Friday, May 07, 2004
I have been very out of the loop these last few days so I've been re-reading the last week for the Phillies and I haven't liked what I've seen: 12-14? 4th place? Deeply disappointing. I figured that if the Phils keep to their current pace of 112 runs in 26 games that they'll finished with 698 runs this year. That is nearly one hundred less than they did in 2003. What bothers me in particular is how badly they've fared offensively at home: they've hit a lot of dingers (26 at home, just 8 on the road), but their away OBP is a sterling .351, and their home is .307. Their home OBS is better than their road, so the Phils were a team in April that relied way too heavily on home runs to generate scoring at home.
The problem is that lead-off slot: Byrd and Rollins OBP at home is much lower than on the road and much, much lower at home than the rest of the team. No matter who bats first, the Phillies can't seem to get anyone on base for when Thome and Burrell and Abreu clock one out. Instead of 2-3 run shots, the Phils have been hitting too many solo shots: poor Thome has just fifteen RBIs, despite hitting nine home runs. As much as it pains me to admit this, because I like Byrd and I believe that he can be a productive guy, maybe the Phils should platoon him with Leedee and have Leedee hit lead-off and play center at home. This lack of productive from the lead-off slot is killing the Phils.
That said, they'll be fine. They are a little off last year (they were 15-12 in April 2003), but they'll come around once they solve the leadoff conundrum.
I can't complain too much about the quality of the Phils pitching staff: Wagner is hurling well, and if the Phillies could actually give Padilla some support he'll finally get a win. Ryan Madson has stunned me: in seventeen innings of work he hasn't given up a single run, and his BAA is second on the staff to Wagner's. Maybe this kid needs to step into the rotation every now and again?
Those are my thoughts. I hope you all have been well these last few days. Go Phils!