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October 02, 2023

Phillies vs. Marlins by the numbers: Philly is better at basically everything

How do the Phillies and Marlins stack up ahead of their postseason series this week?

Phillies MLB
0145_09132023_Phillies_Braves_Bryce-Harper.jpg Kate Frese/For PhillyVoice

Bryce Harper and the Phillies are on a mission to get back to the World Series.

Did you know that the Marlins are the second-oldest team in major league baseball this season? Or that only three teams had fewer runs batted in for 2023?

The Phillies should know their 2023 Wild Card opponent pretty well — they did face Miami 13 times this season. But it's been a while. Philly faced the Marlins just three times over the last 62 games of the season (a 2-1 series loss in Philadelphia). The Marlins won the season series 7-6, but the Phillies scored more runs across those games. 

The oddsmakers say the Phils are big favorites at -200 to win the best of two home series, which will feature all 8 p.m. first pitches in South Philly this week, starting on Tuesday. What do the rest of the numbers say about this series?

At the plate

The Phillies and Marlins could not be more opposite when it comes to baseball's true outcomes. Philly hits a lot of home runs, they draw walks, and strike out a lot too. Miami doesn't really do much of any of those three, relying quite a bit on slapping base hits:

Slash line.256/.327/.438
HR220 (3rd)166 (11th)
Runs796 (4th)668 (last)
SO1,481 (4th most)1,288 (13th most)
BB539 (10th) 430 (14th)
SB141 (3rd)18 (13th)

These two teams sport two of the four top batting averages in the National League, but the Phillies clearly do the most with that, as they have better numbers basically everywhere else. Miami doesn't even really steal many bases, relying on the NL batting champion Luis Arráez (.354), Jon Berti (.296) and Bryan De La Cruz (.259) and their 180 combined RBI. Only one Marlin has more than 19 homers, Jorge Soler with 36. Somehow, the NL team with the fewest runs is in the postseason.

For some contrast, the Phillies have three hitters with 97 or more RBI — Miami has none — and they have six hitters with 20 or more home runs. If this series is about power on offense, Philadelphia will run circles around the Marlins.

On the mound

With the Marlins' lack of impressive hitting numbers, you'd expect they make up for it with pitching. And while they do have a pretty good pitching staff when compared to the other 13 NL teams, the Phillies are superior here as well:

ERA4.02 (3rd)4.22 (8th)
WHIP1.24 (3rd)1.29 (7th)
HR allowed185 (6th fewest)191 (9th fewest)
SO/BB1,454/470 (3.09)1,490/514 (2.9)
Bullpen ERA3.56 (3rd)4.37 (11th)
Starter W-L, ERA53-45, 4.30 ERA39-50, 4.10 ERA

Philadelphia is better on the hill, and their bullpen is far superior. However, the Marlins do have a better starting pitching ERA, and their Game 1 and 2 pitchers — lefties Jesús Luzardo and Braxton Garrett have solid sub-4 ERAs. Zack Wheeler was a Cy Young candidate this season and Aaron Nola struggled a bit. The key for Rob Thomson's squad will be to get to the Miami pen as quickly as possible.

The front office

The Phillies are the most expensive team in the entire postseason, spending just over $245 million, while the Marlins are a hair over $100 million in total payroll. 

How does the roster make up break down? Here's a look at where each team acquired the players on their current active rosters:

Traded for815
Free agents127
$15m+ players81

The oft-rebuilding Marlins are, unsurprisingly, trade-happy, while the Phillies have not been shy about throwing cash around in free agency. It is quite a bit surprising that Philly has more players on the active roster than the Marlins who were drafted (or signed internationally as amateurs).

Philadelphia spent money to have a chance at a World Series, but there's a reason why they play the games, and none of the numbers will matter when the ball hits the mitt Tuesday evening at Citizens Bank Park.

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