The year before the greatest run in Phillies history commenced, I ran into Dallas Green between innings of a Phillies game in 2006. Green winced when asked what the difference was between the then-scuffling Phillies and his 1980 team.
“These guys can’t score with regularity with a man on third and less than two out,” Green bellowed. “You have to be able to do that. We did that in 1980.”
That was just one of the things the Phillies did during the franchise’s first championship season. When speaking in an agitated tone regarding the Phillies of 1980, Green could have been talking about the 2013 Phillies. This team has been abysmal when scoring runners from third with less than two out.
“They’ve been lousy when it comes to that,” a NL scout said. “You need to do that if you’re going to have a winning record.”
Ben Revere has seldom come through in such situations. The slap hitter has had a very hard time hitting the ball out of the infield with a man on third with one out or less.
“I know, you have to get that man home,” Revere said. “You can’t let the team down. If we have a chance to score a run, we have to do it.”
Especially since the Phillies have had trouble scoring in other ways. The Phillies used to count on the three-run bomb, but the club has hit 14 straight solo homers, the last coming April 27.
“That’s incredible,” the NL scout said. “They have a hard time getting men on. That’s what that stat tells you. So when they have a chance to get a free run, they need to capitalize.”
After Laynce Nix failed to drive a ball to the outfield to tie the game Friday night in Arizona, with a man on third and one out, Jimmy Rollins came through the following evening against the Diamondbacks.
After Ben Revere, walked, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, Rollins drove him home with a sacrifice fly.
The Phillies manufactured a run. The way the offense has been struggling, they need to play effective small ball.
“If the Phillies want to compete for a playoff spot, they need to figure out how to do that now,” the NL scout said.
And execute it with regularity.
Phillies stage comeback, beat Arizona
The Phillies hope this can be a regular thing. Down by two runs in the ninth inning Sunday, the team rallied to tie the game and win it in extra innings, 4-2.
Chase Utley led off the ninth with a double, then Delmon Young knocked him in with a double of his own. Domonic Brown’s RBI single evened the score. Antonio Bastardo and Jason De Fratus combined for a scoreless bottom half of the inning, then Ryan Howard delivered the knockout blow: a two-run single in the 10th, his first hit in the series. Jonathan Papelbon closed the Diamondbacks down to complete the comeback victory.
Utley’s bat provided the spark all afternoon, as the second baseman went 4-for-5 and scored two runs. The Phils finished with 15 hits.
Kyle Kendrick started the game and surrendered just two runs over seven innings. His ERA is 2.47 for the season.
Ben Revere vs. Shane Victorino
Ben Revere is finally picking it up. He has gone from the Mendoza line to .243, but the young center fielder has had trouble being a productive cog in the wheel. Revere’s OPS is just .293 and his slugging percentage is a horrific .270
Compare that to last year’s center fielder Shane Victorino, who is hitting . 308 with a .371 OBP and a .394 slugging percentage.