ATLANTA -- The 162nd game was unwatchable, and these Phillies deserved nothing less. Cody Asche bled when a Domonic Brown throw struck him in the chin. Cesar Hernandez, a second baseman dabbling in center field, dropped one ball and booted another. Six Phillies arms threw 184 pitches to withstand eight brutal innings Sunday.
The worst Phillies season in 13 years died at 5:05 p.m. when a sliding Justin Upton snared Hernandez's liner to seal a 12-5 Braves victory. Two Atlanta employees carried a large sign to commemorate the Braves' division championship and set it in front of the mound at Turner Field. The Phillies disappeared into their clubhouse and dispersed for the winter.
No National League team was outscored by more in 162 games than the Phillies. Their opponents tallied 139 more runs than them. Their 73-89 record is the Phillies' worst since 2000, which was Terry Francona's final season as manager.
They scored 3.77 runs per game, their fewest since 1988. They displayed a consistent inability to reach base by drawing 2.57 walks per game. That was the franchise's worst rate since 1963. The team's .248 batting average and .306 on-base percentage was its lowest since 1991.
At least they homered Sunday. Erik Kratz smashed a three-run shot that barely cleared the left-field fence for the Phillies' first home run in 10 games. That was their longest drought since 1989.
The loss guaranteed the Phillies a top-10 pick in next June's draft. That is significant because the pick -- and the bonus money associated with it -- is protected should the Phillies sign a free agent tied to compensation. Instead, they would forfeit their second-round selection.
In the coming days, the Phillies will cleanse their 40-man roster of the late-season fodder that allowed them to survive a brutal September. The first order of business beyond that is to secure a new coaching staff. Longtime pitching coach Rich Dubee is likely to be replaced.
"We have some quality people here," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I'm talking to Ryne (Sandberg) about it. I'm talking to my own staff about what's best and how we can best support him. That's probably the first thing."
After that, myriad decisions about the future await. Meaningful baseball returns to Philadelphia in six months. The winter will be long and disappointing.
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