The Phillies lost their fifth straight last night, bowing to the Nationals 5-1. It was a strong effort from Aaron Nola, who gave up two solo shots to Jayson Werth (of course) and Daniel Murphy, but only allowed three other hits and a walk, while striking out six in six innings. But the Phils provided little offensive support against Nats starter Joe Ross, managing just four hits and one run, with three of their five runners getting thrown out on the basepaths.
It's the Phils' 12th game of the season scoring one run or fewer, and their fifth straight of three runs or fewer. They've only scored more than five runs five times. They have a team OPS of .648, and only one regular starter has an OPS+ over 100 (Odubel Herrera, unsurprisingly, at 138). They've stolen 21 bases and been caught stealing 18 times. The team leaders in extra-base hits are Maikel Franco and Freddy friggin' Galvis, tied with 17. It is a bad, bad, baseball team on the scoring side of the ball.
But what's really remarkable about this Phillies offense -- which on pace to be the team's worst since at least 1972, the year that Steve Carlton won 27 games and the rest of the team won 32 -- is that it isn't even the NL's worst. There are two teams with lower OPSes, two teams who have been caught stealing more, four teams with lower batting averages, and one team with fewer runs. The only major stat where the Phils actually rank lowest in the league is in doubles.
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For most of this, the Phillies can thank the Braves, who have a .610 team OPS, just 21 combined home runs, and 161 runs on the season, finishing in dead last in all categories. (Their only starter with an OPS+ over 100 is Freddie Freeman at 107.) The Padres are also helping keep the Phils out of the cellar with their .647 OPS and .226 team batting average, though their superior baserunning (33 steals and 13 times caught) may have something to do with them having 30 more runs on the season than Philly.
This season is almost certainly rock bottom for the Phils' offense, with veterans Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz likely playing out the string, and prospects like J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams hopefully arriving to provide reinforcements by next season, if not sooner. In the meantime, the fact that our absolute lowest isn't even the worst in the league should be of some minor comfort while we're putting up one run and four hits and getting caught stealing twice against teams with more than one and a half consistently good offensive players on their roster.