What has happened to the Phillies’ offense?

There’s simply no excuse for a lineup that consists of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino to score only 13 runs in 10 games. Yet somehow, it has.

In their last 14 games, the Phillies have scored three or fewer runs 12 times. Howard went deep on Tuesday night in a 7-3 loss to the Braves, but that was the first home run that Philadelphia has hit in 68 innings.

So what’s the problem?

Hitting coach Milt Thompson’s resume speaks for itself. In his first five seasons with the Phillies, the club led the National League in home runs, RBI, runs scored, total bases, and extra-base hits. He suddenly hasn’t forgotten how to coach, yet the Phillies have suddenly forgotten how to hit.

Jimmy Rollins (calf injury) is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the shortstop wouldn’t be activated because he just began jogging. His presence should help, but his absence isn’t the only reason why the Phillies’ juggernaut offense has turned into the 2010 version of the Seattle Mariners.

That said, there is some hope on the horizon. Both Rollins and Placido Polanco (elbow) should return to the club soon, and Howard’s home run on Tuesday may have been a positive sign that the club is starting to shake out of its funk. Werth also snapped an 0-for-21 streak with a double in the eighth inning, so maybe the Phils’ bats will start to awake out of their slumber.

They’re only a game and a half out of first in the NL East, so there’s no need to panic at the moment. But the Phillies better turn things around soon or else the divide between them and the Braves in the division will start to widen. Again, there’s no reason that a club with this much offensive talent is barely averaging over a run in their last 10 games.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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