The last time Deadspin really checked in on the Philadelphia Phillies, it was the end of May. And the Phillies were terrible! They went 6-22 in that month, a disappointing drop-off after a bad-but-not-horrible 11-12 April. Now we’re coming up on the end of June, and have the Phillies turned it around? No, they have not.
With just a few days left in the month, the Phillies have the worst record in baseball at 24-50. That makes them 7-16 so far in June with games remaining in Arizona, Seattle, and against the Mets. They still have the worst record in baseball.
If you know anything about the history of the Philadelphia Phillies, you know that they have mostly been terrible. The franchise has lost an MLB-record 10,791 games. They’ve lost 100-plus games 14 times. Heck, their first season in 1883 ended with a 17-81 record; they’ve been bad for most of their existence.
And yet, the 2017 Phillies are on pace to be one of the worst teams in Phillies history! They’re on pace to lose almost 110 games; 111 is the worst mark in team history. This team is having one of the worst first halves of a season since World War II.
That’s right: The last time the Phillies were this bad in the first half of the season, the first Harry Potter book had just come out.
The Phillies have actually been better this month—but they still keep losing. Yesterday’s loss was a 2-1 defeat to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 11 innings. It was their 19th one-run loss of the season. It was also their fifth-straight extra-inning loss.
There have been some changes to the roster during this horrid stretch. (In case you need another example of their badness: The Phillies were 11-9, and have been 13-41 since.) Michael Saunders, signed to a one-year, $9 million deal this offseason, was cut after hitting .205 this season. Jeanmar Gomez, the team’s closer to start the year, was also released. The starting left-fielder and the closer in April were gone by the end of June.
The primary bright spots for the Phillies are 36-year-old middle reliever Pat Neshek, who has a miniscule 0.59 ERA in 30.1 innings, and outfielder Aaron Altherr, who’s hitting .284 with 12 homers and 15 doubles. Also, Howie Kendrick is tearing things up in 35 games. Neshek and Kendrick could be traded sooner rather than later, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.
Meanwhile, the team’s All-Star last season, Odubel Herrera, has an OBP 66 points lower than last season. He’s frustrated the team with some boneheaded plays and was even trashed by team broadcaster and Phillies legend Mike Schmidt.
Maikel Franco, another young Phillie fans had high hopes for before the year, is hitting .221 and has grounded into more double plays than anyone else in the league. (Hey, the Phillies have a league leader!) Young pitchers Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez were both awful before they got hurt. The rest of the team, pretty much, has been middling-to-terrible.
The Phillies have a ton of prospects in the minors, but this season is lost. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Phillies are bad.