Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Philadelphia's Offense


Ok, that's not very insightful. Why does it stink right now? Throughout baseball, and the Delaware Valley in particular, many theories abound regarding the Phils' recent struggles. I really don't think it's that complicated, however. On Opening Day, the Phils lineup was this...

1) Jimmy Rollins- SS
2) Placido Polanco- 3B
3) Chase Utley- 2B
4) Ryan Howard- 1B
5) Jayson Werth- RF
6) Raul Ibanez- LF
7) Shane Victorino- CF
8) Carlos Ruiz- C
9) Pitcher

As of right now, Rollins has played only 12 games, Polanco is out with an elbow issue, and Ruiz is playing but has been struggling mightily at the plate since he left a game with a leg injury at Colorado in early May. What that leaves you with is far too many at-bats for Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro, capable backups, but backups. Added to the mix is the collective disappearance of Utley, Howard and Werth, and you get a collective struggle to sustain offense. Other thoughts at least marginally related include...

- No one is noticing because the team overall is bad, but Ibanez is around .250 now after a dreadful start. 2009's sprint from the gate was the aberration with him, not his normal pattern.

- Jayson Werth looks more and more like Robin than Batman as the struggle moves along. He'll get paid handsomely this offseason, but he's not in the class of Utley and Howard.

- Greg Dobbs looks like his best days may be behind him. His bat is slow and he's not hitting the ball hard or driving it at all.

- Ben Francisco may be a better player when he gets more at-bats. He's been awful as a pinch-hitter, though.

- As good as Juan Castro looked early, expecting him to hit .300 for two months is too much to ask.

However, moving to the bright side...

- The pitching collectively has been really good. Jamie Moyer only looks 40 on the mound these days, not 47.

- Kyle Kendrick has had some solid outings, but has to be more aggresive. He looked a little scared to throw the ball over the plate Friday.

- Joe Blanton has been much better than his stats indicate.

- Brad Lidge has a good looking appearance in Atlanta Monday afternoon.

- The Phils have something in Antonio Bastardo. His fastball has all kinds of life, and his slide has come a long way since his first big league appearance around this time last year. I don't think he'd be much fun to hit off of lefthanded.

- Cole Hamels continues to get better with each outing. His fastball velocity is up, his change up is diving, and he's keeping himself together on the mound, which he didn't do in 2009.

- Roy Halladay is still really, really good. Sometimes he's even perfect.

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