August 2008

Cole Seeks 10th

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, cf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Burrell, lf; Jenkins, rf; Bruntlett, 3b; Ruiz, c; Hamels, p.

Talked about command yesterday, something that Jamie Moyer admitted he didn’t have on Tuesday and it cost him.

Kyle Kendrick had command issues last night but he battled through it and came out a winner.  He threw 61 strikes and 45 balls in six innings, which is not a good ratio.  But, the scoreboard posted 000 000 and that is the bottom line.

Of the 18 outs he recorded, five were strikeouts, eight were ground ball outs and six fly ball outs.

Law of Averages
Also talked about this in yesterday’s Insider.

Well, it should be on the side of Cole Hamels. The Phillies ace hasn’t won a game since July 3. 

Baseball can be a strange game.  Moyer, the oldest player in the majors, was the first to reach 10 wins for us.  Kyle was second.  Cole’s been trying to get to that level for over a month.

Minor League Notes
The up side….RHP Kris Benson turned in his fourth consecutive quality start last night at Lehigh Valley.  “Best outing to date.  Overall stuff had some life and command was sharper,” reported Rod Nichols, the pitching coach.

The down side….RHP Tom Gordon (right elbow inflammation) left after only nine pitches of his rehab appearance at Clearwater last night because of elbow discomfort.  He returned to Philly today to see Dr. Michael Ciccotti.

More on Juan Samuel
Chris Wheeler has a good story about Sammy worth sharing:
“One day I was walking down Wilshire Blvd in LA looking for a place to have lunch and ran into Sammy.  We had a great relationship so we wound up in a little Mexican place.  He was a young player still feeling his way in the major leagues and that great smile was missing that day.  He had had a tough night at the plate against a pitcher who just made him look awful.  I told him that I’d been around for a little while and I thought that pitcher was going to be pretty good.   You know he said, ‘I just can’t hit that guy.’  I told him to hang in there and he’d hit him someday and he did.  The pitcher was Fernando Valenzuela.”

Sammy gets inducted into the Wall of Fame tomorrow night, festivities begin at 7 o’clock. 

Robin Roberts
He and the Whiz Kids will be the focus of our annual Alumni Night on Saturday night (6:30 festivities).

A total of 41 Alumni will be on the field. Robbie will be joined by his older brother, three of his sons and five grandchildren.

Several Alumni will be gate greeters.

**Samuel wore number 8 and he is being inducted into the Wall of Fame on 8-8-08.

**32 years ago on Saturday (August 9) Robbie was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

**43 years ago on August 9, while pitching for the Houston Astros, Robbie faced his former team for the first time and blanked the Phillies, 8-0.  Dick Allen and Bobby Wine played in that game and Harry Kalas was a Houston broadcaster. 



Law of Averages

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, cf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Burrell, lf; Jenkins, rf; Coste, c; Bruntlett, 3b; Kendrick, p.

Law of Averages
Fast ball, curve, slider, change, split, two-seam, four-seam, cutter, sinker.

No matter which of those pitches are thrown, it all evolves around command.

After being 10-0 in 10 starts against the Marlins, the law of averages caught up with Jamie Moyer last night and he was tagged with the loss.

“It was bound to happen sooner or later.  The way I look at it, I beat myself.  My command was so poor.  It felt like the plate was on wheels,” said Jamie.

All that said, the offense was slumbering again last night.  Inconsistency seems to be the issue.  The starting pitchers don’t have much room for error lately.

But, as Charlie Manuel says….gotta stay with it.

Samuel Testimony
“Juan Samuel was the rarest of players.  He could outrun everyone on his team and the opposition. Then he could blast a baseball into the far reaches of any ballpark with his amazing power.  Sammy was the original ‘quadruple double’ before it became a fashionable stat.
“He ran out every ball and never took a play off.  As he says, it wasn’t always pretty. But Phillies fans appreciated his hustle and desire and we came to the ballpark every day and night and expected something exciting from Sammy.  And he did it with that 1,000 watt smile and unbridled joy for the game,” Chris Wheeler, Phillies broadcaster.

Tickets are still available for Friday night’s Wall of Fame induction ceremonies for Juan Samuel.  Festivities on the field begin at 7 p.m.

Whiz Kids
Father time has taken most of the 1950 Phillies National League champions, best known as the Whiz Kids.

As part of Alumni Night on Saturday, the Phillies will salute Robin Roberts and his Whiz Kids teammates, they are now down to six: pitchers Curt Simmons and Bob Miller, infielder Putsy Caballero, outfielder Jack Mayo, catcher Stan Lopata and coach Maje McDonnell.

All will be part of the Alumni Night pre-game on-the-field ceremonies that begin at 6:30 p.m.

Daddy Lieby
Mike and Kelly Lieberthal became parents for the first time today in Los Angeles….a a bouncing boy named Merek.

Power Against Power

Tonight’s Lineup

Rollins, ss; Victorino, cf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Burrell, lf; Jenkins, rf; Bruntlett, 3b; Ruiz, c; Moyer, p.

Phillies and Marlins means pennant implications but also a battle of the long ball.  We rank first and they are second. So, it is power against power.

For the fifth consecutive season, the Phillies have a streak of homering in 12 straight games.  More than 12:
16 2002, 2006
14 1922, 2006
13 1964

Beijing Bound
Baseball’s Team USA left the country today bound for China and the 2008 Olympics.

Shortstop Jason Donald, catcher Lou Marson and coach Roly de Armas of the Phillies are on Team USA.

Yesterday, they finished a four-game series against the Canadian Team in Durham, NC, winning three.  Pat Gillick and Chuck LaMar were there for two of the games.  De Armas reported Marson was 2-for-7 with an RBI and caught well in three games.  Donald was hitless in 14 at-bats over four games.  “Jason was pulling off the ball and pressing.  He’ll be OK.”

First Olympic game is August 13 against Korea.  The Gold Medal game is set for August 23.  Hopefully, Team USA will be in that final game.

“There’s no bigger thrill than representing our country,” said Jason.  “I’ll take in the sites the first day or two but then it is time to focus on baseball.  We are there on a business trip.  The business is bringing back a Gold medal.”

Samuel Testimony
“He provided a lot of power in a small package.  Sammy had one swing and stayed with it throughout his career.  He was a professional who played with fire.  He and Manny Trillo are the coolest teammates I had.  Great smile, great influence in the clubhouse.  He’s still in the game which is a reflection of his baseball knowledge,” Del Unser.

“Playing with Sammy was such a treat, not just watching him hit and run but as a teammate you couldn’t ask for a better person. His constant smile and upbeat attitude were second to none. It’s an honor to be able to say he was my teammate and more importantly, my friend,” Larry Andersen.

Samuel will be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday night; pre-game festivities begin at 7 p.m. with the Phillies-Pirates game to follow.


August 4

Nail-biter on national TV.


Great comeback win last night led by the offense with long-ball Shane coming through in the 4-run eighth.


Bullpen, so reliable all season long, was touched for single runs in the 8th and 9th but Madson and Lidge got the big outs in those innings and we escaped with another 1-run victory.  DP from Madson with the bases loaded in the 8th was our 100th this season.  Couldn’t have come at a better time.  Then, Lidge, with the bases loaded again, got a pair of rookies on strikeouts with his sharp slider.


Biggest pluses for the weekend had to be the pitching of Blanton and Myers.  Consistent starts from that pair will go a long way toward repeating.


Thanks to a 5-1 trip, we have the most road wins in the NL (32-26).  Home is 29-24 but of the last 19 games at Citizens Bank Park, we’ve lost 11.  Need to reverse that trend.


Minor League Notes


Flash Gordon was the loser in a 19-pitch rehab appearance for the Clearwater Threshers yesterday.  Gave up 2 runs in 0.2 innings, 1 walk, 1 strikeout.  That walk was to the first batter, who scored two outs later on a home run. 


Getting him healthy for the stretch run is huge.  He is a proven reliever who can pitch in pressure situations and adds depth to the pen.  He came back strong a year ago and was a big force in the final month.


Carlos Carrasco made his AAA debut last night in Allentown, no decision, 2 unearned runs in 6.2 innings. Pitching coach Rod Nichols: “Solid AAA debut.  Fast ball had easy life and seemed to have that little extra when he wanted.  Established his change early and often which showed downward action.”


Samuel Testimony


“Sammy was an exciting player to watch from our side. He came up as a 5-tool player, and there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. He played extremely hard all the time — much like Utley plays now — and was fun to watch. Sammy always gave it everything he had, and from that standpoint, it made him an excellent teammate. In fact, he was my son’s favorite player when I was there,” Greg Gross.


Samuel will become the 30th member of the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday night.  Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. with the Pirates-Phillies game to follow.


Comment Corner


Jenn is back, wondering why there is no statue of Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, when Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn have statues at Citizens Bank Park.


We debated that topic when planning for the four statues.  The thinking was that the four chosen Hall of Famers made their marks with the Phillies, while Bunning had some great seasons in a Tigers uniform.


But, we retired his uniform number because he was a Hall of Famer.

Good to see the offense produce as it did in sweeping Washington.  No secret but scoring runs is this team’s strength.   Any pitching staff benefits from run support. 

July has come and gone.  We wound up 15-10 for the month, the exact same record for July a year ago.

But, 15-10 was a result of winning the first four and the last five.  In between, we were 6-10, which sort of resembled a sagging hammock.

Two more months to go and we can’t be resting in a hammock.  That’s for November, but only if you live in a warm climate.  Then again, a hammock may be an easy way to catch falling leaves in this area.

Club-by-club opponents this month:
Cardinals, 3
Marlins, 3
Pirates, 3,
Dodgers, 8
Padres, 3
Nationals 3,
Mets, 2
Cubs, 3

Yes, eight against the Dodgers and Manny Ramirez.  Not good news to have to face him that often.  But, the good news…..he’s with the Dodgers and not the Marlins.

Come See Sammy
A week from tonight Juan Samuel becomes the 30th Alumni member to be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.

Nine Living members of the Wall will be part of the 7:00 p.m. ceremonies: 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).

Sammy was an exciting player who combined speed and power.  As a person, he had an infectious smile and was loved by his teammates.

Samuel Testimonies
“Sammy was ‘the’ most exciting player on the Phillies in the early 80’s…..power, average, great arm, and speed to burn. He hit in front of me and created RBI situations every game. He was my young son’s favorite player all through the 80’s. Its great to see Sammy being honored as a member of the Wall of Fame,” Mike Schmidt.

“Juan Samuel was one of my favorite teammates because he was always ready to play and hustled as much as anybody. When asked who her favorite Phillie was besides me, my mom would always say ‘Sammy’. Congratulations to a wonderful baseball talent and more importantly,  truly a good person,” Von Hayes.