We’ve heard all season how the Phillies vaulted offense is one of the best in the league, yet it’s hard to appreciate that while the team is hovering around .500. Looking at MLB team stats helps to validate the point as the Phillies are often found in the echelons of the Red Sox and resurgent Yankees. In all of baseball, the Phillies score the third-most runs, are third in on-base percentage, and second in slugging percentage (the Yanks lead all those categories). This list continues: third in home runs, third in total bases, first in extra-base hits, first in stolen base percentage. Although they only rank eighth in total team batting average, they lead the majors in plate appearances and walks. One troubling statistic, however, is strikeouts where they rank eighth while the other top teams are near the bottom of that dubious list. Still, these are some impressive numbers even if they do not quite approach the team statistics of the 1927 Yankees (.307 team batting average!) or 2004 Red Sox.
Then there are the dismal pitching stats – 23rd in ERA, 22nd in saves, 24th in shutouts, 23rd in WHIP. The Phils pitching staff has allowed the sixth-most earned runs in all of baseball, while opponents have the 10th best batting average against and sixth best on-base percentage. You usually can’t blame the other eight fielders here, as the Fightins’ consistently rank in the top third in most MLB-wide defensive categories. So it’s the pitching that is keeping the Phillies from breaking out of the pack and securing a playoff spot – no new news there. But can we also blame management? Adam Eaton turned out to be a big bust and Freddy Garcia arrived in Philly as damaged goods. There’s been no added support, just subtractions due to injury. Usually you can’t pin the latter on management, but some critics say the fact that Myers and Madson went down with the same injury may prove a flawed training regiment. Either way, the Phillies need consistent pitching because when you score 635 runs and allow just 581 you should win a few more games.