By now, the problem has become so recurring that the only alarm is that the Philadelphia Phillies have done nothing about it.
The Phillies have established the fact that they cannot hit in any manner that can be considered reliable, so the inescapable conclusion at the MLB trade deadline has to be that the club has to make acquiring some proven hitters the No. 1 priority. This was known long before Monday night’s shutout loss to the visiting Miami Marlins, the team’s 10th of the season, but the latest shutout should add to the sense of urgency.
Last year the Phillies finished 26th in run scoring and, although they moved the needle upward on that stat this year, this is a team that falls into an alarming habit of disappearing at the plate. The problem is the way the team has been assembled. With the exception of Chase Utley, the team has an overabundance of free swingers who do not know how to work the count and get walks. As a result, they do not put together innings where they get enough base runners who can do damage.
GM Ruben Amaro Jr. mentioned this the day he hired Ryne Sandberg to replace Charlie Manuel as the team’s manager in August of last year. He said the team needed to play more “small ball” with walks and bunts and working the count to get better pitches to hit.
Either the Phillies aren’t listening to the message or they don’t want to heed it, so the focus now should be on getting a couple of outfield hitters with a proven past of doing so. The trade deadline is only a month away and provides the best opportunity to add players of that mindset.
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