Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Game 76: Utley Eve

May 13 was a beautiful Sunday. The temperature was 79 degrees at first pitch and the Phillies won a game against San Diego by outscoring them 3-2.

Game 76: Utley Eve

Vance Worley gets the start on the mound for the Phillies as they take on the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. (Tom Mihalek/AP)
Vance Worley gets the start on the mound for the Phillies as they take on the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. (Tom Mihalek/AP)

May 13 was a beautiful Sunday. The temperature was 79 degrees at first pitch and the Phillies won a game against San Diego by outscoring them 3-2.

That was 44 days ago, the last time the Phillies won a game when scoring three or fewer runs.

It's not necessarily relevant to anything right now, other than an enlightening look at how the expected narrative of 2012 has fallen by the wayside. The Phillies are 4-28 (.125) when they score three or fewer runs; only Boston, Minnesota, Colorado and Arizona have worse marks.

Last season, the Phillies were a staggering 30-47 (.390) when scoring three or fewer runs. That was the sixth best record for any team in the past 30 seasons:

Rk Tm Year G W L W-L% RS RA
1 PIT 1992 79 33 46 .418 155 264
2 ATL 1995 58 24 34 .414 120 197
3 ATL 1992 74 30 44 .405 145 249
4 ATL 1993 72 29 43 .403 135 221
5 TOR 1991 62 25 37 .403 114 186
6 PHI 2011 77 30 47 .390 148 244
7 NYM 1984 76 29 47 .382 151 308
8 ATL 2002 71 26 44 .371 145 281
9 CHW 2005 60 22 38 .367 104 208
10 NYM 1988 75 27 48 .360 145 238
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Even when expanding to four runs or fewer, the Phillies have not notched a win since May 26 (a 4-0 victory over St. Louis). In fact, the Phillies have not won a game in which they scored fewer than six runs since May 26. That's a month. Incredible.

(An interesting aside: This year's Washington Nationals are 14-24 (.368) when scoring three or fewer runs. That would be ninth best in the last 30 years. The Phillies were able to remarkably sustain it for a full season. Can Washington?)

So while Chase Utley's likely return Wednesday will undoubtedly provide a boost, the pitching staff is really the issue. But you knew that, right?

The lineup on Utley Eve:

1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Hunter Pence 9
4. Carlos Ruiz 2
5. Shane Victorino 8
6. Ty Wigginton 3
7. John Mayberry Jr. 7
8. Mike Fontenot 4
9. Vance Worley 1


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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

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