Or, if not that, maybe some more about what what wrong against the Cardinals and Giants.
For two straight years, the Phillies have ended the regular season with the best record in baseball but been ousted from the playoffs in crushing fashion. In 2010 they fell to the Giants in six games in the NLCS and this year they didn’t make it out past the first round as the Cards topped them three games to two.
The Phils have clearly not lived up to expectations in the post-season over the past two years, but did the failures against the Giants in 2010 or the Cards in 2011 have more to do with underachievement in scoring or preventing runs? In this post we’ll try to guess how many runs the Phils should have scored and allowed against St Louis and San Francisco and compare that to what they actually did to determine the area where they dropped off more.
Starting with the 2011 series with the Cards.
The Phillies lost three games in the 2011 post-season. They lost game two 5-4 after Lee took a 4-0 lead into the fourth inning. Oswalt allowed five runs in six innings as they lost game four 5-3 with David Freese driving in four runs in his last two at-bats. Halladay pitched great in game five, but was out-dueled by Carpenter as the Phils failed to score and lost 1-0.
Sure sounds like two of those three loses had a lot to do with pitching failures. But was it the ability to score runs or prevent runs that hurt the Phils more in the 2011 post-season? I think the answer is that the offense was worse than the pitching overall in the series. The table below tries to guess how many runs the Phillies should have scored and allowed during the series based on what they did and St Louis did during the regular season.
|PHI allow||3.27||4.16||.7861||STL Score||4.70||(x .7861)||3.69||3.80||-.11|
|PHI score||4.40||4.13||1.0654||STL Allow||4.27||(x1.0654)||4.55||4.20||.35|
|STL allow||4.27||4.16||1.0264||PHI Score||4.40||(x1.0264)||4.52||4.20||.32|
|STL score||4.70||4.13||1.138||PHI Allow||3.27||(x1.138)||3.72||3.80||-.08|
So, for example, reading the top line it suggests that the Phillies allowed 3.27 runs per game in the 2011 regular season. The average NL allowed 4.16 runs. 3.27 is .7861 (or 78.61%) of 4.16. St Louis scored 4.70 runs per game during the regular season. If they scored 78.61% of that we would expect them to score 3.69 runs per game. In the five games they played with the Phillies they actually scored 19 runs, which is 3.80 per game or .11 more run per game than expected.
And, if you combine that top line with the one at the bottom, which starts with the number of runs the Cardinals scored during the regular season, the chart suggests we should have expected the Phillies to allow 3.69 to 3.72 runs per game against the Cards. They actually allowed 3.80 runs per game in the series, which is between .08 to .11 runs per game worse than expected.
The hitting was much worse than that. The expected runs per game for the offense are 4.52 to 4.55 based on the numbers above. They actually scored 4.20 runs per game in the series, which is .32 to .35 runs per game worse than expected.
In 2010 against the Giants, the numbers were even more dramatic.
The Phils lost four games in that series. Halladay allowed four runs over seven innings in game one and they lost 4-3. Matt Cain shut down the offense in game three as the Phils lost 3-0. Blanton couldn’t go five innings in game four, allowing three runs over 4 2/3. Oswalt started the ninth in a 5-5 tie, allowing a run on two singles and a sac fly as the Phils lost 6-5. The Phils scored two runs in the first in game six, but not again after that. Uribe homered off of Madson in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie and the Phillie season ended with a 3-2 loss.
|PHI allow||3.95||4.35||0.908||SF Score||4.30||(x 0.908)||3.90||3.17||.73|
|PHI score||4.77||4.33||1.102||SF Allow||3.60||(x 1.102)||3.98||3.33||.65|
|SF allow||3.60||4.35||0.828||PHI Score||4.77||(x 0.828)||3.95||3.33||.73|
|SF score||4.30||4.33||0.993||PHI Allow||3.95||(x 0.993)||3.92||3.17||.65|
So, using those numbers, we would expect the Phillies to allow about 3.90 to 3.92 runs per game. They actually did much better than that in the series, holding the Giants to 3.17 runs a game, which is about three-quarters of a run less (.73 – .75).
Offensively, those numbers suggest we should be looking for the Phils to have scored 3.95 to 3.98 runs per game against San Francisco. They actually scored 3.33 runs per game, which is less than expected (by about .62 to .65 of a run a game).
So, in both cases it seems that the fault lies more with the ability to score runs than it does with the ability to prevent them. In 2010, the Phils were fantastic at preventing runs — even better than you might expect based on what they and the Giants did during the regular season. It was the offense that floundered. In 2011 against the Cardinals, the Phils were off in both areas, but a lot more off in their ability to score runs than to prevent them.
So if the team underperformed at scoring runs, they must of had some individuals who struggled with the bats. And they did. Seven of the eight hitting positions, all but right field, were primarily manned by the same player in the 2010 series against the Giants and the 2011 series against the Cardinals. Here’s what the starters did in those series, remembering that the Giants were a fantastic pitching team during the ’10 regular season and the Cards were below league average at preventing runs in ’11:
There were three players who have pretty ugly numbers in each of the series: Ruiz, Polanco and Ibanez. Ruiz is the worst of the three, going 4-for-35 (.114) with a home run in the two sets combined. Ibanez was 7-for-34 with 11 strikeouts and a .229 on-base percentage while Polanco’s .481 OPS over 39 at-bats wasn’t a whole lot better than the .425 that Ruiz put up.
Three of the seven were good in one of the two series but not the other.
Utley pounded the ball against the Cards this year, but went 4-for-22 against the Giants in 2010. His .859 OPS for the two series combined is the top mark for this group of seven players.
Howard was just the opposite, putting up big numbers against San Francisco in 2010 before hitting .105 as the Cards eliminated the Phils this year. During the regular season in 2010 and 2011 combined, Howard slugged .497, more than a hundred points higher than the .390 he slugged against the Cards and Giants.
Victorino went 5-for-24 with a double and two walks against the Giants. 2-for-3 with a double in game five against St Louis got his average up to .316 in that series, but he still put up a .607 OPS in the two sets combined. That’s nearly two hundred points lower than the .799 he OPS’ed during the 2010 and 2011 regular seasons combined.
The list of Phillies who hit well against both the Giants and the Cardinals is pretty short, but if Jimmy Rollins doesn’t belong on it I think he comes the closest. He was fantastic against the Cards and a lot worse against the Giants, hitting .261 against San Francisco with a couple of walks. Over the two sets combined he slugged .465, which led that group of seven players and is also remarkable given that he didn’t hit a triple or a home run in either series. Utley is the only guy on the list who out on-based him in the two series and Rollins outslugged Utley by more than Utley out on-based him. Again, it’s hard to say Rollins played well in a series against San Francisco where he put up a .624 OPS, but I think he comes the closest of that group of seven to have played well in each of the series.
Five of the seven players, everyone on the list besides Utley and Rollins, on-based .304 or worse for both of the sets combined.
Rollins is the only player to slug higher than .421 both sets combined. Five of the seven starters slugged .390 or worse.
In right field, Werth went 4-for-18 with a double, two homers and a 222/375/611 line against the Giants, making him arguably the best offensive player for the Phils in the series. Pence was 4-for-19 with four singles and two walks against the Cards. His 211/286/211 line belongs alongside the other guys who underperformed against St Louis.
The bench didn’t do much of anything against the Giants. Gload (0-for-5 with a walk), Francisco (1-for-6) and Brown (0-for-2) combined to go 1-for-13 with a walk.
Francisco (1-for-2) hit a huge home run in the series against the Cardinals. Gload went 1-for-2 with a single and Mayberry 0-for-4, making the trio 2-for-8 this year.