Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Monday I was writing about how the D-Backs seemed to be greater than the sum of their parts and that the Phillies seemed to be less, and I focused my attention on one particular area where there were a big, big difference between the two: Batting Average With Runners In Scoring Position (BA/RISP). As I write this, the Phillies are fifteenth in the NL in BA/RISP at .233, just .001 better than that offensive juggernaut, the Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile, the D-Backs were third of sixteen teams at .284. (NL average: .263) That success at driving in runners enabled the D-Backs to score 9 more runs despite hitting 22 fewer home runs than the Phillies.

So why are the Phillies struggling with runners in scoring position? More importantly, who? Here are the Phillies BA/RISP numbers:

Chase Utley: .351
Bobby Abreu: .320
Mike Lieberthal: .316
David Bell: .300
Aaron Rowand: .294
Shane Victorino: .269
Ryan Howard: .232
Pat Burrell: .229
Jimmy Rollins: .175
Sal Fasano: .118

This is a facet of the game that the Phillies were much, much more successful at in 2005: .278 (.017 better than the league average). Before I make any conclusions, here is what some of the Phillies did in 2005:

Rollins: .325
Burrell: .313
Utley: .309
Abreu: .303
Bell: .242
Howard: .241

Some players seem to be pretty consistent at this: Ryan Howard can’t hit with runners in scoring position (.241 in ’05, .232 in ’06), Bobby Abreu and Chase Utley can, and Pat Burrell seems to be struggling at it in 2006. To me the two shockers are Bell and Rollins:

-David Bell is playing like a totally different player when he has runners in scoring position. I’ll comment a little on this tomorrow: Bell really seems to be playing better this season than last.

-The heck happened to Jimmy Rollins? His 2006 BA/RISP is about half that of 2005. I said this last week and I think it bears repeating: J.Roll’s pursuit of Joe DiMaggio killed his fundamentals and as a result he’s now really, really struggling.

I hope the Phillies start to improve and soon. They can’t continue to squander opportunities to score runs. At the moment the Phillies have 276 Runs Created as a team and 269 runs scored, compared with the D-backs 270 Runs Created and 278 runs scored. The Phillies are one of the best teams in the NL at creating opportunities to score runs. Now they need to capitalize on those opportunities. Their inability to drive in runners leaves them on base and makes the Phillies offense far too inefficient.

-Well, the Phillies are 4-2 on this road trip thus far. I'm eager to see how Ryan Madson does this evening. The decision to move Madson back to the bullpen and keep Gavin Floyd in the rotation didn't make a lot of sence to me given that Ryan actually seemed to have a better handle on things. I think Ryan will do fine.

Tomorrow: David Bell.

It figures that the maintenance on the page would screw this comment up, but let's say this entry took place at 1 pm on June 7th, instead of midnight June 8th....

I have been debating now who the better catcher is on the Phils this season. I flat out hate Lieberthal, think he is a hack who has seen the best of his days pass by. I love Fasano, even though he is not much, if at all, better.

I read this in the Daily News the other day and was actually shocked: Before Wed night's game, Lieby and Sal are strikingly similar statisically. Both around 85 AB's, both with 21 hits, total bases around 30, the only difference was Fasano struck out more.

You bring a good stat to mind on why Lieberthal should start. I had no idea Lieberthal was hitting .316 with RISP. All the more reason, although I'll grit my teeth while I say it, Lieberthal should continue to be the catcher for this team.

And just as I type that, Sal Fasano does his best Lou Gehrig impression. Maybe I rushed to judgement.

Looking fwd to reading about David Bell. Go Phils.
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