Might be Time for the Phillies Took Look for Some New Options on Offense
Just as it seemed the Philadelphia Phillies were building momentum, they once again were stopped dead in their tracks, dropping a season-worst seven in a row. And just as before, it's a lack of consistent production from the offense that persists.
"We weren't really able to do anything on the offensive side of things," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said after the Phillies latest loss. "It was kind of the way the whole series went, fell behind early, and shut down on the offensive side of things. We're just struggling with the bats collectively the last week."
The Phillies (19-33) fell 14 games under .500 after being swept in back-to-back series, after being swept by one of the worst teams in baseball, the Colorado Rockies, right after being swept by the New York Mets. Philadelphia didn't score more than three runs in any of the games vs. Colorado, and have only scored more than three runs in a game twice since June 21, a span of 10 games.
Friday's 4-1 loss was the most frustrating of the three defeats, and it made evident just how much trouble the offense is in. Rockies starter Chad Bettis retired the first 18 batters and took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, wasting another brilliant effort by pitcher Cole Hamels.
There's no getting around it at this point – just over 50 games into the season the Phillies offense is pathetic. They rank 30th out of 30 MLB teams with 157 runs scored and 28th with a .237 batting average.
While the scuffling of Chase Utley (.188 average, three home runs, 21 RBIs) has been a story all season long, the biggest offensive issues are in the outfield and catcher, and it shouldn't be much longer before the Phillies go looking for answers to mix up some of those spots.
The easiest spot to address is outfield, where Ben Revere (.256, 0 HR, 15 RBIs), Jeff Francoeur (.245, 3 HR) and Grady Sizemore (who has been released after hitting .245) have been a collective black hole at the plate. The Phillies sent Cody Asche to Lehigh Valley to learn how to play left field to try to revitalize that position. While he might not be the most attractive option, his bat might be an upgrade over the three players mentioned above. Then there's Dom Brown who is still stashed away at Lehigh Valley, who in 44 games with the IronPigs is hitting just .244 with no home runs and 21 RBIs - not exactly an attractive option at this point. Another outfield option is Brian Bogusevic, a 2005 first-round pick who had a solid spring, and his hitting .319 with four home runs and RBIs in 47 games.
As for catcher, it's unlikely any moves will be made in the near future considering prior to the 2014 season the Phillies gave Carlos Ruiz a three-year deal that runs through the 2017 season when he will be 39 years old. Ruiz is off to a rough start to this season, hitting .253 with no home runs and just eight RBIs, backup Cameron Rupp, 26, isn't an offensive improvement over Ruiz, hitting just .212 in 17 games.
Second base could be a candidate for improvement through trading Utley doesn't look like a realistic option at this point. The Phillies have a couple of options to play second base with Cesar Hernandez, 25, hitting .241 in limited time for the Phillies. Current center fielder Odubel Herrera came up with the Texas Rangers as a second baseman and could give the Phillies some more offense there, allowing Revere to play center field again. The 23-year-old Herrera is hitting .249 with one homer on the season.
Whether the Phillies will make any trades soon is still very much in the air. However, you have to think that it might be time to give some other players an opportunity with the way the team's offense is struggling.