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Those damn expectations...

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They will kill you.  We certainly have developed a feeling of deservedness.  What is good can always be better.  The old version is always better than the new one.  How quickly we forget what it was like when we had the old version.  If only I could break the space-time continuum and have people taste test last year's Phillies with this year's and really see what they'd prefer.  2 less wins and in third place or 2 more wins and in first place?  It seems obvious, but, you'd not think that listening to a lot of grumbling around town.  It took the Atlanta Braves like 6 or 7 years to get sick of making the playoffs.  We aren't even through half of the second season...

Whiner: The Phils aren't as good as last year!  Their offense sucks and their pitching is lucky!

Truth:

Last year:

Phils Scored: 5.51 runs/game (OPS+ 111)
Phils Allowed: 5.07 runs/game (ERA+ 97)

This year:

Phils Score: 4.89 runs/game (OPS+ 103)
Phils Allow: 4.27 runs/game (ERA+ 113)

So, we have a net loss of 8 points in OPS+ and a net gain of 16 points in ERA+.  Our offense has obviously dropped off from last year while our pitching has made up for it two-fold.  The easiest complaint is that the pitching is playing over it's head and isn't this good.  Can we not make the same comment about the offense? 

Whiner: The Phils playing down to their opponents.  They can never beat scrubs from bad teams!

Truth: Like every team in the league doesn't do the same thing.  The Phillies have losing records against 7 clubs:

BOS            1   2
FLA             5   7
LAA             0   3
NYM            4   9
OAK            1   2
TEX             1   2
TOR            1   2

Those teams have an average winning percentage of .533.  Only Oakland had a losing record and that is because they traded off a few of their best players. 

Whiner: But the Phils are so inconsistent in their offense.  They have been shutout 8 times.  Look at the Mets, just 4 shutouts!

Truth:  Many good teams are inconsistent.

Marlins: 7 shutouts
Cubs: 6 shutouts
Braves: 11 shutouts
Red Sox: 6 shutouts
Detroit: 11 shutouts
White Sox: 9 shutouts
Yankees: 7 shutouts

Look, I'd love for them to be shutout less, but would 1 or 2 runs really do it for you? 

Whiner: But they hit into so many double plays!

Truth: Before last night's debacle...

Phillies: 77 GIDPs.  25th in MLB and just 1 more than the 28th team. 

Whiner: But they have a #1 and 4 #5s!

Truth:  Phils have a #1, a #2 and possibly 3 #3s.

Hamels: 133 ERA+
Moyer: 118 ERA+
Kendrick: 102 ERA+
Myers: 87 ERA+
Blanton: 136 ERA+ (limited time)

Myers has looked very good since coming back up and Blanton is somehow getting it done.  I think most teams wish they saw these numbers next to their starter's names. 

Whiner:  But this team has no heart like last year's team.  With Rowand, we'd be like 10 games up and suckling on the teat of division champions already!

Truth:  Mr. Grit took his flying facesmash act to where the money was.  If he wanted to win so badly he would have stayed in Philly.  We can see how good his BBQs are doing for the Giants.  Also, his line is very mediocre.

2007: .309 .374 .515 OPS+ 123
2008: .281 .352 .432 OPS+ 106

That is 28 points in BA, 22 points in OBP, 83 points in SLG and 17 points in OPS+. 

Whiner:  But this team is so unlikable!  Whaa whaa whaa.

Truth:  You are just looking for a reason to hate.  Last year's team wasn't any better than this one.  You only loved them on the final day of the season; they were frustrating as all hell up until that point (ok, maybe Hamels' beaut on the Friday before).  The Phillies are in first place on August 11th and have been there for 63 days this season.  Last year's Phillies were in first for 2 days. 

Bottom Line: Of the three teams in the NL East, the Phillies have played the best so far.  They have the best run differential AND record, which means that as inconsistent as they have been, the Mets and Marlins have been even MORE inconsistent (lets not forget that the Marlins lost a game where they scored 17 runs).  Interestingly enough, the Phillies are 7 games better than the Mets against the rest of the league and 4.5 games better than the Marlins against the rest of the league.  The Mets and Marlins are not better than the Phillies, so, we can expect them to play better against those two teams. 

Take a freakin pill you effin whiners.  Your team is LEADING the NL East by 2 games, has the SECOND best run differential in the NL, has the THIRD best record and has a solid 60% chance of making the playoffs.  All people do around here is complain.  Maybe we have found out the reason why the Phillies have the WORST homefield advantage in all of baseball since 2004.  The fans here can really suck.