The East has had only one very good team so far (by run differential), but overall it's right in the middle between the Central and the West. Utley ties Luzinski on the Phillies' home run list, and Rollins is about to play his 2000th game at short.
It will take much more than 85 wins for the NL wildcard, so that's not going to happen, but 85 wins could conceivably be enough to win the NL East this season.
The Phils have to play .583 ball (a 94-win pace) the rest of the way to get to 85 wins. They've made a small start to that by winning 12 of their last 20, now all they have to do is keep it going for the next 84. Piece of cake. (And of course that assumes that none of the other NL East teams get their act together enough to win more than 85 games).
- NL Standings and team stats (NL East is way better than the West)
- Phillies Team Stats vs. 2013 and vs. the Braves
- Individual Stats
- Today in Phillies History (Howard's 505-ft home run)
- Upcoming Milestones (Utley ties Luzinski, Rollins to play his 2000th at short)
NL Standings and Team Stats
The Phils have won 11 of their last 17 to stay within 5 of NL East-leading Washington. The come into this four game series four behind the Braves.
Atlanta is hanging on to second place, but they have a negative run differential so far this season, thanks to a below average offense.
The pythagorean projection of the NL East Leader is about 90 wins for the full season, essentially the same as that of the leaders of the West and Central. If there is any weakness in the East, it's in the #2 team. But, at least relative to the West, that's more than made up for by the East's bottom teams not being as bad as the Diamondbacks and the Padres. With unbalanced schedules, the best of the West will get to feast on poor teams far more often than will the other divisions.
Phillies Team Stats vs. 2013 and vs. the Braves
Their walk rate has dropped below 8%, but they still rank 6th in the NL, and above the league average of 7.7%.
Isolated power is down to .128, the lowest it's been since mid-May.
Power, and specifically home runs, is about the only thing the Braves are good at at the plate. Also, they don't steal often, but at least they don't get caught very much, either.
Phillies hitters at Fangraphs
Braves hitters at Fangraphs
Pitching and Defense
Fri: Kyle Kendrick vs. Julio Teheran (RHP)
Sat (1): Roberto Hernandez vs. Ervin Santana (RHP)
Sat (2): Sean O'Sullivan vs. David Hale (RHP), in a battle of spot-starters
Sun: David Buchanan vs. Aaron Harang (RHP)
No Hamels, no Burnett, and obviously no Lee.
Phillies pitchers at Fangraphs
Braves pitchers at Fangraphs
Marlon Byrd was very close to catching Utley in OPS coming into Thursday's game, trailing by less than ten points, .803 to .794. However Utley's 3-hit game including the home run has created some space again:
The spaghetti strands are starting to separate: Burnett's up and down season has been up lately (i.e. ERA going down). Hernandez and Kendrick are in the 4-5 range that we may have expected. And of course the bullpen's performance has caused their ERA to steadily decline since late May.
Today in Phillies History
1941: Visiting New York, the Phillies participate in the first Ladies Night game, losing to the hosts 7-4
1952: Manager Eddie Sawyer is fired and replaced the next day by Steve O'Neill, who had managed three other major-league clubs. Sawyer was invited to remain with the club as a scout.
1963: Johnny Callison hits for the cycle as the Phils beat Pittsburgh 13-4. In the same game, center fielder Tony Gonzalez made an error in the 7th inning, ending a major league record streak of 205 errorless games by an outfielder
1980: Steve Carlton fans the Mets' Elliott Maddox in the fifth inning, his 1,872nd strike out as a Phillie, establishing a new team record. He also gets the win in a a 3-2 victory. [Note: Cole Hamels currently has 1,600 after last night]
2003: Brandon Duckworth was hit by a batted ball in the first inning and left the game, but the bullpen held Baltimore scoreless for 15 innings. A 3-run homer by Jason Michaels in the 17th gave the Phils the win, tying the record for longest interleague contest.
2007: Ryan Howard hit a 505-foot home run, setting records for the longest blast at Citizens Bank Park and the fastest player to 100 home runs (it took him 325 games). The Phillies lost to the Reds 9-6.
2010: Jamie Moyer was the victor as the Phils beat Toronto 11-2. Toronto's runs came on a home run by Vernon Wells, the 506th career round-tripper given up by Moyer, making him the all-time leader in that category.(The record was previously held by Robin Roberts.) He also reached 4,000 career innings pitched, only the 40th pitcher to do so. [all-time leaders in HRs allowed]
Source: Broad and Pattison
Recent milestones by Phillies players, and those that may be reached over the next week...
- With two stolen bases on Tuesday, Rollins tied Ed Delahanty with the 2nd most in team history, at 438. That leaves him behind only the nineteen century's Sliding Billy Hamilton and his 508 steals. Both Delahanty and Hamilton amassed most of their totals under different rules, including awarding stolen bases for taking an extra base. (Every publicly available source [fangraphs, bb-ref, mlb.com] shows Delahanty stole 411 bases with the Phillies, meaning Rollins passed him for second place in July of last year, but apparently, the Elias Sports Bureau, which is the official source of stats for MLB, Delahanty had 438 as a Phil.)
- Rollins also tied the Phillies franchise record for most times caught stealing, when he was caught for the 94th time on Monday to tie Larry Bowa's team record. Caught stealing stats have been kept since 1951, and in that time Rollins has been one of the most successful base stealers in baseball:
- 9th highest SB% of the 147 players with 300+ attempts
- 4th highest SB% of the 44 players with 500+ attempts
- So over the last two weeks, Rollins has:
- passed Schmidt as the Phils all-time hits leader
- passed Schmidt as the Phils all-time leader in At Bats
- tied Delahanty for #2 in stolen bases
- tied Bowa as the Phils all-time leader in caught stealing
- Rollins has now appeared in 1,997 games at shortstop in his career. Barring injury he will likely play in his 2,000th game at short in this Atlanta series, making him only the 19th player in MLB history with 2,000+ games at short. We will become the second active shortstop with 2,000+, joining Derek Jeter.
- Also, his next sacrifice fly (3rd this year) will tie Garry Maddox for 5th on the Phils' list at 51. The rest of the top seven: Schmidt 108, Utley 56, Abreu 54, Luzinski 53, Howard 46.
- Utley's walk-off home run last night was the 223rd of his career, tying Greg Luzinski for 6th most in team history.
- He also did it in the 6,000th plate appearance of his career. He's the 11th Phillie history, and the 32nd active player with 6000+).
- He needs three more hits (90 on the year) for 1500 in his career -- he'll become the 12th Phillie with 1500+, and the 32nd active player.
- With three more runs scored (46 this year), he will tie Sherry Magee for 8th most in Phils history (898).
- Two more HBPs (9 total this year) will tie Utley with Kid Elberfeld for 17th most all-time, at 165. Derek Jeter is 16th (166), and Alex Rodriguez 15th (169). Elberfeld was a turn of the century infielder who first came up with the Phillies (his SABR bio).
- By the way, while Utley doesn't rank highly in many counting stats, he is about to overtake Bobby Abreu for 7th in career rWAR among active players. He's 8th in fWAR.
- Last night Howard passed Bobby Abreu for ninth most total bases in franchise history, and now has 2492.
- On Wednesday he tied Von Hayes for 9th most walks in Phillies history, at 619.
- His next strikeout (99th this year) will give Howard 1500 for his career, making him the 57th player all time, and 10th active player with 1500+. Schmidt is the only other Phillie with 1500+, and he's at 1883. Howard has a good chance to pass him by the last year of his contract in 2016. He is projected to K a total of 206 times this year, if he stays healthy, meaning he would need to average only 139 per year in 2015-16 to pass Schmidt.
- Hamels last night passed the turn of the century's Bill Duggleby for 7th on the Phils' all-time list for innings pitched, at 1,685 1/3. By the end of July he will also pass Tully Sparks (1698), leaving him behind only Roberts (3739), Carlton (3697), Alexander (2513), Short (2253), and Simmons (1939).
- On Wednesday Burnett became the only active pitcher with 1000 walks in his career.
- Papelbon's save in Tuesday's 7-4 win was the 304th of his career, tying long time Royal Jeff Montgomery for 22nd most all-time. Next at #21 is Goose Gossage, 6 away at 310.
- Phillies All-time hitting leaders
- Phillies All-time pitching leaders