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Interleague Play: Do the Phillies Really Have To?

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When interleague play started in 1997, I was a big fan.  I liked the idea of getting to see some of the big AL stars in person playing at the Vet.  But, I've done that now, and I can do without it as a fan of the game.

With interleague play starting tonight for 2007, the Phillies-related question is whether this is good or bad for the team.  Well, it's pretty obvious that, based on history, it's a bad thing for the Phillies.

Doing a little bit of sorting of the historical interleague play record chart available at MLB.com, we see the Phils have not benefitted from the institution:

Club G W L Win Pct
Florida Marlins 168 96 72 0.571
Atlanta Braves 166 91 75 0.548
St. Louis Cardinals 145 78 67 0.538
San Francisco Giants 161 86 75 0.534
Houston Astros 149 78 71 0.523
Washington Nationals 175 88 87 0.503
New York Mets 168 83 83 0.500
Los Angeles Dodgers 161 80 81 0.497
Chicago Cubs 145 70 75 0.483
Philadelphia Phillies 169 78 91 0.462
Milwaukee Brewers 139 64 75 0.460
San Diego Padres 161 74 87 0.460
Arizona Diamondbacks 142 65 77 0.458
Colorado Rockies 145 66 79 0.455
Cincinnati Reds 139 61 78 0.439
Pittsburgh Pirates 136 52 84 0.382

Focusing the microscope a little closer is even uglier, as the rest of the NL East has done much better than the Phils in interleague play:

Club G W L Win Pct
Florida Marlins 168 96 72 0.571
Atlanta Braves 166 91 75 0.548
Washington Nationals 175 88 87 0.503
New York Mets 168 83 83 0.500
Philadelphia Phillies 169 78 91 0.462

The Phils have played the second-most interleague games of any NL team (thanks to the unbalanced schedule). Thus, even though they have only the 7th worst winning percentage in interleague games, they have the highest number of losses (91), almost 20 more than the Marlins.

Let's hope the trend reverses itself this year. The Phils can't afford otherwise.