Remember this? After 79 games, the 2011 Phillies were preventing runs at a fantastic rate and looked, at least compared to the rest of the National League, like they would wind up better overall than the 2008, 2009 or 2010 teams.

And despite the disappointment of the post-season, I think they were. The table below shows the runs scored and allowed by the Phils since 2008 compared to the rest of the league as well as the same numbers for the team that actually won the World Series that year (in 2008 the Phillies were the World Series winner, so there’s only one entry for that season):

TM W R/G Lg Rank Lg Avg RA/G Lg Rank Lg Avg Ttl
’11 PHI 102 4.40 7 4.13 1.07 3.27 1 4.16 0.79 .28
’11 STL 90 4.70 1 4.13 1.14 4.27 9 4.16 1.03 .11
’10 PHI 97 4.77 2 4.33 1.10 3.95 4 4.35 0.91 .19
’10 SF 92 4.30 9 4.33 0.99 3.60 2 4.35 0.83 .16
’09 PHI 93 5.06 1 4.46 1.14 4.38 6 4.49 0.98 .16
’09 NYY 103 5.65 1 4.82 1.17 4.65 7 4.75 0.98 .19
’08 PHI 92 4.93 3 4.54 1.09 4.20 3 4.63 0.91 .18

So, for example, the ’11 Phils scored 4.40 runs per game, which was seventh in the league and about 1.07 times (or 107% of) the NL average of 4.13 runs per game. They allowed a league-best 3.27 runs per game, which was about 0.79 times the NL average. If you add .07 (.07 better for at scoring runs than the league average) and .21 (.21 better at preventing runs) you get the .28 that appears in the right-most column. In the same year, the St Louis team that won the World Series was much better during the regular season at scoring runs, but much worse at preventing them.

The table above suggests . . .

  • The 2011 Phillies were better during the regular season than the Phillies teams of 2008, 2009 or 2010.
  • The 2011 Phillies excelled at preventing runs, but were near league average at scoring runs. From 2008 to 2010, the Phils were no worse than third in the NL in runs scored per game before dropping to seventh in 2011.
  • In each of the last four seasons, the Phils have been in the top half of the NL in both scoring and preventing runs.
  • In each of the last two seasons, the Phils have been ousted from the post-season by a team that excelled at either scoring or preventing runs, but was also in the bottom half of the league in allowing or scoring based on runs per game. The Cards were ninth-best in the NL in runs allowed per game in 2011 and the Giants were ninth-best in the NL in runs scored per game in 2010.
  • After getting a little worse in 2009 after winning the World Series in 2008, the Phillies have gotten better in 2010 and 2011.
  • In 2010 and 2011, the Phillies were better during the regular season than the NL team that 1) knocked them out of the playoffs and 2) won the World Series.
  • The ’09 Yankees were better than the ’09 Phillies — or at least were better relative to the rest of the AL than the Phils were relative to the rest of the NL.

If you had to pick one thing to focus on from that table, I think it’s how few runs the Phils allowed in 2011 compared to the rest of the NL. That carried them to much better numbers overall, despite the fact that the offense got worse. How much worse, though? Look at the offensive numbers for 2008 and 2010. Clearly the offense was better in those seasons — third in the NL in runs scored per game in 2008 and second in 2010. The 2011 Phils were seventh, but the runs they scored per game compared to the average for the league didn’t drop off by a huge amount. In 2011, they scored about 107% of the runs per game as the average NL team. In 2008 they scored 109% and in 2010 they scored 110%.

In 2011, there was a huge dropoff between the team that scored the seventh-most runs (the Phils) and the team that scored the eighth-most (the Cubs). The Phils scored 713 for the year and the Cubs scored 654 — the Phils, with the seventh-most runs in the league, were actually closer in runs scored to the Cardinals (who led the NL in runs scored) than they were to the Cubs, who were eighth in the league in scoring. The Phils scored 59 runs more than the Cubs and 49 less than the Cards.

The Phillies signed Jim Thome to a one-year deal worth $1.25 million. That is a great signing.

Getting Michael Cuddyer would be rather fantastic as well.