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Where's the O?

The Phillies are a team built for offense, but they haven't been as consistent as they should be.

The Phillies are fourth in the National League in scoring with 219 runs.

Not bad.

But these are the Phillies. They should be better than that. They led the league in scoring each of the previous two seasons. But they're 12th in the league in hitting (.256), eighth in the league in on-base percentage (.329) and 12th in the league in hitting with runners in scoring position (.252). They're averaging 4.76 runs per game after averaging 5.51 runs per game in 2007, 5.34 in 2006, 4.98 in 2005, 5.19 in 2004 and 4.88 in 2003. This is their lowest average since 2002, when they averaged 4.41 runs per game.

Of course, it's only May 20.

There's a lot of baseball to play. Chase Utley and Pat Burrell have cooled considerably the last 13 games. Ryan Howard hasn't gotten hot yet. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino missed a good chunk of the season.

But clearly Charlie Manuel and the front office expect better. They expressed as much before and after last night's 4-0 loss to the Nationals.

"We can't play .500 baseball and win anything," Manuel said. "We've got to get going. We've got to play better. ... We definitely don't look tense at the plate. I don't know if we're waiting for something to happen or not. If we're tense, we can relax. If we need to bear down, hell, we're going to bear down. We've got to get it done. That's what this game is about - getting it done. There's a reason why at times when you don't get to play, and there's a reason why you don't get to pitch. Getting it done is what it's all about."

"This is a team built on offense," Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Frankly, our bullpen has been extraordinary so far. I don't know whether we can depend on the bullpen to continue to do what they've done, but they've been very effective. That with the way we're set up as a club, our offense should better. We should be scoring more runs and taking a lot more heat off our pitching, frankly. I don't think we're disappointed about our starting pitching. The guys could be pitching better, but if we swing the bats the way we can, it takes a lot of heat off our starters."


In the Phillies Notebook, Brett Myers pitched so-so and more looks at the Phillies' rotation.