The Phillies are getting a lot of practice playing close games during the early part of the season. They are 6-10 and of the 16 games, 10 have been decided by two runs or fewer. The Phillies record in those games is 4-6.
Trailing 4-3, the Phillies had runners on the corners with nobody out in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals and couldn’t tie the score.
The Phillies had 13 hits, but managed just the three runs.
It was the seventh time this season they have 10 or more hits and they are only 4-3 in those games.
What does it mean?
The Phillies have been awfully inconsistent (no revelation there) and it shows in their record.
Of course the Phillies and all teams around baseball can’t keep saying that it’s early, even though it is.
“You can say it’s early for a long time but at some point you have to start producing,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before the game. “But it is still 15 (now 16) games.”
Even in this small sample, the Phillies haven’t given any indication that they can generate a consistent offense.
And they will continue to hear about their walks, or more accurately lack of them, until they start putting a few together.
After Thursday’s loss the Phillies had not drawn a walk in their last 135 plate appearances. That covers more than four games.
The last one was an intentional walk to Domonic Brown in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 2-1 win at Miami.
“We are not doing what we are supposed to be doing and the players know it but these guys have a track record and hopefully they will start swinging the bats better,” Amaro said.
What is the track record from, 2008, 2009?
The recent track record for core players such as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, shows a decline.
We know that injuries seriously impacted the production of Howard and Utley, but that said, the recent track record hasn’t been encouraging.
These are the leaders of the team that has scored 10 runs in the last six games.
Yet they are far from the only culprits.
The Phillies have six players who have struck out 10 or more times already – Howard (16), Rollins (14), Erik Kratz (12), Domonic Brown (11), Ben Revere (11), and Michael Young (10).
The Phillies are averaging 7.8 strikeouts per game.
So at the least the Phillies have to change their approach, be a little more patient at the plate.
“We have to have better plate discipline,” Manager Charlie Manuel said before the game.
That’s one of the many things on the to-do list for the Phillies. It might still be the first month of the season but it’s never too early to break some bad habits which have surfaced repeatedly in the first 16 games.