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One-Run Wonders
2007-05-09 09:18
by Mike Carminati

The Phils lost again yesterday by one run, 3-2 to the D-Backs on a Tony Clark—yes, he's still playing—pinch-hit home run. It was the second straight one-run loss for the team and their record in one-run games is 1-6 for the year, just ahead of the Cubs' major-league worst 1-7.

They not only wasted their monthly decent Adam Eaton start, the Phils again allowed the winning run late in the game after tying the game. On the bright side, at least it wasn't the bullpen's fault this time. The Phils do seem to be catching teams late just to give up the go-ahead/winning run the next half inning. I hate to quote Joe Morgan, but it seems like they are playing by his proverbial "Playing good enough to lose" paradigm.

The Phils are now on a pace to win just 69 against 93 losses and 5-29 in one-run games. It's still early and this is a team that perennially starts slowly, but their usual surge to resuscitate their fortunes has come and gone—a five-game win streak April 20-25 to get them within two games of .500 (9-11). Since then they have alternated a win with a loss or two. A malaise has again settled on the team aided by the injury/ineffectiveness of Ryan Howard and the execrable and now injured bullpen.

For a team that started the season with such high expectations, they seem certain to be the worst Phillie club since the Terry Francona days. A loss today would close out a 3-7 road trip.

Fortunately, perhaps, for the Phils, they will face a flagging Randy Johnson (0-2, 6.50 ERA). With 44-year-old Jamie Moyer facing Johnson (43), the game will feature the two oldest left-handed starters in (recorded) major-league history, barely topping the much ballyhooed Johnson-David Wells (43) pairing earlier this season. It will feature the oldest pairing of any pitchers since Charlie Hough (39) faced Phil Niekro (48) on July 25, 1987.

Here are the oldest pairings of all-time.

DateVisiting teamVT SPAgeVT runsHome teamHT SPAgeHT runsTot Age
19870608CLEPhil Niekro482CALDon Sutton42090
19860628CLEPhil Niekro473CALDon Sutton41988
20070509PHIJamie Moyer44 ARIRandy Johnson43 87
19870725TEXCharlie Hough397CLEPhil Niekro48387
19870506CLEPhil Niekro482TEXCharlie Hough39787
20070424SDNDavid Wells 4310ARIRandy Johnson43586
19870824NYATommy John443CALDon Sutton42286
19870821TORPhil Niekro481CALJerry Reuss38386
19870707MINJoe Niekro427NYATommy John441286
19650925BOSBill Monbouquette285KC1Satchel Paige58286
19290709PHAJack Quinn454CHARed Faber40685
19290617CHARed Faber406PHAJack Quinn45485
19290508PHAJack Quinn455CHARed Faber40485

And as for lefties starters:

DateVisiting teamVT SPAgeVT runsHome teamHT SPAgeHT runsTot Age
20070509PHIJamie Moyer44 ARIRandy Johnson43 87
20070424SDNDavid Wells 4310ARIRandy Johnson43586
19880502NYATommy John456CHAJerry Reuss39484
20050403BOSDavid Wells422NYARandy Johnson41983
20050703TEXKenny Rogers401SEAJamie Moyer42282
20040623ARIRandy Johnson403SDNDavid Wells41481
20041002TEXKenny Rogers3910SEAJamie Moyer41480
19870701CALJerry Reuss3810CLESteve Carlton42580
19650808SFNWarren Spahn446SLNCurt Simmons36480
20050611TEXKenny Rogers405FLOAl Leiter39679
20040819NYNAl Leiter384COLJeff Fassero41279
19870911NYATommy John445TORMike Flanagan35679

You can chalk the Phils' poor one-run record to small sample size, but if they do keep up their current pace, their 5-29 (.143) record would be the worst since the 1800s:

1871Rockford Forest Citys05.000421.160
1872Cleveland Forest Citys02.000616.273
1872Troy Haymakers01.0001510.600
1875Keokuk Westerns03.000112.077
1875Philadelphia Centennials01.000212.143
1875St. Louis Red Stockings02.000415.211
1884Milwaukee Brewers01.00084.667
1875New Haven Elm Citys18.111740.149
1874Hartford Dark Blues17.1251637.302
1878Milwaukee Grays315.1671545.250
1886Washington Nationals525.1672892.233
1935Boston Braves731.18438115.248

Here are the worst since 1900. The Phils and Cubs blow them away:

1935Boston Braves731.18438115.248
1937St. Louis Browns1031.24446108.299
1999Kansas City Royals1132.2566497.398
1916Philadelphia Athletics1132.25636117.235
1936Philadelphia Phillies1234.26154100.351
1952Pittsburgh Pirates1335.27142112.273
1953New York Giants924.2737084.455
1937Cincinnati Reds1436.2805698.364
1919Washington Senators1436.2805684.400
1913Brooklyn Superbas1436.2806584.436
1975Houston Astros1641.2816497.398
1966New York Yankees1538.2837089.440

At the other end of the spectrum, the Tigers (9-5 in 1-run games, projected 47-26), Arizona (10-6, 46-28), and Cleveland (8-3, 43-16) are all on a pace to break the all-time one-run win record:

1978San Francisco Giants4226.6188973.549
1969New York Mets4123.64110062.617
1940Cincinnati Reds4117.70710053.654
1974Baltimore Orioles4021.6569171.562
1970Baltimore Orioles4015.72710854.667
1979Houston Astros3927.5918973.549
1985Cincinnati Reds3918.6848972.553
1993Kansas City Royals3832.5438478.519
1982San Francisco Giants3828.5768775.537
1967Chicago White Sox3826.5948973.549
1943New York Yankees3823.6239856.636
1972Chicago White Sox3820.6558767.565

By the way, the Phils and D-Backs are neck and neck in the all-time one-run standings. Here are the up-to-date records for all active franchises. Another one-run loss and the D-Backs pass them. I'm sure that is their incentive going into tonight's game:

Franchise1-R W1-R L1-R PCTWLPCT
Milwaukee Brewers841927.4762,8593,197.472
Texas Rangers10461150.4763,4293,908.467
New York Mets11231225.4783,4283,754.477
Seattle Mariners641691.4812,2412,522.471
Tampa Bay Devil Rays194209.481593894.399
Kansas City Royals855909.4852,9443,106.487
Arizona Diamondbacks213225.486747746.500
Philadelphia Phillies27242872.4878,7789,974.468
Minnesota Twins24402532.4917,9018,529.481
Baltimore Orioles24042484.4927,8278,597.477
San Diego Padres955985.4922,7993,263.462
Houston Astros11331162.4943,5943,600.500
Colorado Rockies293300.4941,0391,199.464
Atlanta Braves28512897.4969,6329,651.500
Oakland Athletics23952412.4987,9798,427.486
Toronto Blue Jays676676.5002,3582,409.495
Washington Nationals968966.5012,9163,139.482
Chicago White Sox25832559.5028,3148,107.506
Cleveland Indians24522426.5038,4008,040.511
Chicago Cubs28862850.5039,9159,397.513
Detroit Tigers24462402.5058,3368,128.506
Pittsburgh Pirates28902828.5059,5709,308.507
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim11501123.5063,6133,742.491
Florida Marlins343330.5101,0561,177.473
Los Angeles Dodgers29042793.5109,8138,906.524
Boston Red Sox24882384.5118,4657,970.515
Cincinnati Reds29472815.5119,6149,305.508
St. Louis Cardinals29072775.5129,7789,129.517
San Francisco Giants29122705.51810,1308,648.539
New York Yankees24942256.5259,3047,110.567

2007-05-09 09:51:37
1.   Ravenscar
Even though Satchel was a post-war MLB pitcher, I guess no one actually knew how old he was, so we can't use him.

Or El Duque. ;-)

2007-05-09 12:04:02
2.   Mike from Hoboken
Jimmy Rollins said the Phillies are the team to beat. So everybody's beating them.

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