September 2015

Reading Nears Title

RH Jake Thompson turned in his second consecutive impressive playoff start and a balanced 12-hit attack carried the Reading Fightin’ Phils to within one game of the Eastern League championship, 9-3, Thursday night in Bowie.  Reading leads, 2-1, in the best-of-five championship round.

2015 Thompson

The 21-year-old Thompson, acquired in the Cole Hamels trade, gave up one run (5th inning) in seven innings.  He allowed four hits, three walks and struck out five. He threw 97 pitches, 65 for strikes. In his other playoff start (Sept. 11 vs. Binghamton) he threw a three-hit, 9-inning shutout.

DH Angelo Mora was the lone Reading player to go hitless.  The other eight starters plus a pinch-hitter had at least one hit.  Six different players scored a run and six drove in runs, including Mora with a sacrifice fly.  In addition to 12 hits, Reading drew six walks.

Leading, 4-0, Reading put the game out of reach with a five-run sixth inning that included three singles, two walks, a two-run, ground-rule double by C Andrew Knapp, fielder’s choice RBI and Mora’s SF

Nick Williams, 22, led off the fourth with his third home run of the playoffs. He had two hits, the fourth time in six playoff games. SS J. P. Crawford, 20, and 3B Harold Martinez, 25, had two hits each. Crawford leads Reading with a .476 average in the playoffs, hitting in all six games.

Game 4, Tonight, 7:05, Reading (RH Ben Lively) at Bowie (RH David Hess)
Game 5, Saturday, 6:05, Reading at Bowie*
*If necessary
(Will post over the weekend regarding Reading’s playoffs)

Last Suitcase
Two Phillies’ buses left Citizens Bank Park at 4:30 Thursday afternoon for the Philadelphia Airport and a United Charter flight to Atlanta where the final road trip begins Friday night: three games each with the Braves, Marlins and Nationals.

This Date In Phillies History
Check in all weekend for flashback moments in Phillies history at Chick Fraser, Robin Roberts, Chris Short, Rick Wise, Mike Schmidt, Mariano Duncan, Richie Ashburn and Mickey Morandini are all involved.



Pitchers Struggle

Phillies pitching wasn’t very good last night……in Philadelphia or Reading.

For the 12th time, the Phillies were swept in a series this season, the Nationals’ first at Citizens Bank Park since 2011.  Phillies hitters struck out 42 times, most ever for a three-game series.  Old mark was 38, 1995, vs. the Reds at Veterans Stadium.

Each of the five Phillies pitchers gave up runs in the 16-hit, 12-run attack that included three more home runs. After tying the game at 2-all in the fourth inning, the Phillies didn’t score again while Washington scored 10 times over the next five innings.

After a 16-5 start in second half of the season, the Phillies are now 11-24 in their last 35 games. Coincidently, Franco was hit by a pitch breaking a bone in his left wrist 34 games ago.  He’s hopeful of returning Tuesday.

Minor League Playoffs
At Reading’s FirstEnergy Park, Bowie evened the best-of-five Eastern League championship series at 1-1 by pounding three Fightin’ Phils pitchers for 11 hits in a 10-2 romp.  Starter and loser Ethan Martin and relievers Joely Rodriguez and Ryan O’Sullivan were the victims.  Hoby Milner (3.1) and Tom Windle (1) pitched hitless, scoreless baseball.  Reading pitchers also walked nine and struck out just four.

Four Bowie hurlers held the Phillies to six hits, two by SS J. P. Crawford.  C Andrew Knapp had a solo home run and drove in the other run.

Game 3, tonight, 6:35, Reading (Jake Thompson) at Bowie (Chris Lee)
Game 4, Friday, 7:05, Reading (Ben Lively) at Bowie*
Game 5, Saturday, 6:05, Reading at Bowie*
*If necessary

LF Cornelius Randolph, the Phillies #1 draft selection this summer, was named to the Gulf Coast League All-Star team along with RHP Felix Paulino.

This Date In Phillies History
September 17, 1900
Cincinnati SS Tommy Corcoran, coaching at third in a game at Philadelphia, uncovers a wire in the coaching box that leads across the outfield to the Phillies clubhouse, where reserve catcher Morgan Murphy reads the opposing catcher’s signs and relays them to the Phillies coach by using a buzzer hidden in the dirt.

September 17, 2001
Baseball returns after the September 11 terrorist attacks. 3B Scott Rolen rips two home runs to lead the Phillies past Atlanta, 5-2.  Rolen becomes just the fifth player to hit two home runs in a game off RHP Greg Maddux.

September 17, 2011
Phillies beat St. Louis Cardinals, 9-2, at Citizens Bank Park and wrap up Eastern
Division championship for fifth straight year, their 11th Eastern Division championship overall.

Around the Majors
Rangers have gained the top spot in the AL West over the Astros.  Texas has won six in a row over Houston for an 11-4 season record.

Toronto is 33-11 since July 28.

Mike Olt became the first player ever to homer for both the Cubs and White Sox in the same season.

Jake Peavy became the seventh Giants pitcher to hit a home run, tying a record last reached by the 2002 Dodgers.

The Mets lead the Nationals by 7.5 games with 16 games left.  In 2007, they led the Phillies by 7 with 16 games remaining.  The went on to win the first of five straight division titles as the Mets took a nose-dive.

37 players ad 24 pitchers were used in Tuesday night’s 16-inning Rockies-Dodgers game. Both numbers are major league records. All because rosters can expand from 25 players on September 1.

Eflin Shines in Reading Win

Two homers and six shutout innings by Zach Eflin led the Reading Fightin’ Phils to a 3-1 win over the Bowie Baysox last night. In winning their fourth straight postseason game, the Fightin’ Phils took a 1-0 lead in the Eastern League’s best-of-5 championship series.

1B Brock Stassi, the league’s MVP, homered in the fourth inning, his second of the postseason, and DH Art Charles went deep to start the seventh. C Andrew Knapp’s sacrifice fly produced a second run that inning.

2015 Eflin

Eflin left in the top of the seventh after taking a batted ball of his shin. He allowed four other hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.  The 21-year-old Eflin threw 93 pitches, 63 for strikes.  It was his second playoff victory.  In 13 postseason innings the right-hander has allowed two runs.  During the regular season he was 8-6, missing a couple of weeks by playing in the Pan Am Games.

Edubray Ramos relieved in the seventh and picked up two strikeouts in his one inning. Bowie’s run came on a two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch by Jimmy Cordero in the ninth inning.  With runners on second and third, Cordero struck out the last hitter to pick up a save.  In two innings, he allowed two hits, one run, walked two and struck out four giving the Reading pitchers 11 punch outs.

Center fielder Nick Williams made a diving catch with two out and a runner on second base in the fifth inning, the key defensive play of the win.

Game 2, tonight, 7:05, Bowie at Reading (Ethan Martin)
Game 3, Thursday, 6:35, Reading at Bowie (Jake Thompson)
Game 4, Friday, 7:05, Reading (Ben Lively) at Bowie*
Game 5, Saturday, 6:05, Reading at Bowie*
*If necessary

Nats Dominate
Harper and Strasburg, two former No. 1 draft selections, handed the Phillies a second straight loss.  Harper drove in all four runs with three hits, including a pair of home runs. It was his 10th multi-home run game of his career, the fifth this season. Of his 39 season homers, seven have come off Phillies pitchers.

Asche’s fifth-inning single was the Phillies lone hit in Strasburg’s eight innings.  Strasburg fanned 14, 12 swinging. He had a season-high 30 swings and misses. He’s the fourth pitcher since 1900 to hold the Phillies to one hit while striking out 14 or more, joining by Tom Seaver (1970), Nolan Ryan (1970) and Warren Spahn (1960).

Buchanan took the defeat, allowing two runs in his seven innings, his best outing in the majors since July 31.  He threw 74 pitches; Strasburg threw 77 strikes.

With Howard day-to-day with a left knee injury, Blanco batted fourth, the eighth Phillie to hit in the clean-up spot.  Ten different players have been in the three-hole and 14 in the five-spot, indicative of the Phillies struggling season.

This Date In Phillies History
September 16, 1967
In the bottom of the 11th inning, Rick Joseph hits a one-out, walk-off grand slam to give the Phillies a 8-4 win over Los Angeles. It’s the only pinch-hit, extra-inning grand slam in team history.

September 16, 1997
RHP Curt Schilling fans nine in beating the Mets to become the first Phillies pitcher with 300 strikeouts in season and the 13th in baseball history.

Scott Rolen, inducted into the Reading Baseball Hall of Fame in May, is being enshrined into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night.

Around the Majors
Ken Giles currently leads all NL relievers with a 1.43 ERA and is second in MLB behind KC’s Wade Davis (0.93).

Pirates are 32-6 in 1-run decisions including 21-6 at home.

Chase Utley has hit in 10 of his last 11 games.

Jimmy Rollins hasn’t batted since September 6 because of an injured right index finger knuckle.  He has been used as a pinch runner three times since then.

The Braves snapped a 12-home game losing streak last night. Strangely, each of their last 16 wins at home have been by one run.

The Rangers moved into first place in the AL West for the first time this season—game #144.



Walk Leads to Loss

A walk leading off an inning turned into another Phillies loss.  A broken record for this season.

Coming from behind four times wasn’t good enough for the Phillies as they dropped an 8-7 decision to the Nationals.  Garcia walked the first batter he faced in the 11th inning, a fatal fate.

Two former Phillies had opposite production for Washington. Werth hit a grand slam and later, a solo homer in the 10th to pace the Nationals offense. He has 13 RBI in his last six games at Citizens Bank Park.

Papelbon blew his first save since last September 14 when Galvis led off the Phillies’ 10th with a homer. Prior to the game, Papelbon said a lot of things (again), including the fact he was one of the few who wanted to win when he wore the Phillies uniform.  For the record, Washington was two games ahead when they traded for Pap.  Now, the Nationals are 9.5 games out of first place. “I didn’t come here for this,” Pap once complained in Philly.  When will he say that again?

Howard (contusion left knee) and Altherr (contusion right elbow) left the game with injuries. Half of the Phillies infield of the future is on the disabled list, Hernandez (2B) and Franco (3b). Hernandez is done for the season while Franco may be back.  Each is a building block.

Minor League Playoffs
Eastern League finals (best-of-5)
Season: Reading won season series over Bowie (BAL), 6-2.

Tonight, Tuesday, 7:05: Bowie at Reading (Zach Elfin)
Wednesday, 7:05, Bowie at Reading (Ethan Martin)
Thursday, 6:35, Reading at Bowie (Jake Thompson)
Friday, 7:05, Reading at Bowie
Saturday, 6:05, Reading at Bowie*
*If necessary

This Date In Phillies History
September 15, 1950
Closer Jim Konstanty pitches 10 innings of relief in a 19-inning, 8-7 victory over Cincinnati, second game of a Friday DH. The game is the longest in Shibe Park history. Konstanty’s line: 10 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 6 BB, 5 SO. Del Ennis, who sets a record with 10 at-bats, most by a Phillie in an extra-inning game, has the walk-off single. Phillies had 23 hits and left 23 on base.

September 15, 1984
2B Juan Samuel breaks the club record with his 18th triple in a 4-3 loss to Montreal at the Vet.  RF Elmer Flick set the record in 1901.  Samuel finishes the season with 19 triples, a club rookie record.

September 15, 1989
Von Hayes becomes the first player to hit two homers into the upper deck in right field at the Vet in a single game.

Around the Majors
Giants’ pitchers have hit more home runs than their center fielders, 8-3.

The Dodgers’ Kershaw is 9-0, 0.98 ERA in his last 13 starts. Yikes.

Nola and Carrasco (Cleveland) each gave up a home run on the first pitch they threw last night.  Nola wound up with a no decision, Carrasco won, the fourth pitcher this season to win after giving up such a homer.

Each of the last five times that the Mets have found themselves trailing in the sixth inning or later, they’ve come back to win the game, which is the longest streak of that kind in team history.

Nats Next

Hype and predictions don’t always turned out as anticipated.  The Nationals were pegged as a team that would be in the World Series this year.  Their 3.03 ERA was stingiest in the majors a year ago.  In January they signed Scherzer to a seven-year contract giving them the best five starters in baseball.  Well, their ERA this year is 3.77, tied for 10th best, but the postseason has virtually vanished as they trail the Mets by 9.5 games.

Phillies had a similar experience after adding Halladay in 2010. Doc joined Lee, Hamels, Oswalt and Blanton. The Phillies won their division but a third straight World Series trip never happened.

Three-game series begins tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Washington is 8-5 over the Phillies this season.  Overall, the Nats are struggling on the road, 31-41, lowest road win total in five seasons.

J-Roll got a lot of love when he returned for the first time in August.  Papelbon’s reception will be different.

Weekend Split
Asche celebrated the one-year anniversary of his previous walk-off homer on September 12, 2014 by hitting another walk-off shot on Saturday night. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he’s the fifth player in the last 40 seasons to hit walk-off home runs on the same date in back-to-back seasons, joining Jack Clark (September 4, 1981/1982), Cory Snyder (May 19, 1987/1988), Adrian Beltre (August 20, 2003/2004), and Nick Swisher (September 8, 2009/2010).

Howard drove in three runs, two on homer and Altherr scored the winning run on a wild pitch in Sunday’s win that gave the Phillies a split in the four-game series but the season series vs. the Cubs, 5-2.

The homer was Howard’s 184th at Citizens Bank Park, obviously the all-time leader.  In case you are wondering about home run leaders by other Phillies in their home parks: Baker Bowl, Chuck Klein (145), Connie Mack Stadium, Del Ennis (133) and Veterans Stadium, Mike Schmidt (265).

It was Howard’s 644th extra base hit, fourth on the Phillies all-time list behind Mike Schmidt (1,105), Jimmy Rollins (806) and Ed Delahanty (670)

Minor League Playoffs
Riding long balls from SS J. P. Crawford and CF Nick Williams, solid starting pitching by Ben Lively and four shutout innings by the bullpen, Reading advanced to the championship round on Saturday night.  Last time they were in this position was 2001.
The Fightin’ Phils polished off the Mets, 3-0, in the best-of-3 semi-final playoff round.

Reading now faces the Bowie Baysox (BAL) who eliminated the Altoona Curve. The two teams met seven times during the season.  Reading won two of three in Bowie in late July and three of four at home in late September.  The Baysox won the Western Division title by five games over Altoona.  Reading captured the Eastern Division by three games over Binghamton.

Eastern League finals (best-of-5)
Tuesday, 7:05: Bowie at Reading (Zach Elfin)
Wednesday, 7:05, Bowie at Reading (Ethan Martin)
Thursday, 6:35, Reading at Bowie (Jake Thompson)
Friday, 7:05, Reading at Bowie
Saturday, 6:05, Reading at Bowie*
*If necessary

New York-Penn League semi-finals
Williamsport’s season ended Sunday, a 4-0, loss to West Virginia (PIT), which won the series, 2-1. Twice Williamsport had a runner on third with one out but couldn’t score.  The offense produced just three hits.  Mitch Gueller retired the first nine WV batters, was tagged with a run in the sixth and the loss.

This Date In Phillies History

September 14, 1984
LHP Steve Carlton wins his 235th game, 9-5 over Montreal at the Vet, to break the club record held by Robin Roberts.

Around the Majors
Elias Sports Bureau:
The Mets tried to acquire Carlos Gomez from the Brewers at the trade deadline but backed off with a concern of his hip.  Gomez, hitting .234, returned to Houston on Sunday to have his back examined. After passing on Gomez, the Mets obtained Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers.  In his first 40 games with the Mets: 16 homers, 41 RBI, .308 average.

Jose Fernandez of the Marlins is 16-0 with a 1.11 ERA in his 25 starts at home during his short career.

The Royals’ Mike Moustakas set a club record by driving in nine runs on Saturday.  All came from the sixth inning on.

How hot are the Mets? Trailing 7-4 after eight innings in Atlanta, the Mets had two out and nobody on base but a double, walk and a David Murphy home run tied the game.  They won the game scoring three unearned run in the 10th. It was the first win in franchise history in which the Mets trailed by three or more runs with two outs and no runners on base in the ninth inning or later.

There were 120 relief pitchers used in 16 major league games on Sunday.

Rumor Mill Underway

New president Andy MacPhail has begun the search for a new general manager after yesterday’s news that Ruben Amaro would not continue in that role.  Within minutes of the announcement the rumor mill began to post candidates.

After the five greatest seasons in Phillies history, things began to go the other way which happens.  Utley and Howard got hurt, Halladay’s career came to an end as did Lee’s. Core players got older.  Ruben got blamed. The dismantling began after last season with the trading of Bastardo, Byrd and Rollins.  It continued this season, Papelbon, Hamels, Revere, Utley. A bus load of young prospects have been added to the organization. Ruben should get credit.  Andy said someday the Phillies will bear fruit from those moves.

But, Andy felt a change was needed which is understandable. Losses generally dictate change in any sport. Witness, the Phillies are one of five teams looking for a GM:  Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston, California Angels. All but the Phillies were expected to contend, not pretend.

Ruben is young, intelligent, experienced and bilingual.  He knows the game.  Heck, it’s been his whole life  He’ll land on his feet somewhere.

Chicago Weekend
An old-fashioned double-header….two games for one price….is in store tonight following Thursday’s wash out.  First pitch is 5:05 p.m.  With expanded rosters, get ready to see a lot of players, especially pitchers. The weekend includes Saturday and Sunday games and iffy weather on Saturday.  Could be a long weekend at the park.

**Citizens Bank Park DH was a separate admission version, June 28, 2014.  Atlanta won both.

**DH (two games, one admission) was September 3, 2006, a split vs. Atlanta. First game was an 8-7 walk-off win on a single by Shane Victorino.

**DH vs. Cubs, April 18, 2001, in Wrigley Field; Cubs won both.

**Cubs-Phillies DH in Philly: Friday, June 15, 1990. Phillies won both–6-5, 10-inning walk-off single by RF Jim Vatcher and a 7-0, 3-hit shutout by LH Bruce Ruffin (4-6) at Veterans Stadium; attendance was 26,098. Adam Morgan was barely four months old. Alec Asher wasn’t even born.

Minor League Playoffs
Eastern League semi-finals
Game #2 in Binghamton was rained out Wednesday night and will be played tonight.
Jake Thompson will start for the Fightin’ Phils in the 6:35 p.m. game.
Game 3—now Saturday: Binghamton at Reading (Ben Lively), 7:05 p.m.
Game 4–Sunday: Binghamton at Reading (Ethan Martin), 6:35 p.m.*
Game 5–Monday: Binghamton at Reading, 6:05 p.m.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-5 championship series)

New York-Penn League semi-finals
Williamsport dropped a 2-1 decision in West Virginia at Monongalia County Ballpark on Wednesday night.  The Black Bears scored a single run in the second inning on a home run by DH Daniel Arribas and added an unearned run in the fifth inning on two singles, an error by 2B Josh Tobias and sacrifice fly-double play, RF Zack Coppola to 1B Brendon Heydon to 3B Jan Hernandez.

The Crosscutters scored their run in the seventh when LF Venn Biter began the inning with a triple.  He scored on a sacrifice fly by PH William Cuicas.  Tobias singled to start the eighth but the next three hitters struck out.  Two more strike outs and an infield pop-up in the next inning ended the game.

Tobias and Biter each had two hits in a losing cause.  Williamsport was 0-6 with RISP and left eight on base.

Alejandro Arteaga took the loss, five innings, six hits, two runs (one earned), one walk and six strikeouts.  Three relievers tossed three scoreless innings, allowing two hits.

West Virginia’s third baseman is Ke’Bryan Hayes, son of Charlie Hayes, former Phillies third baseman.

Game 2–Friday: West Virginia (PIT) at Williamsport (Franklyn Kilome), 7:05 p.m.
Game 3–Saturday: West Virginia at Williamsport (Mitch Gueller), 7:05 p.m.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-3 championship series)

This Date In Phillies History
September 11, 1942
Phillies CF Edwin Freed ties the NL record for most hits in first MLB game: four (single, two doubles, triple).  Cincinnati wins, 8-5, at Shibe Park.

September 12, 1972
Mike Schmidt makes his big league debut, taking over for Don Money in the third inning during a 4-3 loss to the New York Mets at the Vet.  Schmidt singles in the ninth inning for his first hit. Four days later, he hits his first home run against Montreal LHP Balor Moore.



Cubs Next

A chance for the Phillies to move into a tie for fourth went down the tubes Wednesday night as the Braves finished with a series win. Teheran simply silenced the Phillies bats (four hits, seven innings) while his teammates battered the Phillies pitchers for nine runs on a season-high 18 hits.  It is the most hits for the Braves since they had 18 on July 6, 2013, also at Citizens Bank Park.  They have won four road games in their last 31, three against the Phillies.

Next seven games are spoiler opportunities for the Phillies, four games with the Cubs and three with the fading Nationals. Both teams are in the running for postseason baseball. Phillies swept three from the Cubs in Chicago in late July, out-scoring them 21-8.

The Phillies face one of the game’s best in Arrieta tonight.  He’s 12-1 with a 0.99 ERA in his last 15 starts. That one loss came from the Phillies when Hamels no-hit the Cubs on July 25. A little more than a month later Arrieta no-hit the Dodgers. He became the seventh pitcher in major-league history to toss a no-hitter after being the losing pitcher in a no-hitter earlier in the same season: Pud Galvin (1880), Hugh “One Arm” Daily (1883), Mal Eason (1906), Bill McCahan (1947), Juan Marichal (1963) and Tim Lincecum (2013).

Minor League Playoffs
Florida State League semi-finals (best-of-3)
Daytona advanced to the league’s championship round by eliminating the Clearwater Threshers, 2-0.  An unearned run in the seventh inning proved to be the deciding run in the 2-1 loss for the Threshers at Bright House Field. The run scored when 1B Rhys Hoskins missed a catch on a throw from 3B Mitch Walding.

Clearwater was held to nine total hits in two games, eight being singles. Hoskins homered in the fourth inning after Daytona scored in the top of the fourth. It was Clearwater’s lone run in the two losses.  During the season, Clearwater finished second in the league in runs scored.

John Richy was saddled with the loss, allowing both runs on five hits in 6.2 innings pitched.  He walked two and fanned five.

Eastern League semi-finals
Reading’s vaunted offense pounded out 17 hits in taking the opening game, 9-4, in Binghamton’s NYSEG Stadium. During the season, Reading led the league in runs scored, doubles, homers, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Seven batters into the game, the Fightin’ Phils had four runs on five hits. Of their 17 hits, five were doubles and one was a home run. They were 7-16 with RISP and left 12 on base.

LF Cam Perkins was the lone position player to have one hit. Five had two hits with C Andrew Knapp and 3B Harold Martinez having three each.  1B Brock Stassi drove in four runs, three on a fifth-inning home run. RF Dylan Cozens had a pair of doubles and three RBI. SS J. P. Crawford and Knapp each scored three times.

RHP Zach Eflin was the winner, allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings.  Four hits came in his last two innings. He walked one and struck out four.  LHP Tom Windle was charged with two unearned runs.

Game 2–Tonight: Reading (Jake Thompson) at Binghamton, 6:35 p.m.
Game 3–Friday:  Binghamton at Reading (Ben Lively), 7:05 p.m.
Game 4–Saturday: Binghamton at Reading (Ethan Martin), 6:35 p.m.*
Game 5–Sunday: Binghamton at Reading, 6:05 p.m.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-5 championship series)

New York-Penn League semi-finals
Game 1—was rained out last night in West Virginia. It will be played tonight, Alejandro Arteaga on the mound for Williamsport.
Game 2–Friday: West Virginia at Williamsport.
Game 3–Saturday: West Virginia at Williamsport.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-3 championship series)

This Date In Phillies History
September 10, 2009
Matt Stairs ties club record for most pinch-hit home runs in a season with five,
connecting with bases loaded, but Phillies lose in Washington, 8-7.


Nola Rebounds

Nola stepped up again and the Phillies snapped a five-game losing streak with their sixth shutout.  Since he made his big league debut back on July 21, Phillies starters have combined to toss seven or more innings in nine of their 44 starts.  Nola has four of the nine.

After bouncing back from a rough previous outing against the Mets, Nola won to improve to 6-2.  Greg Maddux was 2-4 in his first big league season (six starts) and 6-14 in his first full season.  Now, please, I’m not saying Aaron is in Greg’s category. Way too early to crown Nola a stopper, an ace or the #1 starter. He’s made just 10 big league starts but does qualify as a solid building block.  As we all know, we need pitching.

Giles is 12-for-12 in saves since Papelbon was traded.  Last night was his third career save of four outs. Herrera is hitting .364 (75-for-206) in his last 56 games, raising his batting average from .243 to .302. Not bad for a Rule 5 draftee who played in A and AA ball a year ago.

The Phillies led in the game for the first time since Friday in Boston, a game they wound up losing.

Minor League Playoffs
Florida State League semi-finals
LHP Amir Garrett and two relievers blanked the Clearwater Threshers, 3-0, on two singles in Game 1 on Tuesday night in Daytona.  Garrett yielded only 1 hit in seven innings while striking out 12.

The Tortugas ended the season on a five-game winning streak in which they out-scored their opponents, 16-5. The streak enabled Daytona to reach the playoffs as a second-place team to Clearwater.  The Threshers won the first half by winning their last five games, including a three-game sweep of Daytona.  Clearwater also won the second half, the first team since Ft. Myers in 2009 to win both halves.

RHP Ricardo Pinto took the loss.  He allowed all three runs on four hits in six innings.  He walked three and struck out six.  1B Rhys Hoskins got Clearwater’s first single with two out in the seventh.  3B Mitch Walding had the other hit with two out in the eighth inning.

“Tonight we ran into tough pitcher who was locked in. Pinto didn’t get comfortable until 4th inning but did nice job of keeping us in game,” Clearwater manager Greg Legg.

Game 2 in the best-of-three series is tonight in Bright House Field, 7:05 p.m. RHP John Richy, acquired in the Chase Utley trade, will start for Clearwater. Game 3, if necessary, is Thursday night in Clearwater.  Winner advances to the best-of-five championship series.

Eastern League semi-finals
Tonight: Reading Fightin’ Phils (Zach Elfin) at Binghamton Mets, 6:35 p.m.
Thursday: Reading (Jake Thompson) at Binghamton, 6:35 p.m.
Friday:  Binghamton at Reading (Ben Lively), 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Binghamton at Reading (Ethan Martin), 6:35 p.m.*
Sunday: Binghamton at Reading, 6:05 p.m.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-5 championship series)

New York-Penn League semi-finals
Tonight: Williamsport Crosscutters (Alejandro Arteage) at West Virginia Black Bears (PIT).
Thursday: West Virginia at Williamsport.
Friday: West Virginia at Williamsport.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-3 championship series)

OF Brian Pointer added to Reading roster from Lehigh Valley
RHP Nick Pivetta added to GCL roster from Reading
INF Drew Stankiewicz and OF Herlis Rodriguez added to Clearwater roster from Lakewood
OF Andrew Amaro added to Williamsport roster from Lakewood

Players of the Week (August 31-September 7)
INF Drew Stankiewicz, Lakewood…The 22-year-old, in his second professional season, batted .438 (14-for-32) with eight runs scored, three doubles, and four walks in eight games. He scored at least one run in seven of those eight games and hit safely in seven as well, recording multiple hits five times. Stankiewicz, whose dad, Andy, was a big league infielder, was selected by the Phillies in the 11th round of the 2014 draft out of Arizona State University and was signed by Brad Holland.

RHP Jake Thompson, Reading…Dominated in two starts last week. He allowed two runs and no walks in 7.0 innings against Binghamton in his first start, and tossed 6.0 shutout innings against Richmond while striking out seven, walking none and surrendering just four hits in his second. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound right-hander was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the second round of the 2012 draft and part of the package in the Cole Hamels trade with Texas.

This Date In Phillies History
September 9, 1945, 2nd game
Jimmie Foxx hits his seventh homer of the season for the Phillies and 534th and last of his career in a 14-3 win at Pittsburgh.

September 9, 1997
Just hours after broadcasting a Phillies game, Richie Ashburn dies in a New York hotel.  Ashburn’s passing produces a huge outpouring of affection from friends and fans. Phillies win, 1-0, over the Mets.  Ironically, as a player with the Phillies, he wore #1 and his final game was with the Mets.

Scouting World
Phillies amateur scouts will be following fall high school and college programs.  Pro scouts are in a down-time before being assigned to instructional league programs in Florida and Arizona, the Arizona Fall League and winter ball in Latin America.

Sal Agostinelli, Director international scouting, is current in the Far East. Other scouts will be traveling to Korea and Japan as the Phillies increase their presence in those countries.


Minors Begin Playoffs

Reading (Eastern League), Clearwater (Florida State) and Williamsport (New York-Penn) are in the playoffs . . . Each had the best overall record in their respective leagues . . . Every club had a winning record but Lehigh Valley . . . Phillies six minor league teams finished with a 377-319 record, compared to 303-393 a year ago when none of the teams reached the postseason.

Clearwater: Florida State League semi-finals (best of 3).
Tonight: Clearwater (Ricardo Pinto) at Daytona Tortugas (CIN), 7:05.
Wednesday: Daytona at Clearwater (John Richy), 7:00 p.m.
Thursday: Daytona at Clearwater (David Whitehead), 7:00 p.m.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-3 championship series)

Reading: Eastern League semi-finals (best of 5).
Wednesday: Reading (Zach Elfin) at Binghamton Mets, 6:35 p.m.
Thursday: Reading (Jake Thompson) at Binghamton, 6:35 p.m.
Friday:  Binghamton at Reading (Ben Lively), 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Binghamton at Reading (Ethan Martin), 6:35 p.m.*
Sunday: Binghamton at Reading, 6:05 p.m.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-5 championship series)

Williamsport: New York Penn League semi-finals (best of 3).
Wednesday: Williamsport at West Virginia Black Bears (PIT).
Thursday: West Virginia at Williamsport.
Friday: West Virginia at Williamsport.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-3 championship series)

End of Season
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (63-81), 5th place, North Division
Ended season with 8-1 loss to Rochester, sixth loss this month in seven games.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (80-61), Eastern Division champions
Dropped 2-1 decision in Richmond to end the regular season.  Starter Nick Pivetta left with an oblique strain injury after throwing four pitches. CF Nick Williams returned from the DL, H, SB. SS J. P. Crawford, 3 hits. C Andrew Knapp, 2 hits . . . 1B Brock Stassi led the league with 90 RBI, the second-highest figure in double-A ball.  RH Stephen Shackelford topped the EL with 30 saves.

Clearwater Threshers (79-58), champions of both halves, North Division . . .
C-1B-DH Willians Astudillo won the FSL batting title with a .314 average.

Lakewood BlueClaws (73-65) 2nd place, Northern Division
Pounded out 16 hits in besting Delmarva, 12-3, in the last game. CF Jiandido Tromp, double, triple, HR (9), 4 RBI. 2B Drew Stankiewciz, 2 hits, finishing with 19 hits in final 38 at-bats. 3B Damek Tomscha, 32nd double, 3 RBI. SS Emanuel Marrero, 3 hits.  WP: Jairor Munoz (3-0).

Williamsport Crosscutters (46-30), Pinckney Division champions
Ended the regular season with a 5-3 loss to State College. DH Greg Brodzinsksi, 2 H, 2 RBI. Finished season with 26-12 record at home, second best in franchise history.

Gulf Coast League Phillies (36-24), finished in 2nd place, Northwest Division.  Also finished second a year ago, 36-23.

Braves End Woes
Atlanta came to town riding a 12-game losing streak and a 13-game road losing streak.
Harang’s last win was July 30 against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves’ last road win was August 2 in the same park. Their last win was August 24 vs. Colorado.  Harang’s winless streak continued while Atlanta’s woes ended last night.  Peterson and Simmons each went 3-for-4.  They went into the game a combined 1-for-32.

The long ball and shutdown innings have haunted Harang over his last 16 starts. He gave up a two-run homer in the first and allowed three in the fourth after the Phillies got on the scoreboard in the third to trail, 2-1.

Bogusevic, making his first big league appearance in nearly two seasons, belted a pinch-home run for the Phillies other run.  It was the fourth of his career. The Phillies lead the majors with nine pinch homers, two better than the Dodgers.  Club record is 11 set in 1958.

Right-hander Ryan Weber is making his major league debut tonight for Atlanta.  A Clearwater Catholic High School product was selected by the Phillies in the 12th round in 2008.  He opted for St. Petersburg Junior College and was drafted by the Braves the following season. He was 6-5 combined in AA and AAA, nine starts out of 38 appearances.

This Date In Phillies History
September 8, 1962
LHP Chris Short, who finished his career with a .126 batting average, goes 4-for-4 against future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn in a 4-2 win in Milwaukee.

Bullpen Game
An example of how the game has changed in the past 10-15 years can be seen in the Dodgers game at the Angels last night.  Greinke gave the Dodgers six innings as a starter and he was followed by six relievers over the last three innings.  The Angels used nine pitchers in a 7-5, 9-inning loss. Angels also won in the pitch count contest, 185-153.  Time of game? 3:52. Not surprising.

Complete games have become extinct.  The Indians lead the majors with nine.  The Pirates, Marlins and Orioles have zero.  Eight teams have one, including the Phillies.


Spoiler or 3rd Place?

With 25 games left on the schedule, the Phillies have a chance to be a spoiler or climb out of fifth and finish as high as third. Whether the young Phillies can weather another month of baseball remains to be seen.  Many haven’t played every day in September/October. Three rookie pitchers got belted around in Boston over the weekend, part of the process of becoming a big league pitcher.

A 10-game homestand starts tonight with the Braves in town for three.  Atlanta is a game ahead of the Phillies who have a 7-6 edge on the Braves, losers of 12 in a row and 26 of their last 28 on the road. Rest of homestand features four with the Cubs and three with the Nationals. Phillies are 3-0 and 5-8, respectively, versus those two clubs. Both are battling for the postseason.

With the Braves running out three right-handed starters, Howard will be back in the lineup. In 168 career games against the Braves, he has hit 50 homers and has driven in 147 runs.

Saturday’s win by the Red Sox over the Phillies was the 151st for an American League team in interleague play this season.  It marked the 12th consecutive year that the AL has won the interleague competition.  Courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau.

Minor Leagues
Playoff Picture
Reading: Eastern League semi-finals (best of 5).
Wednesday: Reading (Zach Elfin) at Binghamton Mets, 6:35 p.m.
Thursday: Reading (Jake Thompson) at Binghamton, 6:35 p.m.
Friday:  Binghamton at Reading (Ben Lively), 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Binghamton at Reading, 6:35 p.m.*
Sunday: Binghamton at Reading, 6:05 p.m.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-5 championship series)

Clearwater: Florida State League semi-finals (best of 3).
Tuesday: Clearwater (Ricardo Pinto) at Daytona Tortugas, 7:05p.m.
Wednesday: Daytona at Clearwater (John Richy), 7:00 p.m.
Thursday: Daytona at Clearwater (David Whitehead), 7:00 p.m.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-3 championship series)

Williamsport: New York Penn League semi-finals (best of 3).
Wednesday: Williamsport at TBD wild card winner.
Thursday: Wild card winner at Williamsport.
Friday: Wild card winner at Williamsport.*
*If necessary
(Winner advances to the best-of-3 championship series)

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (63-80), 5th place, North Division)
1-2 record for the final weekend.  WP: Sean O’Sullivan (5-2); SV: Dustin McGowan (13). 1B Tommy Joseph, HR (#3), 2 RBI in the win . . . Severino Gonzalez (2-6) in last game, 1:35 this afternoon vs. Rochester.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (80-60), Eastern Division champions)
Dropped 2 of 3 in Richmond.  WP: Jake Thompson (5-1), 6-4-0-0-0-7 on Saturday. SV: Stephen Shackleford (30). RF Dylan Cozens, 5-11 weekend. In 10 games since promotion from Clearwater, .389, 2 doubles, 3 HR, 9 RBI . . . Reading will finish with the best record in the league . . . Nick Pivetta (2-4) in season finale, 12:05 this afternoon in Richmond.

Clearwater Threshers (79-58), champions of both halves, North Division)
Ended the regular season on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Dunedin behind Matt Imhoff (8-5); SV: Miguel Nunez (8). Threshers had the best overall record in the FSL.

Lakewood BlueClaws (72-65) 3rd place, Northern Division)
Lost 2 of 3 to Delmarva.  WP: Ranfi Casimiro (9-7), 7-5-1-1-0-4 on Saturday. 3B Damek Tomscha was hit by a pitch in that game, a club-record 22nd time . . . Jairo Munoz (2-0) in final game of the season, 1:05 this afternoon vs. Delmarva.

Williamsport Crosscutters (46-29) Pinckney Division champions)
Won 2 of 3, scoring a total of 5 runs. WP: Mitch Gueller (10-1), 5-7-0-0-1-2 on Friday and Luis Morales (2-2) on Sunday.  Robert Tasin picked up a save on Sunday, giving him 17 in 18 opportunities. 2B Josh Taylor, 7-12 weekend, HR (4), 2 RBI . . . Williamsport will finish with the best overall record in the league . . . Jose Taveras (7-3) in last game of the regular season, 1:05 this afternoon vs. State College.

Gulf Coast League Phillies (36-24), finished in 2nd place, Northwest Division)

This Date In Phillies History
September 7, 1971, 2nd game
1B Greg Luzinski hits his first major league home run (off RHP Reggie Cleveland), a towering shot into Section 570 at Veterans Stadium in a 7-5, 10-inning loss to St. Louis.

September 7, 1972
LHP Steve Carlton beats his former team (Cardinals), 2-1, at the Vet and strikes out nine, breaking the Phillies single season record of 268 set by Jim Bunning in 1965.  23rd win breaks the club record for a LHP set by Eppa Rixey in 1916.

Comment Corner
Baseball Ross posted the following on Friday: “Who will be the Phillies minor league players of the month for September?”

That will be determined the Communications Department.  Generally in past years, none was selected as September has fewer games.