June 2007

Another Tough Lefty

June 20, 2007

Oh, Those Lefties
Kyle Kendrick picked up his first major league win last night, Ryan Howard drove in four runs and Jose Mesa survived Cleveland’s booing fans as the Phillies defeated a left-handed starter.

The Phillies have struggled against starting lefties this season.  They are now 10-17.  Actually, they are 6-2 against southpaws this month, 3-0 being against relievers.  The Phillies face another one tonight, a tough one in C. C. Sabathia, the Indians’ best pitcher.

A year ago, the Phillies had a 23-22 edge.

Picnic Time
While the club was in Cleveland last night, premium seating customers were being treated to a picnic at Citizens Bank Park by the Phillies.

The Diamond Club was set up with food stations featuring “ballpark fare.”  Fans were permitted to run the bases, walk on the warning track, visit the center field bullpens, sit in the dugouts, tour the clubhouse and visit the Media Room.

Ruben Amaro Jr., Assistant GM, plus Alumni Tyler Green and Marty Bystrom participated in a question/answer session.  All three were available to sign autographs.

A second picnic is scheduled for tonight and will include Alumni Greg Luzinski and Terry Harmon.

Earlier this month, full season ticket customers were treated to similar events on two different nights.  The Alumni included Larry Christenson, Mike Rogodzinski and Dickie Noles.

Answering an Inquiry
A fan wanted to know why the Phillies didn’t keep Justin Germano, who is now 5-0 with the Padres.

Justin didn’t figure to make the staff out of spring training.  He was out of options and the Phillies had to place him on waivers before they could send him to the minor leagues.  When he was put on waivers, 20 other teams passed before San Diego put in the claim. Actually, the Padres were the only team to claim him.      

Time Running Short
Online All-Star balloting ends at midnight Thursday, June 28 :www.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2007/ballot_reg.jsp.

Minor League Review
Hot prospect Carlos Carrasco, the 2006 Paul Owens Award winner as the best pitcher in the Phillies minor league system, is the Phillies minor league Pitcher of the Week this season for the second time.  Check it out at MORE>>http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/mlb/minorleagues/team_index.jsp?c_id=phi

Tough Loss

June 18, 2007

On The Road
The Phillies left after yesterday’s game for Cleveland where they will meet the Indians in a three, night-game series starting tonight.  It is the final interleague series of 2007.  The Phillies and Tribe met one other time five years ago.  The Phillies won two of three at Jacobs Field.

The Indians are in first place and second in the AL in runs scored.  The Tigers are in second place in the same division and lead the AL in runs scored.

Tough Loss
Yes, yesterday’s game was a tough defeat.  During the five-run seventh, the Tigers used pinch hitters Carlos Guillen and Gary Sheffield.  Combined, they carried 26 homers and 88 RBI to the plate.  That’s pretty powerful.

Yes, the bullpen didn’t hold the lead.  We can cry in our beer (milk) with Baltimore fans.  They just finished a 1-8 homestand in which the pen was 0-5.  The Orioles spent $42 million in upgrading the pen last winter. Word of advice to young athletes: be a pitcher.

Or, be an umpire.  I don’t like to get on umpires because I certainly couldn’t do that job but yesterday was pretty weak.  When Phillies’ radio voice Scott Franzke wrapped up the Tigers’ seventh inning, he said, “1 run, 3 hits, no errors, 2 left on base and 3 ejections.”

Sox Blog
Scott Reifert, VP of Communications for the White Sox, writers a blog on that site, “Inside the White Sox.”  Scott was here for the first two games last week and wrote about his day in Philly. A ton of fans responded to his blog of a week ago.  Here are a couple of excerpts from White Sox fans and their impressions of Citizens Bank Park:

“Went to the game last night with my 4 year old…it was the first time to Citizens Bank and I have to say it was a great ballpark. Good food, great sightlines, and despite our Sox apparel, the Phillies fans were very nice. There were quite a lot of Sox fans in the crowd and a ton of Thome and Rowand jerseys (both Phillies and Sox).”

“Citizen’s Bank Park is a beautiful facility, as it should be for a place that’s 3+ years old. There’s too much to say to include it all here, but if you’re visiting the ballparks, it definitely is one to see.”

“You’ll like it, lots to see at the park, which is situated oddly in the middle of nowhere. They have player statues in and outside the park, but they are larger than life. I prefer the USCF life-size ones in the concourse. The outfield has a decade-by-decade history of baseball in Philadelphia that’s pretty detailed. I’d like to see the White Sox do something similar.
“Be sure to visit Greg Luzinski in the right-field corner. He has a BBQ restaurant there and was around for the game we were at. Close by there are "crab fries," which my dad and I thought were actual pieces of crab, but were a little embarrassed to discover were just french fries. Tons of cheesesteak stuff if you’re so inclined.”

All-Star Voting
Online balloting ends at midnight Thursday:www.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2007/ballot_reg.jsp.

Happy Father's Day

June 17, 2007

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, rf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Dobbs, lf; Nunez, 3b; Ruiz, c; Eaton, p.

Hot Ticket
Standing room tickets went on sale at 9 this morning.  Fans were lined up as early as 7:30 a.m.  Last night was the 14th crowd this season over 40,000.  The eighth sellout will be this afternoon.

Jamie Climbing
By picking up his 222nd career win last night, Jamie Moyer has tied Jerry Koosman and that famous Hooks Dauss for 67th place on the all-time list for wins.  Among LHP, Moyer is now tied for 15th with Frank Tanana.

I know Koosman and know of Tanana, but who in the heck is Dauss? 

George “Hook” Dauss was a 5-foot-10-inch RHP from Indianapolis who pitched for the Detroit Tigers, 1912-1926. 

Happy Father’s Day
Piles of boxes that contain over 30,000 straw hats were sitting inside the gates this morning for Father’s Appreciation Day.  All men 15 and over will receive a hat compliments of Chevrolet. 

Harry Kalas and his son, Kane, will be part of a pre-game barbeque party in the Phillies Tent as part of Father’s Day.  One of the player’s fathers was flown in for the weekend.  The players put their names in a hat and a random drawing is held.  Michael Victorino, Shane’s dad, is the winner.  All the Phillies had to do is fly him in from Hawaii.

Throughout Major League Baseball it is also Prostate Awareness Day. Special lineup cards, a ceremonial home plate and bases featuring a blue ribbon will be used during the game, autographed and auctioned for the benefit of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.  The Phillies are also holding a silent auction of autographed memorabilia at the First Base Gate.  Those proceeds will go to the Foundation.

Getting A Tour
The Williamsport Crosscutters, the Phillies team in the Short-Season New York-Penn League, got a tour of Citizens Bank Park this morning.

The 27-man roster flew out of Tampa and landed in Philadelphia where a bus was awaiting them for the ride to Williamsport.

Pat Gillick felt the young players should get a tour of the Phillies home since they were in Philly.  “I thought it would be a good idea for our young players to see their future home,” said Gillick. 

The young prospects got a tour of the clubhouse, weight room, trainer’s room, batting cage, video room, dugout and the field.  They were like a bunch of tourists, taking pictures with their cell phones or digital cameras or video cams. 

Williamsport’s season starts on Tuesday as does the Phillies’ team in the Gulf Coast League team at Carpenter Field in Clearwater, FL.

High Octane

June 16, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, rf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Burrell, lf; Nunez, 3b; Ruiz, c; Moyer, p.

High Octane
Last night’s 12-8 Detroit win could have been anticipated since it involved the highest scoring teams in each league.  The Tigers now lead all major league clubs with 397 runs, while the Phillies are on top of the NL heap with 342.  Detroit is also the best hitting team in the majors, .294.

There was a lot of high octane last night: 20 total runs, 27 hits, seven doubles, one triple and six home runs.  Winner Jeremy Bonderman had yielded five home runs in 72 innings before giving up four dingers in six innings last night.

The Tigers are on fire this month, hitting .339 as a team, 38 doubles, 14 homers and 100 runs (8-5 record).  They went into last night’s game with .365 average with runners in scoring position, the best mark in the majors.

Tonight features a battle of lefthanders, a 44-year-old veteran of 584 games (Jamie Moyer) against a 22-year-old (Andrew Miller) who is making his 11th major league appearance.

All-Star Reminder
Tomorrow is the last day for All-Star voting at Citizens Bank Park. 

There is still time to vote online at www.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2007/ballot_reg.jsp. Online voting ends at 11:59 p.m. (EDT), Thursday, June 28.

Rowand Back In Lineup

June 15, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, rf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Burrell, lf; Dobbs, 3b; Barajas, c; Lieber, p. 

Aaron in Center

Aaron is back in center and batting fifth again.  Charlie Manuel had tried to give him a day off on Wednesday to heal the wounds from being hit by two pitches.  Late in the game, Charlie used him as a pinch hitter and then kept him in the game in center.  All Aaron did was drive in five runs in the game that gave the Phillies a sweep of the White Sox.

Reading Phillies
Earlier this week, a reader raised the following question:  “Are the Phillies intentionally keeping their minor league call ups at Reading instead of Ottawa? Seems more players have been from the closer R-Phil’s.”

No, we aren’t keeping minor league call ups at Reading.    It is true that Michael Zagurski and Kyle Kendrick are two pitchers the Phillies have promoted to the majors from double-A.
Players have patterns to follow as they progress up the professional baseball ladder: rookie ball (Gulf Coast League), short-season (Williamsport), low A (Lakewood), high A (Clearwater), AA (Reading) and AAA (Ottawa).

Zagurski was at Lakewood last year and started this season at Clearwater.  He was moved to Reading and later promoted to the majors.  It certainly was possible that he could have gone from AA to AAA and then the majors later this summer.

Kendrick pitched at Lakewood and Clearwater a year ago and started 2007 at Reading.  He, too, might have been moved to AAA at some point this season.

In both cases, the Phillies minor league personnel felt Zagurski and Kendrick were ready for the big jump to the big leagues because of their make-up and ability to throw strikes. 

Prospects and veterans are on every AAA roster.  Ottawa is no different.

All-Star vote
Time is running out to vote.  Ballots are distributed and collected at all Citizens Bank Park home games through Sunday. 

But, the easy way to cast your vote is online www.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2007/ballot_reg.jsp. Online voting ends at 11:59 p.m. (EDT), Thursday, June 28.

Day Off

June 14, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Oops, there is no game today!

Interesting Note
Rich Hofmann’s column in today’s Daily News was centered around an interesting trio: Kyle Kendrick, Larry Andersen and Larry Christenson.  What do they have in common?  All three were in Citizens Bank Park yesterday, all three were high school quarterbacks and punters in the state of Washington and all three have pitched with the Phillies.

End of Interleague
Detroit and Cleveland are running nip and tuck for the AL Central lead.  The Phillies end interleague play for 2007 with three games with the Tigers at Citizens Bank Park starting tomorrow night and then head for a three-game series in Cleveland that begins on Monday night.

Justin Velander, the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year, is scheduled to pitch Sunday afternoon game.  He’s fresh from a no-hitter on Tuesday night.  In the no-hitter, he reached 99 mph on the radar gun in the first eight innings and then hit 102 in the ninth, according to an Associated Press story.  The story also said, “He mixed in a wildly breaking curve and an outstanding changeup.”

In the history of baseball, there’s been only one pitcher to toss back-to-back no-nos and his name begins with V…..Johnny Vander Meer. 

Vander Meer, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, had his no-hitters on June 11 (Boston Braves) and 15 (Brooklyn Dodgers) in 1938.  Being the Senior Citizen of the Phillies, no I didn’t not see those games.  I wasn’t even born but it was close.

Weekend Tickets
There are about 6,000 tickets left for Friday night and less than 3,000 for Saturday night.  Once those tickets are gone, the Phillies will sell Standing Room tickets.

Sunday’s Chevrolet’s Father’s Appreciation Day (straw hats for all men 15 and over) is sold out.  A limited number of standing room tickets will go on sale at 9:00 that morning.

During the next homestand (June 26-July 1), the Phillies will reach an attendance milestone: the 10 millionth fan since Citizens Bank Park was opened in 2004.  The Phillies will honor the symbolic 10,000,000th fan on the night the milestone is reached.

Since the Phillies were established in 1883, over 115 million fans have attended their games.

Day off for Rowand

June 13, 2007

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, cf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Burrell, lf; Werth, rf; Helms, 3b; Barajas, c; Kendrick, p. (Jim Thome is playing for the White Sox, batting third).

Today’s Schedule
There was a note on the eraser board in the middle of the Phillies clubhouse late yesterday afternoon: “Tomorrow, in uniform, 11:15.”  Yes, it is a.m. and not p.m.  Breakfast awaits anyone in uniform.

At 9 this morning, two uniformed persons were in, Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee.  An hour later, Manuel posted the lineup and Aaron Rowand is being given the day off, at least in the starting lineup.

Tomorrow is a day off.

Cole Hamels leads the majors with 104 strikeouts and he’s the first NL nine-game winner . . . Shane Victorino has stolen 17 consecutive bases . . . Phillies are 29-20 since April 21, best record in the NL . . . They are 8-4 this month; last June was the killer (9-18).

College World Series
LHP Joe Savery, the Phillies’ No. l pick in the draft last week, and his Rice teammates are in the College World Series.  Their first game is tomorrow, 2 p.m. on ESPN2, against Louisville.

Rookie On The Hill

June 12, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, rf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Burrell, lf; Dobbs, 3b; Barajas, c; Hamels, p.

Rookie On The Hill
Five years ago the Phillies drafted a righthanded pitcher in the seventh round out of Mount Vernon (WA) High School, Kyle R. Kendrick.  He was all-state in football and baseball and an All-American punter who turned down a scholarship to play quarterback at Washington State University to sign with the Phillies.Dsc_7082_1

Tomorrow afternoon, the 22-year-old will make his major league debut against the Chicago White Sox.  With Freddy Garcia placed on the disabled list, the Phillies reached into their farm system again and decided to promote Kyle from Reading, where he was 4-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts.

As can be typical of young high school pitchers, Kendrick struggled during his first three pro seasons.  A year ago, he was a combined 12-9 pitching for Lakewood and Clearwater. 

His last start at Reading was an 8-1 complete game win against Harrisburg on Wednesday.  He threw 105 pitches.  His sinking fastball (88-93 mph) resulted in 15 ground ball outs.  Time of game was a snappy 1 hour, 59 minutes.

The amateur scouting reports on Kyle included: “Projectable bodied, athletic RHP who shows some feel for pitching.  Has quick arm and the ability to reach back for 90/91. He has some late sink.  Keeps ball around zone and throws strikes.  Needs work with delivery.  Athletic enough to make adjustments needed.  Projects as a 4-5 starter.  Very good worker.  Plus make-up.”

Ryan Votes
Since coming off the disabled list, Ryan Howard has hit 7 homers and driven in 18 runs.  On the recently completed road trip, Ryan hit .348 with two homers and five RBI in six games. 

His blast last night was a no-doubt-about it upper deck missile to right field.  It was estimated at 428 feet. 

Yet, when the All-Star voting results from the National League were announced yesterday, Ryan remained out of the top five in votes.  That is puzzling.

The bottom line: get out and vote.  Ballots are distributed and collected at all Citizens Bank Park home games through Sunday.  But, the easy way is online www.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2007/ballot_reg.jsp.

Thome In Town

June 11, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, rf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Burrell, lf; Dobbs, 3b; Barajas, c; Eaton, p.

Home Cooking?
Is there such a thing as home field advantage in baseball?

It doesn’t appear to be that way in the National League East.  Going into today, the NL East shapes up this way at home:

Braves 18-16
Mets 17-16
Phillies 15-15
Marlins 13-17
Nationals 14-19

The Mets’ first-place perch can be traced to their 19-9 road record.  The Braves are 17-13 away from Atlanta and the Phillies are 17-16 in enemy ballparks. 

The Phillies won four of six on the road (including a three-game sweep in Atlanta), then came home only to go 2-5 and today they are fresh from another 4-2 road swing that included a three-game sweep in New York.

Thome Returns
Interleague play continues as the Phillies host the Chicago White Sox in a three-game series starting tonight.  ESPN will televise the 7:05 game.

Thome comes to town with 480 career homers.  Included are 52 in interleague play, tops in the majors.  His 400th HR came as a member of the Phillies, June 14, 2004, against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park.

Last time the Phillies and White Sox met was three years ago.  The White Sox won two of three games played in Chicago’s Cellular Field.

Thome hit four home runs in the series and Aaron Rowand, two.  At that time, Thome was in Phillies red pinstriples and Rowand in Chicago pinstripes. Then, on November 25, 2005, Thome and Rowand were traded for each other. 

The 2004 series between the Phillies and White Sox was a slugfest, to put it mildly.  A total of 65 runs were scored (Phillies 32).  The home run total for three games was 22 (Phillies 9).

Time Change
The Phillies will host the Mets on Sunday, July 1.  The game was originally scheduled for 1:35 p.m., then moved to 8:05 p.m. for a potential Sunday night ESPN telecast.  Plans have changed and the game is back to the original 1:35 p.m. start.

The next Phillies game on ESPN Sunday Night is July 15, Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, a 6:00 p.m. start.

Next Step

June 9, 2007

The First-Year Player Draft is over.  The Phillies selected 52 players and now the process shifts to getting them signed.  The breakdown by positions: 31 pitchers, six catchers, eight infielders and seven outfielders. (The complete list can be found in the draft story on the home page of this site).

Under a change in the draft rules, players have to sign by August 15 or they reenter next year’s draft.  In past years, clubs could negotiate until a couple days before the next draft.  That’s changed now.

While Marti Wolever (Driector, Scouting) and his regional supervisors manned the draft center in Citizens Bank Park, Phillies area scouts were poised to begin negotiations as soon as a player was selected.

Once a scout gets a player under contract, he then contacts Lee McDaniel (Assistant Director, Minor League Operations/Florida) at his Carpenter Field office.  The scout will arrange air transportation and get the Tampa arrival times to McDaniel, who has three gentlemen prepped for airport runs. 

Most of the players will be housed at the Buena Vista Hotel on Route 19, about a half-mile from Carpenter Field.  Players are fed twice at Carpenter Field, breakfast and lunch.  Dinner costs $5.00 at Lenny’s Restaurant, an establishment that serves only breakfast and lunch.  The restaurant opens in the evening just for the Phillies.

Transportation to and from the hotel?  A few will have cars, some will walk and others will ride bicycles.

Steve Noworyta, Director of Minor Leagues, and his staff take over once the players have reported.  A mini-camp is scheduled to begin on Sunday night when the instructional staff meets the new Phillies.

Physicals will occupy part of Monday and Tuesday mornings at the Paul Owens Clubhouse, the center of the four-diamond Carpenter Field complex.  The rest of those days and the rest of the week will be workouts.07cc_83

Over 40 players, who didn’t make the Ottawa, Reading, Clearwater or Lakewood clubs out of spring training, have been working at Carpenter Field in extended spring training.  The new recruits will join that group.

Photographs will be taken of all the new players a week from today.  On Sunday, June 17, the players assigned to the Williamsport roster (Short-Season New York-Penn League) will fly to Philadelphia and bus to Williamsport.  The NYP League season starts June 19.

The other players will be assigned to the Phillies team that will complete in the Gulf Coast League.  Games begin June 19 at Carpenter Field.  All games are played in the afternoon when the sun is good and hot.  Baseball scouts and seagulls will outnumber spectators at these games.

Generally, college players will be sent to Williamsport and high school players will stay in Clearwater.

No matter which roster, all share the same dream…getting to the major leagues.

Hello Jose
Dallas Green made a side trip from Thursday’s draft in Orlando to Clearwater to watch free agent reliever Joe Mesa throw yesterday morning at Bright House Networks Field.

Mesa was consistently 90-91 on the radar gun and was able to get it up to 93 when Green asked Jose to reach back. 

Green then conversed with Pat Gillick, Ruben Amaro and Mike Arbuckle back in Philly. 

Relief pitching is a premium commodity and the Phillies continue to search to add depth and experience to the bullpen.