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July 10 2007

It would be a nice gesture.

The first half of the '07 season was mostly uninspiring as the Phillies come into the break at 44-44.  In nearly all respects they have been worse the first half of 2007 than they were in the 2006 season.

Here's a look at the '07 pace for the Phillies' hitters and pitchers and how it compares to their final numbers from the 2006 season:


'07 456 269 346 445 791 827 183 20 106 632 327 70 11
'07 Pace 839 269 346 445 791 1523 337 37 195 1164 602 129 20
'06 865 267 347 447 794 1518 294 41 216 1203 626 92 25
'07 44 44 791.2 463 432 4.91 190 18 118 601 304 47 20
'07 Pace 81 81 1457.1 852 795 4.91 350 33 217 1106 560 87 37
'06 85 77 1460.1 812 747 4.60 335 40 211 1138 512 94 35

The Phils are on pace to score fewer runs and allow more in 2007 than they did in 2006. 

Although the offense is off its '06 pace, things look far better for the hitters than they do for the pitchers.

The Phils are on pace to score 26 fewer runs in '07 than they did in '06 but still lead the NL in runs scored. 

The '07 Phils are on pace to hit more doubles -- Utley leads the NL with 34, Rollins has 22 and Rowand 20. 

Without a second-half explosion from Howard, they look likely to hit fewer home runs. 

In 2006 the Phils were third in the league in strikeouts -- the '07 team is fourth in the league and on-pace to whiff 39 times fewer.  In '06 the Phillies had three players in the top ten in strikeouts, Howard, Utley and Burrell.  Of that group, both Utley and Burrell are striking out less frequently in 2007 than they did in 2006 and Howard is striking out more.  In 2007, Howard has struck out 96 times in 310 plate appearances, about 31.0% of the time.  In '06 he struck out 181 times in 704 plate appearances, about 25.7% of the time (the injuries that led to fewer first-half plate appearances for Howard bring the team strikeout and home run numbers down).  Burrell was at about 23.1% in '06 and is at 19.9% in '07.  Utley's strikeouts are also down -- he struck out in about 17.9% of his plate appearances in '06 and 14.8% in '07.  Adam Dunn is really the only NL player with a chance to strike out more than Howard if both players stay healthy the rest of the season.  So far this year Dunn has struck out 105 times in his 357 plate appearances, about 29.4% of the time.

Howard's strikeout pace this season is ridiculous.  If he struck out at the rate he has so far in 2007 and got as many plate appearances as he did in 2006 he would strike out 218 times, which would shatter the single-season strikeout record of 195 set by Dunn in 2004.  Babe Ruth, by comparison, never struck out more than 93 times in a season.  Mike Schmidt struck out more than 149 times once in his career, whiffing 180 times in 1979.  Modern day slugger David Ortiz has a career-high in strikeouts of 133. 

Led by Shane Victorino, the 2007 Phillies have been outstanding at stealing bases.  They are third in the NL in stolen bases after finishing eighth last season.  They have been caught just 11 times and their stolen base percentage as a team is the best in all of baseball.

Things on the pitching side are miserable.  The 463 runs the Phillies have allowed is the most in the NL.  Only two teams in the DH-loving American League have allowed more runs than the Phillies. 

With Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson out of the rotation the Phillies are still getting bombed.  They are on pace to allow more runs, doubles and home runs while striking out fewer and walking more.  They are on pace to allow 40 more runs than they did in 2006. 

Everything's bad.  The team's 4.91 ERA is the worst in the NL.  Everybody knows that the bullpen is bad, but the starting pitching has been horrible as well.  Phillies' starters have thrown to a 4.99 ERA, 14th among the 16 NL teams.   The pen has actually been a little better than the starters -- their 4.75 ERA is 13th-best in the NL.

Segovia, Kendrick, Happ and Durbin combined to make eight starts.  The two guys brought in to stabilize the rotation, Garcia and Eaton, both got shelled.  Eaton has thrown to a 5.69 ERA in his 18 starts, Garcia to a 5.90 ERA in his 11 starts.  In the bullpen, seven different relievers have appeared who have an ERA over 5.00 with the team and three more have an ERA of at least 4.70. 

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