Reds' Phillips slumping, but why?

Uh-oh. Just as the Cardinals are dispatched, one of their better players has pitched into a terrible slump. Redleg Nation:

It’s quite clear that Brandon Phillips has not been right since being hit on the hand with a pitch on August 25, out in San Francisco. This morning, I wondered how bad it has been. The answer: worse than I thought.

In the 19 games since the hand injury, Phillips is batting a robust .132/.203/.147. That’s an OPS of 350, if you are scoring at home (or even if you’re alone). He has nine hits in 74 plate appearances, no homers, two RBI. Phillips has struck out 13 times and grounded into three double plays.

Wow. Either that hand is still hurting him, or he’s in the worst slump of his career. Why hasn’t Dusty Baker given BP a few games off?

This is a situation where the manager and the medical staff have to be at the absolute top of their games.

If Phillips is merely slumping -- and as Chad knows, 19 games is not a huge sample size -- the manager has to figure out (or guess) if his player needs a few days off or needs to just play through it. (The Reds' huge lead makes it a little easier because wins and losses are mostly irrelevant.)

If Phillips is hurting -- and hand injuries are somewhat famously vexing -- the doctors have to know, and they have to make the situation exceptionally clear to the manager.

The Reds are in a good position. They've sewed up first place and can spend the next two weeks focusing on preparing for the postseason, exclusively. You just wish these things would happen a little earlier in September.