Phillies behind the ’08 ball going into September

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies gets a pre-game hug from former Phillies player Jimmy Rollins #11 (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies gets a pre-game hug from former Phillies player Jimmy Rollins #11 (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Is there any room to draw comparisons between the Phillies ’08 and ’19 teams?

Phillies fans will measure every season against the 2008 World Series team. They’ve done it all season long, comparing fairly similar records between the two seasons all year despite the 2019 team’s struggles down the stretch.

At the 2019 July 31 trade deadline game (game 107) the Phillies were only two games off of the ’08 team’s record. The biggest difference this year? They’re seven games back of first place instead of a game ahead in the standings. The 2008 team had won five straight games, the 2019 team lost three of their last five.

In the second half of the 2008 season Philadelphia outscored their opponents by 41 runs. This year’s team has been outscored by 19 since the All-Star break.

By September 1, 2008, the Phillies had three players crack 30 home runs: Ryan Howard (37), Chase Utley (31) and Pat Burrell (30). This year the Phillies haven’t had anyone crack 30 home runs, and only three have hit 20.

The 2008 team used only seven starting pitchers all season long. This year’s Phillies team has had 11 starting pitchers going into the final month of the season, and they could throw out at least one more new arm.

Led by Greg Dobbs’ 22 pinch-hits, the ’08 Phillies bench had 64 pinch-hits that season. This year’s team has 43 between 15 players, 6 of whom only have one.

None of the 2019 Phillies have more than one pinch-hit home run, picking up seven this season. The World Series team had nine, but three players (Matt Stairs, Geoff Jenkins, and Dobbs) had two each.

We can attempt to draw the comparisons from the 2008 team, but as the season has grown on, it’s evident this team is no match for their champion counterparts. Be it bad coaching, club building, or players not living up to expectations, this team took a step back and is now behind the 8-ball going into 2020.