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HS 209: A phutile Phillies offense

On Episode 209, hosts John Stolnis & Liz Roscher discuss the the Phillies’ offense, which seems to have a different lineup every day, yet the same results.

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Chicago Cubs v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Is the 2018 Phillies offense beyond repair?

It sure seems to be. Despite adding Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilson Ramos, Justin Bour and Jose Bautista over the last few weeks, the offense continues to flounder. This weekend, they scored just four runs in three games against an admittedly-good Chicago Cubs team, but isn’t this an offense that is supposed to mash the baseball at home?

That hasn’t been happening lately, and this weekend, the problems with the bats were especially apparent. Is their solution hopeless? Not according to manager Gabe Kapler.

However, on Sunday, Jose Bautista hit No. 3 in the batting order, followed by Carlos Santana. Bautista is hitting .198 on the season. .198. Even with a decent on-base percentage of .343, that’s still a far from ideal person to put so high in the order. But he was followed by Santana, who is hitting .225 on the season. Again, he has a higher on-base percentage, .349, but these are not two players one would ordinarily expect in those spots.

Not only that, Kapler’s lineup was clearly emphasizing infield defense with Nola on the mound, but that resulted in a 6-7-8 that featured Scott Kingery, Pedro Florimon and Jorge Alfaro, three players with substandard offensive numbers.

Maikel Franco is hitting .216/.256/.419 in his last 78 PAs. Rhys Hoskins is batting .186/.298/.361 over the last 30 days. Cesar Hernandez is at .223/.322/.320 over that same stretch. Asdrubal Cabrera, his walk-off homer on Friday night notwithstanding, is batting .223/.260/.372 as a Phillie.

This is not a deep lineup. It is a deeply flawed lineup, with very few, if any, players that are both good offensive and defensive players. And if it feels like Kapler has tried a million different lineups this year, trying to find the right one, utilizing splits and match-ups and the like, it’s not quite that many.

But lest you think Kapler is re-inventing the wheel here, he’s actually in the bottom half of MLB when it comes to different varieties of lineups.

Seems to me this is more about not having good enough players and less about “analytics.”

On Episode 209 of “Hittin’ Season,” hosts John Stolnis and Liz Roscher discuss this further, recap the Phils vs. Cubs series, and talk about the ridiculous spectacle caused by Joe West on Saturday night, when he confiscated a scouting report card from pitcher Austin Davis that the league now says was legal.