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Phillies Beat with Destiny Lugardo

The numbers behind the Phillies’ bizarre cycle drought


David Bell is the last Phillie to hit for the cycle. (Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich became the first player in MLB this season to hit for the cycle on Wednesday. The 2018 National League MVP became the sixth player in league history to hit for the cycle three times. Yelich also became the only player to hit three cycles against the same opponent, the Cincinnati Reds.

Current Reds manager David Bell is the last Phillie to hit for the cycle, which happens when a batter hits at least one single, double, triple and a home run in a single game. June 28 will mark the 18th anniversary of Bell’s achievement, which occurred during Citizens Bank Park’s inaugural season. Believe it or not, the Phillies do not own the longest current cycle drought in baseball. It’s not even close.

That honor belongs to … the Cincinnati Reds. June 2, 1989 marked the last time the historic franchise had a player hit for the cycle. Eric Davis went 4-for-4 with six RBIs in a 6-2 Reds win against the Padres at Riverfront Stadium. The Miami Marlins, who entered the league as an expansion team in 1993, has never had a player hit for the cycle.

Only the Reds, Marlins, Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs have gone longer without having an offensive player hit for the cycle. Seventeen MLB franchises have had multiple instances in which a player has hit for the cycle since the Phillies’ last cycle in 2004. The Texas Rangers, for example, have had eight players combine to hit nine cycles since June 2004.

An opposing player has hit for the cycle twice against the Phillies since Bell’s cycle against the Montreal Expos. Both came at Citizens Bank Park. Brad Wilkerson hit for the cycle in what was the first regular season victory for the Washington Nationals franchise on April 6, 2005. Nearly fourteen years later, Minnesota’s Jorge Polanco hit for the cycle on April 5, 2019.

Phillies hitters were a triple shy of the cycle 144 times since the last cycle in franchise history. Ryan Howard needed a triple to complete the cycle 16 times. Too bad Howard only had 21 career triples to his name.

Players who were a triple shy of the cycle since last Phillies cycle Games
Ryan Howard16
Jimmy Rolins 11
Chase Utley 10
Bryce Harper 8
Shane Victorino 7
Rhys Hoskins7
Pat Burrell 6
Jayson Werth 6

Among Phillies players who were a home run shy of the cycle, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley lead the way with 10 and six games respectively. Other Phillies with at least one single, double, triple game since 2004 include Freddy Galvis, Michael Saunders, Jeff Francoeur, Greg Dobbs, Dominic Brown and Ben Revere.

June 18, 2010 and June 18, 2011 were the closest any Phillie has come to hitting for the cycle in the last 18 years. In 2010, Howard fell a single shy of the cycle. The following year on the same date, Shane Victorino needed just a base knock to hit for the cycle.

The Phillies aren’t necessarily strangers to cycle droughts — or droughts in general. Bell’s cycle broke a nine-year cycle drought with the last one coming from Greg Jeffries on Aug. 25, 1995. Before Jeffries, Johnny Callison (June 27, 1963) was the last Phillie to hit for the cycle. Chuck Klein is the only Phillie in history to hit for the cycle multiple times.

So when might be the next time we see a Phillies player hit for the cycle? It’s surprising, considering his speed, power and aggressiveness on the base paths, that Bryce Harper has yet to hit for the cycle in his 10-year career. Nick Castellanos, who is famous for hitting balls in the gap and is a sneaky threat on the bases, is certainly a candidate. Ditto for J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura and maybe even Alec Bohm.

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