The Phillies Need to Add a Bat

Plus: John Gonzalez and David Murphy should be sent to their rooms like the children they are

I admit, I didn’t see it coming.

Until they lost their second straight game at home to the Milwaukee Brewers, I didn’t see the Phillies losing a series until much later in the season. And I certainly didn’t see Roy Halladay losing a game (and for that matter being charged with six earned runs along with 10 hits in six innings and change) following a Phillies loss. Halladay’s efficiency as a pitcher is almost inhuman, and so I assumed he would, like a robot, program his way to a win following a loss.

But when the Phillies impenetrable pitching gets penetrated, panic starts to waft through Phillies’ nation about their lack of offense.

Yes, there is a lack of offense. Nobody is kidding anybody. The Phillies have turned into a team that merely hits singles. The home runs are rarely existent. Even the extra base hits are scarce.

We were too optimistic to think that Ben Francisco is more than a fourth outfielder. Francisco is just an average hitter and with that, he’s only a pull hitter who can’t put the ball into the opposite field gaps like Jayson Werth did. He’s also very overmatched as a number-five hitter. Jimmy Rollins is not a number-three hitter, either. The clamoring for Chase Utley to get back in the lineup is not so much that they need Utley’s usual run production, but that they need to move Rollins out of the three hole, where in the first 16 games of the season, the shortstop only has one RBI.

Considering that Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco have very good on-base percentages so far this season, J-Roll’s one RBI is almost criminal. Raul Ibanez, bless his heart, is pretty much finished as a run producer. And his arm in left field these days is embarrassingly weak.

So what has to happen? The Phillies have to add a bat. Even if Utley comes back to full strength (which I’m doubting he will), the Phils need to find a number-five hitter. Could it be Domonic Brown? Brown will have about a month in triple-A to prove that he’s ready to come up again the provide this lineup with energy. If he falters in triple-A, the Phillies have to make a trade for a left-handed hitting outfielder with pop.

If none of that happens, will they still win the National League? I think so. But that means Halladay or Lee or Oswalt or Hamels MUST follow losses with stopper-like efficiency.

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Since this is a blog, we cover blog stuff. I found the recent feud between media lightweights John Gonzalez and David Murphy amusing. How do children get important media jobs?

In case you missed it, in his Sunday column (stream of consciousness? Musing? Wasting time in front of a keyboard?) Gonzalez took a shot at Murphy for Murphy’s blog, “High Cheese,” in which he criticized Phillies fans for certain displays of booing. The fact that the Inquirer allowed such personal, schoolgirl sniping tells you about the state of the newspaper industry right now. Copy editors used to be use human bank vault doors in preventing such drivel. But I digress. Murphy, who covers the Phillies for the Daily News, and Gonzalez, who writes for the Inquirer (which by the way is the same company), then waged a personal Twitter war (why Twitter is necessary in this world still befuddles me) that got very personal, with Murphy calling Gonzo a “hack” and Gonzo going pull-the-ponytail personal by suggesting that Murphy struck out trying to pick up a local female sports reporter, and also that he got punched in the eye by someone. Apparently, both these dudes went to LaSalle and have professional jealousy at the root of their contention. Snore.

They both should be suspended for disgracing what used to be a bastion of journalistic integrity: the daily newspaper.

Random Thoughts

1. All those Sixers fans who thought the team would win two games in the series versus the Miami Heat? Admit it. You only did so because of LH and HH. That’s LeBron Hate and Heat Hate. That’s small, folks. A superstar player became a free agent so he could join the team of his choice. An NBA team was able to do that because of smart salary cap management. Don’t blame the Heat because the Sixers spend more than $15 million each on Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand.

2. My sources tell me that the NHL wanted to put the next NHL Classic (the outdoor hockey game on New Years Day) in Philadelphia and have the Flyers play the Rangers. But that the idea was squelched by Eagles management, who didn’t want their field, vibe and attention messed up by this this sport called hockey.

3. I know Flyers fans love Chris Pronger and Mike Richards. But both of them are condescending jerks.

4. There isn’t currently an NFL season, but that didn’t stop the league from announcing their 2011 schedule. The Eagles only have one Monday Night Football game — in early November at the Bears. Does that mean the Birds have fallen out of luster with the public? Not if you consider Sunday Night Football as a good counterbalance. The Eagles have three Sunday night games — including the second game of the season when Michael Vick returns to Atlanta. And the league shipped them to Seattle in the middle of the week for a Thursday night game on the NFL network. Interesting game on November 27 at home against the Patriots. It’s a 4:15 p.m. start, which means Eagles fans will be nice and lathered for Billy Belichick and his stupid-ass hoodie.

5. Why has Ian Laperriere been added to Comcast SportsNet’s Flyers pre and post game shows? They don’t have enough happy horseshit hockey analysts at that table?