The Philadelphia Phillies boast one of the most potent offenses in the majors, but all of a sudden their high-powered lineup has stalled.
The NL East-leading Phillies once again look to get their offense back on track as they try to avoid extending their season-high losing streak to seven games as they continue their three-game interleague series against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
Philadelphia (42-36) is second in the majors with 105 home runs and fourth with 400 runs, but its offense has been nonexistent lately.
Since hitting three home runs in an 8-2 win over Boston on June 16, the Phillies have scored a major league-worst 11 runs and hit only two homers during a six-game losing streak. This is Philadelphia’s longest losing streak since dropping seven in a row June 20-28, 2006.
“We’ve got to kick ourselves and come out of it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said after losing to Oakland 6-2 on Tuesday. “We’re not hitting and we know we can hit. We haven’t scored 400 runs to this part of the season for nothing.”
Pat Burrell hit his 19th home run on Tuesday, but is still only 2-for-22 (.091) with one RBI during the losing streak.
Chase Utley was being hyped as the NL MVP a month ago when he hit seven home runs and drove in 19 in an eight-game span, but he has been a major reason for Philadelphia’s offensive woes lately. Utley was hitless in two at-bats Tuesday, and is just 1-for-29 (.034) with seven strikeouts in his last eight games.
Starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (6-3, 5.06 ERA) has been a beneficiary of Philadelphia’s powerful offense all season, and he hopes they regain their power stroke when he takes the ball.
Kendrick has put up a pedestrian 5.20 ERA in his last 12 starts, but the Phillies have supported him with an average of 9.1 runs while winning 10.
Last Wednesday, Kendrick was tagged for six runs and six hits in three innings of a 7-4 loss to the Red Sox, his first loss since April 16. The right-hander had gone 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his previous four outings.
This will be Kendrick’s first career start against Oakland (42-34).
The A’s won for the seventh time in their last 10 Tuesday—all against the NL. The Phillies, meanwhile, have dropped to 2-8 in interleague games.
Oakland managed just six hits Tuesday, but got a big lift from Emil Brown’s go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning.
Brown has three hits in his last two games after going 0-for-13 with nine strikeouts in his previous seven.
“If anything, there’s always one person who believes in me no matter what and that’s me,” Brown said.
Rookie Greg Smith (4-5, 3.51) looks to help the A’s win their third straight as he makes his first career start against the Phillies.
Smith allowed one run and three hits in five innings of a 2-1 win over Arizona on Thursday, but was not a factor in the decision. The left-hander has yielded two runs in 10 innings over his last two starts—both against NL teams — after being tagged for 12 runs in 11 1-3 innings over his previous two.