Philadelphia Phillies Offense Surprisingly Positive
The Philadelphia Phillies could easily be sitting at 5-0, atop the NL East standings, but a lack of runs and a couple of bad bullpen appearances have landed them with a solid 3-2 start. In each of their five games, they have held the lead or had a share of the lead entering the ninth inning. Surprisingly, the Phillies are batting .286, fourth best in the MLB, and have scored 28 runs, good for eight most. Although this is a very small sample size, it is a good sign, as the Phillies have struggled in recent years to reach base. However, if you take out Opening Day where they scored 14 runs, they are struggling to cross the plate with consistency, averaging just 3.5 runs per game. After taking a look at the numbers, it’s puzzling that they have not scored more runs this season. With runners in scoring position, the club is batting an impressive .304 with 18 RBI and with two outs and runners in scoring position that average goes up to .320. Remember, this is a very small sample size, but it shows that early on, the Phillies are getting the job done at the plate when called upon. Because their numbers are above their average with runners in scoring position, the Phillies need to find that same focus when the bases are empty or there is a man on first. If they can reach base safely and advance into scoring position and continue a .300 average, they could become a legitimate contender again. Chase Utley has carried the offense thus far, hitting a ridiculous .476 with two home runs, but has just five RBI. Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Dominic Brown are all hitting over .300 through the first five games as well, and although it is unrealistic to think they will keep their averages this high throughout the season, it could be a sign of good things to come. It is inevitable that their numbers will dip, but other players will raise their average and could level things out. Jimmy Rollins has been a hot topic and is off to a slow start, but now that his new daughter is born, he should be able to settle in and get in a rhythm. He may be passed his prime, but he’s much better than the .143 he is currently batting. Newcomer Marlon Byrd should also see his average rise in the coming weeks, as he is hitting just .238. While it’s unlikely he will have the same success he did last season (.291, 24 HR and 88 RBI), he should still find himself in the .270-.285 range. This team has lacked confidence at the plate for three or four years now, and early season success could be the spark they need. They’ve been hearing a lot about being old, past their prime, and unmotivated. They’ve been picked to be the worst team in the NL East by many, but maybe, if they can stay healthy, they can make another run. There’s no reason to get too excited after five games (they still 157 to go), but they are showing signs that their offense could be potent again. They don’t need to hit a ton of home runs if they can keep their team average up and their starting pitching continues to shine, they will be a dangerous team to play. John Rader covers the Phillies for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jcrader, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.