MLB

Maybe the Phils just aren't that good

Cody Ross and Matt Cain talk with Ken Rosenthal after the Giants' Game 3 win.
Cody Ross and Matt Cain talk with Ken Rosenthal after the Giants' Game 3 win.
Share This Story

Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

SAN FRANCISCO

Before Game 2, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel all but said that his offense was overrated.

“I think sometimes when people talk about our offense, they’re talking about two or three years ago,” Manuel told the FOX broadcasters. “I don’t think they’re up to date.”

Manuel is correct — the Phillies scored 772 runs in the regular season, 48 fewer than in 2009, 120 fewer than in ’07.

That, folks, is the issue — not Manuel’s decision to pitch right-hander Joe Blanton in Game 4 rather than start the three-days-rest merry-go-round with his three aces.

I will say the same thing about the Phillies that several New York columnists said about the Yankees and their decision to start righty A.J. Burnett on Tuesday night while trailing by the same margin in their ALCS series, two games to one.

If the Yankees were so good, they should have figured out a way to hammer Rangers right-hander Tommy Hunter and overcome a typically heartbreaking performance by Burnett in Game 4.

If the Phillies are so good, they should figure out a way to beat rookie left-hander Madison Bumgarner, even though Blanton will be starting for the first time in 21 days on Wednesday.

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said he has never seen Giants right-hander Matt Cain better than he was in his seven innings Tuesday. But center fielder Shane Victorino offered a more salient point after the Phillies managed just three hits in their 3-0 defeat.

“I’m not taking any credit from him,” Victorino said, referring to Cain. “But I still don’t think we’re swinging the bats the way we need to.”

Manuel was even more blunt in his assessment.

“Look, when you don’t score no runs, you don’t get no hits, it’s hard to win the game,” Manuel said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do about it. I can go in and talk to them about it, but when the game starts tomorrow is when we can do something about it.

“When the game starts, that’s when you’re supposed to hit. You’re kind of on your own when you leave the dugout.”

Oh, Manuel can switch his lineup in Game 4, starting Ben Francisco rather than Raul Ibanez to get a right-left matchup against Bumgarner; Ibanez, mired in an 0-for-15 slump, struck out twice and hit into a double play Tuesday.

Manuel, though, is loyal to his veterans. Francisco’s last at-bat was Oct. 3. The Giants benefited from lineup changes Tuesday, but one switch probably will not do much for the Phillies.

“It’s getting kind of late to be trying to make moves, isn’t it?” Manuel asked.

Yes, and the evidence against the Phillies is mounting:

• The Giants’ starters — Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Tim Lincecum — have combined for a 2.20 ERA while pitching 20 of 26 possible innings.

• Lefty specialist Javier Lopez has struck out Ryan Howard twice and retired Chase Utley twice.

• Closer Brian Wilson has earned two saves and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

MLB

HE DID IT!

Derek Jeter is the first Yankee to collect 3,000 hits. See the best shots from the celebration.

No question, the Giants’ staff is terrific. But the Phillies faced a lesser Reds staff in the Division Series and still did little offensively.

For the postseason, they are batting .159/.328/.182 in six games. They are 5-for-41 with runners in scoring position since the second inning of Game 1 in the Division Series.

Injuries contributed to the Phillies’ occasional funks during the regular season, but now there is no excuse. All of the Phils’ regulars are back; Rollins, who is batting sixth rather than leadoff due to his season-long leg issues, is the only concern.

The bottom line is this: Maybe the Phillies just aren’t that good.

Utley and Jayson Werth sat near the back of the clubhouse after Tuesday’s game, replaying their at-bats on laptops. Howard declined to talk to reporters. Rollins projected his usual confidence and offered his usual honesty.

Which player is it incumbent upon to start the offense, Jimmy?

“Whoever has a chance to drive in a run,” Rollins said.

Alas, the Phillies have never faced Bumgarner, who was 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 regular-season starts and outdueled the BravesDerek Lowe in the Giants’ Division Series clincher.

Bumgarner, 21, is quite good, quite mature. The old Phillies, undaunted, would have yawned, pounded him and said, “next.” These Phillies, too, are capable of inflicting such a beating, but their own manager is a skeptic.

He has seen too little. He has seen too much.

Tagged: Yankees, Phillies, Giants, Jimmy Rollins, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Ben Francisco, Madison Bumgarner

More Stories From Ken Rosenthal

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..