Phillies and Nats chasing history

The NL East rivals could both be the lowest-scoring playoff teams ever

Updated: May 6, 2012, 3:07 PM ET
By Eric Seidman | FanGraphs
Bryce HarperHarry How/Getty ImagesBryce Harper has brought a buzz to Washington's lineup, but it's still below league average.

Despite being two games under .500 through the first week of May, the Philadelphia Phillies are still projected to make the playoffs. Their rotation boasts five effective pitchers, with three elite starters at the front, and they employ the best active closer in baseball. Pitching was always going to be their ticket to the postseason this year.

That sentiment rings true now more than ever, as the offense is scoring only 3.6 runs per game. Runs are much tougher to come by without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the lineup, but slow starts from counted-on contributors like Jimmy Rollins, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino have rendered the offense anemic quite often through its first 28 games.

The Phillies rank 10th in the National League with 101 runs, but their per-game rate ranks 11th. Obviously, scoring runs and winning games are strongly correlated -- the more runs scored, the better the odds are of winning the game. However, this Phillies team is interesting in the sense that its starting rotation is so effective that it could still make the playoffs with a poor offense, which leads to the million-dollar question:

If the offense doesn't improve and the Phillies make the playoffs, where would they rank among historically low-scoring playoff teams?


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