In sports, players and teams tend to have more success in certain situations. Reggie Jackson, also known as Mr. October, was given a nickname because of his playoff dominance with the A’s and the Yankees in the 1970’s. LeBron James, much like Jackson, becomes a different animal when the season is on the line. The Chicago Bulls have won 20 straight games nationally televised by TNT, thus stamping them as the TNT Bulls.
The Phillies have been plagued by players who seem to dominate when competing against the Phightins. There is a nickname for these types of players: Phillie Killers. To be dubbed one of the Killers, a player must not only have elite statistics while playing against Philadelphia, but his elite numbers must also be above his own averages. Therefore, Bryce Harper, who has hit .273 with 18 home runs and 49 RBI in only 80 starts against the Phils, would not make the list due to the fact that his batting average is well below his career average and his power numbers.
I have put together an American League-style (because who likes to see pitchers hit unless it’s a Jeremy Hellickson sacrifice bunt, right?) with two bench players who I felt could not be left out of this team. Readers beware, as some of the names in the forthcoming lineup have most likely caused you some kind of emotional, physical, or financial pain (maybe throwing a remote at the television, or breaking something else out of anger).
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy (.362 BA, 4 HR, 18 RBI in 34 starts)
The starting catcher on the Phillie Killers is no longer a player that Philadelphia fans have to worry about much. After Lucroy was traded to the Texas Rangers last season, in the midst of his best professional season, fans of every National League team, besides the Brewers, breathed a sigh of relief.
The 30-year-old catcher’s numbers against the Phils do not seem to be very impressive, but that is mostly because of the small sample size. In terms of per-162 games numbers, Lucroy’s 4 home runs become 19 and his 18 RBI become 85. Those are well above average numbers for a catcher, and more than good enough for the Ranger to secure the starting spot behind the plate for the Phillie Killers.
First Baseman: Freddie Freeman (.301 BA, 16 HR, 67 RBI in 111 starts)
The Braves’ first baseman has been a thorn in the side of Phillies fans since he entered the league in 2010. Freeman’s start to the 2017 season has made him a legitimate MVP candidate in the National League, but he was not his usual self in Atlanta’s first visit to Philadelphia this year–he went 2-for-9 with only one home run in the series.
Last season, the best season of his career, Freddie batted .362 with 6 home runs and 11 RBI in only 19 games against the Phillies. Hopefully he does not return to last season’s form in the many meetings that Atlanta and Philadelphia will take part in as this season progresses.
Freeman was the front runner to man first base in this lineup, as his career per-162 against Philadelphia includes 23 home runs and 97 RBI. However, after what we saw in 2016, those numbers could skyrocket as the prime of his career continues.
Second Baseman: Daniel Murphy (.317 BA, 12 HR, 67 RBI in 119 starts)
When the Mets decided to let Daniel Murphy enter free agency after the 2015 season, Phillies fans hoped that the one-time all-star would sign to a team that rarely faces Philadelphia. But the worst case scenario happened, and Murphy not only stayed in the National League East, but he also went to a team that already had a frightening offensive lineup: the Washington Nationals.
Murphy lit up the National League in his first season in DC, finishing second in MVP voting. He already has 14 hits in 9 games against the Phillies in 2017, and Philly fans will be happy to know that the Phils and Nats will not be playing each other until September.
Murphy, who did not hit his prime until much later in his career, has underwhelming per-162 averages compared to many of the players on this list. However, when his numbers are tampered with, he still averages 16 home runs and 91 RBI for a full season.
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta (.333 BA, 3 HR, 21 RBI in 24 starts)
“Wait, Jhonny Peralta is still playing major league baseball?” He has only played in 80 combined games between all of last season and the beginning of this season, but the Cardinals’ shortstop has found success against the Phillies since his first stint (albeit a small sample size) in the National League with St. Louis in 2014.
The 35-year-old is nearing the end of his career, but Philadelphia fans may forget about the success that he had against the Phils. In terms of the per-162 start totals, Peralta’s stats are amongst the best: 20 homers and 141 RBI. I guess we should be happy that Jhonny never played for an opposing NL East team.
Third Baseman: David Wright (.285 BA, 36 HR, 121 RBI in 187 starts)
The 7-time all-star 3rd baseman has not played more than 40 games in a season since 2014. The concluding seasons of his fantastic career have been plagued by injuries, but the Phillies do not miss him very much when he is not included in the Mets’ lineup.
Wright and his former teammate Daniel Murphy formed a deadly, Phillie-killing duo in New York, but after a world series appearance, the former was left alone in Queens to beat the Phils all by his lonesome.
After more than 13 years of tormenting Phillies pitching, Wright was an easy inclusion to the lineup. His longstanding rivalry with the Phils also results in his per-162 numbers being lower than his actually stats. His home runs are lowered to 31 while the runs batted in are deducted to only (only?) 104.
Left Fielder: Jayson Werth (.277 BA, 22 HR, 76 RBI in 102 starts)
This one hurts. Werth, who left for Washington in 2011 after winning a World Series title with Philadelphia in 2008, has completely dominated his former team since opting to leave for the rival in free agency. The one-time all-star is currently 37-years-old and does not have much time left in his career, but that has not stopped him from dominating the Phillies each time he faces them. In fact, the bearded outfielder is another player who fans will be thrilled to not see until September.
Werth is a major part of the high-octane National offense that is expected to be playing for a world championship come late October. His per-162 start numbers against the Phillies are frightening: 34 long balls and 120 RBI. Sports Talk Philly’s Tim Kelly might have said it best.
If Jayson Werth played every game against the Phillies he would be a Hall of Famer.
— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) May 7, 2017
Center Fielder: Marcell Ozuna (.300 BA, 7 HR, 29 RBI in 60 starts)
The Miami center fielder is the youngest player in this lineup, and therefore he may very well be the player to become a thorn in the Phillies’ side for many years to come. The entire Marlins outfield, which consists of young sluggers Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and Ozuna, could join the lineup as their careers progress, but Marcell is the only player deserving of a spot as of right now.
Ozuna is 0-for-8 in 2 games against the Phils in 2017, but his per-162 statistics are impressive, totaling 18 home runs and 78 runs batted in. As the two teams continue their season series, Ozuna will look to rough up Philadelphia even more so than he has. But hopefully that doesn’t happen.
Right Fielder: Jay Bruce (.329 BA, 21 HR, 58 RBI in 65 starts)
Bruce has completely dominated the Phillies during his major league baseball career, and he shows no signs of stopping through this season’s matchups. The worst case scenario happened when Bruce was traded to an NL East foe last season. The Mets will continue to be the Mets, but Bruce’s success will continually make it difficult for the Phils to be victorious over this in-division rival.
Jay’s per-162 start figures are off the chart incredible. Without even considering his jaw-dropping batting average, Bruce is on-pace to crush 52 home runs and 144 RBI against the Phillies for a full season. Maybe the Phils could sign him to a contract after this season, and he may become Philadelphia’s next MVP (kidding, but numbers never lie).
Designated Hitter: Ryan Braun (.375 BA, 20 HR, 53 RBI in 61 starts)
Maybe it is due to all the boos that he receives when playing at Citizens Bank Park, but Ryan Braun crushes Phillies pitching and has since he began his major league career. The former-MVP, who was suspended for PED use, is abused by Philadelphia fans who consider him a cheater, but maybe there is something else to boo Braun for in Philly.
Jay Bruce has been dethroned as the Most Valuable Player on the Phillie Killers. Ryan Braun averages 53 home runs and 140 runs batted in per-162 starts against the Phillies in his career. The slugging numbers in addition to the batting average would combine for one of the most dominant seasons in major league history (if they actually ever came into fruition).
Unfortunately for Ryan Braun and the rest of the Milwaukee Brewers, they can’t play against the Phillies for an entire season in a row.
Bench #1: Carlos Beltran (.264 BA, 30 HR, 94 RBI in 132 starts)
The future hall-of-famer did his damage to the Philadelphia baseball community during his tenure with the New York Mets from 2005-2011. Beltran has more games played, home runs, runs batted in, and hits against the Phillies than he does against any other team in the league. He celebrated his 40th birthday a couple weeks ago, but Philly fans should be celebrating the fact that he is a safe distance away from the Philles–Carlos is currently a member of the Texas Rangers.
The journeyman hit 36 home runs and drove in an additional 115 runs per-162 against the Phillies in his career.
Bench #2: Lucas Duda (.256 BA, 21 HR, 52 RBI in 75 starts)
Go figure, another Met.
Duda could not break into the starting lineup because of Freddie Freeman’s recent dominance. However, Duda seems to hit a ball out of the park each and every time he plays against the Phillies.
Most HRs at Citizens Bank Park by visiting player
— John Clark CSN (@JClarkCSN) May 7, 2017
Per-162 starts, Lucas Duda’s home run total would certainly challenge for the lead in all of Major League Baseball with 45 bombs. The RBI (112) is not too shabby, either. However, there is a simple solution to stopping Duda’s dominance against our beloved Phils: stop playing the Mets.
So there you have it. If a team ever concocts a lineup consisting of these players, we should all start ignoring baseball, because it will only make us even more emotionally unstable. But when we do get depressed about how the Phillies blew a 4-run first inning lead, or Maikel Franco left 100 runners on base in a single game, let’s try to remember to be grateful that this lineup is just a nightmare scenario, and not a reality.
Let me know if I missed out on any (active) players who have a reputation of playing above their averages against the Phillies.
Photo by Joshua Sarner (via Flickr)