Since I wrote about the Race to the Bottom last week, the Phillies have gone 3-4. Their play against the Braves this past weekend was atrocious, but thanks to some good pitching from Jerad Eickhoff, Adam Morgan, and Alec Asher, the Phillies have won 3 of their last 4.
Their offense is still scuffling, as they've scored only 22 runs over the last 7 games (just 3.1 per gave average). On the season, the Phillies have scored just 514 runs. That's last place in all of baseball, 26 runs behind the next-to-last place Braves (540).
Or, to put it more bluntly, the Phillies have the least productive offense in baseball, and it's not that close. They're on pace to score 595 runs this year, which would be 31 less than last year's 4th-worst-in-baseball 626.
Nonetheless, as bad as the offense has been, the pitching this week kept the team from having a disaster week. And, with a 3-4 record over the last 7 games, the Phillies nudged up (down?) only just a tad in the standings for the race to the bottom - moving from 10th place to tied for 9th.
Here are the standings of the bottom 12 in baseball going into play tonight:
Other than the Brewers and White Sox, all of these teams were at .500 or below for the week, which is why the Phillies didn't gain (lose?) much ground in these standings. The Brewers' big week was the reason the Phillies are now tied with them, but otherwise, the Phils need to play worse or have these other teams play better for the standings to change much in the remaining three weeks.
The race-to-the-bottom good news though is that the Phillies look even more solid this week than last for remaining in the top (bottom?) 10 slots in order to have a protected draft pick next year. Last week, they were 3 ahead of the White Sox (who were 11th in these standings), but this week they are now 4 ahead of the Rockies. Gaining (losing?) a game with one less week to play makes it that much harder for the Phillies to fall to the 11th spot.
But moving up (down?) in these standings to get an even better draft pick will require more. The battle for slots 3 through 7 are very close right now (only 3 games separating 5 teams) -- the Phillies are another 2.5 games below (above?) that tier.
How does the coming week look for these teams? The Phillies face the Nationals and Pirates, which is a tough schedule (though the Pirates have been struggling of late). The American League teams outside the top (bottom?) 2 in these standings have even tougher schedules: the Rays face the Yankees and Blue Jays; the A's face the Mariners and Royals; and the Angels face the Rangers and Mariners. All of those opponents are above .500 teams (and some well above).
The other National League teams are facing weaker teams than the Phils, which means they may fare better. The Padres and Diamondbacks trade series against the Giants and the Rockies, and the Reds face off against the Pirates and Brewers. This provides a bit of a window for the Phillies, but that may be balanced out by the fact that the Reds, Padres, and Diamondbacks are all worse teams than the Phillies (at least by record).
With three weeks to go, the Phillies have an opportunity to move up (down?) on this list this week. We'll check in again next week to see how things went.