The Philadelphia Phillies find themselves in a very unfamiliar position as the five-time defending NL East champions are in last place and 14 games behind the division-leading Washington Nationals.
If there is anything that can give the Phils a glimmer of hope in this already dismal 2012 campaign, it’s that they have been baseball’s best second-half team since 2009.
The Phillies are 140-82 in the games after the All-Star break in the past three seasons, a winning percentage of .631. Will this success in the second half be enough to get them back in the race, enough to have them challenge for one of the two NL Wild Card berths? Time will tell.
The defending AL East champs, the New York Yankees, have the AL’s best second-half record since 2009 with 135 wins and 85 losses (a .608 winning percentage).
One other quick note: The Pittsburgh Pirates, sitting atop the NL Central, are hoping that their recent history of play in the second half doesn’t carry over into this season. The Pirates are an MLB-worst 76-143 (.347 winning percentage) in the second half the past three seasons.
Following are the second-half records of each MLB team in the past three seasons.
Team, Record, Winning pct.
Philadelphia: 140-82, .631
NY Yankees: 135-87, .608
St. Louis: 122-93, .567
Texas: 124-95, .566
Tampa Bay: 120-99, .548
Milwaukee: 119-98, .548
San Francisco: 118-100, .541
L.A. Angels: 117-100, .539
Atlanta: 117-101, .537
Detroit: 117-105, .527
Boston: 114-106, .518
Cincinnati: 112-105, .516
L.A. Dodgers: 111-106, .512
Minnesota: 112-109, .507
Oakland: 111-108, .507
Chicago Cubs: 110-108, .505
Toronto: 108-107, .502
San Diego: 109-109, .500
Arizona: 108-108, .500
Colorado: 109-110, .498
Miami: 108-109, .498
Chicago White Sox: 108-111, .493
Washington: 97-120, .447
Cleveland: 98-122, .445
Houston: 96-121, .442
Baltimore: 94-128, .423
Kansas City: 90-129, .411
N.Y. Mets: 90-130, .409
Seattle: 89-130, .406
Pittsburgh: 76-143, .347
Did you know? Only four teams have been above .500 in the second half of the season in each of the past three seasons? The four: N.Y. Yankees, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia and St. Louis.
The Oakland A’s have had two seasons (2009 and 2011) where they were right at .500 for the second half and one season, 2010, at .521. The Atlanta Braves were above .500 in 2009 and 2010 and were right at .500 last season.
How important is it to play well in the second half of the season? Here are a couple of additional stats to ponder:
Of the 24 teams that made the playoffs in the past three seasons, all of them were above .500 in the second half in the season they made the playoffs. In fact, none of the 24 played under .527 in the second half of their playoff season since 2009.
Eleven teams won 60 percent of more of their second-half games in a season since 2009: In 2009, the Yankees (.703), Angels (.632) and the Rockies (.608); in 2010, the Twins (.649), Phillies (.667) and the Giants (.608); in 2011, the Rangers (.643), Tigers (.657), Phillies (.634), Brewers (.671) and the Diamondbacks (.643). All 11 of those teams made the playoffs in those seasons.
Look at the four teams in each league that had the best second-half winning percentages in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Of those 24 teams, 20 made the playoffs.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
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