Five observations after last night's 6-2 win over the Giants. . .
1) It is going to be awfully tough for the Phillies to put together the kind of stretch they need over the next few weeks if they do not get more production out of their big money hitters. That means Jimmy Rollins (8-for-46 with five walks and two extra base hits in his last 13 games), Chase Utley (11 straight games without multiple hits, 7-for-40 with four walks and three extra base hits during that stretch) and Ryan Howard (four home runs and five doubles in his last 52 at bats, but also 17 strikeouts and an OBP of just .298). Rollins got off to a slow start the last couple of years before getting hot in June and Howard is a notorious slow starter. But it is hard to score runs consistently when three of the first four hitters in your lineup have an OBP of .315 or lower.
2) Centerfield continues to be a huge problem. Since John Mayberry pushed his OPS to .998 on April 20, the outfielder is 6-for-43 with nine strikeouts and four walks. That's good for a .492 OPS, which is actually lower than the one Ben Revere has posted during the same timespan (.505). Yet Mayberry started in centerfield last night and had a hit and scored a run. Over the last two weeks he has the same number of runs (3) and RBI (2) as Revere, although he has grounded into three fewer double plays.
3) Ruben Amaro Jr. mentioned yesterday that the Phillies were considering some external options to take the rotation spot vacated by Roy Halladay when he went to the disabled list. Among the major league veterans who are currently pitching in the minor leagues for other clubs, the most attractive might by Jair Jurrjens, who started 108 games for the Braves from 2008-11 with an ERA of 3.34 and solid rate stats of 6.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9. He is only 27 years old and has a 2.56 ERA in six starts for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate. But the Orioles aren't in a position to be giving up depth for nothing, and Jurrjens can not opt out of his contract until June 15. Other names floating around the minors include Tim Stauffer, Jeremy Bonderman, Chien Ming Wang and Chris Young.