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Four is a magic number

ST. LOUIS -- In more than half of the Phillies' first 40 games, they have scored three or fewer runs. They still have the best record in the National League at 25-15.

Four is a magic number

The Phillies are 17-2 when scoring four or more runs this season. (Paul Abell/AP)
The Phillies are 17-2 when scoring four or more runs this season. (Paul Abell/AP)

ST. LOUIS -- In more than half of the Phillies' first 40 games, they have scored three or fewer runs. They still have the best record in the National League at 25-15.

The dead ball era is alive and well in Philadelphia, eh?

A quick cursory look around the NL shows only two other teams have scored three or fewer runs more times than the Phillies. They are San Francisco (9-13) and Los Angeles (4-18).

The Phillies are 8-13 (.381) when scoring three or fewer, a record that is bested (by win percentage) by only two teams.

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That winning percentage is actually very impressive given that in the NL as a whole, when scoring three or fewer runs, teams have a .225 winning percentage.

SCORING THREE OR FEWER RUNS (NL):

RkTmGWLW-L%RSRA
1 SFG 22 9 13 .409 39 66
2 STL 15 6 9 .400 36 50
3 PHI 21 8 13 .381 42 67
4 FLA 15 4 11 .267 30 59
5 ATL 20 5 15 .250 39 76
6 HOU 16 4 12 .250 30 71
7 COL 18 4 14 .222 40 71
8 CIN 14 3 11 .214 28 58
9 LAD 22 4 18 .182 33 104
10 CHC 17 3 14 .176 30 93
11 MIL 17 3 14 .176 27 74
12 ARI 18 3 15 .167 37 67
13 WSN 18 3 15 .167 29 74
14 PIT 21 3 18 .143 36 99
15 NYM 18 2 16 .111 32 84
16 SDP 21 2 19 .095 29 77
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/17/2011.

In 2010, only San Diego (28-56, .333) had a better winning percentage than the Phillies (24-51, .320) in these situations. So you see why a .381 winning percentage so far is impressive.

Is it sustainable? Probably not. Charlie Manuel was posed that question and he answered simply, "I think we're definitely going to have to score more runs."

He can point to this evidence: When the Phillies score four or more, they are effectively unbeatable.

SCORING FOUR OR MORE RUNS (NL):

RkTmGWLW-L%RSRA
1 PHI 19 17 2 .895 125 65
2 ATL 23 19 4 .826 141 62
3 COL 21 17 4 .810 137 96
4 FLA 25 20 5 .800 144 98
5 SDP 20 16 4 .800 130 90
6 CIN 27 21 6 .778 190 122
7 LAD 20 15 5 .750 113 72
8 PIT 20 15 5 .750 111 80
9 WSN 23 17 6 .739 128 94
10 NYM 23 17 6 .739 142 95
11 SFG 18 13 5 .722 100 78
12 MIL 24 17 7 .708 144 102
13 ARI 22 14 8 .636 134 115
14 CHC 22 14 8 .636 128 97
15 STL 27 17 10 .630 184 128
16 HOU 25 11 14 .440 141 145
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/17/2011.

The point is, Monday's lineup could end up being the worst one Manuel fields all season. He was without Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley. Sure, you can throw Domonic Brown in there, who I still think plays a regular role eventually.

The pitching has been extremely good. If the Phillies (4.17 runs/game) can score just a tad above the league average (4.19 runs/game), it should be enough.

Of course, that does not bring solace after three lousy games or hope for Tuesday, with Jaime Garcia (1.89 ERA) on the mound.


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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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