For those who missed it, Jimmy Rollins was on “Daily News Live” and made his annual prediction for the Phillies: This time, 112 wins.
Now, the 2008 Phillies — counting the postseason — won 103 games. So Rollins is thinking nine more. It combines regular season and postseason, but it still would be tremendously difficult. That would mean (saying the Phils win a championship) the Phils would have to win 101 regular season games. Here are the teams who have won more than 100 games, since 2000:
2008 Angels: 100-62
2005 Cardinals: 100-62
2004 Cardinals: 105-57
2004 Yankees: 101-61
2003 Yankees: 101-61
2003 Giants: 100-61
2003 Braves: 101-61
2002 Braves: 101-59
2002 Yankees: 103-58
2002 Athletics: 103-59
2001 Athletics: 102-60
2001 Mariners: 116-46
That’s 12 teams, or 4 percent of all teams since 2000. The constant with all those teams is pitching; while from the naked eye the Phillies have enough pitching to get close to 100 wins, it doesn’t seem enough to get over the hump. Too many question marks remain for this staff, which doesn’t quite resemble those ’98 Yankees, which had just one pitcher whose ERA+ stood below 100.
Just to have some fun, let’s say Rollins meant 112 regular season wins. That would be extremely tough, considering the 110-win barrier has been crossed just six times in baseball history, and those Yankee and Mariner teams were the only teams to cross it in the modern era (1969-present). Teams with more than, say, 105 wins have a lot of luck. They’ll get a few unexpected performances from normally poor players. They’ll play a bunch of really bad teams (those 2001 Mariners cleaned up with a 30-9 record against Texas and Anaheim).
Looking at the ’09 Phillies, well … they play the Mets a lot, and they won’t go 15-4 against them. They could do it against Washington and maybe even Atlanta, considering their dominance of the Braves in 2008. But those numbers are still a stretch. I can’t see them, however, beating down Florida. Still, the rest of the National League is in the Phillies’ favor: They could have their way with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston, San Francisco, San Diego and Colorado. They could play extremely well against Los Angeles, Arizona, Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Louis. At this second, I do think the Phils are the favorite in the National League.
But it’s still a stretch to think about 100 wins, let alone 112. Though if anyone can predict it, it is Jimmy.