For a team built around offense, the last few weeks have made it painfully clear the master plan simply isn't working.
Everyone is slumping at once. Only a long overdue Bobby Abreu is showing any signs of life at the plate over the last couple of games; otherwise, it should be noted, he remains the same tentative, average outfielder to whom we’ve grown accustomed.
Ironically, except for a two bad outings, one each by Cory Lidle in Houston and Jon Lieber in Colorado, the starting pitching has been good overall and excellent on occasion.
The Phils have been shut down by some pretty good pitchers themselves during this stretch, but they haven’t helped their own cause by swinging at bad pitches, taking good ones, and failing to deliver when scoring opportunities present themselves.
Everything on this club seems out of sync. Even Chase Utley is struggling at the plate and in the field. He is 1 for 14 during this home stand and has made a few miscues in the field. The sight of him turning and walking back to the dugout after striking out is occuring more frequently. He could probably use a day or two off, but can the Phillies afford such a move? Ryan Howard, who seems to have altered his stance slightly (he is crouching less and standing more upright than when he first arrived) is seeing a lot more breaking balls lately, most of them for called strikes.
Charlie Manuel has overused his bullpen to such a degree the Phils decided to send newly-acquired Matt Kata to the minors and bring up lefthander Eude Brito from Scranton to help out. It should be noted that Brito, a 27-year old, had a poor record out of the pen at Scranton before being moved into the starting rotation where he fared much better. So, it figures they plan to use him in relief here.