April 2008

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Tonight’s Lineup
As of 5 p.m., the Phillies lineup was still up in the air, pending Jimmy Rollins’ availability.

Tough Night
Tough night in New York last night.  Great pitching but an offense that didn’t execute and produce. 

Charlie Manuel said it best in Ken Mandel’s game report on this site: “We had a lot of opportunities, but couldn’t get the hit at the right time.  Our batting average is down and our run production is down.”

Checking the team offensive numbers, the Phillies are at .243, which is below last year’s .274 final figure.  On average, 4.2 runs per game this year vs. 5.5 a year ago.  The bats will come around.

Cubs In Town
Riding a five-game winning streak, the Cubs begin a weekend series at Citizens Bank Park tonight. 

In the first four years of Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have won eight of the 12 meetings with the Cubs.

Carlos Zambrano, their ace, faces Bret Myers tonight.  Has the makings of a classic pitching duel. 

Elsewhere
Chris Coste will autograph his book, “The 33-Year-Old Rookie”, tomorrow from 12 noon until 1:30 p.m., at the Majestic Clubhouse Store in Citizens Bank Park . . . Jimmy Rollins will receive his MVP, Rawlings Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards pre-game tomorrow night.  Chase Utley will receive his third consecutive Silver Slugger Award . . . Veteran left-handed reliever Steve Klein, 35, has been signed by the Phillies.  He is expected to join the Lehigh Valley IronPigs next week . . . The IronPigs play their home opener tonight at Coca-Cola Park.  They are off to a 0-8 start.  Last time a Dave Huppert managed club started 0-9 was the Lakewood BlueClaws, who went on to become the South Atlantic League Champions in 2006 . . . Showers are forecast for the weekend but it doesn’t appear is any of the games are in real jeopardy of not being played . . . Tickets are available for the entire weekend.

 

Streak Ended

Did anyone think the Phillies would never lose a game to the Mets?

The nine-game win streak ended ugly last night as the defense crumbled.  Catching the ball is one of the strengths of this team but that hasn’t been the case early this season. 

While watching the debacle, the thought entered my mind….what is the Phillies record for most errors in a game?

Answer: 8, done two different times, April 24, 1922 against the New York Giants and August 18, 1941 against the Cincinnati Reds. 

For this season, the Phillies lead the majors with 13 errors.  Relax, the Phillies are 390 away from the club record.  Yes, in 1904, during a 155-game season, the Phillies made 403 errors.  Can you imagine the SportsCenter highlights back then?

J-Roll Sits
Jimmy Rollins’ consecutive game streak ended at 230 last night when he was removed from the original lineup for precautionary measures.  The last time he didn’t play was Julky 30, 2006, first game of a doubleheader against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.  Danny Sandoval played.

J-Roll’s streak was the third longest in the majors: Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore (367) and Atlanta’s Jeff Francoeur (335).

Back to the Phillies record book.  Longest consecutive game streak in club history is 730 games, set by Richie Ashburn, July 7, 1950 through September 26, 1954. Ashburn and Del Ennis collided during an exhibition game in Wilmington, DE, a few days before the 1955 season opener.

Big Apple
Media opportunities and exposure increases in New York City.

Chase Utley appeared on ESPN Radio yesterday morning as well as an ESPN chat.  Separately Jamie Moyer and Jimmy Rollins taped Tim McCarver Shows yesterday.  This morning, Shane Victorino was on the ESPN2’s “First Take.”

 

Chasing a Record

Chase Utley entered the record book this afternoon in Shea Stadium by being hit by a pitch three times.

Fortunately, none were painful or damaging, especially compared to last season when his right hand was broken by a pitch.  That one sidelined him for a month.

His major body ache came from a throw by first baseman Carlos Delgado, who drilled Chase in the back while throwing to second on a potential double play. That had to smart but a 5-2 come-from-behind win erased the pain, I’m sure.

So, the record book.

Three hit by pitches has been done many times in Major League Baseball history.  The last one to do it was Nomar Garciaparra of the Dodgers, July 3, 2006.

Several players shared the Phillies record, two.  Who was the most recent?  Utley, September 19, 2007, against the Cardinals.

The Phillies record for most times hit by a pitch in a season is 25.  Who else but Utley a year ago.

J-Roll Pain 

Jimmy Rollins did leave the game with a sprained left ankle.  I’m sure we won’t know more until tomorrow afternoon after he gets to the park.

Day Game Streak

Today’s game ended a streak of four consecutive day games, sort of a rarity in baseball these days.  Later in the season, the Phillies will match that with three games in Chicago and the first game of a series in Washington.   

 

 

Back in Business

 

Back from Clearwater and back in business.  Thanks for your patience while this space went empty.

Third Win
Riding the long ball, Cole Hamels’ pitching and the first save for Brad Lidge, the Phillies gained a split in the four-game series in Cincinnati with a narrow win this afternoon.

At 3-4, the record isn’t great.  But, it beats a year ago when it took the Phillies 11 games to get three wins.

Historic Opener
The Phillies flew to New York after the game for the Mets home opener tomorrow afternoon.  It is the last opener in Shea Stadium history as the Mets move into their new ballpark a year from now.

The rivalry between the Phillies and Mets has been heightened by what happened a year ago.  Media will be huge tomorrow.  There will be plenty of booing from NY fans during the Phillies pre-game intros, the loudest for Jimmy Rollins.  J-Roll can handle it.

The Phillies have won eight straight against the Mets, including seven in a row during the final five weeks of last season.  The last time the Mets beat the Phillies was June 30, a game in which lefty J. A. Happ started for the Phillies. 

Century Mark
Chase Utley’s two homers on Friday night gave him 100 for his short career. 

Curiosity set in.  Where do 100 homers rank in Phillies history?  Well, Chase is tied for 22nd with old friend Juan Samuel.  Another infielder, Granny Hamner, is in 21st place with 103.

On a higher level, Pat Burrell is climbing the Phillies home-run ladder.  His two today give him 221, two behind Greg Luzinski who is fourth place. If Burrell passes Luzinski, will Bull’s BBQ become Burrell’s BBQ?

Stay in the Box
Another old friend, Larry Bowa, was suspended for three games after being ejected for not staying in the third base coach’s box.  MLB decided to enforce the rule, which I’ve never seen. 

But, this weekend in Cincinnati, Billy Hatcher, the Reds’ first base coach was halfway to Kentucky when Ken Griffey Jr. came to bat.  Where’s the consistency?

Survey Says
Favorite athlete to watch?  

Brad Lidge says John Elway.

 

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