While playoff teams like the Phils play on, they leave behind the residue of regular season statistics. In many cases, it isn’t pretty, particularly in the batting average category, where the team finished .255, eighth lowest in baseball.
In talking with Beerleaguer’s senior correspondent, one of his favorite moments from Sunday’s B-game was watching So Taguchi, making his first start since May 30, go completely nuts. The forgotten outfielder went 3-for-5, smacking the ball all over the place. Statistically, the game was significant because it raised his batting average from below the Mendoza Line to .220. Amazingly, that’s a point higher than Carlos Ruiz’s final .219. Prevailing wisdom was that Chooch finished strong. Perhaps defensively, but that's it. Ruiz went 0-for-his-last 15, giving him a September batting average of .208.
Batting average is one of baseball's most superficial categories. It's also loads of fun. Fans spent months wondering how low Ryan Howard’s average would go. On opening day he went 1-for-4 (.250). He went hitless the next game (.167) and went 2-for-4 the next (.300). It marked the last time Howard would be above .250 until Sunday’s finale, when a pinch single raised his final average to a nifty .251, a point higher than Pat Burrell’s final .250.
On a related note, congratulations to Phillies batting champion Shane Victorino on his .293. Shades of Ty Cobb from the former Rule 5 pick. It was just enough to nip Chase Utley's .292, which is about where it hovered for a full three months.