On Sunday, the situation became grotesque.
The Phillies were beaten in their series finale against the Reds 9-4. That's not terrible in and of itself. The Phils won two out of three and hey, you can't win 'em all. But it was how they lost that made it frustrating.
The Phils knocked out 12 hits, all but one of which was a single (a double by Maikel Franco), and in the process went 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position. They left 16 runners on base in a nine inning game.
They followed that up on Monday by going 1-for-13 with RISP, leaving 10 men on base. They slapped out 10 hits, all but one of which were singles (a double by Tyler Goeddel).
In those two games, the Phillies went a combined 4-for-31 (.129) with RISP and left 26 runners on base. They had two extra base hits.
The Phils have managed to win a lot of games this year without scoring many runs. They are 14-3 in one-run games and 4-0 in extra innings. They have managed to go 22-17 while scoring 129 runs, second-least in all of baseball. And we all knew the team wouldn't hit for much power, and that has come true. The team's .361 slugging percentage and 29 home runs are also second-worst in baseball.
None of this a surprise, and it would be tolerable if not for two other areas in which the team is coming up woefully short.
The first is their failure to hit with runners in scoring position which is, simply put, the most frustrating thing to watch in baseball. Watching your leadoff man hit a double and then still be standing there three outs later is the most maddening thing in the world, and it has been happening a lot lately.
The Phillies have an MLB-worst wRC+ of 57 with RISP this year, and their OPS of .622 is also dead last. Their 22.9% hard-hit rate with runners in scoring position (22.9%) is tied for 28th, and they've hit just four home runs all year in those situations, tied with the Dodgers for 26th in baseball.
Of course, the Phils' offensive numbers are down in every situation. Their .293 on-base percentage overall is third-worst, and their overall OPS of .655 is second-worst. They're struggling with no one on base and with runners on.
But there's another, more damaging number that is really killing this team.
This year, when the count reaches 3-1, the Phillies are hitting .206/.549/.270, which indicates a team that is not taking advantage of pitchers when they are at their most vulnerable.
That .206 batting average is 27th in baseball, the slugging percentage is 28th, and the OPS of .849 is 29th. And while that .459 OBP looks nice, it is actually only 23rd best in baseball.
In other words, the Phils are struggling especially in situations when the odds are most in their favor, ahead in the count and with runners in scoring position. When the pitcher has the smallest margin of error, Phillies batters are letting them off the hook.
And unless the team starts bashing home runs to compensate, the struggle to score is going to continue.