Jun 6, 2012

Oh, offense, where for art thou?

by Aaron Giddens

Luke Scott after striking out against White Sox
Luke Scott after striking out against White Sox
Courtesy: Tampa Bay Times
What has happened to this team? This team went from an offensive juggernaut in April to an offensive laughing stock here in early June. Sure injuries are playing a part, especially with Longo missing, but Longo missing alone is not the whole problem. What is? I don't know, I'm just sick of putting all the blame of this team's offensive woes solely on the absence of Longo.

Where would I like to place the blame? I place it in various places but I place the main blame on the shoulders of Derek Shelton. As far as I can remember, ever since he's shown up the team's offensive has seen a lot of outages and prolonged ones at that. Remember Pat Burrell? He was a great hitter in Philly. He came to us in 2009, Shelton's first year, and Burrell's hitting just collapsed. When Burrell was released after being placed on waivers and then signed by the Giants, he went back to his old self.

Another example of what I think is Shelton's incompetence is Longo and Pena. In 2008, the last year under previous hitting coach Steve Henderson, Longo hit for a .272 batting average and 'Los hit for a .242 batting average with a combined HR total of 58. Since then, under Shelton, they have batting average of .210 for Pena and .276 for Longo. They've averaged a combined 41 HRs per season. So while Longo's hitting has on average been on an upward tick, his power is on a downward tick. (For the record, I excluded Pena's stats from the Cubs. So only Longo's stats for 2011 were counted.)

While these stats don't tell the whole story, they tell an awful lot about our big bats not realizing their potential.

What I wonder however is not how to make excuses but find an answer. But I simply don't know if there is one. This team's offense is pathetic. I hate to use that term as it's pretty strong but it's true. Pitching alone won't win the games for you, you need to hit as well. I'm sick of facing these pitchers that have been lit up in their previous 5, 10, 15 starts and making them look like a Cy Young Award winning genius, especially lefty pitching.

I love this team and am dying to get that World Series championship they deserve. But as long as this anemic hitting sticks around, you won't see it. The lack of timely hitting is costing this team. I know I'm not the only one getting frustrated.

Yes, you can't win them all but you should be winning the games you're supposed to be and we're even dropping those. Remember the lost to Humber last week? Humber had a 8+ ERA since his perfect game and he baffled us on 2 runs and 7 hits. It's depressing.

How many more quality starts from are we gonna waste? James' start yesterday was the first bad start in a while by Rays pitching, but we're struggling to even win the well pitched games like tonight's start by Cobb.

Like I said, I don't know what needs to be done but something does if it's possible because until this team starts hitting, you can kiss the World Series good bye. It's harsh, but it's true.


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