Items after the jump:
- Interleague play: is the NL closing the gap?
- Phils batters vs. projections: Vic and JRoll going in opposite directions
- Carlos Ruiz and plate discipline
- Orioles stats: run differential worse than Phils'
- Phillies stats vs. same time in 2011
- NL Standings and team stats
- Milestones: Thome, Pierre, Hamels, and Rollins (including where he'll rank by the end of his contract)
Interleague play began in 1997, and for the first 8 years (1997-2004), the NL was slightly ahead, 988-959, a .507 winning percentage. Then starting in 2005, the AL has dominated the series for the past 7 years, with a .555 W%. However the gap seems to be narrowing somewhat in recent years:
Phillies Hitters vs. Projections
Instead of comparing to the lowest of the 4 projections published at FanGraphs, this table now compares to the average of the 4.
Jimmy Rollins has been hot lately (Phils' best hitter over the last 10 games), to the point where in terms of how they're doing relative to projections and recent history, he has nearly caught up to Shane Victorino.
Carlos Ruiz and Plate Discipline
Ruiz has slowed recently but is still around the 1.000 OPS mark. As some have pointed out in recent threads, Chooch has been swinging at anything close this year, a sharp departure from his past approach at the plate:
- pitches per PA have gone from one of the highest on the team to one of the lowest
- he's swinging at the 1st pitch more (24% vs. 16%), as well as other pitches (overall 47% vs. 40%)
- he's therefore getting to a hitter's count less often (25% vs. 33%), and when he does he swings much more often (50% vs. 35%)
- so his walk rate has dropped, again from one of the best to one of the worst
- in terms of the strikezone, he's seeing more first-pitch strike (4.2 points more), but actually fewer strikes overall (1.6% less)
- he's swinging at a much higher percentage of pitches (overall up 7.2 points), both outside the zone (up 9.3), and in it (up 6.3)
(also, doesn't really fit but included above, his HR/FB has skyrocketed in the early part of the season)
The surprising Orioles are in a tie for first in an AL East where only 3 games separate all 5 teams. That's despite a negative run differential and pythagorean record (-4, .492) which are slightly worse than the Phils' (-1, .498). The Orioles have been a kind of mirror image of the Phillies, winning more than they should, including going 10-5 in one-run games (Phils are 5-10).
Both their runs scored and their runs allowed are squarely in the middle of the pack in the AL. Their offense combines below-average OBP with above average power, and their K rate is the highest in the league. And while their ERA is ranked 4th at 3.73, their run prevention is average overall because they're tied for the most unearned runs allowed.
Baltimore hasn't announced their starter for Saturday yet, but Tommy Hunter appears most likely at this point. All three Orioles starters are RHPs, so expect to see Jim Thome get lots of at bats.
Phillies Team Stats vs. early 2011
First 16 games: 2.7 runs per game (15th in the NL)
One of the NL's best offenses since 4/23 (36 games)
4.7 runs per game (3rd)
77% of games with 3+ scored (3rd)
63% of games with 4+ scored (3rd)
(12th in runs allowed: 4.6)
As David S. Cohen's article nicely lays out, the Phillies have scored about the same runs as they did at this point last year, but have given up 20% more.
The plate discipline stats, with the exception of their league-best strikeouts, are getting worse rather than better. It took a 3-walk game yesterday to stay just ahead of the Pirates for the worst walk rate.
NL Standings and Team Stats
The East's dominance is slightly less pronounced than it was before the last set of series, but it's still clear:
East ..... .542 (87.8 wins per 162)
Central .. .466 (75.5)
West .... .488 (79.0)
The difference is even bigger when you only look at games outside their own division:
Games outside own division
East ..... .570 (92.3)
Central .. .435 (70.5)
West .... .477 (77.3)
- Pierre needs to score 1 more run to reach 1,000 for his career (he would become the 27th active player with 1,000+).
That will also make Pierre the 19th player in history with 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs, and 500 steals. The last 4 to join this club were Tim Raines (2002), Rickey Henderson (2003), Kenny Lofton (2007), and Barry Bonds (2007).
- The next time he appears in a game (15th of the season) he will become the 51st player in history to play in 2,500.
- He needs 2 more K's (13 total) to become the 2nd player in history to reach 2,500; Reggie Jackson had 2,597.
- His 2nd RBI will tie him with Gary Sheffield for 25th on the All-time list at 1,676.
- Needs 20 Ks to tie Jim Bunning for 6th on the Phillies' all-time list, with 1,197. He's already third in Phillies history among lefties, behind Steve Carlton (3,031), and Chris Short (1,585).
- 5 more runs scored (34 total) will tie him with Richie Ashburn for 3rd on the Phillies list with 1,114. Still ahead will be Schmidt (1,506) and Delahanty (1,367).
- Needs 4 more stolen bases (14 for the year) to tie dead-ball era outfielder Sherry Magee for 3rd on the Phillies' list at 387, behind Billy Hamilton (508) and Delahanty (412). In fact Rollins has been the Phillies' leader for the post-1920 era ever since he passed Larry Bowa's 288 back in 2008. Surprising perhaps, but Richie Ashburn only stole 199 with the Phillies, partly because he played in an era where there was much less stealing. He led the league once, in his 1948 rookie season, with 32.
Below is how I project Rollins to move up the various lists, assuming age-related decline and about 130 games per year through 2015 (the option year of his current contract). He will likely finish as the Phillies' all-time leader in At Bats, Hits, and Doubles: