April is over and the May days are upon us. The Phillies, after the first 30 games have the best record in baseball.
If however, you listen to sports talk radio shows in Philly or read the local rags, you would think that the Phillies are in a free fall because their offense has fallen off the edge of the Earth and is on its way to being non existence.
This could not be further from the truth, and the run scoring numbers prove it. One must first remember that the object of baseball is to score more runs than the other team, period. It doesn't matter if you win a game 2-1 or 9-1. A win is a win. The current run scoring numbers not only prove that the Phillies offense is holding their own, they prove, in fact, that this team is actually better than the team that won the World Series three years ago.
Before analyzing the Phillies numbers and the comparison of this year's team to the previous three years, understand that scoring is down across the board in MLB. Home runs and scoring are at the lowest levels since 1993, the beginning of the Roid Era. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, home runs are down 20%, and scoring has decreased 8%, down almost a run a game, from 9.86 to 9.08.
Knowing this, knowing that overall scoring is down, if the current Phillies scoring is adjusted by 8% and the RS value of 139 is changed to 150 and the RA value of 98 is changed to 106, their run differential then becomes an astounding +52, and their scoring is relatively comparable to the previous two years, case closed. (The Phillies actual RD of +41 by the way is second only to the white hot Cleveland Indians +49.)
But Phillie fans are refusing to get this and they are taking on the demeanor of the fading WIP and the hardcore Eagles fans. Negativity is driving their thoughts about scoring. As a lifelong resident and fan, I've come to understand the fear and loathing that a large percentage of Philly fans possess, but this is really becoming ridiculous.
Without the 8% adjustment, the 2011 Phillies have a greater RD than the two teams that went to the World Series (2008, 2009) and are only 2 runs less than the 2010 team.
It is true that their scoring is down; 2% for '08, 18% for '09, and 13% for '10, but the correlating runs against are down and down substantially. The current RA is 24% less than '08, 38% less than '09, and 16% for '10.
Plain and simple, the Phillies are beating the other teams and doing it consistently. They are better in 1 run games, better in 2 run games, and better in games that are decided by 3 runs or more.
I am a Phillies fan and I am proud of our reputation as being knowledgeable fans. Listening to local fans and their whining about the lack of scoring however, makes me wonder if this is true; after all, the numbers are right there for the reading.
2008 2009 2010 2011
Margin of Victory W L W L W L W L
1 run games 6 7 4 2 4 2 5 2
2 run games 4 3 3 2 2 3 3 1
3+ run games 7 3 9 10 12 7 13 6
----------- ---------- ----------- -----------
17 13 16 14 18 12 21 9
RS RA RS RA RS RA RS RA
RS/RA 142 129 169 159 160 117 139 98
RD +13 +10 +43 +41
RS - Runs Scored RA - Runs Against RD - Run Differential
If the fifth month of the year is anything like the fourth month was for the Philadelphia Phillies, they should be in pretty darn good shape come the summer months. And they may even have what I like to call the "Week Out" advantage.
Very simply put, the "Week Out" advantage is a division lead that allows a team to lose every game for a week, while the team trailing them wins every game for a week, and that team would still have the division lead.
Quite obviously, any lead over seven games constitutes a "Week Out" lead. As of this morning, the Nationals and the Mets are a "Week Out".
Did you know that the Phillies are 10-0 in day games?
That when they lead after the 7th, they are 17-0?
That when they lead after the 8th, they are 19-0?
That they are 13-2 when they score first?