During the dark period of
the Phillies' season, by which I mean the middle of last week, before it
became clear that JD Durbin had been the missing link lo these 14 years, I
became convinced that the Phillies struck out at a higher rate later in the
game than they did during the rest of it.
So I checked. Turns out they do. Felt mighty fine, but there's a but and here it comes: but so does everybody else, and the Phillies' rate late in the game is not particularly unusual compared to the other teams in the National League this season.
Now that I've peaked your interest by characterizing the numbers as "not unusual", below is a look at the number of plate appearances and strikeouts each of the NL teams have had in innings one-through-six and in the seventh inning or later this season. Also the percentage of plate appearances that were strikeouts and the difference between the percentage of strikeouts in the early innings and the late innings (doesn't include yesterday's games).
|Innings 1-6||Innings 7+|
|Team||PA||K||% K||PA||K||% K||Diff|
All 16 teams have struck
out at a higher rate in the later innings than they have in innings one
through six. The Mets come the closest to their early innings mark, having
struck out in 16.41% of their plate appearances in the seventh inning or
later and 16.02% before the seventh inning. The Diamondbacks are on the
other end of the spectrum, but in the Snakes' defense a lot of those guys
are up pretty late on a school night by the time the seventh inning roles
If you use the difference between the percentage of plate appearances the team strikes out late in the game and the percentage of plate appearances the team strikes out early in the game as the measure, nine NL teams are seeing their rate of strikeouts as a percentage of plate appearances increase more late in the game than the Phils are this year.
The Phillies play the Washington Nationals tonight, starting a six-game stretch at home against two of the worst teams in the National League. The Pirates are in for three after the Nats. Kyle Kendrick (4-1, 4.40) faces righty Jason Bergmann (2-5, 4.46) tonight. Kendrick has given the Phillies five quality starts in his seven outings. He has been very tough on righties and hit hard by lefties. Righties are hitting .203 against him with an 0.86 ratio, lefties .341 with 1.81 ratio. He's walked just 11 in 43 innings, but allowed six home runs, five of which have been hit by lefties. Bergmann has made 13 starts for the Nationals and allowed just 59 hits in 72 2/3 innings. Like Kendrick, he's been tremendous against righties and hit hard by lefties. Righties are hitting .172 against him with an 0.89 ratio, lefties .274 with a 1.58 ratio. He's allowed ten home runs in his 13 starts, eight of which have been hit by lefties. He's made two starts against the Phillies already this season, in 12 1/3 innings he's allowed four earned runs (2.92 ERA) on eight hits and three walks. Utley and Howard have combined to go 1-for-10 against him this year, with a double by Utley. He faced the Phils on April 18 and April 24.