Water is also wet. The Phillies are tied with the Nationals for the third-worst runs per game average in the National League at 3.53. They’re fourth-worst in batting average (.237) and third-worst in on-base percentage (.296) and slugging percentage (.374). Phillies outfielders have the worst combined OPS in the league at .608, well below the second-worst Marlins at .665.
GM Ruben Amaro says his team’s offense, which has scored two runs or fewer in four out of the last six games, is “not good enough”, reports Chris Branch.
“They need to swing the bats better,” Amaro said. “That’s not good enough. When we’re behind the 8-ball that much, it’s tough to crawl back. But there’s no question we need to swing the bats better.”
Kevin Slowey, who wasn’t even in the major leagues in 2012, pitched seven shutout innings for the Marlins. Slowey came into the game with a career 4.50 ERA. His win Sunday was his first in the majors since Sept. 18, 2010.
“I believe in these guys still,” Amaro said. “They’re good hitters. They need to do better. For us to be contenders, they have to hit better.”
Defending his signing of right fielder Delmon Young (and ostensibly of constructing his offense the way he had), Amaro said in January, “I don’t care about walks. I care about production,” then lamented that the Phillies weren’t drawing walks two and a half weeks into the season. Presently, the Cubs and Brewers are the only teams in the league to have drawn fewer walks than the Phillies.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.