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Phillies Stat Notes: Ice cold bats meet league’s best ERA

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Reeling Phils arrive in Wrigley to face class of the National League.

The sweep at the hands of the Giants dropped the Phillies to the 6th best record in the NL.

While run prevention is still 4th best in the league, scoring just one run in San Francisco dropped their offense from leading the middle pack in runs per game (good for 4th overall), to trailing the pack, and 10th overall:

The Dodgers on the other hand scored 11, 12, and 10 in their three games at Coors Field to jump from 8th to 3rd.

Standings

The Phils remain in 3rd place in the NL East, 2 12 games behind the first place Braves. and 1 12 games back in the race for a wild card (which would go to the Cubs and Nationals, if the season ended today).

The Cubs come into play with the second best record in the NL, but also the best run differential by a fairly wide margin (1.7 runs per game, vs. 0.8 for Atlanta with the second best). They have moved past the Braves as the best hitting team in the league, and also have the lowest ERA (though they’re second in runs allowed). The Cubs also lead all MLB in both WAR and overall hitting (wRC+) by non-pitchers.

Batting

After almost three weeks of struggling at the plate, capped off by the Giants series over the weekend, the bottom has fallen out of the Phils’ hitting stats:

They’re now down to 11th in overall hitting in the NL (both wOBA and wRC+, as well as the flawed but more popular OPS). Their best stat had been On Base Percentage, with a middlin’ batting average buttressed by the league’s best walk rate. The walk rate still leads the league (though it’s been declining), but their batting average (.233) is now 14th, and so the Phillies’ OBP is now also 11th.

The Cubs meanwhile lead the league in scoring (5.23 per game) and overall hitting (111 wRC+), as well as batting average, OBP, and Slugging Percentage:

*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).

3 straight shutouts (almost)

The Phillies were nearly shut out for three straight games, saved from that fate only by a pitcher’s home run. However it’s not unheard of for even very good teams to go through slumps like that.

There was a team in 2010 that was shut out for three games in a row. Interestingly, one of their own pitchers threw a perfect game in the very next series. The pitcher was Halladay, and the team was the NL East champion Phillies.

Another Phillies team that got shut out three games in a row was the 1983 NL champions.

Others included the 2015 Cardinals (NL Central champions), and the 2015 Dodgers (NL West champs).

So, clearly, get ready to buy your playoff tickets.

The Phils’ stats on patience have been declining but they are still first or second in taking the first pitch (75% of the time), pitches per PA (4.04) , and walk rate (10.0%).

However they also lead the league in striking out, and (not surprisingly) are last in making contact, but also in their quality of contact, bringing up the rear in both Line Drive rate (18.9%), and Hard-hit rate (29.9%).

First pitch swinging

Just looking at the first pitch swing stats by player, they run the gamut. Among the <a href=”https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2018-pitches-batting.shtml”>164 MLB qualifiers</a> here’s where they rank for the season to date:

24) Herrera 37.2%
49) Franco 33.7%
(mlb average 28.3%)
144) Santana 19.1%
147) Hoskins 18.5%
150) Kingery 17.4%
155) Hernandez 15.7%

And if they did qualify, this is where these would rank:

4) Alfaro 47.7%
19) Williams 37.8%
156) Altherr 15.6%

So of their 9 hitters with the most PAs, essentially they have:

- 4 guys in the top 30% (Herrera, Franco, Alfaro, Williams)
- and 5 guys in the bottom 15% (Santana, Hoskins, Kingery, Hernandez, Altherr)

(By the way, if you haven’t already read Ethan Witte’s excellent piece today on the Phillies and their hitting approach, I recommend it highly.)

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.

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.

Odubel Herrera has gone ice cold over the last two weeks, and Jorge Alfaro is the only one currently hitting very well. Cesar Hernandez has picked up the pace a bit after cooling off, and Carlos Santana has been very solid for over a month now:

Below is how each Phillie hitter’s OPS and wOBA have progressed over time.

Pitching

The Phillies’ ERA has slipped to 4th, but their FIP* leads the NL.

The Cubs have allowed the 2nd fewest runs (3.57 per game), but lead the league in ERA (3.18). That indicates they’ve allowed a lot of unearned runs and must have been charged with many errors, and sure enough their fielding percentage is near the bottom (though not as bad as the Phillies’).

However based on more advanced defensive stats, the Cubs’ fielding has been arguably the best in the league, while that of the Phillies remains at or near the bottom:

*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+):

Seranthony’s Start

Dominguez hasn’t pitched since Thursday, but when we last saw him he was tying the all-time record for most perfect outings (8) in a pitcher’s first 11 appearances.

And he has pitched more innings in those games (10 1/3) than any of the other guys he is tied with -- 2nd most is 8 1/3:

If he doesn’t allow a baserunner in his next relief appearance, he will become the first pitcher in MLB history with 9 perfect appearances in his first 12 games.

References

Phillies hitters (fangraphs)
Phillies pitchers (fangraphs)
Team hitting stats (fangraphs)
Team pitching stats (fangraphs)
Team stats (baseball-reference)