October 2008

PLAY BALL!

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

Guess What?
We’re going to be playing a baseball game tonight.  Yep, all the hype, all the analyzing, all the predictions will take a back seat to a game on the field.

A new seven-game season is about to begin.

Kerfeld’s Korner
Scouting report on Derek Lowe from Charley Kerfeld, our Special Assistant to the GM:
“Fast ball in the 86-92 range.  Throws one of the best sinking fastballs in the game.  You have to make him elevate the sinker.  His slider is 78-83, a good downer.  Will throw an occasional change. One of the better competitors in the game.”

Who’ll Win?
Journalists and experts (there is a difference) have written or spoken as to why the Dodgers will win or why we will.  Internet bloggers and their comment companions have expressed opinions. 

Seems to me that Manny vs. Boston is the choice of many of these experts and probably the wish by FOX.  Are we and the Rays chopped liver?   

That’s OK, though.  Let’s be the underdogs.

Roy Neyer’s blog on ESPN.com had an interesting note yesterday: Since Manny joined the Dodgers, they are 30-25.  During that same period of time, we are 34-21. 

Game-day Routine
Now that we are into a game-day mode, clubhouses are closed pre-game to all media and opened post-game to a limited volume.  Players from both teams will make appearances in the Interview Room both before and after games to accommodate the masses.  Brett and Charlie will be there for us before batting practice this evening.  Charlie will also have a private session with the FOX and ESPN radio announcers, a pre-game routine.

Roster
We made no changes from the 25-man roster we used for the Division Series.  Reliever Rudy Seanez and C Lou Marson will continue to travel with the team.  In case of an injury at one of those positions, they could be activated.  An injured player in the NLCS would be ineligible for the World Series.

J. A. Happ and Marson spent the last few days in Clearwater.  Happ pitched two innings in an instructional league game and Marson got in some at-bats. 

Peppermint City
Everywhere you go these days, fans are wearing Phillies gear.

Citizens Bank Park will resemble a peppermint city…..fans wearing red while waving white rally towels, which are courtesy of American Water tonight.

Oh, and it will be loud as in LOUD.

PLAY BALL!

 

Blogs Everywhere

Today
Dodgers worked out at 1 this afternoon and the Phillies at 3. Both teams have until 10 o’clock tomorrow morning to finalize their rosters for the NLCS.

Pat Gillick conducted a meeting this afternoon to review the roster and go over the scouting reports on the Dodgers.

Rivalry Renewed
Phillies and the Dodgers.  For the fourth time, these two long-time franchises are hooking up in the National League Championship Series.  Long-time?  How about 118 years.

When the Dodgers were in Brooklyn, the Phillies won on the last day of the season at Ebbets Field to win the NL pennant.  That was only 58 years ago.

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the NLCS over the Phillies in back-to-back seasons, 1977-1978. 
For a list of all Phillies postseason dates, including these two years, log on to phillies.com

The bleakest day in Veterans Stadium history came in 1977 when the Dodgers rallied in the 9th inning to take a 2-1 series lead.  It is registered in Phillies history as Black Friday. 

Six years later, 1983 if you don’t have a calculator, the Dodgers rolled all over us in the season, 11-1, holding us to a .187 average and 15 total runs.  We met in the NLCS and got sweet revenge.  That victory led to the “I-95″ World Series against the Orioles.

25 years later: Where are the ‘ 83 Phillies and Dodgers?  Again, just log on phillies.com

Speaking of numbers, the Dodgers lead us, 5-3 in blogs.  Check out Shane Victorino’s blog and The Phillies Ballgirls.

Check on Dodgers.com for Inside the Dodgers, Andre Ethier, Alyssa Milano, Tommy Lasorda and Joe Torre.  

Who’s in the lineup?
Want to know who is in Charlie’s lineup? As soon as Charlie decides, the starting nine will be posted right here.  As soon as Torre fills out his lineup card, Inside the Dodgers will be post it.

 

Getting Ready for Thursday

Phillies worked out for a couple of hours this afternoon and then headed home. 

Both teams will work out tomorrow afternoon and then the fun begins on Thursday night.

FOX is televising the NLCS and they will have a crew here tomorrow.  Taped interviews include J-Roll, Ryan, Shane, Cole and Brett.  J-Roll will wear a microphone on Thursday night.  Greg Casterioto and Kevin Gregg, the media relations dynamic duo, are the ones to handle the FOX requests.

The NLCS media mass is much larger than the Division Series.  For the NLCS, we are required to provide 450 seats and 60 still photographer locations.  The Main Press Box can seat 150 media members.  So, we need an auxiliary press box. 

We’re using Sections 237-236 and part of 235 in the Hall of Fame Club for the auxiliary press box.  Carpenters spent the day constructing tables in the seating areas of these sections.  Electricians are also providing electricity (guess you figured that out).  Wireless internet access already exists in this area. 

Having a newer ballpark, we have excellent facilities for other media needs: media work room (Press Dining Room converted), photographers work room and an interview room.  That room needs to accommodate 150 seats and numerous TV crews.

Leigh Tobin and Mary Ann Gettis are spending today and tonight assigning seats for media and locations for the photographers.

Broadcast booths are required for FOX, ESPN Radio (English and Spanish), XM satellite radio, Phillies radio (WPHT 1210 AM) and Phillies Spanish radio (WUBA AM 1480), Dodgers radio and Dodgers Spanish radio.

Tomorrow, Phillies vs. Dodgers information.

Day Off

For the players, today was a day off.  Those needing medical attention were asked to be here between 10 this morning and 1 in the afternoon.

At 1, Shane was still in the clubhouse; Burrell and Dobbs, were playing cards.  Jamie Moyer, who has his daily routine, was dressed in shorts and a sweatshirt.  He went out on the field and threw the ball against a concrete wall in right field. 

Charlie and Dubee were in their respective offices.  At some point over the next couple of days, the Phillies scouts who have been following the Dodgers will meet with Charlie and his staff.

The Phillies will work out tomorrow afternoon and both clubs will do the same on Wednesday. Sorry, but the workouts are open to the media only.

Mike Boekholder (head groundskeeper) will be painting new NLCS logos on the Citizens Bank Park field in the next couple of days.  New banners will be installed on the light standards around Citizens Bank Park and in center city Philly in a couple of days.

The city is alive with Phillies fever.

Robin’s Nest
Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts offers his viewpoint on yesterday’s big win:
“Great job by the whole team. Blanton was sharp, the best I have seen him pitch.  The relief pitching was solid again.

“Interesting that the Brewers decided to walk Howard to pitch to Pat, who came through big time. The next time Pat came to bat, the Brewers replaced a pitcher who had struck out two hitters in a row to pitch to Pat.  He did it again. The modern approach to managing and pitching changes is sure cut and dried. Sometimes it does not work.

“The next series with the Dodgers should be a dandy.  Both teams are playing well and both teams’ starting pitching is good shape. 

“Congratulations to Charlie, his staff and the players.  This has been an exciting year for Phillies fans.  Can’t wait until Thursday.”

 

Thunder in Miller Park

40,000 pair of Thunderstix were distributed to Brewers fans this afternoon but in the end, it was the Phillies thunder that made all the noise.  Wonder if Excedrin was the sponsor of the plastic white tubes that made a constant buzzing-type sound, except after the four homers.

J-Roll set the tone by leading off with a home run.  Later, Pat broke loose with a gigantic 3-run blast and Jason followed with a towering drive to centerfield.  Pat capped a 3-hit day with his second homer.

Meanwhile, Joe was spectacular, his best start since he came to us in the trade with Oakland.  Didn’t walk a batter and gave up one run.  Even though it wasn’t a save opportunity, Brad was on the mound for the ninth inning.

When J-Roll threw out Kendall to end the game, the Phillies celebrated on the field, not as big as one when they clinched the division.  There’s more work to be done.

The clubhouse was another jubilant champagne celebration, again a bit milder than eight days ago.  Hopefully, there are two more bubbly celebrations in the works this month.

The Miller Park clock showed 3:01 when the final out was made.  Just shy of three hours later, we took off from the Milwaukee airport, 183 passengers in a Delta 757 charter.  In addition to the normal traveling party, ownership and vice presidents were among the passenger list.  (Each person on the trip was permitted to take one adult guest with him or her). 

As players boarded the plane, cheers erupted from those already seated.  Charlie made his way through the entire plane, shaking hands with everyone.  There’s nothing like a plane ride after a win, especially such a big one.

Phillies fans awaited the team when they got to Citizens Bank Park.  Phillies passion is running at a fever pitch.

Now, everyone resurrect the chant, “Beat LA, Beat LA, Beat LA!”

 

 

Dobbs at 3B

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

Jamie came out and had location difficulties in the first inning yesterday.  Thought he had a strikeout on Hardy but the ump called it a ball and JJ singled for a big, second, 2-out run in the first.

On a night when the offense needed to silence the Milwaukee crowd, the bats went silent instead.

We’ve scored 9 runs in 3 games, 7 coming with 2 out.  We’ve played 25 innings and have scored in just 3 of those innings.  We have 10 singles, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer and 5 stolen bases.  Milwaukee, 16 singles, 2 doubles, 7 runs, the rest zeros. 

That said, we’re still up 2-1 going into this afternoon.

The controversial play in the ninth?  Shane explains: http://shanevictorino.mlblogs.com/

Robin’s Nest
Hall of Famer Robin Roberts provides his insight into last night’s loss:
 
“Game 3 wasn’t any fun.  Jamie struggled early with his command but he’s a gutty guy and kept the Phillies in the game. 

“Both teams had scoring chances but the Brewers took advantage.  Phillies just can’t seem to put anything together on offense.

“The play in the ninth inning would have not been interference when I was playing.  In fact, players were expected to do what Shane did.  I guess I don’t understand the current rule.

“The best of five means winning three.  Winning Sunday would be great but I will take it any time.”

Kerfeld’s Korner
Assistant to the GM, Charley Kerfeld, provides a scouting report on Suppan:

“Throws in the 85-89 range with sink and a fading change-up he uses to left-handed hitters.  Slower type curve and a slider he throws to both sides of the plate.  The slider is his ‘out’ pitch.  Experienced pitcher who has been in pressure games before.”

Travel Plans
We return home on another Delta charter following this afternoon’s game, hopefully as the Division Series winners and no game on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Dodgers swept the Cubs in three and now sit idle waiting for a winner between the Brewers and Phillies. 

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

Numbers
**The Brewers were 49-32 at home, second in the NL to the Cubs (55-26), who are 0-2 at home against LA in the other NLDS.
**At 44-37, we had the best road record in the NL.
**Milwaukee was 0-2 in 1982 NLCS and came back to advance to the next round.

Kerfeld’s Korner
Scouting report from Charley Kerfeld, Special Assistant to the GM:
“Bush throws a sinking fast ball, 86-90, with arm-side life; a slow curve, 67-71; a slider he uses to both sides of the plate as his out pitch right now, and a change he turns over away from left-handed hitters.  Has been prone to the long ball.”

This morning’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“Today, the Brewers must deal with Jamie Moyer who started his career during the Jurassic Period.  OK, we exaggerate, but he did sign his first pro contract 29 days after Prince Fielder was born,” Gary D’Amato.

“It’s about being like those people in Philly because, oh my, is that ever a great baseball town.  To have heard them Thursday night with each Brett Myers foul ball in the at-bat that eventually eroded CC Sabathia, was to experience what the playoffs should be like everywhere,”  Michael Hunt.

Home Field Advantage
The following was part of a post here after Wednesday’s win.  It came from Jenn:
“I have never seen such energy or excitement in all my years going to Phillies games as I did when Shane hit that Grand Slam! Beers went flying, strangers hugged each other and the noise was deafening.”

In reading several independent blogs yesterday, fanatical Phillies fans were a frequent topic.  The passion of Phillies fans can be unmatched.

The players feed off fan enthusiasm.  It has happened in the past and it is happening in the present.

Now, we’re in the Brewers’ home. The team, in the majors’ smallest market, drew over 3 million for the first time.  They have not won a postseason game since 1982.  The fans are hungry. The roof at Miller Park will be closed and the noise will be deafening. 

We need to get the big boppers in the middle of the lineup to do some damage.  Noise from our offense can be the mighty silencer. 

Stay tuned.

Don’t forget, Shane offers his own views: http://shanevictorino.mlblogs.com/.

And, the Phillies Ballgirls share their thoughts: http://philliesballgirls.mlblogs.com/

Brilliant pitching from Brett and Shane’s slam last night put us up 2-0 and on a Delta charter flight to Milwaukee.

The flight was quite different from a year ago when we went to Denver down 0-2.  No one was celebrating on the flight last night but the big win certainly made the flight seem shorter.  Yes, I know, Milwaukee is closer to Philly than Denver.  You know what I mean about being shorter.

We landed shortly after midnight Central time.  By the time the baggage was delivered to the room, lights out didn’t come until 1:30.

Back to the ballgame.  Brett pitched 2-hit ball for 7 innings, allowing 2 runs.  He had a big 9-pitch at-bat in the second inning that helped set up Shane’s slam.  Hitting coach Milt Thompson, “That might have been the best at-bat of the season.”

USA TODAY had two stories in the paper this morning.  For his brilliant pitching, there was only one quote from Brett in the paper, “Did I pitch tonight?”  Yet, there was an entire story on Sabathia.  Guess that’s being under the radar.

Shane’s slam was a historic one, as you probably all know by now….first ever for a Phillies player in the postseason.  After the massive post-game interviews and finally a shower, Shane turned on his cell phone: 56 text messages.  Cell phone was turned off for a few hours.

His reaction to his big blast is best described in his blog: http://shanevictorino.mlblogs.com/

Robin’s Nest
Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts provides his views on Game 2:

“Both teams have scored in only two innings which is kind of strange. Another solid defensive effort. I’m sure that’s the first time a player born in Hawaii has hit a grand slam in the playoffs.  He put on quite a show.

“Brett was solid. If the Phillies are to advance in the playoffs they need that kind of performance from him.  CC has a solid delivery and that is why he can pitch on three days rest.  It was ironic that Brett’s first at-bat was a key to that big inning.  He really battled CC and got a walk.

“When a team is ahead by 2 games in a best-of-5 series, their confidence is high.  The Brewers think home field advantage may jump start their effort.  Jamie has won the games that have clinched the division titles the last two years.  He has a chance to move the Phillies to the next level.  Let’s take a day off and get ready for Saturday.”

Day off
Well, sort of.  Both teams worked out at Miller Park this afternoon, the Phillies at 1:30 and the Brewers two hours later.  After our workout, Charlie, Jamie and Geoff Jenkins appeared in the interview room.  Jenkins had played all his career with the Brewers prior to this season and going to the interview room made it more convenient for Geoff and the media.

Postseason History
Prior to Tuesday, the earliest Phillies postseason game in Phillies history came on this date.  A year ago, we lost to the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.  That’s behind us.  Let’s look ahead to 6:30 tomorrow night.   Yes, Charlie, one game at a time.

 

 

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

Dominating starting pitching+leather+opportunistic offense+nail-biting 9th=Phillies win in the NLDS opener last night.

Cole was brilliant . . . Pedro and Chase flashed the leather . . . We took advantage of a couple Brewers mistakes to score 3 unearned runs and Brad had everyone on pins and needles in his 35-pitch save.

Robin’s Nest
Hall of Famer Robin Roberts’ game summary:
“Great start.  The pitchers definitely controlled the game, Cole was fantastic and then Brad.  Brad did it again with some excitement. We are 1-0 but we can’t underrate the Brewers.

“When I was active, pitchers with good change-ups were lefties, Curt Simmons, Warren Spahn, Johnny Podres and Johnny Antonelli to name a few.  Cole has as good a change-up as any I have seen.  Geez, if I had his change, I wouldn’t have lost 245 games.

“Brett is our man tonight.  When he has that good fastball with location and that sharp curve, he is a very tough pitcher.  Their pitcher is some unknown named CC.  Cross our fingers.”

Kerfeld’s Korner
Charley Kerfeld  scouted the Brewers last month in his role as Special Assistant to the GM. His report on CC:
“Pitches consistently around 92, but can get it up to 95.  Very good curve and change that he can throw at any time.  Always throws strikes and can dominate a game like Cole did.

“He’s a very good hitter, first ball fastball approach.  He can crush the ball.  I was there when he nearly hit one out of Dodger Stadium in August.”

Numbers
*12 combined strikeouts by Cole and Brad ties a Phillies record for a postseason game, done four times previously.
**FOX rating in Philly was 13.5, the highest for a Phillies game this season.  The share was 28.1, meaning that 28 percent of the homes watching TV last night were tuned in to the Phillies.
**Sabathia’s post season record (with Cleveland): 4 starts, 2-2, 7.17 ERA.

Radar
A reader voiced an opinion that we are flying under the radar with Manny, CC and the Curse and that is fine.  I agree.

Travel
Phillies leave on a Delta charter ($75,000 one-way cost) for Milwaukee after the game tonight.  Team will work out at Miller Park at 1:30 tomorrow afternoon.

Shane
Don’t forget Shane’s blog: http://shanevictorino.mlblogs.com/.

 

 

Burrell in LF

Today’s Lineup
As of 12 noon, Charlie isn’t certain.  As everyone knows Burrell felt discomfort in his back after his final swing yesterday afternoon.  Pat came in at 8 this morning for treatment with head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan.

Pat will take BP and then a decision will be made.  If he is unable to go, Stairs will be in right and Werth in left.

Stay tuned.

Burrell in LF
1:15 p.m…..Charlie just posted the lineup:
Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Hamels, p

Kerfeld’s Corner
Charley Kerfeld has scouted the Brewers recently in his role as Special Assistant to the GM. His scouting report on Gallardo:

“Throws a high-riding fastball in the 90-95 range, a hard downer curve and a fading changeup.  He’s a very good competitor with very good stuff.  Has a chance to be a very good pitcher.”

Phillies vs. Brewers
For the season, we were 5-1 against the Brewers as the result of the 4-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park that began on September 11.  That sweep got us back in the race as we were 3.5 games behind the Mets in the East and 4 behind Milwaukee in the wildcard race after 9/10.

All-time, we have a 45-32 edge . . . At Citizens Bank Park, 15-5 . . . At Miller Park, 10-13.

Take all those numbers and toss them.  After 162 games, we are now in a 5-game season.

Lefty Relievers
When it is late in the game, one thing Chase and Ryan can count on….facing a left-handed reliever.

Milwaukee’s roster contains two, 39-yer-old Brian Shouse and 27-year-old Mitch Stetter.  Manny Parra was a starter during the regular season and he could be used in the pen during this series.

Ryan is 1-1 with 1 RBI career vs. Shouse (hasn’t faced him this year) and 0-1 with a strikeout against Stetter in ’08.  Chase, 1-4 lifetime against Shouse (0-0 in ’08) and 1-1 against Stetter this season.

Phillie Flavor
Three with the Brewers have worn a Phillies uniform during their career: manager Dale Sveum (1992), pitching coach Mike Maddux (1986-89) and Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker (1966-67).

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