Phils struggles with aces don't bode well for 2012

Phils struggles with aces don't bode well for 2012
March 28, 2012, 2:59 am
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With three aces in 2010, four in 2011 and another three in 2012, the Phillies have been built to win with starting pitching.

But when an organization sinks so much of its resources into one specific area, other deficiencies are bound to be exposed.

In this case, the Phillies' offense, once the team's calling card, has become increasingly suspect over the last two seasons. As the team has focused more and more on pitching, the rest of its core has aged, become burdened by injury, and struggled to produce for long stretches.

Despite the team's clear advantage on the mound, the Phillies have fallen short of making it back to the World Series since 2009, finding themselves outdueled by quality, by still lesser pitching staffs.

Unfortunately for the team's hopes in 2012, more pitching, and possibly even less hitting, is a recipe that's already been shown to come up short.

The crew over at The Good Phight has put together this (almost painfully detailed) study of the 2011 Phillies' lineup against aces who weren't their own. The results of the study, in short, discovered that although the Phillies won 102 regular season games, they were actually "doomed to fail" come playoff time.

Rather than taking of advantage of teams with poor pitching, or the back end of even the most talented rotations, the Phillies, like every playoff other team, are pitted against the best arms each postseason; and their numbers against aces in the regular season were bad enough that their first round exit in the NLDS after a 1-0 Game 5 shutout shouldn't have come as a surprise.

As The Good Phight concludes: "The 2011 Phillies were indeed a team with a 'regular season' offense, and a weaker playoff team than their 102 wins would indicate. Ryan Howard managed to hit like Michael Martinez against aces, and the entire team failed miserably at drawing walks, especially Chase Utley."

"It's sad to say, but unlike most of the groupthink that has surrounded this team the past few years, the 2011 Phillies really do appear to be a team with an offense that was guaranteed to falter in the playoffs."

Remember the "Everybody hits! Woohoo!" cheer? Well, evidently not in the postseason.

This report comes just one week after a BaseballProspectus projection system (via Grantland's Jonah Kerri) forecast the Phillies to finish dead last in the NL East in runs scored per game, 34 total runs behind the fourth-place Nationals.

The offense is getting older, less productive and more injury prone. And if the Good Phight's study is to be believed, all the pitching in the world might not have been enough to make up for the Phillies' inability to score runs against premiere pitching last year.

So you tell us, even with Halladay, Lee and Hamels ready to mow down teams in the regular season, do you believe this Phillies team can score enough runs for one more World Series trophy?

E-mail Nick Menta at nmenta@comcastsportsnet.com