Tag: 2008 Phillies

History mystery

I’ve been thinking about how the 2008 Phillies compare to other teams in Phillies history.

They are one of just two teams that have won the World Series. If that’s the only thing that’s important, the discussion of the best team comes down to the ’08 Phils and the 1980 Phils. I thought I would take a look ignoring what the teams did in the post-season as well as where they finished in their division and league.

The exercise I went through considered only how many runs each team scored and allowed in a particular year, and how those numbers compare to the other teams in the National League that season. For example, in 2008 the Phillies scored 799 runs. The average team in the NL scored 733.81 runs, so the Phils scored about 108.9% the runs of the average team. The ’08 Phils allowed 680 runs while the average NL team in ’08 allowed 748.5 runs, so the Phils allowed about 90.8% of the runs of the average NL team. I then added the difference between the runs they scored and allowed (in this example 8.9 plus 9.2) relative to other teams and compared that total to the total other teams in franchise history.

Specifically, I compared the total to the totals for all other teams in the past 100 years who finished the year with a winning percentage of at least .540 (a team that goes 88-74 has a winning percentage of .543).

This is far from perfect. Notably, you are comparing the results of one year’s team against the other teams in the NL from that year, then using the results to compare teams from different years. For example, if you have access to a parallel universe where you can get the 2008 Phillies to replay their schedule in an NL where every other team is made up of fifth-graders, the Phillies will have an enormously massive difference in runs scored and runs allowed compared to the other teams in the league. When you compare their results to all of the other teams, they will look like the best team in history by a huge amount. How good the ’08 Phillies are hasn’t changed at all, but they do better in this exercise because of who they were playing (also, if you do have access to a parallel universe and go through with this, I would recommend comprehensive medical coverage and protective headgear for everyone, especially the fifth-graders playing first base with Ryan Howard at the plate who are at grave risk of being hypothetically decapitated).

Again, this is imperfect for a lot of reasons. But if you do it, these are the ten Phillies teams over the past 100 years that come out with the best results:



101-61 (.623)

Five regular players with OPS+ of at least 130 (Schmidt, Allen, Luzinski, Maddux, Johnstone). Carlton won 20 games and Jon Lonborg 18.  Second in NL in runs scored, third in runs allowed.  Won the NL East by nine games but were swept by the Reds in the NLCS.



101-61 (.623)

Led the NL in runs scored this year, but runs allowed dropped to third in the league.  Carlton won 23 games and the Cy Young.  Won the NL East, beating the Pirates by five games.  Lost the NLCS to the Dodgers three games to one.



90-62 (.592)

Had the best offense in the league and pitched to an NL-best 2.17 ERA in year the league average was 2.75.  First baseman Fred Luderus and outfielder Gavvy Cravath were first and second in the NL in OPS.  Cravath led the league in OBP, slugging, runs and total bases.  Pete Alexander led the league in wins with 31 and ERA (1.22).  The Phils won the National League by seven games, but the Red Sox beat them four games to one in the World Series.



90-72 (.556)

Phils were third best in runs scored and fifth best in runs allowed.  Won the NL East by 1 1/2 games, but were again beaten by the Dodgers in the NLCS, again falling three games to one.



97-65 (.599)

Dykstra, Daulton and Kruk led a monster Phillies offense that was the best in the league.  The pitching wasn’t nearly as good, in the middle of the pack in the NL, but Curt Schilling and Tommy Greene both won 16 games.  The Phils won the NL East by three games and beat the Braves 4-2 in the NLCS.  The Blue Jays won the World Series four games to two on a walkoff home run by Joe Carter.



92-70 (.568)

Tied for second in NL in runs scored.  Fourth-best in runs allowed using runs allowed per game.  Won the NL East by three games.  Beat the Brewers in an NLDS (three games to one) and the Dodgers in the NLCS (four games to one).  Beat Tampa Bay in the World Series, four games to one.



91-62 (.595)

Offense and pitching both slipped a bit from the amazing 1915 levels and the Phillies fell short of the playoffs.  The Brooklyn Robins finished 2 1/2 games ahead of them for the right to earn the right to get blasted by the Red Sox in the World Series.



87-67 (.575)

The 1952 Phillies had a middle-of-the pack offense but pitching that dominated the league.  Robin Roberts went 28-7 with a 2.59 ERA and finished second in the voting for league MVP.  The ’52 Phils didn’t sniff the playoffs, finishing fourth in the league, 9 1/2 games out of first place.



87-65 (.572)

Third straight year of 30 wins for Pete Alexander.  Phils were near the top of the NL in both hitting and pitching, but finished second in the league a distant ten games behind the New York Giants.  The Giants lost the World Series, too, but this time to the Chicago White Sox in six games.



91-63 (.591)

After a long drought of miserable teams from 1917 through 1949, the 1950 Phillies were great.  Del Ennis, Richie Ashburn, Dick Sisler and Andy Seminick led a solid offense, but the pitching was outstanding.  Led by 20 wins from 23-year-old Robin Roberts and another 17 from Curt Simmons, the Phillies had the dominant pitching in the league.  Reliever Jim Konstanty won 16 games and threw to a 2.66 ERA while winning MVP of the league.  Bullpen-mate Milo Candini was just about as good.  The Phillies won the National League by two games, but were swept by the Yankees in the World Series.

The World Series-winning 1980 team was eleventh. The ’80 Phils were second in the NL in runs scored and fifth in runs allowed. Mike Schmidt was MVP of the league as he led the NL in OPS and won a Gold Glove. Steve Carlton went 24-9 with a 2.34 ERA and struck out 286 in 304 innings. The Phils nipped the Expos by a game to win the NL East, topped the Astros three games to two in the NLCS and beat the Kansas City Royals four games to two to win their first World Series.

Using the same system, these are the five best teams in the last 100 years at scoring runs relative to the rest of the teams in the National League in that year:

1. 1993
2. 1976
3. 1977
4. 1981
5. 2007

And here are the five best teams at preventing runs:

1. 1915
2. 1952
3. 1976
4. 1950
5. 1917

A reminder that the 2008 World Series Film will debut in Philadelphia area theaters on November 24. Ticket information and information about the DVD (which will be available on November 25) is here.

Phils hopefully looking for more pitchers or an unusually competitive T-ball league

As the Phillies opened spring training, I saw 22 guys as sure things to make the opening day roster. They were:


1 Howard Hamels
2 Utley Myers
3 Rollins Kendrick
4 Burrell Moyer
5 Victorino Eaton
6 Werth Lidge
7 Ruiz Gordon
8 Feliz Madson
9 Jenkins Romero
10 Dobbs
11 Coste
12 Bruntlett
13 Taguchi

Of that group of hitters I think all 13 are still locks to be on the roster when the season begins. Taguchi is the only guy I question at all and he’s been on fire this spring, hitting 415/545/529 in 17 at-bats.

That’s a full roster of hitters unless the Phils go with 14.

Of the nine pitchers, Hamels, Kendrick, Eaton and Gordon have all struggled badly, but there’s close to zero chance Hamels and Gordon don’t start the season on the roster. As badly as he’s pitched, Kendrick’s hold on his spot in the rotation seems solid unless things get worse for him, which is pretty hard to imagine. If Eaton isn’t on the roster on opening day he’ll be on the DL. Romero has only thrown one official spring inning, Lidge none. Moyer, Madson and Myers have pitched well.

Eaton and Lidge both seem to be question marks for the opening day roster. Lidge because of the knee surgery and Eaton because of the back problems in combination with the 15.75 ERA (fourth best in the Phils rotation). I would guess that both still make the opening day roster. That leaves us with 22.

Just about everyone says that Chad Durbin is a lock for the tenth pitching slot. Here’s what Chad Durbin has done so far:





Chad Durbin




Opponents are hitting .286 against him, but if he really was in when spring training started I don’t think he’s pitched himself out. If he’s the tenth pitcher, that makes 23.

If the Phils are going to carry 14 hitters, the 14th will almost certainly be Helms or Snelling. Here’s what they have done so far:







Helms has just been miserable. Snelling started camp as a longer shot than Helms and hasn’t been much better. At this point I would guess that Snelling is just about out of the picture with Helms still a possibility, especially depending on the injury status of Lidge and Eaton as the season begins.

If you assume that Chad Durbin is the tenth pitcher, Lidge and Eaton both start the year on the active roster and the Phils don’t carry a 14th hitter, that leaves two pitchers who would likely come from this group:




C Condrey 7.1 4.91 1.23
F Castro 7.0 5.14 1.43
JD Durbin 9.1 9.64 2.36
F Rosario 8.2 1.04 0.92
S Youman 6.2 5.40 1.65
T Blackley 7.2 8.22 1.70
G Knotts 3.0 0.00 1.00
V Darensbourg 4.0 2.25 1.00

If you think about the guys who have helped and hurt themselves the most since spring training began, I think you would have to say that Rosario is the guy who has opened the most eyes while JD Durbin and Blackley are the pair that came in with a real opportunity to make the team but have hurt their chances.

I still think the Phillies need a second lefty in their pen. I see them as needing one pitcher from the group of lefties (Castro, Youman, Blackley and Darensbourg) and one from the group of righties (Condrey, JD Durbin, Rosario and Knotts). Rosario is out of options and has been pitching great. I see him as the pick from the righties with Condrey close behind. The lefties are harder. In limited action, Darensbourg has been the least bad, but I think he came into camp as a long shot to win a roster spot. I don’t feel real comfortable about, but if I’m going to guess again I’d still take Castro. There’s also a good chance, as this article suggests, that the second lefty in the pen will be a player not currently in the organization.

That would make their opening day roster:

Hitters (13): Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Burrell, Victorino, Jenkins, Werth, Ruiz, Bruntlett, Dobbs, Coste, Taguchi

Pitchers (12): Hamels, Myers, Kendrick, Moyer, Gordon, Lidge, Madson, Romero, Eaton, Chad Durbin, Castro, Rosario

My most recent guess was on February 13. I had JD Durbin as the last pitcher instead of Rosario.

Last night the Phils lost to the Reds 6-1 to fall to 4-10 in spring training.

Ryan Madson got the start for the Phils and went three innings, allowing a run on solo home run to Jerry Hairston. Madson walked one and allowed three hits. Castro was next and he allowed two runs on five hits over two runs. Both of the runs scored on a two-run homer by Scott Hatteberg. Blackley followed Castro and struck out five over three innings, but allowed two runs on two hits and two walks to puff his ERA to 8.22. Both of the runs he allowed came on a two-run shot by Craig Tatum. Condrey pitched the ninth and allowed a run on two hits.

Offensively the Phillies lineup featured basically all the Phillies regulars with Dobbs at DH. They scored one run on five hits, all singles, and a walk. Dobbs was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. Utley was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts to drop his spring average to .214. Jayson Werth played center for the Phils, which is just great. I really hope the Phils see Werth as a viable option in center behind Victorino — he’s by far a better hitter than Taguchi or Bruntlett. I believe he can handle the position defensively. He doesn’t have a lot of innings there, but in the innings he’s played the numbers are good.

The Phils play the Reds again tonight.

The Phillies offered Lincoln Holdzkom back to the Red Sox, who refused him, making him a free agent. That may help create room on the 40-man roster for Benson, who can opt out of his contract on March 25 if he’s not on the roster.

This article says that 1) Lidge hopes to be able to pitch in a game next week 2) Eaton felt good in a bullpen session and will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday 3) Benson will throw in a minor league game today and 4) Hamels didn’t pitch in a minor league game yesterday because he has the flu.

Moyer will start the third game of the season for the Phils, Kendrick the fourth. Whether or not Kendrick can get anyone out is going to be a lot more interesting than whether he’s the third starter or the fourth.

This suggests that Kyle Lohse is being pursued by the Cardinals, Giants and Rangers. This suggests that Lohse may get a one-year deal worth less than $5 million. The Phillies have big problems with their pitching, in the rotation and in the pen. If they had an opportunity to sign Lohse to a one-year deal worth around $5 million and didn’t do it that would be really disappointing.

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