Did Rollins Run The Phillies Out of Last Night’s Game? – Phillies Nation

Did Rollins Run The Phillies Out of Last Night’s Game?

Last night, the Phillies threatened to tie the game in the ninth inning. Jimmy Rollins drove in Ben Revere with two outs, setting up a runner on first base for Chase Utley. Utley ran a 1-1 count against righty reliever Randall Delgado when Rollins took off for second base. Rollins successfully stole second base, setting up a runner in scoring position with two outs.

With the count now 2-1, Delgado was visited at the mound and the decision was made to walk Utley to get to right-hander John Mayberry Jr., who was brought in earlier in the game to pinch run for Ryan Howard but did not go first to third with one out on a well hit, but well played, ball by Marlon Byrd to Tony Campana in left just an inning earlier.

With runners on first and second with two outs, Mayberry struck out looking end the game. In what sounds like a counter intuitive question, did Jimmy Rollins stealing second cost the Phillies a better chance to win the game?

Let’s start with Mayberry: Mayberry is a .225/.292/.368 career hitter against righties. With only Freddy Galvis and Wil Nieves available on the bench, Mayberry essentially had to hit in crunch time. Mayberry was not the person you wanted to hit in that situation.

Let’s move to the probability of scoring: according to this expected runs chart, there is a 12.8% chance that a team will score with a runner one first and two outs versus a 23.1% chance a team will score with runners on first and second with two outs. Obviously, there is a better chance with a runner on second base than there is if there is a runner on second base.

Finally, let’s check in with Utley. Utley is a .297/.374/.511 career hitter against righties. Entering last night, Utley was 0-5 against Delgado.

A few things are at work here: by their splits, Utley gives you approximately a 7.2% increase at getting a base hit off of Delgado. Assuming there is a straight correlation between a base hit and scoring, which isn’t necessarily the case because there’s no guarantee Rollins would have scored from first.

But assuming Rollins would have scored from first, again, not guaranteed, Utley would have given the team around a 20% chance to score from first base with two outs, still slightly less than the 23.1% chance Mayberry, on average, should give you.

There is a difference, however, in what an extra base hit would do. And there is no doubt, Utley would have given the team a better chance in that regard. Utley has a 143 point advantage on Mayberry in slugging percentage and a double likely would have scored Rollins.

Did Rollins run the Phillies out of the game last night? The short answer is no. The long answer is that Utley had about a 4 out of 10 chance of getting on base anyways, not driving in Rollins. Even though Mayberry is not a very competent hitter, the odds were still in favor of Mayberry driving in Rollins from second base.

The Phillies may have run themselves out of the game last night, but it wasn’t Rollins. Mayberry, in the game specifically as a pinch runner, not attempting to take third base on Byrd’s single, had the potential to increase the odds of scoring from 42.5% (first and second, one out) to 65.3% (first and third, one out).



  1. Hogey's Role

    April 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Bottom line is, hitting in baseball you want to keep the line moving, you get on base and count on the next guy to get you over or drive you in, last night Mayberry didn’t get the job done… Who knows if they left Howard in the game the outcome may have been different, at least Howard would have went down swinging

    • Lefty

      April 26, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Leaving Howard in may have influenced their decision on Utley too. Personally, just my opinion, I’m against pinch running for him if the team does not already have the lead.

    • Lefty

      April 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Just read last night’s game day- I see you agree with me.

      • Hogey's Role

        April 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm

        Yes sir I do

  2. schmenkman

    April 26, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Agree, Ian, stealing there was the right play.

    Another way to look at it: if Rollins doesn’t steal, then you need either:

    a) an extra base hit from Utley (10%)


    b) on base from Utley and hit from Mayberry (40% X 25% = 10%).

    Either way if you don’t steal there’s only about a 10% chance of scoring.

  3. Tony

    April 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks for this post — my gut feeling was that Rollins should have stayed put, but it’s good to see an empirical case that it was right to steal and put the game in Mayberry’s sadly-not-very-capable hands.

    Don’t you have to account for the possibility that Rollins gets thrown out and ends the game, though?

    • Hogey's Role

      April 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Yeah that play was very close, I was very surprised to see him trying to steal there

    • Ian Riccaboni

      April 27, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Tony – good point on getting thrown out. If he’s not successful there, the odds go from ~20% to 0%, of course.

      • Tony

        April 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm

        Right, so, taking his SB% into account, does that make it the right or wrong move?

  4. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    April 26, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I’m glad Jimmy stole second. We needed to be aggressive in that final inning. The real culprit is Dingleberry. I am assuming, since I do not know his true thought process, that Sandberg put Mayberry in because most humans are faster than Howard, the monolith. Plus, Dingleberry plays first and would serve possibly better on defense, since Howard has been abysmal in that department. My point being, his only job was to get a jump on the ball an go first to third, even though that particular outfielder is fast and has a good arm. Instead, Dingleberry did what he does against right- handers, proven later in the inning, which is “squat.” let’s hope Lee shuts it down again and the atrocious D-Backs do not morph into the Houston Astros, who gave us so many fits in recent series.

  5. Hogey's Role

    April 26, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    No asche in tonight’s lineup… Galvis is starting

  6. bacardipr

    April 26, 2014 at 6:33 pm


  7. wbramh

    April 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    What’s wrong with the Phillies’ bullpen, Bacardi?

    They have a 2.09 ERA and…
    Oh, never mind, I was looking at the ERA for the Nationals’ pen.

    And there, my friends, is the sum of all fears.
    The day Nats fans start referring to CBP as “Nationals Park North.”

    • schmenkman

      April 26, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      “What’s wrong with the Phillies’ bullpen, Bacardi?”

      Maybe you’re on to something — that could be what’s wrong with them.

      • wbramh

        April 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm

        Send them down to Betty Ford for a rehab stint.

  8. Chris

    April 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    How about if we just focus on john Mayberry sucking. Period. All we need in that situation is a single Mayberry comes up hacking away trying to hit a 3 run homer in the wrong spot. If he tried to do the right thing I woulda been fine with him grounding out to 2nd it infuriated me watching that nonsense.

    • Hogey's Role

      April 26, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      He swung 1 time, watched the other two strikes… He needed to swing in that situation, bottom line is he sucks period yes

  9. ccinvegas

    April 27, 2014 at 12:13 am

    How does an article written this poorly get published? Reading it was more painful than watching the game and I was at the game. Learn some basic grammar and writing skills please.

    • schmenkman

      April 27, 2014 at 12:25 am

      I don’t know about this blog in particular, but most writers for sites like this work for little (typically 0) pay, and must fit in the research, analysis, and writing, around their day jobs or whatever other “real life” responsibilities they have. If you’re offering your free editing services, I suppose they may be interested.

    • Ian Riccaboni

      April 27, 2014 at 12:33 am

      I hear there are a number of great doctors in Vegas that can help you with your pain, CC.

      • ccinvegas

        April 27, 2014 at 10:26 am

        Doctors can’t help the pain of watching them lose…glad they won last night. The two or three things that got to me are probably mistakes that I have made in the past, and easily missed when editing your own work. I guess I was still grumpy for attending a game they lost 😉

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