It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine

Math, reality and the bullpen all ganging up on the Phillies at the same time and the smart money is on math, reality and the bullpen

Today’s point is that losing all your games hurts your chances of getting to 90 wins.

When the season started, the Phillies needed to win about 5 1/2 of every ten games (a little more) to get to 90 wins for the season. Not so much anymore. If the Phils win 20 in a row coming out of the break, they will still need to play to a .600 winning percentage in their remaining 55 games to get to 90 wins.

To win 90 of 162 games, a team needs to play to a winning percentage of about .556. There aren’t 162 games left for the Phillies in 2012. Given their current 37-50 record, if the Phillies won their first 26 games to start the second half of the season, they would need a .551 winning percentage in their remaining games to get to 90 wins. If they won their first 25 they would need a .560 winning percentage in their remaining games to get to 90.

Here’s a look at the winning percentage the Phillies needed to play to for the rest of their games if they were going to get to 90 wins after each day they’ve played this season:

Date

Played

Wins needed for 90

Games left

WPCT needed

4/5
4/7
4/8
4/9
4/11
4/12
4/13
4/14
4/15
4/16
4/17
4/18
4/19
4/20
4/21
4/22
4/23
4/24
4/25
4/27
4/28
4/29
4/30
5/1
5/2
5/3
5/4
5/5
5/6
5/7
5/8
5/9
5/11
5/12
5/13
5/14
5/15
5/16
5/17
5/18
5/19
5/20
5/21
5/22
5/23
5/24
5/25
5/26
5/27
5/28
5/29
5/30
6/1
6/2
6/3
6/4
6/5
6/6
6/7
6/8
6/9
6/10
6/12
6/13
6/14
6/15
6/16
6/17
6/19
6/20
6/21
6/23
6/24
6/24
6/25
6/26
6/27
6/28
6/29
6/30
7/1
7/3
7/4
7/5
7/6
7/7
7/8

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87

89
89
89
89
88
87
87
87
86
85
85
85
84
83
83
83
83
82
81
81
80
80
79
78
78
77
77
77
76
76
76
76
75
75
74
73
72
71
70
69
69
69
69
69
68
67
66
65
65
64
64
63
62
62
62
62
62
62
62
61
61
61
61
60
59
59
59
59
58
57
57
56
56
56
55
54
54
54
54
54
54
54
53
53
53
53
53

161
160
159
158
157
156
155
154
153
152
151
150
149
148
147
146
145
144
143
142
141
140
139
138
137
136
135
134
133
132
131
130
129
128
127
126
125
124
123
122
121
120
119
118
117
116
115
114
113
112
111
110
109
108
107
106
105
104
103
102
101
100
99
98
97
96
95
94
93
92
91
90
89
88
87
86
85
84
83
82
81
80
79
78
77
76
75

0.553
0.556
0.560
0.563
0.561
0.558
0.561
0.565
0.562
0.559
0.563
0.567
0.564
0.561
0.565
0.568
0.572
0.569
0.566
0.570
0.567
0.571
0.568
0.565
0.569
0.566
0.570
0.575
0.571
0.576
0.580
0.585
0.581
0.586
0.583
0.579
0.576
0.573
0.569
0.566
0.570
0.575
0.580
0.585
0.581
0.578
0.574
0.570
0.575
0.571
0.577
0.573
0.569
0.574
0.579
0.585
0.590
0.596
0.602
0.598
0.604
0.610
0.616
0.612
0.608
0.615
0.621
0.628
0.624
0.620
0.626
0.622
0.629
0.636
0.632
0.628
0.635
0.643
0.651
0.659
0.667
0.675
0.671
0.679
0.688
0.697
0.707

So, for example, the Phillies beat the Pirates 1-0 on Opening Day. After that day they had played one game and needed 89 more wins to get to 90. To win 89 of the 161 games they had left they would have needed to play to a .553 winnings percentage the rest of the way.

After losing to the Braves 4-3 on July 8, the Phillies are 37-50 and would need to play to a .707 winning percentage in their remaining 75 games to get to 90 wins. And while the Phils might go 53-22 the rest of the way, there’s an even bigger chance that won’t even happen.

The .553 needed winning percentage after the Opening Day win was the lowest mark on the year for the Phillies. The current .707 winning percentage is the highest it has been all season. The Opening Day win was the only day of the season in which the Phillies ended the day with a winning percentage for the year (1.000) that was greater than their needed winning percentage the rest of the way (.553) if they were going to get to 90 wins. Their current winning percentage of .425 is .281 lower than the .707 they would need the rest of the way to get to 90 wins. That’s the biggest difference between the two since the Phillies were 1-3 after four games.

The high mark for the year for the Phillies was three games over .500. That came after a June 1 win over the Fish that made them 28-25 on the season. They needed a .569 winning percentage (62-47) the rest of the way to get to 90 at that point, which was still higher than their .528 winning percentage for the year. Since then they’ve gone 9-25.

Eleven games ago, coming off of a June 26 win against the Pirates, their needed winning percentage the rest of the way was .628. Since then the Phillies have gone 1-10.

Going 10-1 in their first 11 games after the break doesn’t get the Phillies back to the same point they were at after winning on June 28, cause they have 22 fewer games to play and they were behind pace before they played the 22. If they go 10-1 in the first 11 after the break, they’re at 47-51 with 64 games left. They would need to go 43-21 over those 64 to get to 90 wins, which is a .672 winning percentage.

If they win 20 games in a row coming off the break, the Phillies are 57-50 and still have to play to a .600 winning percentage in their remaining 55 (33-22) games to get to 90 wins.

Running out of time is the theme here, cause the chart above is a lot less impressed with wins than it used to be and losses hurt a lot more, too. If the Phils win their first game after the break, they would need 52 wins in 74 games to get to 90. The needed winning percentage would drop from .707 to about .703. If they lost, though, they need 53 wins in 74 games. The needed winning percentage would rise much more substantially than it fell with a win, popping all the way up to .716. So the result of game one of the second half will either drop the needed winning percentage by about .004 or raise it by about .009.

There’s really not a lot of silver lining to be found. The closest I can get is that it isn’t going to take 90 wins to get into the playoffs. My guess is 88 does it and 86 or 87 gives you a solid chance.


The Placido effect

The Phillies have signed Placido Polanco to a three-year, $18 million contract. Polanco will play third for the Phils in 2010.

I think this is bad news for Phillies fans, but confused by the fact that Polanco is a very good baseball player. The problem is that he’s a good baseball player because he plays second base.

Here are some of the things that bother me about the idea of signing Polanco to play third base:

He’s not a third baseman. I don’t think there’s much of an argument there. Polanco has not appeared at third base in any of the past four years. On the plus side, he is a very good second baseman and has played more than 2,400 innings at third over his career, so it seems pretty likely he can give the Phillies good defense at third. I feel a little less sure about that than I would about someone who actually provided some team good defense at third over the past four years, though.

He was bad offensively last year and he’s 34-years-old. 285/331/396 last year. OPS+ of 88. In each of the past four seasons he’s gotten at least 495 plate appearances and in two of them he’s on-based .331 or worse.

Even for a 2B he wasn’t good offensively last year. Between the two leagues there were 37 players that got 200 or more plate appearances as a second baseman in 2009. The .730 OPS that Polanco put up while playing second base was 23rd-best. Third basemen should obviously be producing more offense than second basemen.

He doesn’t have the bat to be an everyday 3B. The chart below shows the average slugging percentages posted by NL 3B for each of the past four seasons and the slugging percentage that Polanco has put up. In just one of the four years did he put up a slugging percentage that was better than the average for the position in the NL. He got a ton of hits in those four years, too, going 690-for-2,246 (a .307 batting average):


Year

NL Average SLG by 3B

Polanco SLG

2009

.416

.396

2008

.440

.417

2007

.456

.458

2006

.471

.364

He’s all average — he never, ever walks and doesn’t hit for power. He walks less regularly than Pedro Feliz. He did last year and he has over his career. As I wrote in this post, in a group of players that includes Feliz, Polanco, Crede, Beltre and Tejada, Polanco has been the least likely of any of them to draw a walk in a given plate appearance over their career.

His career rate of getting extra-base hits is miserable. It’s worse than new addition Brian Schneider, who is younger than Polanco and was recently signed to backup Ruiz, and a tiny bit better than ’08 Phillie So Taguchi.

Player Career PA Career XBH XBH/100 PA
Schneider 3,186 221 6.94
Polanco 6,017 399 6.63
Taguchi 1,524 100 6.56

He’s obviously way below the good hitters on the Phillies in terms of their chances to get an extra-base hit. Each of the eight Phillies regulars (including Feliz) got an extra-base hit in at least 7% of their plate appearances in 2009. Utley, Rollins, Werth and Ruiz were all in the nines while Howard and Ibanez were over 12.

This isn’t an addition that’s going to make the Phillies a lot worse. Again, Polanco is a good baseball player and it’s sure not his fault if the Phillies think he’s a third baseman. But it’s not a move that’s going to make them a lot better, either. They had one offensive position on the field where they had a chance to make themselves a lot better and they didn’t do it.

The article linked at the top of the page suggests that Polanco could hit second for the Phils. I think it may make more sense to keep Victorino in the two-hole and hit Polanco seventh after Ibanez and before Ruiz.

Chris Jaffe, who writes for The Hardball Times, has written a book called Evaluating Baseball’s Managers: A History and Analysis of Performance in the Major Leagues, 1876–2008. You can read an excerpt about Gene Mauch from the book at Crashburn Alley.


Amaro and the front office leave Phillies fans thankful they’re presumably about to take a little break

This says that the Phillies have agreed to terms with Juan Castro and suggests it may be a one-year deal worth $750,000 with a club option for 2011.

Wow.

Casto turns 38 in June and has a career .601 OPS. He can play short, third and second.

What he can’t do is hit well enough to be allowed on the field. Over the last four season’s he has on-based .281, .211, .246 and .311. He has a career .230 average and a .332 slugging percentage.

He’s a right-handed batter who doesn’t hit either righties or lefties. Last year he played for the Dodgers and hit 287/323/322 against righties, but in 2008 he hit 196/228/271 against righties for the Reds and Orioles.

Here’s how Castro’s career rates for getting hits, walks, doubles and triples, home runs and extra-base hits per 100 plate appearances compare to Bruntlett’s:

  H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Bruntlett 20.3 8.5 4.7 1.2 5.9
Castro 21.2 5.2 4.9 1.3 6.2

Castro has been a little more likely to get a hit, less likely to walk and a little more likely to deliver and extra-base hit over his career.

Bruntlett doesn’t turn 38 in half a year, though.

That’s a pretty disappointing move by the Phillies. Yes, you have to have a backup shortstop. Maybe he can do something else, I hear you cry? You really, really don’t want him to. It’s a bad use of a roster spot for a team that has had big problems on the bench for a while now.


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