Phillies can't come up with clutch hits

Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown. (Tom Mihalek/AP)

The Phillies inability to hit in the clutch was clearly evident during this series with Atlanta, when the Braves swept all four games at Citizens Bank Park.

In Sunday’s 3-2 loss, the only offense provided was Marlon Byrd’s two solo home runs. The Phillies wasted 13 hits and two walks.

During the four games, the Phillies were 3 for 32 with runners in scoring position (.094). That included 0-for-7 on Sunday and 0—for-9 in Saturday night’s 5-1 loss.

After Sunday’s loss, manager Ryne Sandberg seemed to be almost lost for words.

What grade does Ryne Sandberg deserve at the season’s halfway point?

  • 214 (3.2%)
  • 1061 (15.7%)
  • 2453 (36.4%)
  • 1605 (23.8%)
  • 779 (11.6%)
  • 628 (9.3%)
  • 6740

“We scored two runs on two solo home runs so we had our chances, had men on base and couldn’t come up with a hit with multiple guys on base right down to the end,” Sandberg said.

The end occurred when Chase Utley flied to right with runners on second and third.

Sunday’s game marked the first time the Phillies collected 13 or more hits while scoring two runs or less in a game since July 17, 2001. On that day the Phillies lost 4-1 to the New York Yankees in 12 innings.

(As an aside, Randy Choate was the winning pitcher while Wayne Gomes was the loser. Mariano Rivera recorded his 31st save).

Back to the present – the Phillies are now 160 for 706 with runners in scoring position (.226).

“The last week or so we have been lacking the big hit,” Sandberg said in one of the season’s biggest understatements.

One reason the Phillies have struggled is that they have never put all facets of the game together at the same time for any sustained duration.

The lack of production with runners in scoring position has basically been a season-long problem, one that was magnified in a four-game series when the Phillies were outscored 22-8.