Phillies leaders were full of hot air yesterday, telling anyone and everyone who would listen that it was time to turn things around. Ruben Amaro was on WIP. Larry Bowa was on 97.5. And Ryne Sandberg shouted at his players and then told the media about it. All that talking… and there was little walking (literally).
Here’s the box score from the game:
The Phillies’ pitchers were David Buchanan and Ethan Martin.
“A lack of focus? No,” Byrd said. “[Not] being prepared? No. Executing? I think that shows. We haven’t. There’s three key ingredients I’ve said over and over again — pitching and defense and timely hitting. If you don’t get those, you don’t win. You have two you can lose. You have one you’re definitely going to lose. You have none you’re going to get blown out. We have to figure out how to put all three together.”
This basically echoes Ruben Amaro’s prescription. But the problem is that, for years now, the Phillies have relied upon abstract concepts such as execution and timely hitting rather than more tangible qualities like having good players and… a bench. I’ve come around on sabermetrics. The SABR nerds called the Phillies’ downfall four years ago, when the Phils were still the best team in baseball. You can cross all the fingers you want for timely hitting, but everything evens out in the end, and when you count on players like Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown and Ben Revere, all of whom have terrible on-base percentages, you aren’t going to be too successful.
What’s worse is that Amaro has rounded out the roster with absolute garbage: Wil Nieves, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Jayson Nix, Reid Brignac– all terrible. These are the batting averages, on-base percentages, slugging percentages and OPSsssss of the Phillies’ bench players:
The best of the bunch is John Mayberry Jr. (second one), and he’s batting .240. It doesn’t matter who the rest of them are, because they all stink. And when you have players like this, those timely hits will be few and far between.