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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.

Avatar of Paul Boye

About Paul Boye

Paul Boye has written 58 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Good night, everyone.

    Win or lose, still a Phillies fan. Thanks for a hard-fought season, gentlemen.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Good night Kate, I’ll always be a fan too -through thick and thin.

     
  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    MikeB, I know that. When I say “Philly fans” I don’t mean all of them.

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    goodnite everyone. have a great offseason. see ya next year. Go Phils in 2011 – take back the pennant.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Jeff I live in Maryland. Never lived in Philly, but have been a fan as long as I can remember. My dad’s family was from Atlantic City, he drove us up to games all the time. Bought me a long range radio when i was young to listen.

     
  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    Don’t go ! I thought it was a party going on !

     
  • Posts: 0 jeff

    cool. i started off a yankees fan. 6 and 7 years old. my grandfather worked at the vet. i started going to see the games when he worked. watching rose and michael jack switched me over. i would say i was about 9 years old. rooted ever since.

     
  • Posts: 0 jeff

    my sister went to school at univ. of maryland. used to watch lenny b playball there. i was crushed when he died.

     
  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    I wonder how many fights are breaking out in philly bars tonight ?!?

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Believe it or not, I went to the same high school as Bias, 8-10 years before him though. We were so proud someone from Northwestern was going to be in the pros- yeah that sucked.

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    It is evident that Howard never made it all the way back from that sprained ankle and/or it threw his hitting timing off but I wished that someone, somewhere over the off-season would work with him and get him to improve his hitting against breaking pitches. The guy just strikes out too much. Still needs to work on his fielding too.

    I had a feeling that this game was going to be decided in the late innings with a home run or two and I hated seeing guys like Torres, Sanchez and Uribe come up as the game progressed because I knew that they can pop one out from time to time. Madsen is a good relief pitcher but is prone to having someone catch up to his pitches from time to time letting up the occasional dinger, and the rest is history.

     
  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

     
  • Posts: 0 jeff

    what a great player. thought larry bird would take him under his wing.

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Lets all get back to Roseanne Barr on here after the Giants finish up by getting bombed in the WS

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    MikeB. – like all the trolls, Roseanne Barr won’t be coming back here after the Rangers put the Giants down like the crippled horse they’re about to become.

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Have a great off-season, Phillies bloggers and fans! Enjoyed all the postings on here all season long. The Phillies are still our guys and we all know that the ending of the series might have been a different story had the offense hit up to their potential.

     
  • Posts: 0 max808

    Kate, you’re an idiot.

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    More than likely, AC. The Giants are going to need a lot more offensively than what they showed in this series. Cannot always rely on lucky breaks and the umpiring.

     
  • Posts: 0 max808

    Giants kicked your ass fair and square. Stuff it fools.

     
  • Posts: 0 AC in NJ

    max808…go back to your hole and stuff it yourself. do the YMCA with your SF buddies.

     
  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    MikeB and AC, “Howd You Doin” ?!? I never said I was a giant fan ! My World Series is seeing you guys CHOKE !!!!! Get the chicken bone out of your throats !! Hee ! Hee ! Ce-le-brate good times, come on !!

     
  • Posts: 0 Roseanne Barr

    crickets chirping……………………………..

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    I second that, AC in NJ, in regards to max808, he knows they were fortunate.

     
 
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