The Phillies lost to the Pirates Monday night at Citizens Bank Park 4-3. It was a tight ballgame, it never got out of hand, and the Phils made a run at it in the bottom of the ninth. But at the end of the night, it was another loss for the Phils, dropping them to 11-22 on the season.
That is officially the worst record in all of baseball.
The last time they were 11-22 after 33 games was 1997, when they went 68-94. They are on pace to go 54-108, which would be the worst record since Houston went 51-111 in 2013.
Of course, the Phillies are rebuilding. They are not SUPPOSED to be winning games right now, so there should not be a whole lot of hand wringing or crying here. This is not a BAD thing. Having the worst record in baseball means you get to pick first in next year's MLB Draft, which is better than picking second or third or fourth or... you get the idea.
And when you look at the lineup that is thrown out there on a nightly basis, you understand why the team is on pace to lose more than 100 games this year. They have marginal veterans like Grady Sizemore, who actually accounted for two of the Phils' three runs on the night, and Jeff Francoeur playing right field because their best "young" option is Domonic Brown, who is still down in Triple-A trying to find his power stroke.
When you look at a rotation where Jerome Williams is the third-best pitcher, you know you've got trouble. Williams did what he could do against Pittsburgh Monday night, but lasted only five innings and gave up three runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. His ERA sits at 5.21.
The Phils bats were no match for Pirates starter Gerrit Cole, who went seven innings and gave up just two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks, lowering his ERA to 2.32. The Phils did manage to get some hits up on the board, led by multi-hit nights from Sizemore and Cody Asche, and Odubel Herrera added a ninth inning home run that cut the deficit to 4-3.
But aside from the home run, the extra base hits just weren't there.
And for the first time this year, Chase Utley has a hit in three consecutive games, after an eighth inning punch-shot into left field. The batting average is all the way up to .122 now. Slow down, Chase! You'll make yourself dizzy!
Look, it's a roster of bad hitters with mostly bad starters and a bullpen that has been a bit up-and-down so far. It's no surprise the team is losing games, and after all the screaming and crying by the fanbase (myself included) for the team to go into full rebuild mode, it would be unseemly to cry about having the worst record in baseball now that they've committed to actually doing what we wanted them to do.
So, we just roll with the punches, swallow hard at the MLB-worst -61 run differential, and try to get through it, hoping there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Let's just hope the light isn't from an oncoming train.