Out of curiousity, I scanned the game logs for both the Mets and the Phillies wondering how often they scored runs this season and whether there were any similarities. Imagine my surprise when I found out the Phillies scored 2 or fewer runs the exact same number of times as the Mets, and were within two games of the Mets in regard to scoring 3 or less runs in a game. Also, I noticed the Phillies were just as likely to score 7+ in a game as they were to score 2 or less.
Upon looking the peripherals, it seems fallacious to presume such a thing,since the Mets' splits were .249/.314/.383 (13th, 14th, and 12th respectively in the NL) with a team OPS+ of 90 whereas the Phillies hit at a stellar .260/.332/.413 (all 5th in the NL) and a team OPS+ of 99. To put that into perspective and using players that fit the criteria of averaging 3.1 plate appearences per game, starting 8 Michael Bourns (.265/.341/.346, OPS+ of 90) would have been just as effective offensively as the average lineup the Mets were unleashing on the National League for most of the season. Conversely, the Phillies put out the offensive equivalent of 8 James Loneys per game (.267/.329/.395, OPS+ of 99).
However, James Loney is an incredibly streaky hitter as evidenced by his Pre-ASB numbers of .309/.361/.803 and his post-ASB splits of .211/.285/.331 (granted he was aided by an incredibly high .344 BABIP in the first half, and hurt by an immensely unlucky .243 for the second half but BABIP is not the crux of my argument). Likewise, the Phillies offense can go absolutely comatose at times, often to the extent of this year's Mets.
I did some baseball-reference number crunching and came up with the following (which confirms my theory that the Phillies offense isn’t as good as the peripherals indicate) from the teams' respective game logs (any mistakes are mine):
The 2010 Mets were shutout 11 times (0-11 in such games of course)
The 2010 Phillies were shutout 11 times. (0-11)
The 2010 Mets scored 1 run or less 30 times this season. (5-25 in such games)
The 2010 Phillies scored 1 run or less 34 times this season. (6-27)
The 2010 Mets scored 2 runs or less in 51 games this year (9-41 in those games)
The 2010 Phillies scored 2 runs or less in 51 games this year (13-38)
The 2010 Mets scored 3 runs or less in 77 games this year (20-57 in those games)
The 2010 Phillies scored 3 runs or less in 75 games this year (24-51).
I certainly do concede that in 9 out of the 11 Phillies shutouts, the hideously bad offensive duo of Juan Castro (OPS+ 29... swear to God, they actually gave him 136 PAs this year; and you thought Alex Cora was bad) or Wilson Valdez (OPS+ 79 in 363 PAs) had to start, but of the Mets 11 shutouts Jeff Francoeur (OPS+ 80 for a corner outfielder in 447 PAs) and Ruben Tejada (OPS+ 62 in 255 PAs) were starting the majority of them along with the Barajas/Blanco platoon (82/58 OPS+ respectively).
In spite of the lineups, the Phillies still had 6 players this year to post an OPS+ of 100 or better with at least 433 PAs: Jayson Werth (145 OPS+ in 652 PAs), Carlos Ruiz (128 OPS+ in 433 PAs), Ryan Howard (128 OPS+ in 620 PAs), Chase Utley (124 OPS+ in 511 PAs), Raul Ibanez (112 OPS+ in 636 PAs), and Shane Victorino (102 OPS+ in 648 PAs).
The Phillies still had 6 above average-to-excellent hitters in their lineup for the majority of the season, and still could make runs seem as scarce a commodity as the Mets did.
Of course, as you get much higher the numbers drastically shift in the Phillies' favor. For example, Phillies had 29 games of 9+ runs of offense this year (27-2), while the Mets had only 9 (9-0). Still, this Phillies offense can sputter at the drop of a hat, usually comparable to the rate of the Mets.
Do not get me wrong, I certainly do concede that the Phillies are talented, but also volatile. Any team that poses a nearly equal oppotunity of scoring 7+ runs (52 times this year) in any given game or scoring two or fewer (51 times this year) cannot be classified any other way.
The Mets scored 7+ runs 25 times this year and two or fewer in the same 51 instances this year. The Mets offense wasn't volatile this year, it was just bad.
Over a large sample size of 162 games, you can be volatile and still win 97 baseball games in a season. However, when your season now has been shrunk to a 3 or 4 game sample size to determine whether you persist in playing baseball or not, volatility can be immensely damning for one's chances of winning. That being said, the Phillies may go out tomorrow and demolish Madison Bumgarner, or they may go down meekly as they are prone to doing in stretches. I just don't know.
Any objections, corrections, and other stats are endorsed and appreciated.
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