A media narrative is developing, and it's not kind to the Phillies. So, in light of that, here are ten things you might not, but should, know about the Philadelphia Phillies:
1. The Phillies had the second best record in the NL this year. At 92-70, the Phillies were 5.5 games behind the Cubs for the best record in the NL. On the other hand, the Dodgers had the 8th best record in the NL this year. At 84-78, the Dodgers finished just behind the 84-77 Marlins. If the Phillies were in the NL West, they'd have finished 8 games ahead of the Dodgers.
2. The Phillies had the fifth best record in the majors this year. The Phillies finished behind only the Angels, Cubs, Rays, and Red Sox. Not to belabor the point, but the Dodgers finished 15th in the majors, behind such also-rans as the Cardinals, Astros, Yankees, and Blue Jays.
3. The Phillies had the best road record in the NL this year. The Phillies were 7 games over .500 for a 44-37 record on the road. The Cubs, the best team in the NL during the regular season, were second with a 42-38 record. The Phillies' road record was second in the majors only to the Angels, who were an incredible 50-31 on the road. The Dodgers were 9 games under .500 on the road, or 36-45.
4. The Phillies were tied for third for best home record in the NL this year. They were tied with the Dodgers (Mets and Diamondbacks too) at 48-33. Thus, as much as Dodger Stadium's pitcher-friendly park helped the Dodgers, Citizens Bank Park's deceptively neutral environment helped the Phillies.
5. Since the Manny trade, the Phillies, at 34-21, have had a much better record than the Dodgers, at 30-25. Much is being made in the press about how Manny Ramirez turned the Dodgers' season around. That may be true, but since he played his first game as a Dodger on July 31, the Dodgers went 30-25 for a .545 winning percentage. He apparently had a much bigger effect on the Phillies, who went 34-21 for a .618 winning percentage since the trade.
6. The Phillies finished much stronger than the Dodgers. The same story has been told about the Dodgers' strong finish. But the Phillies were 17-8 in September, the same exact record as the Dodgers for the month. And the Phillies were much stronger in the last 16 games. The Phillies finished 13-3, whereas the Dodgers went only 9-7 to finish the season.
7. The Phillies had the hottest hitter in baseball in September. Manny Ramirez was very good in September and definitely helped the Dodgers. He hit 8 home runs, drove in 28 runs, and scored 15. He posted a .370/.465/.753 triple-slash line for a 1.218 OPS. Damn good month of September for Manny. But Ryan Howard, not Manny Ramirez, was the King of September in MLB. Howard hit 11 home runs, drove in 32, and scored 26, all MLB highs for the month. His line was .352/.422/.852 for a 1.274 OPS. Manny was awesome; Howard was even more so.
8. The Phillies had the pitcher with the lowest WHIP in the NL. Playing half his games in a neutral park (which was much more hitter-friendly than the Dodgers' insane pitchers' park), Cole Hamels gave up only 1.08 base runners per inning pitched, the best mark in the NL. He trailed only Roy Halladay (1.05) for the major league lead.
9. The Phillies were only slightly outpitched by the Dodgers this year. The Dodgers led the NL with a 3.68 team ERA. They did that in their incredible pitchers' park. However, the Phillies, in their reportedly-hitters' park that actually played neutral this year, put up a 3.88 team ERA, a surprising fourth in the NL. On the road, the Phillies outpitched the Dodgers -- a 4.13 road ERA compared to the Dodgers 4.38 road ERA. The Dodgers' starters outpitched the Phillies', 3.87 ERA to 4.23 ERAA (thanks Adam Eaton and second-half Kyle Kendrick). However, the Phillies' relievers outpitched the Dodgers', 3.19 ERA to 3.33 ERA. In advanced terms, the Dodgers had a 269 team pitching VORP (second in the majors, first in the NL), whereas the Phillies were only slightly behind with a 254 VORP (fifth in the majors, third in the NL).
10. By every measure, the Phillies outhit the Dodgers . . . and it's not even close. The Phillies scored 799 runs, while the Dodgers scored only 700. The Phillies outhomered the Dodgers by 77 home runs -- 214 to 137. The Phillies had a much better team OPS -- .770 compared to .732. The Phillies were better on the basepaths too, stealing 136 bases at an 84% success rate compared to the Dodgers stealing 126 at a 75% success rate. In advanced terms, the Phillies had a 232 team VORP (seventh in the majors, fourth in the NL), compared to the Dodgers 163 (19th in the majors, 9th in the NL).
As you watch, listen, and read about the upcoming Phillies/Dodgers series, keep this information in mind. It'll help you keep your sanity as the media narrative about the transformed Manny/Torre Dodgers spins out of control.
[And here's an addendum number 11:
11. The Phillies have the manager with the better career managing win-loss record. Charlie Manuel's career record as a manager is 574-484 for a .543 winning percentage. Joe Torre's career record as a manager is 2151-1848 for a .538 winning percentage.]