August 2008

Temporary Inactive List

Sorry, Phillies Insider will be absent through September 7.  Vacation time.

The blog will resume for the stretch run on September 8.

Thank you for your understanding, patience and Phillies passion.

Go Phillies!


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

For four games in LA, the Dodgers could do no wrong.  It was the opposite for us.
Eight days after that 4-game LA sweep, the same clubs met for four in Philly.

Revenge danced in Phillies fans’ heads.  The pendulum swung the Phillies way and LA left town winless in four games.

Brett continued his outstanding pitching and combined with two relievers, the Dodgers were blanked last night despite getting 13 hits.  LA finished the series with 13 consecutive scoreless innings and runners on base in every inning.  Shades of our August woes.

J-Roll snapped out of it.  Shane continued his hustling play and Werth’s speed and all-out hustle was something when he scored from second on an infield out.

Now, the attention turns toward a two-game set with the Mets.  The fans’ electricity at Citizens Bank Park will be turned up a notch these next two days.

Record Shutout
According to the Phillies record book, the most hits we allowed in a shutout by one pitcher was 12 (nothing listed for a combined shutou).  George “Columbia George” Smith, a right-hander, blanked the Braves on 12 hits in the second game of an August 12, 1921, twinbill in Boston.  The complete game score was 4-0.  Time of game, you won’t believe this, was 1 hour, 32 minutes.  The first game that day was a marathon, 1:54.

Smith walked one and struck out two in allowing 10 singles and two doubles.  Unfortunately, that shutout was the highlight of his worst big league season of eight, 4 wins, 20 losses.  He gave up 303 hits in 221 innings, walked 52 and struck out 45.

The major league record for most hits allowed by a pitcher in a shutout is 14, shared by Larry Cheney, Cubs, in 1913 and Milt Gaston, Senators, in 1928.  Again, that’s for one pitcher, not a combined effort. 

Alumni Reunion
With Larry Bowa, Mariano Duncan and Ken Howell on the Dodgers coaching staff, it was a mini-Phillies Alumni reunion this weekend. Even though they are wearing Dodger blue, they have a soft spot in their hearts for Phillies red.  Bowa continues to live here in the off-season.

Each believes the Phillies should win the NL East.

Players of Week
RHP Andrew Carpenter and C Travis D’Arnaud are the pitcher and player of the week, respectively, in the Phillies minor league season:

Two Key Bunts

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

Bunts and A Blast
Producing runs has been a sticky point for the Phillies offense that has been stuck in low gear most of this month.  A team that led the NL in runs scored last season was struggling.  That’s what makes this game so great…unpredictable.

Last night, they used situational hitting twice and the long ball once to pin an extra-inning loss on to the Dodgers in a belly burner.  Yes, games at this time of the season can burn your belly.

Two sacrifice bunts set up the Phillies first two runs with Chase and Pedro following with clutch singles.  Pedro’s came with two out in the ninth and tied the game.  Then, his three-run blast over center in the 11th gave the Phillies their seventh walk-off win.

The Dodgers had 13 hits and left 13 on base but five Phillies pitchers allowed just two runs in 11 innings. 

Back Home
Olympic bronze medal winners SS Jason Donald and C Lou Marson are being placed back on the Reading Phillies active roster today.  Reading is home tonight, the first of four games in four days against Connecticut.

LHP R. J. Swindle and RHP Steve Green, members of the Canadian Olympic team, are being removed from the temporary active roster at Lehigh Valley.

Minor League Notes
Lehigh Valley, Reading and Lakewood all end their respective seasons on September 1.  Clearwater concludes its season a day earlier.  Williamsport’s final game is September 6.

The Gulf Coast League Phillies (32-22), whose season ends on Wednesday, are in the running for postseason play. They lead the North Division. 

Lakewood trails first-place Lake County by 2.5 games in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League.

Arizona Bound
The Phillies will be sending eight minor league players to the Arizona Fall League, a league that begins in October.  They will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox:

Marson, Donald, OF Jeremy Slayden, OF Quintin Berry, RHP Joe Bisenius, RHP Andrew Carpenter, LHP Sergio Escalona and RHP Pat Overholt.


Pat Moving Up

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

Good pitching and timely hitting, a combination that has eluded the Phillies most of this month, did the Dodgers in on a FOX telecast yesterday.

Friday night, the bottom of the lineup produced.  Yesterday, it was the top.  The top (J-Roll, Chase, Pat and Ryan) is where the Phillies fate rests.  If they get as hot as they were cold, there will be a lot of smiles in the Delaware Valley the rest of the season. 

Moving Up
Pat is moving up on the three of the  Phillies all-time offensive categories:
Home Runs
548 Mike Schmidt
259 Del Ennis

Runs Batted In
1,595 Schmidt
1,286 Ed Delahanty
1,124 Ennis
984 Chuck Klein
957 Sam Thompson
892 Sherry Magee

Extra-Base Hits
1,015 Schmidt
667 Delahanty
643 Klein
634 Ennis
585 Abreu
539 Magee
534 Johnny Callison

Beijing Numbers
Shortstop Jason Donald was the leading hitter for USA, .381 (8-21).  He had one home run and five RBI in eight games.  C Lou Marson hit .308 (4-13).

Both will rejoin the Reading Phillies tomorrow or Tuesday.  The USA team returns home tonight to Washington, DC, with bronze medals.

Donald and Marson have had some kind of season: Futures Game, AA All-Star Game, Olympics and Eastern League All-Star team.







USA Wins Bronze Medal

Big Burrell AB
Greg Maddux, a crafty veteran who specializes in low pitch counts, had recorded 11 outs on 29 pitches until Pat battled him for a 10-pitch walk in the fourth last night.  Ryan followed with an opposite field homer to jump-start the offense and break a six-game losing streak against the Dodgers. 

August now stands at 10-10 with nine games left.

Kyle again battled command issues but again battled and kept his team in the game.  Bullpen shut the door after he left in the sixth.

Offense produced three homers among 10 hits, more typical of this team’s makeup.  Bottom of the lineup, led by Coste, came through with five RBI.  Now, we need to get the top of the order back to normal.

A Reminder
For you Phillies fans spread around the country, next three games are on national TV, FOX (3:55 this afternoon), ESPN (8:05 tomorrow night) and ESPN2 (7:05 Monday night).

Beijing Update
USA defeated Japan, 8-4, to win a bronze medal last night at the Olympics.

Shortstop Jason Donald hit one of three USA home runs, a two-run shot that upped the score to 8-2.  He also singled in one other at-bat and scored twice.  Reading Phillies teammate Lou Marson didn’t play.  Both batted over .300 in the Olympics.  They will return to the Reading Phillies early next week.

“Jason has played great the whole time,” said manager Davey Johnson.  “He hit a two-run shot that really put the game out of reach.”

The medal ceremonies will take place following the Korea-Cuba championship game today. USA team will fly home to Washington, DC, tomorrow night.

Minor League Notes
Reading RHP Andrew Carpenter (6-8) pitched 2-hit ball over 7 scoreless innings in 2-1 win at Trenton . . . Clearwater CF Quintin Berry stole 3 bases in 8-4 loss, increasing season total to 48; he’s 7 shy of his Lakewood total of a year ago . . . LHP Joe Savery (8-10), who had won 5 of his last 6 decisions, was the loser for Clearwater . . . C Travis D’Arnaud is hitting .464 in his first 7 games at Lakewood; the 19-year-old was promoted from Williamsport after hitting .309 in 48 games for the Crosscutters.

This Date
In Phillies history……..
1883     Phillies are charged with 27 errors in a game against Providence (walks, wild pitches and passed balls all were charged as errors prior to 1888).  Imagine if there was TV back then. The highlight shows would have taken forever replaying 27 errors.


Pat Batting 3rd

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

Jenkins is a lifetime .417 hitter (25-60) against Greg Maddux.

Last Night 

Jamie was on again and the offense was off again and the Nationals broke their losing streak. Last time we had double figures in hits was August 11, 10 games ago.  Volume of hits isn’t always the answer.  Getting them at the right time is.  That’s where we’ve been scuffling.

National TV
Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will be here tomorrow for a 3:55 p.m. FOX national telecast . . . Sunday (8:05) ESPN telecast will feature Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.

Beijing Update
USA (5-3) faces Japan (4-4) in the bronze medal game tomorrow, while Korea (8-0) and Cuba (7-1) follow in a game that will determine the silver and gold medals.

Cuba advanced to the final game by defeating USA, 10-2, last night on Wukesong Main Field.
Trailing, 3-1, in the fourth, USA cut the gap to 3-2 on back-to-back doubles by catcher Lou Marson and Jason Donald. On defense, Marson nailed two Cuba base stealers.

Donald and Marson of the Reading Phillies have been selected to the Eastern League All-Star Team. 

The team is selected by EL managers and coaches, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.

Donald and Marson are currently with the USA team in Beijing.  They are expected to rejoin Reading sometime early next week.  Reading’s season ends September 1.

Minor League Notes
LHP J. A. Happ (8-6) fanned 5 in 7-3 Lehigh Valley win at Buffalo last night; he leads International League with 148 strikeouts . . . Clearwater LF Michel Taylor hit his fourth homer in the last 10 games (.432 average) . . . Lakewood RHP Julian Sampson (10-4) hurled 6 scoreless innings in 5-1 win at Lake County; it was his fourth straight win . . . RHP Kyle Drabek, no-decision in his first Williamsport start, 4 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts.

Comment Corner
Faithful Phillies fan, Mary, posted yesterday: “I wanted to know if anyone was driving or going to Shea on Sept. 7th?  A friend and I would like to go, we will be our tix or chip in however it works but we want to go with a group.  Any suggestions? Anyone?”
By on August 21, 2008 4:28 PM

Just a reminder that the September 7 game at Shea has been changed from an afternoon to an 8:05 game for an ESPN Sunday Night telecast.


Brett is back

Tonight’s Lineup
(Sorry, I had to leave the office this morning for the rest of the day and couldn’t post the Phillies nine).

Brett is back. Tossed his first shutout since 2004 last night to keep the Phillies on the heels of the Mets.

Four runs on nine hits was the offensive story and that was enough for Brett, who threw 119 pitches, 82 for strikes, 37 balls.  That’s an awesome ball-strike ratio.

More numbers from last night….37,857 hot dogs were consumed on dollar dog night.  Um-um.

Payback Time
Dodgers come to town for four starting tomorrow night.  Last week, the Dodgers swept a four-game series from the Phillies in LA for the first time since 1962.

National TV
**Saturday, Dodgers, FOX, 3:55 p.m.
**Sunday, Dodgers, ESPN, 8:05 p.m. game
**Monday, Dodgers, ESPN2, 7:05 p.m.
**Saturday, August 30, at Cubs, FOX, 3:55 p.m.
**Saturday, September 6, at Mets, FOX, 3:55 p.m.

Another Sunday Night Game
ESPN has also selected the Sunday game, September 7, at Shea Stadium for the Phillies’ fifth and final Sunday night national telecast. 

Five appearances is the maximum a team can have on Sunday nights. In the history of Sunday night telecasts, the Phillies are 15-13.

Beijing Update
USA clinched the third seed in the medal round with a 4-2, 11-inning win over Japan yesterday.

The game was tied, 0–0, after nine innings.  Under rules for the Olympics, both teams put runners on first and second to start an extra inning.  Neither team scored in the 10th but USA scored four times in the 11th, while Japan came back with two.

SS Jason Donald was 0-3 for scored the first of the four, 11-inning runs.

Semifinals tomorrow: Korea vs. Japan, USA vs. Cuba.  Losers meet for the bronze medal on Saturday . . . Winners meet in the championship game on Saturday with silver and gold medals at stake.


Werth Full Win

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

Werth Full Win
Thanks to Jayson’s career-best 17th homer, the Phillies came from behind for a 4-3 win over the Nationals last night before another sold out Citizens Bank Park.

Much of the attention for the night was aimed at Jimmy Rollins, at home for the first time since making his comments about Phillies fans last week.

The media came out in full force, extra writers, more TV crews than normal. Not a full media circus, but close.  The “We Should Be GM’s” blog promoted a Campaign Cheer and passed out flyers to arriving fans.

You can read, see and hear plenty of accounts of last night’s atmosphere toward J-Roll.  Boos are always louder than cheers, from my decades of experience.  Plenty of fans were applauding Jimmy.

Bottom line: we got a win to stay on the heels of the Mets.  Time to put the J-roll episode in the rear view mirror and concentrate on the pennant race.

Beijing Update
Four teams have qualified for the medal round: South Korea (6-0), Cuba (5-1), USA (4-2) and Japan (4-2).  USA and Japan play today.  Winner will face Cuba in the semifinal round on Friday. Today’s loser plays South Korea the same day.  Final round is scheduled for Saturday.

Minor League Notes
RHP Carlos Carrasco had a rough outing at Lehigh Valley last night, taking the loss in a 10-1 decision (6 runs, 5 innings) . . . RHP Edgar Garcia, who has struggled at Reading, turned in his best AA outing, 1 run, 4 hits, 6 innings; no decision in 3-2, 10-inning loss . . . RHP Kyle Drabek has been moved from Gulf Coast League to Williamsport.  He underwent Tommy John surgery a year ago and had 4 starts this month at GCL (0-1, 2.25).

Weekly Honors
Two players from Clearwater, LHP Joe Savery and OF Michael Taylor, are the pitcher and player of the week, respectively, in the Phillies minor league system for August 11-17:








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

Nationals Arrive
Washington comes to town having lost 10 in a row. 

We’ve beaten them five in a row. 

They’ve won three games against us, two being shutouts. 

But, games aren’t played on paper or blogs but on the field. 

Beijing Update
Team USA defeated Chinese Taipei, 4-2, this morning to advance to the medal round in the Olympics. C Lou Marson caught the entire game, 1-3 plus a walk.  SS Jason Donald also played 9 innings, 1-2, sacrifice, walk and stolen base. 

Both USA and Japan have 4-2 records and they meet on Wednesday evening, a game that will determine the seeds for the semifinal matchups on Friday.  Cuba and Korea, both undefeated going into their game today, will determine the other seeds in Friday’s semifinals (1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3).

After the semifinal games on Friday, the losers will play on Saturday morning to determine the bronze medal.  Friday’s winners will meet Saturday night for the gold and silver medals.

On Monday, SS Jason Donald was 0-for-2, a walk and two times he was hit-by-pitches in the 9-1 USA win over China.  C Lou Marson did not play.

Comment Corner
Team slump vs. flawed team was a comment posted on Monday. 

Jenn commented on Charlie’s plea for hitting suggestions on her site:

Meanwhile, blogger “We Should Be GMs” has been promoting a very interesting Campaign Cheer for tonight:

Blogs can be interesting.  Others can be very critical.  Ultimately, they give fans the opportunity to speak their mind, essentially creating online communities where people of like minds, or opposing opinions, can talk about issue they care about.  Based on what Champaign Cheer has got going, we know what our fans care about.

Meanwhile, getting back to the flawed team comment. 

My view: the core of this team is pretty much the same since 2005 (when Howard became a regular).  During the three previous seasons, they’ve averaged over 5.19 runs per game.  We led the NL with 862 runs last year, 32 more than the Rockies.  Lowest strikeout total for one season? 1,133 three years ago.

The point: this team has produced runs while striking out.  Power hitters will strike out, no dispute there.   

I again go back to the June 13 20-2 romp in St. Louis.  For some reason, that Friday the 13th game has been an unlucky one.

June 13–Since
W-L   41-28–25-28
Batting average  .265–.235
Runs   373–222
Runs per game  5.4–4.0
Home runs  99–67
RBI   357–214
On-base percentage .343–.313

For August, the numbers don’t get any better:
Win-loss  6-9
Average   .202
Runs   49
Runs per game  3.0
Home runs  14
RBI   47
OBP   .303

Is the team flawed? Yes, there are some holes.  Don’t know of any team that doesn’t have holes.

Is the team in an offensive slump?  To me, history says so.

Do teams and players have off-seasons?  Yes, it has been that way for decades.

Is the season a lost cause?  Heck, no.


Cheers for Pirates

Thank You Pittsburgh
Our western Pennsylvania friends knocked off the Mets this afternoon so now we trail NY by 1.5 games, one game in the loss column.

Last Night
Cole and Brad were outstanding and the offense produced a couple of runs that produced an ESPN national telecast win last night in San Diego.

Cole was a perfect example of what throwing strikes can produce (OK, OK, I overused that word).  Of the 97 pitches he threw in eight innings, 73 were strikes.  Lidge: 11 of 19 pitches were strikes.

We won two games in San Diego and on the trip, 1-0 and 2-1.  A 2-5 trip isn’t want we wanted.  It could have been better, but on the other side of the coin, it could have been worse.

Last night’s win certainly made the charter flight home much more pleasant.  By switching to a night game for ESPN, it meant a much later departure from San Diego.  The team charter touched down in Philly at 6 this morning to rising sunshine.

Last time we had a poorer west coast trip was May of 1989 (also May in 1988), a 1-8 journey through LA, SF, SD each season. That’s 1989, B.B.  (Before Bloggers).

ESPN Record
We’re now 3-0 on Sunday night ESPN telecasts.  That’s good news.

And, we’re back on ESPN this Sunday night (Dodgers at home).  Yes, change your Phillies calendar from a 1:35 p.m. game to 8:05 p.m.

ESPN can change one more Phillies Sunday game and September 7 at Shea Stadium is being eyed. 

Any ideas?
Offense has been struggling, quite evident with 6 hits in each of the three games in San Diego.

“I stay up at night thinking about how I can get our offense going and clicking again like it was.  I’m puzzled by it.  I’m open to suggestions and I’ll listen to what anybody has to say.  Fans, cabdrivers or President Bush or anybody,” Charlie Manuel said in Ken Mandel’s story on this site.

Minor League Notes
RHP Kris Benson gave up 5 runs (4 earned) in 5.1 innings last night at Lehigh Valley. It was the first time he’s allowed more than three earned runs over his previous five starts . . . 3B Pedro Feliz was 0-3 plus a walk in a rehab start at Clearwater.  He’ll play there again tonight and hopefully rejoin the Phillies on Wednesday.

Deepest Sympathy
Our prayers and thoughts are extended to the family of Darrin Winston, a left-handed pitcher who pitched for us in 1997 and 1998.  The 42-year-old died on Saturday in Freehold, NJ, from leukemia.  He is survived by his wife and six children.