Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

After winning back a ton of good will from fans with a five-game winning streak to begin a seven-game road trip, the Phillies dropped the final two games in St. Louis against the Cardinals, then came back to begin an eight-game homestand and were promptly shut out by the Miami Marlins for the tenth time this season. Only the Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres have been shut out more times this season (11). The Phillies scattered six hits (five singles) and two walks as they dropped to seven games below .500 and six games out of first place in the NL East.

To put the Phillies’ shutout propensity in perspective, I plotted the frequency at which they scored X amount of runs up against that of all 30 Major League Baseball teams combined. The Phillies have been shut out nearly twice as often as the average:

Among all 30 teams, the Phillies now rank 25th in batting average at .241, 25th in on-base percentage at .307, and 25th in slugging percentage at .371. As Corinne Landrey noted last month, the Phillies had been drawing a lot of walks to begin the season, but their walk rate cratered as the season went on. In June, the Phillies have drawn walks at a 6.5 percent clip, which ranks — wait for it — 25th in baseball. Their isolated power, across the whole season, ranks 21st at .129. (To illustrate what a .129 ISO looks like, Dexter Fowler is currently at .128. The National League average for non-pitchers is .145.) The Phillies are one of only five teams with a sub-.300 weighted on-base average and their wRC+ (which is wOBA with league- and park-adjustments) is third-worst at 86. FanGraphs also rates the Phillies as the third-worst base running team with -5.4 runs on the bases.

To sum up what all of that means: the Phillies aren’t even average in any one particular area of offense. That’s why they get shut out so often.

In fairness to the Phillies, though, they do have eight players — among 13 with at least 50 plate appearances — with an average (100) or better wRC+. John Mayberry, Jr. (128) and Chase Utley (122) lead the way. However, Ben Revere (69) and Domonic Brown (60) are dragging them down severely. To compare that to baseball’s worse offense, the Padres, they have six players with a worse wRC+ than Revere’s 69 (min. 50 PA). It could be worse.

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  1. Tim

    June 24, 2014 09:51 AM

    I would love to be able to swap Revere’s and Brown’s production from last year with this year. They’d still be a flawed team (and both of them were, to put it mildly, pretty streaky last year), but at least they’d be tolerable to watch.

    I was at last night’s game with my brother, and it was just brutal. The really frustrating thing was that they were actually doing a fair amount right. They had a decent performance from Hernandez, the lineup was doing a good job avoiding strikeouts, and they seemed to be running up the counts well. But they didn’t manage to convert that into walks, and while most of their ABs ended up with the ball in play, they only hit it hard a few times, so it just seemed like an endless parade of weak fly balls.

    At least it was fun to watch Giles strikeout Stanton, who is indeed very mighty.

  2. lew

    June 24, 2014 12:11 PM

    The Phillies have a way of giving fans a glimmer of hope just when you are ready to give up on them. Then they make you wish you had.

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