Chase of Postseasons Past

Posted by Paul Boye, Fri, October 22, 2010 04:00 PM | Comments: 423
Analysis, Posts

To say Chase Utley is having a rough go of it this postseason would be, well, an understatement. After Thursday’s 1-for-4 in the Phillies’ pivotal Game 5 victory, Utley is hitting just .200/.286/.300 in the 2010 playoffs. His lone extra-base hit was a solo home run in Game 2 of the NLDS against Cincinnati, and all of this goes without mentioning Chase’s normally stellar defense has now taken a turn for the quaky. Suffice to say, Chase’s lack of production is concerning.

We’ll leave speculation as to any potential lingering health issues for those more expert in diagnosing such things, and instead look at what makes this 2010 postseason so different for Chase.

Respect once again to the crew at Baseball Analytics for their superb analytical tool and the production of these super spiffy graphics. But before we get to the eye candy, a straight-up look at Utley’s slash stats for the 2008, 2009 and 2010-to-date playoffs.

2008: 14 G, 64 PA, .220/.391/.460, 3 HR, 13 BB (1 IBB), 14 K
2009: 15 G, 66 PA, .296/.424/.648, 6 HR, 12 BB (1 IBB), 12 K
2010: 8 G, 35 PA,  .200/.286/.300, 1 HR, 3 BB (1 IBB), 4 K

Obviously, Chase is at a full series’ worth of games’ disadvantage on ’08 and ’09, and none of these is fully representative of The Man. But this goes beyond the numbers (which are still concerning, small sample and all), because something about Chase just seems off. Well, it does to me, at least.

The first red flag is Chase’s diminished slugging, sitting at a tidy, robust .300, piggybacking on the regular season, when Chase posted a .445 SLG, lowest since his rookie year. Let’s take a look at some of those pretty heat maps now, eh? These are Utley’s SLG on balls in play by pitch location in the postseason.

Top row: 2008, 2009
Bottom row: 2010

There are a couple of interesting things to note here. As 2008 and 2009′s maps show us, Chase cared very little for pitchers trying to paint the outside corner. From the outer third of the plate to the furthest extent of Utley’s balls in play, Chase slugged .560 and .938 in 2008 and 2009, respectively. In 2010, that number plummets to .188, reestablishing the outer edge of the plate as a zone of attack for opposing pitchers. Chase it still putting those outside pitches in play, but is barely inflicting any damage.

Another pattern evident in previous postseasons is Chase’s patience for the fastball. Chase drew 23 unintentional walks in the ’08 and ’09 playoffs, getting himself on base even when his balls in play didn’t fall, making himself effective in ’08 despite the .220 average. When Chase did get a pitch to hit – a fastball anywhere in the strike zone – he made pitchers pay. Utley’s SLG on fastballs in the zone in the last three sets of playoff series:

2008: .941
2009: 1.286
2010: .222

The Phillies have gotten this far by way of their pitching muscle and a few timely hits, but they’re going to need their franchise second baseman to step up if they want to keep playing.

Disclaimer: I am not advocating trading Chase Utley in any way, shape or form, as a notable radio host seems to advocate considering. That’s lunacy. Just dissecting a cold streak, that’s all. Also, photo of Chase via the AP.

Avatar of Paul Boye

About Paul Boye

Paul Boye has written 58 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Hahahaha! Little Roy continues to climb the Ladder of Awesome!

    Question to Oswalt: Do you have a message for the fans or anything in terms of the ones that come to the game tomorrow?

    Oswalt’s reply: “They usually do a pretty good job on their own.”

  • Posts: 0 Ted Ball

    Utley is an all time Phillie great. He could struggle another few years and it wont change the fact that he was the heart and soul of the greatest Phillies team ever.

    I’m Ted Ball

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Utley/Rollins are starting to give me a Trammell/Whitakerish type vibe. They both may be just have turned the corner off their peaks but they’re still damn good. Gotta get Utley into the outfield soon, somehow.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Utley gets banged around a lot….he gets hit by pitches, his hand is sore, he plays real hard and he may need a nice long off-season to heal and an occasional day off during the regular season to keep sharp and let his body heal.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    The Dipsy -Why do you want Utley in the outfield?

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Playing second base takes a much harder toll on a players body.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Ok, Dipsy..

    Going with that…how about this…??

    Package D. Brown and Raul (eat his contract if necessary) together for a young, top-flight second baseman.

    Resign Jayson at whatever cost the Phillies can get away with (can’t be cheap with the guy). Backload the contract so that when Lidge and Ibanez come off the books after next year it makes sense for both sides.

    Put Chase in left.

    Ben Fran is still the 4th OF, spelling Chase every 5 games against tough lefties.

    PHILS IN 7!!!!!!!


  • Posts: 0 Chuck


    And I’m just talkin’ here. Nothin’ more.

  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Where’s the gameday thread today!!! Slacking!

  • Posts: 0 Bob Myers

    Yeah, we need a gameday thread on here!


  • Does anyone but me think that the Sanchez incident was staged to take away our momentum because Sanchez was screwing up?



  • Posts: 0 Mostone

    I was happier when Oswalt was starting ahead of the batters…

  • Posts: 0 jt

    The phils need to get something gone we looked great early now were looking like that slumping team…roy o doesn’t look lights out…..

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Keep the PHAITH, folks! Keep it.

  • Posts: 0 Mostone

    Good job, ROY!

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Speaking again of Chase, did anyone catch Pete Rose on the pregame starting with, “Well, if he’s healthy, then maybe there’s something going on in his personal life…”

    Ricky Bo shut that sh*t right down. “Not even going there.”

    And why did the bullpen even bother getting involved in that benches-clearing, which by the way was the dumbest benches-clearing incident I’ve ever seen.

  • Posts: 0 jt

    now that’s why you send jimmy because we no nobody gonna get big hit…I hope we get a new 3rd base coach perlazzo is terrible.

  • Posts: 0 King Gregory

    This should be a 2-0 game. Victorino and Howard, FAHCK.

  • Posts: 0 Terri

    the offense is offensive.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Could be worse.

    Keepin’ the PHAITH.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    oh man…you can’t walk burrell

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    yes! nice K oswalt. but he’s got about 84 pitches now…I hope he can get through 7. need two quick outs now.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    F*ck Cody Ross.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    i hate cody ross. how much more of this guy can i take? NONE.

  • Posts: 0 Mostone

    ay yi yi

  • Posts: 0 Terri

    sigh, it is about to get ugly

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    sh*t. 2 on. c’mon Roy – buckle down…it’s only renteria now…get a DP ball, pop up or k. the tension is killing me.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    jeez…this AB is killing me.

  • Posts: 0 Mostone


  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ


  • Posts: 0 Terri

    we have been dodging trouble all night.

  • Posts: 0 Mostone

    Can the bats get something going here? I’ll be honest w/ you folks, I’m not really ready to start paying attention to the Eagles.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ


  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    ok. man on 3rd…1 out. Francisco better damn deliver.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    that’s it. Ben Francisco is a piece of sh*t. he is a scrub. I don’t want to see him back in a Phillies uniform next season. I’m sorry. I have no patience for this crap.

  • Posts: 0 Mostone



  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    why not Mike Sweeney instead of Francisco??? I’ve seen this movie way too many times. I really want someone to ask Charlie to explain this.


  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Hopefully Sweeney rather than Gload next time around. That’d be pretty epic.

    And that called strike three on Benny was outside.

  • Posts: 0 jt

    Typical phillies I’m disgusted with this sh*t I mean we’ve had so many chances and can’t capitalize why doesn’t cholly ever use sweeney it’s always gload or francisco.


  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    8 men left on base, 5 RISP…too too many wasted chances.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    kate – i have to disagree with you, the called 3rd strike on Francisco dropped right in there. he was frozen b/c he s*cks.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Madson is on again so far…blowing them away. One more out here.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    oh man…not good. now the power hitters are coming up.

  • WOW

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