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Phillies Stat Notes: Looking to cool off the Nationals

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The Phils visit DC to face the Nationals, winners of five straight

At 17-13, the Phillies are down to the 7th best record in the NL. On the bright side, they’re still only a half-game out of the 2nd wildcard spot.

They’be been 6th best in both scoring and preventing runs:

Standings

The Phillies and Nationals have had the same ratio of runs scored to runs allowed, and so they have the same pythagorean record. Washington has only scored slightly more runs than the Phils (4.69 per game vs. 4.57), but that disguises the fact that they’ve been the much better hitting team so far, and one of the best in the NL, despite being without Daniel Murphy.

Batting

The Phillies’ average runs per game are 6th, but despite their 20-run game they’ve been a bit more consistent than most teams, scoring 4 or more in 57% of their games, good for 4th best in the NL.

By contrast the Nationals have scored 4+ in only 50% of their games (10th), but have still averaged slightly more than the Phils thanks to outbursts of 15, 13, and 12 runs.

But as we can tell by all the orange next to the Nats’ stats, they’ve been better than the Phils in most major categories.

Getting on base

With a higher batting average (.244, 3rd best in the NL, believe it or not), and the 2nd best walk rate (10.9%), Washington edges out the Phillies in getting on base, .332 (2nd) to .325 (3rd).

Power

The Nats haven’t had a whole lot of power (4th in HRs, 5th overall ISO*), but still more than the Phillies (12th in HR, 11th in ISO).

*ISO, short for Isolated power, is the difference between batting average and slugging percentage, and essentially measures the average extra bases per at bat (1 for a double, 2 for a triple, 3 for a HR).

Plate Discipline

The Nationals don’t see as many pitches are the Phils (3.91 vs. 4.13), but they’ve been quite patient. When they get into a hitter’s count they’ve taken more than any other team in the NL in those situations. Unlike the Phillies though, the Nats have been able to keep their strikeouts down (21.1%, 3rd lowest in the NL).

Small Ball

Partly thanks to not striking out much, the Nationals are 2nd best at productive outs*. The Phils meanwhile continue leading the NL in getting runners home from 3rd with less than two out.

*Productive outs are defined as a) successful sacrifice by a pitcher with one out, b) advancing a runner with none out, or c) driving in a baserunner with the second out of the inning.

Base Running

Washington has been the best base stealing team in the NL so far, and leading in both attempts and success rate.

Batting — Individual

Below is how each Phillie hitter’s OPS has progressed over the last month. And because wOBA provides a more accurate view of hitting, that’s included as well. Note for example the bigger separation between Hernandez and Franco in wOBA.

The two colorful columns in the middle of the table below compare each hitter to the average OPS at that position: first the average at the position for last year’s Phillies, and then for last year’s NL average at the position.

Franco for example is 14% above what the Phils got from all their third basemen last year, but still 2% below last year’s league average for a third baseman.

Rhys Hoskins’ OPS is down to only .619 over the last week, dropping his season’s number below 1.000:

Pitching

Washington’s starters have been a strength (3rd in ERA, 4th in FIP), but their bullpen ranks 12th in ERA, and 13th in FIP (vs. 4th and 6th, respectively, for the Phillies).

Nationals pitching leads the NL in strikeouts (26.4%), while also not walking very many (8.1%, 3rd lowest).

*FIP (Fielding-independing pitching) is based only on the stats that are considered to be most controllable by pitchers: strikeouts, walks, and home runs. xFIP takes that one step further by also assuming that home runs are only controllable by a pitcher to the extent to which they allow fly balls to be hit, and adjusts their HRs to the league-average rate of HRs per Fly Balls.

Below is a breakdown of each starter’s games to date — intended to provide a quick profile of the rotation at a glance:

  • QS is the standard definition of a Quality Start (6+ innings, 3 Earned Runs or less).
  • “bad” is any start where Earned Runs are more than the innings pitched
  • “other” is (no surprise) all the ones in between

And then the number is the ERA. Nola and (less so) Pivetta have been steady, while Velasquez feast or famine pattern shows up.

Addendum

Random things:

- Phils lead the NL in runs per hit (not surprising, given their reliance on walks, and their relative clutchiness to date)

- They are the most Three-True-Outcome team in the NL, with 39% of their PAs ending in K, walk, or HR (NL average: 35%)

- They lead the NL in the % of their strikeouts that are swinging, at almost 82% (NL average is 75%)

- They lead the NL in grand slams, with 3, tied with the Mets (no other NL team has more than 1; 9 don’t have any yet)

- They’ve had the 2nd most DP opportunities at the plate, and lead the NL in DP’s. Their DPs as a % of opportunities is in the middle, 9th

- There have been 2 steals of home in the NL, one by the Braves, of course, and one by the Phillies

- There have also been 2 caught stealing at home in the NL: one by the Braves, and one by the Phillies

- The Phils are the only team in the NL (and in MLB) to have been picked off 5 times this year

- On the bright side, they are the only team in the NL with fewer than 5 outs made in running the bases (they have 3)

And the two starting rotations that lead the NL in WAR (per fangraphs) are the Nationals and Phillies, in a virtual tie at 3.4 (though the Nats are presumably slightly ahead).