Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Where's the Wood?

By The Numbers 11 - Hits by the Brewers against the Phillies in Game Three

Where's the Wood?

By The Numbers
11 - Hits by the Brewers against the Phillies in Game Three

0  - Extra base hits by the Brewers in Game Three

5  - Walks drawn by the Brewers

0  - Walks drawn by the Phillies

6/16 - Hits and at-bats by the first four hitters in the Phillies line-up in Game 3

3/19 - Hits and at-bats by the rest of the hitters in the line-up.

4 - Hits and at-bats for Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell in the series thus far.

4 - Hits by Jayson Werth alone in the series.

1 - Combined home runs by the two teams this series

412 - Combined home runs by the two teams during the regular season

5 - Combined home runs by the Cubs and Dodgers during their NLDS series

16 - Combined runs scored by the Phillies and Brewers during the first three games of their series.

17 - Runs scored by the Dodgers in the first two games of its series against the Cubs.

 

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Open your thesaurus, flip to "Slow," pick a synonym, then add the word "tortuously" before it and you've got a good description of tonight's game. Simply put, there wasn't a whole lot of action, even in a game that featured a combined 20 hits. Seems the more boring the game, the less of a chance the Phillies have to win it. There is no solid proof for it, just anecdotal evidence, Exhibit A being last night's 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Brewers. Hit big or don't hit at all. And right now, they aren't hitting at all.

The major problem last night was the bottom half of the line-up. Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth both ahd a pair of hits, while Jimmy Rollins hit one of the team's three doubles. But the Phillies went 1-for-12 with Runners in Scoring Position. Even with the bases and loaded and no out in the ninth, they failed to push even one run across.

The Brewers? They took advantage of their scoring situations. They went 4-for-12 with RISP. All 11 of their hits were singles. They drew five walks. The Phillies drew none.

But the Phillies have never been a team that has won with the bottom half of the line-up, or by stringing together singles. At least not this season.

So it's hard to pin their offensive struggles in the first three games of this NLDS on guys like Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz and whoever happens to be hitting No. 6.

For most of the season, the Phillies have relied on one of three players to carry them: Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, or Pat Burrell. And while Utley and Howard showed some signs of life yesterday, as a whole, the middle of line-up has come up short.

Last night, Pat Burrell was 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and less than two out. Utley stranded a man at second base. Howard played well, getting a single and a double and moving a runner over to second with no out in the fourth inning.

But none of the three have come close to hitting a home run. And this season, the Phillies tend to struggle when they aren't knocking the ball out.

"You just got out there and still try to do the same thing," Howard said. "They've been making a lot of tough pitches. They've made some good plays and what not, but we're still going to go out there with the same approach and just try to play a little bit of small ball and try to play the game as much as possible."

Manager Charlie Manuel admitted last night he felt fortunate to be leading the series 2-1 given his team's performance at the plate. The Phillies have scored in just three of the series' 27 innings. Six of their nine runs have come on two hits -- Chase Utley's two-run double in Game 1 and Shane Victorino's Grand Slame in Game 2. Three of the nine runs were unearned.

The Phillies are still in fine position to advance to the NLCS.

But Manuel offered a warning.

"In order for us to go to the World Series," he said, "we've got to hit."

David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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