April 2008

Winning April

End of the month, a good one.  Don’t have to hear any more about slow starts.

We carry a 15-12 record into tonight’s game, two wins shy of the club record for April.  The 1993 bunch went 17-5 en route to the pennant.

Jamie Moyer gets the nod tonight on Jamie Moyer Bobble Figurine night.  Having him start on the night of his promotion is purely coincidental.  Our promotions department sits down every November and maps out promotions for the following season.  I know pitching coach Rich Dubee wasn’t at that meeting last fall.

A chance of showers (which also means a chance of no showers) are forecast for the series finale tomorrow night.  That’s fitting because Randy Wolf is pitching for the Padres.  During his Phillies career, it seemed as if rain/showers were always in the picture the day he started.

Numbers
**Chase Utley has reached base in 20 straight games and 26 of his last 27. 
**Pat Burrell’s streak is longer, 25 consecutive games; also 26 of 27.
**Greg Dobbs leads all major league pinch-hitters with 5 hits and 6 RBI.

Tonight’s Lineup
Werth, cf
Bruntlett, ss
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Jenkins, rf
Feliz, 3b
Coste, c
Moyer, p

Victorino Activated

 

At 2:36 this afternoon, Assistant GM Ruben Amaro left a voice mail message:

**Shane Victorino has been reinstated from the disabled list and activated for tonight’s game.

**T. J. Bohn has been optioned to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and will be in Allentown for tonight’s game.

**Infielder Oscar Robles has been claimed on waivers from San Diego and optioned to Lehigh Valley.  (Robles, 31, has played second, short and third in the majors with the Dodgers and Padres.  He hit .284 at Portland (AAA) and .231 at San Diego last season).

All the paper work that needs to be filed with Major League Baseball is then handled by Susan Ingersoll Papaneri, Director, Baseball Administration.  Actually, it is both paper and electronic filing that takes place. 

There’s your Baseball 101 lesson for the day.

Tonight’s Lineup

Werth, cf
Bruntlett, ss
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Jenkins, rf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Hamels, p

Online
Fan voting for the All-Star Game starters began on MLB.com today.  Fans can vote online up to 25 times until July 2.

Player of the week (Reading’s Jeremy Slayden) and pitcher of the week (Clearwater’s Antonio Bastardo) plus a  review of the Phillies minor league system: http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/phi/downloads/y2008/042808.pdf.

 

 

 

Back Home

Guess seven games in three different time zones wasn’t an issue as the Phillies returned home last night after a 5-2 trip to Denver, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

Jayson Werth had a great road trip, hitting .323, 10 hits, 4 homers, 7 RBI.  With Shane Victorino ready to come off the DL tomorrow, it poses an interesting situation for Charlie Manuel: “Who’s in center?”

Shane had a whirlwind rehab hourney last week, extended spring training to Clearwater to Reading to Lehigh Valley. 

Padres Next
Phillies caught a break when Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy pitched yesterday in San Diego.  We get Greg Maddux, Chris Yong and Randy Wolf during the three-game series that starts tomorrow night. 

Maddux goes for his 350th win tomorrow night.  He has the most career wins (29) and strikeouts (307) against us of any active pitcher.  He’s 1-0 at Citizens Bank Park.

Phillies/Padres Notes
 **Longest winning streak vs. SD: 12 games, May 23, 2004 to July 4, 2006.
 **Longest losing streak vs. SD: 6 games, July 9-July 21, 1992.
 **Longest game: 17 innings, 9-8 Phillies win at the Vet, August 21, 1980.
 **Latest ending game: 4:40 a.m., at the Vet, July 2, 1993, twi-night doubleheader with three rain delays.
 **Shortest game between the two clubs: 1 hour, 29 minutes, May 4, 1977, 9 innings, in San Diego.
 **Last trade between the two teams: SS Desi Relaford for INF David Newhan, August 7, 2000.

Television Juggling
Because the Flyers and Sixers are in the playoffs, the Phillies games are being moved from Comcast SportsNet to CN8 tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday nights.  Some fans can’t get CN8 and have voiced displeasure at not being able to see our games. 

Our contact with CSN stipulates that the Flyers and Sixers get preference during playoff time.

FOX has added the July 12 game against the Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park to their Saturday schedule.  Game time will be moved to 3:55 p.m. for the national telecast.

Konstanty Feedback
Appreciate the comments about Jim Konstanty and the Phillies Wall of Fame.  He’s been on the fan ballot on this website and has made it to the final five but this year but he didn’t get enough fan votes to quality for the Special Wall of Fame Committee that selects the winner.

 

Alumni News

 

The fans have spoken.  15 Phillies Alumni has been boiled down to five finalists for the 2008 inductee into the Phillies Wall of Fame. 

Fan voting took part during a four-week period in spring training.  Now, a special WOF Selection Committee is voting to see who will be inducted on Friday night, August 9, before the game with the Pirates.  The Committee includes members of the media and Phillies executives.

The five finalists, in alphabetical order, are catcher Darren Daulton, outfielder Lenny Dykstra, outfielder Greg Gross, first baseman John Kruk and second baseman Juan Samuel.

Most of the Wall of Fame members will be at Citizens Bank Park for the August 9 pre-game event, including Robin Roberts, Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, three Hall of Famers.

Where are they now?

Phillies Alumni who are managing in the minors: Ryne Sandberg (A ball-Peoria), Marc Bombard (AAA-Charlotte), Bobby Thigpen (R-Bristol), Don Money (AA-Huntsville), Nick Leyva (R-Kingsport), Randy Ready (AAA, Portland), Jim Morrison (A, Vero Beach), John Stearns (AA, Harrisburg), Ramon Aviles (R-Vermont).

Minor league coaches: Calvin Madura (R, Sarasota), Darold Knowles (A, Dunedin). Sixto Lezcano (R, Orlando), Billy McMillon (A, Greenville), Derrick May (AA, Springfield, TX).

Broadcasting: Tim McCarver (FOX), Joe Morgan (ESPN), Kruk (ESPN), Buck Martinez (Orioles and XM Radio), Ed Farmer (White Sox), Rex Hudler (Angels), Todd Kalas (Rays), Jeff Brantley (Reds), Tommy Hutton (Marlins), Cookie Rojas (Marlins), Bob Uecker (Brewers), Bob Walk (Pirates), Mike Krukow (Giants).

NOTE: Phillies Insider will be on a break until Monday, the 21st.

Bullpen Does It

Perhaps getting to Denver yesterday at the same time that the morning newspapers were being delivered didn’t bother the Phillies.

Trailing, 5-2, after five, the Phillies came back for a big 9-5 win.  Three double plays by the defense overcame three errors in the field.  Three home runs powered the offense and struggling Carlos Ruiz came up with a big two-run double to give the Phillies the lead.

But, the key was the bullpen.  Clay Condrey, Rudy Seanez, Tom Gordon and Brad Lidge held the Rockies scoreless on one hit over the last four innings. 

As David Murphy wrote in the Daily News today, Utley is swinging a torrid home run bat but it was his glove that started a game-saving double play in the third inning.  It has Web Gem written all over it for ESPN highlights. 

“He launched himself parallel to the infield dirt and somehow managed to snag Clint Barmes’ hard chopper that seemed destined for center field.  After landing flat on his torso, he raised his glove and shoveled the ball to shortstop Eric Bruntlett, who made a quick throw to first base for an inning-ending double play,” Murphy descriptively wrote.

The play saved two runs when the Rockies were already leading, 3-0.

The win was the Phillies’ 177th on the road, most in the National League since 2004.

Numbers
Phillies lead the NL:
       Pinch-hitting average, .324
       Pinch-hits, 11
       Pinch homers, 3
       RBI by pinch-hitters, 7
       Home runs, 33
       Bullpen ERA, 2.84

 

Utley Take Power On The Road

 

Chase Utley is on a long ball roll.  His two homers last night were huge in a huge must-win game for us.

As everyone knows–or should know–he’s homered in four straight games, a total of five long balls.

The club record is five consecutive games shared by Dick Allen, May 27-28, 30-June, 1969; Mike Schmidt, July 6-10, 1976 and Bobby Abreu, May 8-12, 2005.    The major league record is eight games in a row.

Chase’s home run streak has vaulted him into the National League lead.  Last second baseman to lead the NL in homers?  Ryne Sandberg, 40, 1990.  It is only April so we shouldn’t get carried away on that front. 

Utley takes his power show on the road as the Phillies open a two-game series in Denver’s Coors Field tonight.  Among his 17 hits in that park are four home runs.

Tough Trip
Yes, major league players travel on charter planes, stay in first-class hotels and get to see the county.  Well, this trip is a dandy–seven games against three different teams.

Frank Coppenbarger is the Director, Team Travel and Clubhouse Services.   He issues an itinerary before every trip. 

A Delta charter was scheduled to depart Philly at 1:00 a.m. (EDT) following last night’s ESPN telecast. The cost of the Delta charter for the four-hour flight: $63,750.  A total of 49 persons were on the manifest. 

Game equipment amounts to 5,000 pounds.  Personal luggage for the traveling party, 3,500 pounds.

Two buses and two trucks are scheduled on arrivals.  The buses transport the traveling party to the hotel.  One truck takes the game equipment to the ballpark and the other, carries the luggage to the hotel.

Estimated arrival at the Denver airport was 3 a.m. (MDT).  Add another 40-45 minutes for the bus ride to the hotel which means the players got there room keys around 3:45 a.m. (MDT).  Their luggage probably arrived 30-45 minutes later.  Most of the time, everyone goes to bed as soon as possible and has the luggage delivered to the room when they get awake, rather than wait.

Kyle Kendrick, tonight’s starting pitcher, flew to Denver earlier on Sunday so that he could get a good night’s rest, a common practice in baseball.

The players unpack today, play tonight, pack tomorrow morning, leave for Milwaukee after tomorrow’s night game, unpack on Wednesday but pack again Thursday morning for an afternoon game with the Brewers that day and then head for Pittsburgh post-game.  They unpack on Friday and pack again Sunday morning for a flight home that evening.

Coppenbarger’s itinerary also includes the following notes:
 **On arrival in Denver (move watches back 2 hours).
 **On arrival in Milwaukee (move watches ahead 1 hour).
 **On arrival in Pittsburgh (move watches ahead 1 hour).

Sleeping, eating and daily routines require adjustments this week, a week of three different time zones.

 

Burrell on Top

 

80-degree day, a Friday night game against the Mets and a match-up of Cole Hamels and Johan Santana.

It doesn’t get any better than that at Citizens Bank Park.  The place will be jumping.

With two outstanding left-handers, it has the makings of a great pitching match-up like Robin Roberts/ Don Newcombe (Phillies-Dodgers) in the 1950s and Steve Carlton/Tom Seaver (Phillies-Mets) in the 1970s.  Baseball being unpredictable means it will probably wind up being a 12-10 slugfest.

Burrell On Top
Pat leads the NL with 17 RBI.

Which brings up several questions:

What is his best April?  Glad you asked, 2005 and 2006, 21 each.

What is the club record for April?  Again, glad you asked, 22, by Von Hayes in 1989, playing 22 games.

Am I sure he has 17 RBI this month?  Well…..oops, no.  He had one on opening day which was March 31, so he has 16 this month. 

Okay, then who holds the Phillies record for most RBI in the month of March?  That was easy to research because this March 31 was the third time in club history that the Phillies opened the season on that date. 

Okay, but what is the answer?  2, shared by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley this year!

So, there’s your history lesson for today.

A Reminder
3:55 p.m. FOX game of the week tomorrow and 8:05 ESPN Sunday Night Game, meaning Phillies fans around the country can catch the games via national TV.

Minor League Review
The first of weekly reviews of the Phillies minor league system is now posted in the Minor League Affiliates section of this site:  http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/phi/downloads/y2008/phi_041708.pdf

 

 

Bounceability

Kyle Kendrick came through big time last night but the offense couldn’t muster much against Roy Oswalt, who snapped a career-high three-game losing streak and who beat us for the sixth straight time.

Kyle was really sharp, retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.  He pitches like that and we’ll be in good shape.  It was the staff’s ninth quality start. 

Bounceability
A year ago, the Phillies scored 1 or fewer runs 11 times.  They bounced back and won 9 of the 11 games the next day.

This year, came back with an 8-run win after scoring 1 the previous game. That bodes well for this afternoon as we need a win to make it 2-out-of-3.

Big Weekend
The New York-Philly rivalry heats up as the Mets come to town for three night games.

Johan Santana vs. Cole Hamels tomorrow night.  What a match-up!  Hitters will get a steady diet of change ups.

Both tomorrow and Saturday are sell outs and a limited number of seats are available for Sunday.  As is club policy, 500 standing room tickets will be available for each game.   For Friday, those tickets go on sale at 4 in the afternoon; Saturday, 12 noon and Sunday, 4 p.m. again.

National TV
Both Saturday and Sunday are on national TV.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will be here for Saturday’s 3:55 FOX game of the week.  Jon Miller and Joe Morgan will be in the booth for ESPN’s Sunday Night telecast, an 8:05 p.m. start.

Down On The Farm
Thought I came up with a brilliant idea yesterday by letting you know a daily Down On The Farm feature will be part of this blog.

Well, guess what?  That already appears on phillies.com, thanks to the folks at MilB.com, the minor league site. 

Check it out and bookmark it as a favorite:
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080401&content_id=378980&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

 

 

HUGE WIN

Pat Burrell said it best, “We were asleep for eight innings.”

Then, the fireworks began and the Phillies walked off with one of the most thrilling wins in a long time, four runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 win. 

Geoff Jenkins was safe on a very close play at home plate.  It was really, really close.  We lost a game on a play like that in NY last week so I guess things even out.

Adam Eaton is now 3-for-3 in quality starts.  Consistency is so huge for any starting pitcher. Adam’s worked hard to get healthy and we know what he can do when he is free of ailments.

Chris Snelling broke the sleepy spell with his first pinch homer.  Burrell went the opposite way with his two-run homer and Pedro Feliz’ third hit of the game was the game-winner.

PHILLIES ALL-TIME HOME RUN CHART
548 Mike Schmidt
259 Del Ennis
243 Chuck Klein
223 PAT BURRELL
 Greg Luzinski

Instant Replays
The missed home run call on Sunday brought up the issue of instant replays in baseball.  Todd Zolecki and Jim Salisbury had a story in Tuesday’s Inquirer about that.

As they pointed out, the GMs voted 25-5 to recommend the use of instant replays for disputed home run calls. 

It has to be approved by Commissioner Selig and the Players Association and then the technical logistical details need to be ironed out.  Every major league game has TV coverage to it would be a matter of figuring out how the umps would view the replays.

Down On The Farm (new daily feature)
**Lehigh Valley won second straight after starting season 0-11. LHP Brian Mazzone allowed 1 run in 5 innings.  LHP Steve Kline made his LV debut.
**Reading lost, 8-2, in 11 innings.  CG Greg Golson had 2 hits, boosting average to .340.
**Clearwater dropped 8-5 decision at Ft. Myers.
**Lakewood won, 5-3, at Lake County.  RHP Julian Sampson picked up first pro win.  RF Michael Taylor, 2-4, 2 doubles, 2 RBI; hitting .364..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two of three

 

One of the formulas for being a champion is to take two out of three games in a series.

The Phillies just did that against the Cubs over the weekend.  Even though two wins were welcomed, we lost a chance for a sweep on Sunday.

The extra inning loss was the result of several factors, lack of hitting with runners on base by us (2-11),  too many runners left on base (15), a bad call by third base ump Adrian Johnson on a home run ball (replays showed it was a foul ball), a great defensive play by Derrek Lee to rob Carlos Ruiz of a game-winning hit in the 9th and Chase Utley’s throwing error of a potential inning-ending double play in the top of the 10th.  The errant toss plated the winning run.

Utley’s error may have cost the Phillies the game but he will win more games than he loses. Book it.

Day Off
Second day off of the young season for everyone but Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.  Both came in for treatments with the athletic training staff.

Jimmy hopes to play tomorrow night but that decision won’t be made until he has more treatment and works out. 

Shane’s on the DL but the injury isn’t as severe as last year when he missed a month..

Premiere Showing
“Richie Ashburn: A Baseball Life” will be premiered this evening during the 17th Philadelphia Film Festival, a sold out event at the Prince Music Theatre in center city.

The 95-minute DVD can be ordered on phillies.com now.  The video will be on sale at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park on April 22.

Ashburn’s major league debut came on April 20, 1948.  His death came 11 years ago this coming September 9.

The entertaining DVD is written and produced by Dan Stephenson, our award-winning video production guru.

Jackie Robinson Day
Phillies, along with all other major league clubs, are paying tribute to Jackie Robinson’s 61st anniversary of breaking the color barrier in baseball tomorrow.

Members of the Philadelphia Stars, the Negro League team in the city, will be on hand tomorrow as will Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts, who faced Jackie so many times.

Rollins, in a tribute to Jackie, will wear number 42 tomorrow as will Michael Bourn, the Houston centerfielder and lead-off hitter.

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