There's going to be a lot of hand-wringing today about the 15 times the Phillies struck out last night. And yeah, it was ugly.
A Phillies hitter stepped up to the plate 31 times Wednesday night. They struck out 15 times.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) May 30, 2014
Phillies hitters in tonight's loss to Mets. 4 hits, 1 run, 15 strikeouts.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) May 30, 2014
The Phillies struck out 15 times tonight, including four by Ryan Howard.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) May 30, 2014
Fifteen strikeouts is a lot. If I'm doing the math right (and since when has my finger-counting ever led me astray?), the Phillies struck out in 48.4% of their plate appearances last night.
That's slightly above league average I would think.
One of the most promising young pitchers in the game, Zack Wheeler, accounted for nine of those Ks, while the Mets' bullpen piled up the remaining six, with New York closer Jenrry Mejia striking out the side in the 9th to close out their 4-1 win over the Phils.
Howard struck out all four times he came to the plate, Chase Utley struck out three times, and Jimmy Rollins struck out twice. The only Phillies player who didn't strike out last night was Ben Revere.
But while last night's K-fest was ugly, strikeouts are not typically a huge concern for this particular Phillies lineup. Say what you want about the inconsistency of their offense, the Phils are only about league average when it comes to whiffing.
So far in 2014, the Phillies have struck out in 21.4% of their plate appearances, 7th highest in the National League, but almost exactly in line with the NL average (21.0%). It's not an egregious number, and is largely the result of two players, Howard and Marlon Byrd.
Howard has struck out 29.9% of the time, 5th highest in the NL, while Byrd has struck out 28.4% of the time, 7th highest. Domonic Brown is next on the list, 41st in the NL, with an 18.4% strikeout rate.
The Phillies simply ran into a buzz-saw in Zack Wheeler last night, a young pitcher with terrific stuff who averaged 9.7K/9 in four minor league seasons. And his stuff was dancing last night.
Watching the Phillies strike out 15 times against the Mets was pretty terrible, but it was nothing compared to this.
Strikeouts are not typically a huge problem for the Phils.
Consistently scoring runs... now that's another thing.