Phillies must fix problems on West Coast road trip

Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants
Papelbon earned the save in Monday’s 6-2 victory over San Francisco, the first game in the Phillies’ West Coast swing.

The Phillies have hit a critical juncture. After going 5-4 during a stretch against three sub .500 teams, the Phillies were 15-18 entering the second game of Tuesday night’s West Coast trip. The swing started Monday night in San Francisco, with a 6-2 victory over the red-hot Giants.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Delmon Young said. “But you have to realize that we’re within striking distance. Considering all that has gone wrong, we’re just a couple of games behind. One thing I’ve learned being on teams that have been in the playoffs is that you don’t have to be in first place all season, you need to be there when it counts. This is a veteran team that knows how to get it done.”

But how much gas is left in the tank with this aging core? Roy Halladay is on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation. The offense has been Jekyll and Hyde for much of the season. Some games, the Phillies put up crooked numbers. Other games, they get blanked on just a couple of hits.

“I don’t think anybody knows for sure what’s up with the Phillies,” a NL scout said. “Sometimes the bats show up and sometimes they don’t. I think when they come back from this trip, you’ll have a pretty good idea where this team stands.”

This is the earliest the phrase ‘buyers or sellers’ has been bandied about during the Charlie Manuel era. It could go either way.

“I still think it’s early,” Ben Revere said. “I think we can win some games out West. We’ve yet to get on a roll. Delmon has just come up. I think Domonic [Brown] is starting to come into his own. [Ryan] Howard has yet to get hot. He’s the kind of guy that can carry a team. Michael Young has just hit since he’s been here and Chase Utley has been great.”

Utley, who leads the team with six homers, and Young, who has the most Phillies hits with 34, have been better than expected. But can both players keep it up over a long season? Can the Phillies expect Howard to get into one of his grooves?

“It’s possible that Young and Utley can play well all season long, and I think Howard has at least another season of big RBI numbers in him,” the NL scout said. “The other possible upside is Cole Hamels? He has to get better.”

Hamels has been scuffling with command. He’s 1-4 and among the league leaders in walks along with the Giants’ Tim Lincecum.

Solving your problems in San Francisco’s AT&T Park isn’t going to be easy, but the Phillies put themselves in such a position by going 14-18 out of the gate.

“It’s not too late,” Revere said. “We have to turn things around. We still have time. We just have to win.”

 

Inside the numbers: Power outage

 

The Phillies are struggling in general. That’s certainly no secret.

At the plate, the team has been dreadful. The Phillies rank 24th in the entire major leagues in batting average (.239), and 27th in both slugging (.377) and on-base-percentage (.298).

Despite a recent power surge from Ryan Howard and Dom Brown, the Phils are also near the bottom in home runs and RBIs. And when they do get runners on, they often stall.

“They’ve been inept when it comes to a man on third with less than two out,” a NL scout said. “It’s got to be frustrating for Charlie [Manuel]. It’s not his fault that they’re not scoring in that situation.”

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.