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Phillies are done

Posted by Andy on August 26, 2010

I guess I jinxed them...losing 4 games in the Astros makes them a long shot for the playoffs at this point. Even with a handful of games against the Braves, history tells us that a 3-game deficit is probably too much to make up.

59 Responses to “Phillies are done”

  1. PhillyGuy18 Says:


  2. DavidRF Says:

    What is this an attempt at the double jinx?

    Pennant races aren't over in August when the deficit is only 3-4 games.

  3. Andy Says:

    I think teams with a 3-game lead this late in the season hold on to them about 80% of the time.

  4. BSK Says:

    First off, historical records are not necessarily predictive. But, even if they were, the jump from the Phillies having a 1 in 5 chance of catching the Braves to the Phillies are done is a pretty big one. Yes, the odds are stacked against them, but they're far from done.

    And I'm no Philly homer. Far from it. I just hate hyperbole and somewhat duplicitous uses of stats.

  5. JR Says:

    The Phillies over came a 7 game deficit with 17 to play once to win the division. I wouldn't count them out just yet. Wait till September when Howard turns his game up another notch. Sept is traditionally his best month of the year.

  6. Andy Says:

    BSK this is an opinion post. I think you're overreacting.

  7. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Last I heard, the pennant races won't end until October -- and it seems a little hot right now for October.

    I am likewise not a Phillies fan but I do think they are still viable contenders {especially given the Braves', I mean, HISTORICAL talent for going just short of all the way}. As much as I would like to see Cox go out on top, I think Philadelphia can overcome an August deficit of three or four games.

  8. Jeff James Says:

    They're an entire game back of the Giants. I guess a one-game deficit has never been made up.
    See, 1995 Mariners (pathetically out of it on Aug. 2)

  9. Andy Says:

    This is a prediction, guys. I am not quite stupid enough to think they are mathematically eliminated.

  10. dayf Says:

    Nooooo! The dreaded double-jinx!

    Braves and Phillies play head to head in 6 of the last 12 games this season. Nothing will be decided in the NL East until late September if not October. Maybe November. Christmas at the absolute latest.

  11. Tommy Says:

    if the Braves hadn't melted down epically yesterday, i might agree. but i've been saying that i'm waiting for the other shoe to drop for them and yesterday, i think it did.

  12. Malcolm Says:

    Andy, I'm used to reading very thoughtful and intelligent articles from you, but this one just seems like trash talking or gloating. Let's let the season play itself out, OK?

  13. Hartvig Says:

    On September 20th, 1964 the Phillies had a 6 & 1/2 game lead over both St. Louis & Cincinnati. On September 27th, they were 1 game out of first & never recovered.

    However, on September 12th, 2007, the Phillies were 7 games behind New York. On the final day of the season, they won the division.

    Still room for hope.

    Unless you a Tigers fan, like me.

  14. Surly Duff Says:

    This makes no sense. You are a horrible blogger, Andy. Stick to your day job.

  15. Curly Gruff Says:

    But his day job is ripping the Mets! What would you have him do?

  16. Billreef Says:

    The Braves are headed home to play the Fish and the Muts. The Fading Fillies are on the West coast against SD, LA and an insane stop in CO on the way home. This thing will be a lot worse than 3 games by next week. You can make book on that.

  17. BSK Says:


    You're being disingenuous and defensive. You claim it's an opinion post, but when folks weigh in with competing opinions, you belittle them with a stat that A) isn't the most useful in the first place, B) should have been included in the original post if it was the basis for your opinion, and C) implies there is no room to debate and, thus, this was not an opinion post.

    Not your best work. Take your lumps and you'll be all the better for it.

  18. Jeff Says:

    Did the Wild Card stop existing without anyone telling me?

  19. Fireworks Says:

    Oh, Andy...

  20. francis Says:

    a 3 game lead with a little more than 5 weeks left in the season, not exactly insurmountable...

  21. Gerry Says:

    Andy, with all due respect, the days are over when someone could just say, "history tells us that a 3-game deficit is probably too much to make up," and "I think teams with a 3-game lead this late in the season hold on to them about 80% of the time," and expect to get away with it - especially on this forum. Go do the work, and let us know just how often a team does blow a 3-game lead this late or later in the season; that would make a fine post (although BSK's comment that historical records are not necessarily predictive will still hold).

  22. Max Says:

    I want to be laughing because this is a joke, but instead I'm crying because this is a joke.
    And, Billreef, I will definitely "make book" on that. I will make many best-selling books about how wrong you are, because the Dodgers and Rockies are SOOO good this season. (FYI, the Phillies took 2 out 3 from LA a couple weeks ago and swept Colorado recently, as well.)

  23. Max Says:

    BTW, the point that NO ONE is making is that the Phillies lost exactly half-a game on the Braves by getting swept, as they were swept in Colorado. How much would all of your opinions change if the Phillies avoided the sweep today and were two games back instead? Anyone who honestly believes that the Phillies are done right now bases his entire opinion on their getting swept by a team as bad as the Astros, and it has nothing to do with how many games back they are.

  24. dodgerdave Says:

    The Phillies are only 0.5 game behind the Giants in the Wild Card race and the Phils face the Dodgers again next week. You can bet on Broxton or Torre's bullpen mismanagement blowing one or more of these upcoming games against the Phillies. Torre always makes dumb bullpen move(s) as usual that costs us games. I'm glad that he'll be gone after this season. Also, the Phillies psychologically own the Dodgers. Or they just own the Dodgers, period. The Phillies are in a good position for a playoff berth, whether it's the wild card or the NL East.

  25. Andy Says:

    Folks, a few things:

    - I was referring to the NL East race, not the wild card, so my bad on that one.
    - Jayson Stark has done a detailed study of leads, and found that most 5-game leads at the All-Star break hold up as do most 3-game leads late in this season. I'm not inventing these stats out of the air. Again, this refers to division leads on only.
    - Keep in mind that if the Braves lead the Phillies by 3 games, the Phils need to go 5-1 in head-to-head matchups to make up those 3 games. So many fans seem to look at the idea that if the number of games left is larger than the division deficit, then there's a really good chance that the team in 2nd can overtake the team in 1st. That's just not true (that there's a really good chance of this). Going 5-1 against the Braves, a team that currently has a better record and run differential, is going to be very difficult. Certainly not impossible, but I'm not putting my money on a team that just lost 4 straight to the Astros.
    - Coolstandings currently gives the Phillies a 12.6% chance of winning the division--even lower odds than what Stark would give them.
    - Those of you who might think I am biased against the Phillies don't know me very well. I would take zero pleasure in the Phillies not making the playoffs.

    I will remind you once again that this post is a simple prediction based on some stats that we have available. Other stats might suggest other predictions. No need for us all to get so emotional about it.

  26. Andy Says:

    There is an irony here. If the Phillies do make the playoffs, they'd be the odds-on favorite to go to the World Series, thanks to the strength of Halladay and Oswalt at the top of their rotation. Those 2 plus Hamels would be just about the strongest post-season rotation we've seen since Schilling, Pedro, and Lowe.

  27. Gerry Says:

    Got a URL for Stark's work?

  28. Andy Says:

    It was on a long while back.

  29. steven Says:

    The Cardinals have the easiest schedule among contenders, but they look just about done, too. Against the Cubs, Brewers, Pirates and Nationals, over the last two weeks, St. Louis is two and seven.

  30. Raphy Says:

    I don't know if this is what Andy is referring to, but here is an article by Alan Schwartz about the long odds that teams face despite being only a few games out at the trading deadline.

  31. Larry R. Says:

    Stick a fork in the Phils.

  32. Crashburn Alley » Blog Archive » Down but Certainly Not Out Says:

    [...] starting to count the Phillies out. It’s a bit premature to be doing that. tweetmeme_url = [...]

  33. Rich Says:

    What a useless post.

  34. Andy Says:

    Rich only comments on this blog when there's a post against the Phillies. If this post were against the Mets or Braves, Rich would be thrilled.

  35. John Autin Says:

    I agree with most of these replies, i.e., Andy overstated the case, especially in the headline.

    However ... to those who respond with blanket criticism, taunting, name-calling, sarcasm -- I think your tone is inappropriate in this forum.

    I also agree with Andy's implicit point -- most people don't realize just how tough it is to overcome a 3-game lead at this stage of the season.

    Of course, we all remember 2007. But we should also note that (a) that it took both a Phillies surge (13-4) and a Mets collapse (5-12, swept twice by the Nationals), and (b) such a comeback was unprecedented. We remember comebacks like that one -- and the '78 Yankees, and the '51 Giants -- precisely because they are so rare.

  36. Stu Baron Says:

    Excuse me Larry R, that would be spelled "phork!"

  37. Stu Baron Says:

    And let's remember that while the Phillies did overcome a 7-game deficit with 17 to play, they also once blew a 6-game lead with 10 to play...

  38. Greg Raleigh Says:

    I think it's tough, but not "fork" tough. In the summer of '73, I had a wonderful time watching a meek Mets team get hot and move from last in the NL East to game 7 of the World Series. These types of things are the shiny and new part of the reason I've loved baseball since 1967.

  39. Stu Baron Says:

    Great point about the '73 Mets, Greg R - I remember it well!

    Question for B-R staff: why do you close the comments on these blog posts? What's wrong with folks who may not read them right away giving their thoughts and reactions?

  40. Andy Says:

    Comments automatically close after a certain number of months. I'm not aware of any cases of comments being closed to prevent anyone from adding their own thoughts, positive or negative.

  41. CKS Says:

    #7 Frank: What does the Braves' inability to win the World Series have to do with this Division race? By that logic, history is on the Braves' side--they ALWAYS won the division in that same era that they choked away some of those WS titles!

    Also, I think the last several weeks has illustrated Andy's point. Look at the ebb and flow of the season, just this month: 3 weeks ago today, ATL had a 1 game lead...2 weeks ago today, a 3 game lead...short of an "epic" collapse, these teams should continue to play at this level down the stretch, barring injuries...

    And, Tommy, I know you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, but consider this: The Braves first half success was based largely on half a lineup (Prado, Chipper, McCann, Heyward, Glaus)...they have since jetisoned the pieces that weren't working (McClouth, Escobar, and Glaus to an extent, although he may come back at 3B) and have retooled their lineup, which is much stronger than it was even a mere two months ago...and I'll still take their starting 5 over anyone Philly's down the stretch (although I agree with Andy's point, not necessarily in a short playoff series--I like Philly's top 2 better)

  42. Rich Says:

    @ 34
    Not really. If this post was "Cardinals are done" I would post the exact same thing. I don't care what the stupid odds are at this point. OF COURSE, the team with a lead in late August usually wins. That's why they had a lead in the first place.

    And you can't really make a positive post about the Mets the last couple of years.

  43. bdunc8 Says:

    PECOTA has the Phillies at 26.05% to win the division and 49.35% to make the playoffs.

  44. BSK Says:

    I think predictive stats, like CoolStandings and PECOTA offer valuable insight. And while historical stats (such as the fact that some 80% of 3 game leads have held up at this point in the season) give some context to the task ahead, they are minimally useful in drawing conclusions about the specifics of this situation.

    You'll often hear announcers go on and on about how no one has done Accomplishment X before and, therefore, no one ever will. Hogwash, I say! Nothing has been done until it is done the first time. Obviously, some things are much harder to do, and the track record of success vs failure will indicate that. But to hear about how Phillies teams of the 30's did when trailing 3 games with 30 to play gives me little to nothing when talking about the Phillies of 2010. Unless, of course, you believe in ghosts, as so many of my fellow Red Sox fans did for so long...

  45. hooplah Says:


    R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer signed to a cheap minor league deal, did 1-hit the Phillies this year. That's positive and Mets related.

  46. AA Says:

    I agree. They don't have the relief staff they need to win a pennant. The hitting is streaky. They do not deserve to win -- and I am a fan. I do hope Halladay wins 20 though.

  47. Biff Says:

    "There is an irony here. If the Phillies do make the playoffs, they'd be the odds-on favorite to go to the World Series, thanks to the strength of Halladay and Oswalt at the top of their rotation. Those 2 plus Hamels would be just about the strongest post-season rotation we've seen since Schilling, Pedro, and Lowe."

    Andy, then after saying this please explain why a 3 game deficit in August seems insurmountable to you then?

  48. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    All I am saying is that the Braves have a history of choking, just as Philly has a history -- at least recently -- of pulling off upsets {remember the Series in 'o8?]. Just for the sake of sentiment, it would be nice to see Cox go out a winner; but I still believe that the Phillies won't lay down easily.

  49. Andy Says:

    It's not insurmountable, I just don't think it will happen. They need 5 starters the rest of the way, not 2.

  50. Tommy Says:

    Braves are currently down 5-0 to the Fish. really, neither team are playing like they want it lately, but i still think the Phils are better equipped to pull away.

  51. Ed Says:

    2 games back with a month to play isn't exactly Mt. Everest.

  52. Andy Says:

    True, Ed. Yesterday's games make a big difference. Now the Phils can tie the Braves by going 4-2 in those 6 head-to-head games.

  53. Ed Says:

    That's true as well, Andy. But there's also a very real chance that one team could pull away from the other with so many games between now and Sept 20 when they meet. Cincy was down by a game to STL on 8/13 and then 4.5 up on 8/20. That's a 5.5 game swing in 7 days. I don't think any division lead is safe here at the end of August besides TEX and possibly, but not definitely, SD.

  54. Malcolm Says:

    Hmmm... the Phillies just started a road trip by sweeping the best team in the National League. How done are they now?

  55. Jeff James Says:

    Phils fans will be thanking Andy for his quotes posted in the Phillie locker room!

  56. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It actually looks like comments close in under two weeks, from my quick check just now. This should really be adjusted.

    As long as I'm suggesting changes on the technical front, I'll repeat my request for most recent comments to appear in the sidebar. It gets hard to keep up with "old" threads once they move off the front page, which can be in a couple days sometimes. (I know it's possible to keep up with new comments via RSS or whatever, but I don't do that and am too lazy to figure it out, and I'm not I'm not the only one.)

  57. Eric Says:

    they're just so done.

  58. Harry the K Says:

    What now Andy, seriously, how did you come up with a post like this? Did you use your heart or your head, because the Phillies will trample both if they want too. Death in red . . . .

  59. Phillies are done (PART 2 – oops) » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] couple of weeks ago, I made an ingenious prediction that the Phillies were done, as far as winning the NL East. That came after they got swept by the [...]