On the TGP bloglord never-ending email list today, one of my colleagues wrote that it's time that he finds something positive to post in the midst of this terrible season because it's just too negative out there. I applaud his sentiment, but this isn't a post to break the streak.
Instead, this post is going to look at the Phillies current run and ask when the team has been this bad before. Giving how successful the Phillies have been over much of the past decade, it seems that what we're witnessing in this current run of suck is quite shocking.
Since June 21, coming off a 5-game win streak and an impressive 10-4 record over the previous two weeks, the Phillies have been horrible. They are 3-13 in that time, including a 6 game losing streak. They are currently working on a 3 game losing streak after being swept by the Pirates. In these 16 games, the Phils have scored just 41 runs, for an average of just over 2.5 runs per game. They've given up 71 runs, which is 4.75 per game. With those numbers, the 3-13 record is no surprise, as it's hard to win games when you're allowing more than 2 runs per game than you're scoring.
Anyway you look at it, this isn't winning baseball.
But is it particularly awful baseball for the Phillies over the past decade? To answer that question, I looked at the Phillies since 2005, when Charlie Manuel took over the team and our new era of winning set in. In that time, the Phillies have played 1,546 games, winning 837 of them, for a 548 winning percentage.
With that record of success, there haven't been many stretches worse than this one, but there have indeed been three:
June 8 through July 1, 2006: Over 20 games, the Phillies were 4-16. This was another of the Phillies' seemingly regular June swoons. And, as you could probably guess, most of it came against the American League in interleague play (back when interleague play was an isolated part of the schedule). In the midst of this ineptitude, the Phillies went 3-11 against the Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, and Orioles. Is it any wonder we Phillies fans dread seeing an AL team on the schedule?
This stretch of bad play came at the expense of the Phillies pitchers. The Phillies scored just under 4 runs per game over these 20 games but gave up over 6.5 runs per game. Their run differential for the 20 games was a whopping -55.
June 2 through July 13, 2012: Another June swoon, this one lasting much longer and being that much worse because of it. The last 16 games matched the Phillies current incompetence at 3-13, but it's the 35 run stretch that stands out. Over those games, the Phillies were 9-26.
Again, this was an AL and pitching problem. Twelve of these games were against the AL, and the Phillies went 4-8 in those games. Over the entire 35 game stretch, they scored almost 4.1 runs per game, but they allowed 5.3. Not as big of a differential as the current one or the stretch in 2006, but enough for this stretch to persist for over a month.
July 20 through August 17, 2013: The middle of last summer was the worst. Literally, in the heat of the summer, the Phillies played their worst baseball over the past decade. They had a 16 game stretch from July 20 to August 7 that was their only 16 game stretch worse than the current one - they went 2-14. Going a little deeper into the summer, from July 20 through August 17, they were 4-21.
Miraculously, only 3 of these games were against the American League, but those were against the Tigers. The Phillies scored 2.8 runs per game, which was helped by 12 in one win against the Cubs. Otherwise, they scored just 2.5 runs per game. Their awful pitching didn't even make it close, as they allowed 5.5 runs per game,
May 18 through June 4, 2010: This 16 game stretch is out of order because it doesn't match the others in terms of win-loss record, but it is the worst in a different regard - the worst offensive performance by the team over 16 games since 2005. Over this stretch, the Phillies scored an abysmal 29 runs. Amazingly, they were 5-11 over this stretch thanks to better pitching.
Smack dab in the middle of this run was their back-to-back-to-back shutouts at the hands of the Mets that most of us will never forget. This current run of scoring 41 seems like a run-scoring maching compared to what was going on in late May and early June 2010.
This trip through Phillies ineptitude over the past decade shows that the Phillies have played worse for longer periods of time than they are right now. It also should remind us of an old saying that we have to have faith in: A team is never as good as it looks when it's streaking, and a team is never as bad as it looks when it's flailing.
In that way, maybe this is a cheery column for today!