The Reason

You want the reason the Phils are suddenly scoring more runs now that they've made "the purge"? Well, here it is. It's really quite simple.

Almost everyone is hitting better. Scratch that. "Better" isn't the right word. Almost everyone on the team is killing the ball compared to what they did earlier this year.

Check out the charts below and be amazed at what this team has done over the past 18 games.

April 3 through July 28   July 29 through August 15  
Lineup Position BA OBP SLG OPS   BA OBP SLG OPS   OPS Δ
1 0.260 0.322 0.420 0.742   0.341 0.409 0.659 1.068   0.326
2 0.332 0.394 0.549 0.943   0.408 0.500 0.776 1.276   0.333
3 0.285 0.424 0.454 0.878   0.318 0.356 0.447 0.803   (0.075)
4 0.243 0.351 0.446 0.797   0.391 0.528 0.783 1.311   0.514
5 0.279 0.362 0.609 0.971   0.264 0.353 0.569 0.922   (0.049)
6 0.271 0.333 0.440 0.773   0.241 0.282 0.367 0.649   (0.124)
7 0.259 0.326 0.400 0.726   0.300 0.372 0.429 0.801   0.075
8 0.241 0.287 0.350 0.637   0.265 0.359 0.382 0.741   0.104
9 0.142 0.189 0.218 0.407   0.190 0.260 0.238 0.498   0.091

Six out of nine lineup spots are doing much better since the purge, all of them quite significantly (.075 or more difference), and three of them, three of the top four lineup spots, are murdering the ball compared to what they did for the entire season until the end of July. And, the three lineup positions that are doing worse (incidentally, the third spot is one of those, where Bobby Abreu has vacated), one of them is only moderately so and the other two are significant (.075 or more) but not a huge difference.

Illustrated differently:

April 3 through July 28   July 29 through August 15  
Field Position BA OBP SLG OPS   BA OBP SLG OPS   OPS Δ
Pitcher 0.088 0.141 0.110 0.251   0.128 0.200 0.154 0.354   0.103
Catcher 0.253 0.291 0.375 0.666   0.329 0.397 0.557 0.954   0.288
First Base 0.276 0.353 0.573 0.926   0.386 0.517 0.771 1.288   0.362
Second Base 0.316 0.380 0.535 0.915   0.310 0.348 0.440 0.788   (0.127)
Third Base 0.260 0.327 0.374 0.701   0.232 0.329 0.261 0.590   (0.111)
Shortstop 0.262 0.325 0.425 0.750   0.350 0.424 0.650 1.074   0.324
Leftfield 0.270 0.372 0.529 0.901   0.310 0.414 0.648 1.062   0.161
Centerfield 0.259 0.323 0.428 0.751   0.256 0.298 0.436 0.734   (0.017)
Rightfield 0.277 0.423 0.427 0.850   0.303 0.386 0.592 0.978   0.128
All Pinch Hitters 0.189 0.239 0.299 0.538   0.444 0.500 0.556 1.056   0.518

Centerfield production has dropped slightly, Utley has been slumping at second, and Nunez is, not surprisingly, even worse than David Bell at third. But, other than them, all six of the other positions are hitting the ball immensely better (.103 or more of a difference), and the Phils are finally getting some good pinch hitting.

How's the offense doing it over the past 18 games? We have the answer: almost every lineup and field position has significantly improved over what it did earlier in the year. That's how a team scores more runs. It's really quite simple.

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