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.
Kapler says he's not concerned about the Phillies' offense. "I think our offense is better, more balanced, our lineup is deeper and we have more weapons now than we did a month ago when we were in first place in the National League East."— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 2, 2018
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.
The Phillies have used 110 different batting orders this season, excluding pitchers. The most common batting order has been used 5 times. https://t.co/F1i7G51nUQ— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 1, 2018
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.
The Phillies' 110 different batting order combinations this year sounds like a lot, but 18 teams have used more. Dodgers lead MLB with 132 & Indians have used the fewest at 86.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 1, 2018
Among teams that have used more batting order combos than Phils: Cubs (124), Astros (117), NYY (113).
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.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE GOOD PHIGHT PODCAST FEED ON APPLE PODCASTS HERE!
ON GOOGLE PODCASTS!