June 2010

Got To Hang Around

Big win last night, especially after coughing it up in the ninth.   This team is resilient and they will need to continue that way with Chase and Polly now on the DL.

Gosh, the starting second baseman, third baseman, catcher, a starting pitcher and a two key bullpen pieces are all on the DL. That’s pretty heavy.  Guess we’ll just have to hang around like possums and monkeys until the DL is clear.

Valdez certainly has stepped up from being a non-roster spring training invitee.  Had one homer in 342 major league at bats before this season.  The guy’s played in 20 different cities in the states plus the Dominican, Korea and Japan. That’s a lot of different uniforms.  He, too, can be called resilient.

Last season, he was in the Mets’ minor league system until Reyes was sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury.  This season, he’s been a fill-in for J-Roll and now for Chase.

After today’s game, the Phillies head for four games with the Pirates in Pittsburgh. It is a very easy road trip, as far as a lifestyle.  No middle of the morning arrivals. They got to Cincinnati on Sunday night at 7:45 p.m., are scheduled to land in Pittsburgh at 7 this evening and be back home at 7:30 on Sunday night.

On to Anaheim
Congrats to Marci Schankweiler – founder of Crossing the Finish Line which provides respite for adult cancer patients and their families – for being selected as the “Phillies All-Star Among Us!” Marci will be honored at the 2010 All-Star Game on FOX and featured in special pre-game ceremony on July 13th at Angels Stadium. More than 1.7 million votes were cast.

We know Charlie will be heading for Anaheim but we don’t know which or how many Phillies will be with him on a Sunday night flight, July 11. 

Don’t forget: Phillies All-Star voting ends Thursday, July 1! Phillies.com.



Hot Minor League Hitters

Offense had some early chances to get on the scoreboard last night in Cincinnati but couldn’t.  Kyle retired the first 10 Reds but then they came through in the clutch to post a win in the opener of a three-game series.

Rolen put the Reds on the board with his 300th homer.  According to Elias Sports Bureau, among some of the other players who also hit century-milestone home runs of 300 or higher against the team for which they made their major-league debut are Babe Ruth (300th vs. the Red Sox), Jimmie Foxx (500th vs. the Athletics) and Barry Bonds (600th vs. the Pirates).

Chase left the game with a thumb injury.  Keeping our fingers crossed that isn’t a serious injury. Todd Zolecki will have an update on phillies.com later today.

Minor League Notes
A pair of Phillies minor leaguers are making news, 2B Harold Garcia of the Clearwater Threshers and 1B-DH Matt Rizzotti of the Reading Phillies.

Garcia had an RBI triple in the fourth inning last night against Dunedin to stretch his hitting streak to a club-record 31 games.  OF Quintin Berry set the Clearwater record at 30 games in 2008. 

The 23-year-old switch-hitter from Venezuela began the season on the DL before being activated on May 16.  He’s played 39 games with the Threshers and has been hitless in just two.  For the season, he’s hitting .340.

Rizzotti is the Eastern League Player of the Week and the MiLB.com EL Player of the Week after hitting .696, yes .696, last week.  Among his 13 hits were two doubles, and one home run. He began the season in Clearwater and was promoted on May 13.  Combined, he’s hitting .373 with 11 homers and 44 RBI.

The 24-year-old was drafted in the 6th round in 2007 out of Manhattan (NY) College.  He was our minor league player of month in May.

Talk Time
Will be speaking at 11 a.m. tomorrow to a group in the Senior Center at the Central Branch of the Free Library, 1901 Vine Street, in Philadelphia.  Dick Levinson is the host.
For more information, call 215-686-5331.

Dick recently sent an e-mail: “Please join us in Room # 108 for a morning of fun, food and special prizes.  If you’ve ever wanted to be a Phillies Insider, this is your moment!”  I believe I’m in charge of the fun and special prizes but not the food.  I certainly hope so.



Jamie Questions

After playing three road games at home, the Phillies left for a seven-game road trip after Sunday’s game.  Double-talk?  No, in case you missed it, the Blue Jays games were switched to Citizens Bank Park over the weekend because of the G20 Summit in Toronto. 

When Phillies players came to the park yesterday morning, they dropped their personal luggage at the entrance to the parking plaza, a routine for all road trips.  Then, after the game, the players’ game gear is loaded on the same truck that takes it to the airport and a Delta charter flight to Cincinnati.

While the schedule had the Phillies in Toronto, they got to spend three more days at home, winning two, which is the most important item.

Questions on Jamie
#1, at 9-6, is he an All-Star pitcher? 

He was selected to the A. L. team in 2003, the lone year in which he has been an All-Star.  Charlie is managing the N. L. team again and could select Jamie, who really deserves to go on his own merit.

#2, is he a Hall of Famer?

He just passed Bob Feller and Eppa Rixey in career wins and they are both in Cooperstown.  Next on the list is Jim Palmer and he’s a Hall of Famer.

4,000 innings, more than 100 wins after 40 years of age, the oldest pitcher to hurl a complete game shutout…that’s Hall of Fame stuff.

**Former Phillie Cookie Rojas, now a Spanish broadcaster for Marlins home games, will manage the World Team in the July 11 XM All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

**Lehigh Valley pitching coach Rod Nichols will be the pitching coach for the U. S. Team that includes OF Domonic Brown and RHP Jarred Cosart.  Game will be on ESPN at 6 p.m. (EDT).

Strange Weekend

This is going to be a strange weekend at Citizens Bank Park.  It is our home but we will be the visiting team, batting first and wearing road uniforms.  Plus, the DH will be used.

Because we are the visiting team doesn’t mean we have switched clubhouses or dugouts or that the team is housed in a hotel for a couple of nights.  But, with the Blue Jays being the home team, they get to take BP first.

The Phillies have had 77 consecutive sellouts.  But, that streak will not be broken since it is considered a road series.  Toronto’s average attendance is around 17,500, 13th in the A.L.  So, their average attendance will take a boost.  There are still some tickets available. 

Also strange: we’re 7-5 in games played in Toronto’s Rogers Centre.  So, those numbers will change even though we’re not there.

The Blue Jays are last in the A. L. in hitting and first in the most strikeouts.  But, they lead the majors by a big margin with 111 home runs.

Should be a fun weekend.

Historically, we’ve straggled in interleague play.  With three games left, we are 8-7.  We’ve only had a winning record in interleague play four times (11-7, 1999; 10-8, 2002; 8-7, 2003 and 2007).

June hasn’t been a friendly month.  We’re now at 10-10, although it seems as if we’ve lost more games this month than 10.  Last year we were 11-15.  Eight games are left this month.

An e-mail note from reader Dennis Orlandini:  Dane Sardinha deserves a special mention in your Phillies Insider column. He homered in his first game as a Phillie (6/24), but that was also his first career major league home run. It comes after 84 at bats and 92 plate appearances spread out over five major league seasons. It’s always good to see a guy who doesn’t quit, but perseveres instead, who gets rewarded.

Dennis, you are right.  That was a neat moment.

Enjoy summer’s first weekend!

A first for J-Roll

He’s in the Phillies record book for most career lead-off home runs.  No, not Lenny Dykstra or Juan Samuel or Richie Ashburn, but J-Roll.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, last night was the first time Rollins has hit a walk-off home run in his career. Entering Wednesday’s action, Rollins’ 148 home runs were the second most among active players who had never hit a game-ending home run during the regular season, behind Mark Teixeira (254). (Teixeira did hit a walk-off home run during the 2009 playoffs).

Chance for a sweep this afternoon and then the Blue Jays come to town.  Yep, the schedule says the Phillies are in Toronto but the series was moved to Citizens Bank Park.  Tickets are still available for all three games.  More about this series tomorrow.

Then, the Phillies head for Cincinnati after Sunday’s game for three games with the Reds before a four-game series in Pittsburgh.

Minor League Notes
**Reading OF Domonic Brown and Lakewood RHP Jarred Cosart have been selected to play for the U. S. team in the annual Futures Game in Angel Stadium of Anaheim during the MLB All-Star Game festivities.  ESPN will televise that game. 

**Clearwater 2B Harold Garcia extended his hitting streak to 27 straight games last night.

Alumni Note
Rick Wise, who is the only pitcher in baseball history to hit two home runs while pitching a no-hitter, will be at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.  His gem came on June 23, 1971, at Cincinnati, a 4-0 no-hitter.  A sixth-inning walk to Dave Concepcion kept Rick from a perfect game.  He threw 95 pitches (59 fastballs and 36 breaking balls).

His homers came in the fifth (1 on) and eighth innings (solo).

He’ll be signing autographs at the Alley Store from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.and appearing live on Scott Palmer’s pre-game Behind the Pinstripes Show.

Jamie joins Robbie

Jamie had quite a night last night as the Phillies eked out a 2-1 interleague win over the Indians.  He tied Bob Feller, Eppa Rixey and Robin Roberts, three Hall of Famer pitchers.

The win was #266 and that tied Feller and Rixey for 35th place on the all-time list.
(Rixey pitched for the Phillies 1912-17; 1919-20).

He allowed a home run to Russell Branyan and that tied Roberts’ record for most homers allowed, 505.  Robbie had been the sole leader since Aug. 9, 1957, when he allowed his 278th home run (to Hank Sauer), surpassing Murray Dickson. (Dickson, a right-handed knuckleballer, also pitched for the Phillies, 1954-56).

Remember talking with Robbie about his home run record a year ago as Moyer inched closer.  “I don’t mind if he breaks it,” Robbie said smiling.  “I just hope he wins the game.”

When Roberts was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he made reference to his home run record during his speech:

 “The Hall of Fame people, I’d like to say, were very nice.  I only had one request that they turned down: I asked if it would be appropriate if I would invite everyone that ever hit a home run off me to be here today, but Cooperstown wasn’t big enough.  I am going to have little cards made up that say, ‘I hit a home run off Robbie’ and mail them to all those gentlemen, because I’m sure they’d like to have it in their wallets.  There were a lot of them, by the way.”

Now, for a sales pitch….you can read all of Robbie’s induction comments in the new book, Philadelphia Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition.  HOF speeches from Carlton, Schmidt, Ashburn and Bunning are also included in Chapter 6.

Jamie may have tied Robbie but he has no shot at the record for most home runs allowed in each league.  Warren Spahn (434) has the NL record; Frank Tanana (422), the AL record.  Both were lefties, by the way.

Darren a Wall of Famer

Guess you’ve heard by now that Darren (Dutch) Daulton is the 2010 inductee into the Phillies Wall of Fame.  He’s the 32nd player to receive such an honor but only the second catcher.  The other catcher? Bob Boone, inducted in 2005. 

Darren came to the Phillies as the 25th round selection 30 years ago.  He was a skinny kid, listed on the scouting reports at 150 pounds.

Guess you could say, he was born and raised a Phillie.  He wore a Phillies uniform for 14 seasons, one of nine to wear it that long. Now, he’ll be forever remembered as one of the best to wear this uniform.

Dutch was a three-sport star in high school in Arkansas City, KN: football, baseball and wrestling.  As the quarterback, he led his team to the 5-A state championship in 1979.  He was the cleanup hitter on the championship baseball team.  A four-year wrestler, he was runner-up in the state championship (142-pound class) in his senior year. 

He demonstrated early that he was a leader, a quality he carried as a Phillies player.  Not many players earned the respect on the field and in the clubhouse as did Darren.

The guy was a tough competitor.  He had nine knee surgeries, a fractured right clavicle, a broken right hand and an incomplete tear of his left rotator cuff.  He battled though every injury.  Disabled list? How about eight times.

As a catcher and the recognized leader, Darren was always in demand by the media post-game.  He had a routine that came first, however, ice treatment for his knees.  He’d lie on the trainer’s table with both knees wrapped in ice.  “Hey, Baron, let them (media) know I’ve got 8 more minutes and I’ll be out,” he often informed me.

The amateur baseball draft isn’t an exact science.  Some tools are easily measured.  Some, such as heart and leadership, aren’t as evident.

We drafted three other catchers the year we took Darren in the 25th round:  #1 Lebo Powell; #3, Doug Maggio and #10, Jerome Kovar, the only college player (SMU) among the four. 

Darren developed into a Wall of Famer.  The others never made it to the big leagues and have disappeared. 


Tribe Next

Say hello to summer and good-bye to spring.  Six more games and we say good-bye to interleague play. 

Twins won last two over the weekend to take the series, 3-2.  Contrasting losses for the Phillies.

The offense was alive Saturday but the bullpen imploded.  Last time the Phillies led by five or more runs in the ninth inning at home and lost was April 20, 1961.  The Milwaukee Braves scored five in the top of the ninth to tie and won 7-6 in 11 at Connie Mack Stadium.

Sunday, the offense was limp again and Doc lost as he gave up four runs.  In Doc’s six losses, the Phillies have scored a total of nine runs.

Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is another day, another game as the Indians stampede into Citizens Bank Park for three games.  Limited tickets are available for Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Then, this weekend, the Blue Jays visit Philly to end interleague play.  Remember, the games were originally scheduled for Toronto and moved to Philly.  The Phillies will play at home but be the visiting team.  More on that later this week.

Manager Mark Parent and his Lakewood BlueClaws clinched the South Atlantic League North Division first-half title with a 6-3 win yesterday.

The BlueClaws were 4.5 games out on May 30 but went on a 16-5 run to end the first half.

Remember this name: Jonathan Singleton.  He’s an 18-year-old first baseman who was selected in the eighth round a year ago.  He homered twice and drove in five of the six runs.  He began the season in extended spring training and then was sent to Lakewood.  In 37 games there, he’s hitting .373, nine homers, 41 RBI, 22 walks and 26 strikeouts.  He’ll turn 19 in September.

This will be Lakewood’s third playoff appearance in team history.  The two previous times, 2006 and last season, they wound up winning the league championship. 

MLB Network
Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard will be interviewed by Bob Costas at 8 o’clock tonight.  The show was actually taped a week or so ago.



End of Interleague Play

Well, back home and the final nine games of interleague play for this season: Twins, Indians and Blue Jays.  Remember, the Blue Jays series was switched from Toronto to Philadelphia on June 25-26-27.  Tickets are available for all three games.

Phillies interleague record against the three teams: Twins (3-3), Indians (3-3), Blue Jays (14-16).

Happy Ending
Stomach was kind of turning or churning or whatever after the Phillies lost first two games of the trip in Boston by a combined score of 22-4. 

Trip ended last night on back-to-back wins and a 3-3 record.  Defense, hitting, power, speed and pitching were part of the win, more like the vintage championship Phillies of the last two seasons.

KK was outstanding.  Radio voice Scott Franzke pointed out Kendrick is 23-3 when he pitches six innings.  That’s scary.

Welcome Back
So happy to see Scott Mathieson back in the big leagues.  The odds at making the big leagues are not great.  Those odds are further reduced when a pitcher has one Tommy John surgery.  Scott had two such surgeries which really drove up the odds. He’s worked hard and has made it back. 

Really happy for him, a great kid.

Draft Notes
The draft is over a week old but here are a few left-over notes:

**What do Steve Bedrosian, Bruce Ruffin, Dickie Thon, Benito Santiago and Jamie Moyer have in common?  All have played or are playing for the Phillies and all had sons who were drafted.

**C Chace Numata was the Phillies 14th round selection out of Pearl City, HI.  What sticks out about him is he’s only 17 years old.  Really makes a senior citizen feel more senior.

**Phillies signees were sent to mini-camps, one in Williamsport and one in Clearwater. 

Williamsport Crosscutters open a 76-game New York-Penn League schedule tonight. 

Gulf Coast League Phillies, who play at Carpenter Field, start their 60-game schedule on Monday afternoon in the Florida heat.

Enjoy a summer weekend.


Amazing Jamie

Got to admit Jamie is some kind of a special person and pitcher.  He gets bombed in Boston last week and then shuts down the Yankees last night. 

24 years ago yesterday, Jamie made his big league debut against Carlton (his childhood idol) and the Phillies.

Moyer won the game, 7-5, the last decision for Carlton.  Nine days later, we released Lefty.  Moyer teammates that day included Davey Lopes (0-for-2) and Gary Matthews (2-4).

Start last night was his first in the new Yankee Stadium.  He’s now pitched in 49 different ballparks. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau:
**Shane is the only player in the majors with two bases-loaded triples this year.  And, he’s the only player with a three-base hit and home run with the bases loaded this season.

**Last year, the Phillies hit back-to-back homers 11 times; last night was the first time this season.  Only the White Sox and Indians now haven’t gone deep back-to-back.

Hard to believe
The two homers last night gave the Phillies 56 for the season.  At this time a year ago, we had 91.