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Phillies offense more nightmare than fantasy

Phillies offense in free fall

It seems like just yesterday that the Phillies had the hottest offense in the major leagues, sitting near the top in most major offensive categories. Lately, they've been looking more like the team we saw in the second half of last season. And that is scary.

From a fantasy perspective, this is especially disheartening for owners. Even Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard, two of the bright spots in a struggling lineup are feeling the crunch.

Because lineup as a whole isn't producing, it's hard for Polanco and Howard to score and knock in runs. So many hitting statistics, like runs and RBI, are team-dependent, and when your mates aren't hitting, your production will clearly drop.

Howard hasn't helped himself either, going from striking out once every 3.44 ABs to once every 2.62 ABs. His batting average in April (.290) is over 100 points higher than his average in May (.182).

And things don't seem to be getting any better. In the last week, Howard is just 2 for 20 with 2 runs and 3 RBI. In that time, the Phillies went 2-5 and averaged just 2.57 runs/game.

I'm not blaming Howard entirely for the offensive struggles. But he is the cornerstone of this offense, and with so many injuries, it is clear that they are leaning on him. But the Big Piece has been coming up small.

The entire team has been bad, and if you own some of these guys in fantasy, I feel your pain.

Here is a look at how the Phillies' offense ranked among other NL teams during the month of April, where they were 18-8:

Now here's a look at what they have done in May with, for the most part, the same lineup but just a 7-8 record:

Looking down the line, here is a look at who the Phillies will face, and how current Phillies, and specifically Howard, have fared against them:

Wednesday, May 18 vs. Colorado - Jorge De La Rosa (LHP)
Team - 23 for 61 (.377 AVG), 4 HR, 14 RBI, 7 2B, 4 BB
Howard - 3 for 10 (.300 AVG), 2B, RBI

Thursday, May 19 vs. Colorado - Jhoulys Chacin (RHP)
Team - 3 for 17 (.176 AVG), RBI, 4 BB
Howard - 0 for 2 (.000 AVG), BB

Friday, May 20 vs. Texas - C.J. Wilson (LHP)
Team - 4 for 26 (.154 AVG), 3 RBI, 2 2B, BB
Howard - 1 for 2 (.500 AVG)

Saturday, May 21 vs. Texas - Colby Lewis (RHP)
Team - 1 for 5 (.200 AVG) 0 RBI
Howard - Has not faced Lewis

Sunday, May 22 vs. Texas - Matt Harrison (LHP)
Team - 6 for 16 (.333 AVG), 2 RBI, 3 2B
Howard - Has not faced Harrison

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Matt Mullin is a sports producer at You can reach him by e-mail at Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin