The Key to the NLCS:  Runs, Runs, and More Runs

Sure the Phillies got great pitching from Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez.  And their bullpen looked like a major league bullpen rather than the AA bullpen we saw much of the year.  But the reason the Phillies pummeled the Dodgers once again in the NLCS this year was that the Phillies scored runs, runs, and more runs.

Over the course of the five games of the NLCS, the Phillies outscored the Dodgers 35-16.  There are two important ways to put this in perspective.

First, scoring 35 runs against the Dodgers over the course of five games was unprecedented this year.  Literally.  The Dodgers had the best ERA in baseball this year at 3.41.  They were tied with the Giants for allowing the least runs, only allowing 611 all year.  To put that number in perspective, the Phillies were the seventh best in baseball and allowed 98 more runs than the Dodgers.  This Dodgers' pitching staff was the best in baseball.

In fact, they were so good, that the most runs they allowed all year over the course of five consecutive games was 33.  They did that only once, from July 24 to July 28 against the Marlins and Cardinals, allowing 6, 3, 8, 6, and 10 runs over five games.  The Phillies bested this Dodgers-worst performance by 2 runs.  So much for good pitching beating good hitting in the playoffs.

Second, the Phillies hadn't scored this prolifically in the last month and a half of the season.  The Phillies had several stretches this season of scoring 35 runs over the course of five games.  Their best stretch was scoring 46 runs from April 24 through April 28 against the Marlins and Nationals (7, 6, 13, 13, and 7).  They also had 5-game stretches of 37, 40, 39, and 35 (not counting overlapping stretches).  This makes sense for a team that scored 820 runs, the most runs in the NL and the fourth most in baseball.

However, as we all witnessed, the Phillies' offense was not dominant down the stretch.  As evidence of this, the Phillies hadn't scored 35 runs over the course of 5 games since their 35 runs from August 19 through august 23 (against the Diamondbacks and Mets).  From August 24 to the end of the season, the Phillies averaged only 4.4 runs per game.  The best 5 game stretch they had was 31 runs from September 8 through September 12 (and September 9 through September 13).

So, the 35 runs the Phillies scored against the Dodgers were completely unexpected, as the Phillies did it against the best pitching staff in the majors and even though the Phillies' hitters had been slumping offensively for the past month and a half.  Which just makes this NLCS even more amazing.

[UPDATE: According to mlb.com, the 35 runs is the most for any 5 game LCS ever.]

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