If you’re tired of reading about how terrible the offense is, you’re probably going to want to stop reading right here.
Still with me? Wow, you must be a masochist.
For the fourth time in eight starts this year, the Phillies failed to score more than one run for starter Cole Hamels, who fell to 1-5 on the season, with the Phillies now 1-7 in games in which he’s started, after falling 2-1 to the Diamondbacks last night in Arizona. And while Hamels’ ERA of 4.18 is high for him, he really has pitched better than that recently, with a 2.41 ERA in his last six starts.
Deadbeat dads give more support to their spouses than the Phils’ offense has provided for Hamels so far this year.
In those eight starts, the Phils have scored just 17 runs. Now, while I am no mathematician, my calculator is, and it tells me that equates to 2.125 runs per Hamels start.
That doesn’t seem very good.
Hamels has been beaten 2-0 twice and 2-1 twice. And while he has been a bit wilder than in years past, the ace left-hander has managed to work through his elevated walk rate for the most part. Last night in Arizona was no exception, as Cole went six innings and gave up just two runs while walking five, giving up six hits and striking out just three.
Still, he left the mound trailing just 2-0. He battled the Diamondbacks for six innings. It’s just a shame the offense didn’t battle back.
The Phils managed six hits all game, four of them off Arizona starter Patrick Corbin, who is now 5-0 with a 1.74 ERA. Many suspected the offense would have a problem with another young left-handed starter, and they were right. They had just one extra base hit, went just 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and committed multiple baserunning mistakes that cost them a chance at big innings.
The first four batters in the lineup – Rollins, Utley, Michael Young and Howard, went a combined 0 for 14 with 2 walks. And their two most important hitters, Utley and Howard, continued their massive struggles against left-handed pitching (Utley now 4 for 37 for a .108 batting average, Howard 6 for 37 for a .162 BA).
Their lone run came on a Kevin Frandsen pinch-single in the 7th with the bases loaded, however, a baserunning mistake by John Mayberry, who was thrown out at second after hesitating on the softly-hit fly ball to right, preventing the Phils from doing additional damage.
So seriously, what the heck, guys? Manager Charlie Manuel, who after last night’s game has now managed more games than anyone else in the team’s 131 years, said the problem is obvious.
“Just watch us play every day,” he said. “We just have inconsistent hitters. That’s all you can say about it.”
And apparently, two hitting instructors aren’t enough to change any of that.
It’s maddening that, just two days ago, the offense managed to beat up Giants starters Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum. Then the following two days, they struggled horribly against Barry Zito and Corbin. There is no rhyme or reason to anything the Phils do offensively.
Even more maddening is the fact that these are veteran players. If these were young kids struggling to be consistent as they learn the league’s pitchers and how to approach the game, that would be one thing. But many of these players are guys with a long history in the game, guys with playoff experience, guys who should not be so inconsistent.
Just four days ago, starter Cliff Lee claimed that the Phillies who beat Bumgarner 6-2 were the REAL Phillies.
I submit last night’s group, which dropped to 16-20 on the season, are the REAL Phillies.
“We definitely haven’t hit full stride,” Hamels said after the game. “We can’t wait for it. We have to go out and act on it. I think we’re just kind of tiptoeing. We’re at that sort of border that we need to cross over. That’s to the type of baseball we’re capable of playing and that’s winning. Once we’re able to do that then we can start taking that momentum every day.
“But it starts with one at-bat, with one pitch, one game. We have to be able to fight and ultimately go out there and not give it away.” – quotes per MLB.com’s Barry Bloom
Through 36 games, the Philles are six games behind Atlanta in the NL East, in fourth place, with the third-worst run differential in the National League at -28.
The Phils’ 16-20 record is not bad luck. It is not an accident. It is exactly who they are a month and a half into the season.
And more bad news. The Diamondbacks will throw their best pitcher, Ian Kennedy, who is 1-0 in the two career starts against the Phils in Arizona, with a 1.06 ERA. Meanwhile, the Phils will counter with Tyler Cloyd, who is making his first start of 2013. Cloyd went 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and went 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts for the Phillies a year ago as a late-season call-up.
Where It All Went Wrong
When Cole Hamels was uanble to turn a double play on a ground ball hit right back at him in the fifth inning. His inability to field the ball cleanly and get two outs directly led to the first Arizona run of the game, and seemed to indicate it was going to be “one of those nights.”
Hamels, for not murdering his teammates with a fungo bat last night.
The entire Phillies offense, for being the inconsistent, pathetic mess they are.