Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Past Their Primes

The Phillies offensive woes are particularly acute at three positions traditionally considered power spots in the lineup:  left field, third and first bases.  Until at least one or, better, two of these spots become more productive the Phils prospects remain bleak.

Keep in mind the pitching has been holding the fort but primarily against inferior lineups.  When the Phils begin to face the mashers, their pitching will be harder pressed and their offensive ineptitude fatally exposed.

As a long time favorite in this corner, third baseman Placido Polanco shouldn't be singled out for failing to produce in 2012, but it's hard to ignore his numbers have been declining steadily during the past two seaons except for a brief torrid spurt at the beginning of 2011.  It was thought his futility over the last two years was due to multiple injuries, but that excuse won't suffice this season after he had surgeries to correct the problems.  Polanco, always a savvy contact hitter, simply isn't getting good wood on the ball.  He was always good at going the other way; now he just isn't going in any direction but down.

The left-field and first base platoons are also a dismal failure at this juncture.  No one except Juan Pierre is hitting.  John Mayberry has been struggling mightily in his opportunities at both positions.  Calls for Dom Brown can be heard but it should be noted the one-time phenom isn't exactly hitting the cover off the ball at AAA.  Lanyce Nix, Ty Wigginton and Jim Thome haven't picked up any slack either.  Thome may be a threat to change a game with one swing, but his one for eleven average suggest that one swing may come along once a year at this point in his career.  Thome has always been a favorite of manager Charlie Manuel.  Manuel, for his part, has always been partial to veterans who can hit.  He has a lot of veterans in his dugout but it looks as though many of them are past their primes.