So just how bad was it this year?

We can all agree that it wasn’t good. But how bad was it? I’d say the Phillies were better than the Marlins in the National League this season. If want to argue for more than that, you’re on your own.

There are 15 teams in the National League. Twelve of them won more than the 73 games that the Phillies won this year, although three of them, the Rockies, Brewers and Mets, won just one game more (74) than the Phillies and the Giants and the Rockies both won 76. The Phillies won more games than the Cubs (66) and the Marlins (62).

The Phillies scored more runs per game than each of the teams they finished ahead of in the wins column (Miami and Chicago). They were 13th in the NL in runs scored with 3.77 runs per game. The Cubs were 14th at 3.72 and both Chicago and the Phils buried the Marlins. The Fish scored an NL-worst 3.17 runs per game.

Here’s the runs scored per game in the NL for 2013:

Team
STL
COL
CIN
ATL
ARI
WSN
LAD
NLavg
MIL
PIT
SFG
NYM
SDP
PHI
CHC
MIA
G
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
R
783
706
698
688
685
656
649
649
640
634
629
619
618
610
602
513
R/G
4.83
4.36
4.31
4.25
4.23
4.05
4.01
4.00
3.95
3.91
3.88
3.82
3.81
3.77
3.72
3.17

Again, Phillies were bad at scoring runs this season, but better than the Cubs and way better than the Marlins. Everyone was better than the Marlins at scoring runs this year. By a lot. The 3.17 runs per game scored by the Fish was the lowest runs scored per game number for any NL team since the Padres scored 3.02 runs per game in 1971. 1971? If you think about it relative to the average number of runs scored in the NL by year, it’s not quite as bad. The 3.17 runs scored per game for the Marlins this year was about 79.25% of the league average of 4.00. You only have to go back to the ’03 Dodgers to get a mark that bad. In 2003, Los Angeles scored 3.54 runs per game in a season in which the league average was 4.61. 3.54 is about 76.8% of 4.61.

Still, the point is that the Marlins was truly awful at scoring runs this season.

Chicago and the Fish were way better at preventing runs than the Phillies, though. The only team the Phils were better at preventing runs than this season was the Rockies:

Tm
ATL
PIT
LAD
CIN
STL
WSN
MIA
NLavg
NYM
MIL
CHC
SFG
ARI
SDP
PHI
COL
G
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
162
RA
548
577
582
589
596
626
646
655
684
687
689
691
695
700
749
760
RA/G
3.38
3.56
3.59
3.64
3.68
3.86
3.99
4.04
4.22
4.24
4.25
4.27
4.29
4.32
4.62
4.69

Note that there was some separation between the Rockies and the Phils, the two worst teams in the NL at preventing runs this year, and the rest of the group. The Phillies, 14th in the league in runs allowed per game, allowed 4.62 runs per game. The Padres were 13th in the league in runs allowed per game and allowed 4.32 or .3 of a run per game less. Three tenths of a run is a lot. It’s also the same amount that separates the team in the league that was seventh-best at preventing runs, the Marlins at 3.99, with the Diamondbacks who were twelfth in the category at 4.29.

The league average for ERA was 3.73 in 2013. There were only two teams that threw to an ERA over 4.00 and they both did it by a significant margin — the Phillies at 4.34 and the Rockies at 4.44.

So among all the NL teams, the only teams that the Phillies were better than at either scoring or preventing runs for the season were the Marlins, the Cubs and the Rockies. The Phils were better than the Cubs and Marlins at scoring runs and better than the Rockies at preventing them.

The Rockies, of course, were way better at scoring runs than the Phillies. They scored more than half a run more than the Phils and finished second in the NL in the runs scored.

The Cubs and the Marlins both prevented runs a lot better than the Phils. The Fish allowed 3.99 runs per game, which was better than the league average. The Cubs were worse than the NL average at 4.25 runs per game, but still better than the Phils as the Phils allowed .37 runs per game more than the Cubs. The Phils scored .05 runs per game more than Chicago.

As you can probably guess, being miserable at scoring and preventing runs relative to the teams you’re competing against will hurt your statistics that are based on the number of runs you score and allow.

Here are the Pythagoran records for the NL teams, along with their actual records and “luck” as reported by Baseball-Reference. Luck is just a team’s actual wins minus their Pythagorean wins.

Tm
STL
ATL
CIN
LAD
PIT
WSN
ARI
MIL
COL
SFG
NYM
SDP
CHC
PHI
MIA
Actual
97-65
96-66
90-72
92-70
94-68
86-76
81-81
74-88
74-88
76-86
74-88
76-86
66-96
73-89
62-100
pythWL
101-61
98-64
93-69
89-73
88-74
84-78
80-82
76-86
76-86
74-88
74-88
72-90
71-91
66-96
64-98
Luck
-4
-2
-3
3
6
2
1
-2
-2
2
0
4
-5
7
-2

So the Phils are 13th in actual wins but 14th in Pythagorean won/loss record, ahead of only Miami and five Pythagorean wins behind the 13th-Pythagorean place Cubs. Their luck mark, their actual wins minus Pythagorean wins, is seven, which means they won seven more games than would have been expected based on their Pythagorean winning percentage. Seven is the highest mark for any team in the NL this year and the highest for any NL team since the 2010 Houston Astros.

So based on Pythagorean winning percentage, the Phillies were better only than the Fish and only better than the Fish by two games.

Again, there are only three teams in the league that the Phils were better than at either scoring or preventing runs — the Rockies, Cubs and Marlins. It’s pretty hard to mount an argument that the Phillies were better than an NL team other than those three given that all of the other 11 teams in the league 1) had a better actual record than the Phils 2) had a better Pythagorean record than the Phils 3) scored more runs per game than the Phils and 4) allowed fewer runs per game than the Phils.

Among the three teams that they either outscored or were better than at preventing runs, they clearly weren’t better than Colorado. The Rockies and Phillies allowed about the same number of runs on the season, but the Rockies had an elite offense that was second in the league in runs scored while the Phillies were 14th in runs scored. Colorado won more actual games and had a Pythagorean record that was ten wins better than the Phils. I don’t think there’s any argument to be made that the Phillies were better than the Rockies this year.

That leaves the Cubs and the Marlins, the only two teams in the league to win fewer games than the Phillies.

The Cubs won a lot fewer, seven, and finished at 66-96. They did it with a -5 luck as the table above shows, suggesting that, unlike the Phillies, their actual record was a lot worse than you would expect based on the number of runs they scored and allowed.

Unlike the Rockies, who were a miserable team at preventing runs that scored a ton of runs, Chicago was, like the Phillies, bad at both. The Cubs and Phils scored a very similar number of runs, separated only by .05 runs per game, while the Cubs were a whole lot better at preventing runs. Despite being worse than the average NL team at preventing runs, they still allowed more than a third of a run (.37) less per game than the Phillies did. That difference in the number of runs they allowed per game leads them to Pythagorean record that’s five games better than the Phillies despite the fact the Phils actually won seven more games.

Were the Phillies really worse than the Cubs this year? I think they really were.

And the Fish? I think the Phils were actually better than the Marlins, winning 11 more games with a Pythagorean record that was two games better. Miami’s offense was heinous, plating a full sixth-tenths of a run fewer than even the weak Phillie offense per game, but they did a much better job of preventing runs, allowing a better-than-league-average 3.99 per game while the Phils were 14th of the 15 teams in the category.

Mounting an argument that the Marlins were actually better than the Phillies would require one to make the case that Miami’s success at preventing runs was so much better than the Phillies that it was enough to overcome the fact that the Phils fared much better at producing runs.

The Phillies scored about 5.75% fewer runs per game than the average NL team and allowed about 14.36% more runs per game. The Marlins scored about 20.75% fewer runs per game, but were better than league average at preventing runs, allowing about 1.24% fewer runs than league average per game. If you combine each of those numbers for the teams, the Marlins wind up at about -19.51, which is slightly better than the -20.11 for the Phils.

Simpler than that would be to point out that in the same number of games, the run differential for the Marlins was better than the run differential for the Phillies. The Phillies allowed 749 runs and scored 610, which is a run differential of 139. The Marlins allowed 646 and scored 513, a run differential of 133.

Let’s not get nuts, though. They’re the Marlins. They allowed Adeiny Hechavarria, Rob Brantly, Greg Dobbs and Jeff Mathis to combine for 1,344 plate appearances in 2013 in which they put up a 215/270/290 line. The Phillies won 11 more games and had a better Pythagorean record and that’s good enough for me.