Friday, October 2, 2009

Going Long In The Postseason

The Phillies will enter the postseason as the National League's top power-hitting team. They lead the league in home runs, runs, slugging percentage, and total bases heading into the weekend series with Florida. Their 220 home runs is the most in team history, surpassing the previous high of 215 set in 2004.

The team also leads the majors in grand slams with 11, four more than the next closest teams. This season they also became just the 12th team in baseball history with four players to hit at least 30 home runs (Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, and Chase Utley).

What will all that power mean in the postseason?

Well, the Phillies set a team record with 18 postseason homers last year, topping the 14 hit by the 1993 National League champs. Only seven teams in baseball history have hit more during one season, including their 2008 World Series opponent. Tampa Bay's 26 last year is one shy of the record, held by the 2002 San Francisco Giants.

Of those seven teams, however, only the 2002 Angels (24 HRs in 16 games) and the 1995 Braves (19 HRs in 14 games) went on to win the World Series. (The full list is here.)

Six of the team's eight starting regulars have hit postseason home runs, with Ryan Howard's career total of five tying him with Greg Luzinski and Gary Matthews, one behind all-time team leader Lenny Dykstra. Ibanez and Pedro Feliz are the two Phillies who've yet to hit postseason home runs. Ibanez reached the '00 postseason with Seattle, while Feliz played in the '08 playoffs, as well as in '02 and '03 with San Francisco.

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