Our man J-Mac brings us this little tidbit: [Philly Sports Daily]
The Phillies’ propensity to produce pathetic offensive outings is nearing historic heights. On Tuesday night, the Phillies lost to the Cardinals in a 2-1 contest. It was the Phils’ fourth-straight loss. In those four losses, they haven’t had more than five hits in any one game.
The last such stretch of hitting futility was in May of 1974.
That's right, it's been almost 40 years since the Phillies have had a worse four-game stretch. Almost 40.
Here's what was going on in 1974: The Phillies 1974 throwbacks weren't throwbacks! (shouting!), I was still nine years away from being born (9 B.K.S., if you will), Christian Bale and Steve Nash were mere infants, Charlie Manuel was with the LA Dodgers, and Jim Gardner was a news reporter in Buffalo.
We really shouldn't be surprised about this, though. Look at this lineup: Rollins, Martinez, Polanco, Howard, Mayberry, Francisco, Valdez, Sardinha, Oswalt.
Let's rephrase that with common nouns: Aging shortstop, relative unknown who made the team because the manager liked his personality, great hitter, star, almost didn't make the team, drastic step down from last year, replacement level player, minor league catcher, pitcher.
That's your answer. Injuries, once again, have screwed with the lineup. There is a Wilson Valdez- Pete Orr platoon at second base. Dane Sardinha played in four-of-seven games. Ben Francisco is your right fielder. And, last night, Michael Martinez was your starting center fielder.
They're not going to win many games with Utley, Brown, Victorino, and Chooch out of the lineup. Need. To. Be. Healthy.
UPDATE: Or… the Phillies can heed the advice of reader Jessica, who forwarded me this e-mail from her father, Bruce:
Charlie Manuel lends full support behind Phillies' Promotions adding tonight's game as "Bat Day" – with a slight twist. Instead of fans getting a bat, they are to bring their favorite bat for the Phillies to use during the game. The bat can be wood, composite, titanium – makes no difference as MLB has granted the Phillies a special dispensation to use any instrument that will actually produce hits and runs. If a run is produced, directly or indirectly (walks count), with the bat you brought, you get 4 tickets to a future Phillies game. Sorry, bats brought that produce runs cannot be returned – for obvious reasons.
He might be on to something. Of course, I'm now looped in to a father-daughter e-mail string, which makes me uncomfortable.