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Friday, April 21, 2006


Stats like this are the reason I keep coming back to Beerleaguer!

Beerleaguer reader Jeremy planted the seed for this one in an e-mail this morning. It shows why there's good reason to relax a little when it comes to the starting pitching. Considering the quality of the Phillies defense, the gloves should also start coming around.

I've been saying it for some time now...the Phillies defense is killing them this season. They have been one of the best teams defensively for the past few seasons, well not so much this year!

Gotta admit the pitching and situational hitting have been atrocious as well.

It clearly would help, though, if the pitchers would: 1.) make the hitters miss; 2) pitch into ground balls instead of long bombs or fly balls; and 3.) pitch more innings as starters.
These things would solve much of the problem as well, regardles of the numbers pointed out above.

Good work. It has certainly seemed like a lot of balls have just missed Abreu or Rowand's gloves and that last night Jimmy was always a step or two away. I'd say there are a few possible reasons for this.

1) Poor positioning. Rowand plays very shallow and I remember a couple plays where J-Roll was oddly positioned.

2) Poor defense. I think w/ the excpetion of Howard, every other fielder is at least above average and while there have been some sloppy plays by Howard and Utley, they should have enough range.

3) Ballparks. The Phils have played 12 of their first 15 in hitters parks (I think Atlanta is a slight hitters park if anything as well)

4) Hitters are hitting rockets.
From an a purely anecdotal perspective, I don't hink that the Phils have been unlucky but that their pitchers are simply getting hit harder.

I'd be interested to see data on Line-Drive percentage for the PHils staff. I think luck has factored into some of the poor performances, but the staff is certainly underachieving as well.

Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

An important note: The fact that the Phillies have given up more hits than everyone else doesn't necessarily mean that the defense has been failing them. It's more a factor of hitters are getting lucky, or most likely, some combination of both.

The theory behind FIPS is that pitchers have very little control over the outcome of balls in play. That is, they can control their home runs, walks and strikeouts allowed but not the batting average of balls in play.

It's also important to note that by the nature of the statistic you would expect the teams (or pitchers) leading the league in ERA to be exceding their FIP projections. Because of the random nature of balls in play, some pitchers/teams are going to better than their projections and some worse. Those that do better than their projections are most likely going to be leading the league.

...or, I could just do it myself.
The Phils pitchers are giving up line drives 22% of the time, highest in the NL, and tied for highest in the Majors. Not good.

On the plus side, the Phils hitters do have one of the lowest BABIP in the NL, so the offense does seem to be suffering from some poor luck.

Excellent work Jeremy and kdon. Rock and roll.

I remember reading that the FIP argument really cant be proven one way or another. Also it's much more fun (and wickedly accurate) to disect the manic reverse genius which is Charlie Manuel.

I mean besides creating a "calm atmosphere" whate xactly does Charlie do well? And don't give me hitting coach. This team was built around HR's before he was hired and it's still the same story.

Jason: If I recall, you told me Ryan Howard won a fielding award in the minors. Am I incorrect in my recollection? In any event, he has made a few errors to date that show a lack of concentration and/or nonchalance, both of which are not acceptable. But I remain convinced he is a better fielder than we have seen to date.

As for Rowand, I have noted more than once he plays too shallow to get back on balls over his head.

That Dude: Well, he did win 2 more games last year than did his predecessor in any given year. And I don't want to hear: well we lost our closer for a month in 2004. Last year we lost a top line starter (Wolf) and our most feared offensive weapon (Thome) and we hung in there until the end. If you watched them play in September, I think that showed exactly what the "calm atmosphere" atmosphere was all about. Obviously we can't prove it one way or another, but do the Phillies really play as well as they did after the Astros series if Bowa is skip? I don't think so. Just my $.02.

The Phillies will score runs. That is not going to be a problem in the long-term Dude.

for years now, my dad and i have commented there needs to be a stat for runs the pitcher wasn't really responsible for. the FIP is a great idea!

That's correct, Tom. Howard was voted best first baseman in the IL last year by Baseball America.

Ask me to name the biggest underachiever on defense so far and it would be Howard.

Also Howard was rated as the best fielding First Baseman in 2005 in the NL in John Dewan's "Fielding Bible" for whatever that is worth.

I know David Bell's defense is highly regarded by several who frequent this site, but I think he has also slipped or is underachieving. His arm seems weaker and less accurate this year and has also made some costly errors.

Defense is a distant third on the list of reasons why the Phils are 6-9. The poor all-around pitching and poor situational hitting explains it far better. In the long run, this can be counted on to be a team which will help itself more that it will harm itself on defense. The only players who I feel are below average defensively are Abreu and (yes) Bell. Rollins and Roward are above average, and everyone else, while not spectacular in the field, aren't liabilities either; average range, not a great deal of errors.

The state of the pitching is what's far less certain, and the offense...well, it's going to remain inconsistent, it's the same mold as the past few years that will score 14 one game and 2 the next. It's a flawed baseball team, managed uncreatively. If they manage to make the playoffs, it will be due to an onrush of unforseen momentum, but they certainly wouldn't be able to get very far in the post-season.

I think you overrate Manuel importance to last yr's comeback. THis is a team that cant play under pressure and once the pressure was off they turned it on. Oh, please DO NOT refer to Randy Wolf as a Top line Starter. That's embarrasing.

On tonight's game: what does Sal Fasano have to offer again??

You can quibble with Randy all you want TD, but we were using Tejeda and Brito in key games last year and we still won more than the year before. (And, by the way, Wolf was turning things around last year when he went down with the injury, he was 6-4 with a 4.39 ERA...)

The pressure most definitely WAS on when we swept the Nationals and took the season to the last day.

Mike: agreed on Fasano, that stolen base gaffe was bad. Of course the third base ump certainly did us no favors on the blown call on Gonzalez. He was safe to the naked eye in full speed... the ump was just on the wrong side of the bag.

Well, it's official: the Phillies cant't hit lefthanded pitching. Kind of hard not to draw that conclusion from the results of the last two games, in which the Fightless Phils did basically nothing with two basically mediocre lefties. So add that to the list of concerns.

2-8 at home? Yeah, that's a concern, too. So much for taking advantage of the schedule.

Maybe what happened at the end of last year was the worst thing that could have happened to this franchise. It gave what could have been an illusion that the Phillies were still close, still in the right direction. In the first half, no one felt this way; everyone wanted to break the team apart. And here we are again. Is it time, this time? It won't be very long before we can say for sure.

"Take a deep breath, it's only 16 games. It's a marathon, not a sprint. It's still early in the season."...SCREW that!!!

It's time to panic. This team just does not have what it takes. They haven't for the past few seasons, and this year's product is pretty much the same lame duck team. I love them, but they're not contenders this season. They are once again digging this huge hole in April that they won't be able to scratch and claw their way out. They very well may play better the rest of the season...gosh I hope so! However, this team is doing it's typical crappy start and then are wondering what happened come the end of the season. I wish I could sit back and relax like some of you, I really do. I do not fault you for saying things like I listed above. I wish I felt the same way, but I don't! I wish I didn't care so much about baseball and the Phillies, but I do! I'm going to be bald and grey by 30!

"n the spirit of brotherhood, Sal Fasano sent 20 pies from stadium vendor Peace A Pizza to the 20 or so fake-mustached, wig-wearing Sal's Pals who dress up like their hero and mingle in the rightfield stands when Fasano plays."

Fasano should be giving pies away in Scranton. Geary and Santana could deliver them to the fans...

Hmmm. Where are all the posters from the spring who talked about how great Shane Victorino was going to be? His PH performance last night was pitiful, as usual. Poor batting eye, no clue.

No clue... that about sums up 3/4 of the Phils team right now...

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