The Phillies cruised into the All-Star Break winning just 3 of their last 18 games. That's a horrible 3-15 record, or a .167 win percentage.
Of course, as is so lovely about the game of baseball, since the All-Star Break, the Phillies have been one of the hottest teams in MLB. To be precise, their 8-1 record makes them the second best team since the break, topped only by the Giants and their 9-1 post-Break record.
This is exactly what we all expected, right?
Here are the top 8 teams post-Break, all 8 with records at .667 or better (the next best is .556):
|W||L||RS||RA||Win %||Run Diff|
That's some pretty incredible company the Phillies are keeping. Aside from the Padres, who don't really deserve their .667 win percentage given that they have a -6 run differential since the Break, the Phillies sit among the top teams in all of baseball. The other teams are ranked as follows for the entire season (MLB ranking): Giants (7th), Yankees (4th), Cardinals (1st), Angels (5th), Astros (8th), Royals (2nd). The Phillies, as we know all too well, are still ranked last, by 4.5 games (below the Marlins).
As luck would have it, the one game that stands between the Phillies and a perfect post-Break record is Aaron Nola's big league debut (the one game I've attended sine the Break). As everyone recalls, Nola pitched incredibly well but gave up a home run to the Rays' pitcher, the first AL pitcher to hit a home run since 2011. That was the game's only run, as the Phils lost 1-0. That tough-luck Nola debut is the only post-Break loss for the Phils.
Nothing about this run should blind anyone to how bad the Phillies are this season. They haven't suddenly turned into a team that is of the same quality as the post-Break company they are keeping. As is always true in baseball, no team is as good as its best run.
But neither is a team as bad as its worst streak, so this glimpse into winning that we've had for the past 9 games is a stark reminder that as bad as the Phillies were before the Break (and 3-15 is really really terrible!), the team isn't that bad either.
And this streak is a reminder of one other thing as well -- that watching Phillies baseball can still be fun, even in the midst of a waste of a season.