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November 30 2006

Regardless of whether you're a fan of interleague play or not, the Phillies' inability to beat American League teams last year cost them dearly.

The Phils were excellent against a weak National League last season.  For the season they finished at 85-77 overall, eight games over .500.  Against the NL teams the they were 16 games over .500.  80-64.  They had a winning record against the teams of all three NL divisions, seven games above .500 against the NL East, three games above .500 against the NL Central and six games above .500 against the NL West.  Their .555 winning percentage against NL teams would have put them on-pace for a 90-72 season had they only played NL teams and continued to win games at the same rate.

The AL killed them.  The Phils went 1-5 against the Red Sox and 1-2 against the Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees and Devil Rays.

 

Team Overall vs NL E vs NL C vs NL W vs AL
PHI 85-77 41-34 20-17 19-13 5-13

The Mets were better than the Phillies last year.  A lot better.  They were the best team in the National League and they owned the Phillies head-to-head, winning 11 of the 19 games the teams played.  They're better than them today.

What if they hadn't been, though?  What if the two teams were close enough that every game mattered?  Here's what the Mets did:

 
Team Overall vs NL E vs NL C vs NL W vs AL
NYM 97-65 45-29 23-17 23-10 6-9

The Mets played just 15 games against the AL.  The played the Yankees six times and did not play the Devil Rays at all.  Of the 19 teams the Mets played last season they were under .500 against just two.  They went 1-2 against the Orioles and 0-3 against the Red Sox.

So have the Phillies been wronged?  No.  The schedule fluctuates from year to year and if you're going to go 2-4 against the O's and Devil Rays you don't have much to complain about.  The Mets didn't do much against the AL either, but they obviously could have taken the series against Tampa Bay if it had been on the schedule.

The numbers do show, however, that the Phillies may have been a little better compared to the other NL teams than you may have thought.  And as long as interleague play is with us those games are going to be important -- especially in years when you have 18 of them and the best team in your division has 15.

This article suggests that the Phillies were about to sign Joe Borowski to a multi-year deal but were advised not to after a physical by a team doctor.  If they set the over-under for the number of pitchers the Phillies would bring back from the group of (free agents) Fultz, White and Rhodes at 1 1/2, which would you take?  I'd take the over, but I wouldn't feel real comfortable about it.  If they set it at 1/2 I would.

Rod Barajas apparently had a deal with the Blue Jays then got a new agent and reconsidered.

When Randy Wolf pitches for the Dodgers next season there's a chance he'll be throwing to Mike Lieberthal.

Albert Pujols thinks the league MVP should go to someone who takes his or her team to the playoffs.  Duly noted.

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