Tonight was the end of the Pat Burrell Era of Phillies baseball.
Burrell has been struggling lately, as his average has dropped from .344 in late April to .211. Burrell has 2 hits in June, equal to that of Adam Eaton. And while he is walking a lot (.382 OBP) he has only 8 homeruns and his slugging .387 (just barely edging out noted slugger and offensive jugernaut Rod Barajas.)
Tonight Burrell was not in the lineup for the second game in a row, and has been benched frequently in the last 2 weeks. A similar situation took place at the end of 2006, but it was the way it happened in the last two games that separates this year from last, and makes 2007 the end of the Pat Burrell Era.
First, on Sunday, down 3 runs with 2 men on in the 7th innning against the Tigers, Manuel pinch hit Wes Helms (.248-1-17) to face lefty Bobby Seay, instead of Pat the Bat. Then yesterday, in an American League ballpark against a lefthanded pitcher, Manuel put the same light-hitting Helms at first and used Howard as the DH instead of Burrell.
Not only is Burrell seeing less playing time, he has become the next-to-last hitting option on the team (would still hit before Bourn.) If he isn't used in these situations, when will be ever hit again? He won't break out of a slump on the bench but I get the feeling that the Phils may be thinking that April was the exception and this is the rule. Less likely a slump, more likely a routine. Unfortunately, they may be right too. This very well could be the end of an era...