Sunday, May 24, 2015

Identifying Phillies' positional weaknesses

This offense has sputtered to a halt. The Phillies have scored in one of their previous 35 innings. Where, specifically, are the Phillies lacking in 2014?

Identifying Phillies' positional weaknesses

(Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)
(Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

TORONTO — The Phillies are one-fifth through a 162-game season with a 15-17 record, one game better than in each of the previous two seasons. They scored 123 runs in 32 games, a negligible improvement from 113 runs in 2013 and 122 runs in 2012.

Those seasons, of course, are not the best comparisons.

This offense has sputtered to a halt. The Phillies have scored in one of their previous 35 innings. That puts increased pressure on the pitching staff to be perfect.

"That makes it tough," Ryne Sandberg said. "We have to improve on that. For the pitchers going out there, that's a tough task. We need to improve in that area."

Where, specifically, are the Phillies lacking? Here is a position-by-position breakdown (batting average / on-base percentage / slugging percentage) with National League rankings:

.287 (7th) / .379 (4th) / .435 (8th)

.226 (13th) / .292 (13th) / .395 (13th)

.302 (2d) / .359 (1st) / .465 (1st)

.205 (12th) / .282 (13th) / .348 (11th)

.238 (9th) / .303 (8th) / .362 (9th)

.211 (14th) / .289 (12th) / .272 (15th)

.291 (3d) / .320 (8th) / .326 (12th)

.307 (2d) / .343 (6th) / .496 (2d)

The three problem areas, at first blush, are first base, third base and left field. Those three positions are prototypical power spots on the diamond. The lack of extra-base pop from those three spots are an indication as to how the Phillies rank 10th overall in slugging percentage.

That is a difficult formula for consistent winning.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

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