Philly Sports Live

Phillies Week Three in Review

Manuel's Phils have struggled to a 7-11 record so far in 2013.

This week, the worst kept secret in Major League Baseball was finally revealed.

The Phillies can’t score.  Not even the most casual of baseball fans would say so.

The most telling statistic of all five games to this point? The fact that they did not register a walk in four consecutive games.

They were pressing at the plate all week. Nobody worked the count, and almost every Phillie hitter swung early in the count, only seeing a few pitches from the Reds’ starters.

The Reds swept the Phillies right out of Cincinnati, with Reds’ pitching allowing just 13 hits and four runs to the Phillies for the series.

Their record going into tonight’s nationally televised game on ESPN is 7-11, but you will find no slurpees or gasoline here.

The Fightins’ left a total of only six men on base, but that stat can be deceiving. Not a lot of hits and zero walks translate to very few chances to score with no one on base.

Ben Revere, who struggled in the leadoff spot after a strong spring, finally got bumped down in the lineup by manager Charlie Manuel.

Revere has gone 2-9 with two runs scored and a run batted in since being moved down. He’s still not getting on base anywhere near as much as the team had hoped, and is not making contact or working the count.

He’s not the only one.

To add insult to injury, Domonic Brown felt a pop in his lower back earlier this week. An MRI came back negative, but Brown, like Revere, has cooled off after a hot hitting spring.

He’s hitting just .218 and not getting around on the ball like he did in Clearwater.

Meanwhile, Ryan Howard has missed the last two games for the Phillies with a sore groin. He should be back in the lineup soon, and has been available to pinch hit the last two nights. He is hitting .274 with one home run and leads the team in strikeouts with 16.

This Phillies lineup is entirely too talented to struggle the way they have. Howard has not hit his stride yet this season. While it’s easy to say he’ll come around, he still seems to be nagged by the remnants of the Achilles injury he suffered two seasons ago.

He’s not running well, and has been pinch run for several times in the late innings with the chance or tie or take the lead on the line.

Again, Revere hit .294 in Minnesota last year and stole 40 bases. His skills are there, but the production has not been.

Brown seemed to figure his swing out this spring with help of new assistant hitting instructor Wally Joyner, yet still has looked lost at the plate at times this April.

Help is on the way…maybe.

Carlos Ruiz has only eight games remaining on his 25 game suspension for a banned substance. Free agent signee Delmon Young is also inching close to a return from injury, beginning a rehab stint very soon in the minors.

Both will add a different approach at the plate and a plethora of post-season experience.

Will their returns, coupled with the hope that Howard, Revere and Brown will all get on track, translate into runs on the board and wins in the standings?

Time will tell, but at this juncture, it’s hard to believe.

The pitching this week was respectable. With the exception of an 11- drubbing to the Reds on Wednesday night, the starting pitching has kept the score close and given the offense chances to win.

Most notably were Kyle Kendrick’s seven shutout innings on Tuesday night, in a game that would be suspended and finished the next day. The bottom of ninth would decide that game on Wednesday in just nine minutes.

Philippe Aumont did not retire at batter in the ninth inning continuation, allowing two hits and a walk to give the Reds the victory.

Cole Hamels followed on Thursday night back at home against the Cardinals, turning in seven strong innings with 8 strikeouts and three earned runs allowed.

Finally, Roy Halladay followed up his 200th career victory start with a seven inning gem against St. Louis on Friday night. He allowed two runs on just two hits and struck out six. It was his second straight quality start, and more like this would ease the hearts of many in the Delaware Valley on what the Doc’s got left.

The Phillies hope to earn a series split with the Cardinals tonight at 8:05. As mentioned, the game is the ESPN Sunday night game of the week. Kyle Kendrick looks to follow his strong start on Tuesday with another one tonight.

Veteran Jake Westbrook takes the hill for the Cardinals, looking to take the series from the Phils.

Stats Courtesy of Phillies.com

Photo Courtesy of DelcoTimes.com

 

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