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Pitchers Sacrificing

For the past few games, Larry Andersen has been harping on the fact that the Phils' pitching staff has only 5 sacrifice bunts.  As he noted yesterday, several NL individual pitchers (Roy Oswalt, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, to name a few) have as many or more sacrifices than the Phils' entire staff.

I hadn't studied the issue before, but it did appear to be a problem that has happened with this team in the past.  So, I looked at this year and the last seven and here's how the Phils' pitchers ranked among NL teams' pitchers in sacrifices:

Year Rank
2000 5
2001 14
2002 3
2003 16
2004 8
2005 6
2006 15
2007 15

In the past five years, the team's pitchers have been middle of the pack or much worse in sacrifices. Consistent problems like this, despite much turnover in on-field personnel, points to an institutional coaching problem.

Now, we here at the Good Phight are not fans of the sacrifice, but for pitchers, especially Phils' pitchers, it's not a bad idea to learn how to sacrifice.

But, the picture here is incomplete. I know of no source that has information about sacrifice attempts, so we could see how many times the Phils' pitchers tried to get a sacrifice down but weren't able to. I also know of no study correlating sacrifices by pitchers to a more effective offense. Without this information, it's impossible to fully evaluate this aspect of the Phils' game.

However, in the meantime, it would be nice to see some basic competency out there when they do try to perform this most elementary of tasks for pitchers at the plate.