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Walk the line: Phillies having hard time getting on base

Phillies need to get on base

Philadelphia Phillies v Boston Red Sox Rollins and the Phillies need to start drawing more walks.

Ruben Amaro was justifiably incredulous last week when he shook his head over the Phillies inability to draw walks.

"I think it's ridiculous to have no walks in three days," Amaro said. "I cannot believe it. More importantly, it's not just about walks, it's about producing."

If you don't get on base, good luck being productive.

It's not that the Phillies, who went four games without drawing a base on balls last week, need to go Billy Beane and try to trade for Kevin Youkilis.

They have to figure out a way to get on base. The team's table-setters have unbelievably low OBPs.

Jimmy Rollins has a paltry OBP of .274 and Ben Revere's OBP is just .253, which is the same as the team OBP.

The team needs more patience at the plate.

"We have to work the count better," Revere said. "If we draw a walk, great, but if not, at least make the pitcher throw more pitches."

Going into Sunday's game, the Phillies only have one player (John Mayberry Jr., (.417) with an OBP that's above .350.

Back in their 2008-2009 prime, the Phillies drew plenty of walks. Pitchers were careful with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, who scored a number of intentional walks. And then there was Jayson Werth, who worked the count in those years better than any other player in baseball.

"That's one area in which they really miss Werth," a NL scout said. "He had more value than people realized. He made a pitcher work and he got on base. They just don't have that guy right now. They're helping the [opposing] pitcher. You might not see this in the boxscore, but if you let a pitcher have a seven-pitch inning, that will hurt you."

The lone Phillie that seems content with not swinging on first pitch is Chase Utley, who leads the club with 10 walks. Many of the other players seem allergic to walks.

"I'm fine with drawing walks," Michael Young said. "It's about getting on base. We need to draw more walks. We need to be on so guys like Howard, Chase and Dom can drive us in. There's still time to get this right."

But time is ticking.

How important is OBP?

When the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, eight members of the club had an OBP above .350.

Help is on the way.

Carlos Ruiz, who has a lifetime .394 OBP, will be back after serving six more games of his 25-game suspension.

Delmon Young, who has just a .317 OBP, is starting a rehab assignment in Clearwater. Young, who has a lifetime .284 batting average, doesn't draw walks but he can hit.

 
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