Philadelphia Phillies' Current Offense Is Being Underrated

Ezra Skobeloff@zscoby43Correspondent IMay 31, 2012

Carlos Ruiz has led the way for the Phillies' offense in the absence of two key hitters
Carlos Ruiz has led the way for the Phillies' offense in the absence of two key hittersScott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies' offense has been dogged and maligned all season long.

With the knowledge of the injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, many questioned how this team would score enough runs to win games. The reality is that the Phillies and their offense have been just fine, all things considered.

Granted, there have been injuries to their pitchers as well, but at 27-25 after Wednesday night's 10-6 victory over the Mets, the bullpen is what has let the Phillies down.

Prior to the series-clinching victory over New York, Philadelphia ranked ninth in pitching (ERA) and seventh in batting (runs) in the National League.

This is not what Ruben Amaro envisioned in building the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies.

Charlie Manuel is an offensive kind of guy, but even he knows the Phils' success is dependent on their pitching being great and their hitting being good enough.

Experts and fans alike question Philadelphia's offense seemingly everyday, but the stats tell a completely different story.

Over the course of the first third of the season, the offense has been average. Below is a look at the offensive stats and their rank in the National League:

Runs: 211 (7th); BA: .265 (3rd); OBP: .318 (8th); SLG: .392 (9th).

Considering they're missing their third and fourth hitters in their regular lineup, the Phillies are more than meeting expectations, they are exceeding them.

What is more telling is how the Phightins have fared at the plate in the month of May. 

Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are still a ways away from returning to the Phils' lineup
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are still a ways away from returning to the Phils' lineupScott Cunningham/Getty Images

Let's give the offense the benefit of the doubt for the first month. They knew there would be adjustments, and it has taken some time for certain players to get comfortable in new roles and for Manuel to even find them a consistent spot on the team.

On this last day of the month, the Phillies are second in runs in the NL with 135, only to St. Louis. That's an average of 4.8 runs per game. They're third in batting average and on-base percentage: .279 and .337 respectively. They're even sixth in slugging at .428 without their two best power hitters.

It's safe to say that this offense has had a great month.

We know this isn't the Phillies of the mid-2000's. And without Howard and Utley, this is a team that plays small-ball. That means that hitting for average and getting on base are big. The stats show that they have done that fairly well.

What is even more imperative than normal in an offense like this is getting the clutch hits.

So far this season, Phillies hitters are sixth in the NL with runners in scoring position, hitting .257. Not too shabby. Even better is their average with runners on second or third and two out: .267, second only to the Mets.

So while your initial instinct will be to scrutinize every strikeout with a runner on third and less than two outs, or every fly ball out when a grounder to the right side will move a runner over, remember that you're only focusing on it more because everyone's telling you to. 

Let's step back a minute and digest the numbers.

Now relax and let this team do its thing.


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