The Phillies ended the first half of the season with a pair of beautifully pitched games and 1-0 wins. You can’t really win when you score one run, except when you do. So far in 2010 the Phillies have won seven times when they scored one run or two runs. In the 486 regular season games they played in 2007, 2008 and 2009 they won a total of nine games in which they scored less than three runs.
If you want to win scoring one or two runs the formula isn’t complicated. You’ve got to flounder offensively and get a great outing from your pitcher. You probably won’t have much trouble guessing who was on the mound for the Phils this year in the seven games they won when they scored less than three runs: Halladay four times (4/11, 4/21, 5/29 and 7/10), Hamels twice (5/4 and 7/11) and Moyer once (June 22).
It sure seems like they Phillies were at the extremes in the first half when it came to scoring runs — like they would either put up a ten or a one, but not much in between. But were they? The chart below shows the percentage of games this year in which the Phillies scored less than four runs, more than six runs, or four, five or six runs. It also shows the percentages for the other 15 teams in the NL this year and for the Phillies 2007-2009 and how the teams did in those games.
’10 Rest of NL
PHI ’07 thru ’09
|# of runs
|WPCT||% of games||WPCT||% of games||WPCT|
The chart shows that the Phillies scored less than four runs in 49.4% of their games in the first half. That’s more than the combined results for the other 15 NL teams and a lot more than 33.3% of the games that they put up less than four from ’07 through ’09. Thanks to some rather outstanding days on the mound they managed to go 11-32 in those games. In addition to the games listed above that they won when scoring one or two runs, they also won four times when scoring three (Halladay, Halladay, Kendrick and Figueroa).
That makes six games so far this year that the Phillies have won when they scored less than four runs and Halladay started. They have scored three runs or less in 14 of his 19 starts.
The chart also supports the suggestion the Phillies have been more likely to score in the extremes this season. The Phils have scored four, five or six runs in just 16 of their 87 games. The rest of the NL has been almost twice as likely to put up four, five or six in a given game and the Phils were more than twice as likely over the three previous seasons.
Pretty much everyone wins the games when the score more than six and the Phils play in more than their share and win more than their share. They’re 27-1 in games when they’ve scored more than six runs this season and have managed the feat in nearly a third of their games (here’s the one if you can handle it — it required the Twinkies to score nine runs after the end of the eighth inning). You might conclude that this is because the Phils have scored more runs in their >6 games than the comparison groups. They have, at least compared to the rest of the NL this year, but maybe not by as much as you would guess. The Phils have scored an average of 9.29 runs per game in the 28 games they have scored more than six runs this season. The other 15 NL teams have scored an average of about 9.09 runs per game in theirs while the ’07-’09 Phillies also scored an average of 9.29.
The real point of the chart is that the Phillies can’t be scoring less than four runs in half (okay, 49.4%) of their games in the second half. Being pretty good at winning when you don’t score is nice, but it would be a whole lot nicer if it wasn’t necessary.
Finally, I wanted to reiterate yet again the important distinction between scoring three runs in a game and four runs in a game (at least for the Phillies in recent years). From 2007 through the first half of 2010, the Phils are 21-56 (.273) when they score three runs and 43-32 (.573) when they score four. There’s no doubt at least a little flukiness at play there — they are, for example, are 4-4 this year when they score two runs and 4-10 when they score three.
The NL beat the AL 3-1 in the All-Star game thanks to some excellent pitching and a three-run double from Brian McCann. Halladay got two outs in the sixth and wasn’t charged with a run despite allowing a pair of singles. Howard was the DH for the NL team and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout.