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Big League Stew

10 numbers for the NLDS: Cardinals vs. Phillies

Alex Remington
Big League Stew

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As the postseason continues, Big League Stew's Alex Remington will take a look at the statistics that might make a difference in each series. Closing out the series are the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, who will get underway later on Saturday.

3.27 The average number of runs the Phillies allowed their opponents, per game. That is best in the big leagues, 0.30 runs per game ahead of the Giants. It's also the lowest runs allowed per game in 30 years, since the 1981 Houston Astros, who allowed an average of 3.01 runs per game behind Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, Joe Niekro, and Vern Ruhle. (The best hitter on the '81 'Stros? future Moneyball manager Art Howe.)

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4.70 The Cardinals' runs scored per game, best in the National League. The Cardinals had the best offense in the league by most measures, including runs scored, total bases, OPS, OPS+, and rWAR. Of course, a big part of that offense is Matt Holliday, and while he's on the NLDS roster, it's unclear how healthy he'll be. But the league's best offense is going against the league's best pitching, and that's just as it should be. {YSP:MORE}

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80 percent The Phillies' stolen-base percentage, best in baseball. The Phillies only attempted 120 steals, fifth-least in all of baseball, but they picked their spots brilliantly, led by Chase Utley, who is 14 for 14 this year and is the greatest percentage basestealer of all time.

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167 Double plays turned by the Cardinals, most in the majors. Twin killings are a pitcher's best friend, and the Cardinals have turned more than anyone despite a bit of a revolving door in the middle of the infield: 2B/SS Nick Punto recently returned from the disabled list, while SS Rafael Furcal recently sustained a hamstring injury, and Ryan Theriot and Skip Schumaker have also logged significant time at short and the keystone. Whoever plays out there, Cardinal pitchers are always glad to see a ground ball turn into two outs.

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74 The number of errors committed by the Phillies, fewest in the National League and just one error more than Major League-leading Tampa Bay. Due to their great defense, the Phillies didn't just allow the fewest earned runs in baseball, they also allowed the second-fewest unearned runs. (The Atlanta Braves allowed 33, the Phillies 34.) The Fightins just don't beat themselves.

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26 The number of blown saves for the Cardinals, second-most in baseball. (Only the Nationals blew more.) Last in the season, Jason Motte took the closer role from Fernando Salas, while midseason acquisition Marc "Scrabble" Rzepczynski became a reliable setup man. But the first sign of trouble from Motte will throw the closer role into question again.

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6.7 percent The Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff's team walk rate, lowest in baseball. Roy Halladay's 1.3 walks per nine innings is also lowest in baseball. The Phillies are the team that doesn't beat themselves: they don't make errors, they don't get thrown out stealing, and they don't issue free passes. They don't make mistakes. That's a tough combination to beat. But if anyone can do it, it's Albert Pujols.

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1.80 The Cardinals hitters' strikeout-to-walk ratio, best in baseball. Led by Pujols, Lance Berkman, and Matt Holliday, the Cardinals have the best collective plate discipline of any team in baseball, especially impressive because they play in the league where the pitchers have to bat. (The Yankees are second in baseball with a K/BB of 1.82; the Phillies are third, at 1.90.)

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31.5 Average age of the Phillies' hitters, oldest in baseball. This is why Rany Jazayerli at Grantland recently wrote: "Philadelphia's hitters are getting old all at once... For a team on the verge of its greatest season ever, the future is murky at best. The Phillies have climbed to the top of the mountain. There might be a cliff up ahead." It's unquestionable that Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins have their best years behind them. It's unclear how much longer they'll be able to play at a high level, but none of them is able to play at an MVP level any more.

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2 The number of players on the Cardinals with an OPS higher than that of Albert Pujols. Due to a two-month slump to start the season, Pujols finished with an OPS of just .906, while Matt Holliday finished at .912 and Lance Berkman was at .959. This is only the second time in Pujols's career that he has ever had a teammate finish with an OPS higher than his own — the first time was 2002, his rookie sophomore season, when he had a .955 OPS and Jim Edmonds had a .981 OPS.

See also: 10 numbers for Brewers-D'Backs, 10 numbers for Rays-Rangers and 10 numbers for Tigers-Yankees

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