Vance Worley will take it -- the Phillies line-up won't

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Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco has a .237 on-base percentage. (AP Photo / Suchat Pederson)

Two notes this morning:

1) Vance Worley struck out six batters last night, all of them on called third strikes. In spring training, we wrote about Worley's ridiculous ratio of called strikes last season. Well, his ratio is even more ridiculous this season. After last night's performance -- his third outing of 6+ innings and 1- run, by the way -- Worley has recorded 67 percent of his 27 strikeouts on called third strikes. 

That puts him at the top of the league, which is where he finished last year:

% of strikeouts looking, NL starters

What do you blame for the Phillies’ slow start?

  • 382 (50.3%)
  • 280 (36.8%)
  • 98 (12.9%)
  • 760

1. Vance Worley, PHI - 67

2. James McDonald, PIT - 50

3. Kyle Lohse, STL - 50

4. Chris Capuano, LAD - 50

5. Ross Detwiler, WSN - 47

Worley also ranks first in the percentage of his strikes that are called strikes:

% Called Strikes/Total Strikes, NL starters

1. Vance Worley, PHI - 38

2. Erik Bedard, PIT - 37

3. Trevor Cahill, ARI - 35

4. Kyle Lohse, STL - 35

5. Joe Blanton, PHI - 34

The Phillies will face Cahill this afternoon as they try to win their first series in Arizona since 2009. Which brings us to our next topic...

2) The Phillies line-up doesn't take many strikes. Actually, it doesn't take many pitches, period. Phillies hitters have seen an average of 3.66 pitchers per plate appearance this season, the lowest average in the NL. They have swung at 48 percent of the pitches they have seen, the second-highest ratio in the NL. If the Phillies' approach sometimes feels formulaic -- take the first pitch, just because, and then release the hounds -- the numbers support that notion. They've swung at only 23 percent of first pitches this season, tied for 14th in the NL. But after the first pitch, they aren't exactly discerning. In fact, as you can see in the table below, Phillies hitters see three-ball counts less often than any other team in the league. And when they do get a three-ball count, they take ball four less often than all but one other team. In both cases, the team next to them in the standings is the Pirates, which is also the only team that has scored less runs than them. Coincidence? You decide. 

Rk

Team

G

3-Ball %

3-Ball Walk %

TPA

3-Ball Counts

BB

1

NYM

17

24.38%

42.95%

640

156

67

2

ARI

18

24.33%

37.80%

674

164

62

3

HOU

18

22.24%

44.03%

715

159

70

4

LAD

18

21.40%

45.83%

673

144

66

5

SDP

18

21.32%

50.00%

666

142

71

6

STL

18

21.00%

42.18%

700

147

62

7

WSN

17

20.79%

48.91%

659

137

67

8

MIL

18

20.61%

38.97%

660

136

53

9

ATL

18

20.17%

43.17%

689

139

60

NL

TOT

276

19.76%

43.02%

10473

2069

890

10

COL

16

19.44%

39.83%

607

118

47

11

MIA

15

19.06%

42.48%

593

113

48

12

CHC

18

16.97%

41.96%

660

112

47

13

SFG

16

16.69%

46.36%

659

110

51

14

CIN

17

16.64%

50.00%

661

110

55

15

PIT

16

15.47%

34.88%

556

86

30

16

PHI

18

14.52%

35.42%

661

96

34



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