PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Assuming Cole Hamels gets healthy in a reasonable amount of time, the Phillies starting rotation should be solid. With Lee and Hamels, they have two of the best left handed pitchers in the game, and with the addition of Burnett, the top three is as good as anyone’s in baseball.
The offense however, is a different story.
With questions looming over veterans like Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, and Chase Utley, the addition of Marlon Byrd, and the unknown that is Domonic Brown, the Phillies offense is anything but a sure thing.
“The concern I do have, and I know it’s only Spring Training, but I’m concerned about our offense now,” Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa told the 94WIP Morning Show on Friday. “You’re down to eight, nine days and we showed really no signs of putting runs on the board and to me that’s a concern because I know these guys all have a track record and each guy gets ready in his own way. When you look at the elements down here, the hard dirt, the sun, the wind, you got to score five or six runs every time you go out there and we’re not doing that at all and that is a concern right now, for me anyway.”
Bowa has been a long time defender of Rollins, who said earlier during Spring Training that the lack of pre-season production didn’t mean much, a comment that Ryne Sandberg didn’t like, and presumably benched Rollins for.
“He [Sandberg] didn’t like the quote about “who cares.” If Jimmy [Rollins] was talking about himself, ‘who cares what I’m hitting,’ that’s another issue. If he’s talking about the entire team then that’s not a good quote to make,” Bowa said. “He’s told me before that it ever came out, that he wanted to see [Freddy] Galvis play three games in a row. We were on the road two of those games, so as far as him not talking to Jimmy, we leave at 8:00, 8:30 when we go on these road trips so he never got a chance to really talk to him and on the third day obviously he talked to him. He did not bench him because he said “who cares.” He was upset about how it came out and what he meant by it, but that had nothing to do with him–he told me that he wanted Galvis to play three days in a row. He wanted to see him three days in a row and he played three days in a row and he played very well.”
Ryan Howard looks healthy, and his production will be necessary for the Phillies to compete in 2014. Sandberg has experimented with Howard in the fifth spot in the order, rather than his more familiar cleanup position.
“What he’s [Ryne Sandberg] trying to do, you know talking to him, he likes having right-hander in the middle of [Chase] Utley and [Ryan] Howard,” Bowa said. “Marlon Byrd has a pretty good feel of what he wants to do at the plate. The one thing it does, it makes the manager on the other side a little apprehensive going—it’s very easy to go to a left-hander to pitch to Utley and Howard. You put the right-hander in there you might force him to make two moves.”