May 2016

Rare Neris Outing

The formula—strong starting pitching, clutch hitting, solid fielding and airtight bullpen—had been prominent in games won by the Phillies until last night.  Hector Neris, the eighth-inning arm who leads NL relievers in strikeouts (38) and holds (12), had command problems (16 balls, 13 strikes). He had given up only three walks and three runs in May until the eighth inning when three walks and two hits produced three runs and a Washington 4-2 lead.

Back-to-back doubles by Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard to start the ninth made it 4-3.  Strikeout, strikeout, pop-up left the Phillies with a 0-7 record on Mondays. Cubs in town for next Monday game. Oh brother.

00 Hellickson

Jeremy Hellickson was masterful and gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. He departed up 2-1. Hellickson has a 2.00 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over his last four starts.
His squeeze bunt drove in the first run in the second inning and Freddy Galvis’ sixth-inning home run accounted for the second.

When leading after seven innings, the Phillies are now 19-4 . . . Jonathan Papelbon’s save was his first against the Phillies. He had three blown saves against his former team . . .  Bryce Harper’s streak of homering in six straight games at Citizens Bank Park ended.  Only other player to homer in six consecutive games in Philadelphia was Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. He did it at Shibe Park . . . Only the Rockies (22) in the NL have played fewer home games than the Phillies (23). 15 of next 21 games are at Citizens Bank Park.

Minor League Report
Players of the Week (May 23-29)

00 Kingery
2B Scott Kingery, Clearwater. The 22-year-old batted .355 (11-31) with five doubles, a triple, a home run, four RBI, two walks and a 1.077 OPS in seven games. Leads Florida State League in doubles (19) and tied for the lead in extra-base hits (24). Kingery was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the June 2015 draft out of the University of Arizona.

00 Arauz

RHP Harold Arauz, Lakewood… The 21-year-old made one start for the BlueClaws, tossing a career-high 8.0 scoreless innings, yielding only four hits and striking out five on May 26. He has now allowed zero earned runs in three consecutive starts (21.0 IP). Opponents are hitting just .197 against him. The Panama native was acquired from Houston along with four others in exchange for Ken Giles and Jonathan Arauz on December 12, 2015, and was originally signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent on July 12, 2011.

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (26-24), 4th place, International League North Division.
Won, 6-4, over Norfolk behind David Buchanan (3-3), 7-6-4-4-2-2 and 12th SV for Edward Mujica (7 pitches). LF Cody Asche (3) and CF Nick Williams (5) hit back-to-back home runs in a 5-run 4th. C Logan Moore had career-high, 4-4.  Williams has a 9-game hitting streak. Asche has played 13 rehab games between A-AA-AAA and is hitting .160. Has 5 hits in last 6 games, 3 HR . . . Jake Thompson (3-4), 7:05 tonight vs. Norfolk.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (33-18), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.
Suffered their 1st 3-game losing streak, 9-1, at New Hampshire. LP: Anthony Vasquez (6-3), 5.1-10-7-7-2-4. 2B Jesmuel Valentin had 2 of Reading’s 7 hits . . . John Richy (1-1), 6:00 tonight in Portland.

Clearwater Threshers (30-20), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.
Were not scheduled. Shane Watson (0-1), 7:00 tonight vs. Tampa.

Lakewood BlueClaws (20-30), 6th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Won 4th in last 6 games, 6-1, in West Virginia.  WP: Tyler Gilbert (2-5), 6-6-1-1-1-4. Offense led by 3 home runs: 2B Josh Tobias (5), 3B Jan Hernandez (6), CF Jiandido Tromp (5) . . . Luke Leftwich (4-2), 7:05 tonight in West Virginia.

This Date
May 31, 2009–LHP Jamie Moyer wins his 250th game, 4-2, over Washington.

May 31, 2014–1B Ryan Howard collects his 1,000th RBI with a three-run homer in 7th inning, a 5-4, 14-inning loss to the Mets.  All three weekend games go extra innings, 14-14-11.

Book Signings
The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits is the title of my new book published by Triumph Books.  Larry Andersen wrote a hilarious foreword. I’ll be signing:

**Thursday, June 16, Myerstown (PA) Community Library, 199 N. College Street, 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
**Saturday, June 18, Barnes & Noble, 4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.

Follow me on twitter @ShenkLarry

Phillies Salute Vets

The toughest stretch of the season has turned out to be just that. After losing five out of six on the road to the Tigers and Cubs, it doesn’t get any easier as the first-place Nationals come to Citizens Bank Park starting tonight. Washington took two of three at CBP in early April before the Phillies swept three in Nationals Park later in the month.

Bryce Harper had two extremes in the two series. In Philly, 7-11, four runs, a home run in each of the three games and four RBI.  In DC, 2-8 with five walks.  In his short career, he’s hit 14 homers against the Phillies, 11 at CBP.

Last time Phillies were swept three-games in Wrigley was 1995 . . . Three Cubs starters gave up a total of three runs. Those starters combined for 745 starts in the majors; Phillies trio, 56 . . . Cubs closer, Hector Rondon, 18 games, 8 saves; Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez, 24 games, 17 saves . . . Gomez relieved twice in the six-game trip; recorded a save in his last outing (Wednesday, in Detroit) . . .  445 innings for the Phillies this season and no four-run inning yet . . . Phillies are 15-14 against teams above .500, 11-10 vs. teams below.

Memorial Day Festivities
Both teams will be wearing cream-colored uniforms tonight with logo in camo and camo caps as part of the Major League Baseball’s Welcome Back Vets program . . . Color guard: combined McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Air Force . . . Moment of silence will be observed to honor those that gave their lives in defense of our country . . . Toyota hometown hero, first balls: US Marine Corps veteran Philadelphia police officer Peter Fischer and Patrick Murphy, US Army veteran and currently the Under Secretary of the Army . . . National Anthem/God Bless America, First Class Petty Officer Yarrick Sharod Conner, US Navy information systems technician . . . Hometown hero changing third base, US Marine Corps vet and Philadelphia police officer Joseph Reilly . . . Fans can visit the Phillies ball girls at section 137 and write thank you notes to those serving our country as part of Military Appreciation Nights.  Notes will be compiled and mailed to active military deployed over the holidays.

Minor League Weekend Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (25-24), 5th place, International League North Division.
Swept in a 3-game series by Louisville, suffering 5 losses in last 6 games.  Friday ND: Ben Lively AAA debut, 7-5-2-2-1-5; retired 13 of last 15 batters. LP Sunday, Zack Eflin (5-1), 5-9-6-6-0-3; scoreless streak ended at 17 innings when Louisville scored 2 in the 1st inning; loss ended a 10-game winning streak, dating back to last season and including 2 in Reading’s postseason.  SS J.P. Crawford has reached base in all 8 AAA games.  OF Nick Williams has hit in 8 straight, .433; 9 R; hitting streak started when Crawford joined LV. RHR Edubray Ramos hasn’t allowed a run in 11.1 AAA innings; between AA and AAA, he has walked 2 and struck out 28 . . . David Buchanan (2-3), 1:35 this afternoon vs. Norfolk.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (33-17), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.
Dropped 2 of 3 in New Hampshire, winning 9-8 in 13 innings on Friday night on a game-winning RBI single by DH Jake Fox.  RF Aaron Brown tied the game with a 3-run HR in the 9th, his 1st. LP Saturday, Nick Pivetta (4-4), 7-5-2-2-3-6. CF Roman Quinn, 6-14 weekend, 4 R, 24th SB. He threw out the winning run in the 9th inning on Friday. RF Dylan Cozens, HR (14), 2 RBI, 3 SO Sunday; leads EL in HR, TB; 2nd in RBI, slugging percentage . . . Anthony Vasquez (6-2), 1:35 this afternoon in New Hampshire.

Clearwater Threshers (30-20), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.
Won 2 of 3 in Lakeland, 2-1, 3-2, 4-11. ND Friday, Tyler Viza, 6-6-1-1-0-11, matching career-high in SO. WP Saturday, Tom Eshelman (3-2), 7-7-2-2-0-6.  Ulises Joaquin, SV (3), 2B, WP and then struck out the side. 2B Scott Kingery, hitting .341 in last 10, including a 7-game hitting streak; leads FSL with 19 doubles . . . Day off today.

Lakewood BlueClaws (19-30), 7th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Won 2 of 3 in Delmarva. WP Friday, Franklyn Kilome (1-4), 6-8-3-3-1-5. WP Sunday, Jose Taveras (2-3), 7-1-1-1-2-7, allowed HR in 5th inning. 2B Josh Tobias, 8-14 weekend, 2 R . . . Tyler Gilbert (1-5), 7:05 tonight in West Virginia.

Weekend Transactions
Lehigh Valley, added RHS Ben Lively from Reading; placed RHP Mark Appel on the DL (right shoulder strain).

Reading, added RHR Will Morris from extended spring training; placed 3B Harold Martinez on the DL (right ankle sprain); added INF Carlos Alonso from Lehigh Valley.

Clearwater, placed RHR Jesen Therrien on the DL (left oblique strain); added RHR Alberto Triado from extended ST.

Lakewood, added LHP Scott Harris from extended spring training.

This Date
May 30, 1935, 1st game–LF Babe Ruth goes hitless (one at-bat) in his final game as the Boston Braves beat the Phillies, 11-6, in the first game of a Baker Bowl doubleheader.  Attendance: 18,000.

May 30, 1982–LHP Steve Carlton wins his 191st game with Phillies, 6-2, over Atlanta.  Victory moves Lefty into second place on the Phillies’ all-time list ahead of Grover Alexander.  Robin Roberts leads with 234.


May 30, 1989–Veterans Stadium is empty except for a handful of media who were there for 3B Mike Schmidt’s retirement press conference.  He had announced his retirement the day before in San Diego and returned home to meet the Philadelphia media.  His last game was May 28 at San Francisco.

Windy City Weekend

Ancient Rivalry
The Cubs were in the National League during the Phillies first year, 1883. First game ever played, May 11, game #7 of the season, an 11-9 Cubs win in Chicago.  Phillies first win vs. them, May 14, 12-1, in Chicago.  Cubs won season series, 12-2, and lead in all-time, 1,219-1,104.

Over the last six games in Wrigley, Phillies are 5-1, including a three-game sweep a year ago.  Cubs are fresh from a 4-5 road trip and are 14-8 at home.

Cubs have scored the second most runs (258) in the league while the Phillies have the second-fewest (155). Cubs have a +119 run differential. Goodness.

Newer Rivalry
Phillies return home for a 10-game stand on Monday.  The Nationals begin a three-game series that night.  Washington was 2-1 at Citizens Bank Park in the middle of April. Later that month, the Phillies swept three games in DC.

It’s back home for Pete Mackanin who was born and raised in Chicago.  An infielder, Pete was drafted by the Washington Senators in the fourth round of the 1969 draft . . .
Cubs OF Matt Szczur is from Cape May, NJ, and played college ball at Villanova
. Manager Joe Maddon is from Hazleton, PA . . . Cubs and Phillies meet again for three games at Citizens Bank Park, June 6-7-8.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (25-21), 3rd place, International League North Division.
Pounded out 15 hits in winning, 11-4, in Pawtucket.  WP: Jake Thompson (3-4), 5.2-6-3-3-2-2. SS J.P.  Crawford, 3 H, 2 R. RF Nick Williams, 3 H, BB, 3 R, RBI. 1B Darin Ruf, 3 H, 3 R (HR, 3-4), 5 RBI. LF Cedric Hunter, 3 H, 3 RBI, 4th HR . . . Alec Asher (3-0), 7:05 tonight vs. Louisville.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (32-15), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.
Completed a 5-1 homestand with a 7-4 win over Erie. ND: John Richy, 4.2-4-2-2-2-5; SV: Miguel Nunez (4). 2B Jesmuel Valentin, 3 H, 2 R, HR (#3), 3 RBI. C Jorge Alfaro,  HR (4). 1B Rhys Hoskins, HR (9), RBI. RF Dylan Cozens, 2B (15), SB (10). CF Roman Quinn, SB (22) . . . Mark Leiter (0-0), 6:35 tonight in New Hampshire.

Clearwater Threshers (28-19), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.
Won, 1-0, in Brevard County.  WP: Elniery Garcia (4-2), 6-4-0-0-3-5, 2 PO; lowered ERA to 2.08. SV: Alexis Rivero (4). 2B Scott Kingery tripled on the second pitch of the game and scored on a 1-out, SF by CF Carlos Tocci . . . Road trip continues at 6 p.m. today in Lakeland, Tyler Viza (5-2).

Lakewood BlueClaws (17-29), 7th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Lost, 1-0, in 11 innings in Delmarva.  A walk, sacrifice and walk-off 1B. ND: Harold Arauz, 8-4-0-0-2-5. CF Carlos Duran had 2 of Lakewood’s 5 hits. Lakewood had 0 walks and struck out 16 times . . . Kilome Franklyn (0-4), 7:05 tonight in Delmarva.

This Date
May 27, 1986–LHP Steve Carlton makes his 666th start to break LHP Warren Spahn’s NL record in a 6-2 win over San Francisco.

May 28, 1983–Entering the game hitless in his last 22 at-bats, 3B Mike Schmidt strikes out his four at-bats on 12 pitches.  The 13th pitch he sees, is a two-run, game-winning homer in the last of the ninth off Jeff Reardon to give the Phillies a 5-3 win over Montreal.

May 29, 1965–3B Dick Allen hits measured 529-foot home run completely over the Coca-Cola billboard atop Connie Mack Stadium’s left-center field roof off RHP Larry Jackson.  First-inning blast sends Phillies to a 4-2 win over Chicago.

Philadelphia Phillies v Florida Marlins Credit:      Robert Vigon/Florida Marlins More from this photographer Caption:MIAMI - MAY 29: Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies is congratulated by his teammates after he pitched a perfect game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, May 29, 2010, in Miami, Florida. Roy Halladay pitched a perfect game for the 20th perfect game in MLB history. (Photo by Robert Vigon/Florida Marlins

May 29, 2010–RHP Roy Halladay tosses perfect game, 1-0, over the Marlins in Miami.  He throws 115 pitches (72 for strikes) and fans 11.  It was his 11th start with the Phillies and third shutout in a 7-3 start to the season. (Photo; Marlins/Robert Vigon)

Phils Battle Back Again

I don’t know the final outcome of this bunch of hustling kids. I do know they battle and grind it out. There is no quit. They were swept in the season-opening series in Cincinnati but not since.  Losing two to Atlanta at home, the battled back to win the series finale on Sunday.  Losing two to the Tigers in Detroit, they battled back again yesterday to escape a sweep.

Detroit hit four home runs in their first five innings in the first game on Monday.  Over the next 20 innings, none.  Lacking matching power, the Phillies actually matched the Tigers in the series with two homers Monday and two yesterday, Odubel Herrera’s three-run belt and a solo job by Peter Bourjos.

Aaron Nola gave up four runs in six innings for the win.  After the Tigers’ three-spot in the fifth cut the Phillies pad to 5-4, Nolan had a seven-pitch, shutdown sixth inning. Big. He finished with six strikeouts, including the side in the first inning. David Hernandez got in trouble in the seventh before Hector—The Hat—Neris shut the door with two strikeouts, tossed a scoreless eighth and then turned it over to Jeanmar Gomez who had a 10-pitch, 17th save.

Andres Blanco stole home in the second inning as he and Bourjos pulled off a double-steal.  Chase Utley was the last Phillie to steal home, September 16, 2009, against the Nationals. It was also a double-steal.  Other base runner? Ryan Howard.  The Big Piece stole a career-high eight bases that season . . . Phillies flew to Chicago after the game and have a day off there today.  Can LA survive four nights in the windy city? . . . Three 2:20 weekend games against the Cubs starting Friday . . . ESPN2 has picked up the Cubs-Phillies game from Citizens Bank Park, Monday, June 6. Telecast will be blacked out in the Philadelphia market . . . Phillies have yet to score four runs in an inning.

Wrigley Field
Phillies swept a three-game series in Wrigley Field last July.  The middle game that weekend was a historic one in a couple of ways.  Cole Hamels, in his final start for the Phillies before being traded, threw a no-hitter.  Losing pitcher was Jake Arrieta, who hasn’t lost since, 15-0. Hamels is 14-2 since that game.

Going back to 2014, the Phillies are 5-1 at Wrigley.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (24-21), 4th place, International League North Division.
Lost, 6-2, at Pawtucket. LP: David Buchanan (2-3), 5-6-6-5-3-3. DH Cam Perkins,
homered for the second straight day (#3) . . . Jake Thompson (1-1), 11:35 this morning in Pawtucket.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (31-15), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.
Had an extra-inning, walk-off HR for the second straight game. Hero this time SS Angelo Mora (#3), 7-5 in 11 innings. RF Dylan Cozens, league-leading 13th HR. 2 H, 2 R: 2B Jesmuel Valentin & C Jorge Alfaro. WP: Joely Rodriguez (1-0). SV: Hoby Milner (2); 0 ER in 19.2 IP, 0.56 WHIP, this season . . . John Richy (1-1), 11:35 this morning vs. Erie.

Clearwater Threshers (27-19), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.
Lost, 7-2, in Brevard County before 553 fans at Space Coast Stadium. DH Zach Green, HR (#6). 2B Scott Kingery, 17th 2B, RBI. LP: Ranfi Casimiro (5-3), 4-6-5-4-1-6, 2 WP . . . Elniery Garcia (3-2), 6:35 tonight in BC.

Lakewood BlueClaws (17-28), 7th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Finally.  After going 0-11 vs. Hagerstown, Lakewood came out on top, 9-8. WP: Luke Leftwich (4-2), 5-5-5-4-3-4; 56 SO leads league. DH Wilson Garcia, 3 R, RBI. 1B Brendan Hayden, 2 H, 2 RBI. SV: Jake Waguespack (1) . . . Harold Arauz (1-3), 7:05 tonight in Delmarva.

This Date
May 26, 1990–Mike Schmidt’s #20 is retired in pre-game ceremonies as Phillies lose, 12-3, to Atlanta before 56,789.

May 26, 2008–Phillies set a Citizens Bank Park record for runs in a game, blasting Colorado, 20-5.  2B Chase Utley drives in six runs.

Verlander Too Much

Justin Verlander showed why he’s been one of the premier pitchers in the majors.  He picked up his 161st win last night, 3-1. The 33-year-old tossed eight shutouts and struck out 10.  He’s given up four earned runs over his last four starts. His last two pitches of the game blew away Odubel Herrera.  Blew away? How about 97 miles per hour for each. Verlander then paced the dugout like a caged lion as the Phillies scored once and had the tying run at the plate twice.

Jeremy Hellickson pitched well enough to win but lost. He fanned seven.

The Phillies headed back to the hotel, slept quickly, packed and got to the park this morning for a 1:10 series finale this afternoon.  Then, a day off in Chicago tomorrow. Three day games against the Cubs this weekend.

Phillies road record now 12-12 . . . Detroit has won six straight against the Phillies . . . When trailing after eight, the Phillies are 0-19 . . . Ryan Howard’s single was his first since April 29 . . . Miguel Cabrera’s strikeout was his first since May 13.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (24-20), 3rd place, International League North Division.
Dropped 2-1 decision in Pawtucket which won the game on a two-run homer in the eighth off RHR Frank Herrmann (0-1).  ND: Zach Eflin, 7-4-0-0-1-6. CF Cam Perkins accounted for LV’s run with his second HR . . . David Buchanan (2-2), 7:05 tonight in Pawtucket.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (30-15), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.
1B Rhys Hoskins hit a one-out, walk-off grand slam over the left-center field wall to give Reading an 11-9 win over Erie. It was his 8th HR. RF Dylan Cozens had a 2B, HR (league-leading 12th) and 3 R. LF Cody Asche, 2 H, including 1st AA HR, 2 RBI. CF Roman Quinn, 4-4, 4 R, BB, 2 SB (20-21) and a pick-off at 1st . . . Anthony Vasquez (6-2), 6:35 tonight vs. Erie.

Clearwater Threshers (27-18), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.
Fell, 6-4, at Brevard County.  LP: Shane Watson, making Clearwater debut, 5-6-5-4-3-9, a career-high in SO. 2B Scott Kingery, 15th-16th doubles (league-leading). Threshers out-hit BC, 11-7, but was 2-14 with RISP . . . Ranfi Casimiro (5-2), 6:35 tonight in Brevard County.

Lakewood BlueClaws (16-28), 7th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Lost, 3-0, to Hagerstown, falling to 0-11 vs. the Suns.  Lakewood had 3 singles and a double. LP: Tyler Gilbert (1-5), 6-8-3-3-1-2 . . . Luke Leftwich (3-2), 11:05 this morning against Hagerstown.

Extended ST, recently signed OF Osmel Aquila made his debut, 0-3 and a walk.  The 26-year-old right-handed hitter had a.280 average in Cuba.

Reading: Activated OF Christian Marrero from the DL.

Clearwater: RHP Shane Watson transferred from Lakewood

Extended Spring Training: RHP Will Morris transferred from Clearwater.

This Date
May 25, 1951—20-year-old Willie Mays made his major league debut with the New York Giants in an 8-5 win over the Phillies at Shibe Park.  He was hitless in five at-bats.

May 25, 2011–Longest game in Citizens Bank Park, Phillies edge Cincinnati, 5-4, in 19 innings. INF Wilson Valdez pitches the 19th inning and gets the win, first position player in Phillies history to record a win.

Mondays Not Good

Let’s not play on Mondays. Riding four home runs, the Tigers beat the Phillies last night, 5-4.  Phillies record on Mondays is now 0-6. Detroit has homered in nine straight games, 21 total.  Seven wins in the streak.

The Phillies went yard twice, Maikel Franco (seventh out of eight on the road) and Tommy Joseph, his second. Five Phillies had multiple hits but RISP was only 1-7. Starter Vincent Velasquez gave up three homers and exited after four innings with a 95-pitch count.

Pete Mackanin sent a message to his team by yanking Odubel Herrera for not running out a ground ball in the seventh inning.

Phillies are 5-1 on Tuesdays. Welcome, Tuesday.


Phillies one-run record fell to 14-4. Their last such loss came May 4, 5-4, in St. Louis . . . Velasquez had allowed three home runs all season until Detroit doubled that number . . . Seems as if Phillies turn in a web gem on defense every game.  Last night a great relay from Herrera to Galvis to Rupp gunned down a runner at home plate in the third inning. . . . Web gem #2: Franco’s diving back-handed grab in the sixth inning.

Minor League Report

Players of the Week (May 16-22)

00 Hoskins

1B Rhys Hoskins, Reading… The 23-year-old Hoskins batted .450 (9-20) with two doubles, a home run, four RBI, four walks, seven runs scored and a .560 on-base percentage in six games. He drove in a run in each of his last four games and recorded three multi-hit games. Hoskins was selected by the Phillies in the fifth round of the June 2014 draft out of California State University, Sacramento.

00 Eflin

RHP Zach Eflin, Lehigh Valley and RHP Nick Pivetta, Reading… Co-Pitchers of the Week. Eflin, 22, made one start, shutting out Syracuse for 7.0 innings on May 18 while allowing only two hits, a walk and striking out six batters. He has allowed one earned run or none in five of his seven starts. The 6-foot-6 right-hander is tied for first in the International League with a 0.81 WHIP (7 BB, 30 H, 45.2 IP), third in opponent’s batting average (.185) and ninth in ERA (2.36). Eflin was acquired from Los Angeles along with left-hander Tom Windle on December 19, 2014 in the trade that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. He was originally selected by the Padres between the first and second rounds (33rd overall) of the June 2012 draft.

00 Pivetta

Pivetta, 23, also made one start, allowing only two hits while walking one and striking out six batters in 7.0 shutout innings on May 17 against Bowie. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his eight starts. He is averaging 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (44 SO, 44.0 IP), which is the third-best ratio in the Eastern League. Pivetta was acquired from Washington for Jonathan Papelbon on July 28, 2015, and was originally selected by the Nationals in the fourth round of the June 2013 draft.

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (24-19), 3rd place, International League North Division.

Did not play . . . David Buchanan (2-2), 7:05 tonight in Pawtucket.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (29-15), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.

Dropped 8-3 decision to Erie. LP: Nick Pivetta (4-3), 5.2-7-6-6-2-4. HR: 2B Jesmuel Vallentin (2); C Jorge Alfaro (3) . . . Anthony Vasquez (5-2), 6:35 tonight vs. Erie.

Clearwater Threshers (27-17), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.

Pounded out a season-high 5 home runs in beating Palm Beach, 9-3. HR: 1B Kyle Martin (6-7), 3B Mitch Walding (7), C Gabriel Lino (2), SS Malquin Canelo (2) . . . Ranfi Casimiro (5-2), 6:35 tonight in Brevard County.

Lakewood BlueClaws (16-27), 7th place, South Atlantic League North Division.

Fell, 7-4, to Hagerstown which improved to 10-0 vs. Lakewood. After a 6-game winning streak, BlueClaws have dropped 7 of 8 . . . RF Jose Pujols, HR (9), 3 RBI; leads SAL in HR . . . Tyler Gilbert (1-4), 6:35 tonight vs. Hagerstown.


Lakewood: OF-3B Damek Tomscha placed on DL (concussion); LHP Scott Harris activated from the DL; OF Venn Biter added from extended spring training.

This Date

May 24, 1935–Phillies lose first night game in major league baseball history, 2-1, at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field. Game time: 1:35.  Attendance for the historic game, 20,422.

President Roosevelt symbolically switched on the lights from Washington, D.C.






No More Cupcakes

Yep, no more cupcakes.  19 of next 23 games are against the Tigers (3), Cubs (6), Nationals (6) and Blue Jays (4). It is the toughest stretch on the schedule.

Lowly Braves left town with two weekend wins. Phillies left town for Detroit after Sunday’s much-needed win. Starting pitching was solid in all three but the offense didn’t show any life until yesterday’s 13 hits, matching the season-high.

Jared Eickhoff ended a five-game slide with seven shutout innings.  Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez finished the team’s MLB-high seventh shutout which equaled last year’s total.  In winning for the first time since April 13, Eickhoff helped his own cause with an RBI, his fifth in 16 big league games.

Tyler Goeddel began his career with no extra-base hits in 28 games. Since then, .340 in 14 starts with five extra-base hits . . . Cameron Rupp had career-high three hits yesterday, including an opposite-field homer . . . Maikel Franco has seven home runs, six on the road . . . Happy 26th birthday to Cesar Hernandez.

Tiger Territory
After losing 11 of 12, the Tigers have won six of seven.

Phillies are 6-9 against the Tigers, 3-3 in Comerica Park.  It has been feast or famine in the Tigers’ den.  Phillies swept three games in 2002, out-scoring Detroit, 20-7. Tigers returned the favor in 2013, 24-5 margin in their three wins.

Being an interleague series in an American League park, the Phillies get to use the designated hitter.  Three former Phillies coaches have similar positions with the Tigers, Rich Dubee (pitching), Mick Billmeyer (bullpen) and Wally Joyner (hitting).

Minor League Report (Weekend Edition)
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (24-19), 3rd place, International League North Division.
Won 2 of 3 from Toledo, including a Sunday DH split. Have won 9 of last 11. Won 4-3 Friday night on a walk-off dropped fly ball. ND Jake Thompson, 8-5-3-3-1-8, 3 solo HR; 1.33 ERA over last 4 starts. HR: C Andrew Knapp (6), 2B Taylor Featherston (5). Mark Appel (3-3) lost Sunday, 1st game, .2-4-4-4-2-0. CF Nick Williams (4) and 1B Darin Ruf (2) hit back-to-back homers in the 6th inning of the 3-0 win. 4 relievers pitched with Luis Garcia (2-1) getting the win and Edward Mujica, SV (11) . . . Not scheduled today.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (29-14), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.
Swept 3 from Trenton; 6 wins in last 7. WP: John Richy (1-1), 5.2-6-3-3-5-5. SV: Miguel Nunez (3), struck out 4 on 17 pitches. HR: RF Dylan Cozens (11), 1B Rhys Hoskins (7).
Won Sunday DH after Saturday wash out. 1st game: WP: Ben Lively (7-0), 6-4-3-3-1-3. Jorge Alfaro, 2 H, 3 RBI. LF Cody Asche in 1st game with Reading, 0-4, 2 SO. 2md game: 2B Angelo Mora’s SF won game in 9th inning (DH are 7-inning games); tied game with 3 in 7th. ND: Mark Leiter, 1st start, 4-2-0-0-0-5 . . . Nick Pivetta (4-2), 6:35 tonight vs. Erie.

Clearwater Threshers (26-17), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.
Were swept by visiting Palm Beach to fall out of 1st place.  Longest losing streak of the season. LF Andrew Pullin, 3rd HR; 10 RBI in 12 games. 2B Scott Kingery, 4-13 weekend; leads FSL with 14 doubles . . . Matt Imhof (4-2), 7 tonight vs. Palm Beach.

Lakewood BlueClaws (16-26), 7th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Won 1 of 3 vs. Delmarva. 2-1 win Friday on a walk-off HR by 3B Jan Hernandez (5). DH: Harold Arauz, 6-3-1-0-4-7. WP: Zach Morris (3-1). Lost 2-1 and 6-1 the next two days. ND Saturday, Franklyn Kilome, 6-5-1-1-1-2. DH Sunday, Drew Anderson, 5-2-1-1-1-5; made his first appearance since 6/8/14; out with right elbow sprain since then . . . Jose Taveras (1-2), 6:35 tonight vs. Hagerstown who is 9-0 vs. Lakewood.

Lehigh Valley: RHS Alec Asher placed on DL (right calf contusion); RHR Michael Mariot, returned from rehab, activated from DL and optioned to LV; added SS J.P. Crawford from Reading; sent INF Ryan Jackson to Salt Lake City for cash consideration; activated RHR Frank Herrman from DL.

Reading: added OF Cody Asche on rehab assignment; added RHR Reiner Roibal from LV.

Lakewood: released RHP Alejandro Arteaga; activated RHS Drew Anderson from DL; added RHR Kenny Koplove from extended spring training.

Extended ST: added RHS Shane Watson from Lakewood.

This Date
May 23, 1991–RHP Tommy Greene pitches no-hitter at Montreal, 2-0, before 8,833.  He walks seven and strikes out 10. Check out Tommy’s account of the game at

Draft Preparation

Homestand ends with weekend series against the struggling Atlanta Braves. Phillies won two of three in Atlanta recently.

Then, the schedule gets more difficult: three in Detroit starting Monday, three in Chicago against the Cubs next weekend and back home for three against Washington. Charlie Manuel once said, “If you want to be a great team, you have to beat great teams.”

Draft Preparation
Johnny Almaraz, the Phillies’ Director of Amateur Scouting, oversaw a regional meeting about the upcoming draft the past four days at Citizens Bank Park. By virtue of having the worst record in baseball last season, the Phillies have the very first selection on June 9.  Their next two selections are #42 and #78.

Once before (1998) the Phillies were in the same position and took University of Miami third baseman, Pat Burrell.

The Phillies have been scouting and cross-checking and more cross-checking the premier prospects eligible for the daft. In addition to Almaraz, scouting coordinators, regional supervisors and area scouts, others who have been involved include Matt Klentak (GM), Ned Rice (Assistant GM), Joe Jordan (Director, Player Development), Pat Gillick (Senior Advisor to the President and GM), Charlie Manuel (Senior Advisor to the  GM), Benny Looper (Senior Advisor, International Operations), Bart Braun (Special Assistant to the GM), Charley Kerfeld (Special Assistant to the GM), Jorge Velandia (Special Assistant, Player Personnel), Sal Agostinelli (Director, International Scouting) and Rob Holiday (Director, Amateur Scouting Administration).

The Phillies will set up their war room on June 1 and begin their final meetings the following morning.  The MLB Network will televise the first round. will have the complete round-by-round selections.

The vert first draft took place in 1965 in the Commodore Hotel in New York City.  Each team was assigned to a round table.  Paul Owens conducted the draft for the Phillies.  There was a lot of buzzing going on that day.  Teams were selecting players on which other teams didn’t have scouting reports.  Everyone seemed to be kind of nervous.

That’s all changed.  Every player eligible for the draft is now assigned a draft number.
There are no unknowns.  Gone are large, heavy three-ring binders filled with hand-written or typed scouting reports.  Today, laptops fill every team’s war room.  Video is available on just about every eligible player.  Baseball analytics, including data visualization and reporting, statistical research and data infrastructure, help paint a total picture of each player.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (22-18), 3rd place, International League North Division.
C Andrew Knapp’s walk-off double in the 15th inning gave LH an 8-7 win in a wild game that took 4 hours, 48 minutes.  Toledo scored 2 in the top of the 9th with 2 out to send the game into extra innings and then took the lead with another 2-spot in the 12th. 3B Carlos Alonzo tied the game with a 2-out, 2-run single.  Toledo again scored 2 with 2 out in the 14th.  LV matched that on consecutive doubles by Knapp, Alonzo and Cedric Hunter. Manager Dave Brundage, “Had them all the way.” WP: James Russell (1-0). LP: Miguel Gonzalez, a catcher. ND: David Buchanan, 7-8-1-1-1-1 . . . Jake Thompson (2-4), 7:05 tonight vs. Toledo.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (26-14), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.
Won, 5-1, in Bowie behind Anthony Vasquez (6-2), 7-4-0-0-2-5. C Jorge Alfaro and 1B Rhys Hoskins, 3 hits each. SS J.P. Crawford, 2 BB, 2 R, 3rd HR. RF Dylan Cozens had an 11-game hitting streak end . . . John Richy (0-1), 7:05 tonight vs. Palm Beach.

Clearwater Threshers (26-14), 1st place, Florida State League North Division.
Rained out in St. Lucie . . . Elniery Garcia (3-1), 6:15 tonight vs. Palm Beach

Lakewood BlueClaws (15-24), 7th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Lost their 4th straight, a 4-0 decision to Delmarva.  Losing streak comes on the heels of a 6-game winning streak. LP: Luke Leftwich (3-2), 5.2-6-3-2-1-8. 2 hits; his 52 SO total leads SAL. SS Emmanuel Marrero, CF Carlos Duran, 3B Damek Tomscha.  RF Jose Pujols 8 HR lead all class a players . . . Harold Arauz (1-3), 7:05 tonight vs. Delmarva.

RHR Michael Mariot completed his ML rehab and assigned to Lehigh Valley. RHR Reinier Roibal assigned to Reading.

Hilarious Entrance
Today is National Bike To Work Day.  Should Jeanmar Gomez ride a bike from the bullpen to the mound?

This Date
May 21, 1950–Phillies are caught in a triple-play without making contact with the ball. With Richie Ashburn and Granny Hamner on base, Eddie Waitkus looks at a called third strike for the first out. Cardinals’ catcher Joe Garagiola then threw to third, where Ashburn was caught in a rundown. The ball was relayed to Stan Musial at first, who caught Hamner off the bag.

Carlton tops cap

May 20, 1983–LHP Steve Carlton moves into second place on the all-time strikeout list ahead of RHP Walter Johnson when he fans San Diego SS Garry Templeton (#3,509) in the second inning of a 5-0 Padres win.

May 22, 2014–SS Jimmy Rollins passes Richie Ashburn with his 2,218th career hit to move into second place on the Phillies all-time hits list. Marlins edge Phillies, 4-3.

Book Signing
The Fightin’ Phillies is the title of my new book published by Triumph Books.  Larry Andersen wrote a hilarious foreword. I’ll be signing:

**Thus Sunday, May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Follow me at twitter: @ShenkLarry

Another Tight Win

Let’s see.  Another nail-biting win that produced a seventh series win in the last eight.  Once again, strong starting pitching, stellar bullpen work, clutch hitting and defense.

Jeremy Hellickson gave up two runs in the first inning and then kept Miami off the scoreboard through five more innings.  Relievers David Hernandez-Hector Neris-Jeanmar Gomez each tossed a scoreless inning. Andres Blanco doubled in the Phillies first run in a three-run third and Cameron Rupp, playing for the first time since the home plate collision, came through with a two-run single after Maikel Franco was intentionally walked.

00 Goeddel

The insurance run came on Tyler Goeddel’s first major league home run in the eighth.  The Phillies infield defense turned three double plays.

After the 0-4 start the Phillies are 24-13 . . . The Phillies are 15-7 over their last 22 games.  Only once did they score more than four runs in those wins. All 15 wins are by three or fewer runs, last done by the Phillies in 1979 . . . Gomez is the first Phillies reliever to record 16 saves in the team’s first 41 games . . . Goeddel is hitting .327 over last 16 games after starting the season 1-16 . . . Phillies have yet to score four runs in one inning . . . Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton was 0-10 in the series with nine strikeouts . . . Phillies pitchers lead the league in strikeouts, 374-372 over Washington.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (21-18), 3rd place, International League North Division.
Won 6th in last 7, 3-0 vs. Syracuse.  WP: Zach Elfin (5-0), 7-2-0-0-1-6; 11 ground ball outs. Going back to last season at Reading, he’s won 8 in a row. SV: Edward Mujica (10). 3B Carlos Alonso, 2B, 1st HR . . . David Buchanan (2-2), 7:05 tonight vs. Toledo.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (25-14), 1st place, Eastern League East Division.
Lost, 7-6, at Bowie on a walk-off error by 2B Angelo Mora. DH Jake Fox, HR (8), 2 RBI. CF Ramon Quinn, 1B, BB, 2 R, SB (18, out of 21 attempts) . . . Anthony Vasquez (4-2), 11:05 this morning at Bowie.

Clearwater Threshers (26-14), 1st place, Florida State League North Division.
Split a DH in St. Lucie, 3-0 L and 4-2 W. LP: Matt Imhof (4-2), 6-4-2-2-3-2. 3B Zach Green 2 of Reading’s 3 hits. WP: Ranfi Casimiro (5-2), 6-3-1-1-1-7. SV: Jesen Therrien (3). LF Andrew Pullin, 1st HR, 2 RBI . . . Elniery Garcia (3-1), 6:30 tonight in St. Lucie.

Lakewood BlueClaws (15-23), 6th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Lost 2-1, falling to 0-9 vs. Hagerstown. CF Carlos Duran, 3 H . . . Luke Leftwich (3-1), 6:35 tonight vs. Delmarva.

Lehigh Valley: RHR Michael Mariot joined the club on a rehab assignment.
Reading: LHR Mario Hollands joined the club on a rehab assignment.

This Date

Larry Richard 'L.C.' Christenson (November 10, 1953 in Everett, Washington), is a former professional baseball pitcher who played his entire career for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1973-1983. Christenson made his major-league debut on April 13, 1973, and beat the New York Mets 7-1, pitching a complete game. At the time, he was the youngest player in the Major Leagues at 19; he would remain so until 18-year-old David Clyde debuted for the Texas Rangers on June 27 of that same season. He would bounce back and forth from the majors to the minor leagues until 1975, when the Phillies called him up to stay. Christenson went 11-6 that season and would become a key cog on the Phillies' teams that would win three straight National League Eastern Division titles from 1976 to 1978. He would have his best seasons those three years, going 13-8 with a 3.68 earned run average in 1976. His best season was 1977, when he went 19-6 with a 4.06 ERA, winning 15 of his last 16 decisions. He slipped to 13-14 in 1978, despite posting a career-best ERA of 3.24, and started Game 1 of the 1978 National League Championship Series. Then, injuries would begin to plague Christenson's career. He began the 1979 season on the disabled list with elbow problems and missed the first month. Then, in June of that season, he broke his collarbone during a charity bicycle ride and missed several weeks. He ended up with a 5-10 record that season. In 1980, he started 3-0, but went on the disabled list again and had elbow surgery. He recovered to finish the season 5-1 and start Game 4 of the 1980 World Series, but was knocked in the first inning. In 1981, Christenson posted a less-than-stellar 4-7 record, but posted a win in the 1981 National League Division Series against the Montreal Expos. His last injury-free season was 1982, when he made 32 starts and went 9-10. In 1983, Christenson went under the knife for elbow surgery for the final time after a 2-4 start. He failed to make the postseason roster a
May 19, 1979–The idea of Phillies wearing all-burgundy uniforms on Saturdays starts and ends on this date, a 10-5 loss to Montreal. RHP Larry Christenson (photo) was the starting pitcher for the Phillies. RHP Jim Lonborg kidded LF Greg Luzinski, “Bull, you look like a big grape.”

Book Signing
The Fightin’ Phillies is the title of my new book published by Triumph Books.  Larry Andersen wrote a hilarious foreword. I’ll be signing:

**Thus Sunday, May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Follow me at twitter: @ShenkLarry

Chooch’s Milestone

00 Joseph HR
Two souvenir baseballs in two nights for Tommy Joseph.  On Monday he got his first big league base hit, a single to center. Last night in his first at-bat as the clean-up hitter, he homered off the left field foul pole, his first dinger. He followed two more singles, his first three-hit game in the bigs.  Sorry, no more souvenirs.

Speaking of the foul pole, Larry Andersen’s shallow thought, “If a ball hits the foul pole, why is it a fair ball?”

Vince Velasquez (5-1) threw 103 pitches (32 foul balls) in five shutout innings and left the game.  He struck out half of the 20 batters he faced. Bullpen of Araujo-Bailey-Hernandez-Neris-Gomez was brilliant, four innings, five hits, one run, one walk and seven more strikeouts. 17 strikeouts was one short of the club record for a nine-inning game. Joseph made a back-handed grab of a ground ball for the final out.

Elias Sports Bureau: Velasquez is the second Phillies pitcher since 1893 – the year the mound was set at 60′ 6″ – to fan 10 or more batters in a game in which he pitched no more than five innings. Robert Person did it on April 28, 2000 against the Cardinals (10 SO, 5 IP


00 Chooch
Carlos Ruiz caught his 1,000th game to join Mike Lieberthal (1,139), Red Dooin (1,124) and Bob Boone (1,095) as the only catchers in franchise history to reach that lofty number. That’s a lot of foul ball bruises.

Chances are Chooch caught more wins.  We know he was behind the plate for four no-hitters.

Frank Coppenbarger, Director Team Travel and Clubhouse Services, always keeps champagne on hand in case of a special occasion.  He broke it out in the clubhouse after the game to salute Chooch.

Marcell Ozuno had a 12-pitch walk leading off the second inning.  In the Phillies first, they went down 1-2-3 on eight total pitches.  Quite a contrast . . . Series finale this afternoon and then the Braves come to town for the weekend.  Today is weather education day at the Phillies.  Can someone educate us on why all the lousy weather this month? . . . Aaron Nola, today’s starter, has a 6.00 ERA in the first inning of his brief major league career.  Perhaps he should do something different like walking backwards from the dugout to the mound.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (20-18), 4th place, International League North Division.
Won, 5-4, in 10 innings on a wild pitch on an intentional walk attempt.  Win was 5th in last 6 games. Win was 5th in last 6 games. Starter Alec Asher saw a perfect game, shutout and win evaporate in the seventh inning: double, single, back-to-back home runs. LF Cedric Hunter, HR (3). 2 hits: 2B Darnell Sweeney, RF Will Venable . . . Zach Eflin (4-0), 10:35 this morning vs. Syracuse.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (25-13), 1st place, Eastern League East Division.
Won, 9-1, at Bowie as Nick Pivetta won his 3rd straight start, 7-2-0-0-1-6; has allowed only 3 runs in last 3 starts. SS J.P. Crawford, 3 H, 3 RBI. 3B KC Serna, 4 hits. C Jorge Alfaro, HR (#2). CF Ramon Quinn, SB (17) . . . Ricardo Pinto (1-1), 6:35 tonight at Bowie.

Clearwater Threshers (25-13), 1st place, Florida State League North Division.
Rained out in St. Lucie . . . Matt Imhof (4-1) and Ranfi Casimiro (4-2), 10:30 DH this morning in St. Lucie.

Lakewood BlueClaws (15-22), 6th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Lost, 4-1, at Hagerstown which is 8-0 vs. Lakewood this season. BlueClaws had 10 hits but were 0-11 with RISP and left 10 on base. LP: Tyler Gilbert (1-4), 7-7-4-2-1-8
. . . Shane Watson (2-1), 10:35 this morning in Hagerstown.

This Date
May 18, 2005–RF Bobby Abreu caps a 10-game span in which he hits nine homers, five coming at Citizens Bank Park. He also tied a team record, with RBI in 10 straight games.

Book Signing
The Fightin’ Phillies is the title of my new book published by Triumph Books.  Larry Andersen wrote a hilarious foreword. I’ll be signing:

**Thus Sunday, May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Follow me at twitter: @ShenkLarry