Run Slumps: An Initial Exploration

Brian Garfinkel

The Phillies are not scoring runs. This alone isn't cause for alarm. I would bet this happens to almost every team almost every year. My initial exploration confirms this.

The Phillies are in a brutal offensive slump. It's painful to watch them at the plate. After averaging 4.7 runs per game through the first 9 games, they've averaged just 1.9 over the past 7 games. That's good for a total of 13 runs over those 7 games.

There's no two ways about it - it's ugly.

But my intuition is that this happens all the time to almost all teams. Here, I've looked at the NL East teams last year to see if they had similar slumps. What I found confirmed my intuition -- they all did.

Braves: scored 12 runs over 7 games from game 61 through game 68 (0,4,2,4,0,0,2).

Nationals: scored 14 runs over 7 games from game 19 through 25 (1,2,3,0,1,5,2).

Mets: scored 10 runs over 7 games from game 120 through game 126 (2,2,1,2,2,0,1).

Marlins: scored 9 runs over 7 games from game 14 through 20 (0,2,1,1,2,0,3).

These teams had vastly different offenses, as they averaged 4.3, 4.5, 4.0, and 3.8 runs respectively last season. But they all suffered offensive lapses over the course of the season.

The Phillies actually were the best last year in this regard. Their lowest 7 game output was 15 runs from the 10th through 16th games (5,2,0,2,4,1,1) and from the 11th through 17th games (2,0,2,4,1,1,5). Despite these early season struggles, they still averaged 4.2 runs per game over the course of the season.

I'll explore this more some other time, but the bottom line here is that slumps happen to all teams. When your team is in the midst of one, it feels horrible, like it's never going to get better. But it will. The Phillies will not average 1.9 runs per game this season, nowhere near it.

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