September 2007

Comeback Win #47

September 21, 2007

Another comeback win, number 47.  Jayson Werth got us back in the game with his pinch homer, the bullpen shut down the Nationals and Jimmy Rollins got the game-winning hit by grounding an RBI double inside the first base bag.

In Wednesday night’s loss, Rollins hit a ball inside the first base bag but first baseman Scott Spiezio made a great play by diving to his left.  He robbed Jimmy of an extra base hit and two RBI that would have potentially won the game for the Phillies.

Guess that’s baseball.

After last night’s large win, Aaron Rowand turned off a large screen TV in the Phillies clubhouse and gathered all the players and coaches around a smaller TV to watch the end of the Mets game in Florida.  They were cheering every Mets out and every Marlins hit.  When Dan Uggla got the game-winning hit for the Marlins in the 10th, everyone burst out cheering, high-fiving and hugging.

At the Genesis concert in the Wachovia Center, all the television sets in the suites were tuned into the Phillies game.  When the Phillies tied the game, cheering could be heard from the suites.

200 Hits
Rollins’ next hit will be his 200th, the first time he’s reached that plateau.  The last NL shortstop to reach that figure was Pittsburgh’s Jack Wilson (201) in 2004.

White House
Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Pat Burrell, Bret Myers and Frank Coppenbarger (Director, Team Travel) were invited to a White House visit this morning for a private meeting with President Bush, who is a big baseball fan.

The Phillies spent about 30 minutes with the President and U. S. Senator Arlen Spector and his family in the Oval office.  Baseball was the topic of the get together which concluded with each person getting an individual photo taken with the President.

Following the session, the Phillies were given a complete tour of the White House.
 

Fasten Your Seat Belts

September 20, 2007

Tough night.  Pitching was great last night in St. Louis but we just couldn’t get that big hit.  Then, out in San Diego, the Padres won another one on a dramatic walk-off homer.  A year ago, the Phillies went 7-4 over their last 11 games but couldn’t overtake the Padres (9-2) or Dodgers (9-2), who won their last seven.

Getting help from other clubs is nice but we’re at the point where we have to win.   We need to match the Padres and Dodgers from last season.

Speaking of winning, Tuesday’s gut-wrencher in St. Louis clinched the Phillies fifth consecutive winning season.  Only other longer streaks in team history: nine consecutive (1975-83) and six straight (1962-67).  All that being said, it is the goal of the organization to reach the postseason and we haven’t done that even though we’ve been in the hunt nearly every year this decade.

We need to get over the hump.

Even though last night’s game went extra innings, the team landed in Washington, DC, near the 3:30 a.m. scheduled arrival listed on the itinerary.  Of course, it took over an hour before the players could crawl in bed.

The Nationals are fresh from taking two of three from the Mets, which was welcomed in Philly.  For the season, the Phillies have a 7-4 edge over the Nationals.  Biggest margin of victory of any game is six runs, a 9-3 Phillies win a long time ago (April 25).  Since then, three runs is the biggest margin. 

Chances are this weekend’s four-game series will be hard on the nerves, tummy and heart.  Fasten your seatbelts.

Chart of the Day
Greg Dobbs had his 15th pinch hit last night.  Here are the Phillies single-season leaders in that category:

20 Doc Miller, 1913
19 Greg Gross, 1982
18 Rene Monteagudo, 1945
Dave Philley, 1958
17 Tony Taylor, 1974
16 Mike Rogodzinski, 1973
Ricky Jordan, 1993
David Dellucci, 2006
15 Harry McCurdy, 1923
Schoolboy Rowe, 1943
Dave Philley, 1959
Greg Gross, 1987
Kevin Jordan, 1998

Crazy Ballgame

September 19, 2007

Another crazy baseball game last night.  But, it just shows if you hang in there you can grind out a victory and that’s what happened.   

The Cardinals used 11 pitchers as pitchers, two pitchers as pinch runners and one pitcher as a pinch-hitter.  Wonder if that ever happened before.

St. Louis’ best pitcher is on the mound tonight, Adam Wainwright.  He’s 2-0 against the Phillies this season, allowing two runs in 13 total innings. 

A quick, nine-inning game would be welcome tonight as the Phillies have a flight to Washington, D.C., after the game. According to the itinerary, the Phillies are scheduled to arrive in Washington around 3:30 a.m. for a 7:05 p.m. game tomorrow.  Got to sleep fast.

The Nationals have been spoilers and will be tough in that role.  They have nothing to lose.  They and the Phils meet seven times, four in four days starting tomorrow night.  It will be the final baseball series in RFK Stadium.

Phillies fans have flocked to Washington to root and I’m sure they will be there in big numbers this weekend. 

 

A Tummy Twister

September 18, 2007

Last night’s game went from a laugher to a tummy twister.  Watching on TV, I went from total relaxation in a Lazy-boy recliner to pacing.

Charlie Manuel put it best after the game: “I passed my stress test.”

Oh, one more note from last night, we out-scored the Eagles!

A reminder, last night is history and the focus is on tonight.  It will be interesting to see Cole Hamels’ performance.   A healthy Hamels down the stretch would be huge.

TV Ratings
The Phillies have averaged a 5.3 rating on Comcast SportsNet this season, 12 percent higher than last year’s average rating, which set a record.

Chart of the Day
Phillies single-season RBI record for pinch-hitters (records available through 1950):

Greg Dobbs  18 2007
Del Unser  14 1979
Tony Taylor  12 1974
Dave Philley  11 1959
Davey Johnson  11 1977
Davey Johnson  11 1978
Tony Longmire  11 1995
Dave Dellucci  11 2006

What a Weekend

September 17, 2007

What a weekend.  This team keeps coming at you, keeps bouncing back.  Bullpen certainly stepped up over the weekend.

Just as with a loss, it is time to move on.  Yesterday’s game is as old as yesterday’s newspaper.  New city, new series, another game tonight. 

Tomorrow night, Cole Hamels returns to the mound.  He last pitched in Washington, DC, beating the Nationals on August 16.   He’ll be on a 60-65 pitch count. 

Congratulations Thome
Jim Thome certainly couldn’t have written a better script, a two-run, walk-off homer in the last of the ninth for his 500th home run. 

Still can remember the electricity when he hit his 400th at Citizens Bank Park on June 14, 2004.

Owens Award
A reader wanted to know who won the Paul Owens Award, given annually to the best pitcher and player in the Phillies minor league organization.  It will be announced later this week.  Gotta keep the suspense building.

Final Count
Last Thursday was the final Dollar Dog night promotion of the season.  Final tally on dogs sold: 377,495. 

Resilient Phillies

September 14, 2007

They were out-scored, 20-2, over two straight losses to the Rockies at home.  Gloom seemed to be everywhere but the Phillies clubhouse.

Yesterday afternoon, the players were the same as other days, getting their uniforms on, kidding each other, doing interviews, nibbling on food.  No tension, no gloom. Then, they went out and did what they’ve done all year, bounced back.  This team certainly is resilient.

There was one one-on-one session going on during BP and again in the clubhouse by Jamie Moyer’s locker.  Jamie, pitcher, coach, father-figure and friend, was talking with Geoff Geary, who has struggled this year out of the pen.   Someone who spends time in the clubhouse, felt there was a different look in Geary’s eyes after that friendly exchange.

Geary went out, threw three scoreless innings as the Phillies overcame a 3-0 deficit before they came to bat.  With the Padres’ loss, the Phillies are 1 ½ games out of the wild card sprint.

Kevin Roberts wrote in the Camden Courier-Post today, “You can’t count them out.  They just won’t go away.”

In baseball, yesterday’s game is quickly replaced by another game.  Now, the Phillies are in New York for a weekend series with the first-place Mets, who are 9-2 this month.  Got to give them credit, they really bounced back from the Phillies’ four-game sweep the last week in August.

Shea Stadium will be a bee-hive as the Mets fans will be buzzing with revenge in mind.  Should be fun.

Manuel Milestone
Yesterday’s win was Charlie’s 250th with the Phillies, his 470th decision.  Only Pat Moran, 1915-18 (425th decision) and Bill Shettsline, 1900-02 (435th decision) got there faster.

Chart of the Day
Jimmy Rollins is leading the league in triples (17) and had one taken away last night by a bad call by the second base umpire.  Cory Sullivan’s dive for a sinking line drive was ruled a catch but TV replays showed the ball clearly rolled out of his glove on to the ground.  Charlie argued but to no avail.

Anyway, the Phillies all-time single-season triples list:
Sam Thompson  1894  27
Nap Lajoie  1897  25
Ed Delahanty  1892  21
Sam Thompson  1895  21
George Wood  1887  19
Juan Samuel  1984  19
Ed Delahanty  1893  18
Jim Fogarty  1889  17
Ed Delahanty  1896  17
Elmer Flick  1901  17
Sherry Magee  1905  17
Sherry Magee  1910  17
Jimmy Rollins  2007  17

17 More Games

September 13, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Utley, 2b; Burrell, lf; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Werth, rf; Helms, 3b; Ruiz, c; Durbin, p.

What can you say about last night?   

The good news: the Phillies pulled off a triple play to end a two-on and no-out Rockies threat in the first inning with MVP candidate Matt Holliday at bat.  The bad news:  the Phillies didn’t score in their first after loading the bases with no out and the 4-5-6 hitters coming up.

The bad news: Kyle Kendrick was injured and the Phillies got stomped on.  The good news: Kyle wasn’t seriously hurt as one would have thought when he went down.  The good news: the Phillies are still 2 ½ games out of the wild card berth.

The bad news: there are 17 games left.  The good news: there are 17 games left, not 7.

Charlie Manuel said it best in today’s papers:  “There’s no sense in sugarcoating it.  It’s kind of a ‘show me’ time.  It’s kind of like, ‘Let’s go.  If we have it, let’s see it.’ That’s kind of how I look at it.  We’ve got 17 games left.  That’s what it’s come down to.  It’s no time to talk.  Let’s do it.”

Kendrick Update
For the latest information on Kyle’s condition today, check out Ken Mandel’s notes on the home page of this site.

Special Presentation
The Major League Baseball Alumni Association has an annual “Heart and Hustle Award” given to a player who demonstrates a passion for the game and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.

Chase Utley will receive the award pre-game tonight from Larry Christenson, a Phillies Alumni member.

Road Trip
After tonight’s game, the Phillies board two buses for a trip up the New Jersey turnpike and a three-game series with the first-place Mets starting tomorrow night.

Facing a New Face

September 12, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Utley, 2b; Burrell, lf; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Dobbs, 3b; Werth, rf; Coste, c; Kendrick, p.

Got to get back on track again tonight. 

For the third straight game, the Rockies are starting another pitcher the Phillies haven’t seen, Danny Bautista.  Despite 26 major league games with the Rockies, Royals and Orioles, the Phillies are seeing him for the first time tonight.

How does a team get ready for someone they’ve never seen? 

Well, there are scouting reports.  Hank King is the Phillies advance scout.  If he hasn’t seen a player, there are others who cover pro teams that can be called on.  With today’s technology, there’s also video available.  Hitters will watch videos to see what the guy throws, tendencies, etc.

Bautista’s history indicates he has command problems.  Patience is probably the most important thing for Phillies hitters tonight.

Stay Positive
Poked my head in the coach’s room very early this afternoon.  Rich Dubee was on his laptop recording pitching information.  Milt Thompson was checking box scores.

Charlie Manuel walked in with the lineup and put it on Jimy Williams’ chair. 

“Baron, what you doing in here?  We’ve got work to do.  Got to grind it out you know.”

I responded, “Got to stay positive.”  “You’ve got that right, son,” barked Charlie.

Congrats
Clearwater Threshers, behind ace RHP Andrew Carpenter, won the Florida State League Championship, 3 games to 1 over Brevard County, last night at Bright House Networks Field. Last time Clearwater won the FSL title was 1993.  A good omen for the big club?

Carpenter was 17-6 during the regular season and 2-0 in the post-season.  The 22-year-old was a second round pick a year ago out of Long Beach State.

Dave Huppert, who led the Lakewood BlueClaws to the South Atlantic League championship in 2006, was the Threshers’ skipper.

Overall, Phillies minor league teams finished 420-404, a .510 percentage, 11th among all 30 clubs.

Chart of the Day
Jimmy Rollins scored his 125th run last night, which is the most in the NL.  Phillies all-time run scorers (since 1900):
Chuck Klein  158 1930
Lefty O’Doul  152 1929
Chuck Klein  152 1932
Lenny Dykstra  143 1993
Roy Thomas  134 1900
Chase Utley  131 2006
Jimmy Rollins  127 2006
Chuck Klein  126 1929
**** Allen  125 1964

Burrell Moving Up

September 11, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Utley, 2b; Burrell, lf; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Werth, rf; Helms, 3b; Ruiz, c; Eaton, p.

A lot of heroes last night but the biggest was Pat Burrell and his three-run homer in the seventh inning.  Since the All-Star break, Burrell leads all NL players with 53 RBI.    He and Ryan Howard have 17 homers during that span, second to Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun (19).

Great defensive catches by Shane Victorino and Aaron Rowand were also key factors.  It seems as if Rowand has a SportsCenter catch every game.

Kyle Lohse turned in his 14th quality start (6 IP, 3 R) of the season.

Tonight’s Weather
Yes, there will be weather.  Showers are in the forecast but the Phillies expect to get the game in.  As usual Ashburn Alley gates open first (4:35 p.m.).  Batting practice on the field is doubtful.

At this stage of the season, you’ve got to try and play each game as scheduled.  Don’t want doubleheaders now.

Terrific Tuesday
The Phillies are 14-6 on Tuesdays, including 8-2 at Citizens Bank Park.  We do well on Tuesdays and Sundays.  Perhaps next year’s schedule should only include home games on those days.

An Observation
Buck Martinez, former player and manager, was at Citizens Bank Park last night doing some interviews for XM Radio and their morning show.

“What impresses me most about the Phillies is the character of the players they run out there,” he said in a conversation during BP.

Post-Season Tickets
In an effort to give as many fans a chance to purchase tickets to the post-season should the Phillies be involved, fans can register online:

Register Now »

As of today, over 50,000 fans have registered.

Chart of the Day
Burrell is moving up on the Phillies all-time home run chart:
Mike Schmidt  548
Del Ennis  259
Chuck Klein  243
Greg Luzinski  223
Cy Williams  217
Pat Burrell  216

Offense Against Offense

September 10, 2007

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Utley, 2b; Burrell, lf; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Victorino, rf; Dobbs, 3b; Ruiz, c; Lohse, p.

Finally, the Rockies are in Philly, the last National League city they are visiting. 

They come in right in the middle of the wild card race.  Since May 21, they are 56-41, third best mark in the game.  They’ve won 10 of their last 15.  Coors Field is their haven (43-28); the road not so friendly (31-40), including 4-6 at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies lead the league in average (.279), runs (782), on-base-percentage (.357) and left on base (1,135).  The Rockies are third in average (.275), second in runs (721), on-base percentage (.349) and LOB (1,076).  Team ERA, Phillies (4.82) are 14th; Rockies (4.40), eighth.

When it comes to defense, no one in the majors matches the Rockies for fewest errors (61).  The Phillies are tied for third lowest with 78.  Baltimore has the fewest in the AL (71).

Iguchi at 3B?
A reader questioned whether Tadahito Iguchi could play third base.  It was discussed but the Phillies felt the move shouldn’t be made. 

Iguchi did play some shortstop in Japan but he’s a true second baseman.

Moving over to the other side of the infield can be quite of an adjustment.  Batted balls come you differently and arm strength comes into play at third base vs. second base.

Chart of the Day
On Saturday, Chase Utley set a Phillies single-season club record by getting hit by a pitch for the 20th time, which is also a major league high.  Chase has a long way to go to match the major league record, 50, set by Montreal’s Ron Hunt in 1971.

The Phillies top five:
Chase Utley  20  2007
Dave Hollins  19  1992
Aaron Rowand  18  2006
Aaron Rowand  18  2007
Phil Bradley  16  1998
Ed Bouchee  14  1957
Mike Lieberthal  14  2002
Chase Utley  14  2006
Shane Victorino  14  2006

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