Ryan Howard and the rest of the Phillies' big hitters have been quiet in spring training, each batting below .200. Credit: Getty Images
There’s an old line about how players shouldn’t leave all of their hits in spring training. Either the Phillies are abiding by that ancient axiom or the club’s offense is frighteningly inept. It’s still early in the Grapefruit League world but there’s cause for concern after the Phillies ugly 8-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves, the only team in baseball with a worst spring training record, entering the contest.
The Phillies entered the game with an abysmal .194 average, which is the worst in the MLB, and finished with just a run and six paltry hits. A number of key players are below the Mendoza line. Ryan Howard is hitting .182, Chase Utley (.158), Jimmy Rollins (.133) and Domonic Brown (.091.) have yet to find a groove.
“The first two weeks the pitchers are ahead of the hitters, who are trying to get their timing down,” Marlon Byrd said.
That’s easy for Byrd, who is hitting .375, to say.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi not only backs Byrd but thinks the Phillies offense will get there.
“The Phillies have so many veterans, who know what spring training is all about,” Girardi said. “Give that offense three weeks to get it together. They’ll use the time they have to get it going. I remember our 2009 team (which won the World Series against the Phillies) was filled with veterans and they turned it on when they needed it to. It’ll be interesting to see what they do, if they remain healthy.”