04/10/12 2:37 PM ET
Manuel not sounding alarm over Phillies' offense
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
That's how anemic the Phillies' offense has been.
Galvis has been getting a lot of attention since the season started. First, he is replacing Chase Utley. Second, he could not get a hit until the fourth game of the season. Third, with the entire offense struggling, a rookie second baseman who is keeping the position warm until Utley returns has suddenly become a focal point of the offense.
What are they going to do with this guy?
Never mind this one simple truth: The Phils are in trouble if people are looking at their No. 8 hitter to save them.
Fortunately, manager Charlie Manuel doesn't consider Galvis a savior. But he certainly has concerns about the rest of his lineup. One thing has struck him through the first four games of the season: His hitters have hit very few balls hard, a problem he said has been ongoing since the final week of Spring Training.
Philadephia has been a singles-hitting team, and those four extra-base hits are the fewest in baseball. According to ESPN, it's the fewest extra-base hits for the Phillies through four games since 1990, when they ended the season 10th out of 12 National League teams in scoring and finished 77-85.
The Phils stand in stark contrast to the Marlins, who pounded the ball with regularity in Monday's 6-2 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
"The bottom line is, we haven't been hitting the ball hard enough to score runs," Manuel said. "We've definitely got to move the ball better than that. ... That's the bottom line. Can we? We'll find out."
Manuel knows that no amount of small ball can help a team that can't hit a few doubles, triples or home runs along the way.
The Phillies need to start hitting some balls hard.
"[We need to] just go out there and relax," Shane Victorino said. "I think sometimes you let it get to you. Sometimes. Personally, I'm not [worried], but I don't know about other guys. But [when] you don't score the runs you want to score, things are going to be said. But again, it's four games in the season. I'm not going to sit here and worry about it."
Questions naturally turn to the lineup when a team is struggling offensively. Namely, will Manuel try a different one to get things going? Maybe move Jimmy Rollins back to the leadoff spot? Maybe have Hunter Pence, one of the only players hitting the ball hard, hit third?
"I'll work on it," Manuel said. "I'll see what I can come up with. When I look up there, I still come up with the same names."
In other words, this is Philadelphia's offense, good, bad or otherwise. The hitters Manuel has on the roster have to start hitting, regardless of the where in the order they are.
"I've got faith in our hitters," Manuel insisted. "I don't care what I've got. Give them to me. We'll work with them. We've got guys that are supposed to be able to hit."
That is why Galvis, who is making the big league minimum ($480,000), should not be a focus of the team's struggles. The first seven hitters in Monday's lineup will make more than $42 million this season. (Ryan Howard and Utley will make $35 million.)
The Phillies need their healthy hitters to hit.
"Everyone in the lineup is capable of getting the job done," Rollins said. "Some guys are in new positions in the lineup. You're trying to figure out who you are in that position. Things will work themselves out. The good thing is, it's only four games into the season, so we have plenty of time to make sure they do work out."
Rollins remains confident as always, but the Phils will have to try to break through offensively on Wednesday against Josh Johnson and Thursday against Mark Buehrle. These will be the two best pitchers they have faced this season.
Can the Phillies hit some balls hard against them?
As Manuel said, "We'll find out."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.