June 2008

Congrats Sammy

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, cf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Burrell, lf; Jenkins, rf; Feliz, 3b; Ruiz, c; Hamels, p.

Tough Setback
Don’t know that I’ve ever seen a game end on two similar plays as yesterday. Tough loss, but, as Tony La Russa said after Friday night’s blow out of his Cardinals, “It only counts as one loss.”

Left on base: 15 by the Phillies.  Runners in scoring position: 4 for 16.  We just couldn’t get a clutch hit and that was the difference.  Yet, going into yesterday, we had a .282 RISP average, tops in the NL.

Comments Corner
Jenn wrote: “Looks like my crystal ball is gettin’ rusty…ugh! Sad, sad loss… Well, tomorrow is a new day.”  Relax, your crystal ball isn’t getting rusty, just cloudy.  And, yes, today is a new day.

In response to another comment, “How does the Phillies pitching staff stack up as far as batting goes?” We are third in the NL in hits and average, trailing the Cubs and Cardinals.

Welcome Sammy
Congratulations to Juan Samuel, the 2008 Phillies Wall of Fame inductee. 

He came up to the majors on August 22, 1983, from Portland, OR, and started 15 games at second base the rest of the season.  John Felske, his Portland manager, reported: “Can run, throw, hit and hit with power, above average power.  A very exciting player.”

Sammy’s rookie season the following year was electrifying: league-leading 19 triples and club-record 72 stolen bases.  The man could flat out fly. 

Home runs for a season and career and RBI for a season–by a Phillies second baseman–were Sammy’s records until some guy named Chase Utley came along.  Don’t feel bad Sammy, Chase is rewriting a lot of Phillies records.  Samuel had 80 extra-bases hits in 1987, a record for a Phillies second baseman.  Chase is still chasing that one.

Off the field, Sammy is as likeable as anyone I’ve been around.  He always seemed to be upbeat, even when we tried to move him from second base to centerfield.  Well, maybe he wasn’t so upbeat then.  He has a very infectious smile, one that comes often and easily.

A coach with the Orioles, Baltimore has given him permission to be at Citizens Bank Park on August 8 for the induction ceremonies.  You’ll see that smile again.  Look close, maybe a tear or two.

Minor League Notes
LHP Antonio Bastardo (Reading) has been placed on the DL with a left shoulder inflammation . . . RHP Andrew Carpenter (Clearwater) has been reinstated from the DL . . . 1B Michael Durant (Lakewood) is also back from the DL.

This Date
In Phillies history….
1997 Phillies lose, 5-4, to Red Sox at Fenway Park, the club’s first interleague road game; last time Phillies played at Fenway was in an exhibition game, 4/14/57.


Happy Father's Day

I guess you can say Manuel’s V-8 Machine is lacking a little consistency.  From 20 runs and 21 hits Friday night to 2 runs and 4 hits yesterday.  Adam Eaton, who pitched well again, had 2 of the 4 hits.  The rest of the V-8 Machine couldn’t figure out Kyle Lohse. 

Pitching, both starters and the bullpen, has been consistent which is one of the reasons the Phillies sit in first place. 

Jimmy Rollins is in a mix-up right now at the plate.  He’ll get it going and when he does, look out.

Wining two of three is so key over the long haul and that’s what the Phillies face this afternoon.  A win will make a 6-3 trip, which is great.  A loss, obviously, 5-4, which isn’t great but it is still a winning road trip.  Only the Angels (21-12) have more wins in enemy yards than the Phillies (20-16).

Next weekend the Angels bring their road show to Citizens Bank Park.  Before then, a three-game series with the World Champion Boston Red Sox starts tomorrow night.

Dan Goroff, the Director of the Ticket Department, always sends out estimated attendance figures in advance of a homestand.  His e-mail for next week: “I’ll make this simple, 44-45,000 for all games.”

Last time a Phillies pitcher got two hits in the same inning?  OK, Kyle Kendrick did it Friday night.  Prior to then?  Omar Daal, May 6, 2001. 

This Date
In Phillies history…
1949     1B Eddie Waitkus is shot in the chest by deranged 19-year-old Ruth Ann Steinhagen in a Chicago hotel.  Waitkus missed the rest of the season but returned in 1950 following five operations.
1968     Bob Skinner replaces Gene Mauch as Phillies manager.  Mauch had managed the Phillies for eight and one-half seasons.
1991     Andy Ashby strikes out the side on 9 pitches in the 4th, 1st time in Phillies history, but Reds win game, 3-1.


Record Book Additions

Baseball is a strange game.  No home runs in three games in Florida and one win in that series.

Todd Wellemeyer retired the first two hitters last night and then an explosion.  By the end of the night, the record book had a few additions:

Three Consecutive Home Runs
When Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell went deep, it marked the seventh time that it has happened in Phillies history.  While we have a ton of facts and records, sometimes they don’t go back very far in our history.  This is the case in this category. 

If anyone can add to the following list, we’d love to hear from you. 

Anyway, the other six occasions:
 **9/30/1977, 2nd inning, Expos, Veterans Stadium (Greg Luzinski, Richie Hebner, Garry Maddox).
 **8/17/1985, 7th, Cubs, Wrigley Field (Juan Samuel, Von Hayes, Mike Schmidt).
 **7/26/1987, 8th, Braves, Veterans Stadium (Milt Thompson, Von Hayes, Mike Schmidt).
 **4/28/1999, 1st, Reds, Veterans Stadium (Scott Rolen, Rico Brogna, Ron Gant).
 **5/4/2004, 5th, Cardinals, Citizens Bank Park (Bobby Abreu, Jim Thome, Pat Burrell).
 **5/18/04, 4th, Dodgers, Citizens Bank Park (Bobby Abreu. Pat Burrell, Jim Thome).

20 Runs
The Phillies also did it last month and according to Elias Sports Bureau, we are the first team to score 20 or more runs in a game twice in one season.

Runs vs. Cardinals
Last night marked the second time the Phillies have scored 20 against the Cardinals.  The other time was May 11, 1923, at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.  I realize I’m a Phillies fossil but no, I wasn’t around back then.

Most Runs, Inning
Sorry, the 9 last night in the fourth inning fell short of the club record for this particular inning: 13, 4/13/2003 vs. the Reds at Citizens Bank Park, which is a record for most runs in any inning for us.

Prior to that game, 9 was the club high for the fourth inning, 7/14/1990 at Houston.

Bottom line: Manuel’s V-8 Machine was firing on all cylinders.

Thanks for the comments about Davey Lopes.  He is the best at reading enemy pitchers and teaching base runners.

This Date
In Phillies history………
1988     2B Juan Samuel starts five double plays in first game of Vet TWN vs. Montreal, a new NL record and tying AL mark held by Gerry Priddy of Detroit 5/20/80.
2004     1B Jim Thome homers off Juan Acevedo in the first inning at Citizens Bank Park for his historic 400th career HR.  Phillies win, 10-7.


Road trip continues in St. Louis tonight after Moyer mastered the Marlins last night…again.  He’s now 9-0 in his career against the Marlins.  He’s an amazing person and pitcher.

Let’s hope Friday the 13th is a lucky day for Kyle Kendrick.  The Phillies have done well when he pitches (10-3 record, including 9-1 in last 10 starts).

Tomorrow afternoon’s game is on national TV ( FOX).  Monday night is another national TV game, ESPN, as the Red Sox start a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

While everyone else is playing interleague games this weekend, the Phillies and Cardinals are meeting for the first of nine games this season.  Yes, nine.  Normally, we play the Central and West clubs six each.  But because of interleague play we get these three games in St. Louis.

With Albert Pujols on the DL, we’re catching a little break.  But, St. Louis has been playing great ball all season with some new faces.  New faces? Yes, eight players have made their major league debut this season.

       **86.8, Phillies percentage of stolen bases, best in the majors.
       **238 extra-base hits and 1,048 total bases for the Phillies, best in the NL.
       **35, Phillies errors in the first 41 games.
       **6, Phillies errors in last 27.
       **1, number of losses for Todd Wellemeyer, tonight’s Cardinals starter.  That loss came April 28. 
       **3, most runs Wellemeyer has given up in a game since his loss.
This Date
In Phillies history
June 13
1980     Phillies score seven in first on hits by first seven batters, one shy of record en route to 9-6 win over San Diego at Veterans Stadium.
1997     Phillies defeat Toronto, 4-3, at the Vet before 26,799, the first interleague game in team history; RHP Wayne Gomes is winner in major league debut.



On Sunday night, we were all giddy following a sweep of the Braves in Atlanta.  After last night, we are un-giddy, with apologies to my English professors.  If there isn’t such a word as un-giddy, you know the feelings I’m trying to describe.

In baseball, the world of passion can change quickly.  This time it was just two days. 

In baseball, you have to bounce back.  Instead of trying to win the series tonight, we’ve aiming to salvage one win.

Charlie Manuel’s V-8 Machine has appeared to be stuck in neutral.  That’s part of the game.  We hit some balls hard the last two night but they were outs. 

Granted two straight losses isn’t the end of the world….or season. 

Jamie Moyer is a perfect 8-0 against the Marlins going into the series finale tonight.  Let’s hope the law of averages is asleep.

On the other end, credit goes to the Marlins.  They can belt the ball and they’ve done that in the first two games.  All 11 runs have come via home runs.  One the other end, we have 11 total hits.

Leaving Miami tonight doesn’t make it any easier.  St. Louis is the next stop and then home to the Red Sox and Angels next week. The Cardinals have the second-best NL record; the Angels and Red Sox rank 1-2, respectively, as the best in the AL.

As Charlie once said, “If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”

Thanks for the comments posted this week. 

Voting online is the quickest and easiest way to show support for Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley:

This Date
In Phillies history…….
1939 Grover Cleveland Alexander is inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame.
1954 Braves RHP Jim Wilson pitches 2-0, ho-hitter against the Phillies at County Stadium.
2005 Phillies defeat Brewers, 6-2, to conclude 12-1 homestand, best since 14-2 in 1955.




Need to Rebound

Got to rebound from last night, a night in which the Marlins used the long ball to win the series opener.  They now lead the majors in home runs.  Wonder how many experts would have predicted that at the start of the season.

What’s Happening
With the team out of town until Monday, there’s still a buzz of activity at Citizens Bank Park.

It isn’t baseball related.  There’s a huge stage and sound system being constructed in center field for the Jimmy Buffett and Coral Reefer Band concert on Saturday night.

Minor League notes
RHP Sam Walls, who has been lights out as a closer with the Clearwater Threshers, has been promoted to the Reading Phillies.  He was the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May:

Lehigh Valley 3B Brennan King and Lakewood RHP Drew Naylor are the player and pitcher of the week for June 2-8 in the Phillies minor league system: http://mlb.com/phi/downloads/y2008/phi_061008.pdf

LHP Steve Kline was released at Lehigh Valley this afternoon.  He was 0-2, 5.32 in 19 games.

This Date
In Phillies history……….
1985 Phillies set a club record for runs scored in 26-7 rout of the Mets at Veterans Stadium. LF Von Hayes becomes the first player ever to hit two home runs in the first inning(solo and grand slam). 2B Juan Samuel was5-for-7.
1990 CF Lenny Dykstra is hitless in first game of TWN vs. Montreal to end a 23-game hitting streak and drop below .400.  Was hitless in nightcap, ending day at .392.


Jimmy Forgotten?

Jimmy Rollins is a three-time All-Star and the reigning MVP.  In looking over today’s NL All-Star voting update, it appears as if J-Roll has disappeared.

For the second consecutive week, Jimmy sits in fifth place among NL shortstops.  Here’s the number of shortstop votes just for the last week:
Miguel Tejada  357,335
Ryan Theriot  251,622
Hanley Ramirez  189,331
Jose Reyes  157,417
Rollins   149,318

Every Cubs fan in the universe must be voting:  Derrek Lee (1b), Mark DeRosa (2b) and Aramis Ramirez (3B) are all in second place, Theriot is third, rookie Geovany Soto (C) is first and Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome rank 1-2 among the outfielders.

I’m sorry, but that’s an injustice. 

Phillies fans need to rally and get voting.  Yes, Chase Utley leads all NL players.  Face it, he should.  But, Jimmy in fifth is not a laughing matter. 

In Utley’s case, he is trying to do something that has never been done by a Phillies player…..lead all NL voting.

An even greater injustice has happened in the Florida State League.  In announcing the Western Division squad for the June 14 game, the Clearwater Threshers are represented by RH reliever Brett Harker, LH reliever Matt German, OF Gus Milner and RH starter Edgar Garcia.

RH closer Sam Walls” season: 2-0, 0.81 ERA, 10 saves, 3 runs allowed, 33 strikeouts in 33.1 innings.  Walls’ last 13 games: 2-0, 8 saves, 18 innings, 7 hits, 0 runs, 5 walks, 23 strikeouts.  He hasn’t allowed a run since April 28.

Somebody in Florida is sleeping.

This Date
In Phillies history…………
1926 3B Russ Wrightstone became the first Phillies player to hit for the cycle in the 20th century during a 13-11 win over the Pirates at Baker Bowl.
1981 1B Pete Rose singles to tie Stan Musial’s NL record of 3,630.  RHP Nolan Ryan strikes out Rose in his last three at-bats in the game.
(I was in the dugout this night in case Pete broke the record.  Ryan was determined that Pete would not get the record hit off him.  Ryan threw some blazing fast balls I could hear but couldn’t see and broke off some curve balls that were lethal. Pete tipped his hat to Nolan after the third strikeout.)

What's Next?

Great weekend in Georgia for Phillies fans. 

More of the same yesterday….good pitching and clutch hitting.  That’s a winning formula.  Seems as if every day a different bat is stepping up.  Ryan Howard led the damage with his 3 doubles and 4 RBI.  Get him really hot and look out.

Day off today in Miami and then three games with the second-place Marlins.  Then, a weekend in St. Louis and the middle of June is here already.

What’s Next
Last week’s draft is history and now scouts are turning their attention to getting the players under contract.  That process started as soon as the players were selected on Thursday and Friday.

Those that sign soon will report to Carpenter Field in Clearwater for a min-camp.  The new recruits will join the 50-some players who are part of extended spring training.

Daily workouts will take place with some players participating in games against the Tampa Bay Rays extended camp roster that are scheduled for today through Thursday afternoon.

The final workout is scheduled for Saturday.  At that time, the players will be assigned to one of two rosters, Williamsport Crosscutters (New York-Penn League) or the Gulf Coast League Phillies.
Generally, high school players wind up on the Gulf Coast League Phillies roster and college athletes will start their pro careers at Williamsport.

NY-Penn League
Schedule: 76 games starting June 17 and ending September 6.  Williamsport is in the Pinckney Division (one of three divisions).
Roster limit: 30 active players, but only 25 may be in uniform and eligible to play in any given game. 
Player eligibility rules: No more than four players 23 or older; no more three players on active list may have four or more years of prior service.
Home field: Bowman Field.

Gulf Coast League
Schedule: Teams in the Northern Division (which includes Phillies) play 60 games; East and South Divisions, 56 games.  Season runs June 19 to August 27.
Roster limit: 35 active, but only 30 eligible for each game.
Player eligibility rule: No age restriction limits.  No player who has two or more years of prior minor league and/or major league service time can participate.
Home field: Carpenter Field.

Anyone in pro baseball, gets to ride busses.  It all starts in these two leagues. 


Good Pitching plus Clutch Hitting equaled a Win last night, giving the Phillies a series win.  Sweeping in Atlanta isn’t easy but the opportunity is there.

Can’t say enough about the bullpen.  Once again they shut the enemy down.  Late in the game, clutch hitting by Chase, Ryan and J-Roll sealed the Braves fate.

The victory was the 300th for Charlie Manuel.  Since he became manager in 2005, he has more wins than any other NL skipper.

Road victory improved the Phillies record to 17-13, tops in the NL.  Since 2004, they have won 189 games away from home, also the NL best.

Happy Birthday
Art Mahan, the oldest living Phillie who turns 95 today.  He is one of 10 major leaguers 95 or older.  Mahan was a first baseman (L-L) who played one season in majors, 1940.  In 146 games, he hit .244 with 24 doubles, 5 triples, 2 homers, 39 RBI. He made his debut on April 30 and played his last game on September 29.  Following baseball, he had a lengthy career as the Villanova University Athletic Director.  He is celebrating with his family in Philadelphia. 
Mahan broke a three-way tie for the oldest living Phillie: 1B Gene Corbett (1936-38) and RF Stan Benjamin (1939-42) are 94. 
The oldest living major leaguer is 3B Billy Werber, who will turn 100 in 12 days. 

Popular Sport
Baseball is packing ’em in.  The Phillies rank fourth in the National League in attendance. 

The game’s very popular in the Phillies minor league system: Lehigh Valley IronPigs (2nd, International League); Reading Phillies (1st, Eastern League); Clearwater Threshers (2nd, Florida State League) and Lakewood BlueClaws (3rd, South Atlantic League.

Soon the Williamsport Crosscutters (New York-Penn League) will begin play and Bowman Field is a popular home for the short-season team.

The Gulf Coast League Phillies will also start playing later this month.  They play in the afternoon in Clearwater when the sun is nice and hot.  Sea gulls out-number human beings.

Minor League Notes
Welinson Baez have been moved from the Clearwater roster to extended spring training.  After six seasons as a third baseman, the Phillies are going to convert him to a pitcher to take advantage of his cannon-like arm . . . Lakewood RHP Julian Sampson was reinstated from the DL . . . SS Freddy Galvez was put on the DL with a concussion.


Werth Returns

Jayson Werth (right oblique strain) has been reinstated from the disabled list and he is in the lineup (RF) tonight with a lefty going for the Braves.  Werth is hitting .309 against lefties this season. He played two games on rehab with the Clearwater Threshers on Thursday and Friday.

To make room for Werth, OF Chris Snelling was assigned outright to Lehigh Valley.  He has to clear waivers and can refuse the assignment.

Posting Lineups
Appreciate the comments about posting the lineup and the visiting team’s lineup.  To be honest, the idea of posting the lineup was something I pilfered from the Dodgers and White Sox blogs. 

Since I’m around for every home game it is easy to do.  Charlie Manuel usually has his lineup ready around 2:30 for a 7:05 night game.  I try to post it as early as possible.  This is the only place online that you can find the Phillies lineup. 

When the team is on the road, it is more difficult since I don’t travel.  Did try to have the traveling media relations rep get the lineup to me a year ago on one trip but it became awkward.  Many times, the MR rep has other pre-game duties that need more attention.  Plus, I’m not always around to post something before a road game.

Visiting team’s lineup? I could see fan interest when Ken Griffey Jr. was in town.  Other than that, I don’t see a need to post the enemy nine.  For home night games, the enemy nine isn’t available until around 4:30-5:30 and I think it is more important to have the Phillies lineup posted for you before that time. 

Keep posting your comments though.  They are always appreciated.  May not agree, but that is fine.

A Gift?
“The Force was with us” is the way Brad Lidge described last night’s unlikely win over the Braves.  An error on the potential last out of the game allowed the Phillies to tie the score in the ninth before a two-spot in the 10th put the Phils on top.

Then Shane Victorino, he of two triples, ended the game by gunning down the tying run in the bottom of the 10th on a very, very close play at home plate.  It was the second Brave to be nailed at home, three, if you count the botched a squeeze play.

Manuel’s V-8 Machine has been sputtering lately.  But, the pitching has been great and good pitching can lead to a lot of wins. 

And, sometimes you have to be lucky.