Phillies Need Some Patience

Did you watch Game 1 of the NLCS yesterday?

I don’t blame you if you didn’t. I think most Phillies fans are still in shock the Cardinals beat the Phillies on Friday night. But if you watched the game you might have noticed quality at-bats from both teams. The Brewers and Cardinals worked their respective pitchers. They worked counts. Skip Schumaker‘s 10-pitch at-bat against Roy Halladay in the first inning in Game 5  on Friday is exactly the type of thing the Phillies didn’t do against the Cardinals, or against the Giants in last year’s NLCS. The Phillies have some holes to fill this offseason and it won’t be easy, but it would behoove them to find a hitter (or more) that can work a count and get on base.

Of the four teams in the NLDS, the Phillies ranked last in pitches per plate appearance, and it wasn’t even close:

  1. Diamondbacks: 3.97
  2. Cardinals: 3.67
  3. Brewers: 3.58
  4. Phillies: 3.48

That doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but consider the Diamondbacks saw 766 pitches in 193 plate appearances. If the Phillies would have had 193 plate appearancs they would have seen only 672 pitches. That’s 94 fewer pitches over the course of a five-game series.

That’s almost a game’s worth of pitches.

I know, small sample size, right? But the Phillies ranked eighth in the National League this season, averaging 3.80 PPA. That’s their lowest average since 2001, when it was 3.76. I don’t think it’s a complete coincidence the Phillies’ .323 on-base percentage was their worst since 1997, when it was .322. You can’t walk if you’re swinging early in the count nearly every time you step into the batter’s box. (And this isn’t a Ryan Howard problem, either. He averaged 4.13 PPA this season, which ranked fourth in the league.) Grind out a few at-bats against Chris Carpenter on Friday and maybe he tires a little. Maybe he slips up. Maybe he elevates a pitch in the strike zone. But that didn’t happen so we’ll never know.

20 Comments

I’m glad someone is finally saying this. Amaro is going to have to be creative to find guys who take pitches, even if it means getting rid of some popular players who are more free swingers (Pence, Victorino, etc.). The Phillies’ lineup kills itself.

I got killed on another board for suggesting that i sensed Vic might be moved to shake them out of their comfort zone a little. He just seems like the only one who makes sense to move if RAJ is going to do something like that.

While it wouldn’t be easy to replace him there’s fewer ancillary moves required to do so. If you do move him, Pence could take over center, so you don’t need to get a CF back, just another OF.

Let Rollins walk (I don’t think they will) and you need to find a shortstop at least short term unless they’re confident Galvis is ready. At best he’s got the Valdez role next year but I’d rather he get regular at bats in LHV and work on pitch selection to take a few more walks than caddy at the big league level.

Move Utley (not gonna happen, but…) and you need either a second or third baseman or both depending on what Polanco’s role is.

Howard was unmovable even without the injury, Pence is too new to take the fall and Ruiz isn’t going anywhere either since the cupboard is bare at catcher behind him, plus the pitchers all love him. So that leaves Vic unless not re-signing Raul or the bench is some kind of surprise.

The only other option to really shake it up would be for Charlie not to come back.

Pence hasn’t played CF since he was a rookie. I wouldn’t count on him as an everyday CF, especially considering he had jumper’s knee and a sports hernia this year. CF would only exert more pressure on his body.

No need to move Utley. I do think they let Rollins walk not over money but over years. Galvis should be in AAA. Cardinals have an option on Furcal, I expect they use it.

They better not resign Raul! He is done as an everyday player on a contending team. Might be able to catch on in Seattle to finish out his career though.

Cupboard is not bare behind Ruiz. The Phils top position player prospect is Sebastian Valle who just tore up Clearwater and played in the Futures Game. He will be in AA-Reading next year. So the cupboard isn’t bare, its just not ready to replace Ruiz yet. Give it 2 years.

the only shoo ins for next year’s team are: Pence, Victorino, Maybery, Utley, Ruiz from the posistion players. Doc, Lee, Hamels, Worley, Bastardo, Shutes Kendrick from the pitching staff.
Polly will be on the bench unless we find a sucker to take him in trade (astros?)
Blanton will be back unless we can trade him

I don’t think Lee and Halladay signed up to be on a rebuilding team, do you?

A team with Halladay, Lee and Hamels at the top of the rotation is not rebuilding. They are not rebuilding. They are retooling. The bench parts will be critical because they will have to have some interchangeable parts with Howard out for so long.

I listened to the Phillies announcers on MLB while watching on tv. Larry Anderson was absolutely livid about the first inning of game two where Cards pitcher is wild and Victorino comes up and swings at first pitch popping out to infield. Turned what could have been a monster inning into a not so big inning. As it turned out, the Phils could have used the extra runs. Worst hitting on part of whole Phillies team I ever say.

I’ve been watching baseball seriously only since I moved to the US in 2005, but even I could see that. I’m amazed that it wasn’t called out more clearly by the announcers.

Ryan Howard swinging at a 3-0 pitch to lead off the 7th inning in that Game 5 just about killed me. Charlie’s free-swinging attitude has got to change, before the players will do anything about it . . . . . .

Even our outs were not hard hit. Weak ground balls. Lazy flies.

Charlie must go?? Are you insane? That guy is one of the best coaches in our history and in the game. It’s the team stupid not the coach, look at Boston he lost control of the club house that is why Francona went. Charlie, needs to get off of that let them play through it they are Pro’s that is all. That last game was just plain painful to watch. Polly should have never been in the lineup, Howard should have been lifted in game 4, one thing I will say about cholly he needs to make more moves and often. I hate Tony La but making all those moves confuses pitchers, everyone made fun of him but when you only have 2 studs on your team you have to mix it up. Sure our lineup has more than 2 “studs” but they are impatient as this article implies. I have been saying since 2007 first pitch swinging is going to kill us, 2008 they looked like they were taking coffee breaks during the playoffs that were so patient. I would love to see the above stats compared against all the postseasons we have been in over this 5 year period. Get Howard back to Barry Bonds he helped him so much, I don’t care what he injected in his body. Heck hire Bonds as our hitting coach, the cardinals have a roider why shouldn’t we. We need to make some changes but not drastic. Find the plugs and put them in the dyke, we have the horses just need to find the people that can hit for them.

The statistics show that batting averages precipitously drop across the board for players’ batting averages the farther they get behind in the count. The logic behind taking more pitches for a proven greater disadvantage escapes me. Then allowing a player to repeatedly squander the greatest advantage of a 3-0 count is mind boggling as in the case of Howard. Equally as mind boggling is how Utley can be allowed it stand there time after time and get behind in the counts with his bat on his shoulder while he takes a trip to LaLaLand. What is lacking here is direction from Charlie. He has been around too long and has allowed his “stars” to develop bad habits. Where does this “Hitting Guru” bullshit come from? Where is the proof? Charlie must go.

Charlie’s not going anywhere, so just stop it with that.
As far as the at-bats are concerned, the Phillies have to learn situational hitting. You can get behind in the count if you have some plate discipline and know that your only choice with some pitches is to foul it off. Look at Schumaker’s 10 pitch at-bat against Halladay in the first inning of game five. When he had two strikes, he choked down a little for more bat control and just tried to make contact with pitches that he knew he couldn’t handle, and he finally got a pitch to hit. It’s almost like the pitcher gives in after a while. The Phillies, on the other hand, always have the bat all the way down at the handle and try to pull everything. Throw a pitch to anybody on the Phillies to the outside of the plate and you’ll get a weak ground ball. They never try to hit the ball where it was pitched. Pull…pull…pull…

This tells me we absolutely need a new hitting coach.

If you can’t hit when it matters, you suck. I don’t care how great our staff is or how productive our lineup is against mediocre pitching. If we can’t generate runs when it matters we don’t belong in the playoffs, plain and simple.

This is the most disheartening loss I have experienced in a very long time. Just utter disappointment.

When you win 102 games, you ‘belong’ in the playoffs, plain and simple. And if Cliff Lee does his normal thing (94-1) when presented with a four run lead, the Phillies sweep the Cardinals.
Do I think they need better plate discipline? Of course. But don’t blame it ALL on the bats. It was a team loss.

OK, so the D’Backs saw 766 pitches. They’re sitting at home watching the NLCS too. The Phillies had their lowest PPA since 2001, yet they won a team record 102 games. What’s the point, exactly?
Tell me how many first pitch strikes Carpenter threw and I’ll tell you if they could “grind out a few more at bats” against him.

LMFAO. The rest of the world gains so much satisfaction watching your city go from on top of the sports world (Phillies about to roll through the playoffs, and the “Dream Team” Eagles) to utter catastrophe in a month’s time. This is karma at its purest. When you have a city of negative, low-class people backing you, you will never prosper. Eat it suckaaaaaaas

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Yes, there were two poor starts by Lee and Oswalt. But you cannot ignore the fact that in losing Burrell and Werth, the Phillies lost the only two guys in the lineup that draw a lot of pitches (remember Werth fouling pitch after pitch?). There’s nobody in the current lineup that wears a pitcher out, and that’s what’s needed. Charlie Manuel cannot change the fundamental nature of a hitter who’s in the middle of his career. The Phillies need to find a couple of guys who find ways to get on base or extend pitch counts and those guys are not on the current roster.

And Burrell had exactly .186 in 7 post-season series’ and .218 as a Phillie. Wow, I guess it’s never too late to bring up a tired reference to a player. Where does drawing pitches figure into hitting .200?

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