The Phils couldn’t have won a one-run game last year if they had read a book about why not to pinch-run for Pat Burrell in the sixth inning. How bad was it? Pretty bad. Here’s the overall record, record in one-run games, non one-run games and the difference in winning percentage in non-one run games and one-run games for the teams in the NL East in 2007:

Team Overall 1-run Not
PHI 89-73 (.549) 14-23 (.378) 75-50 (.600) .222
NYM 88-74 (.543) 22-15 (.595) 66-59 (.528) -.067
ATL 84-78 (.519) 18-25 (.419) 66-53 (.555) .136
WAS 73-89 (.451) 27-24 (.529) 46-65 (.414) -.115
FLA 71-91 (.438) 22-24 (.478) 49-67 (.422) -.056

Overall, the Mets and Marlins were pretty close to the same in one-run games and games decided by more than one run. The Nats had a much better winning percentage in one-run games. The Phils were awful and the Braves were bad too, just not as bad as the Phillies.

Along with the Mets, the Phils played the fewest one-run games in the division last season (37). The Nationals played the most with 51. This also means the Phils played the most non-run games in the division along with the Mets. In non one-run games, the Phils dominated the division, playing to a .600 winning percentage.

If I were to guess about the primary problems for the Phils in one-run games my top two would be the terrible bullpen and the insistence on replacing good players with bad ones that were better defensively late in games. The Phils’ pen was certainly miserable, but looking at the teams in the NL East, the Braves also struggled in one run games and their bullpen was far better (second best in the NL by ERA). The Marlins bullpen was weak and they fared better in one-run games than they did overall. By ERA, the Reds had the worst bullpen ERA in the league last season and they went 26-24 in their one-run games, a .520 winning percentage that was far better than their .444 winning percentage overall for the season. So while the bullpen is surely a factor, it’s not the only one.

Whatever the answer, it’s something the Phils are going to need to fix in 2008. By a wide margin, using winning percentage as the measure they were the worst team in the NL in one-run games in 2007. The Braves were second worst with their .419. The Pirates, who went 16-22 for a .421 winning percentage, were third worst. One of the reasons it would be a nice thing to figure out is that the Mets are just so effective in one-run games. Over the past two seasons they Phils have gone 36-46 in one-run games while the Mets have gone 53-31.

Yesterday the Phils got seven strong innings from Brett Myers and beat the Reds 6-2 to improve to 6-12 in spring training. Myers allowed two runs on five singles and didn’t walk a batter. Madson followed Myers and allowed a single in a scoreless eighth. Blackley pitched the ninth and walked one but didn’t allow a hit or a run. With his nice outing, Blackley has his ERA down to 8.22 as he continues his bid for the opening day roster.

Dobbs had the only extra-base hit for the Phils, a double. He was 1-for-3 on the day. Snelling was 1-for-1 with a walk and two RBI. His numbers are suddenly up to 292/393/417 for the spring. Helms was 1-for-2 to raise his average to .300. Rollins’ slow spring continued as he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout to drop his average to .158. Jenkins was also 0-for-3 with a strikeout and is hitting .136.

The Phils play Cleveland this afternoon.

Looks like there may be something going on with Shane Victorino, who is hitting 231/250/333 this spring, and Charlie Manuel. In this article Manuel says that the Phillies miss Aaron Rowand’s leadership and that some guys can’t police themselves. This after Manuel said that just because you’re a regular player doesn’t mean you always will be.

This reminds that the Phils almost took Rocco Baldelli over Chase Utley in the 2000 draft.

Lots of Phils’ players are unfazed by their miserable spring. Manuel seems a little more fazed.