A “modern” approach falls short
The Phillies may have been built for playoff baseball, but the playoff baseball they were built for is most definitely the peculiarly modern form of that notion. They are a team wrapped up a bit too much in the three true outcomes of the current game: home runs, strikeouts, and walks.
Surely, however, the Phillies don’t only score on home runs, do they? Of course not. No team playing nearly 180 games can do that. Indeed, in their first playoff game, they exploded for six runs in the ninth inning against the Cardinals and stole a game, 6-3. None of their runs were scored or driven in on home runs.
An illusion grew up briefly — a Philadelphia Phillies team with a balanced offense was developing in the playoffs? Why not, you say? Their catcher stole 21 bases this year? The problem there is that the catcher led the team in steals. By eight.
And the guy in second on the team in steals, Jean Segura, isn’t as fast as Vierling, Edmundo Sosa, or Brandon Marsh. And the position player on the team with the best base-running instincts, behind Realmuto? He’s probably the slowest player on the field – Schwarber. He does read balls off the bat well when on base.
Can you name the last successful bunt this Phillies team executed? Maybe you can. How about the one before that?
No, this Phillies team, particularly this year, was actually built to hit home runs, walk, or strike out. Their four RBI leaders (Schwarber, Realmuto, Hoskins, and Bohm) all struck out more that 100 times. The low total among them was Bohm’s 110. Schwarber booked 200. The grand total for the four was 598. No one on the team drove in 100.
Add another 130 triple-whiffs for Castellanos. That’s 728 strikeouts for five everyday players.
Those four RBI leaders plus Castellanos walked 259 times, and it might be observed here that a walk never drives in a run unless the bases are loaded, but that’s sort of a smart-ass remark, isn’t it?
Now, of course, the four RBI leaders also hit 111 home runs.
Perhaps this will change somewhat next season when Stott, Vierling, Marsh, and Sosa hit their strides with the Phils with something like full seasons and established roles for all four of them.
The Philadelphia Phillies should be given very high marks for scrappiness and cohesion. Their clubhouse atmosphere is probably the envy of most MLB teams, but right now this question hangs over the team: What happens when they run into really good pitching? Houston showed you what in the last three games of the World Series.
Three Phillies crossed home plate in those 27 innings. Well, no, two. Kyle Schwarber did twice because he hit the ball over the fence.