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Entries in Philadelphia Phillies (37)


Leaning In

Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies and Carlos Quentin of the Chicago White Sox lead the majors in hit by pitches since the start of the 2008 season.  Utley leads with 77 and Quentin is close with 75, but there is a big fall off to Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers with 50.  Utley and Quentin do a great job of leaning in so they are closer to the strike zone.

Chase Utley hit by pitch (left) vs. all MLB LHB (right), 2008-2011.Utley comes very close to getting hit in the strike zone, which would be strikes.  He also manages to take a pitch on the foot more often than most left-handed batters.

Carlos Quentin hit by pitch (left) vs. all MLB RHB (right), 2008-2011.Carlos does not lean in as much as Utley, with the highest concentration of hit by pitches very much inside. The difference between Quentin and most right-handed batters, is he lacks the big fall off as the pitches get closer to the plate.  Maybe he's just better at getting out of the way of the border-line strikes than Utley, as he seldom gets hit low.

This is not a trival stat.  Hit by pitches add over 20 points to Utley's and Quentin's OBP in this time frame.  Avoiding outs is a hugh part of offense, and these two players found a painful way to help out their teams.


Cano Versus Halladay

One potential match-up to watch this evening pits Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees versus Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies.  In the PITCHf/x era, 2008-2011, Cano posted a slash line of .303/.346/.494, good for a weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .361.  Cano collects hits through a wide swath of the strike zone.

Robinson Cano, hits, 2008-2011.Cano doesn't hit location as much as he hits movement, or lack thereof:

Robinson Cano, movement on hits, 2008-2011.Balls that pass near the intersection of the major axes indicate that the ball traveled as expected; there was no extra spin to deflect the ball left, right, up or down.

Halladay held Robinson to a .158/.179/.184 slash line and a .166 wOBA in 39 PA during this period.  Roy tends to work him inside:

Robinson Cano vs. Roy Halladay, pitch frequency, 2008-2011.Roy does a decent job of avoiding the middle of the plate.  Most of his pitches are inside or outside, and as we see from above, Cano does not get hits on inside pitches.  Where Halladay really beats, however, is on movement.

Robinson Cano vs. Roy Halladay, pitch movement, 2008-2011.Very few of Roy's pitches come in straight. Almost all of them dip, move in on Cano, or both.  Halladay's mastery of movement and location make Cano and easy target for outs.


Chasing a Halladay Changeup

Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies starts Tuesday's All-Star game for the National League.  There is no pitcher in 2011 better at getting batters to swing out of the zone at a change up:


PitcherTeamChange UpsChas%
Roy Halladay PHI 339 0.573
Felix Hernandez SEA 482 0.486
Carl Pavano MIN 370 0.481
James Shields TB 572 0.479
Kyle Lohse STL 337 0.468
Chris Capuano NYM 451 0.459
Anibal Sanchez FLA 335 0.452
Justin Verlander DET 415 0.447
Ricky Romero TOR 370 0.444
Dillon Gee NYM 384 0.441
Shaun Marcum MIL 582 0.435
Cole Hamels PHI 430 0.434
Roy Oswalt PHI 229 0.429
Max Scherzer DET 381 0.426
Bronson Arroyo CIN 228 0.416


Roy puts a large gap between himself and #2 Felix Hernandez.  Halladay achieves this by getting more sink on his change up than most right-handed pitchers:

RHP change up movement, 2011.Roy Halladay, change up movement, 2011.With the extra drop, batters go fishing down:

Roy Halladay, swing rate on change up, 2011.Even if batters make contact with these pitches, they're so low they'll probably wind up with a ground ball.  Keep your eye on Roy's change up Tuesday night, and see how many AL batters chase it.

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