Paul Hagen hits the nail on the head here in his game story, looking at the Phillies' feast or famine nature this season.
I'll try to break it down a little further.
I'm not a mathematician, but see if you can follow along.
When discusssing economic inequality, particularly in America, sociologists like to point out something like 10 percent of the population owns something like 70 percent of the wealth in the country. Well, the Phillies' run inequality isn't as drastic, but it is far more drastic than they'd like.
After yesterday's 3-2 loss to the Angels, the Phils have now scored 30 percent of their runs in just 11 percent of their games. So yeah, they are second in the league in runs scored at 303. But a large chunk of those runs have come in a small chunk of those games. Which is all well and good if teams are allowed to carry runs from game to game, like in a simply addition problem. But that isn't the way it works. a 20-2 win and a 3-2 loss count the same in the standings.
To break it down further:
The Phillies are averaging 7.2 runs per game in their wins this season. No National League contender (I'll define contender as someone who currently does not have a losing record) has scored more in its wins.
But. . .
The Phillies are averaging just 2.7 runs per game in their losses. No National League contender has scored less in its wins (the Cubs also average 2.7 runs per loss).
So, if nobody scores more than the Phillies in wins, and nobody scores less in losses, then that indicates that the Phillies are a streaky baseball team. And Charlie Manuel's favorite word is consistency, at least when discussing the characteristics that make up a championship baseball club.
Thus far, the Phillies have displayed the least amount of consistency among contenders.
In wins, they are hitting .307 with a .384 On Base Percentage, a .535 slugging percentage and 73 home runs.
In losses, they are hitting .197 with a .278 OBP, .321 slugging, and 31 home runs.
Below is the complete table, constructed early this morning in a lounge in a Courtyard by Marriott near the Oakland Airport.
I've included the Red Sox and Angels as well since they are the two AL contenders who have provided the impetus for this blog post.
Table I - Run Differential in Wins and Losses
Phillies 7.2 2.7
Cubs 7.1 2.7
Braves 6.5 2.8
Mets 6.5 2.9
DBacks 6.3 2.8
Red Sox 6.3 3.1
Brewers 5.9 2.9
Cardinals 5.9 2.9
Angels 4.9 3.3