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Offensive woes continue for Phillies

Offensive woes continue for Phillies
It looked like Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino was doing some spring cleaning when he grabbed a bunch of bats from his locker and tossed them onto the clubhouse floor before Thursday's game.

"Trying to change the luck," he explained.

It didn't work.

Philadelphia's top five hitters (Jimmy Rollins, Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth) went a combined 1-for-19 with 11 strikeouts in Thursday's 5-3, 10-inning loss to the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Rollins accounted for the group's only hit in the first inning.

Nothing about what they did at the plate was pretty. Werth struck out four times. Howard, who stood at the plate as the tying run in the 10th, struck out to end the game on an off-balance, checked swing. Rollins hit a foul popup, struck out twice and grounded out two times. Utley went down on strikes twice. And Victorino struck out twice and grounded out twice.

"We've had funks before where it seems like everyone is scuffling at the same time," Howard said. "It's one of those things. Sometimes it will be the case where you're wondering if anyone will make an out."

This, though, isn't just a one- or two-game skid. It's a downward trend that's doomed them for the entire six-game homestand, during which Rollins, Victorino, Utley and Howard went 11-for-99 (.111 batting average) with 26 strikeouts.

It has Phillies manager Charlie Manuel irked.

"We're not hitting the ball good," he said. "We're taking a lot of fastballs. I think at times we try to work the count but then we end up swinging at bad balls, like breaking balls and stuff."

Manuel has said in the past that hitters go through funks sometimes when they're pressing. That, he said, is surely not the case now.

"I don't sense that at all," he said. "It's not the fact that we're trying too hard or are overaggressive. If it is, we have kind of a different way of showing it. It's a matter of us getting a little more after it, getting a little more hungry. We haven't been knocking in our easy runs as far as hitting fly balls and ground balls. We're striking out a lot. We're not playing good. We don't look good. We've got to get after it a little bit more. We've got to bring it a little bit better."

Utley, though, hasn't seen a lack of hunger.

"I feel like guys are playing hard," he said.

Maybe Manuel and Utley have differing opinions over that issue, but there's no denying that these guys need something, or someone, to get them going. In 11 May games, Utley is 5-for-35 (.142). During the six-game homestand, he struck out 11 times.

"I don't see any particular reason [for the slump]," he said. "I don't think we swung the bats as well as we're capable of. But that's Baseball. It's how you deal with that failure and what you do to try to improve upon it."

Cole Hamels went seven strong innings Thursday, giving up one earned run. Carlos Ruiz's two-out, two-run double in the ninth sent the game into extra innings.


Dodgers 5

Phillies 3

Looking ahead: RHP Joe Blanton (1-3, 6.82 ERA) faces LHP Eric Stults (4-1, 3.58 ERA) at 7:05 tonight in Washington.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 16, 2009

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