The Race to the Bottom

The Phillies’ recent hot streak, in which they have won nine of 13 games, has them tenuously close to falling out of the bottom-ten in the overall standings. At 64-75, they have the ninth-worst record in baseball, just ahead of the 66-74 New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds. They’re on pace to finish 75-87.

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Ben Revere On Pace For A Phillies First

It’s September 3 and center fielder Ben Revere is batting .311 with 42 stolen bases. With eight more bags, and holding his .300-plus batting average through the end of the season — which, if he gets 100 more at-bats, would require him to bat .230 or worse — Revere could become the first Phillie to bat better than .300 with 50 or more steals.

Sherry Magee came the closest to accomplishing the feat, batting .331 with 49 stolen bases in 1910. Only two have come close in the modern era, as you can see on the list of Phillies to bat .300 with 40-plus steals:

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Cole Hamels, Bullpen Combine For A No-Hitter

The Phillies celebrated Labor Day in style on Monday, as Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon combined to toss nine no-hit innings against the Atlanta Braves. Hamels battled spotty control, walking five, but the Braves weren’t able to hit him very hard when he was in the strike zone. It’s no surprise that the Diekman-Giles-Papelbon trio was able to polish off the no-no as they have been lights out for the last several months.

The last no-hitter in Phillies history, of course, was Roy Halladay‘s gem in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. It’s the 12th no-hitter in franchise history, and the first combined no-hitter. The last combined no-hitter in baseball came on June 8, 2012, when former Phillie — and author of a complete game no-hitter — Kevin Millwood and five Seattle Mariners relievers accomplished the feat against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Here’s the last out:

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Jimmy Rollins Has Quietly Had A Good Season

A look at his meager .242 batting average, unexciting .324 on-base percentage, and a sub-.400 slugging percentage and it’s easy to conclude that Jimmy Rollins has had a mediocre season. Even by adjusted OPS, of which Rollins has an even 100, he’s simply average.

If we go a little deeper, though, and use a better stat — weighted on-base average — we see that Rollins’ .320 mark stacks up well against his competition at shortstop in the National League, even if we set the plate appearance minimum so low (375) as to include Troy Tulowitzki. Rollins ranked sixth in the league, just a smidge behind Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond and far ahead of number seven, Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants at .297.

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Analyzing Domonic Brown’s Base Running Gaffe

The Phillies swept the Washington Nationals out of Philadelphia with an easy 8-4 victory last night, making them winners of six of their last seven games. Though the Phillies pounded out 15 hits, three of which were home runs, the game wasn’t without mistakes.

One of those mistakes occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning. Domonic Brown had doubled in a run, reducing the Phillies’ deficit to 4-3. In the next at-bat, Wil Nieves went ahead 2-0, then fouled off three consecutive pitches. On Nats starter Doug Fister‘s sixth pitch of the at-bat, Wil Nieves hit a ground ball to shortstop Ian Desmond. Brown went on contact and was easily thrown out at third base for the first out of the inning.

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Ryan Howard Could Have One of the Worst 100 RBI Seasons Ever

On Saturday night’s broadcast of the Cardinals-Phillies game, Mike Schmidt said (paraphrasing) that you can’t get to 100 RBI and have a bad season. In the eighth inning, as if the baseball gods wanted to put on a live demonstration of teammates’ effect on a hitter’s RBI total, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley hit consecutive singles to lead off the inning. They then reached second and third base on a double-steal. Howard was later hit by a Randy Choate pitch, but he was in a great position to knock in two runs with a bloop single (which Marlon Byrd then did immediately afterward).

According to Baseball Prospectus, Howard has taken 288 plate appearances with runners on base, representing 54.4 percent of his total plate appearances. Howard’s rate of driving in other runners, however, is 15.5 percent, the 68th-highest rate (min. 300 PA), sandwiched between James Loney and Aaron Hill.

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In A World Without Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels A Cy Young Candidate

It’s Clayton Kershaw‘s world; Cole Hamels is just living in it. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ lefty seems well on his way to a third career National League Cy Young award, leading the league with 15 wins, a 1.82 ERA, six complete games, a 0.83 WHIP, a 32 percent strikeout rate, a 195 adjusted ERA, an 8.76 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a 1.84 FIP. Assuming Kershaw doesn’t completely fall apart, he will lead the league in ERA for the fourth consecutive season. He is the Pedro Martinez of our generation: a pitcher so obviously dominant and so far ahead of his peers, even at the top.

If we can engage in a thought experiment, though, let’s imagine the National League existed without Kershaw and was otherwise unchanged. In that world, Hamels is a contender for the Cy Young award.

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