It's hard to win baseball games without scoring runs.
The Phillies had won their fair share during April and May, somehow, scraping by with a relatively impressive 26-26 mark. But the squad has gone 4-14 (through Sunday) in June and has fallen back to earth. Way back to earth.
Philly has the least runs in the majors with 220, a total so low it put them in contention (albeit perhaps an outside shot) for accumulating the fewest runs in a season ever — the 372 runs scored by St. Louis in 1908 during the dead-ball era.
The numbers suggest Philly will, just barely, eclipse that embarrassing achievement but with a hitter-friendly park like Citizens Bank Park as the venue for 81 games over the year it's pretty sad the team hasn't been able to hit more.
"I feel like we're snake-bitten on offense," Phillies' manager Pete Mackanin said after a loss to the Diamondbacks.
In the unfriendly confines in South Philly, the squad averages just 2.73 runs per game, more than half a run fewer than the next fewest for a team at home. In 70 tries against starting pitchers, just three times have the Phillies scored four or more runs, a 96 percent clip that is remarkable.
“We need somebody to solidify the offense as well as the pitching,” Mackanin said. “We need some professional at-bats. The guys are all not the type of hitters who are established."
Just look at the stat sheet and you'll see slumping player after slumping player — like Ryan Howard, Maikel Franco, Tommy Joseph, Freddy Galvis and so on.
The Phillies roster is a rag-tag group of prospects trying to prove they belong in the big leagues, journeymen who are also unproven, and some stretches and gambles from the Rule 5 draft or waiver wire. It's not an offense built to compete.
"Even Franco, as good of a hitter as he's going to be at one point, he's still a young guy," Mackanin said. "First full year in the big leagues. It would be nice to have somebody surrounding him who you can kind of count on.”
It seems unlikely that reinforcements, short of some new unproven prospects like J.P. Crawford or Dylan Cozens, will come to the Phillies rescue. As can be seen on the field most nights, the Phillies are a few years away from being big buyers on the free agent market.
Until then, all Mackanin can do is tinker, coach and pray.