By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After the Phillies season ended without a World Series championship for the third year in a row, general manager Ruben Amaro said some things about their hitting need to change. “I think we have to have a different mindset or approach than maybe we had in ’08 or ’09,” Amaro said in a press conference after the Phillies season ended in the division series against the Cardinals. “I think we have to rely on having better at-bats, being better with two strikes, and being better situational hitters. Those are things we’ll have to change if we want to be a championship caliber club and get to the World Series.”
Phillies hitting coach Gregg Gross spoke to 94 WIP’s Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano, and said that actually changing those things isn’t that simple. “It’s a little tough, once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s hard to put it back in. The approach, these guys are what they are. These are the kind of hitters we have,” Gross said.
For those who haven’t tried, that toothpaste trick is pretty difficult.
We probably shouldn’t expect a bunch suicide squeezes and a ton of sacrifice bunts, Gross says there are some smaller things the Phillies need to do to be more effective this year. “I think our main goal is getting them to buy into the fact that certain times, most of their at bats are theirs, you know, they’re in a situation where they’re trying to get on, they’re trying to do whatever they do,” Gross said. “And there’s other at-bats that I call team at-bats. Where certain things have to be done, especially against certain pitchers, and certain times of the game. I think it’s about being a little more aware. It’s not that they’re not aware of it, situations are talked about constantly. Every day there’s a different situation that we go over in [batting practice] and things like that. But it boils down to them accepting the idea that there’s some at-bats that they’re team at-bats, and it has to be done in order for us to win games. Now having said that, you still win 100 games, it’s hard to change when they’ve done things one way for a long time. And it’s hard, but it’s something you keep preaching and you keep talking about it day in and day out.”