By the Numbers: Phils on record-setting pace
We’re officially halfway through the baseball season, a perfect time to take a look at the Phillies by the numbers.
And the numbers are not pretty.
With 81 games in the books and 81 to go, the Phillies are on pace to become the first team in major-league baseball history to win over 100 games one year and lose 90 games the next year.
The 2011 Phillies won 102 games. The 2012 Phillies are on pace to lose 90 games. The most losses ever by a team that won 100 or more games the previous year is 83. That dubious record belongs to the Big Red Machine, who in 1970 went 102-60 and lost the World Series to the Orioles and a year later compiled a 79-83 record.
There are only four other teams that have had losing records a year after winning 100 games: The 1918 White Sox (57-64 in shortened 1918 season after going 100-54), the 1932 Cards (72-82 after going 101-53), the 1986 Cards (79-82 after 101-61) and the 1994 Giants (55-60 in strike-shortened season after 103-59).
The worst winning percentage by a team that won 100 games the previous year belongs to the 1932 Cards, who went 72-82 (.468) after going 101-53 in 1931 during a 154-game season. The Phillies are also, of course, on pace to break that record too, since a 72-90 record would give them a .444 winning percentage.
Now, there is a precedent right here in Philadelphia for a team to have a hugely successful season one year and completely collapse a year later.
Remember the 1915 Philadelphia Athletics? They suffered the largest one-year dropoff in modern baseball history, going 43-109 after a 99-53 record and fourth World Series appearance in five years in 1914. That 56-game drop is the largest in baseball since 1900.
These Phillies are on pace for a 30-win dropoff, from 102 to 72. That would be the largest by any major-league since the 1998 Marlins won 54 games a year after winning 92 -- a 38-win decline.
Other dropoffs of 30 games or more (not including shortened seasons): The 1914 Indians (86 to 51), 1915 Orioles (84 to 47), 1921 Cubs (96 to 62), 1934 Senators (99 to 69), 1935 Red Sox (78 to 38) and 1943 Giants (85 to 55).
Then there’s the 1885 St. Louis Maroons. After going 94-19 in 1884, they changed leagues (from the Union Association to the National League) and went 36-72 in 1885, a 58-game decline.
That’s one record that even these Phillies won’t be able to break. Hmm. Probably.
Some other Phillies numbers, stats and trends at the midway mark of the season:
● How about focusing for a bit on one of the few positive story lines of the Phillies’ dismal season. Chooch.
Carlos Ruiz’s .356 batting average is the highest by a Phillies regular (200 or more at-bats) after 81 games since 1951, when Richie Ashburn was hitting .359.
Chooch’s .356 is also highest by a Phillies catcher 81 games into a season since 1931, when Spud Davis was hitting .368.
The last catcher whose average was that high at the mid-point of the season was Joe Mauer, who was hitting .360 after 81 games in 2006.
The only other catchers hitting .356 or higher midway through the season with a minimum of 200 at-bats since 1900 are Mickey Cochrane (1930), Bill Dickey (1930, 1936), Ernie Lombardi (1932, 1938), Mike Piazza (1996, 1997, 2000), Pudge Rodriguez (2000) and Sandy Alomar (1997).
Chooch is also on pace for 22 homers. Only three catchers in baseball history have hit .350 in a season with 20 or more homers -- Dickey in 1936 (.362, 22), Mauer in 2006 (.365, 28) and Piazza in 1997 (.362, 40).
● If things keep going the way they’ve been going, this could be just the third time since 1930 that the Phillies will have two starting pitchers the same year with an ERA over 5.00.
It happened in 1977 (Randy Lerch 5.07, Jim Kaat 5.39) and it happened in 2007 (Adam Eaton 6.29, Jamie Moyer 5.01), and halfway through this season, Kyle Kendrick is at 5.27 and Joe Blanton 4.98.
● Can Cliff Lee get through the entire season without a win? The record for most innings pitched in a season without a win is 117 1/3 by reliever Terry Felton of the Twins in 1982. Lee is winless in 13 starts so far. Only one pitcher has ever started more games over an entire season and failed to win a single game -- that was Vida Blue in 1983, 12 years after he won the Cy Young Award and MVP in the same season. In 1983, Blue went 0-5 in 14 starts.
● Blanton, by the way, has allowed 19 homers in just 104 innings, which puts him on pace to give up 38 homers in 208 innings this year. Only 12 pitchers in baseball history have ever given up 38 or more homers in 208 or fewer innings, including one Phillie -- Eric Milton. In 2004, Milton allowed 43 dingers in 201 innings, a record that might be untouchable even for Blanton!
● Between Juan Pierre (.318) and Ruiz (.356), the Phils are on pace to have two guys hit .315 or higher in the same season for only the third time since 1940. It also happened in 1976 (Garry Maddox .330, Jay Johnstone .318) and 1999 (Bobby Abreu .335, Doug Glanville .325).
● With Pierre and Shane Victorino both stealing 19 bases in the first half and Jimmy Rollins swiping 14, the Phils have a chance to have three guys steal 30 bases in the same season for the first time ever. The Phils came close in 2001, with Rollins (46), Abreau (36) and Glanville (28).
● Jimmy Rollins goes into the second half of the season with 1,950 career hits. With 50 more hits, he’ll become the 29th player in baseball history with 2,000 hits, 100 doubles, 100 triples, 100 homers and 100 stolen bases. Of the 27 who’ve already accomplished that and are eligible, 19 are in the Hall of Fame. (The eight others are Pete Rose, Vada Pinson, Tim Raines, Willie Davis, Steve Finley, Mickey Vernon, Kenny Lofton and Joe Kuhel). The only active player who’s reached those milestones is Johnny Damon.E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com