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Phillies Stat Notes -- Offense is the worst, Pitching only nearly so

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Bright spots in the 2015 Phillies' first month are tough to find, but Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera offer some hope.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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The Phillies have a firm hold on that "15" under Hitting (R/G) -- they've played more games than all but 3 other teams (23), and still have the fewest runs scored in the NL (63, next lowest is SF at 66). So even this early in the season, at 2.74 runs per game to the Giants' 3.00, the Phillies would have to outscore the Giants by 6 or 7 runs over the weekend just to climb out of last place.

MLB Standings

With the 27th best record in MLB, if the season ended today they would have the 4th pick in the 2016 draft.

The Phils didn't have a good last 7 days, going 3-4, but they still improved from 8 games out of first a week ago, to "only" 7. However they are now only 1 run away from the worst run differential in MLB, just ahead of Milwaukee. And because they've compiled that near-worst differential in lower-scoring games (on average) than the Brewers, their pythagorean record of 6.2-16.8 actually is the worst in all of baseball.

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NL Standings and Key Stats

Lots of red on the Phillies' row, including the pitchers walking the most batters in the league (4.3/9 IP).

As noted above the Phils' run differential projects to the worst record in MLB, a 44-win pace:

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Phillies' Stats vs. last year, and vs. the Marlins

Hitting

That's a lot of last-place rankings in the hitting stats, interrupted only by a couple of "14"s, both of them due to Milwaukee, which is slightly worse in both scoring 3+ runs (45%) and in OBP (.279).

So is there anything they are good at? Triples. They're tied for the NL lead with the Giants, with 7 each. And they don't strike out a lot, with the 4th lowest K%, at 18.3%.

Other than that, you might say they are better than most at playing small ball. They lead the NL in both sacrifice attempts and successful sacrifices. Their success rate of 55% is below average, but considering that it was only 20% a week ago, at least that's improving.

They're also 3rd in the NL in productive outs, which are defined as... 
- a sacrifice by the pitcher with one out
- advancing any runner with none out
- driving in a run with the second out

So they rank high there partly because they are also 3rd in the league in getting a runner home from third with less than two out.

However since the point of small ball is to get as much as possible out of a weak offense, they are undoing any good by still being the worst in the NL in hitting with runners in scoring position. Not only are they worst, but they are the also the worst relative to their overall stats (see the tOPS+ column here).

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Pitching

The bullpen has been better so far, at least in ERA (3.03, vs. 3.64 last year), but that's the only bright spot, and judging by their FIP and xFIP even that may not be sustainable.

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Phillies Hitters

Freddy Galvis now has the 4th highest fWAR of any shortstop in MLB, and shows no signs of slowing down yet.

Cody Asche has cooled off after a hot start, with only a .545 OPS over the last two weeks. And with negative defensive ratings, he's now near the bottom among third basemen.

Odubel Herrera is hanging around the middle of the pack in Center Field, not bad at all for a Rule 5 pick.

Chase Utley's April is in the books, and it's one for the ages:

- His .114 batting average tied for the lowest in the month of April in Phillies history (since 1914), with Roy Sievers in 1962. By the way Sievers, who was 35 that year, went on to finish with a .262/.346/.455 line (116 OPS+).

- His batting average on balls in play of .102 is the fifth lowest number in any month in Phils history, and the lowest in 32 years, since Joe Morgan's .047 (!) in July 1983. The 39 year old Morgan, as it happens, also compiled a 116 OPS+ by the end of that year.

By the way, and on the brighter side, looking up the best months since 2010 makes for an interesting list (by OPS, minimum 50 PAs):

1.180 - Carlos Ruiz, May 2012
1.062 - Shane Victorino, July 2011
1.062 - Jim Thome, June 2012 -- honestly had no idea (exactly 50 PA)
1.041 - John Mayberry Jr, August 2011
1.023 - Ryan Howard, June 2010
1.009 - Hunter Pence, August 2011
.993 - Shane Victorino, August 2011 -- the second half of 2011 was something else
.991 - Dom Brown, May 2013

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Milestones

Chase Utley

- Utley's next game will be the 1500th of his career, to become the 11th player to appear in that many in the 132+ years of the franchise. The one after that will tie him with Granny Hamner for 10th most, at 1501.

If (heaven forbid) Utley's career were to end today, this would be the list of all-time leaders in rWAR among players with 1500 or fewer games:

62.3 Shoeless Joe Jackson
61.5 Jackie Robinson
60.7 Chase Utley

Also:

- Eight more PAs (89 total) will tie him with Tony Taylor for 7th in Phils history (6424)
- Assuming he ever hits another double, two more will tie Chuck Klein for 6th in franchise history (336), and the third will tie Sherry Magee for 5th at 335.
- Two more HBPs will tie him with Carlos Delgado for 14th all-time (172).

Always-a-Phillie Jimmy Rollins

- His next Extra Base Hit will be his 814th, passing Joe Morgan for 106th all-time.
- His next run scored will pass Luis Aparicio, for both 110th all-time, and for 8th among all shortstops in MLB history.
- His next double will be the 484th of his career and will tie him for 73rd all-time with Hal McRae. In the 48 years from 1951 to 1998, some matched it but no one surpassed the 54 doubles that McRae hit in 1977.