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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.

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About Paul Boye

Paul Boye has written 58 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Sam

    Bases loaded and they let Wison bat? I guess they figure Wilson can shut us down again. Come on Phillies … someone’s gotta come through!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    Jay,, Believe me .., Beard guy is hittable.., Braves did it, Phillies can and they will.. just imagine that crowd when the walk off hit is delivered

     
  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    Please God, let the phils win this game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob Myers

    Yeah, letting Wilson bat just disrespected our offense. We need to do something!

     
  • Posts: 0 Kate

    We got this.

    And even if we don’t, we never should have seen the postseason this year.

    Proud of our boys for fighting it out all season long.

    We got this.

     
  • Posts: 0 Sam

    Desibrave,
    I can’t stand the Giants. If they win this thing … I’ll be rooting for Cliff Lee and the Rangers.

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Cut Gload in 2011. Find a replacement.

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    come on rollins

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Bob Myers – Actually, I think it shows respect for our offense. It goes to show that they need a top flight closer in there instead of another run and a lesser pitcher.

     
  • Posts: 0 Sam

    Glosd … Gload …Gload … couldn’t Cholly give someone else a chance? Scheeeeesh!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Wilson doesn’t get into any WS games. Rangers will tear the cover off the ball.

     
  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    there you go.., get him on base.. and then see what happens

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    j roll lets go

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    ok. no dp’s here now. let’s go Polly!

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    wow, jimmy, being patience awesome

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Now this is what makes baseball fun..

    Do you steal second with the way the offense is hitting? Basically, that means you have two outs to get a single to tie it up.

    Maybe a hit and run?

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    come on polly

     
  • Posts: 0 JOE444

    They keep putting a man on for us … gotta come through now.

     
  • Posts: 0 jt

    Go rangers get em cliff lee these giants are are way ahead of themselves prove us right ole buddy.

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    damn it polly.

    Alright Utley. Eedeem yourself here. For the entire playoffs.

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    chase, you could make this all go away

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    That’s big… they should have hit and run there to get Jimmy to second. Especially with a contact hitter like Polanco out there.

    It will probably take a double in the gap to score Polanco from first.

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    why didn’t they pinch run for polanco?

     
  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    Gotta get Howard to plate.. that should be the game plan somehow

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    chasee homer baby

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    I’m not sure the upgrade to Valdez is worth it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    …. as Tim just described.

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Ryan…it’s all up to you now. EARN YOUR $$$$.

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    Didnt hey say, get me to the plate, get me to the plate

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    good – valdez in for speed.

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    If you’re SF, you’ve got to play deep (no double defense) and concede a run on a single.

     
  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    Howard will drill one to opposite field.., Homer , just hang on there

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Seriously, Wilson is going to shit the bed. I can feel it.

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    wow, my heart cant take this

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Nothing to worry about matt, Phillies got this in the bag.

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    low ball 4. ump wanted to be a star there. a*shole.

     
  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    Just what the Doc didnt prescribe..,

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    dam it,

     
  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    TV is already off. I’m happier just hanging out here with Phillies Nation and no longer listening to McCarver or Buck. I hope somebody hits Burrell with a bottle on the way out tonight.

    LETS GO RANGERS.

     
  • Posts: 0 jeff

    and what i have been saying along. 125 million dollar waste of human space.

    not one rbi in the playoffs. no homers. he is a joke. a big joke.

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Congrats Giants – you guys played gritty baseball. I still don’t think we gave you our “A” game, but hey, anything can happen in a short series, and this just goes to show.

    I’m really not bitter at all, but I think Texas smokes them – Texas in 5.

     
  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    it’s a slam dunk huh ?!? hee ! hee !

     
  • Posts: 0 matt

    well see you all next season, GO EAGLES

     
  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Small comfort here, but the Rangers are walking all over the Giants starting Wednesday.

    I’m still proud of our boys.

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Aubrey huff looks like the guy who changed my tires this morning.

     
  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    couldn’t happened to a nicer city !!! hee ! hee !

     
  • THE UMPS WHERE BAD ALL SERIES,BUT WE DID NOT DESERVE TO WIN THIS!

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Wow, ARod goes down last night to end it looking, Howard goes down tonite looking to end it, and MLB has an absolutely pathetic World Series to look forward to. But I’m glad Cliff Lee will get a ring, and maybe Josh Hamilton will be the MVP.

    If Lee wins the WS, I have a feeling he’ll go back to Texas even for slightly less $$ – as long as they can go general market.

    I hope the Phils will ante up and find a way to re-sign Werth…they need his skills now more than ever.

     
  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    Can’t believe this.., Giants beat Braves and phillies this season.., in our own parks, where phillies and braves rule..,

    Well Gotta support NL in the WCS.., I am rooting for Giants , Go NATIONAL LEAGUE

    guys.. just look at the AL this year.. how Dull and crap those games are.., Rangers bats will be shutdown by NL Pitching…,

     
 
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