Phillies: Three prominent reasons the team has struggled in this season

May 6, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez (28) walks back to the mound after giving up a two run home run to Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) during the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez (28) walks back to the mound after giving up a two run home run to Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) during the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 25, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) in a game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) in a game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

So many things are wrong with the Phillies, but a handful truly stand out

The Phillies began the year with expectations to at least sniff the .500 mark following an eight game improvement to 71 wins last year compared to 2015. But following Wednesday’s game against the Marlins, the Phillies found themselves dwelling in the cellar at 17-34.

While much has gone wrong for the team to be on pace for their worst season since the 47-win team of 1961, here are the top reasons for their poor performance.

Phillies
Mar 24, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Michael Saunders (5) reacts after he got hit by pitch during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Weak Production From Middle of Order

The addition of Michael Saunders in the offseason, combined with an extra season of experience for Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera, looked on a paper to increase offensive production. So far, this hasn’t been the case.

Saunders has struggled much of the season, appearing to be trying to smash every ball into the upper deck. While he’s come on lately, he’s hit just .225 with six home runs and a terrible 40-to-9 strikeout to walk ratio.

Phillies
May 28, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) strikes out on a pitch in the dirt during the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park. The Reds defeated the Phillies, 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Herrera has looked completely lost at the plate for the past month. After a decent .262 average with three home runs in April, Herrera hit a meager .181 in May, including a five-strikeout game against the Rockies on the 25th.

A drop in the lineup, a few days off, or even a stint in the Minor Leagues to get his timing back could do Herrera a lot of good.

Franco was expected to take the reins of the offense this year and begin to carry the team on his back. While hitting only .213 in April, Franco was quite productive, belting four home runs and driving in 21 runs. Like most of the club, he’s struggled in May, knocking in only seven runs and hitting .205.

Herrera and Franco are still young players and are most certainly pressing, which is likely to continue until the club begins to win some games after an anemic 6-22 in the month of May.

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