MLB: 4 National League Hitters Who Need to Have Big Second Halves

5 of 5

Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds

Jul 12, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (4) hits a two-RBI single in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds offense goes at the pace that Brandon Phillips sets, and over the last month, Phillips has struggled. In turn, yes, you guessed it, so have the Reds.

Phillips’ downward spiral has followed the pattern that we’ve seen from two out of the three aforementioned players: a couple good months to start the year, and then when June strikes, the numbers go south.

To be specific: From April 1 to May 31, Phillips had a batting line of .291/.340/.479. He was a run-producing machine, and the Reds were among baseball’s best offensive teams. There’s that connection I was referring to above.

Now, from June 1 to July 19, Phillips has a .228/.289/.309 batting line. From a league-wide perspective, his wRC+ over the last 30 days is the seventh-worst in the NL, and his wOBA is also the seventh-worst.

And the Reds offense has followed Phillips’ suit. They’re 20th in baseball in the wRC+ department and 21st in wOBA. Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo have both been their normal selfs during that stretch, but Phillips’ production has waned, and so has the Reds’ overall production.

It might be a bit far-fetched to say that Phillips will decide the Reds’ playoff hopes. They’re in a very competitive NL Central that’s controlled by the St.Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, but the Wild Card is very much within their grasp. However, the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers and others will muster runs too.

So while Phillips isn’t the deciding factor, he is indeed important.