April 2010

Familiar Pattern

The pattern last night was a familiar one for this season: starting pitching struggled, bullpen excelled (1 run, 7.1 innings) and the offense put up four crooked-run innings (4, 3, 2, 4).

Kyle just couldn’t locate the strike zone, 29 balls and 23 strikes.  He’s better than that.
Bullpen has been doing a great job but over a long, marathon season, the starters need to go deeper in the game.  Roy and J. A. have been doing it.  Roy’s next start is tomorrow night against the Marlins.  Crowd will be pumped for his Citizens Bank Park debut.

Shane is in the leadoff spot with J-Roll on the DL.  The Flying Hawaiian drove in 5 runs.  According to Elias Sports Bureau, he had only 14 RBI in 44 previous starts atop the batting order.

Chase had a pair of long balls and climbed into the top 5 of multi-home run games in Phillies history:
44 Mike Schmidt
23 Chuck Klein
22 Ryan Howard
20 Dick Allen
18 Pat Burrell and Chase

Two other patterns continued: multiple-hit games for Placido and Ryan and 44th straight regular-season sellout. 

Happy Birthday
LHP Woodie Fryman, who wore a Phillies uniform from 1968-72, turns 70 today.

Phillies History
Six years ago on this date, the Phillies won their first game at Citizens Bank Park, 6-4, over Cincinnati.  WP: Rheal Cormier; SV: Billy Wagner; HRs: David Bell, Mike Lieberthal.

Exciting New Publication
Philadelphia Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition will be coming off the presses in early May.  The 250-page publication (over 400 photos) is a celebration of Phillies history from 1883 through the 2009 World Series. 


Interesting Note

Elias Sports Bureau (Official Major League Baseball Statistician) came up with the following:

” The Phillies, 6-1, have now scored 50 runs through the season’s first seven games; it’s the first time that the Phillies have had 50 runs and six wins through the first seven games of a season since Grover Cleveland was in the White House: the 1896 edition of the Phillies – a team with four Hall-of-Famers (Nap Lajoie, Ed Delahanty, Dan Brouthers and Sam Thompson) in its lineup – started the season with six wins and 66 runs in their first seven games.”

That’s only 114 years ago, a few years before television, radio, the internet, cell phones, airplanes and DVD players.  I’m sure chocolate chip cookies were around.

Anyway, it is an interesting note. 

National League Championship ring ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m.  Will be interesting to see the design.  Would anticipate a little less gaudy than the World Championship ring of a year ago . . . . Jack Robinson Salute is also on the event schedule.  Players on both teams will wear #42.

Tickets are available for tomorrow afternoon and Friday night . . . Interesting pitching matchup tonight at Reading’s Firstenergy Stadium: Kyle Drabek for New Hampshire vs. Reading’s Phillippe Aumont.

Happy Birthday
Peter Edward Rose turns 69 today.

Phillies History
50 years ago today, Eddie Sawyer resigned as Phillies manager after losing the first game, “I’m 49 years old and want to live to be 50.”  34-year-old Gene Mauch took his place.

Exciting New Publication
Philadelphia Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition will be coming off the presses in early May.  The 250-page publication (over 400 photos) is a celebration of Phillies history from 1883 through the 2009 World Series.


Impressive Win


**43rd consecutive regular season sellout crowd (44,791) came yesterday to cheer and cheer they did.

**Cole had one tough inning (3-run 4th) that put the Phillies down 4-0 but he and 4 relievers closed the door the rest of the way.

**Credit the 4 relievers (Chad, Jose, Danys and Ryan) with 3.1 hitless, scoreless innings on 44 total pitches.

**The offense only scored in 2 of 8 innings but the numbers were crooked, 2-run 4th and 5-run 5th.

**Both Placido and Ryan continued their impressive hitting–multiple hits in 6 of 7 games.  “Polly” has 10 RBI on 15 hits; Ryan, 11 RBI on 12 hits.  It is obvious Polly is an effective 2-hole hitter.

**The result: 6th win in 7 to start the season.

TV Change
With the Flyers in the playoffs, tomorrow night’s telecast has been switched from The Comcast Network to WPHL 17.

RH reliever B. J. Rosenberg has been placed on the DL at Reading with a right lat strain . . . Weekly minor league review on this website begins today.

Definitive Publication
Philadelphia Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition
will be coming off the presses in early May.  The 250-page publication (over 400 photos) is a celebration of Phillies history from 1883 through the 2009 World Series.

Tough Day

A year ago today we received the very sad news that we had the lost the voice of the Phillies, Harry Kalas.



Ready for Home Opener

The late Phillies manager Gene Mauch once said, “Exceptional athletes do exceptional things.”

The offense was exceptional through five games which led to four wins.  Then, it took an exceptional pitcher to cap the first road trip with yesterday’s 2-1 win.

The bats were alive in the first five games, getting 10 or more hits, to match a club record.  First time Phillies did that was 1926.

Then, Roy Halladay showed why he’s one of the premier pitchers in the game as he beat another Roy, also a top-notch hurler. 

It was the 150th win for Halladay, one-third being complete games.  Once he made it through the seventh inning yesterday, he retired the last six hitters. He smelled another CG.  Worst throw he made was the one to Polanco on a bunt in the sixth inning.

Halladay’s Citizens Bank Park debut will be Saturday night against the Marlins.  The place will be filled with electricity that night.  But before we get that far ahead, the home opener this afternoon and then three more games.  As Charlie says, we’ve got to play one game at a time.

Home Opener
Yep, the seventh home opener is this afternoon . . . Phillies haven’t done well in the first game at Citizens Bank Park, 1-5, losing last four . . .   Close to 30 fans were in line this morning to buy standing room tickets.  Some showed up at 11 o’clock Sunday night . . . Highlight of the pre-game festivities is the raising of the blue 2009 National League pennant.  Charlie Manuel will have the honor . . . Ballpark was buzzing as early as 7 a.m. with live radio and TV shows; fans in line for tickets and news helicopters buzzing above.  Weather couldn’t be better.

This Date
April 12, 2004: Cincinnati spoiled the inaugural opener at Citizens Bank Park with a 4-1 win over Phillies.  RF Bobby Abreu hit first HR in Phillies new home

 5-1 start is Phillies best since the 1993 wild bunch went 8-1.  Jim Fregosi’s club began the season with a three-game sweep in Houston, lost the home opener and then ran off five more wins at the Vet. . . . Longest undefeated start for a Phillies team is 8-0 by the 1915 NL championship club.


2-0 Start

Offense came through again last night, Cole struggled with his location (63 strikes out of 103 pitches).  Bottom line: Phillies are 2-0 for the first time since 2003.  Last time, 3-0? 2001.

Kyle takes the mound later today and then the Phillies take a Delta charter flight to Houston for a weekend series with the winless Astros.  Don’t like the fact they haven’t won a game. 

When you turn on the TV on Saturday night, you’ll see the Phillies wearing 1965-style uniforms.  The Astros are having a “Turn Back The Clock Night” that night, nearly 45 years after their first game in the Astrodome.

It actually happened on April 12, 1965, and the Phillies won, 2-0, behind LHP Chris Short’s 4-hitter.  3B Dick Allen hit the first regular season homer in the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, a two-run shot over the center field wall in the third inning off Bob Bruce.

History also shows the Phillies won the first game in Minute Maid Park.  That happened on April 7, 2000, when the Park was called Enron Field.  LHP Randy Wolfe was the winner and 3B Scott Rolen hit the first homer.

Home Opener
Team returns home Sunday night and then the home opener on Monday afternoon.

Usual pre-game festivities are set.  Charlie will raise the 2009 National League pennant as part of those festivities. 

It will be goose-bump city!  Can’t wait.



Record for Polanco

Anyone out there know the last time the Phillies had a hitter with 6 RBI on opening day?

Question was posted here yesterday following Polanco’s 6-RBI game on Monday. 

Faithful reader Jenn, author of the Phillies Phollowers blog, came through with an answer….6 RBI on opening day never happened before in Phillies history.  ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark also mentioned it in his game-story.

Now, we have another record to add to the Phillies record book.

Where Are You?
There were 21 players who put on a Phillies uniform a year ago who are no longer with the team:

In the majors: Miguel Cairo (Reds), Pedro Feliz (Astros), Rodrigo Lopez (Diamondbacks), Brett Myers (Astros), Chan Ho Park (Yankees), Matt Stairs (Padres), Jack Taschner (Pirates), Tyler Walker (Nationals), Lou Marson (Indians).

In the minors: Andy Tracy, Eric Bruntlett, Paul Hoover, John Mayberry, Sergio Escalona, Steve Register.

On the DL: Chris Coste (Nationals), Cliff Lee (Mariners), Clay Condrey (Twins).

Out of baseball: Paul Bako, Pedro Martinez, Scott Eyre.

Minor League Notes
Seasons open tomorrow for four Phillies minor league clubs:

**Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Syracuse, 2 p.m.
**Reading Phillies hosting Portland, 7:05 p.m.
**Clearwater Threshers at Dunedin, 7 p.m.
**Lakewood BlueClaws at Asheville, 7:05 p.m.

3B Travis Mattair, a three-year pro, has decided to retire.


Holly and Polly Show

What a great start yesterday in DC. The Holly and Polly Show!

Tom McCarthy said on the broadcast opening day is like a holiday.  For the Phillies it was a Halladay holiday. 

Great pitchers often give up runs early and then close the barn door.  Doc certainly did that yesterday.  Watching on TV, it is quite obvious he is focused.  Facial expression didn’t change until he was taken out of the game.  Lefty Carlton had the same focus.  The day Lefty pitched, you stayed away from him.  His eyes told you so.

Polanco was unbelievable, too.  Six RBI from the two-hole hitter.  He makes contact, goes with pitches and showed he can drive a ball if he gets the right pitch. 

Anyone out there know the last time the Phillies had a hitter with 6 RBI on opening day?


Ryan climbed another notch on the Phillies home run list with his two-run shot that got the Phillies on the scoreboard.  The team all-time leaders in homers:

548 Mike Schmidt
259 Del Ennis
251 Pat Burrell
243 Chuck Klein
223 Greg Luzinski

Crooked Numbers
Phillies scored more than a single run in an inning three times yesterday, 5, 2 and 4-run innings.

11 runs was their biggest opening day total since they beat the Rockies, 12-6, in Denver in 1994.

Club record is 19 runs, opening day 100 years ago, a 19-17 nail-biter in Boston.

Play Ball!

Opening day here, the 128th in Phillies history.

Time to begin a six-month marathon with the goal of playing October baseball again.  Last NL team to win three straight pennants? 1942-43-44 St. Louis Cardinals.  It is a lofty mountain for the Phillies to climb.

All sports have an opening day, but baseball is bigger.  Winter is behind, warm weather in front.  Baseball every day consumes our lives. 

President Obama will throw out the first ball today, the 100th anniversary of a President making that ceremonial first toss.  He’s scheduled to visit the Phillies in their clubhouse.  Last May, the Phillies visited him in his house.

Since the Phillies are opening on the road this year, they will have their second opener at Citizens Bank Park a week from today.  They’ll be excitement this afternoon in DC but nothing compared to next Monday.  Phillies fans will be pumped. 

Team took an early afternoon AMTRAK charter train to DC yesterday.  They worked out in late afternoon.  This morning, the busses are scheduled to leave the hotel at 9:30. Chances are the buses will be mostly empty.  Charlie and his staff and players will be at the park before the busses depart.

Last time the Phillies started the season on the road was 2004, a 2-1 loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh.  Last opening day win: 8-4, the next season against theWashington Nationals.

Opening day hasn’t been that friendly for the Phillies:

**56-69 in club history, plus back-to-back ties, 1923-24. 
**winless in last four.
**Citizens Bank Park season openers, 1-4.
**2-3 on April 5 openers.
**7-5 in decade openers.

Yep, the Phillies are beginning their 13th decade of existence.  The Phillies are the oldest, continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional sports.  Truly, an extraordinary tradition.

Notes:  Happy birthday today to Ross Gload, 34.  Wouldn’t it be something if he celebrated with a game-winning hit . . . Did you see where two Phillies Alumni, Doug Glanville and Curt Schilling, will be part of ESPN TV and ESPN.com? . . . Pedro Martinez threw out the ceremonial first ball for the Red Sox last night against the Yankees.  Does that mean he is retired?  No one knows as he didn’t talk to the media . . . Deepest sympathy to Davey Lopes and his family.  His brother, Michael, died in a fire on Friday night in his Providence, RI, home.