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.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.
Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.
On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.
For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”
Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.
MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”
Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.
The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.