Last year it was Phillies bullpen that sent people on internet deep dives to find historical context for just how bad the relievers were.
This year it’s the Philadelphia center fielders.
Mickey Moniak went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in Philadelphia’s 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Monday night. The Phillies (8-8) were scheduled to host the Giants again Tuesday night.
The offensive numbers for the Phillies center fielders are as hard to fathom as last year’s bullpen implosion.
Philadelphia began Tuesday without a hit from the center fielder since April 9 when Roman Quinn entered as a defensive replacement and singled to centerfield in the eighth inning of an 8-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies last hit by the starting center fielder was an infield single from Adam Haseley on April 4 in a 2-1 win over Atlanta.
The center fielders – Moniak, Haseley and Quinn – began Tuesday a combined 5 for 56. Philadelphia’s starting centerfielders were 2 for 45 after Monday’s loss. The Phillies centerfielders started Tuesday 0 for 27 since the Quinn hit.
“Yes, I am concerned about a lack of production in centerfield,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said before Monday’s game. “I mean, we need more production out of the position, there’s no question about it.”
Haseley and Quinn shared the position at the start of the season. Haseley left the team for personal reasons last week. There is no timetable for his return. With Haseley gone, the Phillies promoted Moniak, who had impressed with some quality at-bats in spring training. But so far, the 2016 overall No. 1 draft pick has appeared overmatched at the plate. He began Tuesday 0 for 12 with eight strikeouts.
“We’re not happy with what’s going on,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said after Monday’s loss. “We’re on our third centerfielder, in a sense. Mickey is getting a chance and we’ll continue to give him a chance. I know they’re all capable of hitting at a much higher clip. They’re not just doing it for whatever reason. But we need someone to be somewhat productive out there.”Major League Soccer news
The Phillies still have Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery at the Lehigh Valley alternate training facility in Allentown, Pa.
Kingery is there fix his swing. The Phillies want him to take a line-drive approach rather than trying to uppercut the ball and hit with power.
The Morning Call newspaper reported Monday that Kingery is 1 for 26 with 12 strikeouts at the alternate training facility. Those numbers speak for themselves.
As for Herrera, he hasn’t played since May of 2019 when he was arrested in Atlantic City in connection with a domestic violence incident. Charges were dismissed and Herrera served an 85-game suspension last season. Dombrowski said Monday that Herrera was struggling at the plate a bit at the alternate training facility.
It is reasonable to wonder about what Kingery and Herrera’s futures are with the Phillies.
The Phillies made several trades last season but never fixed the bullpen. It was the primary reason Philadelphia did not make the postseason.
The center field situation cannot be allowed to linger. The Phillies offense has struggled as a whole this season. It’s a tough tom score runs when the No. 8 spot in the order – where the center fielders primarily hit – and the pitcher’s No. 9 spots are automatic outs.
If Moniak doesn’t get hot in a hurry, the Phillies options appear to be Herrera, Kingery or a trade.
Dombrowski’s history says he’s not shy when it comes to making deals.
“Nobody is doing the job at that particular moment,” he said. “You have to keep your mind open to what other opportunities are outside the organization. We haven’t reached that point yet. You always got your mind open to that. But you also have to make sure if you’re making moves that they’re going to be what you consider an upgrade to your situation.”