On the Solo HR/RISP Hype

As you’ve probably gleaned, I get annoyed when people whine about the Phillies’ so-called struggles with runners in scoring position. Fact is, the Phillies have the highest OPS in the National League with runners in scoring position at .795. Apparently, the Phillies’ streak of solo home runs is yet more evidence that they are Ruthian with the bases empty and Bruntlettian with runners on.

After Jayson Werth’s home run last night off of the Nationals’ Tyler Clippard, the Phillies’ last 15 home runs had been of the solo variety, going back to August 29.

So I looked into the Phillies’ distribution of HR types and compared them to the National League average. Here are the findings:

  • Type: Phillies | NL Average
  • Solo HR: 59.2% | 58.4%
  • Two-run HR: 23.5% | 27.5%
  • Three-run HR: 13.3% | 11.2%
  • Grand slams:  4.1% | 2.9%

If you just lump all of the non-solo HR together, the Phillies are at 40.8% to the NL average of 41.6%. 0.8% is nothing to worry about. And, frankly, the Phillies’ distribution of HR types with runners on is good, since it’s skewed towards three-run homers and grand slams. They’re 4% below the league average in 2-run homers, but 3.2% up otherwise.

There is nothing to worry about with the Phillies’ offense. Yes, prior to the start of the series in Washington, they scored a combined 21 runs in 10 games. But that’s what happens when you run into good pitching. In those 10 games, they faced Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Jonathan Sanchez, Brad Penny, Tim Lincecum, Wandy Rodriguez, Roy Oswalt, Bud Norris, and Brian Moeheler. Here’s where they rank in ERA (with the usual caveats about ERA).

Getting shut down by most of those pitchers is nothing surprising.

The real issue is with the bullpen. Three valuable arms are injured in J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey, and Scott Eyre. Then there’s Brad Lidge, who brings Phillies fans on the verge of a nightly aneurysm, and Charlie Manuel is only now starting to realize that he has better options out there. Just saying.

The offense is fine. The bullpen is not.

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