September 2010

Step No. 1

Doc started it and ended it. 

The ace right-hander won his first game with the Phillies in the first game of the season, April 5, in Nationals Park.

175 days later in the same park, he won his 21st game as the Phillies clinched their 10th NL East title and their fourth in a row.  After being 7 games out in late July, Holladay and the Phillies battled back and ended it last night.

He was masterful in pitching a 2-hitter last night, throwing only 97 pitches.  He gave up a run in the very first inning of the season opener and then didn’t allow the Nationals another run in three more starts.  14 of his wins have been against the NL East, which is a big reason why the Phillies are the beasts of the east.

After 12 years, Doc finally tasted the champagne in the Phillies clubhouse.  Two other veterans, catcher Brian Schneider and first baseman Mike Sweeney, were doing the same thing also for the first time. Combined, the trio has 40 big league seasons, 2,767 games..  They were soaking it up…literally.

Winning the division is just step 1.  Three more steps to go. 

Visiting Military Patients
A bunch of Phillies will be visiting military patients today proving once again the quality of individuals who wear the uniform.

This Date
In 1919, the Giants beat the Phillies in New York, 6-1, in a game that lasted 51 minutes, still a major league record. 

On to DC

Doc, in his 12 years in the majors, had never pitched in a postseason game.  He came to Philadelphia in a big trade last winter with the hope that string would end.  It is fitting that he takes the mound tonight with the Phillies needing one more win to claim the NL East Division crown for the fourth straight year.

Everybody, Charlie, the players and fans, wanted another celebration on the Citizens Bank Park field on Sunday but the Mets spoiled the plans.  For some reason, the Mets have Hamels’ number.  He struggled with his command and the offense couldn’t come through with a clutch hit (1-for-13 with runners in scoring position).

So, the team boarded an AMTRAK charter train after the game and headed south to Washington, DC.  The equipment truck, normally loaded with personal suite cases as well as all the necessary game equipment and medical supplies, had some extra baggage: cartons of champagne.

Clinching History
Any clinching will have to take place on the road.  We’ve been spoiled because each of the last three seasons, the clinching celebration happened at Citizens Bank Park.

Winning the division title will be the 10th for the Phillies since the NL went to divisional play 41 years ago.  The clinching for the first six all came on the road: twice each in Montreal, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

The Washington Nationals came about when the Expos moved out of Montreal.  Four times, the Phillies have clinched against the Expos/Nationals–1976 and 1980 in Montreal and 2007 and 2008 against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

Late during Sunday’s broadcast when it was obvious the big moment shifted from Citizens Bank Park to Nationals Park, broadcaster Scott Franzke said, “The ticket office at Nationals Park will have a spike in business.” 

I-95 and AMTRAK will also be busy as Phillies faithful flock to DC. 

Record Attendance
Thanks to the passion of Phillies fans for a sold-out season at Citizens Bank Park.  Attendance records were smashed this season, both total and average pre game. 81 sellouts pushed the streak to 123 straight.

The Phillies ranked #1 in attendance in the NL. 




Final Home Games…for Now

Hard to believe that the final three home games of the regular season are here.  For years, it was a sad occasion.  For the fourth straight year, it means more baseball for Phillies fans.  Hey, not saying the Phillies are there yet in 2010 but it is close.

Night, night, day with the Mets and then it is on to Washington, DC, for three and Atlanta for three.

Rally towels are back this weekend: Hatfield Quality Meats is Friday’s sponsor; Winner Ford, Saturday and Auto on Sunday.

Home Sweet Home
Phillies are 51-27 at home, the ninth time in franchise history they have reached or topped 50 wins.  Last time was 1993: 52-29. 

Of their last 46 home games, Phillies have won 35.

Club record for most wins at home is safe: 60-21 by the 1977 Phillies.

Final Count
A couple of weeks ago, I reported the final dollar dog number.  That was premature because there was one more such night….last Monday.

So, let the record show that 358,538 were consumed on six Hatfield dollar hot dog night, up from 324,767 a year ago. 

New Fan Service
For the first time in a big league ballpark, fans can order food from a limited menu and have it delivered to their seats.  This joint venture between MLBAM, ARAMARK and the Phillies will begin Friday night and run through Sunday.

Fans can order through their iPhone or iPod Touch and it will be brought to them in their seats. 

If you order a cheesesteeak will the receipt say iCheesesteak?

Ever Wonder?
Surely you’ve noticed when a catchers goes to the mound to talk to his pitcher, both hold their gloves over their faces.  Ever wonder why?

(A) They are giggling and don’t want anyone to see it.
(B) They don’t want the enemy to read their lips.
(C) They have bad breath.
(D) They are really talking about postgame dinner plans.
(E) Both are hard of hearing and are actually shouting.
(F) They are saying, “What are we going to do now?”



Sweep By Stingy Pitching

Stingy pitching, solid defense and timely hitting added up to a three-game sweep of the Braves, putting the Phillies closer to a fourth straight division title.  The sweep was the first for the Phillies against the Braves since 2001 when they also took a three-game series.  That was at the Vet.

Roy-O continued his brilliant mound work last night as the Phillies won their sixth 1-0 game of the season. 

Numbers for the big three starters in the series:
22 innings
14 hits
4 runs, all earned
4 walks
17 strikeouts
319 pitches
212 strikes

The bullpen (Madson and Lidge were the only relievers needed)
5 innings
2 hits
0 runs
1 walk
4 strikes

How good was the pitching?  Well the Braves were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.  That’s not one game but a three-game total. 

Elias Sports Bureau
**The combined 1-hitter (Roy-O- Madson, Brad) last night was the first time since 1954 the Phillies held the Braves to one hit (or no hits).  On April 29, 1954, Robin Roberts 1-hit the Braves in Milwaukee.

**The Phillies have won each of Roy-O’s last 10 starts, their longest winning streak behind any starting pitcher since 1993, when they won 11 in a row behind Tommy Greene.

**Last night was the 33rd time the Phillies have been held to one run or less this season. What is more amazing, the Phillies have 92 wins.

**Phillies are 28-15 in one-run decisions, 18-5 at Citizens Bank Park. 

Final Series
Last three home games of the regular series starts Friday night with the Mets in town.

ComcastSportsNet set a new record for ratings on Monday night (14.0), broke that mark Tuesday night (15.0) and then broke it again Wednesday night (15.2).  All this despite a quarterback controversy!


20 For Doc

Doc did it.  First 20-game winner since Steve Carlton in 1982 and the first right-hander for the Phillies since Robin Roberts in 1955.  If Robin were still with us, he would be calling Halladay today to congratulate him.

In Phillies history, Doc is the 27th different pitcher to win 20 games. It is the third time Doc has done that in his career.

He certainly has feasted on the east, going 13-1 in this division.  Last pitcher to do that was the Pirates’ Jim Bibby in 1980.

Elias Sports Bureau: Halladay won 20 games in his first year with the Phillies. In the last 63 years, the only other pitchers to win 20 or more games in their 1st season in the N.L. were Al Downing with the Dodgers in 1971 (20 wins) and Danny Jackson for the Reds in 1988 (23 wins).

The offense was led by Jayson’s 3-run homer.  In another interesting note from Elias:  The Phillies knocked out Atlanta starter Mike Minor the 3rd inning last night. It was the 7th straight Phillies game in which the opposition’s starting pitcher failed to last 5 innings, tying the major-league for record consecutive early KOs of starters set by the New York Giants in July 1949 and matched by the Phillies in September 2006.

The ninth straight win boosted the Phillies September record to 17-3, the fourth straight season in which the Phillies have won that many games this month.  They’ll top that or we will be in big do-do.

Roy-O, riding a 7-game winning streak, is on the mound tonight as the Phillies attempt a sweep.  Strangely, he is 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA lifetime against the Braves.

Final Game
Bobby Cox will be taking the Braves’ lineup card to home plate tonight in his final regular season game in Philadelphia. 

He’s retiring at the end of this baseball season after managing for 29 years in the majors, the last 25 with the Braves.  Only Connie Mack, John McGraw and Tony LaRussa have won more games as managers which means his next stop will be the Baseball Hall of Fame.

When Bobby goes to home plate, the Phillies will recognize his brilliant career and present a gift to him.  He’s been a terrific credit to the game.


Lights Out Cole

Last night had the feel of October baseball… lined up early in the afternoon for standing room tickets, the weather was cool, two teams battling for something, a sold- out park, rally towels, more baseball scouts than normal and a full press box.

Only thing, it is still September and while the stakes are high, they aren’t has high as next month. 

Cole was brilliant, lights out.  Now 5-0 in last 5 starts with a 0.49 ERA.  That’s filthy.  Last Phillies pitcher to have a similar 5-game streak was Lefty Steve Carlton in 1972.
Brad was ditto lights out.  Cole and Brad looked like vintage 2008.

The offense mustered three runs, two being unearned.  Ruiz drove in the first run with a double.  A fan held up a sign CHOOCH CHOOCH TRAIN.  Fans are certainly creative in expressing their Phillies passion.

Speaking of scouts, the Reds, Rockies, Yankees, Twins and Padres had scouts at the game, looking at both the Phillies and the Braves.

The Phillies have begun scouting potential postseason enemies:
**Reds: Charley Kerfeld and Billy Moore.
**Giants: Jim Fregosi Jr. and Dave Hollins.
**Padres: Jon Mercurio and Gene Schall.
**Rockies: Danny Wright and Del Unser.
**Yankees: Howie Freiling.
**Twins: Gordon Lakey.
**Rangers: Sonny Bowers.
**Rays: Chuck LaMar.

Assignments will change as teams are eliminated and the postseason begins.

Craig Colbert, who is the Phillies advance scout all season, is wrapping up his schedule. 
When the time is right, Ruben and Charlie will meet with all the scouts.

Long Time Coming
Doc goes for his 20th win tonight.  Last Phillies 20-game winner was Steve Carlton, 1982 (23-11).  Last Phillies RHP, Robin Roberts, 1955 (23-14).

90 Wins
Phillies are the first NL team to reach 90 wins.  It is the third straight year which matches the club record of 1976-77-78 (101-101-90).


Rally Towels Are Back

The come-from-behind 12-11 win over the Rockies in a one-game stop in Denver on September 2 seemed like the pivotal game that could propel the Phillies to another postseason.

Well, that lasted 16 days until yesterday’s four-batter, four-hit, four-run ninth inning that was capped by Jayson’s walk-off homer.
Elias Sports Bureau:  Werth’s walk-off homer was the fourth time this season that the Phillies won a game in which they trailed by at least three runs in the ninth inning or later, the most such victories for any major-league team in one season since the 1979 Indians (also four). Philadelphia tied its single-season record for wins of that kind, set more than 100 years ago, in 1893.

Now, the Braves come to town for three trailing by three, instead two. 12 games left in the regular season, six against Atlanta.

The Phillies have their three aces set to start this series.  Combined since August 1, Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt are 18-5 with 2.27 ERA. In September? How about 10-0.

Once gain, games aren’t played on paper but on the field.  And, the Phillies mode of thinking remains one game at a time.

Rally towels are back for the final six home games of the regular season.  Thanks to Coca-Cola, tonight’s sponsor; Citizens Bank, Tuesday and Pennsylvania Auto Theft Authority, Wednesday night.

National TV
MLB will carry tonight’s game (blacked out locally).

ESPN will pick up Wednesday night’s game (blacked out locally).

Go to the Lakewood BlueClaws who repeated as South Atlantic League champions on Saturday.  Team was loaded with young talent that will be fun to watch as they move up the development ladder.  Mark Parent, in his first year with the Phillies organization, managed the championship club.

The Phillies also won the championship in the Gulf Coast League under manager Roly deArmas.


Madson A Workorse Reliever

Roy-O is on the mound to begin the homestand tonight.  His first game with the Phillies (July 30) was a loss in Washington, DC.  Since then, he is 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA in nine starts. 

By pitching tonight, rather than Saturday, he’ll face the Braves next Wednesday.

Washington is no pushover.  They’re fresh from taking two of three in Atlanta where the Braves have the best home record in the NL.

Ironman Reliever
Since August 1, Ryan Madson has pitched in 28 of 43 games, 2-1 with 1 save.  Perhaps that broken toe early in the season was a blessing in disguise.  He was on the DL for a long time (April 30-July 7) so he was fresh and strong when he returned.

15-4, Phillies record since losing four in a row at home to the Astros in late August.  Perhaps that series was a wake-up call.

12-3, Phillies record this month, best in MLB.

33-24, Phillies record against the NL East, including 18 wins in the last 23 games.  Remaining 15 games are against the East.

Wet Night
Lakewood was rained out last night.  So, they meet Greenville in Game 3 tonight at home.  Best-of-5 series is tied, 1-1.

Game 4 will be Saturday at 4:05 p.m.  If Game 5 is necessary, it will start 45 minutes after Game 4 is over.

Tickets are available at

Happy Birthday
Old friend Bobby Wine, who is 72 today.  I’m six days older but he looks much older.

Tomorrow: C Don McCormack (55), RHP Roger Mason (52) and Ryne Sandberg (51).  Mason called and will be coming to next Friday’s game with the Mets along with his family.

Sad News
Wayne Twitchell, an All-Star pitcher with the Phillies in 1973, died yesterday from cancer.  He was 62.

When asked about his favorite memories while playing with the Phillies, “Twitch” had listed the “Division Championship 1976. Ballpark, fans, teammates, front office, representing the Phillies in the 1973 All-Star Game.”

Condolences to his wife, Barbara, and their sons, Matthew and Patrick.

Back Home Friday Night

Travel itinerary estimated the arrival from Miami to be 3 a.m. today.   Probably a bunch of bleary-eyed players got off the Delta charter but today’s a day off so there’s plenty of time for some rest.

Doc became the league’s first 19-game winner as he beat the Marlins for the fourth time. He struck out nine and did not issue a walk over his six innings. It’s the fourth game this season in which he struck out at least nine batters and did not give up a walk, the highest such total for any pitcher in the major leagues. His control is amazing.

Offense had a strange series against the Marlins scoring 11, 2 and 10 runs in the three games.  But, the bottom line, all three games were wins.  Starting pitching has been phenomenal.

So it is back home for nine sold-out games then the final six on the road.  Edge appears to be on the Phillies side. But as Charlie has preached, one game at a time.  Not too giddy when things are going good and not too low when things aren’t.

Tomorrow night’s game with the Nationals will be aired in the Braves’ and Mets’ markets by the MLB Network.  ESPN will carry next Wednesday night’s game with the Braves.

LC Signing
Larry Christenson will be signing autographs tomorrow night (5:15-6:00) at Mitchell & Ness’ Alley Store in Ashburn Alley.

Happy Birthday
Phillies Alumni who are celebrating today include RHP Rogers McKee (84), C Mark Parent (49) and SS Desi Relaford (37).

Thanks for the birthday wishes.  Didn’t mention it because birthdays shouldn’t be counted when you reach a certain age.  But, let the record show, I’m 2.  You fill in the rest.

Series Resumes
The Greenville Drive and Lakewood BlueClaws resume their best-of-5 South Atlantic League Championship Series tonight at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, 7:05.  Series is tied, 1-1.  Game 4 is tomorrow night at Lakewood as is Game 5 on Saturday, if that game is necessary.

20-year-old RHP Brody Colvin will start tonight.  He was 6-8 with a 3.38 ERA for the season.  After May 12, 4-3 with a 2.00 ERA.  He was a 7th-round pick in 2009 and was on campus at LSU when he decided to sign with the Phillies at the deadline last August.


Cole Gem

What a performance by Cole.  Didn’t have his sharp control but he battled.  Consecutive scoreless innings streak ended at 25 when the Marlins scored in the first inning.  As many great pitchers will do, the door was then closed.

He lasted 6.2 innings, throwing 127 pitches.  Durban, Madson and Lidge completed the gem with 2.1 scoreless innings.

Cole’s 13 strikeouts were two short of his career best, April 21, 2007, at Cincinnati.  Phillies record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game by a lefty is 16, Steve Carlton, June 9, 1982.

From Elias Sports Bureau: Cole is 4-0 and has allowed only one run in 28.2 innings over his last four starts.  Last Phillies pitcher to have a four-start span like that was Randy Wolfe in 2002, 4-0, one run in 35 innings.

Offense stranded 12 base runners but the pitching gave the Phillies another win.  Pitching and defense can win a lot of games.

Shane had two of the Phillies five hits and scored both runs.  He’s hitting .386 this month with 14 runs scored and seven steals. 

With the win, the Phillies have won another series.

Series Finale
Doc is back on the mound tonight where he made history back on May 29 when he threw a perfect game at the Marlins. He struck out 11. His record then was 7-3.

In his next visit to Sun Life Stadium (August 3), he won again, 6-1, the run coming in the second inning on a Dan Uggla home run.  In seven innings, he allowed five hits.  His record then was 13-8.

Jim Bunning is the other Phillie to throw a perfect game, June 21, 1964, against the Mets at Shea Stadium, first game of a Sunday doubleheader. He struck out 10. His record then was 7-2.

In his next appearance at Shea Stadium (August 14), he won, 6-1, allowing five hits in nine innings in the first game of a Friday twi-night doubleheader.  The run came in the fifth inning.  His record then was 13-4.

Here’s a little tid-bit: Rick Wise was the winner in the second game on June 21.  He was the winner again in the second game on August 14.  It marked the third time Bunning and Wise had defeated the Mets in a double-header that season.

Lakewood Evens Series
In a game that included a brawl and four player ejections, the BlueClaws defeated the Drive in Greenville, SC, last night, 6-1, to even the championship series at 1-1.

Today is a travel day….a long bus ride of 700 miles.

Next game is Thursday night in Lakewood.  Tickets are available.