Phillies' Offense Regresses, Drops Finale to Twins

Written By Bob Cunningham On Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Phillies offense needs to find its rhythm quickly.

A game like the one the Phillies played in the series finale against the Twins is exactly why we can never be too quick to proclaim a funk over.

Because after only one run on a measly four hits, the Phillies offense looked as bad in that game as it has over the past few weeks. Carl Pavano completely shut down the entire lineup (sans Wilson Valdez) as he went the distance to give the Twins their second win in a best-of-three series.

On the mound, Roy Halladay continues to get bitten by the long ball as he allowed two homeruns in eight innings. He also allowed 11 total hits, four total runs, and struck out eight.

Right now, this season is looking exactly like 2008 as far as how the offense performs based on who is on the mound that day. Back in '08, it seemed like anytime Cole Hamels was on the mound the offense was strapping on a blindfold on their walk to the plate.

But when it was Jamie Moyer's turn from the hill, they came out swinging and smacking anything even close to the strike zone.

This year, we're seeing the same thing. When Halladay is pitching, they seem to take it for granted and aren't pressing at the plate. They're letting good pitches go by, are always watching the first pitch, and can't seem to get themselves into favorable counts.

When you're down 1-2, it's incredibly difficult to guess what a pitcher is going to throw because he can really go anywhere. Because of that, they're left either looking at a strike as they get back-doored or reaching the buffoons and popping the ball into the shallow part of the outfield.

Everyone, except Placido Polanco, is swinging for the fences and, most of the time this year, are either missing wildly or simply flying out to the warning track as they did against the Twins in the finale.

I'm continuing to look forward to the Cleveland series as it should give their bats a chance to get going, especially with Jimmy Rollins set to return to the lineup. Carlos Ruiz should be back as well, and will give a much-needed boost offensively and defensively.

Then, with those guys back, Shane Victorino can go back to the seven hole where he belongs, and Brian Schneider is then available as a pinch-hitter behind Ruiz, who seemed to be getting on base every game he's played.

I don't think most in Philly are panicking yet, but we only have so much longer of the "it's still early" mantra. The season is going to hit the mid-way point before we know it, and by then it's going to take one hell of a performance on the back nine to get things rolling.

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