It’s Too Early To Be Concerned About The Phillies

The Phillies have stumbled out of the gates to a 1-3 start. The season isn’t even a week old and already the team is sitting three games out of first place in the National League East. Other than the performances of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Vance Worley, there have been few positives to take from the first four games. Great starting pitching performances have been wasted by a woeful offense, and a shaky bullpen.

However, despite the poor start, it’s too early to worry about the team and their chances of making the playoffs.

It’s going to take Charlie Manuel at least a couple of weeks to discover which lineup combinations are most effective. Right now, the manager is rolling out a different lineup in each game as he struggles to come up with a batting order that is capable of supporting his great pitching.

Because the batting order has been frequently shuffled and reorganized in each game, its putting a difficult challenge on the players as they adjust to new and unfamiliar roles. Baseball players are creatures of habit, and often need to play within their individual comfort zones in order to be at their best. Taking them outside of those comfort zones and placing them into unfamiliar (or uncomfortable) territory commonly results in a player struggling as they make adjustments to succeed in their new position.

Shane Victorino has been asked to hit in three different spots in the order this year. He’s batted leadoff, second, and fifth in the first week of the season. Those are three very different hitting roles to adjust to within such a short span of time.

Jimmy Rollins is batting in the three-hole out of necessity. He proved last season that he isn’t a good fit for the three-hole when he struggled during his opportunity in the role while Chase Utley missed the first month and half of the 2011 season, but he’s in that position because the team simply has no better option at the moment.

Hunter Pence is currently batting cleanup, and facing a great deal of pressure to deliver big hits and carry the offense while Ryan Howard and Chase Utley recover from their injuries. He’s never been asked to be the focal point of an offense on a team with championship aspirations.

The current lineup needs to have a little time to jell, and establish a rhythm. Once each player has been given time to adjust to their roles, the lineup as a whole will begin to have stronger performances. That being said, the current lineup at its best can’t be expected to produce any more than three runs a game, but three runs a game will be enough to get by as long as the pitching staff continues to perform at a high level.

It’s going to be a rough road for the Phillies as they struggle to put together an effective batting order. It’s going to take some time for Charlie Manuel to figure out how to get the best out of a lineup with obvious flaws and a low ceiling, but they will get better than they are now. The Phillies don’t want to dig themselves too deep of a hole early in the season, but even if they do fall behind, they’ve proven in the past that they can make up ground. It’s a long season, and there are still 158 games to be played.

 

11 thoughts on “It’s Too Early To Be Concerned About The Phillies

  1. I was concerned about this Club all Off-Season and didn’t like most of the moves that they made and squandered a great opportunity in upgrading the IF and Batting Line-up,
    With the help of DCar, I am dubbing this 2012 Team, “Phil’s Ultra-Lite” due to their anemic offense.. Once they break the .200 Batting Average as a Team, plateau then I will then refer to them as “Manuels Mendoza-Line Maulers”

  2. what opportunities did they have to upgrade the infield? all 4 positions in the infield are making major cash! Two of which are currently injured and before long the other two will also. They couldn’d do too much this off-season being so close to the luxury tax. Papplebon was a necessary evil, look at what they were going to give Madson 4yr 44 mil (something close to that). I would rather Papplebon for the extra couple mil. He is a bonified closer with experience.They were stuck once Howard went down. A healthy Howard is what they need. They need someone who could carry them for a 15 game stretch, Chase Utley will never been the same guy, he hasnt been for a couple years now.

  3. Howard was hurt last October with prognosis of a realistic return of late June or post All-Star Game, which was 6 months ago…
    As GM, I would have signed 3B Aramis Ramirez, then shifted Polanco
    to 2B and would have had an independent specailists check on Utley’s knees to see what his likely return and prognosis may have been. If Utley miracoulsly recovered (which was unlikley) and was good to go, then I trade Polanco even though I would have had to eaten some of his Salary
    Meanwhile I would have planned on Mayberry to play 1B and went after a LF like a Cody Ross, Mike Cuddyer or Melky Cabrera, or possibly even re-sign Raul Ibanez for a cheap 1-2 Year deal knowing that Howard may be out all Season and at least knowing what Ibanez brings to the table…
    Lots of scenarios and options back 6 months ago, but knowing all this when the Season ended last October and now trying to worry about it is like crying over spilled milk…
    Signing Jim Thome is a nice sentimental gesture but adds nothing to the ball club to make up for Howards lost production.. Overpaying Closer Papelbon when you can’t score enough leads to have leads late in ballgames was a waste in my opinion and already knowing that Utley’s production and health has dropped preciptiously the last 3 Seasons in a row..
    Poor Planning and Roster Management by GM Amaro anyway you look at it in my opinion on top of the Hamels fiasco which will come back to bite him, the Phillie Franchise and yes, us fans in the ass..

  4. I know what you are saying but it is much easier said than done. The minor league system is pretty depleted after the last couple of deals so I am not seeing a trade on the horizon unless they package Dom Brown. Also could they trade Cliff Lee again? I know that sounds funny but it could be a legit possibility (not my preferance). they could lock hamles up and possibly get another bat in the lineup. What are they goingto do about signing victorinio an pence to extensions? Alot of question marks with this team going forward.

  5. I was thinking that same though Frank, but would anyone take Lee with the size and length of his deal? 3 more years at $25 mil per. The Sox would probably love to have him. May be the only place that can afford him. Possibly the Yanks if Pineda doesn’t turn out to be the guy that he was the first half of the season.

    There certainly seems to be more buzz about pitching in the minors than any positional players.

  6. Um you know I think the title says it all, I know that’s the wimpy way out but I think we just have to wait till ryan comes back. Hell I will take chase at whatever percentage he is when he comes back. Bottom line they are still better with him in the lineup. Let’s put pence back at his natural 3 spot and we will catch these other teams. (I Hope)

  7. Hate to agree with Paulman, but I think he makes sense…..I think we may be digging too deep of a hole to get out of when we get Howard and Utley back…

  8. Schill, other than your little winky, do you have at least 1 funny bone in your body!? You are a Nancy douche nozzle. Laugh a little dude. Life is too short. They are what they are right now, & unless they find a miracle cure for their offensive woes, they are going to struggle all year to score over 2-3 runs per game. We’ve been bitching for 2 years now for an infusion of younger talented players, & better FA signings. Amaro has done neither. He has managed to make an already fragile, Ancient roster, even older & fragile. I’m paraphrasing but, remember the end of last season, when Amaro said many changes to hitting approach & team thinking has to change & has to be fixed. What did he fix & change. NOTHING! He brought back a declining, flawed hitter in Rollins, & brought in old, utility, platoon veterans, that bring us worse defense & even more SO’s & very little more power. He did nothing to upgrade our everyday starters, & gave a ridiculous, unnecessary contract, to Papelbon. He already knew Howard would be out most of the year, & Utley’s inevitable break down again. Not to mention Polanco’s heath, or Ruiz & Rollins age & decline. BTW, what are they going to do with Hamels, Victorino & Pences long term future, after this year? Our minor leagues are devoid of positional prospects, that are anywhere close to contribute, & our only good prospects are BP pitchers. But Amaro, Manuel & Dubee, don’t seem to be confortable with bringing any of them up yet. So we are stuck with a stiff BP of
    Herndon, Savery, Kendrick, a young unproven Stutes, a regressed Bastardo, an injured Qualls & Contreras & an overpaid Papelbon (will be good, if Manuel uses him correctly). We better hope that the Starters only give up 1-2 runs every game, or we will be lucky to win a Wild card spot, with this line-up & BP. Also, if you are delusional enough to hold out hope for Utley & Howard to be saviors, we could be 10 games out of 1st place, by the time they get back, in 50-80 games respectively.

  9. Frank, it was common knowledge that Heath Bell wanted to come here. They overpaid for Papelbon, PERIOD! They should NOT have resigned Rollins. They knew Utley would have his inevitable down again, & they already knew that Howard would be out most of the year. Aramis Ramirez would have solved many problems. They could of had Polanco play for Utley, & platoon when/ if he came back, Ramirez has been fairly durable, consistent 290+ 25-30 hr 100 rbi hitter since 2003. Not to mention a good 3b. They could have signed Cuddyer to play 1b & OF to platoon with Mayberry. He is a great locker room leader, another good hitter, & a friend with Thome. If they signed Ramirez, Cuddyer & Bell, they still could of signed Thome & Qualls. Nix is a waste of space. They have a top 3 MLB salary cap. IT WAS A PISS POOR, $#!TTY, off-season for Amaro. PERIOD!!!!! If they don’t make the playoffs, he needs to be FIRED! Plain & simple, end of story. He doesn’t have Wade anymore, feeding us Houston players, to save his @$$!

  10. BTW, the 4 year $44M was a BS bogus story created by Scott Boras, to drum fake interest, & create a contract feud with the Phillies. I have a legit sources information on that one. Enough said!

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