May 2011

Florida Focus

Points of interest for Phillies fans were on the east and west coasts of Florida on Tuesday night.

In Miami
Doc and JJ hooked up in a pitcher’s duel.  Doc came out on the short end.  Uncharacteristically a walk to his opposing pittcher, an error (MLB low 13th) and a wild pitch led to two runs and a 2-1 defeat.  Meanwhile, Ryan’s homer was the lone run for the Phillies, who had more hits (6-5) and runners left (10-5). Phillies couldn’t get the clutch hit, twice leaving the bases loaded.

According to Elias Sports Bureau: The loss snapped Halladay’s streak of 16 consecutive wins in games in which he was staked to a lead, dating back to last July. Halladay has a 25-2 record in 28 starts in which the Phillies gave him a lead.

In Clearwater
Chase was playing his first game on a rehab assignment at Bright House Field on $1 Tuesday Night (berm ticket, hot dogs, ice cream sandwiches, soda and beer a buck each).

He finished the game 1-4 (two ground outs and a strike out) as the Threshers’ DH, the hit a single to center in the eighth inning.  All at-bats came against left-handed pitchers.  The Palm Beach Cardinals, managed by former Phillie infielder Luis Aguayo, won that game, too, 5-1.

Chase was batting third in the lineup, wearing a red Threshers jersey with #29 on the back (no names on the jerseys). In keeping with the dress code for Phillies minor leaguers, his pants were knee high with the full red stirrups showing. He looked different but his mannerisms at the plate left no doubt it was Chase.  He got the loudest cheer from the 2,647 crowd every time he was introduced. 

Earlier in the day, Chooch saw his first action in an extended spring training game at Carpenter Complex.  

This Date in Phillies History
1980—39-year-old Pete Rose stole second, third and home in one inning for the Phillies.  The last National Leaguer to pull off this feat was Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954.

Down On The Farm
RF Domonic Brown extended his AAA hitting streak to 15 games with a double in four at-bats as Lehigh Valley won, 3-1, in Toledo . . . RHS J. C. Ramirez (4-2) dropped his second straight decision, a 4-2 Reading loss at Trenton . . . RHS Jonathan Pettibone (3-2) lost his second straight, allowing only one earned run (two unearned) in 6.2 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.18, in Clearwater’s loss . . . Lakewood lost its second straight in Greensboro, 9-2.

Players of the Week (May 2-8)
Player of the Week: RF Domonic Brown, Lehigh Valley.  Hit .409 in 6 games with 7 runs, 9 hits, 2 homers, 5 RBI and a stolen base. Extended his AAA hitting streak to 13 games (.373), dating back to 2010.  Joined LV on Monday after hitting .368 in 5 games at Clearwater in a rehab assignment.  The 23-year-old was signed by Chip Lawrence after being selected in the 20th round in 2006 out of Redan High School (GA).

Pitcher of the Week: RHS Julio Rodriguez, Clearwater. 2-0 for 2 starts, 13.2 innings, 6 hits, 0 runs, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts.  Extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings. Dating back to Lakewood in 2010, he has won 7 in a row.  Leads the FSL with a 5-0 record and is third with a 1.67 ERA. The 20-year-old was signed by Chip Lawrence after being selected in the 8th round in 2008 out of the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy.  He has a 13-6 record in 3-plus pro seasons.

J-Roll Gets It Started

(This just in…Chase Utley will begin a rehab assignment tonight at Bright House Field as the Clearwater Threshers host the Palm Beach Cardinals, 7 p.m. Tickets are available.), 1:18 p., Tuesday, May 10

Joe shook off the rust in the early innings and then settled in, J-Roll triggered the  offense, Vance was solid in relief and Ryan closed with a save as the Phillies emerged a winner Monday night in Miami.

J-Roll got it started with his 36th career leadoff home run, moving into fifth place on baseball’s all-time list ahead of Bobby Bonds.  The NL record holder is Craig Biggio, 53, according to Elias Sports Bureau.  Since returning to the leadoff spot seven games ago, J-Roll is hitting .357.

Classic Duel
Doc vs. JJ (Josh Johnson) on Tuesday night, the Phillies worst day of the week (1-4).
Both are No. 1 aces, both are Cy Young candidates, both are All-Stars and both can be dominating.

Combining both: 8-2, 1.95 ERA, 14 games started, 101.2 innings, 22 earned runs, 22 walks, 113 strikeouts and two home runs allowed (one each).

18th win for a Phillies starting pitcher, most in the majors . . . 7th straight Phillies win at Sun Life Stadium where they are 18-3 in the last 21 games . . . Phillies continue to lead the majors with the fewest errors, 12 . . . Second to J-Roll on the Phillies all-time list for leadoff homers is Juan Samuel, 14; Jimmy also holds the club record for most in a season, 9, 2007 . . . Phillies turned four double plays and narrowly missed a fifth.

This Date in Phillies History
1959—RHP Jim Hearn allowed two earned runs before the game is suspended with the Pirates leading the Phillies, 6-4.  Hearn was released before the game was completed in July and was charged with the loss.

1967—Braves RF Hank Aaron hit his only inside-the-park home run among his 755, against the Phillies RHP Jim Bunning in the eighth inning.

What Would You Have Done?
What profession or occupation might you have chosen if you didn’t play baseball?  The question has been posed to Phillies Alumni.

“I would probably be in education if I didn’t play baseball,” 2B Mickey Morandini (1990-97; 2000).

Down On The Farm
RF Domonic Brown extended his AAA hitting streak (including 2010) to 14 games and drove in the lone run on a sacrifice fly as Lehigh Valley won, 1-0, in Toledo behind three pitchers.  LHS Ryan Feierabend (1-2) was the winner, 5 scoreless innings . . . Reading was held to 4 hits in losing, 2-0, at Trenton . . . 1B Darin Ruf drove in 3 runs on 2 doubles, C Sebastian Valle had three hits including his 2nd homer as Clearwater improved to 7-1 this month with an 8-5 win in Dunedin.  DH Joe Savery was hitless and fell under .400 for the first time . . . Lakewood lost in 10 innings at Greensboro, 4-3. 3B Geancarla Mendez, double, homer, 3 RBI.

Weekend Review

How do you sum up the weekend?

Well, the Phillies put more players on the DL (2) than wins (1).  Roy-O and Chooch joined Chase, Brad, Jose and Joe on the DL. 

Cliff fanned a career-high 16 on Friday and became the first Phillies pitcher to do that in a loss.  Zero runs, two hits for the Phils . . . Kyle replaced Roy-O in the rotation and threw five scores innings in a shutout win on Saturday, 3-0 . . .  Cole struck out a season-high nine on Sunday night, gave up two homers (had allowed only two in first six starts) and left the game, down 3-1.  Bullpen couldn’t keep it close and the Braves won the rubber match.  Offense had more hits, 12-8 and left on base, 10-5. So, the Phillies scored five runs over three games and won a game.

Now, a three-game series against the second-place Marlins, starting Monday night in Miami.  Phillies are 0-2 on Mondays, 1-4 on Tuesdays and 5-0 on Wednesdays.  Joe returns from the DL to start on Monday night. 

Big matchup Tuesday night, Doc against JJ (Jason Johnson).  If I were a hitter, I would call in sick.

Phillies starters have 17 wins, most in the majors . . . Phillies are 4-7 in the first game of a series, 18-4 after that . . . On the road, Phillies are 9-4, fewest losses in the majors.

Chase Watch
Chase played in his first extended spring training game on Saturday, 5-7 with 2 homers and six innings in the field in Dunedin against the Blue Jays extended crew.

No game was played on Sunday and the team travels to Tampa to play the Yankees on Monday afternoon.

If everything goes right, Chase’s first “home game” will be Tuesday at Carpenter Complex against the same Yankees.  Game time is 1 p.m.

Down On The Farm
RF Domonic Brown extended his AAA hitting streak to 13 games (dating back to 2010) as Lehigh Valley won two of three in Columbus.  Brown was 3-9 with two homers over the weekend . . . Reading completed a three-game sweep in Harrisburg, banging out 43 hits and out-scoring the Senators, 35-16. CF Derrick Mitchell had a pair of homers and six RBI . . . RHP Julio Rodriguez improved to 5-0 on Saturday as Clearwater split a pair of games (not scheduled on Sunday) . . . RHP David Buchanan (4-1) tossed a nine-inning complete game as Lakewood won on Saturday, 5-1.  BlueClaws took two of three in Charleston.

The Beat Goes On

The beat goes on.  Doc improved to 10-0 in his last 10 decisions against the Nationals/Expos while his opponent, John Lannan, fell to 0-10 against the Phillies last night.

Elias Sports Bureau: This was the first matchup of starting pitchers, one on a winning streak of nine or more games against the opposing team and the other on a losing streak of nine-plus games against his opponent, since Sept. 29, 1929, when the Red Sox and Philadelphia Athletics met at Braves Field in Boston. A’s starter Lefty Grove had won his last 13 decisions against the Red Sox and Boston starter Red Ruffing had lost his last 12 decisions against the Athletics. Ruffing and the Red Sox beat Grove and the A’s, 10-0, snapping both streaks.

Raul showed that when you’re hot, you’re hot on the heels of when you’re not, you’re not.  After a frigid 0-35 spell, he’s now 8-11 with three doubles and a pair of homers, including a monster upper deck shot last night.  Once again, Charlie’s patience and confidence in a player has paid off.

Phillies have won eight series, lost two and tied one . . . Polly leads the NL in hits (45).  Last Phillie to lead the league in hits: Dave Cash, 213, in 1975 . . . Phillies are 9-1 against LH starters . . . ESPN Sunday night national telecast (8:05) against the Braves, who open a weekend series at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night . . . Happy birthday to broadcaster and one-time reliever, Larry Andersen, a young 58.

Tougher Schedule
Last night, the Phillies ended 13 games against clubs with losing records (10-3).  It changes starting Friday night as the next 20 games are against contenders, Braves (6), Marlins (3), Cardinals (2), Rockies (2), Rangers (3) and Reds (4).

The Braves come to town as the hottest team in the majors, a five-game winning streak, fresh from sweeping four from the Brewers for the first time ever.  Atlanta is 11th in team batting (.240), first in ERA (2.94) and fourth in fielding percentage (.988).

Sleep Fast
Sunday’s night game will prove once again that to be in baseball, you have to learn to sleep fast. According to the itinerary, the Delta charter is scheduled to leave at 1 a.m. Monday with a 3:15 a.m. arrival in Ft. Lauderdale (Marlins next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights).  Team bus leaves for Sun Life Stadium at 3:15 p.m. on Monday, 12 hours after landing.  That’s if everything goes smoothly, including a fast nine-inning game on Sunday.

Down On The Farm
LF Brandon Moss hit two homers (#3-4), including a slam and drove in a personal and franchise record seven runs as Lehigh Valley opened an eight-game road trip with a 10-3 romp in Columbus. RF Domonic Brown was 3-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base . . . Reading, after a five-game winning streak, lost its fourth in a row, 10-5, to New Hampshire as J. C. Ramirez lost his first (4-1) . . . Clearwater stretched its winning streak to six games, 5-1, in Lakeland.  3B Jeremy Barnes had two hits, boosting his average to .438 in four games since the promotion from Lakewood. RHS Tyler Cloyd (2-1) was the winner, one run in five innings . . . Lakewood opened an eight-game road trip with a 5 -2 triumph in Charleston.  2B Alan Schoenberger, sent to Lakewood when Barnes moved up, had a double and home run in his first game with the BlueClaws.

Rookie Pitching In

Vance, a 23-year-old rookie right-hander with a fan club dubbed “Worley’s Warriors”, has stepped right into the talented starting rotation and hasn’t skipped a beat.  He won his second straight last night, allowing one run in six innings.  That run came in the sixth and ended a scoreless streak of 21 innings, dating back to the end of last season.

Pretty impressive scoreless streak but it pales in comparison to the Phillies record for a rookie, 41.2 innings. Who was that man?  Grover Cleveland Alexander and the year was 1911.

Elias Sports Bureau
Worley is the first Phillies rookie pitcher to win each of his first two starts of a season while pitching at least six innings and allowing one-or-fewer run in each start since Marty Bystrom in 1980.

Phillies record after 30 games a year ago, 18-12 . . . Since his 0-for-35, Raul has gone 5-for-7 in his last two games . . . Phillies are 8-2 with Schneider behind the plate . . . Stairs got his 100th career pinch hit.

This Date In Phillies History
1938 : RHP Hal Kelleher faced 16 batters in the sixth inning as the Cubs scored 12 runs in Chicago. Both marks are N.L. records off one hurler in a single inning. The Cubs won, 21-2. The loss went to Wayne LaMaster, who threw just three pitches to the leadoff hitter before leaving the game with an injury.

After the game, Kelleher was released, ending a four-year career with the Phillies

What Would You Have Done?
What profession or occupation might you have chosen if you didn’t play baseball? The question has been posed to Phillies Alumni.

“I probably would have been a high school basketball coach,” LHP Jim Kaat (1976-79).

Down On The Farm
Wednesday was bus day for both Lehigh Valley (headed for Columbus, OH) and Lakewood (Charleston, SC) . . . Reading was rained out . . . LF Leandro Castro drove in the winning run with a single in the top of the 14th as Clearwater won its fifth straight, 3-2, in Lakeland.  RHS Jonathan Pettibone allowed two first inning runs before he and five others pitched 13 scoreless innings.  RHR Justin Friend posted his 10th save in 10 opportunities.

Note from the BlueClaws blog
J. C. Romero threw one inning at Lakewood on Tuesday in a rehab assignment.  He walked one batter, Cory Vaughn, son of ex-big leaguer Greg Vaughn. “I faced his daddy and I guess I got his daddy out, but I couldn’t get his son,” Romero chuckled. “That’s crazy.”

Cole Does It All

Little did we know Cole’s pinch-hit appearance on Sunday night was just a warm-up for his next start.

Oh, he threw a five-hit, complete game win last night against the Nationals, the fourth straight start a Phillies starting pitcher has gone six innings and allowed no more than one run.  But, the big news was his bat, a career first triple and a single.  It was the first triple by a Phillies pitcher since Cory Lidle in 2006.

Raul broke out of his slump with a pair of doubles which was a good sign.  The revised top of the batting order triggered a 12-hit attack.  But, clutch hitting was still on the slim side as the Phillies stranded 12 runners.

For the Nationals, it was their 1,000th game since the Expos were moved to DC.  Their first game was April 4, 2005, also in Citizens Bank Park.  Their starting pitcher for game #1 and #1,000 was the same, Livan Hernandez.

Jim Eisenreich will be in the Hall of Fame Club pre-game tomorrow night for a Meet & Greet . . . Shane will autograph his new book, The Flyin’ Hawaiian, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Majestic Clubhouse store . . . J-Roll picked up his 99th triple.  Only three players in Phillies history have reached the 100 mark . . . With the Flyers in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Friday night’s Phillies telecast has been moved from Comcast SportsNet to The Comcast Network.

Draft Preparation
Scouting director Marti Wolever and assistant Rob Holliday will meet have regional meetings later this month.  The draft starts on June 6. The “war room” will begin operation in the Draft Room at Citizens Bank Park on May 30.

Down On The Farm
RF Domonic Brown was 1-for-4 as Lehigh Valley edged Buffalo . . . Reading bowed, 7-2, to New Hampshire, only the second time this season they have had consecutive losses . . . RF Brian Gump had a triple and homer to raise his average to .333 as Clearwater won its fourth straight, 3-1, over Lakeland behind RHS Jarred Cosart (3-3), 1 run in 6 innings . . . RF Anthony Hewitt’s 13-game hitting streak ended in a 4-3 Lakewood win over Savannah.

Player of the Week: OF Anthony Hewitt, Lakewood.  Hit .333 in 7 games, leading his club with 10 hits. Included were 3 doubles, 1 triple and 2 homers.  He ended the week riding a 12-game hitting streak that has seen his average rise from .074 to .253.  The 22-year-old was selected by the Phillies in the 1st round (24th overall) in 2008 and signed by Gene Schall. He was a player of the week at Williamsport, July 6-12, 2009

Pitcher of the Week: RHR Justin Friend, Clearwater. Hurled 4 scoreless innings and recorded 2 saves in 2 appearances; 2 hits, 0 walks and 4 strikeouts.  For the season, the 24-year-old has 8 saves in 8 opportunities with a 0.77 ERA.  Opponents are hitting .111.  Selected by the Phillies in the minor league Rule 5 draft last December.  He was originally drafted by Oakland in the 13th round in 2007.

Werth Watch

From the time Jayson signed that monster contract with the Nationals last winter, tonight was the game he and fans waited for, his return to Philly.

I’m sure he’ll get a warm welcome from Phillies fans, probably the same type reaction Pat Burrell experienced a year ago. The fans in right field will give him a standing-O when he takes the field for the first time, unless I’m wrong, which happens on occasions.

No matter where Jayson’s career takes him, he will revered as a member of the 2008 World Champs forever. Philadelphia sports fans don’t forget their championship teams.

The 1950 Whiz Kids lived for a long time in the hearts of Phillies fans.  Then, the 1980 team took their place after winning the franchise’s first World Championship.  The 1993 wild bunch held a special place for a long time but the 2008 champs brought so much joy to the Delaware Valley by ending a championship drought for the city.

They are the only team in MLB to have their starters go five innings or more in every game this season.  They are among the stingiest staffs in allowing home runs (15). 

Team batting average (.227) ranks 15th in NL as does the fielding percentage (.979).  Staff’s 3.40 ERA is sixth. 

Another hero from the 2008 champs with the Nationals is Matt Stairs.  His next pinch hit will be the 100th of her career.

Another April Note
18 wins in April marked the third straight month that the Phillies have won 18 or more games.  It marked the first time since the 1977 club (July-August-September). 

Something In Common
Ryan now holds the Phillies club record for most RBI in April (27), August (41) and September (32).

Other monthly records: May (OF Cy Williams, 44, 1923); June (OF Chuck Klein (36, 1930) and July (Klein, 40, 1929).

What do they have in common?  All are left-handed hitters.

What Would You Have Done?
What profession or occupation might you have chosen if you didn’t play baseball? The question has been posed to Phillies Alumni.
Not sure, anything from working a soda fountain at my dad’s restaurant to an architect. Actually, I have no idea,” Hall of Fame 3B Mike Schmidt (1972-89). 

Down On The Farm
Lehigh Valley dropped a 6-4 decision to Buffalo in 10 innings.  RF Domonic Brown was 1-5, SS Brian Bocock, 2-3, 2 RBI in their first game . . . LF Mike Spidale had 4 of Reading’s 7 hits in a 5-0 loss to New Hampshire . . . 20-year-old RHS Julio Rodriguez (4-0) threw 6 shutout innings as Clearwater completed a 3-game sweep of the Tampa Yankees, 3-0. RF Brian Gump had 2 hits, boosting his average to .323 . . . RF Anthony Hewitt was 2-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 13 games in a 3-1 Lakewood loss to Savannah. J. C. Romero is on a rehab assignment tonight in Lakewood.

Romp, Squeaker, Marathon

Formula for getting to postseason baseball is winning the series.  This weekend, the Phillies took two of three from the Mets, although it doesn’t taste that good considering last night’s marathon loss which kept the Phils from a sweep.  It marked the first time the Phillies have lost the series finale this season.

Friday night was a Ryan romp, Saturday afternoon a squeaker and last night seemed to be endless. A total of 440 pitches were thrown in 14 innings.  The two teams combined for 21 hits (16 singles), 13 walks and 30 runners left on base.

After scoring 10 runs over four innings on Friday, the Phillies scored in just two innings over the next 23 innings. 

The common thread in each weekend game was quality starting pitching, beginning with rookie Vance on Friday.  Doc said he didn’t feel sharp warming up in the pen on Saturday and then threw strikes on his first 18 pitches of the game. Cliff wound up with 113 pitches in seven innings last night, almost one-third coming in a 34-pitch first inning.  Combined the three starters gave up two runs in their 22 innings on the mound. That formula will also work.

Elias Sports Bureau
The Phillies scored the first 10 runs in their 10-3 win over the Mets on Friday night. Between the bottom of the fifth inning of the teams’ April 6 game and the seventh inning on Friday, the Phils scored 24 unanswered runs over a three-game span against New York. That’s the longest unanswered-run streak for Philadelphia against any opponent since it scored 25 straight against Pittsburgh from October 1907 to May 1908.

Phillies ESPN Sunday Night record fell to 24-16, ending a three-game winning streak against the Mets. Phils are on Sunday night again this week (Atlanta) . . . Sunday record in Citizens Bank Park history is now 72-27 . . . Phillies were in first place on May 1 for the 10th time in their history, dating back to 1900.  Last season they were in the top perch was 2008.

April Records
**Phillies finished the month with an 18-8 record, the most wins in team history for the first month.  Old mark was 17-5 by the 1993 wild bunch.  Percentage of .692 doesn’t crack the top five in Phillies history because fewer April games were played in distant seasons.  The top percentage is .875, 1897 (7-1-1). Second, .818, 1964 (9-2).

**Ryan’s 27 RBI is another club record, breaking Pat Burrell’s 2008 record (24).

**Polly’s 41 hits are the most in the first month (records available through 1970).  Chase held the old mark, 38, in 2008. It is also a personal high for Polly for any month as are 19 RBI.

Down On The Farm (Weekend)
Lehigh Valley was 3-0; 2B-SS-3B Kevin Fransden is hitting .393 in his last 18 games . . . Reading won all three, stretching its winning streak to five in a row; they lead their division . . . Clearwater took two of three . . . Lakewood lost two of three; OF Anthony Hewitt has hit in 12 straight games.

Phillies minor league teams compiled a 51-39 April record.