Looking for the Big Four

The Phillies offense is Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell.

That's not to disparage other players in the lineup like Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and Chris Coste. It's just that those four are the MVPs, the all-stars, the big money men.

Jamie Moyer allowed two runs - one earned - and five hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Nationals, and lost again because of poor run support.

They're the reason the Phillies have led the league in scoring each of the previous two seasons.

But the Big Four hasn't produced in months, which is why the Phillies have fallen 2 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the National League East -- their largest deficit in the standings since April 23.

Here's a look at how the Big Four have performed since the team's notorious 20-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 13:

Jimmy Rollins
Through June 13: .278 (50 for 180) with five homers and 22 RBIs.
Since June 13: .248 (59 for 238) with three homers and 20 RBIs.
In August: .211 (16 for 76) with two RBIs.

Chase Utley
Through June 13: .317 (83 for 262) with 22 homers and 61 RBIs.
Since June 13: .248 (54 for 218) with eight homers and 23 RBIs.
In August: .243 (17 for 70) with three homers and nine RBIs.

Ryan Howard
Through June 13: .212 (54 for 255) with 17 homers and 54 RBIs.
Since June 13: .248 (56 for 226) with 16 homers and 50 RBIs.
In August: .164 (11 for 67) with three homers and nine RBIs.

Pat Burrell
Through June 13: .284 (62 for 218) with 17 homers and 43 RBIs.
Since June 13: .240 (48 for 200) with 12 homers and 27 RBIs.
In August: .167 (10 for 60) with three homers and six RBIs.

Coincidental or not, Rollins is hitting .091 (3 for 33) since he called Phillies fans front-runners in Los Angeles on Aug. 13. Howard is hitting .086 (3 for 25) since Aug. 11. Burrell is hitting .149 (7 for 47) since Aug. 5. Utley is hitting .214 (6 for 28) since Aug. 12.

If not for Victorino and Werth and a few others stepping up with the occasional big hit, the Phillies would be further back.

“We’re definitely capable of hitting,” Charlie Manuel said after last night's 4-3 loss to the Nationals. “We’ve hit for the last three and a half years. We have a lot of the same guys. I know they can hit, but I can’t exactly tell you when we’re going to get going.”

Time is running out. If they don't start hitting, this could get ugly fast.


In the Phillies Notebook: the Phillies have a ridiculously tough schedule coming up. They play 20 of their next 23 games against the Dodgers, Mets, Cubs, Brewers and Marlins. The Phillies also don't think they'll be getting any bench help before the end of the season.