Posts Tagged ‘Percentages’

Phils Fail To Get To .500 Once Again In Loss To Boston

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, May 30, 2013 10:22 PM Comments: 20

Hamels has been a victim of poor run support all season. (Photo: AP)

The game of baseball finally caught up with Jonathan Pettibone tonight. (Photo: AP)

The Phillies just can’t seem to make it over the hump. They had another opportunity to get back to .500 tonight, but as has happened every time they’ve had that chance since April 14–the last time they were even–they squandered it.

Jonathan Pettibone put the Phils in an early hole, and the offense wasn’t up the task of an uphill battle, as the hometown nine fell to the Red Sox 9-2. They’ll try to reach the .500 plateau once again this weekend.


- Through seven starts, Pettibone has been about as good as can be expected from a 22-year old during his first stint in the big leagues. But he’s also been very lucky with men on base, stranding 85.3% of baserunners, which is about 15% more than the league average. Tonight, his luck would finally give out, and fast. He gave up four runs in the first, allowing all but one of the baserunners who reached to score. Remarkably, he’d prevent the Red Sox from scoring after the first, despite allowing a baserunner in each of his five innings.

- Pettibone clearly wasn’t sharp tonight. He struggled with his control big time. He walked four and worked six three-ball counts. Given the amount of baserunners Pettibone allowed (with the 6 hits, his WHIP was an even 2.00), it’s pretty uncanny he only allowed four runs. It was the bullpen that imploded.

Continue reading Phils Fail To Get To .500 Once Again In Loss To Boston


Former Phils Face Long HOF Odds in 2013

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, January 08, 2013 11:45 AM Comments: 24

http://media.philly.com/images/020812-curt-schilling-400.jpgIn one of the more interesting projects out there, the Baseball Think Factory has gone through the trouble of collecting the publicly announced ballots of the voting sec of the Baseball Writers Association of America and projecting the percentage of Hall of Fame votes each player will receive.

Note: Because the announcement of induction will be made tomorrow, ballots are rapidly becoming public. This references percentages from a snapshot in time and may not reflect what their real time statistics say.

The surprising but not super unsurprising news: the Baseball Think Factory does not project anyone to be inducted in 2013. There is good news for individual players: Craig Biggio projects to be the closest to induction with his infield mate Jeff Bagwell right behind him, while Tim Raines‘s numbers continue to climb after a disappointing first year on the ballot. The news for former Phillies, however, is not so great. Here’s a look at their odds.

Curt Schilling

A three-time All-Star with the Phillies, sometimes it is easy to forget the outspoken, Alaskan-born righty was once in red and white pinstripes. Schilling’s breakout season came in 1992, posting a 2.35 ERA as a swing-man for the Phillies. Schilling started 26 games, throwing 10 complete games, but also threw in 16 games as a reliever, leading baseball with a 0.990 WHIP.

Schilling was dominant with the Phils after four seasons of shuttling back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A, three with Baltimore and one with Houston. While it is particularly easy to remember Schilling’s childish behavior during the 1993 World Series or his outspokeness in his desire to leave town, Schilling posted a 101-78 record, with a 3.35 ERA and 61 CG for the Phillies for atrocious clubs.

Continue reading Former Phils Face Long HOF Odds in 2013


Roberts Cut By Arizona, Phillies Should Inquire

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, July 24, 2012 08:25 PM Comments: 7

As I wrote over the weekend, third base is an exceptionally thin position. The Phillies are finding that out, again, as Placido Polanco deals with a balky back that has him in the MRI tube. It’s becoming abundantly clear that they’ll have to go in a new, and hopefully younger, direction next season. Ryan Roberts could be the move.

Roberts, 31, won’t be mistaken for Mike Schmidt at the hot corner, and he’s not all that young. However, at five years younger than Polanco, and with a little pop in his bat, it would represent an upgrade.

The Diamondbacks designated Roberts for assignment on Tuesday and will now look to trade him. Early reports have the Rays making a play for his services; but the Phillies should be next in line.

Continue reading Roberts Cut By Arizona, Phillies Should Inquire


Victorino Has Been The Missing Spark

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, September 21, 2011 10:30 AM Comments: 18

Losers of seven of their last eleven, this has unquestionably been the season’s worst stretch of Phillies baseball.

Recent games have been rather meaningless for the Phils and the final eight are important only in keeping the team fresh for the NLDS. Even still, getting the offense back to the high level of August is a necessity.

The Phillies have scored 31 runs in their last thirteen games, an average of 2.4 per contest. Take away the 9-2 win over St. Louis Saturday and the Phils have scored 22 combined runs in twelve of thirteen games, or less than two per.

Where has the offense gone?

Well, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have been out of the lineup for seven of those games. Jimmy Rollins has missed five.

Continue reading Victorino Has Been The Missing Spark


My Lineup Card Would Look Like This

Posted by Don M, Sat, May 28, 2011 11:00 AM Comments: 21

Now that the Phillies have started to get healthy (*knock on wood*), we got to see something that resembled an actual Major League Baseball lineup.  Then came a six-hour game, and the lineup had to be reshuffled again.  Someday this thing will get situated, and that’s where you come in… the question to you:  What would the Phillies lineup look like if YOU ran the show?  How much does Chase Utley need to rest?  How often should Domonic Brown play? Should they ease Brown in with a platoon situation, or just throw him in the deep end to see if he can swim?

Shane Victorino will hopefully be returning very soon, Utley looks like he’ll need to sit every few games…and with everyone’s favorite, Placido Polanco, still the best hitter on the team, who bats 2nd?  Who bats 3rd?  There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding this team, and a lot of ways our issues can be resolved.

Tell us your lineups vs. Lefties and vs. Righties….    Something the eye-test-guys and the saber-heads can have some nice discussions about!

If I had my say:

Phillies lineup vs. Right-Handed Pitchers (RHP)

  1. Rollins, 2. Polanco, 3. Utley, 4. Howard, 5. Victorino, 6. Brown, 7. Ibanez, 8. Ruiz, 9. Pitcher


Phillies lineup vs. Left-Handed Pitchers (LHP)

  1. Rollins, 2. Utley, 3. Polanco, 4. Howard, 5. Victorino, 6. Francisco, 7. Ibanez, 8. Ruiz, 9. Pitcher


*I would try to rest Utley every day-after-night game…and when he needs a breather, try to make it against LHP … (with OPS for his career almost identical against LHP and RHP, but Utley has a career batting average of .297 vs. RHP, and .283 vs. LHP… Higher OBP vs. LHP than vs. RHP…but Higher SLG% vs. RHP than vs. LHP, etc…) Basically Utley is pretty damn good no matter who is on the mound, but playing the percentages of baseball – resting him OCCASSIONALLY vs. Lefties should help more in the long run. (With Utley resting vs. a LHP: 1. Rollins, 2. Victorino, 3. Polanco, 4. Howard, 5. Francisco, 6. Ibanez, 7. Ruiz, 8. Valdez, 9. Pitcher)

*Also, I think Domonic Brown needs to start in RF every single time a RHP is on the mound, and unless Francisco and/or Mayberry is killing it vs. LHP, he should start to play against those pitchers more often too.  A straight platoon of Brown RF, Ibanez LF vs. RHP, and Francisco RF, Mayberry LF vs. LHP doesn’t do much to help anyone’s overall development… but if we’re just playing the odds, it could be the best way to generate offense this season???

Where did I go wrong? 

Tell us what you would do in Charlie’s shoes.


A Tale of Two Octuplets

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, April 20, 2011 06:00 AM Comments: 7

I’m going to preface this by saying that the following is an objective post based on reality, supported by stats. Try to remove any biases or homerism from your view of the Phillies offense.

The difference between how the Phillies hit through the first eight games of the season and the last eight is that this makes sense.

Through the first eight games, the Phillies had an insane, unsustainable .411 batting average on balls in play (BABIP.) Everything they made contact with fell in for a hit. Naturally, this led baseball, and the next closest team was 60 points behind. As expected, the team BABIP has since plummeted 96 points to .315. Two-thirds of teams end the season between .290 and .305.

The Phils are 4-4 since winning 10-2 in Atlanta on April 9, averaging a mere 2.9 runs per game. Every player’s numbers have dropped, but the corner outfield has been the most concerning. The Phillies corner outfielders (batting fifth and sixth in every game) have hit .145/.210/.145 during the last eight. They have gone 9-for-62 with no extra-base hits and only five RBI.

Contrast that to the fifth and sixth hitters of the Phillies’ opponents in that span, who have driven in 12 runs and hit .293/.379/.414.

Nobody on the Phillies is walking. Only Baltimore, Minnesota, and Houston have walked less, and those are currently the three worst offenses in baseball.

Nobody on the Phillies is hitting home runs. They are 22nd in the bigs, and only one of the eight teams with fewer homers has a winning record.

What the hell is going on?

Continue reading A Tale of Two Octuplets


The Cost of Bad Defense

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, October 13, 2010 02:58 PM Comments: 7

In last week’s NLDS preview, in addition to lauding the Reds’ defense, and that of Jay Bruce in particular (boy did I feel like a moron), I wrote the following:

“Postseason lore is littered with defensive exploits, both Willie Mays-like and otherwise. But apart from those freak occurrences, fielding, over only a few games, doesn’t tend to swing a series”

Well, we had a big ol’ mess of those freak occurrences in the first round, not just in the Phillies-Reds series, but in the Atlanta-San Francisco series, where Brooks Conrad’s four errors may have swung the entire direction of the series, and in last night’s deciding Rays-Rangers game. These defensive gaffes–particularly in the two National League series–became one of the overriding story lines, and in concert with the tremendous pitching performances on both sides of both series, errors became one of the few ways the Reds, Phillies, Braves, and Giants could score.

To evaluate the impact of these errors, we’ll use Win Probability Added (WPA), a measure that determines, as the name might suggest, how individual plays affect a team’s chances of winning. This is based not on some statistical voodoo, but on data collected over the course of years that say that certain base-out states lead to certain average winning percentages. Since both teams start off with 50% win probability, if one player registers a WPA of .500, that ought to be enough to win the game, assuming his teammates’ contributions are neutral. This, of course, is not always the case. The single-game record for WPA by a player is 1.503 (enough, in theory, to win the game three times), by Art Shamsky of the Reds in 1966. Shamsky homered in each of his three at-bats, in situations of high enough leverage to generate a record WPA, and the Cincinnati still lost, 14-11.

Digressions aside, let’s look at three defensive culprits (or would-be culprits) from the divisional round: Chase Utley, Jay Bruce, and Brooks Conrad and see how much their missteps stood to cost their teams. One note before the break: WPA measures the difference between win probability before the play and after. So Chase Utley’s first error costs the Phillies 3.3% chance of winning compared to before the play happened, not compared to the state if he had made the play.

Continue reading The Cost of Bad Defense


Playoff Preview: Time to Tap the Rockies

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Tue, October 06, 2009 11:10 AM Comments: 31

The real defense of the Phillies World Series crown begins Wednesday afternoon. While only one game separated the Phils and Rockies in the win/loss column this season, we decided to dig a little deeper and uncover just how close the matchup is.

The Phils finished first in the National League in runs scored with 820 or 5.06 runs per game. Colorado, however was second in the NL with 804 runs, 4.96 runs per game. Close. Some of the numbers are actually scary close.

  • Philadelphia: 1,439 Hits; 224 HR; 788 RBI; .258 BA; .334 OBP; .447 SLG; .781 OPS
  • Colorado: 1,408 Hits; 190 HR; 760 RBI; .261 BA; .343 OBP; .441 SLG; .784 OPS

While the Phillies have more star power on offense, the Rockies production is not far off.

The pitching numbers favor the Phillies, albeit by a very small advantage.

  • Philadelphia: 4.16 ERA; 44 SV; 673 ER; 489 BB; 1153 K; .265 BA Against
  • Colorado: 4.22 ERA; 45 SV; 675 ER; 528 BB; 1154 K; .251 BA Against

Looking at the fielding percentages of these two 90+ win teams and both are within .001 percentage points! Another small advantage for the Phillies – they come in as the second best defensive team in Major League Baseball with only 76 errors (fielding at a .987 clip).

Therefore, the only way to really break down this series – one that a lot of Phillies fans, myself included do not think is that close on paper – is to go through this position by position.


Carlos Ruiz is coming off the best offensive season of his young career. While some of his numbers in 2007 were a bit higher, this year Ruiz had his biggest impact on the Phillies lineup. Ruiz saw his numbers skyrocket after the All Star Break. Post mid-July, Chooch hit .276 with an .862 OPS with 25 RBI. By comparison, Chase Utley hit .246/.790 with 32 post All-Star Break RBIs.

In Colorado, Yorvit Torrealba started the season as the backup to Chris Iannetta. However, by the end of the season the roles were reversed. As a solid contact hitter, Torrealba can give some of the Phillies location pitchers a problem. One liability would be his arm. Carlos Ruiz throws runners out at nearly twice the rate of Torrealba which may give Phillies speedsters the opportunity to stretch singles and walks in to scoring position.

Slight Edge Phillies


Ryan Howard is coming off another monster season where he once again shouldered the load in August and September. While Howard’s on-base percentage still lacks for a player of his caliber, his defense improved this season, he continued to drive in runs (four straight years of 136 RBI+) and he stayed durable in season where injuries definitely maligned the Phillies.

Todd Helton is a solid player who is past his prime, but if you are putting players up against each other, he is not much of a comparison to Howard. His numbers were all down from his career averages, however at 36 years old .325/86 RBI/.416 OBP/.489 slugging is still pretty impressive.

Edge Phillies

Second base is more or less the same cakewalk for the Phillies. While Chase Utley has struggled through the month of September, I’m willing to bank on the All-Star getting it back together in October. Utley’s glove brings an intangible that can’t be measured (well it can, if you understand all those range statistics or listen to the latest podcast) and his range is second to none in my book. Rockies second baseman Clint Barmes has some pop in his bat, slugging 23 homers this year, but at a .245 clip and a 4:1 K to BB ratio, he can’t compare to Utley; not the least of which because he also tries get greedy on the base paths. In 22 attempts this year, Barmes was only successful 12 times; Utley was of course perfect in 23 attempts.

Major Edge Phillies

Shortstop is the one infield position that gives an advantage to the Rox. It’s a small one, but Troy Tulowitzki is a stud. Tulo had a season for the ages at the shortstop position that went much unnoticed. On the other hand, Jimmy Rollins had a season that was down from what we all know he is capable of. Rollins did rebound in the second half, but Tulowitzki had a very J-Roll-in-his-prime-type year, coming into the post season at .297/32 HR/92 RBI/101 R/20 SB. Furthermore, Tulowitzki is one of the only shortstops who can make the plays that Jimmy can. J-Roll’s glove was a little better this year, but this is a match-up of two of the best fielding shortstops in baseball. Don’t expect too many balls to get through up the middle this week.

Slight Edge Rockies

At third base, it’s Pedro Feliz over the combination of Ian Stewart and Chase Utley’s best man, Garret Atkins. We will probably see more of Atkins since the Phillies will be starting lefties for the majority of the series in Hamels, Lee and possibly Happ. However, both struggled to hit a combined .227 this season. Feliz was one of the Phillies who flew under the radar this season providing some pop at the bottom of the lineup along with Carlos Ruiz. His 82 RBIs provided some run support and his defensive range, while a little down this year, is still solid at the hot corner.

Slight Edge Phillies


The Phillies start three All-Stars in the outfield. The Rockies start two youngsters and Brad Hawpe. On another note, all three Rockies outfielders are left-handed. It seems we always hear a lot about the amount of left-handed bats in the Phils lineup but the trio of Hawpe, Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith in the outfield could be in for trouble and could lead Jim Tracy to turn to Ryan Spilborghs and Dexter Fowler.

Raul Ibanez seems to have righted his ship, while Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth coasted into the postseason. Regardless, on paper you have to play the outfield as a huge advantage to the Phillies.

One concern for the Phillies could be Werth’s inability to front constant production against right-handed pitchers. Odds are Colorado will start three righties over the course of the series. Werth struck out 123 times against RH pitchers this season and slugged .457 compared to .644 vs. lefties.

Major Edge Phillies


As Tuesday morning, Charlie Manuel hadn’t set a Game One starter. I’m hoping he leans towards Cole Hamels. While Lee had an amazing start to his Phillies career, over the last month-and-a-half the word pedestrian might be an over-exaggeration, as he posted an ERA over 6.00 in his last seven starts.

Hamels has been there, winning three game ones during last year’s World Series march. In what was definitely an underachieving season for the southpaw, Hamels nonetheless showed signs of what he is capable of from time to time. Whether it’s Hamels or Lee in Game One, they will be going up against Ubaldo Jimenez on Wednesday.

Whoever doesn’t get the start on Wednesday will most likely be going up against Aaron Cook in Game Two on Thursday. Cook made only nine starts after the All-Star Break, barely averaging five innings per outing while opponents hit him at a .296 pace. Any baseball expert is going with Lee and Hamels (or Hamels and Lee whichever it is) over Jimenez and Cook.

Game Three is another situation, as neither team has announced its third starter yet. However, if Jorge De La Rosa is back from injury, one would think he gets the nod.

Who Manuel tabs for Game Three is still a bit of a mystery. If the Phillies are up 2-0 in the series, I think its Joe Blanton. If the series is tied or if the Phillies find themselves trailing, I think it is J.A. Happ. While I’m a big J. Bleazy guy, he did struggle down the stretch. On the other hand, it was against the Rox that Happ put together his 10-K, complete game shutout this August. Either way, it leaves the Phillies in a good situation for a potential Game Four or Five if necessary.

Major Edge Phillies

The bullpen is a different story. The Phillies battled a combination of injuries and inabilities all season long in the bullpen. The Rockies, got as good a season out of their closer, Huston Street, as possible. Street converted 35 of 37 save opportunities this year and had a minuscule WHIP of 0.91.

There is no need to write about the struggles of Brad Lidge here, because any Phillies Nation reader is well aware of them. Interestingly enough, it sure seems like Manuel is going with Lidge when the game is on the line. As heartbreaking as all of those blown saves were this season, none will hold a candle to what a postseason blown save could feel like. Is Manuel being too loyal to last year’s team MVP? Probably, but he’s earned that right.

I’m going with the rest of the Rockies bullpen over the patchwork pen the Phillies will bring to the table when the roster is finalized. Perhaps if healthy, the Phillies would get the edge, but with Scott Eyre being the only lefty out of the pen that I trust, it is a troublesome matchup. I do like the addition of Pedro Martinez to the bullpen. Pedro is big time and in the postseason you want big time. If the game is on the line, it will be nice to have Martinez available to come in for a few innings rather than piecing it together.

Edge Rockies


While the Phillies didn’t have the strongest end to the season, it is tough not to like them in this series. Philadelphia won the season series 4-2, taking both series this in 2-1 fashion. I really don’t see the Phillies losing at home with Hamels or Lee going unless it comes down to a blown save of some sort. With everything tied together, I’m going with the PHILLIES IN 4.


Phillies AVG with RISP – Should We Be Concerned?

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, September 10, 2009 11:04 AM Comments: 11

Did you read Andy Martino’s Sunday Inquirer article about the Phillies recent “struggles” with runners in scoring position?  He made a case – using a variety of stats – as to why we should not be concerned about this supposed failure to drive in runners.  I was not convinced when I read it initially and I’ve finally crystallized some of the reasons why.

The main reason I think Phillies fans are right to be frustrated – though no more frustrated than at the closer situation – is that RISP involves situational hitting and absolute numbers (i.e. specific hits that could win games).  This is something averages and percentages can not convey.  Here is the first example:

Through the first five months of this season (all statistics in this column cover that period), the team batted .256 with RISP, 11th in the National League and 23d in the majors. (Last year, when it won the World Series, it was an almost identical .265.)

I think .009 percentage points for a team’s batting average represents more than a negligible number of hits. In fact, at the pace the Phillies are going, they should have 1,431 hits this year – 24 more than last year.  Granted, that’s not a huge number but still not one that should be underestimated.  Plus, since the article was written, the Phillies are now batting .251 with RISP.

Then Chase Utley was quoted as saying:

“It is better to have runners in scoring position and not score than to not have runners in scoring position at all. The hits will come.”

I’m not one to disagree with Chase Utley, but it should be known that the Phillies lead the National League in home runs…by 30. We’re talking about driving runners in, not getting on base – they’re different things, and are certainly not mutually exclusive.

Then the idea of productive outs is considered.

The average major-leaguer makes a productive out in 32 percent of his chances; the Phillies have six players overperforming that number.

Big deal.  Like the batting average with RISP, this is a percentage.  There are still plenty of real opportunities where the Phillies have a chance to score runners.  This is more important than just advancing them; thus a more precise statistic should be used.  For instance, when there are runners in scoring position and the Phillies manage a hit, an average of 1.58 runs are scored – tops in the league.  This makes the clutch hit even more important.

Therefore if people think that Phillies fans are getting too emotional in their concern about driving in runners, they are mistaken.  The fact that these at bats are so intense and memorable drives home the importance of situational hits over the average hit.


Phormula: June Swoon

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, June 23, 2009 11:37 AM Comments: 0

Why does this happen every June?

Since 2007 ushered in this current era of over-the-hump, successful Phillie-dom, the inaugural summer month has been one to forget.

In ’07, they entered the month two games under .500 and left one game over. But they floundered in the middle of the month and spent the last three days of June getting beat by the Mets.

Last season, the Phillies suffered their only sub-.500 month in June, going 12-15 and struggling to do anything offensively after a 20-2 victory in St. Louis on June 13.

This June? How about four straight wins followed by back-to-back crushing blown saves that possibly derailed the Phillies from running away with the NL East very early in the season. Due to poor play and devastating injuries, the Mets could have been deemed irrelevant had the Phillies not slowed down to take a detour.

Obviously, the one commonality every June is interleague play.

We all know the Phillies have struggled in recent years when facing the junior circuit. But do we really know just how awful they have been?

Can’t Hit

Excluding the series at Yankee Stadium in May, the Phillies are 1-8 against the AL, averaging four runs a game while giving up close to seven.

Their team batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage in June are all lower than April and May, and the Phillies already have more strikeouts at the plate this month (142) than they did in all of April (118.)

Four regulars have compiled on-base percentages under .300 in June (Rollins, Feliz, Ruiz, Ibanez.) No Phillie has walked more than he has struck out in the month. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .205 with one stolen base and three GIDP’s.

While these may seem like cherry-picked numbers, atrocious plate discipline and lack of production from the leadoff spot have been two key factors during this pathetic run of losing winnable game after winnable game.

Can’t Pitch

Let’s not place all the blame on the recent woes of the starting lineup, though, because that would be unfair to the pitching staff.

Four guys have pitched well this month: Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.C. Romero, and Chan Ho Park. That’s it. Hamels and Blanton have been the only starters to man the mound past the sixth inning twice in June.

Romero continues to get himself in and out of jams with consistency and Park has finally gotten accustomed to the bullpen by using his plethora of movement to confuse hitters.

But the compliments end there.

J.A. Happ is starting to look human (14 BB in his last 17 IP) and Jamie Moyer continues to show that he is just as capable of giving up six runs in three innings as he is of giving up three in six.

Antonio Bastardo followed his first poor outing with a decent one against the Orioles, mixing in more offspeed pitches and throwing many more strikes, but took the L due to a lackluster offense.

With the starting rotation struggling to get deep into games, the bullpen has been taxed. Injuries and ineffectiveness have been the results. Clay Condrey has come crashing back to Earth, which could have been expected. Chad Durbin and his middling stuff haven’t been able to secure the late-inning role vacated by Ryan Madson, who, after pitching brilliantly for the first three months of the season, has hit a snag in the closer’s role.

Why the June Swoon?

In trying to figure out why the Phillies play so poorly in June, you must first understand that all three June’s are completely independent of one another.

In 2007, the Phillies were 6-6 against the AL in June. They lost two of three to the Tigers, Indians, and the lowly Royals. But that team struggled out of the gate and sputtered until mid-August. They did not yet have the confidence or swagger of a playoff team, nor the identity that developed in the later months.

Last June, the interleague struggles were mainly offensive, as the entire lineup stopped hitting at the same time. They batted .232 for the month, a season low, with less homers and total bases than any other month. And as it usually goes, once a team starts to struggle at the plate, bad luck rears its ugly head. The Phils’ .266 BABIP in June was seventeen points lower than its season average.

This year, it’s been a combination of injuries and players regressing to their true skill set (Happ, Condrey, Durbin.) Entering June, the Phillies were the least injured team in all of baseball, with Brett Myers being the lone Phillie injured for an extended period of time and Carlos Ruiz being the only regular to take a trip to the 15-day DL.

Then June hit, and two big pieces of the bullpen went down, as did Raul Ibanez. Then Ryan Howard went down for two games of the Orioles series. When a team not known for manufacturing runs is forced to play without its two biggest power threats, the results are not pretty. Since Ibanez went down, the Phillies are 0-4 with a .223 BA and .297 OBP.

But the Phils haven’t been merely beating themselves, they’ve been facing viable competition.

AL Beast

To the common observer, the Blue Jays and Orioles are inferior to the Phillies. The Jays lack a big-time power threat and have been ravaged by injuries to the starting rotation. The Orioles have the third-worst ERA in baseball and only Texas, Washington, and Pittsburgh have struck out fewer batters.

But the flaws of these teams are enhanced by the fact that the Blue Jays and Orioles play in the best division of the superior league. The Orioles have already faced the Yankees nine times this season. Think their high ERA/low strikeout numbers have anything to do with that? Think those numbers would look any different if they played four series’ with the Nationals?

On its standings page, Baseball Prospectus features a stat called Hit-List Rank, which ranks teams 1-30 based on a combination of three different Pythagorean formulas that help to determine the overall quality of a team:

  1. Runs scored vs. runs allowed
  2. Equivalent Runs scored vs. allowed (this takes stats such as hits, walks, total bases, stolen bases, etc. to determine how many runs scored and allowed a team SHOULD have.) This also factors in the dimensions of stadiums and league scoring levels.
  3. Adjusted Equivalent Runs scored vs. allowed (this is the same as #2, except it includes strength of schedule.)

The Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, and Yankees rank 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively. Enough said.

Last year, the blame was on the Phillies. They couldn’t hit and lost two of three to the A’s and Rangers, teams they were clearly superior to.

This June, it was moreso the timing of injuries and unsustainable effectiveness of members of the pitching staff.

Or just blame it on the AL East.

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