The Phillies Patience At The Plate Is Painfully Petulant: Brown Has Carried The Club In May With 10 HRs

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Thursday May.30, 2013

Jimmy Rollins (.309) and Ben Revere (.302) were the only regulars in the lineup last night to feature an OBP of over .300.  Despite that, plus a 1 - 8 start from Cole Hamels - and losing Roy Halladay for the season, the club is within 1 win of .500 heading into their 54th game tonight.  Otherwise know as the 1/3rd mark through the season.

Jimmy Rollins (.309) and Ben Revere (.302) were the only regulars in the lineup last night to feature an OBP of over .300. Despite that, plus a 1 – 8 start from Cole Hamels – and losing Roy Halladay for the season, the club is within 1 win of .500 heading into their 54th game tonight. Otherwise know as the 1/3rd mark through the season.  Domonic Brown has hit 5 HRs in his last 5 games – and 10 for the month of May.  The problem is that no one is on base when he is doing this damage.  The team enters play today only 5.5 Games behind NL East leading  Braves.  The club is also without Chase Utley right now.

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via http://www.warrroomphilly.com – visit the website here

We woke up today with the Phillies still flirting with our feelings by taking two steps forward, three steps back over the long weekend, unable to overtake the struggling Washington Nationals for second place while falling flat in Boston on Monday.

However, with the team driving in a division where neither of the top three teams seem to want to take the wheel and steer it to Titletown, the Phillies still remain within a decent hot streak of making some noise and maybe gaining some confidence in the process.

With the Memorial Day weekend in the rear view mirror, there’s no more room for excuses and it’s certainly getting a little too late to say “It’s early” anymore as almost a third of the season is in the history books.

Luckily for the Phillies, they are playing in a division which many might call weak with the Braves and Nationals battling their own demons. Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over the Red Sox was sweet, but in reality was largely due to Cliff Lee limiting the Boston nine to only four hits over eight innings.

The Nationals and Braves were busy yesterday polishing off their own victories plating nine and seven runs respectively.

Cliff Lee May 6th Start

National League East Division

Tm W L W-L% GB
Atlanta Braves ATL 31 20 .608
Washington Nationals WSN 27 25 .519 4.5
Philadelphia Phillies PHI 25 27 .481 6.5
New York Mets NYM 20 29 .408 10.0
Miami Marlins MIA 13 39 .250 18.5

Tuesday night, the Phillies scratched three runs across and were 1-6 with runners in scoring position. In the victory, Domonic Brown (1/4) did smoke another screamer over the right-center field wall in the top of the ninth inning, but still only saw 10 pitches in his four at-bats.

Hacking away in the 5-spot yet again, Delmon Young saw FIVE pitches over four at-bats. The hardest out in their lineup, Michael Young, saw 25 pitches in his five forays to the plate and currently holds an OBP of .347, one of only four Phillies from last night’s lineup to top the .300 mark in that category.

In comparison, the Red Sox lineup saw eight men well over the .300 mark (low of .322), including .422, .397, and .392 from regulars Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Daniel Nava. No surprise the Sox are second in the league in walks and third in runs scored. Bookmark that stat for later.

So, how do they get hot? For starters, in order for the Phillies batsmen to gather any kind of momentum, they’re going to need to change their approach at the plate from one less like this to one which shrinks down their own strike zone resembling something closer to this.

I’ve mentioned it here before, but patience at the plate will not only give you a better chance to see your pitch, but will also make you a tougher out and wear down the pitcher in the process. And if you don’t get your pitch, the worst thing that could happen is that you draw a walk, should you choose to wait.

There is the old saying that says we must learn to walk before we can run. This has never been more apparent than in today’s game of baseball, and if you’re among the three remaining baseball fans who haven’t yet seen Moneyball, teams have learned how to walk in order to run…and score runs.

Clearly evident in the numbers, it’s no coincidence that five of the six most patient National League teams at the plate are not only at or near the top of their division, they are also the same top five of six teams in scoring runs. It’s a carbon copy in the American League, as well.

National League Leaders: Walks (as of 5/28)

Team (Place) Base on Balls ▾
CIN (2nd, 1.5 out) 205
ATL (1st) 174
LAD 163
ARI (1st) 161
STL (1st) 157
COL (3rd, 2.5 out) 154

*Phillies 12th out of 15 NL Teams with 129 BB

National League Leaders: Runs Scored (as of 5/28)

Team Runs per Game Runs Scored ▾
COL 4.82 246
CIN 4.80 245
STL 4.78 239
SFG 4.49 229
ATL 4.44 222
ARI 4.13 215

*Phillies 12th out of 15 NL Teams with 178 runs scored

Base runners can cause indecision on the mound and create mild havoc among opposing players in the field, especially if they have some speed.

They can take a pitcher, catcher and any infielder off their game and even slightly away from their normal position. Different pitches are called with runners aboard and there’s greater likelihood for those pitches to be in the zone rather than risk a wild pitch or issue any additional free passes.

The basic fact is that the game changes completely when runners are on base and they increase the chances for batters to drive in runs as seen in the below graphic, which shows four of those same five teams mentioned above knocking in more runs per at-bat than any other in the National League.

Team At Bats per RBI ▴
STL 7.5
CIN 7.5
COL 7.5
ATL 7.7
SFG 8.1
NYM 8.7
PIT 8.7
ARI 8.8
League Avg 8.8
MIL 8.8
SDP 8.9
CHC 9.1
LAD 9.9
WSN 9.9
PHI 10.1
MIA 13.0

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/28/2013.

But can Charlie Manuel, along with Batting Coaches Wally Joyner and Steve Henderson, teach a team of mostly veterans how to unlearn their lack of discipline or to set aside their ego for a few at bats per game just to take a walk or two?

Ben Revere
courtesy of Philly.com

Sometimes players paid to set the table often try to do too much with the bat when it’s their legs on the base paths which hold much higher value. Speedsters Jimmy Rollins and Ben Revere are each carrying dismal OBP’s of .306 and .303 as two of the fastest players in Major League Baseball.

They should be at least near the .320 mark accidentally with their legs, but still need to be much better with their pitch selection. Ideally, they should be around the .350 mark.

Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown
courtesy of the ZoZone

Where the big boys play, Delmon Young and Domonic Brown reaching base at a percentage of .281 and .294 adds up to zero protection behind Ryan Howard in the fifth and sixth spots in the lineup, hacking at anything thrown in their general direction. These three sluggers must become more difficult to pitch to if they are going to catch fire at some point. This is not to say they need to walk all that much more, just need to be tougher outs. Even Chase Utley‘s OBP of .339 is very un-Utley like as his career numbers boasts a mark of .375. When he returns, he’ll also need to make life harder for the opposing pitchers.

Cole Hamels
courtesy of SI.com

It’s quite simple, really. Do the Phillies want to win enough to dedicate themselves to make the necessary changes at the plate? Or do they continue down the same path, hoping that solo home runs and scratching the occasional run on the board will be enough to support their own pitching staff? Just ask Cole Hamels how that’s working out for him as he’s seen his team score 20 runs in the 69 innings he has pitched in 2013.

This Phillies offense must embrace the change I’ve suggested above because gems like Lee’s outing from last night won’t happen every day. If they cannot make the adjustments, the only change they will see come July will be the familiar names and faces heading to either of the contending teams that know what it takes to play baseball in October.

Since originally writing this article, Domonic Brown clobbered 2 HRs, while Kratz and Howard added a HR a piece in a 4 - 3 win over the Boston Red Sox last night.  Kyle Kendrick scattered 2 Runs over 6 IP for his 5th win - and Papelbon was shaky - yet picked up his 11th Save.  The club also picked up a game on both of the Nationals and Braves.

Since originally writing this article, Domonic Brown clobbered 2 HRs, while Kratz and Howard added a HR a piece in a 4 – 3 win over the Boston Red Sox last night in May.29. Kyle Kendrick scattered 2 Runs over 6 IP for his 5th win – and Papelbon was shaky – yet picked up his 11th Save. The club also picked up a game on both of the Nationals and Braves.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***

A big thank – you goes out to our Philadelphia Phillies Correspondent Chris Creighton for preparing today’s featured post.  Chris is a Phillies Phan, Baseball fan & player. He thinks that there is no better place for food and is a  proponent of the city of Philadelphia. Huge U2 fan. Phillies writer at  http://www.warroomphilly.com .

Chris says:  “Follow a Web Show covering everything in the Philadelphia Sports Scene. Sit back and enjoy from the hearts of two die-hard Philly guys here !  You can follow Chris Creighton on Twitter or the WarRoomPhilly

a war room chris

Please e-mail me at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on May 30, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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