These Phillies worst situational hitters since 1940s

Posted: June 13, 2012

It hardly served as the defining image of another defeat Sunday - Ty Wigginton's botched attempt at fielding a grounder in the 10th inning did that - but Shane Victorino's swing in the first inning was so emblematic of a numbing season that continues to spiral into hopelessness.

These Phillies are historically bad at situational hitting.

When Victorino swung at the second pitch from Jason Hammel and popped it into foul territory behind third base, he failed to score a runner from third base with fewer than two outs. It was the only such chance of the day.

The Phillies are dead last in baseball with a 38 percent success rate when batting with runners on third and less than two outs. They have batted 117 times with that situation, and only 45 have yielded a run in some way, whether it be via a hit, groundout or sacrifice fly.

That is the worst rate for any team since at least 1948.

Baseball Reference keeps play-by-play data from 1948 on, and few teams have even come close to the Phillies' futility. Only the 1965 Mets had a rate below 40 percent; they scored 39 percent from third with fewer than two outs. That team finished 50-112 and 47 games back.

What does this mean? Of course, the sample size is small. The Phillies have played 62 games. Ultimately, their success rate in those situations should normalize and at least approach the league average. Such a miserable rate through 62 games could implicate bad luck as a factor.

But there is no disputing the Phillies have mostly been terrible in these situations. Think about how many times a runner has stood on third and when all it takes is a medium-sized fly ball or groundout to score him, a Phillies hitter pops out or whiffs.

Consider if the Phillies had simply equaled the major-league average (51 percent) in those 117 situations, it would have resulted in 15 additional runs scored over the season's first 62 games.

Stuck on Third Base

Through 62 games, the Phillies have batted 117 times with a runner on third base and fewer than two outs and have scored a run via a hit, groundout or sacrifice fly only 45 times.

That is the worst success rate - 38 percent - for any team since at least 1948.

Here is how each Phillie has performed in that situation:

Player        Runners on third     Run scored       Succes rate

Freddy Galvis          4   times      3 runs      75 percent

Pete Orr                 3            2             67 percent

Carlos Ruiz             12             8             67 percent

Shane Victorino       15             8             53 percent

Hector Luna           2             1             50 percent

Juan Pierre               8             3             38 percent

Ty Wigginton          13            5             38 percent

Hunter Pence          20             7             35 percent

Jimmy Rollins           9             3             33 percent

Brian Schneider        3             1             33 percent

Placido Polanco        4             1            25 percent

Jim Thome              4             1            25 percent

John Mayberry       12            2             17 percent

Joe Blanton           2            0             0 percent

Mike Fontenot           1            0             0 percent

Roy Halladay           1            0             0 percent

Cole Hamels           1             0             0 percent

Laynce Nix              3            0             0 percent


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