The Phillies offense is becoming difficult to overcome. While the pitching is still doing their part, currently sitting at 7th in the majors in ERA, the offensive numbers are staggering. Coming off their worst offensive performance as a team since 2002, the Phils have not followed up the 2011 campaign with a good start.
While the Phillies won on Tuesday night 8-5 against the Diamondbacks, this was their highest run total of the season. The Phightins sit at 28th in the majors in runs scored three weeks into the season, only ahead of the lowly Athletics and Pirates.
The same team that scored less runs than the Mets last year only addressed their offense this offseason by signing Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, and Jim Thome. Juan Pierre was signed to a minor league contract, and has added some speed at the top of the lineup. But there is no one in the middle of the order to drive him in. The Phillies are playing without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and chose to let Raul Ibanez walk in free agency, who was actually second on the team in 2011 with 84 RBI.
It’s only April 24th, but the offense isn’t much better elsewhere. Ty Wigginton would have been a nice replacement to Placido Polanco, or at least a good utility man. Laynce Nix has shown power as a fourth outfielder. And Jim Thome was supposed to be relied on mainly as a pinch-hitter. Instead, Nix and Wigginton are starting most of the team’s games, and Juan Pierre has been playing for John Mayberry, who is off to a rough start.
Because the Phillies did not upgrade elsewhere, they are going to have to hope the trio of Hamels, Halladay, and Lee are even better this year. If not, this team will be out of the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard can’t comeback soon enough.