Phillies have a 12.5% chance of taking this thing

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Based on precedent anyway:

[The Phillies] are the 44th team to lose three of the first four games. Of the previous 43 teams, 41 played in a best-of-seven series. (The others were Boston in 1903, who won the next four games to take the Series, and the 1919 Reds, who won over the Black Sox).

Of the 41 teams who dropped three of the first four: They went 18-23 in Game 5. In Game 6, the remaining 18 teams went 8-10.

In Game 7, the remaining squads went 5-3. So, about one-eighth of the teams in this situation win it all. If you’re curious, the last seven teams to lose three of the first four couldn’t make the comeback.

With Cliff Lee on the mound you have to favor them to make it past hurdle number one, but I don’t see them winning out, no matter how much heart they allegedly have.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?