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 Jeff Y

    Look at the power numbers in that bam box. We had one guy with 30 homers

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Y

    Let the yankees pay 20 million per year for Werth.

  • Posts: 0 chuck

    man, yall are pathetic! what a freakin’ dynasty! bunch of overpaid mamby-pamby losers! glad yall paid all that money for THIS.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    God, MADSON. I’m sick for him.

    This NL East is going to be BANGING the next few years. I can see the Nats making a good run within the next few years as well. They’re building a good club for the future and when Strasburg comes back… Wow.

    Wilson Valdez and Chooch for Club MVPs this year.

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    With the Phils eliminated I am not planing to watch the WS; just passive interest. Who gives a hoot about Burrell and Rowand anyway?

    It is a shame that this game and this series ended in the situation where the umpire took the bat out of the player’s (Howard) hands. Borderline pitch but you have to swing at anything near the strike zone with two strikes on you.

    An anemic offense with three or four big stars failing to come through in this series and what in the world happened to Ruiz, Mr. October? No big hits like in the past post-seasons but it is all over the dam now. Utley and Howard’s second half of the season injuries might have come back and haunt this team more than anyone realizes.

  • Posts: 0 Metsfan

    You guys had another good year. Hopefully, we’ll be able to compete next year. I’m sure it sucks now but at least you got this far. Ryan Howard brought back memories of Beltran in 06. Gotta swing the bat.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Y

    They stopped taking the juice

  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    Charlie seems like he has springs connecting all his body parts

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Y

    RAB signed Ibanez for one more year. He should have his head looked at.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Y

    Maybe they will sign Moyer for 2 more years.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Desibrave – even in the AL West, the Rangers still have plenty of regular season games (at least 7 each) against Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Twins, all of whom have fine pitching.

    I think you’re giving too much credit to the Giants pitching, which is good, but the Phils killed themselves more in this series than the Giants won it with great pitching

    If Sanchez pitches like he did in these 2 games against the Phils, the Rangers clobber him.

    If Lincecum pitches like he did in game 5 or tonite’s relief, Rangers clobber him. (And really, he wasn’t spectacular in game 1 either).

    Matt Cain – lights out against the Phils in game 3, but I don’t expect that to happen again. What was his career record against phils before that game?


  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Honestly, and it’s all over, I’m no longer bitter over it or saying if only, blah blah blah… I only stay angry for so long over that stupid sh*t.

    But the umps and the strike zone rattled Chooch. I’ve been seeing it since Game Two. Chooch had NO idea what was going to be called. He hasn’t been comfortable since the series moved to San Francisco.

  • Posts: 0 Sam

    Tim McCarver’s all smiles!!! That guy has disliked the Phillies for years. Has anyone listened to him when he announces a Phiiles game? If it wasn’t for Steve Carlton … he wouldn’t have been able to put a catcher’s mit on.

  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    it is easy to take shots at the offense, but lets take a look at were two of our loses came from, the bullpen. If we actually had some reliable arms other that Contreas, Lidge and Madson would Oswalt have to pitch in game 5? Would Madson have to throw 2 innings? We Durbin even have a uniform?

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    C’mon Jeff Y give it a break. Feel bad enough already tonite.

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Kate – I hope the reporters ask the right questions and get Chooch to open up on that subject.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    I think Ruben needs to keep an eye on the young guys coming up, but this core nucleus, after a season of injuries, deserve one more year to make another run.

    We’re already losing Werth, now isn’t the time to make more changes.

    Keep your eye on the future, but remember this year for what it was. An injury-plagued group of guys that still managed ninety-seven wins and make it all the way back to the NLCS.

  • Posts: 0 Sam

    I agree AC … if the Phillies hit like the Rangers … we’d be playing them in the World Series. And, for someone to say the Giant’s pitching is better is foolish. The have better strters then the Giants … I think their only weakness is in the bull pen.

  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    One thing for sure…. Phillies Bullpen sucks.. ,Except for Madson , get rid of the rest , But maybe you dont need Bullpen much next season with H2O

    Trade Kendrick or Blanton and get some bullpen help

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    ChuckS is right about the bullpen. That’s the priority for Amaro in the offseason – rid us of Durbin and find someone else that delivers. And not Zagurski or Bastardo or something along those lines…

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    I’m watching Barkann, Ricky Bo, and Dutch on PGL. F*ck FOX.

  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    so, the giants don’t belong on the same field as the phillies ?!? No honey !, the phillies don’t belong on the same field with the giants !!!! ha !! ha ! ha !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Yeh, Kate, Chooch was far from the same offensive player in this NLCS than he was in the regular season; looked confused and lost up there. Umps took two of these games from the Phillies but no excuses, it is on the Phils offense.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Is Contreras sticking around? He could, along with Madson and Lidge, anchor the bullpen if they make changes in that area.

    I don’t blame Charlie for a lot, but Sweeney should have seen the plate tonight.

  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    all my ex’s live in TEXAS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    there’s no crying in baseball !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    All right, I’m amending my WS prediction.

    Thanks to Charlie, Giants get home field, so I’m saying Rangers in FIVE. Cliff Lee will smoke them in Game 1. Cliff Lee would have smoked US in Game 1. 2010 Cliff Lee might have even smoked us if he was pitching Game 1 back in 2008.

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    I second that on Durbin, AC in NJ. Big reason for the loss in game 4.

  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    Didn’t Roseann die of a heart attack?

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    I didn’t say anything to anyone earlier, because I didn’t want to jinx it, but I was supposed to go to Game 7 on second-chance tickets from phillies.com.

    Yet I’m still not bitter.

    I love this team.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    How many RBI did Howard have in a 6 game series?

    this line up is old stale and kinda pathetic. Must move some for new blood

    And no Unfortunately 125 million man is not movable.

    Too bad we wont be able to afford Werth he showed up

  • Ryan Howard not happy with called third strike said Haillon hesitated before making call: “If you are going to make the call, make the call”

  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Look, 3 of the 4 Giants wins came with 3 runs, 4 runs and 3 runs scored. It’s clearly all on the Phils offense. Now the 6-5 Giants win, that’s on the bullpen as the Phils lead 4-2. But other than that, it’s pathetic that the phils couldn’t outscore the Giants in those games.

    Rangers can easily score 5-6 runs a game, and with the Giants generally anemic offense, they’d need divine intervention to win mulitple games, let alone the series.

    Cliff Lee starts game 1. If the Rays and Yankees can’t hit him, Giants won’t hit him (TAKE THAT TO THE BANK ROSEANNE BARR). Lee may end up starting 2 games. Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson aren’t too shabby either.

  • Charlie opens his postgame press conf. by congratulating the Giants and thanks the fans. Quotes to come… #Phillies

  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    i can remember being at the ’08 parade and thinking that no matter what else happens I will always love every member if that club, it still holds true (not right now, Burrell).

  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    Charlie Manuel is very similar to Bobby Cox.., You will not win another WCS as long as you have him as a manager.

    Braves got rid of Cox.., Fredi Gonzalez and Wren started making moves already.


  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    Ryan Howard is right about Hallion, but somebody else should say it. He’s in no position to complain about anything given his play with runners on base and in scoring position. A bunch of singles for a $125mm man doesn’t cut it.

    Think we can bamboozle St. Louis into the Howard for Pujols swap if Phils throw in some salary $$? LOL ;)

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    The big debate now will be if Charlie should have pitched Halliday in game 4 instead of Blanton and Oswalt in game 5, also on short rest. Also playing Francisco against righties Lincecum and Cain instead of Ibanez due to Raul slumping in the series.

  • Posts: 0 Desibrave

    Its been a nice year chatting .., Bravoman and I will be back next year..,

    Have fun… Go Braves!!!

  • Posts: 0 DS1

    Why don’t you Phillies fans go out and get tazed!!

    This is hilarious.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Re: the world series

    Since i wont be watching a minute of it no need to make a prediction.
    but the Rangers will kill them.
    the Phillies would have beat the Rangers too.
    But like I was telling anyone who would listen for a month. The Phillies dont want the Giants. Its a terrible match up for the Phillies.
    Gee I guess it mattered who we played. duh

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I tip my hat to the San Francisco Giants. I think they have a slight chance v Texas.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    I still love Howard despite his down-year, but no. He has no right to complain. He’s right, but no. Just no.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Id much rather have Werth in RF
    And say Dunn at 1B

    But we are married to 0 RBI
    Hes all ours for a very a long time

    How do you take that pitch?

  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    @Chucks, no BITCH I’m still here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FhndWwWt8I

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Right on, AC! The Giants better enjoy their celebrating tonight and the next few days because here it will end with Texas coming up for them.

  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    with a heavy heart I bid you all a fond fair well, and we will give em hell next year

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Halladay should NOT have gone Game 4.

    I’ll smile for the Giants tomorrow. Tonight, I still hate them.

  • Posts: 0 don't kill the messenger

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