July 2008

Friendly Shea Next


Offensive puzzle continued yesterday and resulted in an extra-inning loss at the Marlins.  Cole, despite not having his “A” fast ball, still pitched exceptionally well, the sign of a very good pitcher.

Hate to keep going back to the unlucky Friday the 13th in June, but, since we scored 20 runs that night in St. Louis, the offense hasn’t been the same.  Scott Lauber in the Wilmington News-Journal today points out that we have been held to four or fewer runs in 20 of the last 30 games, the 30th game being June 14.  During the 30 games, we are hitting .212 with runners in scoring position.  No wonder Manuel went off after yesterday’s 3-2 loss in which 10 runners were left on base.

Two out of three is a huge key to winning a championship..  We missed that opportunity yesterday but it is over and needs to be forgotten.  Time to focus on three in friendly Shea Stadium starting tomorrow night.

Lefty vs. Lefty
The Mets have four lefties in their bullpen.  Wonder how many times they will be called on to face Chase and Ryan in these next three games. 

Comment Corner
The following was posted on Phillies Insider last week: “I was checking out your Phillies blogs and thought you and your readers might be interested to know that Phillies reliever Chad Durbin has his own blog:”

Players of the Week
Lakewood teammates, RHP Jared Simon and OF T. J. Warren are the Phillies minor league pitcher and player of the week, respectively.

Check out their numbers: http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/phi/downloads/y2008/071908.pdf




Welcome Joe

The hunt for a starter has landed Joe Blanton from the A’s, just in time for the second-half hunt for the pennant race.

Yes, we gave up three prospects for him. But consider this: none of the three  would be helping the big club this year and perhaps only Outman next season. 

Blanton, 27, is not a rent-a-pitcher for the rest of the season as he can’t become a free agent until 2010. He not only fits in the rotation for 2008 but for the future, a key element.  Giving up prospects for a pitcher just entering his prime is an excellent decision.

He’s in his fourth big league season, winner of 12-16-14 games going into this season.  True, 5-12 doesn’t look good.  Run support hasn’t been there for him.  When the A’s scored 4 or more runs, he was 37-5.  Joe will be backed with run support he hasn’t seen.

The big man goes to the post (averaged 33 starts for first three big league seasons).  He’s an inning-eater, a real workhorse.  His transaction column is free of injuries, another key element.

Rather than waiting for the July 31 trading deadline, we moved quickly in getting Joe.  He’ll get two-three more starts by making the deal now.

So, cross of starting pitching from the shopping list.  Still in the shopping cart: another reliever, preferably a lefty, and a hitter. 

If the Manuel V-8 Machine does what it is capable, another hitter many not be necessary.  Lack of consistency has been the biggest problem with the offense.

Clubs under Manuel, both here and Cleveland, have been second-half successes.  The road to October baseball starts tonight in Miami. 

Right out of the shoot, three with the Marlins and then three with the Mets in New York. 
Play ball.


Time Otut

Phillies Insider is going on a one-week All-Star Game break.  Time to bronze this beefy body at the beach (photos, video will NOT be available).

Tune in again on July 19.

Thank you.

Thanks for voting

Thanks to everyone for pitching in to get Pat Burrell elected to the All-Star Game through the four-day Final Vote online process. 

The results just came in:  Corey Hart was first, followed by David Wright, Pat, Aaron Rowand and Carlos Lee. 

Voting started at 3 p.m. on Sunday and finished at 5 this afternoon.

When the first results were announced on Monday, the order was Hart, Wright, Burrell, Rowand, Lee.  That order never changed over four voting updates and the final results.  Same for the American League.  There it was always Longoria, Dye, Giambi, Roberts and Guillen.


Again, a tip of the cap to Phillies fans for all the work they did. 

Burrell Still 3rd

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, cf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Burrell, lf; Jenkins, rf; Feliz, 3b; Coste, c; Moyer, p.

Easier to get up this morning after last night’s win.  Good job by J. A. and then the long balls by Ryan and Pedro and another save for Brad.  Now, we need another win today to take the series.  Then the first-place, but under-.500, Arizona Diamondbacks for the weekend series.

Roster Move
J. A. was returned to Lehigh Valley this morning and 1B-3B-OF-DH Mike Cervenak’s was brought up from the IronPigs.

Idea was to add another hitter on the bench.  We won’t need a fifth starter until the July 25 Atlanta weekend after the All-Star break.  LV’s season resumes a week from today and Happ can pitch, rather than sit.

Cervenak, a 31-year-old right-handed hitter, has been in the minor leagues since 1999 when he broke in in an independent league.  He’s never been in the majors.  He’s a .297 career hitter in the minors.  He’s wearing #24.

At-Bat For Pat
This morning, Pat visited the four Phillies fans who have been voting 24 hours a day from Citizens Bank Park through WIP’s marathon Final Vote promotion.  Nick Ferraro of Lancaster, Monica Howard, Conshohocken, Jason Schatz, Willow Grove and Todd Smith, Oreland, have been voting on their respective lap tops since Tuesday noon.

In this morning’s update Pat remains in third place with Hart and Wright in a “tightly-contested competition as the final hours approach.”

Voting ends at 5 o’clock this afternoon with the winners to be announced shortly thereafter.

Pat’s teammates chipped in with video plugs for Pat on phillies.com.

Burrell Climbing
Pat is moving up in several Phillies all-time rankings.  He is fourth in the home-run rankings, trailing third-place Chuck Klein, 243-240.

Among RBI leaders, Pat has moved into ninth place (795).  Next on the list is The Bull (811).  And, Pat is fifth in walks (751).  Roy Thomas and Bobby Abreu are next, 946 each.

Minor League Notes
CF Greg Golson has been activated from the DL (wrist injury) at Reading and will be able to play in Sunday’s Futures Game at Yankee Stadium and the Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday . . . Reading RH reliever Pat Overholt has been added to the EL All-Star game roster.




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

Hard to believe this team has been shut out six times this year when it happened only three times a year ago.

When we woke up on this date a year ago, we were in third place, 4.5 games out of first with a 44-44 record.  We’re still in first place (48-43).  And, we will hit.  Book it!

Burrell Update
Latest results this afternoon have Pat still trailing Corey Hart and David Wright.  Each has garnered over 4 million votes.

Voting efforts continue:
 **University of Miami Alumni Relations Department is participating an in e-mail campaign to vote for Pat, a baseball legend at that university.
 **Voting stations have been set up in Citizens Bank Park so fans can vote during games.
 **Philadelphia Free Library has done an e-mail blitz with their membership.
       **Vote for Pat T-Shirts were sent to members of the media.
       **The WIP Marathon voting in the upper level of Harry the K’s continues around the clock until tomorrow’s deadline.

Online voting on phillies.com ends at 5 o’clock tomorrow afternoon:

Burrell Backers
“He’s the most deserving among the group of National Leaguers on the Final Vote ballot,” Jayson Stark, ESPN.com.

“Here’s the case for Pat to be elected….he’s the only player in the league’s top 10 in slugging percentage not already on the roster,” Paul White, USA Today.

“Pat is the most notable omission on the team,” Buster Olney, ESPN.com.

Ken Rosenthal had Pat starting in his NL Star squad during his in-game comments on FOX’s Saturday telecast.  Rosenthal is the Senior Baseball Writer for FOXSports.com and a member of the FOX Saturday broadcasting team.

Celebrity City
Phillies Alumni Dick Allen and Jay Johnstone were at Citizens Bank Park last night.  There teammates not only with the Phillies (1975-76) but the White Sox (1972).

Jay told a story about him during the 1976 season that had Dick in stitches.  “We had clinched the division and Danny (Ozark, manager) told us that we should go for individual goals now that we have won the division.  I was battling for the league lead in doubles and a ‘stretched’ a triple into a double.  The next day Danny called a team meeting to chew me out for not hustling to third.  I was late that day and wasn’t even in the clubhouse during Danny’s tirade.”

Tomorrow, actress Alyssa Milano will be here to promote her licensed women’s fashion collection called “Touch”.  Alyssa is a big-time Dodgers fan and has a blog on Dodgers.com, “touch ’em all.”


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


Close is fine in horseshoes but not baseball.  Fell behind too far last night but this team keeps battling and had a chance to tie or win in the last of the ninth.

Six games left before the All-Star break and we need to kick in gear.  We’re really scuffling at Citizens Bank Park, having lost 8 of the last 10.  Fan support is awesome and the passion is felt every day but right now we can’t seem to put things together.

Phillies Tradition
Chase Utley is going to continue the tradition of having a Phillies player in the State Farm Home Run Derby next Monday night in Yankee Stadium.   Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard (twice) have been involved since 2004. 

Notice all are left-handed hitters.  Yankee Stadium’s right field foul pole is 314 feet which could be to Chase’s advantage.

Pressure isn’t on Chase, it is on catching instructor Mick Billmeyer, who is replacing Ramon Henderson as the pitcher for the Phillies.  Ramon had done the previous four and done ii well.

If you haven’t read Ken Mandel’s HR Derby story on this site:

Backing Burrell
We’ve started a campaign to get Pat Burrell elected to the All-Star team.  Some of the details are covered in Mandel’s story:

In addition, the Cira Center in Philadelphia is illuminating Pat’s #5 tonight and tomorrow night, PECO Crown Lights will encourage voting, Ballgirls will visit center city workers during the lunch hour, Publicist John Brazer is doing a radio station blitz, eight digital billboards in the area are promoting voting today through Thursday, t-shirts will be given to fans in the first row of the left field stands today, tomorrow and Thursday, e-mails are being distributed constantly, the Phillies minor league clubs are promoting “Go To Bat For Pat” and all Phillies employees were allowed a 15-minute break from their chores this afternoon to vote. 

If you called during that break and I didn’t answer, you why.

Visitor Von
Von Hayes stopped by Citizens Bank Park last night with his son, Connor.  Von is the manager of the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League.  Rick Wise is his pitching coach.  The Barnstomers had a night off.

Roster changes are frequent in that league.  One day, Von was down to nine position players.  So, he placed himself on the active roster, but never played that night.  “I’m the only manager ever to sign himself and release himself,” Von laughed.

When things didn’t go well for the Phillies in the first inning, there were some boos.  “I know what that sound sounds like,” he said.

National TV
ESPN tomorrow night for those fans around the country (CSN in Philly area).

Myers Report
“Decent outing that seemed to help his confidence.  Used his fastball (89-94) more, especially early and pitched inside well with it.  Third and fourth time thru the order used his curve more which showed sharp action,” Rod Nichols, LV pitching coach after Brett’s second start last night.

Myers’ next start is Saturday night in Reading.


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

Losses are tough, especially ones like yesterday’s afternoon/night 12-inning, ran delayed marathon.

One strike away from a shutout and Jason Werth his a dramatic home run off Billy Wagner to force extra innings.  Werth has nine homers off LHP, second in the NL to teammate Chase Utley’s 11.

Kyle Kendrick bent but didn’t break.  He gives up hits but seems to get out of jams.  He’s a competitor.

Story of the loss: offense is 1-14 with runners in scoring position.  Runners on base in each of the first six innings and zero. 

Flash on DL
A year ago as the closer, he went on the disabled list (strained rotator cuff) on May 4 for over two months.  He came back as the set-up man, well rested and strong for the second half of the season.

In September, he was in 18 of our 28 games and opponents batted .196 over his last 15 appearances. 

Elbow this time.  Hopefully, being shutdown will produce the same second-half results. 

Vote for Pat
Just a reminder….. Pat Burrell is one of five players in the National League Monster All-Star Final Vote.  Voting is underway on mlb.com.  It will end at 5 p.m. on Thursday. There is no limit as to how many times fans can vote.

Easiest way to vote is online: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2008/fv/ballot_pop.html

MLB update on voting results: Corey heard currently holds a small lead over David Wright, Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Carlos Lee.

Look for an announcement from the Phillies regarding plans for a big voting campaign for Pat.

Sellout City
Tonight will be the 26th sell out of the season and 13th in a row. 

Rest of the week is the same, except tomorrow night.  Just over 4,000 seats are still available.  Then, the daily 500 standing room tickets for each game.

This Date
In Phillies history…….
1964 RF Johnny Callison hits dramatic, game-winning three-run homer in the ninth inning to give the National League a 7-4 win in the 35th All-Star Game at Shea Stadium.
1979 3B Mike Schmidt homers in final at bat on July 6 and in first three at bats tonight vs. San Francisco.  Second time he has homered in four consecutive plate appearances in his career.
1993 Phillies 7, Dodgers 6, in 20-inning game, matching Vet record for longest game.  Lenny Dykstra drives in 2 runs in the bottom of the 20th for the win.




At-Bat for Pat

Pat Burrell has gone to bat over 4,200 times in a Phillies uniform

He’s having an All-Star season and now it is time for Phillies fans to go to bat for Pat.

Pat is one of five players in the National League Monster All-Star Final Vote.  Voting is underway on mlb.com.  It will end at 5 p.m. on Thursday. There is no limit as to how many times fans can vote.

The other four outfielder Corey Hart (Brewers), outfielder Carlos Lee (Astros), outfielder Aaron Rowand (Giants) and third baseman David Wright (Mets).  The Phillies and Mets are battling on the field.  Now, their fans will be going toe-to-toe in the ballot box.

Phillies fans came through four years ago and elected Bobby Abreu to the NL squad in the final vote. Abreu drew over 2 million votes.

Chase Utley led all NL players in All-Star voting this year and that’s a tribute to Phillies fans.

Here’s a call for Phillies fans to step up to the plate again. 

How To Vote
Online: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2008/fv/ballot_pop.html

Mobile devices: Fans can also text the word “Vote” to 36197 to receive the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Votes candidates sent to their mobile device.  The vote for a specific player, fans can replay with the choice. Example: Text “A4” to vote for American League player 4, or “N4” for National League player 4.  Standard rate messaging fees apply.  Please check with carriers for details.  In Canada, Phillies fans should text the word “Vote” in 88555.

NL codes: Burrell (Mobile Vote N1), Hart (N2), Lee (N3), Rowand (N4) and Wright (N5).

Last year, a record 23 million votes were cast in the Final Vote, including nearly one million case via mobile devices.




Lidge Stays

Today’s Lineup
Werth, rf; Utley, 2b; Rollins, ss; Howard, 1b; Burrell, lf; Feliz, 3b; Victorino, cf; Ruiz, c; Kendrick, p.

For a while last night, it looked as if we would squeeze a one-run win on only four hits. Then the bullpen’s bottom fell out, a real rarity this season.

“It’s going to happen.  When you play 162 games, you can’t expect everyone to be perfect.  I think our bullpen has been outstanding.  They are one of the reasons we are where we are.”

The loss dropped the Phillies record in which they are leading after seven innings to 33-3. The blown save for Tom Gordon was his first since late last August.

Lidge Stays a Phillie
A potential free agent at the end of the season, Brad Lidge won’t be heading that direction after signing a contract this morning.  Details will be on this site.

Ruben Amaro Jr. and Lidge’s agent, Rex Geary, have been discussing a new contract and those talks heated up this week.

Protocol calls for a physical examination before the Brad could sign on the dotted line.  Once that was out of the way, the time of the announcement was something that was worked out by Amaro Jr. and Bonnie Clark, the VP, Communications, and her staff.

A media alert was sent out Saturday informing the media of a player announcement at 11 o’clock this morning.

The announcement took place, as usual, in the Media Room on the clubhouse level at Citizens Bank Park.  Lidge’s baseball idol is Hall of Famer reliever Goose Gossage.  The two met outside the Media Room after the press conference. Gossage is here today for Auto Trader.com.

All-Star Time
We’ll know this afternoon who and how many Phillies will make the National League All-Star team and if a Phillies player is among the 2008 Monster All-Star Final Vote that will take place on mlb.com today through Thursday.  The announcements will be on TBS TV starting at 2.

Chase Utley has been leading all players in voting and he will be the starting second baseman for the NL for the third straight season.  That’s a given.

The only Phillie with a longer consecutive starting streak as an All-Star is Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, six years, 1979-84.

Other Phillies second basemen who have been All-Star starters include Mariano Duncan (1994), Manny Trillo (1982) and Granny Hamner (1954).