I'm thankful the Phillies are still in first place and I think they'll be in that vicinity for the entirety of the season. But, it won't be because of their offense.
Carson has pointed out recently the consistent mediocrity of the "O." And for all of the Phillies fans who think it's just a matter of time before they "break out," I just wanted to take the time to point out that it won't happen. Here's a reminder why.
1) The obvious reason is that Chase Utley, the Phillies best hitter, hasn't played this season and no one knows when he's coming back. You just can't replace him.
2) Jayson Werth is gone and has been replaced by Ben Francisco. While I like Francisco, this is a definite downgrade.
3) No offensive players were added in the off-season.
[Lets recap. A slightly above average offense lost their 3 and 5-hole hitters without any significant offensive additions.]
4) Jimmy Rollins is batting third. He's an aging middle infielder with rapidly declining offensive skills. And he's batting third. Again, look at this trend for Rollins.
2007 - .296 Avg, 30 HR, 94 RBI, .875 OPS
2008 - .277 Avg, 11 HR, 59 RBI, .786 OPS
2009 - .250 Avg, 21 HR, 77 RBI, .719 OPS
2010 - .243 Avg, 8 HR, 41 RBI, .694 OPS
2011 - .256 Avg, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .643 OPS
This, friends, is your 3-hole hitter. There's only one team that can consistently win with that in the 3-hole and that's because of Roy, Cole, Roy...
5) Raul Ibanez is old. He looks horrible. And he's not getting any younger. Yet, he's on pace for 155 games played and 575 at-bats. Last season - 155 games and 561 at-bats. You think more rest might favor the 39 year old right fielder?
6) Ryan Howard isn't the dominating force he's being paid like and cannot carry this team without Utley. So far he's on pace to have another drop in his power numbers and despite being the only power threat on the team, opposing teams are intentionally walking to preferentially face him.
Again, the sky's not falling. This team doesn't "suck." I'm just reiterating the things that WSBGMs has been saying since the pre-season so everyone here has realistic expectations of this offense.
So, let's all hope the pitchers don't give up more than three runs tonight...