September 2008

Workout Day

Both teams worked out at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon, the Brewers at 1 and the Phillies at 3.

To help accommodate the media, an interview room is used prior to the workouts and then pre- and post-game for all postseason games.  Dale Sveum, Yovani Gallardo and Ryan Braun were there at noon with Charlie and Cole at 2.

Media for a Division Series: MLB requires 125 seats, a working press room and 25 still photographer locations.  Those numbers increase during the LCS and WS.

Roster Story
Gillick will oversee a meeting following our workout.  Meeting is two-fold, finalize the postseason roster.  Deadline for filing that with MLB is 10 o’clock tomorrow morning. 

Second, scouts Gordon Lakey, Charley Kerfeld, Chuck LaMar and Hank King will review the Brewers.  We’ve been scouting them even though we played them a little more than two weeks ago.

More Blogs
Phillies ballgirls are also blogging on this site.  For a different perspective, check out their thoughts:  http://philliesballgirls.mlblogs.com/

In addition, Shane will be offering his thoughts on a phillies.com blog.

Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts will be a guest analyst in this space after each Phillies postseason game.  And, Charlie’s lineup will be posted first right here.

Before I forget, happy birthday today to Roberts, a spry 82 today.

Citizens Bank Park
Media has labeled the park as a bandbox, among other names. 

ESPN.com publishes a Park Factor in which numbers are crunched: the rate of stats at home vs. the rate on the road.

When the park opened in 2004, it ranked 5th among all parks in the category of home runs.  A year ago, it was first.  This year, 11th.  Check the numbers:

CBP Home Runs  Phillies  Enemy
2007                   116        125
2008                   109         80

Writers also point out Ryan is playing in a small, hitter-friendly park.  For his career: 90 at home, 87 on the road.  That’s pretty even.  When Ryan unloads, the Grand Canyon can’t hold his drives.

In Boston, a home run needs to travel just 303 feet down the right field foul line.  Yet, Fenway is considered a shrine.

Sept 29

“There is Only One October.”

That’s baseball’s theme for next month and for the second straight year, we’re there instead of home watching on TV.

As the players have said all weekend, there’s more business to be done.

A handful of players popped in and out of the clubhouse today.  Those needing medical attention were told to be here between 10 and 1.  Shane says his bruised shin from Saturday is OK and he’ll play on Wednesday.

Charlie and Dubee were also in today.  Hamels is starting Wednesday and they are working on the rotation beyond that.  At some point, scouts that have been following the Brewers, Chuck LaMar and Charley Kerfeld, will huddle with the coaching staff.  Hank King, our advance scout for the 25 years, will also provide reports.  We played the Brewers four games here earlier this month but LaMar and Kerfield have been them the last couple of weeks.

Mike Boekholder, head groundskeeper, turned to being an artist this afternoon, painting the NLDS logos on the field.

Both the Brewers and Phillies will work out tomorrow afternoon.  Neither workout is open to the public.

We’ve had inquiries as to why no rally towels on Sunday.  Simple….we decided to pass after clinching on Saturday.  Don’t worry, rally towels return for every postseason game.

Also had some complaints about the regulars being rested during Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday.  Charlie was well aware of the day.  He felt resting them and not risking injury was the proper route.  Brad, Jimmy and Chase thanked the fans pre-game with Ryan, Pat and Shane coming out of the dugout during that little ceremony.

Robin’s Nest
Pleased to let all Phillies Insider readers know that Hall of Famer Robin Roberts will be a guest analyst in this space after every Phillies postseason game.

Don’t forget, Charlie’s starting lineup will be posted here first prior to every game.

phillies.com is also home of another blog, The Phillies Ballgirls.

And, Shane Victorino has agreed to blog during the postseason on this site.

If you aren’t aware or live in Pocatello, ID, Phillies postseason merchandise is on sale on this site.

 

 

Party Time!

More than 45,000 passionate Phillies fans armed with rally towels were standing, screaming, waving despite holding their breath, suffering from rapid heart beats and knots in their stomachs. Washington had the bases loaded with one out and trailing, 4-3, in the top of the ninth against Brad.

Could anything be more dramatic?

You could hear the outcome of the game by the explosive roar: “Ground ball up the middle, Rollins dives, flips the ball to Chase, throw to first…..DOUBLE PLAY! 

Party time!

Players celebrated on the field, Charlie watched from the dugout, players went into the clubhouse for the bubbly explosion and then back to the field. 

An emotionally drained Charlie remained his office, speaking with a hand full of reporters.  When the crowd began to chant, “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie”, he came out for a curtain call.  Since he took over as manager, he’s managed one meaningless game when we were eliminated in game #161 two years ago.

Final out was 6:40 p.m.  Final player off the field was 8:01 p.m.  Final celebrations throughout Phillieville?  Who knows?

Power, starting pitching, air tight bullpen have been the keys to this club.  Yesterday, defense stepped up big time.  Rollins had three ESPN web gem highlight plays: a two-out, one-hop smash that almost took off his head (saved a run); a catch of a pop to shallow center on which he and Shane collided (saved a bigger inning) and his diving stop that turned the season-ending double-play.

That DP will go down in Phillies history as one of the most memorable moments, joining Dick Sisler’s pennant-winning homer in 1950 and Tug McGraw’s strikeout that ended the 1980 World Series. 

Brad finished an undefeated season, 41 saves in 41 opportunities.  He’s human, and like all closers, will get tagged with a blown save.  It happens but it didn’t this season for the right-hander.

While the players celebrated with the fans at the park, each made a point: “We’ve got more work to do.”

Today’s Lineup
Taguchi, lf
Bruntlett, ss
Iguchi, 2b
Jenkins, rf
Coste, 1b
Cervenak, 3b
Golson, cf
Marson, c
Kendrick, p

 

 

MVP Definition

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Moyer, p

Charlie changed the lineup slightly last night, putting chase in the three hold in front of Ryan.  It paid off big time and quick.

Ryan delivered a 3-run homer in the first and a run-scoring double in the second, right after Chase cleared the bases with a double.  Joe allowed 1 earned run in 6 innings and the Phillies reduced their magic number to one.

The atmospheric conditions last night were London-like, a heavy mist, northeast wins blowing in.
J-Roll tested the winds as the first batter but his drive to center weakened because of the mist and wind.

Four batters later Ryan demonstrated his brutal strength by driving a ball in the same direction.  This one landed in the Phillies bullpen.  He gave a new meaning to MVP….Most Vicious Power.

The sell-out throng wasn’t dampened by the dampness and they got into it real quick because of 7 runs in the first 2 innings.  With rally towels in full force, the crowd chanted MVP, MVP, MVP after each of Ryan’s run-scoring at-bats.

As mentioned yesterday, Frank Coppenbarger addressed the team at 3:15 in the afternoon.  He was reviewing potential postseason dates and travel plans.  When he was finished, Charlie blurted out sternly, “Ok, let’s go, dam it. Let’s go!” 

They went out and got it.

This Date
In Phillies history…………
9/27/77:  Phillies clinch second NL East title, 15-9, at Chicago.  Winning pitcher Larry Christenson hits a grand slam homer in the 7th inning.

 

Final Three

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Dobbs, 3b
Ruiz, c
Blanton, p

During the club’s hot streak earlier this month, Larry Andersen described the Phillies after a late-inning win as a “The Team of Necessity.”

Well, folks, we are down to the final three regular season games.  If we are to reach the postseason for the second straight year, wins are a necessity.

Scoreboard watching is big at this time of the season.  We need to take care of our own business which takes care of other clubs.

Joe, Jamie and Cole are lined up as the final three starters.  The Nationals, who would love nothing more than to be spoilers, have changed the rotation to a right-hander tonight and then lefties in the final 2 games. 

While the sky is gray, the forecast is much more encouraging than yesterday’s.  There might be a chance of off-and-on light rain or drizzle. The major system is heading north.  Just so it doesn’t make a u-turn.

Repeating what has been said….the decision to start a game is in the hands of the umpire crew chief and MLB and not us. 

“Friday 3:15 p.m. meeting” was a message on the board in the middle of the clubhouse after Wednesday’s game.  The media got hyped up about the meeting.  Sorry, but it a logistical report meeting by Frank Coppenbarger, Director of Team Travel, the same thing he did a year ago.

This Date
In Phillies history….
9/26/76: Phillies clinch first NL East title with a 4-1 win at Montreal (1st game).  RHP Jim Lonborg pitches 4-hitter and Greg Luzinski hits a 3-run homer in the 6th.

 

Plenty of Possibilities

Someone once said, “Anything worthwhile doesn’t come easy.”

Well, say hello to the Phillies season.  Atlanta kicked us good last night as Brett had his second straight sub-par outing (location of pitches) after being on a spectacular roll.  That happens in baseball. 

Last night’s news wasn’t all bad as the Cubs knocked off the Mets.

Today is a welcome day off for the Phillies players.  This game can be tiring mentally and physically and we get a break.  Not the same for the Mets and Brewers, who play tonight.

Tomorrow, we open a three-game series with Washington, Florida goes to the Mets and the Cubs go to Milwaukee.

A lot can happen.  We could win the division, earn a wildcard berth, tie for something or cry in our beer.  If we are involved in any ties, the good news: those games will be at Citizens Bank Park.  There is one tie scenario that won’t require a tie-breaker game:  if we and the Mets tie for the Division and both qualify for the postseason, New York gets the Division title and we are the wild card entry.  Why?  The Mets won the season series against us, 11-7.

On top of all this, Mother Nature is entering the picture in the East.  Rain is predicted starting today and carrying into Saturday.

All of this resembles a huge plate of spaghetti……noodles of tangled possibilities.

While the players are off today, the front office continues planning for the postseason.  Another meeting was held this afternoon to make sure all the ducks are in order for all the possibilities. 

Frank Coppenbarger, Director of Team Travel and Clubhouse Services, continues working on his puzzle: charter flights, hotels, buses in different cities on different dates and no knowledge of game times.  No wonder his hair is thinning and graying.

What the rain will do to us this weekend is a big question mark.  Keep in mind decisions to play a game are in the hands of the umpire crew chief and Major League Baseball.   It isn’t our call.

 

Focus on Tonight

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Utley, 2b
Werth, rf
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Coste, c
Myers, p

Spell Broken
The Phillies dominance of the Braves ended last night, a tough 1-run loss. We had won six in a row and were 14-2 against them this season. 

Cole wasn’t sharp and yet he kept us in the game.  The offense just couldn’t generate anything.  We were down by a run after six innings but it seemed like more.  We also made some key mistakes, something this club hasn’t done recently.

With four games left, all are big games.  That said, tonight is a really big game.  The focus is on Brett.

Checking Us Out
There were 18 baseball scouts at the game last night, all from teams that are in the running for the postseason.

As was reported earlier, the Phillies have two scouts, three in a couple of cases, following other teams.

Roster Meeting
For the second straight day, Pat Gillick and his staff, along with Charlie and his staff, met to go over the various postseason roster options.

Each participating club must submit its 25-man roster by no later than 10 a.m. (site time) on the day of the club’s first scheduled game for each respective series.  More information on this will be forthcoming.

New Attendance Marks
The Phillies will establish a new attendance record tonight surpassing the old mark (3,250,092) set in 2004, the first year of Citizens Bank Park.  It will mark the fourth time in the last 15 seasons the Phillies have exceeded 3 million.

We also set a new record on the road, 2,690,417, breaking the 1993 total of 2,666,219.

Really
100 years ago, the Phillies total attendance for 77 home dates was 420,660.  The Phillies finished fourth, 83-71.

We had two homestands this season of 10 games each (May 25-June 5); July 4-13) in which the attendance exceeded the 1908 total.

Changing Positions
Jason Donald, an All-Star shortstop at Reading and the leading hitter on Team USA that won an Olympic bronze medal, is changing positions this off-season.

He played second base in the first FIL game in Clearwater yesterday.  “We’re going to work him at second and third this fall to see how versatile he can be,” explained Mike Arbuckle.  Donald will spend time in Clearwater and join the Arizona Fall League on October 7.  He’ll play both positions there, too.

 

New Day, New Heroes

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Utley, 2b
Werth, rf
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Hamels, p

New Day, New Heroes
Series got off to a good start last night with a win over the Braves, moving us closer to “There is only one October.”  As has been the case recently, there were new heroes:

**J. A. did a great job in his second start.  He showed the poise of a veteran.

**Golson was a September roster addition because of his speed and defensive skills.  The speed paid off last night when he went first-to-third on a wild pick-off throw as a pinch runner.  When Werth grounded to third, Golson broke on contact and beat the throw home to put us up 3-2.

**Pat capped the inning and sealed the victory with his 251st career homer.

**The bullpen did the job again, this time Rudy, Scott and Mad Dog.  Scott is 3-0 since joining the Phillies.  He’s picked up 3 wins throwing 12 pitches. That’s incredible!

Emotional Night
Scoreboard watching was in order last night for the 36,000-plus fans. The place erupted when the Cubs went ahead of the Mets, 6-2. 

Happ got a standing-O from the towel-waiving throng and Pat got a curtain call following his crushing homer.  Pat acknowledged the fan enthusiasm in his post-game remarks.

The atmosphere duplicated the final week of last season.

BIG Error
Phillie Phanatic blew it last night.  Chase hit a foul ball into the third base stands in the third inning and the Phanatic dropped it.  Official scoring on the play: E-Phanatic.

In Town
The New York Post and New York Times had reporters at the game.  The Timers writer is doing a story on Howard as an MVP candidate.

National TV
FOX has chosen Saturday’s game with the Marlins for a national telecast, meaning the game will be changed from 7:05 p.m. to 3:55 p.m.  Phillies fans around the country will be able to see their favorite team.

This Date
In Phillies history….
Historic notes may not be of interest to the mass audience but here’s one that bears mentioning:
9/23/16: RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander pitches 7-3 and 4-0 complete game wins in doubleheader vs. Cincinnati at Baker Bowl.  He walked one in setting a club record with his 16th shutout.  Wonder how many pitches Alexander threw.

It is amazing that a pitcher can throw complete games in a doubleheader.  What is even more amazing, the first game took 1 hour, 29 minutes, the second, 1:07.

 

Clay, Pedro Chip In

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Utley, 2b
Werth, rf
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Happ, p

Chipping In
Jamie set the tone with his 6 quality-start innings, Chase unloaded a homer for the first time in 27 games, Jimmy had 3 hits and the bullpen came through again but two others chipped in to help the Phillies sink the Marlins and finish a 5-1 road trip yesterday.

Condrey inherited a bases-loaded situation with two out in the sixth with the Phillies clinging to a 3-2 lead.   His 2-0 sinker was grounded to Feliz, a replacement at third when Dobbs left with an injury. 

When a reliever enters and game and holds a lead, there’s an unofficial stat called a hold.  Here’s how the pitching looked yesterday:
Moyer, 15th win
Durbin, 16th hold
Romero, 24th hold
Condrey, 1st hold
Madson, 16th hold
Lidge, 40th save

Condrey’s first hold couldn’t have come at a better time.

Pedro belted a 2-rrun homer in the 8th killing the Marlins’ momentum and gobbled up everything hit his way.  He can certainly play the hot corner.

Over a 162-game season, all players need to chip in and yesterday Clay and Pedro came through.

Back Home
Thanks to Citizens Bank, all fans will receive rally towels tonight, the start of the final 6 regular-season home games.

The Phillies have handled the Braves this season.  Those numbers are in the past.  Tonight is the only thing that counts.

Phillie Phact
Phillies finished with a 44-37 road record, best in the NL.  Best in team history: 48-33 in 1976.

 

 

Many Heroes

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Utley, 2b
Werth, rf
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Dobbs, 3b
Ruiz, c
Moyer, p

Many Heroes
On a night when the first 5 hitters were silent (1-19), the Flyin’ Hawaiian (Victorino), Dobber (Dobbs), Chooch (Ruiz) and five pitchers came up big time to put us back on top of the NL East.

Joe, Chad, Mad Dog (Madson), J. C. and Brad did a job in halting the scrappy Marlins’ 9-game winning streak.  Each got big outs in key situations. Combined, they punched out 16.

During their streak, the Marlins averaged over 7 runs per game.  Last night they were held to 2 runs on 7 hits.

Shane went deep, made some good catches; Dobbs drove in the winning run and also shined on defense.

Chooch is the unsung hero.  He worked the pitching staff well, picked a runner off first, blocked the plate to prevent Cantu from scoring the tying run and blocked some of Lidge’s nasty sliders in the 9th.

Offensively, he’s come on recently (.274 in his last 28 games).  He’s fundamentally sound at the plate with some sacrifices, including a squeeze bunt this month.

His number 1 job is calling the game and catching, basically the quarterback on the field.

A catcher is doing a great job when you don’t notice him.

Phillie Pfact
**Phillies are 51-36 when Ruiz catches.
**ERA with Ruiz behind the plate is 3.94, fifth lowest among NL catchers.

Passion Place
Citizens Bank Park, very quiet today, will turn into Phillies Passion Place tomorrow night when the September Stampede to October begins.  PECO has an electric sub station across the street from Citizens Bank Park.  More electricity will be coming from the ballpark.

The first of the final 6 regular season home games is on tap at 7:05 against the Braves.  Rally towels will be given to all fans.

Dan Goroff, the Director of the Ticket Department, reports that seats remain for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday vs. the Braves and Friday night against the Nationals.  A few tickets are available on Saturday night and Fan Appreciation Day, a week from today, is sold out.

Phillies are due to return from Miami around midnight today. Next road trip?  To be determined.

 

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