Todd Zolecki of the Philadelphia Inquirer says there’s little statistical evidence to sweat strikeouts, but one longtime reader wonders whether an inability to move runners has hurt the Phillies late in ballgames.
“I don't think anyone would disagree that the purpose of an offense is to score runs, and if the Phillies score a ton of runs, then the percentage of the time they strikeout is somewhat irrelevant,” one long-time Beerleaguer writes. “But intuitively you know that hitting the ball will result in better outcomes than not hitting it, no matter how much improved defenses are in MLB. The issue has always been the same: guys who consistently make contact winning batting titles; guys who strikeout a lot winning HR titles. They both have their place.
“One thing I did want to check in relation to the impact of so many Ks on the Phillies is their ability to move the runner along. In each of the past three seasons, the Phillies had a losing record in one-run games, even though their overall W-L record was very good. Last season they were 14-23 in one-run games. I consider that significant, nine games below .500. Now you can blame the bullpen if you like, and it certainly has an impact, but losing 23 games by one run also shows an inability to get a run when you really need it. I believe that is directly related to the high number of strikeouts in the lineup.”