WASHINGTON - The Phillies are built for offense, but that offense has changed a bit since last season.
They rely more on the home run.
That partly explains why the Phillies entered last night's game against the Washington Nationals ranked fourth in the National League in runs (219) but just 12th in the league in hitting (.256) and 12th in the league in hitting with runners in scoring position (.252). They're tied for fourth in scoring because they lead the majors with 64 homers.
If they're hitting the long ball, they're scoring.
If they're not, they're putting up zeros, as they did in Monday's 4-0 loss to the Nationals.
"Our offense is a little bit different right now than it was last year," manager Charlie Manuel said. "A little means a lot.
"If we get [Shane] Victorino and [Jimmy] Rollins on base and [Chase] Utley is hitting, we've got some speed. We will manufacture some runs. But we're not going to manufacture runs from [Ryan] Howard on down to the ninth hole. Let's be realistic about it."
Last season, the Phillies hit Aaron Rowand fifth. He could run a little and could move from first to third on a single or score from second on a single. They also had Michael Bourn, who stole 18 bases in 19 attempts. There isn't a player on the Phillies' bench today who can run like Bourn.
"Whether you realize it or not, that one run that he'd score with his speed . . . it stops double plays and sets up more runs," Manuel said. "Rowand wasn't a five-hole hitter, but he was a contact hitter who hit .300. . . . We were a different kind of team. We have more power probably than we had last year, raw power-wise. But at the same time, manufacturing runs and baserunning, no, we're not as quick. That's not a knock on the guys because that's who they are."
described his start Monday against the Nationals only as "so-so."
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Myers pitched "all right" but noted an encouraging sign. Myers, who allowed eight hits, three runs and three walks in six innings, often found himself in trouble early. Dubee was pleased that Myers didn't pack it in after he surrendered a bloop double to Lastings Milledge to right field that scored two runs in the third.
"The game could have gotten out of control there," Dubee said. "He got us through that inning. He kept us in the game without his great stuff. He made some mistakes, but again, a lot of times three runs is enough for us to win."
Myers took a shot off his left calf in the fifth inning. He said the leg felt better yesterday, and it's not nearly bad enough to consider missing a start.
has had a slight change in schedule, but in a good way. Instead of pitching in a simulated game today, he will pitch in an extended spring-training game tomorrow in Clearwater, Fla. He will pitch another extended spring-training game Tuesday.
The Phillies are hoping Benson will be pitching well enough as early as the middle of next month to help them.
tweaked his back Monday while fielding a ball during batting practice. He said he was feeling much better, though he still had some tightness.