The Phillies averaged fewer than 3.5 runs per game in April and May. They were one of the National League’s worst offenses in terms of runs, batting average and on-base percentage. They finished those two months three games under .500, at 26-29.
Things turned around in June.
Ben Revere built upon his hot May, hitting .354 with a .390 OBP.
Delmon Young (.307 BA, .830 OPS) finally came around.
Chase Utley returned and hit the way he did the first few weeks. In his last eight games he’s batted .382 with seven extra-base hits, 11 runs and a 1.271 OPS.
Jimmy Rollins, Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard combined for 36 walks in June after totaling 37 the previous two months.
In June, the Phillies were third in the NL in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and extra-base hits. And yet they went 13-15. Against teams that are a combined 63 games under .500.
On Monday morning, Reuben Frank pointed out a reason to believe in the Phillies moving forward. But the results of June provide a perfect example of why it will be so difficult for this team to contend. The Phillies fixed many of their offensive inconsistencies but couldn’t even finish the month at .500.
Since the first day of the 2012 season, the Phillies have failed to simultaneously play all phases of the game well. When the offense is hot, the pitching is cold. When the rotation is churning out quality starts, the bullpen is in shambles. When they’re hitting and pitching, defensive and baserunning miscues pop up.
The major problem in June was the bullpen, which had a 4.92 ERA and lost seven games. It’s the unfortunate result of getting little from Mike Adams and another step back from Antonio Bastardo, whose rate of walks and baserunners per inning have increased for the third straight season.
The Phils are now relying on Bastardo, Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont and Jake Diekman to man the late innings, and the results haven’t been pretty. They’ve combined for a 7.17 ERA in the eighth inning this season.
It’s going to take more than just a few players stepping up for the Phils to make up their deficits of 9½ games in the division or 7½ games in the wild-card race. It’s hard to believe, but the Phils actually lead the majors in quality starts and innings from their starting pitchers.
But regardless of how well the offense clicks or how many times a starter goes six innings and allows three runs, the Phillies will need some sort of reliable bridge to Jonathan Papelbon.
It’s the first week of July. There’s this little deadline you may have heard about that comes up in the fourth week of July. Time is running out to find that bullpen formula.