Earlier this week I suggested that a big part of the problem with the Phillies offense this year has to do with a drop in their production against right-handed pitching. Utley, Howard and Rollins have all seen significant drops in their effectiveness against righties in each of the last two seasons. Howard remains one of the best hitters in the league against righties, but he had a long way too fall after being literally the best not too long ago. Utley and Rollins saw their production fall in 2010 to the point where they simply weren’t good against righties anymore, and that’s a huge problem for the Phils.
Shane Victorino belongs on the list of Phillies whose numbers against righties fell in 2010 as well, but with one distinction. Howard, Utley and Rollins have been free-falling against righties for two years straight while Victorino actually got better against righties from 2008 to 2009 before struggling against them in 2010.
Here’s what Victorino has done against righties in the last two years and his OPS rank in the league among players with 300 plate appearances against righties:
There were only 102 players in the NL that got 300 plate appearances against righties, so 81 isn’t really where you want to be. Among the 43 NL players who got at least 425 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season, Victorino’s OPS against righties was 38th (one of the five NL players he topped was our friend Cody Ross — sorry to go there, but Ross hit 263/315/371 against righties this year before going nuts on the Phils in the NLCS).
Anyhow, Victorino was really terrible against righties this year.
On the plus side, he really hammered left-handed pitching, hitting 321/381/539 against them. By OPS, that’s a better line than Werth’s 287/402/479. As I mentioned earlier, though, if you’re going to play every day and have a great side and a miserable side, you want to do it the other way around. Victorino had 456 of his 648 plate appearances for the year come against righties. That’s about 70.4%, so it mattered a whole lot more to the Phils what he did against right-handed pitching than what he did against left. He didn’t do well.
Victorino had 11 plate appearances on the season when he hit right-handed against a right-handed pitcher. He went 3-for-10 with two doubles and on September 24 he hit a first inning home run off of righty RA Dickey batting right-handed. After the game, Victorino said that he’s naturally right-handed and trusts himself more from the right hand side when a pitcher’s ball is moving a lot like it does for Dickey (insert the Beavis and Butthead sound effect of your choice here).
Sadly, other than some success in a tiny number of chances this year, there’s not a lot of evidence that Victorino can improve him numbers against right-handed pitching by batting right-handed. In 80 career plate appearances against righties in which he’s hit right-handed, he has put up a 186/266/286 line.
Don’t know if anybody noticed this or not, but the Phillies aren’t in the World Series this year and the heartless bastards are going to go ahead and hold it without them. The Giants won game one, 11-7, hammering former Phil Cliff Lee. Lee allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in the game. Freddy Sanchez was 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBI and Juan Uribe hit a three-run homer off of Texas reliever Darren O’Day in the bottom of the fifth. The game wasn’t as close as it sounds — the Giants took a seven-run lead into the ninth inning and the Rangers scored three runs to get within four.