Raising Questions: Best offense in team history? – Phillies Nation

Raising Questions: Best offense in team history?

Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley (26) and Ryan Howard celebrate Utley's first home run against the Florida Marlins during a baseball game in Miami, Friday, July 17, 2009. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)From 1893 through 1895, the Philadelphia Phillies, led by Ed Delahanty, managed to score over 1,000 runs in each season.  For obvious reasons, the dead-ball era teams, and those before, are excluded from this discussion. But man, that’s a lot of runs.

The Charlie Manuel-led Phillies of this decade have been some of the most prolific offenses in all of baseball.  Considering the National League plays sans a DH, they’ve faired quite well.  Particularly in 2007, when the Phils scored 892 runs en route to their first playoff appearance in 14 years.  In 1993, that bunch of throwbacks put up 877.  In their 101-win season of 1977, the Phils posted 847.  Not included: last year’s World Series winning team that scored a meager 799 runs.

Is this year’s team already the best offensive crew in team history?  Through 89 games, the Phils have scored 475 runs.  That averages out to over 5.56 runs per ball game.  This 2009 club is on pace to nearly catch the ’07 gang, and could pass the ’93, and ’77 teams in terms of run production. If they stay at the current rate of runs per game average, they will top out at 861.

The present-day squad has three everyday players hitting .300 or above and has four players with 20 home runs or more.  In ’07, five players posted 20 or more over the full year.  In the same season, three players hit .290 or better.

Nineteen ninety-three was a completely different crew.  They scored runs with clutch hitting, not the long ball.  Just 156 bombs were hit by the ’93 NL Champs, though four players hit .305 or above.  It was about placing the ball, not killing it, which is something that doesn’t really resonate with today’s team at all times.

In 1977, the Phils were so well balanced, only one guy hit the 100 run plateau. Michael Jack and the Bull led the team with 38 and 39 homers, respectively, but that team was about balance.

Fast-forward to now and take a peek at what the Phils are missing. Yes, they are getting career years from Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez, plus Pedro Feliz has figured out how to hit a baseball again.  On the flip side, the offense could be so much more. Jimmy Rollins finally broke .230 this weekend for the first time since mid-June. Carlos Ruiz has struggled since his decent start.  Twelve times the offense has managed one run or less through the first 89 games. In 2007, that team scored one run or less 11 times all season.

This is the time of year that the offense normally hits their stride. As the weather gets steamy, the balls at the bank begin to fly to all fields with regularity. Could we be seeing the most storied offense in franchise history?  Something to think about.

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  1. Craig

    July 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Best Offense in team history?

    Best team in team history?

  2. Statman

    July 20, 2009 at 11:48 am

    The 1993 team made up for its relative lack of power by getting on base all the time (esp. the mainstays, Dykstra, Kruk, Daulton, and Hollins). OBP was one area where the 1993 team was much better than last year’s world champions (the 2007 team was also quite good). I’m hopeful about this year’s team, because Utley really seems to have “gotten it” with regard to drawing walks, and Howard is starting to “get it” — I haven’t checked closely, but Howard seems to have gotten on base much more recently. Even Victorino has improved slightly at drawing walks, though Rollins is probably a lost cause 8-). For Rollins, just getting his average back to career levels will help a lot. Overall, I really can’t complain about this year’s offense on any level (well, maybe the historically-bad Bruntlett).

  3. Mazinman

    July 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I would hesitate to made this the best offence of all time when it has a glaring Achilles Heel which is the bench. Dobbs has begun to get better lately but, for most of the year, it was Matt Stairs and then nothing. If the bench can get better then I think they can be considered.

  4. Chuck P

    July 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Pat, this is a great post… at one point, before Ibanez went down, we were comparing this offense to the Big Red Machine and the Indians of the 90’s and that was prior to Jimmy Rollins waking up. Year in and year out, this IS the time when this team has heated up… if this team gets hot, we’re going to build on those first-half numbers. Plus, the NLE is down… you have to think that the stars are aligned. This team will go down as the best offense in Phillies history and COULD go down as the best in the NL all-time. Through 89 games, we’ve scored 39 fewer runs than the 1976 Reds with 107 fewer hits but we’ve hit 37 more home runs… the ’76 Reds went into a mini-slump in the second half (batting .17 points lower with fewer home runs)… if we turn it on, there’s a chance that this team could have an argument.

  5. Kennedy

    July 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    This could be one of the best offenses on any team, ever. If Utley, Ibanez, Werth, Victorino stay on pace, Jimmy hits for the rest of the season, Howard has his usual second half surge, and Feliz+Ruiz step up their game just a little bit, they’d be right there. Might not break any records, but I can’t remember a murderers row like Rollins (while hot), Victorino, Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Werth. We legitimately have 4 guys who could hit 40 HRs this year, which has never happned, even in the Steroid years.

  6. Maverick

    July 20, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Breaking News….. Halladay very close to being a Philly…

    deal includes Taylor, Corrasco and Donald….so far..

    and Toronto wants Drabek….which is still being discussed.

  7. NJ

    July 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Seems reasonable for both sides, what’s the source?

  8. gm-carson

    July 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I think this offense will actually improve as the season goes on. With J-Roll seemingly back to being himself that helps a ton. I also foresee Amaro getting some bench help before the end of August which should help in pinch-hitting situations considering we currently have Mayberry and Bruntlett both sucking up at bats batting well south of .200.

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