Friday, April 02, 2004
44 saves of 47 attempts, 1.78 ERA in 2003. Hard not to be impressed by those stats and compare them with Mesa’s 6.00+ ERA and 12% failure rate (24 of 28). (Mike Williams was 3 of 5. Overall, the Phillies converted just 33 of 51 save opportunities in 2003.) The Phillies bullpen last year really hurt the team and put the strain on the starters to go deep and try to be perfect. I think that showed up in the late-season collapses of Millwood, et al.
I think the Phils ’03 Pythagorean win-loss record says it all: 90-72, which would have yielded a better record than the Marlins 87-75. I've noticed that teams that tend to exceed their Pythagorean win-loss records tend to have outstanding closers. (I'm thinking, specifically, of the A's in 2002: Billy Koch had a great year and enabled the A's to finish with 103 wins, instead of the 96 Pythagorean wins they should have gotten. In 2003, the more-mortal A's roughly tracked their Pythagorean wins totals.) With Wagner closing, that might be worth an extra 4-6 wins for the Phils. Add a few more games if Burrell hits with consistency, and we could be talking about 95-97 win team at Citizens this year.
Welcome to town, Billy!