Juan Castro or not, the Phillies are going to score a whole bunch of runs in 2010. The Phils have led the NL in runs scored in three of the last four seasons.

The season of the last four when they didn’t lead the league in runs scored, 2008, they won the World Series. So if you’re thinking what the Phils need to do to improve their team overall has a lot more to do with pitching than hitting (and exactly nothing to do with getting guys who on-base .270 to take up roster spots to firm up the defense), I agree with you.

The Phillies were worse at preventing runs in 2009 than they were in 2008. Here’s the rates at which they allowed runs per nine innings, the NL average and the Phillies’ rank for each of the last two years:

Year Runs per 9
IP
NL AVG NL Rank
2009 4.38 4.53 6
2008 4.22 4.66 3

On average, NL teams allowed fewer runs per game in 2009 than they did in 2008. The Phillies allowed more and also saw their rank in runs allowed per nine innings drop from third to sixth. In 2009 the Phils allowed about 96.7% of the runs per nine innings as the average NL team. In 2008 they had allowed about 90.6%.

So they got worse.

Their starters didn’t get worse, though. In 2009 their starters threw 963 2/3 innings and allowed 477 runs. That’s about 4.45 runs per nine innings pitched. In 2008 their starters threw 966 2/3 innings and were charged with 489 runs — about 4.55 runs per nine innings.

Here’s how the numbers looked for the relievers:

Year Runs per 9
IP
NL AVG NL Rank
2009 4.24 4.35 9
2008 3.56 4.47 1

Not so good. The Phillies rate of allowing runs per nine innings was better than the league average, but they were just ninth among the 16 NL teams and near the league average. A year before the Phils won the World Series with the league’s dominant bullpen, allowing nearly a run per nine innings less than the average NL team. The 3.56 runs allowed per nine innings for the Phils’ pen in ’08 was outstanding — the Brewers had the third-best rate for the NL in 2008 and their relievers allowed 4.27 runs per nine (Milwaukee allowed more than half a run more per nine innings and still had the pen that allowed the third-fewest runs per nine innings).

So what exactly went wrong for the Phillies pen in 2009? As tempting as it may be to say it was all Brad Lidge, there’s more to it than that. In 2008, opponents hit 251/333/371 against the Phillies relievers. In ’09 they hit a very similar 246/335/373. In 2009 you were less likely to reach base on a hit or a walk against the Phillies relievers than you were in 2008 (a little more likely to get a walk and less likely to get a hit for a combined total of less likely). You were also less likely to get an extra-base hit. They allowed a lot more runs, though, and were a lot worse compared to the other teams in their league. So something was going on. More on that soon.

This suggests that Scott Mathieson could help the Phillies next year.

Today is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their players who are eligible. For the Phillies, that includes Condrey, Durbin, Blanton, Ruiz, and Victorino.

It looks like Chris Coste will be a Met.