The Phillies have had lots of ups and downs so far, particularly in their hitting. But in the end, even with a near-worst batting average, they are exactly in the middle in scoring runs.
And it sure seems like their pitching has been better than average, especially their starting rotation, and of course that’s true. But their bullpen hasn’t been stellar (others may use stronger words), and run prevention also includes defense, where they’ve been arguably the worst in the league. So in the end they are exactly in the middle in runs allowed:
And, obviously, the two teams are also tied in the wild card race, both 1⁄2 game behind the leaders.
Compared to last year, and to the Cardinals
The Phillies’ recent improvement has their season stats back up into the middle of the pack in the NL, despite a batting average that is 3rd worst.
Phillies pitchers lead the NL in WAR (per fangraphs, which bases pitcher WAR on FIP) — more on that later. The Phils’ WAR for non-pitchers, including hitting, baserunning, and fielding, ranks 11th, about the same as last year.
*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).
The Phillies continue leading the league in walking (10.3% of the time), but their pitches per PA have dipped to 2nd, behind the Dodgers (4.07).
However they also lead the league in striking out, and (not surprisingly) are last in making contact, but also in their quality of contact, ranking dead last in both Line Drive rate (19.7%), and in Hard-hit rate (29.9%).
Progress over time
The graphs below show how some key stats have progressed. On the left is the weekly performance (with a dotted line showing the NL average for each one), and on the right is the cumulative season-to-date number. Batting Average and BB% together drive a team’s On Base Percentage, and Batting Average and ISO combine to form Slugging Percentage.
The Phils’ offense just had its best week in over a month. Their walk rate has been high again the last two weeks, and in terms of power this was one of their two best weeks of the year, with an ISO of .228.
Batting — Individual
Below are the Phillies ranked by OPS, along with how they compare to the MLB average OPS at their position. To the right are their OPS over the last 30, 14, and 7 days.
Rhys Hoskins has been red hot since returning after his broken jaw, while Odubel Herrera had a very good week and looks like he might be out of his long slump.
Even Scott Kingery has looked better lately:
Below is how each Phillie hitter’s OPS and wOBA have progressed over time.
These graphs are very busy — I suggest starting with the names to see how they currently rank, and then follow each line to the left to see how they got there (tough for the colorblind though).
There is a stat called Runs Created, which has gone through various iterations, starting with Bill James in the 1980s. Fangraphs calculates a version of that called weighted Runs Created (wRC) which is a counting stat version of wOBA.
The table below shows wRC by each Phillie, by week (the first is more like a week and a half).
It quantifies the ups and downs we’ve seen: the hot starts by Hoskins, Hernandez, and Herrera, the occasional good week from Franco, and the strong hitting from Santana since May 1st:
Phillies pitching leads the NL in WAR (per fangraphs). They also lead for starting pitching in particular, which is not a surprise, and the bullpen, for all its issues, still ranks
Phillies starters are only 7th in ERA, but that’s largely because errors and fielding percentage are grossly inadequate measures of fielding. FIP* ranks the Phillies 2nd in the NL.
The Cardinals have committed a lot of errors, and so their Fielding Percentage is 2nd worst in the NL, behind only the Phillies, but advanced fielding stats agree that their fielding is average at worst, and possibly a bit better.
*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.
Pitching - Individual
Below is a high-level break down of each starter’s games: QS is the typical definition (6+ IP, or less ER), “bad” is any start with more ER than innings pitched, and “other” is all the rest:
And below are each pitcher’s games, with the Game Score for each one on the right (highlighted green if in the 60-79 range, dark green if 80+):
Home Run Streak
The Phillies still own 2018’s longest streak of homering in at least one game, at 16.
The Dodgers had been making a run at that, but stalled at 13 when they failed to homer yesterday. The current contender is Houston with 11 straight. The Phillies also own the 3rd longest active streak, having homered in their last 6 games.