The Phillies concluded their battles versus the state of Ohio with a stunning 3-2 victory over the NL Central Cincinnati Reds. The series definitely had its share of ups and downs as the Phillies experienced 16 scoreless innings before Chase Utley’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth yesterday. The Phillies now sit at 21-23 going into a stretch of games where they face the Marlins, Nationals, and Red Sox in a unique home and home series. A positive win loss record in the next 10 games would put the Phillies in a good position in the NL East going into the month of June.
Some may ask what do you think the Phillies need to do to get on a run and win 4 or 5 straight games. I would say they have to start being patient hitters and looking for pitches in certain areas. The Phillies in 2007-2010 were once a dangerous hitting team because they saw the most pitches and were among the leaders in the league in walks. Yes, that team had prominent power hitters in Howard, Utley, Burrell, and Werth but all four were drawing walks and clogging the bases for the others to drive them in. It was the type of offense Charlie Manuel thrives on and excels in. The Phillies as constructed now cannot rely on the long ball for their primary source of runs. The only guys that have 25 or more home run capability are Howard and Utley and Howard is potentially hurt and not hitting the ball with the power we have seen in the past.
The one thing they can do is change their approach at the plate and look to get on base at any cost. If a pitcher does not give you anything to hit, take your walk and let the guy behind you pick you up. Going first to third is another area the Phillies need to excel in if they want to be able to manufacture more runs. Personally, I think giving guys like Galvis and Frandsen more playing time would add a spark and different dimension to the team then just running out the old stalwart’s game after game. We are seeing more teams giving utility players more playing time and putting them in favorable match ups. Charlie needs to recognize these opportunities and give these guys the option to succeed.
I also think with the potential injuries to Howard and Ruiz, that this would be the perfect opportunity to call up Darin Ruf even though he has been struggling as of late. Ruf, could fill in at first while Howard is gone and he could also DH in upcoming series’ with the Red Sox and Twins. Another option which could be more intriguing going forward is keeping Michael Young at first and inserting Galvis as the starting third baseman. This allows you to get the best defensive option on the field and it also keeps the hot-hitting Galvis in the lineup.
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse when it comes to the Phillies offense but I guarantee that more walks leads to more runs and more fastballs being thrown to Phillies hitters. Regardless of what the hitting instructors say, it is ultimately up to the 25 guys on the roster to commit themselves to that approach. Do not be afraid to strike out looking on questionable calls, but don’t swing haphazardly at pitches over your head, in the dirt, or a foot outside. This kind of approach helps you win baseball games and this Phillies team needs to get back to that type of offense or we as fans are in for a long summer that could conclude with the destruction of the current Phillies team as we know it.
As always, keep Phighting!
Please follow me on Twitter @AShafe24