to another Phillies loss at the “Bank”.
There is no doubt that the Phillies are just “a mess”, but IS IT officially time to hit the panic button in Philly?
During the first 30 games of the season, the ‘Phightin Phils have shown promise, and at other times the remains of what could be called a World Series hangover tend to lurk on in through the clubhouse doors.
The 2009 season started slow for the Phillies as they dropped their first two games at home to the Braves. Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer immediately picked up their first losses of the season while Cole Hamels also picked up his first loss on the road against the Rockies the following week.
The Phils hovered around the .500 mark for most of April until it came time to play the ever-so-hot Florida Marlins. Condrey, Moyer, and Madson all tallied wins as the Phillies blew the Marlins out of the water taking the sweep. The series proved to be nothing short of impressive.
In game 1 Shane Victorino hit his first career regular season grand slam highlighting a seven-run rally in the ninth to take the victory 7-3.
In game two, Chase Utley’s RBI in the top of the 10th proved to be the winning run sticking it out for another victory winning 6-4.
Shane Victorino dominated game three knocking in 4 “ribbies” and stealing two as the Phillies crushed the Marlins 13-2.
The next series was against the Nationals where the team capped off a season high 5 game winning streak picking up two victories.
As the Phils continued working through the beginning of May the defending champs dropped 2 of 4 to the Mets and were headed back home to take on the Braves and Dodgers.
Jayson Werth had no trouble proving he is “Werth It” stealing four bases including home in a single game, while Carlos Ruiz stayed solid at the plate after making a few stance adjustments.
However, the rest of the team just could not seem to get the wheels turning. Key RBI opportunities and poor decisions on the bases seemed to be the difference between the Braves and Phils. While the Dodgers just ripped at the Phillies pitching spanking 38 hits in just three games compared to the Phillies 10.
Charlie Manual has expressed concern about his club stating, “We don’t look good.”
So is it really time to hit that panic button if you are a Phillies fan?
We all know the defending World Champs have one of the best teams in baseball, possibly even a better team than last year with the addition of Raul Ibanez.
Trust me when I say this. Victorino WILL drive in runs, Ryan Howard WILL make contact, and Jimmy Rollins WILL return to his old self at the top of the order. The question is WHEN will it start, and WILL it happen soon enough to compete with the Mets, Marlins, and Braves in the NL East.
As long as the proper adjustments are timely made and players start stepping up like the play of Jayson Werth during the last few games, hits will come, runs will be scored, and games will be won.
This is not the time to panic just yet. The Phillies will rise out of their slump and you will see the them at the top of the NL East come October, I guarantee it!
*Inserts 2008 WS Game 5 DVD*