The Phillies Are on Pace to Lose 109 Games — and It Could Get Worse
The worst team in Phillies history is one no one alive in 2015 saw. Appropriately, that was the team’s first season, in 1883. The Phils, then known as the Quakers, went 17-81-1 — a winning percentage of just .215.
But older fans may remember the 1941 Phillies — if they haven’t put that bad team out of their minds. The ’41 Fightins may be the second-worst team in Phillies history. They went 43-111-1, a .279 winning percentage. The team’s best players were outfielder Danny Litwhiler (who hit .304 with 18 homers) and lefty first baseman Nick Etten (who hit .311 with 14 homers). Only one other regular had an above-average OPS, and the team ERA was 4.50.
The 2015 Phillies are better than the 1941 squad, and the 1883 Quakers, too. But baseball teams play more games now. And, despite a .333 winning percentage, this year’s Phillies squad could end up as the team with the most losses in franchise history. After last night’s shutout loss to the Dodgers, the Phillies are 39-59. They are on pace to lose 109 games.
It’s not hard to see how the Phillies could easily speed up that pace. Cole Hamels could be traded. Jonathan Papelbon has been shopped around (and is ready to move). These are the team’s two best pitchers. Ben Revere, the team’s lone bright spot in the outfield and the leader in WAR among position players, could also be dealt.
Even if these players aren’t traded, the Phillies are actually significantly worse since manager Ryne Sandberg quit late last month. Interim manager Pete Mackanin is just 3-11. That pace for 109 losses could quickly become a pace for more than 111 losses.
The solace for Phillies fans this week is that many of them were sleeping when the team was dropping 3-of-4 to the Dodgers. The Phils scored 7 runs in the opener — but lost when ex-Phillie Jimmy Rollins broke a 7-all tie in the seventh with a 2-run single. They won, 7-2, on Tuesday.
But that outburst of 14 runs over two games wouldn’t last. The Phillies were shut out, 5-0, on Wednesday night by Clayton Kershaw. To make things worse, Rollins ripped a three-run homer against his former team.
Last night Zack Greinke pitched 8 innings of 1-hit ball in a 6-0 Phillies loss. Phillies fans are in luck: The team now goes to San Francisco for a three-game set — and two of the games won’t air until after 10 p.m. You can be in bed! You can be out partying! (Sunday’s game is at 4.)
Even if the Phillies do stay off a most-losses pace, the team does seem likely to lose 100 games. The Fightins haven’t had triple-digit losses since 1961. For the Phillies, this is an endless summer.
Follow @dhm on Twitter.