Offensive struggles hindering rebuild process for Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies offensive woes continue
There is no polite way to say it, but most nights the Philadelphia Phillies are dreadful to watch at the plate. Tuesday's 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park was just another of an overwhelming number of lackluster offensive performances this season.

The Phillies left 11 on base and were hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Aaron Altherr, the team's most productive hitter, left five runners on base and Maikel Franco left three.

It's been a season long issue. The club is hitting .237 with runners in scoring position, the fourth worst mark in baseball.

“That’s tough to take,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “If we execute those situations, we have a better chance to win games.”

Compounding matters is the Phillies lack of success while ahead in the count; the club ranks last in the majors hitting .263.

“From my perspective, you’ve got to be ready to hit early in the count so you don’t get to two strikes,” Mackanin said. “You get a pitch early in the count you can put in play, you’re going to drive in runs. You don’t want to get behind when the pitcher can expand the strike zone on you.

“Plus, in my opinion, we take too many good pitches to hit, especially with two strikes and men in scoring position.”



Tonight the Phillies will oppose Pirates' hurler Gerrit Cole who has a career 3.45 ERA in six starts against Philadelphia. The Phillies counter with rookie right-hander Ben Lively who has a 3.96 ERA over his first six Major League starts.

"He's shown a lot and has some great upside," Mackanin said of Lively last week. "I'd like to see him continue to improve and work better pitch counts."

Lively needed 105 pitches to get through 6 1/3 innings in his last start, a 2-1 loss in New York.

Tonight's Phillies Lineup
1. Daniel Nava, LF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Nick Williams, RF
6. Andres Blanco, 2B
7. Odubel Herrera, CF
8. Andrew Knapp, C
9. Ben Lively, P

Rehab Update
Jerad Eickhoff (upper back strain) tossed five strong innings in a rehab outing with double-A Reading on Tuesday. He threw 57 pitches (42 strikes), giving up a lone run on a solo home run. He also recorded five strikeouts and surrendered just one walk. He last pitched with the Phillies on June 17 in Arizona.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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