Phillies Notes: Lack of offense worries Sandberg

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

The Phillies position players have remained relatively healthy, but the offense has been inconsistent through a 17-21 start entering Friday's game at Citizens Bank Park against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Phillies entered the weekend with a minus-34 run differential, the third worst in Major League Baseball. They were 29th in runners left in scoring position per game (4.11) and 26th in runners left on base per game (7.63).

Before Friday's game, manager Ryne Sandberg was candid when asked if he was surprised at the offense's inconsistency, especially without many health issues in the first 38 games.

"Yes," Sandberg said.


Who has been the biggest disappointment for the Phillies so far?

He then expanded.

"I have seen opportunities with baserunners and walks combined and we have lacked that final hit to drive in runs."

The offensive drought has been pronounced at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies entered the weekend averaging just 2.10 runs per game in their last 10 home contests and had a 3-7 record during that span.

Sandberg said the Phillies need to show more power at home.

"We haven't hit the ball out of the ballpark at our place here at home as often," he said.

In the first 17 home games, the Phillies had 11 home runs.

Sandberg, ever the optimist, sees things changing, possibly because the Phillies have an extended time at home. Counting Friday, the Phillies have 13 of their next 16 games at Citizens Bank Park.


Reds woes

Reds four-time all-star first baseman Joey Votto missed his first game of the season after an MRI of his left knee in Cincinnati on Friday revealed he had a distal quadriceps strain.

"We will collect as an organization after the game and define the best course of rehab or the best decision for Joey," manager Bryan Price said.

Reds outfielder Jay Bruce was also out with a knee injury. He is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday.


Gonzalez throws

Righthander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract but was placed on the 60-day DL at the end of spring training due to shoulder soreness, allowed three earned runs in five innings during his first start for single-A Clearwater on Thursday.

Sandberg said he got reports that Gonzalez was throwing in the low 90s. Even though Gonzalez walked just two batters, Sandberg said his reports were that his control was erratic. Still, the Phillies manger was encouraged that Gonzalez threw much harder than he did in spring training.


Revere out

Ben Revere was out of the starting lineup with a stomach virus, and Sandberg promoted Jimmy Rollins to the leadoff spot. John Mayberry Jr. started in center field for Revere.

When asked if the slumping Revere would be in the lineup if he weren't ill, Sandberg wouldn't say, calling that a hypothetical question.