August 13, 2008

Sacrifice Flies and Bunts: Good. Runs: Bad

There's an article this week on by Kevin Cooney that represents everything I can't stand about both reflexive prejudices by sportswriters and even more reflexive pessimism by Phils fans in general.

Cooney writes that we shouldn't get "blinded by the numbers," and then proceeds to fill his column with... numbers. Then he rips the Phils for being "too reliant on the home run," while bashing national sportswriters- you know, the ones who notice that the team is in first place and has been all year- for not understanding the team as well as the locals do. Here's my favorite part:

Entering Friday, they were last in the National League in sacrifice flies. In contrast, the Mets and Marlins are second and third in the NL in that category.

The Phils were tied for ninth in the NL at sacrifice bunts with 44 15 behind the Mets, who were second in that category.

For as wonderful as everyone believes this offense to be, the Phillies are ninth in the NL in batting average. While they are second in the NL in runs scored, they also as likely to get shut out as score in double digits.

Let me get this straight: the Phils don't get enough sacrifice flies or sacrifice bunts or hit for enough average- but they're still second in the league in runs. What do sacrifice bunts and flies lead to? Runs. What do the Phils get just enough of? Runs.

So in other words, the Phils aren't winning enough - even though they're in first place- because they're not nearly good enough at several offensives stats that don't matter- even though they're second in the league at the offensive stat that matters most- runs.

Posted by Stephen Silver at August 13, 2008 05:22 PM
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