Sep 10, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Tyler Cloyd (50) heads to the bench after being relieved during the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies Attempts To Tank Obvious With Tyler Cloyd On Mound

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It would be awesome if the Phillies could finish with one of the 10 worst records in baseball.

That may sound like a strange thing to root for, but it’s something the Phils are obviously thinking about.

By finishing with one of the ten worst records in baseball, the Phillies could guarantee themselves a protected first round draft pick in 2014, allowing them to sign any free agent they want this off-season without worrying about having to give up that first round pick.

This is such a big deal to the team that they are now openly tanking baseball games at the Major League level.

How do we know this? They pitched Tyler Cloyd last night against the San Diego Padres.

Sometimes the evidence is so overwhelming, a trial is not even necessary.

Of course, I’m kidding. No matter how beneficial it might be for the team to actually lose baseball games from here on out, the team would never actually do that. Still, it was hard for that thought to exit the mind after watching Cloyd struggle through four innings of nine-hit, seven-run ball in last night’s 8-2 loss to San Diego at Citizens Bank Park.

As you can see, this three-game series against the Padres is huge in the race to finish in the Bottom 10:

Position Team W L PCT GA
1 Houston 49 96 0.338
2 Miami 53 90 0.371 5
3 Chicago White Sox 58 86 0.403 9.5
4 Chicago Cubs 62 82 0.431 13.5
5 Milwaukee 62 81 0.434 14
6 Minnesota 63 80 0.441 15
7 NY Mets 64 79 0.448 16
8 Seattle 65 80 0.448 16
9 San Francisco 65 80 0.448 16
10 Philadelphia 66 78 0.458 16.5
11 Colorado 67 79 0.459 16.5
12 San Diego 65 77 0.462 17
13 Toronto 67 77 0.465 17.5
14 LA Angels 68 76 0.472 18.5

After last night’s “loss,” the Phils hold a percentage-points lead over Colorado for the 10th worst record in baseball, with two games in hand. But they’re just a half-game up on the Padres, leap-frogging them in the bizarro-standings. They’re just one game “ahead” of Toronto and two “up” on the Angels.

Needless to say, it’s still a tight race. Time for some scoreboard watchin’.

San Diego jumped out to an 8-0 lead after five innings, with the Phils scratching out single runs in the fifth and eighth innings. Those were fun. No Phillies hitter had more than one hit, although for catcher Cameron Rupp, his infield single was a big one, his first career Major League knock.

Not only that, the home plate umpire actually went out of his way to pay Rupp a compliment to Ryne Sandberg in between innings last night.

“I must say this: The home-plate umpire [Mark Wegner] came over in the ninth inning during a pitching change and said that was some of the best visibility he’s seen all year and the best framing of pitches he’s seen,” Sandberg said. “That was pretty cool. I noticed with [Rupp's] posture, he gets a little bit rounded. I could see where an umpire can see the ball well coming in. He gave him a good compliment right there. That’s impressive.” – quote per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb

With Sebastian Valle and Tommy Joseph seemingly out of the Phils’ short-term catching picture, the “rounded” Rupp could be the man who backs up the Phils’ starter in 2014, most likely a re-signed Carlos Ruiz. Unfortunately, Rupp’s superior pitch-framing couldn’t mask the awfulness of Cloyd, who did everything he could to make sure the Phillies get that all-important protected draft pick next year.

Still two more games in this huge race-to-the-bottom series against the Padres.

See? There IS still something to play for!

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