Mackanin trying to find right buttons to push

Phillies averaging only 2.58 runs per game after Saturday's loss

April 17th, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Pete Mackanin has been trying everything to jumpstart the Phillies' offense.

He tried his 11th lineup in 12 games on Saturday night in an 8-1 loss to the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. He tried Darin Ruf in left field. He returned Cesar Hernandez to the leadoff spot after giving him a day off on Friday.

Of course, it did not help that he tried those things against Nationals ace Max Scherzer, but what are his options?

Phillies may shake up outfield rotation

"There's not much tinkering I can do," Mackanin said.

Mackanin was answering a question about the Phillies' corner outfielders, who have struggled. But he could have been talking about the Phillies' offense, which is 28th in baseball, averaging 2.58 runs per game. The Phillies scored their only run on Saturday on Cameron Rupp's fifth-inning home run.

The Phillies have not had 10 hits in a game in 12 games this season, which tied a franchise record to begin the season. The 1967 Phillies also opened the season without 10 hits in a game in their first 12 games.

It is the longest such drought to open a season since the 2014 Astros opened with a 14-game streak. The Phillies' franchise record in that category is 17 games, which they did twice: Sept. 28, 1966-April 27, 1967, and July 22-Aug. 4, 1955.

The Phillies would love to see Hernandez get on a roll again, particularly in the leadoff spot. Phillies leadoff hitters entered the night with a .292 OPS, which ranked last in baseball.

Hernandez is the Phillies' best option to hit first, but for some reason he has struggled there. He entered the night with a .625 OPS in 292 career plate appearances hitting leadoff, compared to an .814 OPS in 219 plate appearances hitting second.

He went 0-for-4 Saturday.

"I feel comfortable leading off or batting second," Hernandez said through an interpreter. "I just want to do my job right. I want to do what my manager needs me to do. That's what I'm here for. I just need to adjust."

The Phillies hope to adjust to Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez in the series finale Sunday afternoon. He is 8-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 16 career starts against the Phillies.