A note on taking pitches, and updates on Rollins, Ibanez, and Hamels.
Selectivity and Scoring
In the beginning of the season, when the Phillies were scoring lots of runs, the announcers made a big deal of how the hitters were working the pitch count and "making the pitcher work". In reality the Phillies were at the league average of ~3.84 pitches per plate appearance. Maybe it was the fact that Jimmy Rollins was taking more pitches that was causing this misperception (and they didn't notice that Howard, for one, was taking fewer pitches).
In any case, this topic has been a thread throughout this season. When the Phillies are hitting well, the announcers may point to their ability to work the pitcher. When they're not, someone will comment on a 10-pitch offensive inning with a tone of disgust.
I've felt the same way. Pedro Feliz and Rollins drove me crazy last year with first-pitch swinging, and Polanco, Rollins, and Victorino (not to mention Dobbs and others) are doing the same this year.
So I looked at each game, the number of pitches the Phillies saw per PA, and matched that against the runs scored and other stats for the game. I then grouped the games by pitches per PA: games with less than 3.6 P/PA, games with 3.6-3.8, and so on. The results are below:
This is not the clear trend I expected to see. In fact, OPS and R/G are highest when they see the fewest pitches (<3.6 per PA). OPS and R/G are worst when they see 4.2 or more pitches per PA.
The only explanation I can think of for the <3.6 stats is that some nights they are just teeing off on the pitcher. I don't have any explanation for the 4.2+ data.
A few things on JRoll:
- His walk rate this year equates to 92 BB per 162 games
- Since coming off the DL the 2nd time on 6/22, his line is .221/.307/.300 (.607 OPS)
- OPS this year is down to .696, compared to .719 in his "down year" last year
- However his wOBA is higher, .323 to .316, due to the better walk rate
- His BABIP this year is .252, compared to .293 through 2009. At a BABIP of .293, his OPS would be .761, but his struggles may not just be due to bad luck -- his line drive rate is also the lowest of his career at 17.6%
- After the 18th game in his hit streak, Ibanez' OPS was over .800 for the first time this year, at .804.
- Since then, including Sunday night's game, he's hasn't been on base in 4 games (0-18 with 0 walks)
- 2.85 ERA since May 16th.