"They can't hit." "They're too old." "They're all injured." These phrases were all uttered toward the Phillies lineup leading up to the 2011 MLB season. Now, eleven games into the season, the Phillies have been proving these critics wrong. The Phillies are 8-3 and they have scored 66 runs. Also, they have hit a remarkable .318 AVG, and have a tremendous .386 OBP which leads the MLB. They are third in the MLB and second in the NL with 64 RBI.
So, what have the Phillies been doing so well to silence these critics? Here are the reasons why the offense has gotten production like this out of a lineup that was expected to be mediocre at best.
1) Stars Producing
With Utley injured, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins knew they had to step up. They did just that. Howard has hit .333 with three HR and 13 RBI. Howard is striking out less than his usual total, with nine strikeouts through eleven games, and has an unbelievable .643 SLG. Jimmy Rollins does not have an RBI yet this season, but he is seeing the ball great. He has 15 hits, hitting .326. Not to mention, Jimmy has stolen a team high three bases. These two veterans need to continue there great play in order for the Phillies to succeed this season.
2) Ben Francisco
Which part of the Phillies team is most essential to their success this season?
Jayson Werth who? Ben Francisco has been one of the, if not the, best Phillies hitter this season so far. Ben is hitting .279 with 2 HR and 8 RBI. Not to mention he had two potential home run balls pulled back by the wind at Citizens Bank Park. He has also produced four BB, and a .354 OBP. These numbers are coming from a lifetime bench player, who has not had more than 15 HR in his career. Look to see Ben francisco have a huge season for the Phillies.
3) Production in place of Chase Utley
Whether is has been Wilson Valdez or Michael Martinez, the Phillies have gotten great production out of their fill-in second basemen, in the field and at the plate. Valdez is hitting .353 with five RBI, and Martinez even though he only has nine AB had been described as the most upbeat player on the team by Charlie Manuel. Valdez has been great in the field, turning four double pays and not committing one error this season.
4) Bench Production
John Mayberry Jr. and Pete Orr are two names nobody outside the Phillies fan base would even recognize. However, Mayberry leads the MLB in pinch hits with four, and Orr is right behind with three. Mayberry had a walk-off RBI single in the first game of the season, and Pete Orr has appeared in four games this season. Also, Brian Schneider is a very reliable backup catcher. He has one HR and two RBI this season in two games.