ESPN contributor Jayson Stark is a Philly boy and a fine writer. I read all of his articles because he focuses on the "useless information" that makes baseball fun. Yesterday he did a piece on the Phillies losing ways (namely at home). I have taken the liberty of breaking it down for your pleasure...
*Here's how hard it is to lose 22 home games by Father's Day: There have been six teams in the expansion era that didn't lose 22 home games all season (not counting strike seasons): the '61 Yankees (16), '75 Reds (17), '98 Yankees (19), '62 Giants (21), '69 Orioles (21) and (whaddayaknow) the '77 Phillies (21).
-The Phillies, currently 13-22 at home, will have to go 28-18 the rest of the way just to finish above .500 (41-40). They have a 10-game homestand in July before the All-Star break, so that's a good place to start.
*No team in history has had a season in which it had a losing record at home but won 70 percent of its road games. But the Phillies are working on it. They're 13-22 at home but 23-9, .719, on the road.
-The Phillies like making history: first team to 10,000 losses, only team to win a resumed game in a World Series (Game 5a/5b), and the only franchise to sign a 46 year old pitcher to a 2 year contract extension.
*No offense should be asked to come from behind as often as the Phillies' lineup has been forced to do that this year. This team has trailed at some point in 52 of its 67 games this season. That means, even though the Phillies are in first place, they've trailed in more games this season than the Pirates or Royals (51 apiece). And even the Nationals, who are already 27 games under .500, have only trailed in 58 games.
-The Phils have had to come from behind more than Peter North for crying out loud. Being associated with the likes of the Buccos, Royals, and Gnats is never a good thing.
*If it weren't for the Phillies' closer issues, they might be leading the NL East by eight games. In their last 27 games, their closer (Brad Lidge or Ryan Madson) has either contributed a blown save, a loss or both in seven of them. Of their 11 losses in June, seven have been hung on the bullpen. And our friends at Inside Edge report that Madson hasn't gotten a single swing-and-miss on his fastball since Lidge was placed on the disabled list.
-In other words, Lidge and Madson have been the Antichrist. Overall, the bullpen is taxed, as evident by the DL stints of Lidge, Eyre, and now Condrey. And seriously, how the hell has Jamie Moyer had more swing and misses at his "fastball" than Madson?!
*To repeat a recent Elias Says note, the Phillies have lost more games this year that they led in the ninth inning or later (six) than any team in baseball. Last year, of course, they lost the fewest games like that of any team in baseball (zero).
-The Phils were perfect when heading into the 9th with a lead last year, this season not so much. I get a Jose Mesa-esque feeling in the pit of my stomach that usually erupts as vomit come the end of the game anymore.
*The Phillies just got swept at home in back-to-back series by the Blue Jays and Orioles. Here's why that shouldn't happen to a team with win-the-World-Series aspirations: The Orioles hadn't swept a road series of three games or more since May 30, 2007 (at Kansas City), which was 53 road series ago. And the Blue Jays hadn't swept a road series of three games or more since May 15, 2008, which was 29 road series ago.
-The Phillies are defending World Series champs. Why the hell are they playing like the Bad News Bears at home? I can understand losing to the BoSox or Dodgers, but the O's and Jays aren't exactly cream of the crop.
*Today is Phils history- Brett Myers arrested for punching wife.
*As mentioned above, Clay Condrey is likely heading to the DL with an oblique strain with Sergio Escalona taking his place.
*Ryan Howard is still questionable for tonight's game with flu like symptoms.
*Here's last year's Tale of the Tape for Tampa Bay.
*Tonight- the Rays' starter David Price was only 1 year old when Phils' starter Jamie Moyer made his MLB debut back in 1986.