July 2008

Deadline has come and gone but that doesn’t mean efforts to upgrade the team have come and gone.

Starting tomorrow, teams will ask waivers on certain players.  If a player clears waivers, he can then be moved to another club.  Every afternoon, a confidential bulletin comes to our Baseball Operations Department from Major League Baseball listing the players who have cleared waivers.

Jamie Moyer, Jeff Conine and Cory Lidle were all obtained by us after the deadline in previous years. 

Next “deadline” is August 30.  Players added to the roster by that date will be eligible for the post season.  On September 1, rosters can be expanded for the last month but those players cannot be put on a post season roster.  Well, under some circumstances, there are exceptions.  Too complicated to worry about right now.

Shutting the door
Five batters, three runs.  That was Washington’s first inning last night and it looked as if we might be in for a long winter’s nap.

Jamie then shut the door…big time as he allowed no more runs on two hits through six innings.  He truly is the epitome of a true professional.  He has so much experience on which to lean.

Shane has 7 homers and 17 RBI this month.  Unless he hits 7 tonight, he will fall way short of Chuck Klein’s record for the month….14 set 79 years ago.  Klein drove in 40 runs that July and it, too, still stands as the club record.

Not downplaying 7 homers for Shane.  He’s game is speed and not pop but he’s on a long ball roll lately. 

Minor League Notes
Adam Eaton gets a start tonight for Lakewood against visiting West Virginia Power (Charlestown, WV, hometown).  He’ll shuttle between Lakewood (A ball), Reading (AA) and Lehigh Valley (AAA) for his starts. That’s one of the real benefits of having three minor league teams within two hours of Citizens Bank Park.  

Speaking of Lakewood, my apologies to the BlueClaws.  A couple of days ago, I wrote that hitting coach Greg Legg of Lakeland would be joining the big league Phillies while Roly de Armas is away for the Olympics.  I knew it wasn’t Lakeland.  It obviously was a malfunction of the keyboard! 

Thanks to Laura for posting the error.

RHP Kyle Drabek, No. 1 selection two years ago, had Tommy John surgery on July 25, 2007.  It usually takes a year before a pitcher can get back on the mound.

The 19-year-old right-hander started and went 3 scoreless innings yesterday for the Gulf Coast League Phillies.  “Threw ball great for first time out,” reported pitching coach Carlos Arroyo.

No Harry
Because of his recent eye surgery, Harry Kalas is grounded from airplane flights.  So, he will not be with the team in St. Louis for the weekend series that begins tomorrow night.

National TV
The original schedule says day game in St. Louis on Sunday.  But, it has been changed to an 8:05 game (EDT) for an ESPN Sunday Night telecast.

 

Brett was Striking

Good to see Brett and Chase come through last night in DC. 

Brett threw strikes and that was the difference.  Of the 88 pitches, 63 were strikes.  He had only two strikeouts but nine ground ball and nine fly ball outs.  He is the key pitcher on the staff.

Chase delivered the long ball and also hit the ball hard in his other at-bats.

Tim Redding tonight.  He’s been tough on us.

J-Roll numbers
Scott Lauber had an interesting note in Sunday’s Wilmington News-Journal, which has been updated.

When Rollins scores a run, the Phillies are 26-8 this season.  Last year: 67-34.  In his career: 405-195. 

Rollins was on base for Chase’s homer.

Players of the Week
A pair of first-year players are the winners of last week’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Week in the Phillies system:
http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/phi/downloads/y2008/072908.pdf

This Date
In Phillies history……….
1995 Richie Ashburn and Mike Schmidt are inducted in Hall of Fame in Cooperstown before estimated 25,000, a record.  That was a day that will be forever etched in our memory.
 The ceremony looked like the red sea with so many Phillies fans wearing red.  Downtown Cooperstown was also overwhelming red.

 

 

Here and There…..

Roster Moves
As expected, LHP J. A. Happ joined the Phillies in DC today from Lehigh Valley, taking Adam Eaton’s spot on the pitching staff.  Happ was 7-6, 3.30 ERA in 20 games this season for the IronPigs.  He’s leading the International League with 127 strikeouts (117 innings). J. A. started the season, 0-3, 5.59 in first 4 AAA starts.

That was this morning.

Then, this afternoon, 3B Mike Cervenak was recalled from Lehigh Valley to replace Pedro Feliz, put on the 15-day DL with a lower back inflammation.

Cervenak, a 31-year-old U. of Michigan grad, was hitting .320 in 99 games (23 doubles, 7 HR, 56 RBI) at LV and riding a 14-game hitting streak, .421 (24-56).  After 9 years in the minors, he made his major league debut with the Phillies earlier this month.  He was signed as a minor league free agent last December.

The right-handed hitter is a .298 career minor league hitter.

Greg Legg, hitting coach at Lakeland, has replaced Roly de Armas on Manuel’s staff. De Armas is a member of the USA Olympic Team staff.  He’s expected back shortly after the August 23 Gold Medal Game.

Deadline
4 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, is the trading deadline on Thursday.

Pat Gillick, Ruben Amaro and Mike Arbuckle have set up a war room in the hotel in Washington, DC.  Of course, the old days of using hotel phones have gone out of the window with cell phones. Their cell phones will be busy between now and then.

Adding a lefty in the bullpen is the primary focus.

Once the deadline line is passed, players can still be moved but have to clear waivers first.  The Phillies have picked up Jeff Conine and Jamie Moyer (both 2006) and Cory Lidle (2004) that way.
So, don’t panic if Thursday comes and goes.

Starters
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com had an interesting note about starting pitchers recently.  Of starters traded at the deadline, the last one to win a World Series game was Jeff Weaver of the Cardinals two years ago.

Over in the A. L.?  Try Mike Torrez with the Yankees….30 seasons ago. 

Really
Juan Samuel wore # 8 in his Phillies career.  He is being inducted into the Wall of Fame on 8-8-08.

Happy Anniversary
On this date in Phillies history (1983), we purchased Larry Andersen from our AAA team in Portland, OR.  He was on loan from Seattle’s Salt Lake City team in the same Pacific Coast League.  For some reason, Seattle didn’t want him on their AAA team.

Once loaned, he’s now a fixture in Philadelphia.  Just another heart-warming success story.

 

Friendly Phillies calendar says no game for this date.  That is correct, except this evening is the annual Phillies Phestival at Citizens Bank Park.

The fun-filled autograph and auction party for all ages is held to try and strike out ALS, the devastating neuromuscular condition for which there is no known cause or cure.

This year’s goal is to raise over $800,000 which would put the grand total raised to over $10 million.  Proceeds go toward research at ALS association Centers in Pennsylvania Hospital and the Hershey Medical Center, along with much-needed patient care services.

All the players, their wives, broadcasters, ball girls and entire Phillies staff will participate.  Hopefully some day, we can strike out ALS.

Following the event, the Phillies board an AMRAK train for a trip to Washington, DC, and three night games with the Nationals starting tomorrow.  Then, a weekend in St. Louis.

Weekend Totals
We had a knock-down series with the Braves and came out with two wins which was vital.
The series featured three five-run innings, two seven-run innings and a nine-run inning. 

By the numbers:
Triples   1
Doubles   12
Home runs  12
Number pitchers 33
Left on base  39
Runs   51
Hits   67
Rain delay  117 minutes
Pitches thrown  932
Fans   135,317

Don’t know who had the most trips to the mound, Rich Dubee or Roger McDowell.

Who is Osborn?
Wrote yesterday about Doc Miller, whose pinch-hit record of 20 has been tied by Greg Dobbs.  Miller had that number in 1913.  The year before, he had 7, which tied the club record set in 1907 by Wilfred Pearl (Ossie) Osborn, also known as Fred.

A left-handed hitting outfielder, Osborn played three years in the majors, 1907-09, all with the Phillies.  The seven pinch-hits were among his 45 for the season.

Now, you can sleep better tonight knowing this piece of Phillies history.  If you still can’t sleep, see your doctor!

 

Emotions

Emotions were plentiful in yesterday’s come-from-behind win over the Braves.

Emotion # 1: comfort, a 3-0 lead for Cole after three innings. 

Emotion # 2: shock, as the Braves scored 9 times in the top of the fourth.

Emotion # 3: euphoria, when Greg hit that three-run homer in the fifth to give us a 10-9 lead.

Emotion: 4: relief.  After Cole departed, the bullpen blanked the Braves the rest of the way with Brad setting a club record with his 23rd consecutive save.  Bill Wagner’s 22 in a row is now off the Phillies books.

While dining at a restaurant with my wife last night, I overhead an obvious Phillies fan at a nearby table say, “The Phillies won today. Life is good.”

Indeed

Who Is Doc Miller?
Dobb’s homer was his 20th pinch hit, tying a Phillies record that stood for 94 years.  Doc Miller will soon be number two on the Phillies season pinch-hit list.

Anticipating a million inquiries as to who in the world is Doc Miller, here’s the answer:

Roy Oscar (Doc) Miller was an outfielder with a five-year, big-league career (.295 for 1,171 games) in the National League: Chicago (1910), Boston (1910-12), Phillies (1912-1913) and Cincinnati (1914).

Miller, a left-handed hitter, established the Phillies club record with 20 pinch hits in 54 at-bats (.370) in 1913.  He played only 12 games in right field that year and was 10-33 (.303) as a non-pinch hitter.  In 69 games, he hit .345 with 6 doubles (all as a pinch hitter), no homers and 11 RBI.

His pinch hits by the month: April 1, May 2, June 5, July 8, August 2, September 2.

Born in Chatham, Ontario, Miller died in Jersey City, NJ, in 1938 at age 55.

His best season was 1912 with Boston.  He led the league with 192 hits and was second to Honus Wagner, .333-.332, for the batting title..  The Phillies acquired him from Boston the next summer for OF John (Tight Pants) Titus.  They sold him to Cincinnati following the 1913 season.

Miller also had seven pinch hits in 1912 for the Phillies and that tied the club record set in 1907 by Wilfred Osborn.  Who in the world is Wilfred Osborn?  Tune in tomorrow.  You may lose sleep by having to wait a day but you will survive!

Beijing Bound
SS Jason Donald and C Lou Marson of the Reading Phillies leave for San Francisco tomorrow for two days of orientation as part of the USA Olympic Baseball Team. The Reading Phillies held some emotional post-game send-off ceremonies last night.  The Olympics falg will fly at the Reading ballpark throughout the China games.

Phillies coach Roly de Armas is on the staff of the team that will be managed by Davey Johnson, a former Phillie (1977-78).

A week ago today, Donald and Marson played in the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium.  The next day they were told confidentially that they had been selected to the USA Olympic Baseball Team. On Tuesday, they were in the Eastern League All-Star Game in Manchester, NH.

Speaking of emotions.

Alumni Batting Challenge
Two weeks from today, a Phillies Alumni Batting Challenge will take place at 1 p.m.
 
Three teams will compete: Ricky Jordan and Ricky Bottalico . . . Milt Thompson and Mitch Williams . . . Tyler Green and Ozzie Virgil.

It is also Ryan Howard Home Alternate Jersey Day for fans 14 and under, courtesy of Keystates Chrylser Jeep.

This Date
In Phillies history….
1950 RF Del Ennis doubles and homers, drives in seven runs in a 13-3 win at Wrigley Field.
1966 LHP Sandy Koufax strikes out 16 as Dodgers edge Phillies, 2-1, in 12 innings.  Phillies starter Jim Bunning fans 12 in 11 innings.

 

Keep Positive

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, SS; Victorino, CF; Utley, 2B; Howard, 1B; Burrell, LF; Werth, RF; Bruntlett, 3B; Coste, C; Hamels, P.

Puzzle Continues
Kyle kept us in the game with another typical performance from him.  Runners get on base but he controls the damage.  Can’t get a better quality start than one run in eight innings.

Brad couldn’t throw strikes and the game got out of hand in the ninth.  He’s been so super up until last night. 

The puzzle continues with the offense.  It is not just one or two players but multiple.  It is frustrating.  Just got to keep battling, keep working, keep positive.

Salute to Roberts
Two weeks from tonight, Phillies Alumni Night will feature a salute to Robin Roberts, who broke in with the Phillies 60 years ago this past June 18.  Robbie received the highest honor in baseball by being inducted into the Hall of Fame exactly 32 years ago on this date (August 9).
.
Roberts won the final game in 1950 when the Phillies, known as the Whiz Kids, won the pennant in Brooklyn.  He was pitching for the third time in the final five days of that season.
 
Joining Robbie on the field in the 6:30 p.m. pre-game ceremonies will be six members of the Whiz Kids, catcher Stan Lopata, pitcher Curt Simmons, pitcher Bob Miller, infielder Putsy Caballero, outfielder Jack Mayo and coach Maje McDonnell.  Roberts’ family will be here: his brother, three sons and grandchildren.
      
In addition to the eight Phillies Wall of Famers, nearly 35 Alumni will be introduced including Gene Garber, Ricky Jordan, Al Holland, Mitch Williams, Tommy Herr, Mark Leiter, Marty Bystrom, Del Unser, Ruben Amaro Sr., Larry Christenson and Ricky Bottalico.

Courtesy of Toyota, all fans will receive a commemorative print of Robbie.  The print includes a painting by Hall of Fame and Phillies artist Dick Perez and a biography of the great right-hander.

This Date
In Phillies history…..
1890 Phillies win 16th straight game, 5-2, at Cleveland.
1987 For only the third time in club history, Phillies hit three consecutive homers in an inning: Milt Thompson, Von Hayes and Mike Schmidt; 8th inning vs. Atlanta at the Vet.
1988 Mike Schmidt plays in 2,155th game at third base to break Eddie Mathews’ all-time NL record.

 

Silver Lining

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victornio, cf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Burrell, lf; Jenkins, rf; Feliz, 3b; Ruiz, c; Kendrick, p.

Silver Lining
There’s a silver lining to the gloom of losing two of three in New York.  We’re in second place one game out with 60 games left.  We’re not 61 out.

A year ago after 102 games, we were tied for second, 4 behind the Mets.

Jamie pitched a whale of a game and once again the offense sputtered.  Our last three runs have been solo homers. 

Yesterday is over.  Got to regroup for the weekend set with the Braves.  Can’t worry about the Mets or the Marlins.  We need to take care of our own business. 

Kalas Update
Harry will return tomorrow following surgery for a detached retina a week ago.  He’ll be on radio tomorrow (FOX national telecast) and back on TV again on Sunday. 

Kenny Albert and Eric Karros will be the FOX broadcasters.  The “other” game, which gets the “A” announcers: Yankees at Red Sox.  Surprised that those two teams are on national TV. 

Wall of Fame Night
Two weeks from tonight, second baseman Juan Samuel will be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.  Ceremonies begin at 7:00 p.m. with game time pushed back to 7:35 p.m.

Previous inductees who will be here for the ceremony include Robin Roberts (1978), Jim Bunning (1984), Steve Carlton (1989), Mike Schmidt (1990), Dick Allen (1994), Greg Luzinski (1998), Tony Taylor (2002), Bob Boone (2005) and Dallas Green (2006).

All fans will receive a commemorative print of Samuel, courtesy of Toyota, the official sponsor of the Wall of Fame display in the Memory Lane section of Ashburn Alley here at Citizens Bank Park.

This Date
In Phillies history……..
1950 Phillies sweep two in Chicago, 7-0 behind Bubba Church and 1-0 behind Robin Roberts to most into first place, a position they held the rest of the season.
1980 Mike Schmidt homers in 1st inning off Atlanta’s Larry McWilliams for his 260th home run, breaking Del Ennis’ club record.
1982 Steve Carlton blanks Dodgers, 1-0, in LA, his 275th win and 50th career shutout.  Manny Trillo ties NL record for most consecutive errorless games at second base in one season, 85. Ken Boswell, Mets, 1970, held old record.
2004 LHP Eric Milton had no-hit bid broken by Mike Barrett’s double in the top of the 9th at Citizens Bank Park.  Milton finished with a no-decision as Phillies won, 3-2, with a run in the last of the 9th.

 

 

 

Rubber Match

Well, we’re down to the rubber game this afternoon at Shea.  Winner takes the series and moves into first place.

Offense again was soft last night, other than the two solo home runs.  Brett struggled with his command big-time but was still encouraging.  He bent but didn’t break.

Madson had nine consecutive scoreless appearances end.  He hadn’t given up a home run since April 29 when Jose took him deep for the game-winner.  He’s a big part of a strong bullpen and just had one of those outings.   

After today, the Phillies and Mets meet only twice more, two games in Philly in August and three at Shea during September’s first weekend.

Braves Weekend
Back home for three games starting tomorrow night before heading out on the road again.  Seems as if we have way more road games than home games.

Tomorrow and Saturday afternoon are sell outs and a few tickets remain for Sunday’s afternoon game.

Chipper left the game last night with a hamstring problem.  Braves don’t play today.

National TV
FOX on Saturday afternoon (3:55) and ESPN Sunday Night (8:00) in St. Louis on August 3.

Starting on August 16 (at San Diego), we’re on FOX for five straight Saturdays. 

Comment Corner
In response to a comment yesterday, Harry Kalas had some eye surgery during the All-Star break and he’s on the same prognosis we use many times for players, “day-to-day.”

He’s anxious to get back to the booth.

Downer to Giddy

Sputtering, floundering, lethargic, lackluster, sluggish.

Call it what you want, but that’s what our offense looked like for the first six innings last night.  Granted Johan Santana is a very good pitcher.  He totally had the bats under control.  That’s why he is a number 1 ace.  He’s started three times against us this year.  He’s won once and had a pair of no decisions in which we won in our last at-bat.

When he left the game after eight innings, we got to the Mets’ Wagner-less bullpen big time.  With Taguchi and R-Roll getting key, two-run doubles, we were able to put a six spot on the scoreboard and what appeared to be a downer defeat turned into a giddy victory.

Taguchi has really been struggling as a pinch hitter after leading the majors a year ago with a .407 average on 13 pinch-hits.  He was hitless in 16 pinch at-bats until his double to right.  His teammates were So happy for him, in many ways.

Joe Blanton was hurt by a pair of two-run homers.  Each was preceded by a walk.  He walked three for the night and two scored. 

Now, the ball is in Brett’s hands tonight.  We need to get him into a groove because he can be a quality pitcher.

And, hopefully, the offense has found its groove.

Key series starts tonight in Shea Stadium.  By the end of the three days, someone will be in sole possession of first place.  It is important to take this series but there’s a long way to go in the season.

Joe Blanton, a low-key person by all newspaper accounts, makes his debut tonight.  Some facts: (1) he hasn’t pitched in 13 days; (2) he has 15 career scoreless innings against the Mets), and (3) he hasn’t batted since high school. 

Burrell
When Pat homered in St. Louis and Oakland last month, it was the 27th and 28th different ball park in which he’s hit a home run, a Phillies record.  He and Bobby Abreu began the year tied at 26.

Pat’s top three parks:
Citizens Bank Park 70
Veterans Stadium 44
Shea Stadium  18

All-time Shea HR leaders:
Mike Schmidt  26
Willie Stargell  26
Dick Allen  21
Chipper Jones  19
Pat Burrell  18

Second-half surge
Over the past three seasons, the Phillies have the best second-half record in the NL, 134-91. 

During that period of time, the Phillies also lead the NL in runs scored (1,289), an average of 5.73 runs per game, another league high.

Let’s hope the trend continues and starts tonight.

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