Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mayberry R.F.P. (Request for Playing Time)

The Phillies offense has struggled mightily so far this year, despite the veritable explosion of runs (20 in the last three games of the season long 10 game road trip). When the Phillies do hit, singles are the norm, with very few extra base hits.  Of the current starters, Hunter Pence I really the only true power threat (Rollins and Victorino have occasional pop, and Laynce Nix can hit right-handers).  John Mayberry has certainly struggled with the rest of them, looking absolutely lost at the plate, while his replacement in left, Juan Pierre has consistently gotten on base, leaving Mayberry glued to the bench.  While Pierre has been on base (.339 BA, .361 On-base %), no one has driven him in with any consistency. (he’s only crossed the plate 6 times), and his arm in left is so week I think I could take second on him.  Mayberry has huge power potential, last year he slugged 15 home runs in only 267 at bats, less than half a full season’s worth, he is a plus defender at all three outfield positions (and first base as well), and can run. He was not the only player on the Phillies who struggled at the plate,  Placido Polanco had a similar terrible start, but was allowed to play through it and has started to come around. Mayberry deserves a similar chance, and more importantly, the Phillies themselves need to give him a similar chance. They need at least one more player in the lineup with 30+ homer potential, someone to drive in all the singles hitters that pepper their lineup, and someone who can provide defensive support to their stellar pitching staff.  Mayberry need a real chance to pull it together, the Phillies season may just ride on his ability to do so.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time to Panic? Not Yet

After 8 games, the Phillies offense has been struggling to score runs, to say the least! Are the injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley too much to overcome? Will the offense continue to scuffle? The replacement in the lineup haven't done much, though slick fielding second baseman Freddy Galvis has started to hit a little after beginning his big league career with an 0-12 collar. Still, his production is nothing like Utley in his prime, nor even th Utley of last year, nor can we expect it to ever approach the Hall of Fame type numbers Chase produced before injuries derailed his election to those hallowed halls. Expecting Chase to return and be Chase is likely a pipe dream as well. Howard, on the other hand, should come back and be a reasonable facsimile of the run producing machine he always has been, if not this year, then certainly by next year. The combination of his temporary replacements, Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, Jim Thome, and John Mayberry Junior should be able to approach the 31 homeruns and 109 RBI's Howard produced last year. If Mayberry can begin to harness the talent his physical gifts imply (He began to show signs of this last year), he might be able to give them production similar to what Jayson Werth produced while here in Philly, production that netted him a $126 million free agent contract from the Washington Nationals.

The Phillies pitching continues to be excellent, the offense should improve to a level that will allow the Phillies to generate enough runs to support that pitching, and the team still has the pedigree the win the NL East. The low run totals are likely just a function of slow starts and offensive funks that afflict every baseball team throughout the season. That's why they play 162, giving plenty of team for the cream to rise to the top.