Mackanin irked by Phils' offensive approach

Manager says club didn't capitalize on pitches over plate

Mackanin irked by Phils' offensive approach

CHICAGO -- After a 4-1 loss to the Cubs on Saturday, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin credited Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who threw a complete game. But he was more troubled with his hitters, whose inability to find a groove is beginning to prove costly. The Phillies have lost six of eight.

"I feel like we took pitches we should have hit, and we swung at pitches we shouldn't have swung at," Mackanin said. "I thought [Hendricks] gave us just enough -- not a lot -- but just enough pitches out over the plate, and we didn't capitalize."

In the past eight games, the Phillies have scored 22 runs. After Friday's 6-2 defeat, Mackanin faced the question that since feels increasingly pressing -- "Are you worried that the offensive shortcomings are starting to catch up with you guys?"

Mackanin didn't change his expression or alter his tone of voice. He answered in a matter-of-fact fashion.

"I won't say I'm worried about it," Mackanin said. "I've been conscious of it for the whole season."

That's how Mackanin and the Phillies are treating it. Stick to the facts, which reveal things both good and bad about the club.

First, the numbers suggest the Phils have a better record than they should. Based on the Pythagorean win-loss stat, the Phillies should have a winning percentage of .394. Instead, they are at .531.

Philadelphia has won 26 games despite a minus-38 run differential. The explanation is the fact the Phillies are playing -- and winning -- an astounding amount of close games, going 14-4 in one-run contests.

Despite Philadelphia's surprising start, the struggle of the Phillies' lineup is indeed nothing new. Their 158 runs rank 29th in baseball, as do their 36 home runs. Only the 14-34 Braves are worse in those categories.

"At the least, we certainly would like to have more offense, a little more power," Mackanin said. "You look at the Cubs, the Tigers, they've got the home run. They've got power. They have threats to do damage. We haven't been able to do that."

But the Phillies have had respectable starting pitching, and the bullpen in particular has been good as of late. The 'pen has surrendered only three earned runs in its past 19 innings, dropping its ERA to a season-low 3.66. So as much as the numbers are an indictment of the offense, there is also a testament to the club's pitching.

The facts also show Tyler Goeddel, Peter Bourjos, Cameron Rupp, Odubel Herrera and Freddy Galvis have all raised their batting averages in May. And the part that matters most: The Phillies are 26-23, right in the thick of the National League East race.

"I'm always concerned that it might catch up with us," Mackanin said. "But as long as our pitching does their job, we're going to be in as many games as they allow us to be in."

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.