Not counting last night’s game, the Phillies were on pace to score 890 runs this season a year after being tied for second in the NL with 799 runs scored. The Phillies have had the best offense in the league so far this season — they are second in the NL in runs scored but trail only the Dodgers who have played four more games than they have.
Not only has the rate at which the team scores runs been changing, but the positions in the batting order that are scoring the runs is also changing. Here’s how many runs each of the positions in the batting order have scored this season, the pace that each of the spots in the order is on pace to score this season, the percent of the team’s runs that accounts for and the runs scored and percentages for last year:
|% of runs||2008
||% of runs|
The Phillies are on pace to score 91 more runs than they did in 2008. Of the nine positions in the batting order, five are accounting for a lesser percentage of the runs that the scored last season. Just four spots, three, five, six and nine, are accounting for a higher percentage.
The sixth spot in the order is up, but just by a tiny bit. The consistency in the percentage of the team’s runs scored by that position has been surprising. In 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, the number six hitters in the Phillies lineup have scored either 9.8% or 9.9% of the Phillies runs every season.
Surprising to me was that the nine hitters are scoring a higher percentage of the runs this season. That may have more to do with what the non-pitchers are doing in the nine-hole than the pitchers. Not including last night’s games, the non-pitchers hitting in the nine-hole had gone 25-for-87 (.287) with five home runs and 17 RBI on the year. In 2008, non-pitchers hitting in the nine-hole went 58-for-233 (.222) with six home runs and 36 RBI for the season.
The middle of the order is where the Phillies are seeing the biggest increases in terms of their runs scored. Despite the fact that the team overall is on a pace to score nearly a hundred more runs than they did last year, the top two hitters are on pace to score fewer runs than they did in ’08. In 2008 the top two hitters in the lineup scored 225 runs — through the first 55 games they are on pace to score 224 in ’09.
The fifth spot in the order is the place where the Phillies have seen the most dramatic increase in the number of runs scored. They are on a pace to have their five-hitters score 42 more runs than they did in ’08. Werth and Ibanez have both been good hitting fifth for the Phils this year, but a big factor in the increase in the runs scored also has to be the improvements with the bats by Feliz and Ruiz. Feliz and Ruiz have combined to drive in 42 runs in 331 plate appearances this season. In ’08 they combined to drive in 89 in 836 plate appearances. At the rate they are driving in runs in ’09 they would knock in 106 if they got 836 plate appearances.
The MLB Network’s The Pen, a reality show featuring members of the Phillies bullpen, will debut on Sunday.
Raul Ibanez insists he did not use steroids. And you know what? I believe him. I’m pretty sure a whole lot of people do. I’m also sure that the culture of guilty-until-proven-innocent must be nearly impossible for players who haven’t used performance enhancing drugs to deal with these days. He goes to the parent’s basement card a little early, though. He definitely solved all the problems one can solve by calling the person you have an issue with a coward and an idiot. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t any blogger in any basement anywhere that created the culture of suspicion that he and everyone else in baseball has to live with now — it was so many baseball players using steroids and lying about it to so many people under so many different circumstances.