The Phillies offense: amazing or overrated?
|Rank in 16 NL teams||2||5||7||4||5||4||16||4||14||5||5||5||4|
Only six above-average or better hitters? Please. Their worst regular was so bad, he had the same OPS+ this year that the Giants’ cleanup hitter had last year? Oh, man, that has to sting. What a bunch of hacks.
Okay, so they’re pretty good.
Breaking them down into five different categories:
Fantastic hitters having good-not-great years:
Good hitters having okay years:
Good hitters having fantastic years:
A formerly great hitter having his second rough season in a row, which makes you wonder…
Cody Ransom and Brian Bocock
Unfortunately, neither Ransom nor Bocock are supposed to be on the roster. They’re like former Soviet scientists who defected, but instead of atomic theory, they worked on the mating habits of caribou, and, brother, that’s not going to end the Cold War any time soon, so they weren’t a part of the NSA’s plans.
Even though Howard and Utley are having down years by their lofty standards, there’s no way not to think of them as RYAN HOWARD and CHASE UTLEY. I keep scanning the lineup over and over again, trying to find something that will make me more comfortable. It doesn’t work. The Phillies have a good offense to support their good pitching. There aren’t a whole lot of Melky Cabreras in there, and if there were, they probably wouldn’t be hitting fifth.
At least, though, the Giants will be countering the Utley/Howard/Ibanez troika with Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner, right? The Phillies always struggle against left-handed pitching.
|vs LH Starter||643||48||1883||1675||435||91||6||50||164||345||.260||.330||.411||.741|
|vs RH Starter||1603||114||4408||3906||1016||199||28||116||396||719||.260||.333||.414||.747|
Dammit. Who started that rumor? It was fun while it was plausible.
The Phillies are good. Here's the thing, though: the Giants weren't that much worse. The Giants scored 697 runs. the Phillies scored 772. That's a substantial difference, but it's about 5,231 runs closer than I thought it would be. Here are the Giants' splits:
|vs LH Starter||635||44||1662||1470||378||74||9||43||142||307||.257||.329||.407||.737|
|vs RH Starter||1702||118||4480||4018||1033||210||21||119||345||792||.257||.318||.409||.727|
The main difference between the two offenses this year is that the Phillies had a 50-point OPS advantage against left-handed pitchers. That's it. That's a big difference, but it's not the gap I was expecting. They didn't have Utley for part of the year, and Polanco was hurt too, so that's a factor, but the Giants were without Pat Burrell and Buster Posey for the beginning of the year, so it kind of evens out.
I don't get it. The Giants are a wretched offensive team. The Phillies are a juggernaut. Just look at the names up there. The question at the top -- The Phillies offense: amazing or overrated? -- might be a trick question. Maybe the Giants offense is just a little bit underrated. And I'm not going to let those 82 games in which the Giants scored three runs or fewer color my judgment on this.
Well, maybe just a little.
The more I look at these two teams, the more I'm convinced they're pretty equally matched. If I could trade the Giants roster for the Phillies roster -- swapping homefield advantage along the way -- I probably would. The Phillies are the better team. But it's close. It's almost like the Phillies only won five more games than the Giants did.
So if I hear another radio-monkey yammer on and on about how the Giants are going to get dominated, or if I read another article about how the Giants have no chance, you know what I'm going to do about it? I'm going to blog about it. Yeah, that's right.
Is it Saturday yet? This sucks.