Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Phillies Pitching: Reconsiderations 

I absolutely love to be a contrarian, to point out when conventional wisdom fails to explain something. Last year I was in full contrarian mode when the complaints about Citizens came out:

“The park is killing Phillies pitching.”

“Oh really,” I replied, “How do you explain that the Phillies had a higher road ERA (4.61) than home ERA (4.33)?” Silence.

Naturally I thought I was pretty smart. I had poked holes in the conventional wisdom about Citizens. I knew something nobody else did …Well, I also pride myself on being intellectually honest, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t note something interesting that I recently noticed.

The Phillies aren't really pitching very well these days. Check out their current ERA ...

Team ERA (NL Rank): 4.53 (12th)

Not good. I was curious about whether the trend of the Phillies Home ERA being higher than the Road ERA held true this season. Check out the result:

Home ERA (Rank): 5.13 (13th)
Road ERA (Rank): 3.82 (2nd)

That is a 1.31 varience in favor of the Phillies road ERA, compared to a -0.28 varience in 2004. Curious, I looked at the 2003 season, the Phillies last in the Vet:

Home ERA: 3.48
Road ERA: 4.67

A -1.19 Road "advantage". Curious, I tabulated some more road / home variences:

Home / Road
HR/9: 1.53 / 1.00
BB/9: 2.90 / 3.24
K/9: 7.24 / 6.59

Statistically, aside from the Home Runs, the Phillies pitch better at Home than on the Road. Based on the dramatic difference between their Road and Home ERAs, this shouldn't be true. I have two theories about this:

1. Citizens really is killing Phillies pitching because they keep surrendering fluke home runs.
2. Citizens really is killing Phillies pitching because the Phillies aren't as good at home as they are on the road in terms of defense.

Theory #2 is something I intend to explore in the near future.

Standings update ... with their 10-2 loss to the Dodgers last night the Phillies are now 5.0 out of first and 4.5 out of the wildcard.

Interesting stuff Counselor. I wonder if the difference in BB and K rates are a fluke or if there is really something to it? One thing that helps road ERA is that the Phillies have played the majority of their away games in pitchers parks (see pawnking's blog for more details on that theory).
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