Today at 3:05 p.m., the Philadelphia Phillies will open up their 2015 season against the Boston Redsox. And expectations have never been lower for the Phils. One of the team’s best pitchers, Cliff Lee is out of the lineup with an flexor tendon injury and is facing season-ending surgery. Starting caliber outfielder Dominic Brown is also on the Disabled List with left achilles tendinitis.
At Baseball Prospectus, the sultans of statistical analysis of Major League Baseball predict the Phillies will win only 69 of 162 games — that would be a 69 – 93 record for a winning rate of .425. That, by the way, is also predicted to be the worst record in all of baseball. Vegas gives the Phillies a 500/1 chances of winning the world series — the worst in baseball.
If those predictions are even a little better than 50 percent accurate, it’s going to be a long summer for baseball fans in the city. And there’s no respite anywhere on the Philadelphia sporting landscape.
The Sixers are 18 – 60. That’s right. They’ve only managed to win 18 of their last 76 games. For basketball fans, the best they can hope for is a number one draft pick in the NBA’s draft lottery with a shot at getting a player like Duke star Jahlil Okafur.
And with only 9 days to the NHL playoffs, the Flyers are 13 points short of a wildcard berth. So there will be no playoff hockey in Philadelphia
One glimmer of hope in March for city sports fans might have been the city’s Major League Soccer Team, The Union. Though not nearly as popular as the other big league franchises in town, the team showed signs of life last year in an appearance in the U.S. Open Cup final and nearly beat the perennially excellent Seattle Sounders.
This year, however, the Union is off to a start that equals the worst this city has ever seen, topped off by a loss last night to Kansas City in which the team took a 2-1 lead in to the 90th minute and gave up two goals in extra time to lose 3 – 2. It was a choke job for which the team has lately become famous. Now, with no wins, two draws and three losses in league play, the team is the worst of 20 teams in the league.
So, as the city often does, the summer will be nothing more than the wait before the start of the NFL season for a chance to see just what happens with Chip Kelly’s remarkable offseason roster moves. In the short term, no event will hold more interest for local sports fans than the April 30 NFL draft to see if Kelly has one more trick up his sleeve — perhaps a last minute trade to move up and draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
So yeah, it will be another summer of suffering and waiting for football season to start. What did this city do to deserve these teams?