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A Thursday Quiz: A Little Perspective for Phillies Fans

Two shutouts in a row against the Mets?  No runs in 38 of the last 39 innings?  Injuries to key players?  Horrible base running?  Front page sport section space being stolen by hockey?  HOCKEY?!?!

Yes, it's bad right now.

Or maybe that's just how it seems.  Here's a Thursday morning quiz to try to put things in perspective for you:

1.  Which Major League team has the second-largest division lead?
A.  Tampa Bay Rays
B.  Philadelphia Phillies
C.  Baltimore Orioles

2.  Which National League team has the second-best winning percentage in the league?
A.  Washington Nationals
B.  San Diego Padres
C.  Philadelphia Phillies

3.  Which team has the best run-differential in the National League?
A.  Pittsburgh Pirates
B.  Philadelphia Phillies
C.  San Diego Padres

4.  Which Phillies team had the worst 8 game scoring total in the past 3 seasons?
A.  The World Series Champion 2008 Phillies
B.  The NL Champion 2009 Phillies
C.  The sorry no-offense can't-even-score-against-the-Mets 2010 Phillies

5.  In what year did Ryan Howard have his worst OPS through May 26?
A.  World Series Champion 2008 Ryan Howard
B.  NL Champion 2009 Ryan Howard
C.  Unclutch sloth 2010 Ryan Howard

6.  In what year did the Phillies have their best record through 45 games?
A.  That amazing 2008 team
B.  The inspiring 2009 team
C.  The 2010 team that takes second-seat to Flyers news

7.  In what year did the Phillies have their best average division-ranking through 45 games?
A.  World Fucking Champions 2008 Phillies
B.  Almost-the-best 2009 Phillies
C.  The atrocious 2010 Phillies

8.  In which year did the Phillies give up the least runs to their opponents through 45 games?
A.  Our saviors, the 2008 Phillies
B.  The most recent Phillies winners, the 2009 Phillies
C.  The team that can't hit, field, pitch, or run, the 2010 Phillies

Answers below the fold:

1.  B.  At 2.5 games, the Phillies have the second-best division league in all of baseball.  The Rays have the best lead, at 3.5 games over the Yankees.  All other first-place teams are within 2 games or less of the second-place team.  The sorry Orioles are the worst, at 17 games back.

2.  C.  The Phillies have the second-best winning percentage in the NL, at .578.  The Padres are first at .600, and the Nationals are surprisingly respectable, at .511.

3.  B and C.  Both the Padres and the Phillies have scored 46 more runs than they have given up, the best run-differential in the NL.  The Pirates, on the other hand, have the worst, having given up 114 more runs than they have scored.

4.  B.  The 2009 Phillies scored just 13 runs from August 27 through September 4.  That's 2 fewer runs than the 2010 Phillies have scored in the past 8 games.  The current Phillies' offensive futility was matched by the World Series champs in 2008 from June 17 through June 26 (all interleague play games).

5.  A.  Through May 26, 2008, World Champ Ryan Howard had a .784 OPS (.207/.313/.472).  In 2009, he had his best start through May 26, hitting .257/.335/.537 for an .872 OPS.  This year, he sits comfortably in the middle, at .296/.345/.473 for an .818 OPS.

6.  C.  The current Phillies are 26-19 through 45 games.  The World Champion Phillies were 24-21.  Last year's NL Champs were 25-20.

7.  C.  The current Phillies have been in first place for all but 4 games this year, averaging 1.11 for their ranking through 45 games.  The World Champs were in first place for only 8 games in the first 45, averaging a ranking of 2.33.  Last year's NL Champs were in first place for 12 games in the first 45, averaging a ranking of 2.29.

8.  C.  The current Phillies have given up only 181 runs in the first 45 games.  The World Champs gave up 202 in the first 45 games, while last year's NL Champs gave up a whopping 233.

So what does this tell us?  Surely I'm not arguing that the Phillies are playing good baseball right now nor that they shouldn't figure out what they might be doing that needs improving.

But, it's also just as certain that the team is doing pretty well this season.  The current streak should not make us forget that.