Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Phillies off to MLB’s best 50-game start since record-setting 2001 Mariners

The Philadelphia Phillies routed the Texas Rangers by an 11-4 score on Wednesday (box score), extending perhaps the hottest prolonged stretch of play in the club’s history. The Phillies have now followed up a 2-4 start to the season with a 34-10 span that serves as the first time in franchise history they’ve ever won 34 of 44 games, according to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Additionally, the Phillies’ 36-14 start is the best 50-game introduction to a season in all of Major League Baseball since the 2001 Seattle Mariners went 38-12 to open the year. The 2001 Mariners won 116 games on the year; these Phillies are currently on pace to win 116 as well. The 1906 Cubs also won 116 games, but no team in MLB history has won more in a regular season.

The Phillies had previously authored a 33-10 over the later portions of the 1977 season. Those Phillies won 101 games, led in large part by third baseman Mike Schmidt and lefty Steve Carlton, but lost 3-1 in the National League Championship Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers

As Wednesday’s score indicates, the Phillies received a lot of production from their lineup. Catcher J.T. Realmuto and outfielder Brandon Marsh each recorded multiple hits and combined to drive in four runs. Shortstop Edmundo Sosa, in the lineup because of Trea Turner’s strained hamstring, delivered his second home run, a two-run shot in the fourth inning that put the Phillies up 6-2.

Bryce Harper, sans batting gloves, delivered this monster home run in the bottom of the eighth:

The Phillies came into play on Wednesday night with the best rotation ERA in the majors, just ahead of the Boston Red Sox. Alas, Taijuan Walker turned in a relatively poor start, surrendering three runs on six hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings. For reference, a Phillies starter had not allowed three earned runs or more in a start since May 13 — or seven games ago.

The Phillies, who have won five games in a row, are in first place in the National League East and lead the Atlanta Braves, winners of the last six East titles, by six games — good for the second-largest division lead in all of baseball.

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