First, a disclaimer. Today’s post is about Game Score. I understand Game Score isn’t a great stat for a whole lot of reasons. That said, I think we can use Game Score to help illustrate part of what’s wrong with the Phillies so far in 2012.
One day, maybe not too long from now, people are going to remember back fondly to the 2008 Phillies and how Halladay and Lee and the starting rotation led the Phils to World Series glory. That will be wrong, of course. Halladay and Lee weren’t on the 2008 Phillies and the rotation wasn’t very good at all. Myers, Kendrick and Eaton combined to make 79 starts for the Phillies in which they threw to a 5.14 ERA with a 1.51 ratio.
The relievers were the part of the 2008 team that dominated. The offense was very good, but the bullpen was great. Phillie relievers threw to a 3.22 ERA in 2008, the best mark in the league.
In 2012, the Phillies have played 81 games and won 36 of them. Looking at those 81 games, though, and using Game Score as the measure, in 46 of them the combination of the Phillies starting pitcher and the Phillies offense was better than the combination of the other team’s starting pitcher and their offense.
The Start Log tracks the Game Score of the starting pitcher for the Phillies for each game as well as the Game Score for the Phillies’s opponent. It also tracks, for each game, whether the Game Score for the Phillies starting pitcher was better or worse than the Game Score for the starting pitcher of their opponent. Here’s the team’s actual record in 2008 and in 2012 and the number of games the Game Score for their starting pitcher was better or worse than the Game Score of their opponent.
|Year||Actual record||Game Score better/worse than opponent||+/-|
So, in 2008, the Phillies actually went 92-70. In those 162 games, though, the Game Score of their starting pitcher was better than the game score of their opponent just 77 times.
So far in 2012, the Game Score of the starting pitcher for the Phillies have been better than the Game Score of the opponent’s starting pitcher in 46 of 81 games.
The Phillies haven’t won 46 games this year or even come close. In 2008, they won 15 games more (92 for the year) than the number of games in which the Game Score for their starting pitcher was better than the Game Score for the other team’s starting pitcher. In 2012, they have won ten fewer games than the number of games in which the Game Score of their starting pitcher was better than the Game Score of the other team’s starting pitcher.
So if the Phillies had just won the game in which their offense and starting pitcher combined to be better than the other team’s offense and starting pitcher (at least according to Game Score), they would be 46-35 right now instead of 36-45.
There have been three games this season that the Phillies won when the Game Score of their starting pitcher was better than the Game Score of the other team’s starting pitcher. There have been 13 games in which the Game Score of the Phillies starting pitcher was better than the Game Score of the other team’s pitcher and the Phillies lost.
Here are the three games that they won despite a worse game score:
- May 1: Phillies 4, Atlanta 2. Hamels Game Score 56, Brandon Beachy’s Game Score 61. The Phils go in to the top of the eighth tied 2-2 and score two runs off of Jonny Venters.
- May 24: Phillies 10, St Louis 9. Blanton 19, Westbrook 21. Blanton and Westbrook were both terrible in the game, but Blanton a little worse according to Game Score. The Phils scored four runs charged to the St Louis bullpen after Westbrook left while the Cardinals scored just two runs in 4 2/3 innings off of the Phillies pen after Blanton left.
- May 30: Phillies 10, Mets 6. Lee 51, Dillon Gee 56. Lee allows three runs over six innings while Gee allows two runs over 6 2/3. Both pens are terrible in the game, but the Phillies outscore the Mets 7-3 after the end of the seventh inning.
- April 7: Pittsburgh 2, Phillies 1 (ten innings). Lee 66, Jeff Karstens 59. Lee and Karstens both pitch well. The game goes to extra-innings and the Pirates win it with a run off of Blanton on a double, a hit batter and a single.
- April 8: Pittsburgh 5, Phillies 4. Worley 62, James McDonald 57. Worley and McDonald both pitch well with Worley a little better. Both starters are gone after six innings with the Phils up 2-1. The Phillies score two off of the Pirate pen in the seventh to go up 4-1, but two runs off of Stutes in the bottom of the inning cut the lead to 4-3. Kendrick and Bastardo combine to allow a run in the bottom of the eighth, with Matt Hague singling off of Bastardo to drive in Andrew McCutchen and tie the game at 4-4. Herndon allows a leadoff double to Casey McGehee to start the bottom of the ninth and the Pirates win the game on a walkoff single by McCutchen off of Herndon.
- May 7: Mets 5, Phillies 2. Halladay 65, Niese 52. Halladay pitches way better than Niese, allowing two runs over seven innings while Niese allows two runs over five. The teams go into the ninth inning with the score tied at 2-2 and Papelbon allows a three-run homer to Jordany Valdespin.
- May 8: Very next day. Mets 7, Phillies 4. Blanton 52, Batista 39. Blanton leaves in the seventh with the Phils up 4-2, one out and runners on first and second. Qualls allows a two-run single with both runs charged to Blanton (4-4) and Bastardo allows another RBI-single, which puts the Mets up 5-4. Schwimer is charged with two runs in the top of the ninth.
- May 9: Third day in a row. Mets 10, Phillies 6. Lee 59, Gee 37. Lee outpitches Gee and leaves up 4-2 after six innings. Kendrick allows three runs in the seventh (down 5-4) and comes back to start the eighth for reasons unknown. He’s charged with two more in the eighth, one of which scores on a two-run shot by Ike Davis off of Contreras. Contreras is charged with two more runs in the seventh and Sanches allows a solo homer in the ninth.
- May 12: Padres 2, Phillies 1. Halladay 64, Edinson Volquez 59. Bullpen didn’t blow anything in this one. Halladay allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out ten, giving him a better Game Score than Volquez, who allowed a run over six innings.
- June 5: Dodgers 2, Phillies 1. Lee 70, Chad Billingsley 63. Blame this one on Manuel, not Game Score or the pen. Lee and Billingsley are both very good. Lee starts the eighth with a 1-0 and allows hits to four of the first five men he faces, the last of which is a two-run double to Elian Herrera on his 122nd pitch of the game.
- June 7: Dodgers 8, Phillies 3. Hamels 51, Aaron Harang 46. Dodgers lead 4-3 after six. Phillies don’t score in the last three innings. Qualls faces six men in the ninth. One reaches on an error and the other five get hits as he is charged with four runs in a third of an inning.
- June 9: Baltimore 6, Phillies 4. Worley 62, Tommy Hunter 51. All three runs Worley allows over six innings are unearned. Thome singles home Pierre in the top of the eighth to tie the game at 4-4. BJ Rosenberg makes his major league debut in the bottom of the twelfth and faces two batters, walking Chris Davis before giving up a walkoff homer to Adam Jones.
- June 10: Baltimore 5, Phillies 4. Lee 48, Hammel 43. Hammel and Lee both allow four runs over six innings. Savery starts the bottom of the tenth. Jones reaches on an error by Wigginton with one out before Matt Wieters’s walkoff double wins the game for Baltimore.
- June 15: Toronto 3, Phillies 0. Worley 62, Drew Hutchison 52. Toronto starter Hutchison has to leave after two-thirds of an inning (Game Score is virtually worthless in games where a starter leaves very early due to injury). Worley goes seven innings and allows three runs, all three of which are unearned. The Toronto bullpen throws 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
- June 21: Colorado 4, Phillies 1. Worley 61, Jeff Francis 54. Worley starts the seventh with a 1-0 lead and allows a two-run homer to Chris Nelson with two outs. Schwimer allows a two-run homer to Wilin Rosario in the ninth.
- June 24: Tampa Bay 3, Phillies 2. Hamels 75, Price 70. Hamels throws seven shutout innings and Bastardo starts the eighth up 1-0. Bastardo walks two of the first three men he faces before giving up a three-run homer to Carlos Pena. The Phils score a run on three hits in the bottom of the eighth but lose by a run.
That’s the complete list of games so far in 2012 when the Game Score of the other teams starting pitcher has been better than the Game Score of the pitcher for the Phillies and the Phillies have won the game anyway.
Here’s the list of the games the Phillies have lost despite a better Game Score from their starter. This one’s longer (13). For one thing it happened in two of the first three games of the season:
After dropping two in a row over the first three games of the season, it didn’t happen again until early May.
For nine of those 13 I would say the pen at least a major contributor to the loss if not the primary cause (4/7, 4/8, 5/7, 5/8, 5/9, 6/7, 6/9, 6/10 and 6/24).
More generally, whether it is a failure by their offense or a failure by their bullpen, the Phillies are not winning when they get solid starting pitching.
Here are the records the Phillies have put up in games where their starter recorded a Game Score of 51-70 over the last six years:
|Year||Record||Winning PCT||% of games|
A higher percentage of the games in that 51-70 window for the Phillies this year with worse results. The Phils are 22-19 (.537) in 2012 in games in that window. Coming into the 2012 season they were 222-103 (.683) in games where their starter had a Game Score in that range.
The next update to Philliesflow won’t be until Thursday.