Ruben Amaro: Phillies offense “not good enough”

32 Comments

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.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

Getty Images
11 Comments

As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on as precedent. And, it should be noted, in doing so they gave at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?