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A Tale of Two Teams

One team is pitching incredibly well and hitting with purpose; the other team's pitching stinks and its hitting is worse. Who are these mystery teams?

Mystery scoreboard to go with the mystery teams.
Mystery scoreboard to go with the mystery teams.
Bob Levey

Let's compare two teams. If you read yesterday's post, you know the drill - I'll keep you guessing for a little while.

Here's the team hitting comparison:

Team A 0.235 0.294 0.345 0.639 3.1 0.6 7.1% 22.5% 0.293
Team B 0.264 0.319 0.449 0.768 4.8 1.3 7.4% 17.2% 0.289

As is quite obvious, Team B is outperforming Team A across the board. Team B has a higher batting average, gets on base more, slugs better, scores more runs per game, hits more home runs, walks more, and strikes out less. Both teams have roughly league-average BABIP, so neither is luckier than the other.

There's no two ways about it - Team A's offense is struggling and would be the second worst in the majors (only Miami's team OBP is worse, at .603); Team B's offense is doing much better and would be among the best offenses in baseball (the .768 OPS would be fifth in the majors).

How about pitching? Here's how the two teams compare:

Team A 0.280 0.339 0.470 0.810 5.67 1.45 1.5 8.2 0.324
Team B 0.194 0.263 0.326 0.589 2.20 0.99 0.7 6.9 0.225

As is even more obvious than with the hitting comparison, Team B's pitching is vastly superior to Team A's pitching. Opposing batters are almost the equivalent of the major-league leading Rockies (.817 OPS) against Team A but are worse than the Marlins against Team B. Team A's pitchers are giving up almost 3.5 more earned runs per game than Team B's. Team A's pitchers allow almost an extra half runner per inning and give up more than twice as many home runs per game.

The silver linings for Team A, if you want to call them that, are that Team A is striking out more batters (but to no avail) and that Team A has been giving up more than its fair share of hits on balls in play, while Team B has been extremely lucky.

With these team differences, the overall results for the two teams are not surprising:

W-L %
Team A 0.263
Team B 0.800

Team B is pacing the field, while Team A is one of the worst teams ever.

So, you've read this long. Who are these two teams? Well, they're both the Phillies, and they're both from 2013. The difference is that Team B is the Phillies against the Mets (.423 winning percentage so far) and Marlins (.276), while Team A is the Phillies against everyone else (Braves, Reds, Pirates, Cardinals, Royals, and Indians).

In other words, the Phillies have been a tale of two teams this year. Against the bad Mets and the pathetic Marlins, the Phillies have excelled. Against everyone else, the team has been beyond ghastly.