Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

Phillies fans have been wondering why the team has been struggling to score runs this season. Cole Hamels, for the second straight game, received no run support as his offense left nine men on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position going into the ninth inning of Saturday’s game in Chicago. Making a losing stretch even more unbearable, the Phils managed only one run in each of their last two games against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Their run-scoring woes are well-documented as our heroes have been shut out on eight different occasions this year, matching in 94 games what the 2008 squad achieved over 162 games. Prorated, the Phillies are on pace to be shut out 14 times in 162 games in 2010.

Overall, this is what the Phillies’ distribution of runs has looked like since 2008:

The raw data: frequency of X runs scored in a game.

Runs 2010 2009 2008
0 8 7 8
1 15 14 8
2 8 17 20
3 15 20 23
4 6 24 22
5 9 21 20
6 5 13 19
7 6 13 11
8 4 5 18
9 7 10 3
More 11 18 10
TOTAL 94 162 162

The 2010 Phillies more adept than their ’09 and ’08 counterparts at scoring 0-to-3 runs while they are by far the worst at scoring 4-to-6 runs.

WARNING: DEPRESSING CHART IS DEPRESSING!

(I has a sad.)

The Phillies’ starting pitchers’ collective ERA is better this year than in 2009 and ’08. If you want to know why the 48-46 Phillies have slightly under-performed their Pythagorean record, you can look no further than the offense; the starting pitching is not to blame, even as the back end is in upheaval. Scoring zero to three runs per game once every two games is not a great recipe for success.

sad pat gillick

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30 comments

  1. Max

    July 22, 2010 08:10 AM

    Yes, let’s trade our best right-handed hitter in a lefty-heavy line-up from this already putrid offense to make a good pitching staff better, just so the new pitcher can get screwed by said putrid offense. Please do that as fast as humanly possible.

  2. Richard

    July 22, 2010 09:36 AM

    Heh, interesting choice of words, Bill:

    “The 2010 Phillies more adept than their ’09 and ’08 counterparts at scoring 0-to-3 runs…”

    They are more adept at that indeed.

    It’s interesting to see that they have the same distribution of games with 7 runs or more.

    Regarding Werth, yes, overall, he’s got the team’s 2nd or 3rd best numbers, but it shouldn’t be too surprising that fans are thinking of him as not producing since he’s hitting so poorly this season with RISP, and is in fact 0 for his last 26. That kind of thing stands out in the middle of a struggling offense. (Just talking about perception here.)

  3. Richard

    July 22, 2010 09:52 AM

    Overall, obviously some of this is age, some is luck, some is just the lower end of standard deviations, etc. Rough season.

  4. Phil

    July 22, 2010 09:55 AM

    I’m going to try to be reasonable for fear of incurring the wrath of Baer, and I know everyone’s sick of talking about it, but what the hell.

    I’d like to say that I definitely am a believer in the SABER school of thought. It’s no wonder that Baseball, and it’s 162 game schedule, would lend itself to creating a glut of numbers that can be analyzed in a million different ways. There is so much to be learned. I went from thinking, “Oh, I know his FIP, so that’ll tell me the real story,” to thinking, “FIP, pfft, SIERA is really where it’s at.”

    Now, Jayson Werth… No one was as big a lover of the bearded one than me. And it makes me angry when outsiders say, “oh, the phillies fans just can’t appreciate a good player.” If you ever went to a game and sat in right field, you’d obviously know, that’s just not case. The man was adored.

    That said, I do think now would probably be a good time to trade him. I’m very well aware that Werth’s WAR is 2.2 (while say Howard’s is only 2.1), and that any trade involving Werth would have the Phillies most likely incur a loss in WAR in the deal. However, as someone pointed out in the fangraphs topic about him, Werth’s WAR on the phillies after this year is 0.0

    I’m going to stray away from numbers and just ask, when was the last time Werth had a hit that made you say, “wow, that was a big hit for the team”? When was the last time he had a hit that tied a game or gave the Phillies a lead in a game? Honestly, I’ve watched almost every inning of every game this year, and I can’t remember. My last memory of Werth hitting a big hit was the homerun against Lackey on May 21. The Phillies were already winning at the time, but it was a big hit nonetheless.

    Now, I know the SABER poets will cry down from the mountain tops, “Small sample size! Small sample size!” That may very well be true, but the absolute fact of the matter, is that in that time period the Phillies have gone from having a five game lead in the division to being seven games out. Werth can continue to go 2-4 every night with a double, keep his OPS hovering around 1.00, and still wouldn’t help the team in any way. I know RBI’s have become the cool thing to hate lately, but RBI’s are still extremely important to a team winning a game… You can’t win, if you don’t drive in runs. Obviously Werth still occasionally is driving in runs, but as we’ve all seen lately, his average with runners in scoring position is anemic and continues to fall. Bill, you’ve provided us with the meltdown/shutdown stat for relievers. I’d be curious if the same methodology could be applied to high leverage at bats. I would guess in the past two months the numbers wouldn’t look favorably upon Werth.

    Is Werth the only reason for the Phillies downfall? Is Domonic Brown the savior of the team? Of course not. However, of the starting 9, Werth is the only one without a contract to play for the Phillies in 2011. If we can get anything close to his “worth” in a trade, whether it be Oswalt, or Haren, or even multiple high end prospects, I think the Phillies have to do it. This season isn’t quite “lost” just yet, but it’s getting there. Brown isn’t going to come in and be the perfect backstop for Ryan Howard that Werth once was. But all he has to do is drive in some runs to give the team a lead, and he’s helped the Phillies as much as Werth has in the past two months.

    Will Werth make us all feel stupid if he gets traded and all of a sudden gets hot? Probably. But I really think they have an opportunity here to flip a guy who shows to have good, affordable value, with good OPS numbers, for something that can help the team win now, and into the future.

    Anyway, if you took the time to read this, well thanks. If you feel the need to give me the FJM treatment, by all means, fire away. I myself, wake up every morning hoping I’ll be wrong about Werth, and that maybe today will be the day he hits homerun or drives in a game winning run, but time is running out.

  5. Richard

    July 22, 2010 09:59 AM

    oh, and injuries and a shitty bench, etc.

  6. euphronius

    July 22, 2010 10:01 AM

    Werth is not the problem. He has a good 370 OBP. Even if Werth were slightly more “clutch” (and fangraphs says he has been unclutch) That still would not really have helped all that much.

    The problem is the bottom half of the lineup. And Ibanez he inexplicably hits 3rd. Ibanez is 4000 times more of a problem than Werth.

  7. euphronius

    July 22, 2010 10:02 AM

    Werth’s RISP may be low in the past few weeks, but he is also getting on and not getting driven in.

    It is a complete team failure rather than just him.

  8. Richard

    July 22, 2010 10:09 AM

    There is a “Clutch” stat at Fangraphs, Phil, and, no, Werth’s ain’t good this year (but then, it appears to have been negative just about every year).

    Surprising fact about Howard: he leads the league in RBI, which seemed interesting, given the context of how this season has gone, no matter how bad a stat RBI is, but it turns out that even this year, with all the offense’s craptacularity, he has still come to the plate with more runners on base than any other player in the majors. Link.

  9. euphronius

    July 22, 2010 10:41 AM

    Front four or five of the lineup is fine. it is 6-8 that is killing them.

  10. Richard

    July 22, 2010 10:56 AM

    well, except that Rollins has been slumping horribly since returning (BABIP: .178!); Victorino’s OBP is .317 or so; Polanco’s avg is good, but his OBP isn’t terribly exciting; Valdez has had way too many at-bats in the 2-hole; etc. Granted Utley was his more or less normal self, even with the lengthy slump, and I suppose Ibanez has been getting on base at a decent clip when he’s batted 3rd….

  11. Bill Baer

    July 22, 2010 11:12 AM

    Awesome discussion, guys. My only regret is the lack of accolades for the Gillick “hugs tiem” picture. That was a solid 45 seconds spent in Photoshop.

    I’m sure you guys can guess how I feel about “clutch” but I see your point, absolutely — Werth hasn’t driven in a meaningful run in a while. As others have mentioned, the problem is that nobody else really has (besides Ryan Howard) either.

    Did I just give a prop to THE FAT FIRST BASEMAN WHO IS MAKING A BAJILLION DOLLARS? You betcha!

  12. Spark

    July 22, 2010 11:39 AM

    I’m a Giants fan who just wanted to pop in and say I agree completely with your assesment re: Werth and the Media.

    If you’ll permit the comparison, we saw that sort of relationship for years with Barry Bonds. Bonds hated reporters and didn’t talk to them, so they all thought he was a jerk. Therefore, the reported that he was a jerk, which meant that everyone outside of SF (where we could see his work ethic and love for the fans) thought he was a douche.

    Sports reporters get their egos bruised so easy.

  13. euphronius

    July 22, 2010 11:54 AM

    Stats!

    OPS per lineup position Phillies 2010
    1 765
    2 750
    3 788
    4 892
    5 882
    6 717
    7 652
    8 757

    batters 6 and 7 are killing Phillies. especially 7.

    Phillies OPS pre leverage
    High leverage 762
    medium 752
    low 713

  14. hunterfan

    July 22, 2010 11:57 AM

    If you treat the media like garbage, you’re not going to get the best press coverage. Holy wingnuts, Batman, I never woulda guessed.

    I really don’t care as long as the player doesn’t pout about it…which Werth doesn’t seem to. But ye gods, I don’t think it takes common sense of the highest order to think if you go out of your way to be a jerk, you’re going to be covered a wee bit differently than if you go out of your way to be a nice guy.

  15. euphronius

    July 22, 2010 12:07 PM

    if you take out April, the Phillies offense is really terrible. Except for Overpaid Guy and Guy Being Run Out of Town.

  16. hunterfan

    July 22, 2010 12:14 PM

    Bill, I’ll give you accolades for the Photoshop. It made me laugh. As well as the “depressing graph is depressing” bit.

  17. Sophist

    July 22, 2010 01:34 PM

    One interesting thing about the above is that the Phils don’t seem to be struggling to score 7+ runs this year. They just seem to have “replaced” some 4-6 run games with 0-3 run games.

    The funny thing about this media nonsense (the affairs, the coldness to the beat reporters) is that the same kind of stuff went circling with the Flyers, the Flyers bounced back to make a postseason run to the SCF, and here people are buying right back into it again.

    Werth will probably finish out the year with another hot streak and end up around or above career norms. He’s been a wildly “consistent” producer when starting (.270/.370/.500 splits since 2007). But the Phils are in a position where it may be best to prioritize 2011-2013. They can do this without completely quitting on their now slim 2010 chance by trading Werth and A-level prospects for players that will help them in that window (and perhaps immediately as well). The Oswalt move would fit pretty well into this picture.

  18. bill

    July 22, 2010 03:09 PM

    I definitely don’t understand the piling on of Werth when Ibanez has been worth -0.3 WAR this year. I mean, he’s actively hurting the team, and yet Werth gets all the hate?

  19. Max

    July 22, 2010 04:18 PM

    @bill:

    Because while Raul hasn’t been at anything this season, Werth hasn’t been good in “clutch situations.” Yeah, it’s pretty much bullshit.

  20. Every pitching coach in the NL

    July 22, 2010 06:35 PM

    Year Fastballs seen wOBA
    2010 57.6% .323
    2009 59.2% .340
    2008 60.8% .337
    2007 61.2% .354

  21. pounded clown

    July 22, 2010 08:42 PM

    So Amaro have you learned you lesson about neglecting your bench esp. when your team is a bit older.

  22. E

    July 22, 2010 09:47 PM

    Amaro fires Milt?

    what a gutless move from a gutless GM.

  23. Scott G

    July 22, 2010 10:45 PM

    @ Phil

    REALLY hard for people (Werth for the purpose of your discussion) to get RBIs when no one is really getting on base in front of you. Maybe some of his “pointless” singles and doubles wouldn’t have been so pointless if Manuel didn’t put god awful OBP people in front of him in the lineup.

    To those people who say “Werth has never had 100 RBIs”, it’s VERY hard to collect RBIs when Ryan Howard and Chase Utley (both over 100 RBI guys) are batting directly in front of you.

    When will people realize the RBIs and Rs are largely a product of one’s team.

  24. hk

    July 23, 2010 06:13 AM

    Further to E’s comment, I hope the media begins concentrating on the real story behind the Phillies…the terrible job the GM’s done after taking over a World Series Champion with most of its key players in their primes, a stocked top 5 or 10 farm system and a $98M payroll and turned it into a team that’s 3 games over .500 with aging players, a bottom 10 farm system and a $138M payroll (heading to $150M next year or $160M+ if they trade for Oswalt). And now, the GM fires a class act like Milt, just to find a scapegoat for his ineptitude.

  25. e

    July 24, 2010 06:39 PM

    Bill, you should start a message board/forum on your site.

    Also, the “howard for mvp ” campaign is up and at em already.

  26. pmu

    July 24, 2010 07:27 PM

    Rough season.Good work

  27. E

    July 25, 2010 05:44 PM

    Had a discussion last night with a friend.

    Would refuse to admit Huff deserves the mvp more at this point than Howard. Hilarious.

    Also, angels just ripped off the dbacks quite badly.

  28. hk

    July 25, 2010 07:58 PM

    I can’t believe that we couldn’t come up with a better package than what Arizona took from Anaheim.

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