His team has failed to win more than three games in a row this season. Two-thirds of the season-opening starting rotation is on the disabled list, as are the starting catcher and setup man. The power-hitting first baseman has not hit for much power or much at all lately and is dealing with a sore left knee. Middle relief is an oxymoron and the offense is often marked absent. The two biggest offseason additions in the outfield have contributed little.
Welcome to the world of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who fielded a series of questions about his struggling team Tuesday morning.
Question: Can this team weather the injury storm better than it did a year ago?
Answer: Obviously, we haven't had the kind of production we were hoping for offensively, and if we were to lose Ryan [Howard] and [Carlos Ruiz] for an extended amount of time, it would be very tough on us. There are other people who can step up in both cases and keep us afloat, but I don't anticipate Ryan's injury being a long-term one. [Howard returned to the lineup Tuesday night.] . . . But having [Ruiz] out close to a month is going to hurt us because I thought his swing was coming around. Hopefully [Erik] Kratz and [Humberto] Quintero can step up.
Q: So you don't think Howard's injury is too serious even though it's to the same leg that he had the torn Achilles tendon?
A: I think we have to be concerned any time our guys have any issues, but I don't think it's something that is so daunting that we're panicking about it. It's something we have to be aware of and make sure he does his proper rehab to address it and make sure he's OK. If there is a meniscus issue, it is repairable and there are some things he can do that can help alleviate some of the stuff he had.
Q: Can this offense turn things around?
A: I think it can. I don't have a crystal ball that says it will and it hasn't shown the consistency that would make you think it will. But there are reasons they have those numbers on the back of their baseball cards. I think when it's all said and done, we will have more productive numbers than we do right now as a group. But it is concerning that we haven't had more consistency at this stage of the season.
Q: At what point do you have to do some things to try to change the offense?
A: It's not like we haven't looked into ways to improve our club. Because of the nature of what's happening across the league, you don't see a whole lot of movement. I don't think a lot of teams feel like they know what they have yet, so you're not seeing anything more than waiver-wire claims.
Q: You get the buyer or seller question all the time lately, so where do you see things at this point?
A: Our job is to try to contend every year. Right now, I don't think it's unrealistic for us to still think we're contending in this division. I think we have the talent to compete and contend in this division. We have not played as well as we expected to play or as well as I still expect us to play. There is still a lot of room for improvement and I still expect to see that from our players.
Q: Ben Revere and Delmon Young were your two big outfield additions in the offseason and neither has given the team much production. What's the concern level there?
A: Ben has had a little bit of a slow start, but he has done some things better lately, even though he had a rough night [Monday in Miami]. I think Ben is a better player than we've seen so far. Delmon is a better player, too. They need to produce more, but Jimmy [Rollins], Chase [Utley], [Ruiz], Michael Young, and Ryan need to produce more, too. They all need to produce more if we're going to improve offensively. I'm happy with what Domonic Brown has been doing.
Q: Middle relief has been a big problem, too. Where does that rank among concerns?
A: Obviously we haven't had consistency in the middle-relief corps, but it's not our biggest problem. We'd like to be better there. We're in the process right now of trying to improve it either externally or internally here in the short term.