Tuesday, March 07, 2006

2006 Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

In 2005, the Phillies finished 1 game behind the Astros in the NL Wildcard race, and many in the Philadelphia area blame Craig Biggio for that fact. Well, maybe they don't blame Biggio, but many point to the September 7th game winning 9th inning 3 run homer he hit off Billy Wagner as the key to their failure to make the playoffs. Some probably blame Wagner for throwing the pitch, and others probably blame David Bell for the error that let the tying run reach base with 2 outs. Regardless, if some on the Phillies pitching staff blame Biggio for last year's lack of post-season baseball in Philadelphia, they might think throwing at him would be a good idea. But keep this in mind, Phillies, you're 3-10 in games when you hit Craig Biggio. But feel free to throw a couple of pitches in on his hands to try to intimidate him. That works a lot. Trust me on this. He definitely probably might not just stand his ground, take the pitch, and take first base.

The Phillies haven't hit Biggio with a pitch since August 17, 2004 when Randy Wolf hit him. Wolf is the only current Philly who plunked Biggio for his current team, but he is joined on the staff by Cory Lidle and Jon Leiber who both hit Biggio for their prior employers. Lidle his hit Biggio twice. Brett Myers led the Phillies last year with 11 plunks, and is expected to join Lidle and Leiber at the top end of the starting rotation. However, the Astros and Phillies won't see each other until September, so it's tough to predict what the Phillies rotation will look like by then. They could finally pull off that widely rumored deal of the whole team for Manny Ramirez.

Based on Biggio's career stats against the Phillies and a guess of 30 plate appearances, his probability of being plunked by them this year is 46%. A multi-plunk year from the Phillies is 12.4% probable, and a record setting year in the Biggio plunking category is only 0.00019% likely.

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