Analysis

The Wild and Crazy 2013 Phillies

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 6.52.25 AMYesterday, the Phils walked off via back-to-back homers in the ninth inning for the first time since MLB began collecting official records in 1930. If that wasn’t unlikely enough, the Phillies who hit the two home runs were Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis, who came into the game with 11 and five MLB homers respectively for their careers. And how about the pitcher they did it against, Aroldis Chapman? Chapman entered the game with a 2.41 ERA and 30 K in 18.2 IP and came off a 2012 where the fire-balling lefty had a 1.51 ERA with 122 Ks in 71.2 IP with a WHIP under one.

Perhaps the most remarkable feat, however, was the fact that, by winning, the Phillies had a won a series two games to one despite being outscored 8-15.

Yesterday’s game wrapped up a what can only be described as a remarkable stretch for the Phils. The Phillies have not lost a series since May 1, posting, what feels like, a pedestrian 9-7 record. Two of those losses came against the lowly Marlins, but since then, the Phillies played four teams who are a combined 27 games over .500 in what was arguably their toughest stretch of the season and posted a 7-5 mark, winning series against the Wild Card-leading Reds and the half-game-out-of-the-West Giants and split with the first place Diamondbacks and Indians.

Coming off possibly the low-point of the season, where Roy Halladay gave up nine earned runs against the lowly Fish and revealed that he was injured, the Phillies answered the bell against four teams with among the top records in baseball. Is this the stretch of the season that changes the course of the Phillies season?

The Phillies would first have to get a handle on consistently preventing runs. Or at least holding the opposing team under six. For instance, as Joe Catz points out, the Phillies are 20-12 when the opposition scores less than six runs. The Phillies’ actual record of 21-23 and run differential of 156-190 translates into a Pythagorean record of  17-27. The Phils are outperforming their Pythagorean projection based on ten blowout losses of five runs or more compared to only four of their wins being of five runs or more.

Now a lot of the Phillies losses of five or more runs were already decided and the wonderful bullpen performances of Chad Durbin, Jeremy Horst, and Raul Valdes exacerbated games that were already out of hand. The starting pitching ranks 16th in ERA and 16th in xFIP. While that’s solid, there is absolutely room for the starting pitching to improve, and anyone, Tyler Cloyd or anyone else for that matter, is an upgrade of an injured Doc.

But a solid starting staff can only take a team so far: a majority of the issue rests with the offense that ranks 26th in the MLB in runs scored, 26th in on base percentage, and 26th in slugging. I’d bring up the bullpen but a lot of the bullpen’s troubles came in the ten blowout losses and it is hard to pull those apart.

Friend of the site Spike Eskin asked if it was “still early” for the Phillies season. My answer? With 118 games left, or about 73% of the season left, and with the Phillies just 4.5 games back, it is definitely still early. And with a winning record against teams with four of the best records in baseball in a 12 game stretch, the Phillies certainly look like they have started to put things together. But where will they end up? Only these wild and crazy guys know for sure.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. jake

    May 20, 2013 at 5:45 am

    While it’s still early, it sees pretty apparent that this team is going to be around .500 (give or take a few games) for much of the season.
    Extract Halladay’s terrible starts and you have above average pitching. Below average offense combines to equal a 500 club. My hope is that they stay around .500 and get hot for a few games late in the season. Sneak into the 88 win range and grab a wild-card spot.

  2. brooks

    May 20, 2013 at 6:43 am

    It is baffling. Whatever the Phils were in the past 7 years, they ain’t no more.
    Who could expect to see Kratz come through with a 9th inning homerun? Look, we are calling the light hitting Freddy Galvis as one of our most consistent hitters – truth is he hit .222 for the month of April and has a current streak in the last 10 games hitting over .400.
    The team is built for the ‘Core’ as we have all grown to love. If Rollins, Utley, Howard, Chooch and throw in Young are not hitting, the team will not probably reach .500.

    • hk

      May 20, 2013 at 7:00 am

      “The team is built for the ‘Core’ as we have all grown to love. If Rollins, Utley, Howard, Chooch and throw in Young are not hitting, the team will not probably reach .500.”

      This comment only tells part of the story. Some of those core hitters (Utley and Rollins) are producing as well compared to league average as they did when the Phils won the division in 2009 and/or 2010. In today’s low run scoring environment, if the team had gotten the expected performance from their ace and their bullpen, they’d be above .500 heading into a 3 games series with the league’s worst team. They are 2-7 in games started by Cole Hamels and, in some of those 7 losses, the offense produced what should have been enough for their ace to win.

      • George

        May 20, 2013 at 10:53 am

        I can certainly agree that Rollins and Utley are performing to the norm. But you can’t change the fact that the team has not gotten the expected results from their aces (Hamels and Halladay) and the bullpen has been a total disaster. Until those issues are resolved, no matter what Rollins and Utley (or anyone else for that matter) do will be wasted. In other words, the Phils will remain a .500 team.

        One other thing: Hamels has had starts where the offense produced (barely) enough for him to win. But he’s also had starts where they didn’t. Maybe he should have more wins, but it’s not his fault entirely. The Phils’ meager offense (or maybe I should call it “IF-fense”) and astonishingly bad middle relief could be a recipe for even worse.

  3. brooks

    May 20, 2013 at 7:12 am

    You’re right HK – I could have easily expanded on that statement.
    It’s so tough to see a 10-0 blowout – it so rare to see a come from behind win, when we used to look for it.
    Remember when getting to the oppositions BP meant we now had a chance?
    The Phils hit the ball hard yesterday, it did not seem like it was going to be like a shutout from the start but as the game went on – phew.

  4. Lefty

    May 20, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis are –

    Two wild and crazy guys!

  5. EastFallowfield

    May 20, 2013 at 8:52 am

    After Kratz’s HR against Kimbrel last year, I for one could kinda hope for another one from him, but not from the Big Fred Machine.

    I’ll take a ‘pedestrian’ 9-7 every 16 games, winning 90 games would be neat.

  6. Bob D

    May 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Looks as if Adams & Ruiz, and even possibly Howard will all hit the DL today.
    Cloyd, Quintero, & possibly Ruf all getting called up.

  7. Maxbenj

    May 20, 2013 at 9:28 am

    This Phils need to start calling players up from triple A and give them a chance to produce. This team is just old and the younger players in my opinion just dont have what it takes to chance this team because they are playing old. Charlie Manuel was never a good coach but now it is harrd for people not to question everything that he does… He is a hitting coach and the team is really not hitting so whats the point of him still being their??

    • schmenkman

      May 20, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Having a hard time reconciling this comment with this sentence from the article…

      “the Phillies played four teams who are a combined 27 games over .500 in what was arguably their toughest stretch of the season and posted a 7-5 mark, winning series against the Wild Card-leading Reds and the half-game-out-of-the-West Giants and split with the first place Diamondbacks and Indians.”

  8. Dave

    May 20, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Can we please stop calling the Phillies old? 34 years old is not old for a baseball player with the possible exception of catcher. The Phillies are just not healthy. They have players that are injury prone. Plenty of players are still considered in their prime at 34…especially the great ones.

  9. Don M

    May 20, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I think stats/facts like this are great: “Perhaps the most remarkable feet, however, was the fact that, by winning, the Phillies had a won a series two games to one despite being outscored 8-15.”

    I’m pretty sure the Phillies outscored the SF Giants in 2010, but lost the series… and outscored the Cards in 2011, but lost the series. . .

    Just helps the arguement that the better team doesn’t always win, because I think most of us would agree that the Reds are a better team than the Phillies this year, correct?

    • Lefty

      May 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      I think they are better.

      • Don M

        May 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm

        You think the Phillies are better than the Reds?

      • Lefty

        May 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

        No, I meant you are correct.

  10. Ryan H.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

    as much as people think howard isn’t important. this season still rests on him ultimately. maybe he and hamels ability to turn it around. but let’s all hope howard doesn’t have a serious knee issue because we’re gonna need him. he’s the engine that makes this offense chug. he puts the team on his back every summer. if his knee is really banged up, we’re in serious trouble.

  11. Rudy Canoza

    May 20, 2013 at 11:30 am

    These Phillies may be wild and crazy, but they have the exact same record as they did last season after 44 games. For what it’s worth, they didn’t have Utley and Howard for those 44 games last season.

    • Mike in NJ

      May 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      No, but they had Pence and Victorino instead of Revere and Delmon Young and the parade of other stiffs playing CF/RF this year.

      The bullpen was supposed to be better this year, and so far…not so much.

  12. Dr. Dave

    May 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    GREAT WIN!!!! Maybe this will get them going!

    Need to do list:

    1) Bring up Ruf ; release D. Young.

    2) Release Durbin; keep a pen of Papelbon, Adams, Aumont, DeFratus, (bring up) Savery, Bastardo. Let the young guys pitch!

  13. Dr. Dave

    May 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    ALSO!!!!!

    Galvis needs to play at least 4 games per week. Chrley could rest each IFer one day per week. He needs to play!

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