Phillies’ Punchless Week No Reason to Fret
The Phillies were taken out behind the shed and beaten with a stick tonight, dropping the series finale in Cincinnati 11-2, running their consecutive scoreless innings streak to 17 before an eighth-inning two-run home run by Freddy Galvis. Matt Gelb has an even more interesting bit of trivia about the Phillies’ anemic offense:
The Phillies went the entire six-game road trip without scoring a run before the sixth inning.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 18, 2013
On the entire six-game road trip, through Miami and Cincy, the Phillies managed to score a grand total of ten runs. Ben Revere is striking out way more than he usually does; Jimmy Rollins was on an 0-for-15 skid; Chase Utley hasn’t had a multi-hit game since April 7; Domonic Brown‘s bat, since ending the Mets series with a bang, has been conspicuously absent; and the Phillies’ catching corps is one of the worst in baseball at the moment.
Every team has offensive droughts throughout the season, though. The 2008 Phillies had an ugly stretch in late June. During a six-game losing streak from June 17-24, they scored 11 runs. If you move the six-game focus down a couple days, they scored 11 between the 20th and 26th in a 1-5 stretch as well. The 2009 team scored seven in six games from August 29 through September 4. The 2010 Phillies were shut out four times in a five-game span May 22-27. In the 12-game span between May 18-30, they scored a total of 19 runs. The 2011 team scored nine runs in six games between May 17-22.
Each of those teams enjoyed success — playoff appearances, in fact — despite a frustrating part of the season in which they were barely hitting. This is not to say that the 2013 iteration will have similar success, but a six-game sample size, which amounts to 20-25 plate appearances per player if they’re getting regular playing time, tells you very little about a team’s actual skill.
Additionally, focusing entirely on the Phillies’ offensive struggles takes away credit deserved by the opposing pitchers and defenses. The Phillies faced Ricky Nolasco, Jose Fernandez, Kevin Slowey, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake. Though, with the exception of Fernandez and arguably Bailey, it’s not a group of names you’d ever expect to see in the Cy Young conversation, they are pitchers capable of twirling a gem on any given night. Remember when 47-year-old Jamie Moyer tossed a two-hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves on May 7, 2010? Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher and his defense on a job well done.
The Phillies will start scoring runs again soon. As the season goes on, their average runs scored per game will be within a few tenths of a run compared to the league average 4.3. And this awful week will be a forgotten footnote as more pressing and interesting narratives arrive.