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Combined wins by Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, inducted into Hall of Fame

Phillies notebook: Is hitting really that bad?

Posted by Ron Opher On April 21

How bad is the Phillies’ hitting? Can wins and losses be determined by how the Phillies’ offense fares? Ron Opher conducts a statistical analysis of the expected performance against the 14 starting pitchers the Phillies have faced, in order to try to answer these questions.

*****

It appears that the 2012 Phillies, who are 7-7 entering Saturday’s game at San Diego, are struggling on offense. OK, that may be stating the obvious.

I still wondered if, relative to the pitchers they’ve faced, they are where they should be, behind where they should be, or perhaps surprisingly, ahead of of where they should be.

So I decided to devise a relatively simple statistical analysis of how the 2012 Phillies have fared against each of the 14 starting pitchers they have faced, compared to what the reasonable expectation would be of how they should fare against each of those pitchers.

I used four pitching categories (innings pitched, hits + walks, earned runs and strikeouts).

I then used three “historical” comparisons to create an expected performance in those four categories for a single game, blending them with equal weight:

1. Career performance vs. Phillies before 2012.

2. 2011 performance

3. 2012 performance against other teams

The theory behind those criteria is that 2011 is as close to a full season’s approximation as we can get, and is more valid than career performance in general. Career vs. Phillies allows for what we believe to be better-hitting Phillies teams of the recent past to have performed better than the current team – and if so, gives that 1/3 weight in the analysis. 2012 against other teams means that just because the Phillies have pummeled Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum, we can’t go as overboard giving the Phils credit when others in the NL are hitting those star pitchers hard, too, so far.

Here’s how things shook out:

Erik Bedard

Career vs. Phillies
7 IP, 7 H+BB, 1 ER, 7 K

2011
5.1 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 5 K

2012 vs. other teams
5 IP, 8 H+BB, 2 ER, 3 K

Blended:
5.2 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 5 K

Game 1 vs. Phillies
7 IP. 7 H+BB, 1 ER, 4 K

Net result: -1
Game result: W

Jeff Karstens

Career vs. Phillies
4.2 IP, 5 H+BB, 2 ER, 2 K

2011
6 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 4 K

2012 vs. other teams
2.1 IP, 5 H+BB, 3 ER, 1 K

Blended:
4.1 IP, 6 H+BB, 2 ER, 2 K

Game 2 vs. Phillies
7 IP. 7 H+BB, 1 ER, 4 K

Net result: -2
Game result: L

James McDonald

Career vs. Phillies
5 IP, 11 H+BB, 4 ER, 4 K

2011
5.2 IP, 8 H+BB, 2 ER, 4 K

2012 vs. other teams
4.1 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 2 K

Blended:
5 IP, 9 H+BB, 3 ER, 3 K

Game 3 vs. Phillies
6 IP. 6 H+BB, 2 ER, 3 K

Net result: -3
Game result: L

Anibal Sanchez

Career vs. Phillies
5.1 IP, 9 H+BB, 3 ER, 5 K

2011
6 IP, 8 H+BB, 2 ER, 6 K

2012 vs. other teams
6 IP, 8 H+BB, 2 ER, 7 K

Blended:
5.2 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 6 K

Game 4 vs. Phillies
6.1 IP. 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 4 K

Net result: -2
Game result: L

Josh Johnson

Career vs. Phillies
6 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 6 K

2011
6.2 IP, 7 H+BB, 1 ER, 6 K

2012 vs. other teams
6.2 IP, 11 H+BB, 2 ER, 3 K

Blended:
6.1 IP, 9 H+BB, 2 ER, 5 K

Game 5 vs. Phillies
3.2 IP, 12 H+BB, 6 ER, 1 K

Net result: +4
Game result: W

Mark Buehrle

Career vs. Phillies
7 IP, 10 H+BB, 4 ER, 5 K

2011
6.2 IP, 9 H+BB, 3 ER, 3 K

2012 vs. other teams
7 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 4 K

Blended:
7 IP, 9 H+BB, 3 ER, 4 K

Game 6 vs. Phillies
6.1 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 3 K

Net result: +1
Game result: W

R.A. Dickey

Career vs. Phillies
6 IP, 6 H+BB, 2 ER, 4 K

2011
6.1 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 4 K

2012 vs. other teams
5 IP, 10 H+BB, 5 ER, 4 K

Blended:
5.2 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 4 K

Game 7 vs. Phillies
7 IP, 10 H+BB, 1 ER, 7 K

Net result: -2
Game result: L

Jonathon Niese

Career vs. Phillies
6 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 6 K

2011
6 IP, 9 H+BB, 3 ER, 5 K

2012 vs. other teams
6 IP, 6 H+BB, 3 ER, 4 K

Blended:
6 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 5 K

Game 8 vs. Phillies
6.2 IP, 6 H+BB, 0 ER, 5 K

Net result: -3
Game result: L

Mike Pelfrey

Career vs. Phillies
5.1 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 3 K

2011
6 IP, 9 H+BB, 3 ER, 3 K

2012 vs. other teams
5.1 IP, 11 H+BB, 3 ER, 8 K

Blended:
5.2 IP, 9 H+BB, 3 ER, 5 K

Game 9 vs. Phillies
6 IP, 10 H+BB, 1 ER, 2 K

Net result: 0
Game result: W

Tim Lincecum

Career vs. Phillies
7 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 7 K

2011
6.2 IP, 8 H+BB, 2 ER, 7 K

2012 vs. other teams
4 IP, 9 H+BB, 5 ER, 5 K

Blended:
6 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 6 K

Game 10 vs. Phillies
6 IP, 9 H+BB, 5 ER, 6 K

Net result: +2
Game result: W

Madison Bumgarner

Career vs. Phillies
8 IP, 8 H+BB, 2 ER, 9 K

2011
6 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 6 K

2012 vs. other teams
5.2 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 2 K

Blended:
6.2 IP, 8 H+BB, 2 ER, 6 K

Game 11 vs. Phillies
6 IP, 8 H+BB, 2 ER, 2 K

Net result: +2
Game result: L

Matt Cain

Career vs. Phillies
5 IP, 6 H+BB, 3 ER, 4 K

2011
7 IP, 7 H+BB, 2 ER, 6 K

2012 vs. other teams
8 IP, 5 H+BB, 3 ER, 8 K

Blended:
6.2 IP, 6 H+BB, 3 ER, 6 K

Game 12 vs. Phillies
9 IP, 3 H+BB, 0 ER, 4 K

Net result: -2
Game result: L

Joe Wieland

Career vs. Phillies
N/A

2011 (minors)
6 IP, 6 H+BB, 1 ER, 6 K

2012 vs. other teams
5 IP, 8 H+BB, 6 ER, 1 K

Blended:
5.2 IP, 7 H+BB, 4 ER, 4 K

Game 13 vs. Phillies
6 IP, 6 H+BB, 1 ER, 7 K

Net result: -4
Game result: W

Edinson Volquez

Career vs. Phillies
6 IP, 6 H+BB, 1 ER, 8 K

2011
5.1 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 5 K

2012 vs. other teams
4.1 IP, 9 H+BB, 3 ER, 6 K

Blended:
5.1 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 6 K

Game 14 vs. Phillies
6 IP, 8 H+BB, 3 ER, 5 K

Net result: 0
Game result: W

It’s pretty eye-opening, don’t you think? I think it speaks to the remarkable consistency and high-level performance of the Phillies’ starting rotation – that how the Phillies offense fares relative to expectations is a rather accurate predictor of wins and losses – but for two shutout performances from Roy Halladay and Vance Worley (and the bullpen).

The Phillies have only exceeded hitting expectations four times this season – including against Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Tim Lincecum – and won three of the four times. They marginally exceeded expectations against Madison Bumgarner (by knocking him out 2/3 of an inning earlier and striking out 4 times less than epxected) and lost – as they often do to lefthanders.

In the Phillies’ other 4 wins, they were neutral twice (against Mike Pelfrey, in a game where the Philiies actually tagged the Mets’ bullpen with the loss), and against Edinson Volquez – who arguably has his “expected performance” stats skewed by his phenomenal performance (especially in his career against the Phillies) pre-Tommy John surgery in 2008 and 2009, which he has not been able to touch since his 2010 return.

In the other two Phillies’ wins, they were -1 against Erik Bedard, but Roy Halladay pitched a 1-0 shutout that day; they were -4 against Joe Wieland (in only his second MLB start, so his 2011 minor league stats and his first major league start dominated the statistical formula), and on that night, Vance Worley pitched a 2-0 shutout and struck out 11.

Every other time the Phillies hit worse than expected (6 times in all), they lost.

It’s fair to say that as the Phillies’ hitting goes, so will the team – unless they get a shutout pitched – and even then, Cliff Lee‘s 10 zeroes against Matt Cain turned into a loss.

*****

Down on the farm: Don’t look to Lehigh Valley for help at the dish. Domonic Brown has no homers and 8 RBI in 57 at bats, with a .264 avg, a .316 OBP and a .693 OPS. Hector Luna is not faring a whole lot better (1 HR, 3 RBI, .275/.339/.731). Neither is Scott Podsednik (.231 AVG, .355 OBP). Plus, the Phillies would likely have to release Jim Thome, Laynce Nix or Ty Wigginton to make a move – which may eventually happen, but not in April, and not to make room for Brown, Luna or Podsednik.

*****

Some good news: Going into Saturday’s game, the Phillies have beaten the Padres 13 straight times.

*****

Some more good news: Roy Halladay is tied with 3 other pitchers (Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Lance Lynn) for the MLB lead in wins – he can earn his 4th win Saturday, but the Phillies will have to score at least one run.

*****

Looking ahead: After Saturday and Sunday games in San Diego (who are currently 3-12), the Phillies finish their longest road trip of the season with three games in Arizona (currently 7-7), including a day game Wednesday, before an off-day Thursday and four-game set hosting the Cubs (currently 3-11). If all goes according to plan, playing 6 of their next 9 against the majors’ two worst teams, the Phillies should begin May above .500.





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4 Responses

  1. Philadelphia Phillies posts - Chronological list & links | Philly Phanatics - THE online community for Philly sports fanatics Says:

    [...] Phillies notebook: Is the hitting really that bad? (4/21/12) [...]

    Posted on April 21st, 2012 at 4:34 pm

  2. Eric Fisher Says:

    Is Phillies’ hitting really that bad? Yes.
    Their outstanding starting pitching might not be enough to compensate for this lineup.

    Posted on April 22nd, 2012 at 8:24 am

  3. Chris R Says:

    …especially with Lee on the shelf.
    Why is it that pitching coaches are often credited with contributing to pitchers’ improvements, both in technique and approach, yet hitting coaches are rarely credited for hitters success, or held to account for their failures, as in the instant abject case? Is there a widespread belief that pitchers are just more coachable? I can’t understand how Charlie, who purportedly knows from hitting, can tolerate watching virtually every hitter on the team ignore the strike zone and take monster hacks with two strikes. .

    Posted on April 22nd, 2012 at 10:29 am

  4. Philadelphia Phillies archive - Chronological list & links | Philly Phanatics - THE online community for Philly sports fanatics Says:

    [...] Phillies notebook: Is the hitting really that bad? (4/21/12) [...]

    Posted on June 5th, 2012 at 9:48 am

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