The Phillies, as we all know, have been really bad this year. They’re 10-19, and only the 9-19 Brewers have a worse record in all of baseball. They are the only team in MLB that scores less than 3 runs per game, and it’s not close. The Phils score 2.83 runs per game, while the next highest is 3.14 per game by the Giants. The league average is 4.22.
They allow 4.83 runs per game, which is 7th-highest in MLB. The differential is a full two runs per game, which is worst in baseball. Using Pythagorean Win-Loss ratio–an estimator on win/loss ratios based on run differential–their record should be somewhere around 8-21, which is the worst in the league.
But how do these numbers stack up against some of the worst teams in Phillies history? Well, their 2.83 runs per game is good for 2nd worst in Phillies history. 4.83 runs against per game isn’t nearly as bad, as it stands at 48th-highest (133 total seasons).
Their pythW-L% is .273, which is 3rd-worst in franchise history. Only 1942 and 1883 were worse. Extrapolate that over 162 games and it’s just over 44 wins. That’s not a good predictor, so don’t think the Phils will finish under 50 wins–at least not yet. But it’s a good indicator of how bad they’ve been.
Still, the franchise has never had lower than 63 wins in any 162 game season. Their actual W-L% (.345) would be just under 56 wins out of 162. That’s seven lower than the 63 they had in 1969.
So, to answer my initial question–yes. The 2015 Phillies certainly could be the worst Phillies team of all time, certainly in recent years. In 1883, the franchise’s first year, the Philadelphia Quakers finished 17-81-1. Both the lowest W-L% (.173) and pythW-L% (.215). That’s the benchmark.
We could be witnessing history, just not the kind of history that the 2011 regular season brought us.
UPDATE: Added link explaining Pythagorean Win-Loss and other general edits.