August 2011

Back To Work

After a day off, it is back to business for the Phillies, with the Washington Nationals in town to start a six-game homestand.  Arizona follows for three starting Tuesday.

Phillies are 44-18 at home, coming on the heels of 52-29 last season.    That’s 96-47 which really shows Phillies fans are the 10th player.  It has to be intimidating for the visiting team with sellouts by passionate fans.

Wondering what is the club record for most wins at home?  Well, it goes back to the 1977 club, 60-21.

One more number, Phillies are 20-16 against the NL East this season.

Alumni Weekend
What a great group of fans showed up for the Alumni Luncheon for Seniors on Thursday noon in the Diamond Club.  We sold out the event, 250 seats.

Fans got to ask questions of John Kruk, Mitch Williams, Jim Bunning, Tony Taylor, Rick Wise and Tommy Greene.  As you can imagine, Kruk and Mitch were a comedy duo. They could have gone on forever.

Fans really showed their knowledge of the game and Phillies history.  They weren’t bashful in asking questions, either.  Scott Palmer did a super job as the MC as he always does.

So, next week, we’ll go back to the drawing board planning the same event for next year.

Alumni Weekend continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Check Releases on phillies.com’s home page for the details.  Also on phillies.com is a gallery of photos from the luncheon.  Just look for photos on the home page.

Alumni Views
What changes would you like to see in Major League Baseball is a question posed to Phillies Alumni. 
Marty Bystrom, (RHP, 1980-84)
“I think MLB should consider instituting instant replay for out and safe calls on the bases.”

E-Mail Bin
From Frances: I have followed the Phillies since1956. There was an announcer (possibly By Saam or Gene Kelly) who use a phrase during the 7th inning stretch: “tug on the cap, rub your nose, cross your fingers and knock on wood”. Would anyone know who used these words?

“Spoke with Chris Wheeler. He and I both agree the announcer who made those comments was Gene Kelly.  Chris and I were fans as kids and remember Kelly saying that.”

From Joseph: At Phillies home games, is the Official Scorer an employee of MLB and a part of the umpiring crew, or an employee of the Phillies? Help settle a bet!

“Official scorers are employees of Major League Baseball. Scorers are provided with a TV monitor and have access to replays. Clubs are asked to review their scorers after each season but the decision to dismiss or hire a scorer rests with MLB.”

 

 

Record Road Trip

Thursday is a day or rest for the Phillies. Wednesday’s big come-from-behind win ended a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, 16-4 (outscored the enemy, 101-62).  It also ended the trip at 9-1.  Since the All-Star Game break, 19-6. When you’re that hot, you may not want a day off.

The trip through Denver, SF and LA ranks as the best one ever. Oh, there was a 7-0 trip in 1968 and a pair of 9-2 trips (1969 and 1984), nothing better. Want a bad trip? Well, there was 1-13 in 1939 and how about this one, 2-17 in 1928, a seven-city nightmare.  Had to a lot of laughs.

Worley got hit hard but the offense rallied.  It was the 10th consecutive game the Phillies have won that Worley has started.

So, back home Friday night to take on the Nationals.  Phillies are 6-3 against Washington, losing the first game in April, winning six in a row and then dropping the last two. 

Twelve of the next 15 games are at home, the three road games being in DC next weekend.  Then, another string of 20 consecutive games, August 26-September 14.  September features 10 home games, 17 in enemy territory.

Alumni Weekend
Thursday was a sold out luncheon for Seniors, Friday John Kruk’s Wall of Fame induction ceremony (7:05 p.m. start), Saturday, Alumni Night with 40 Alumni from eight decades introduced on the field (6:30 p.m.) and Sunday, unveiling of the Harry Kalas statue (1:10 p.m.).  Plus, some Alumni surprises on Sunday . . . A pair of Phillies Alumni will be in the Washington dugout, manager Davey Johnson and coach Pat Corrales.

Phil-Ins
Chase will break Tony Taylor’s club record (1,003) for most games at second base on Friday night, if he’s in the lineup . . . TT is in town for Alumni weekend and will present Chase with the base on Saturday, assuming he breaks the record on Friday . . . Lakewood coach Greg Legg will receive the John Vukovich Award pre-game on Saturday.  Vince Vukovich and his baby son, John Christopher II, will make the presentation.

Down On The Farm
Lehigh Valley lost, 5-4, at Norfolk.  3B Carlos Rivero, 1st AAA home run, 2 RBI . . . Reading bowed to Bowie for the second straight game, this time, 6-4, in 10 innings . . . Clearwater won a pair of at Tampa; 4-0 behind RHS Trevor May (9-6), 0 runs, 2 hits, 7 innings, 9 strikeouts and 6-5, scoring 3 in the top of the 9th . . . Lakewood lost, 8-2, at Greensboro . . . Williamsport edged Staten Island, 5-4.  LF Aaron Altherr stole 3 bases (16-17-18); CF Pete Lavin, triple, home run, 2 RBI; LHR James Birmingham, in his first game following promotion from Gulf Coast League, picked up the win with 2 scoreless innings . . . Gulf Coast League continued its rain-out streak, 3 straight days.

 

 

36 over .500!

Two shutouts and two games in which shutouts were lost in the last of the ninth are among the eight wins on this 10-gme road trip that ends Wednesday afternoon in Dodger Stadium.

Cliff again was something special.  First and third in the first inning and no outs.  As great pitchers do, no runs scored.  Ryan allowed a run in the bottom of the last inning but picked up his 20th save.

Larry Andersen relayed a comment Cliff made before the game.  On the bus ride to Dodger Stadium, mention was made that only three players have ever hit a home run out of that ballpark.  LA said, “Cliff chimed in, ‘I’m gonna be the fourth.’”  The second run which eventually became the winning run, came from his bat, his second home run of the season.  It didn’t travel out of Dodger Stadium but into the right field bleachers.

Phillies are now 36 games over .500.  Their last time at that level: end of 1977 season, 101-61.

Phil-Ins
Phillies starters have won 56 games, which is more than 14 different teams . . . . Phillies are ranked No. 1 in the ESPN power rankings and the MLB.com power rankings . . . Thanks to David Hill for posting his comment about the sham of Shane’s suspension.  The more I think of it, the more disturbed I get that no Giants were suspended.  Oh, well, time to move on.

Down On the Farm
Trailing, 6-5, Lehigh Valley scored 6 in the top of the 9th for an 11-6 win at Durham.  RHR Michael Schwimer had his 2nd blown save and  wound up the winner,8-1 for the season.  3B Carlos Rivero, promoted from Reading a week ago, snapped a 1-for-21 spell last night with a double, triple and 3 RBI . . . Reading lost, 5-4, to Bowie.  RHS Austin Hyatt had his shortest outing of his career, 4 runs in .2 innings . . . Clearwater and Gulf Coast League Phillies were rained out . . . Lakewood was not scheduled . . . Williamsport was a 1-0 winner over Staten Island on 3B Harold Martinez’ walk-off single with two out in the bottom of the ninth. LHS Bryan Morgan, 0 runs, 3 hits, 5 innings.

Alumni Views
What changes would you like to see in Major League Baseball is a question posed to Phillies Alumni. 

Dennis Bennett (LHP, 1962-64)
“I think they should do away with the DH and get back to playing the game.  They make too much of the pitch count.  In one game Spann and Marichal, two starting pitchers, threw over 225 pitches apiece and it did not hurt their careers.  Also put in the player contracts that if they have a sub-par year their salaries will be adjusted.”

Doc won his 15th, Shane hit a big insurance home run, J-Roll and Ryan drove in two runs each, Hunter had another two-hit game and Madson picked up his 20h save.  That’s the capsule of Monday night’s win in Dodger Stadium.

The Phillies beat an old nemesis in Kuroda.  Going into the game, the Phillies starting lineup had 10 hits in 70 career at-bats against him.  He gave up nine in 6.1 innings.

Hunter had his 42nd two-hit game of the season.  He’s the absolute correct fit for this club.

Shane Suspension
Just one person’s opinion…..not surprised to see Shane tagged with a three-game suspension plus a fine.  Very surprised that the Giants’ pitcher and catcher were only fined.  The decision is a real puzzle.  Glad Shane appealed. 

Phil-Ins
Happy Birthday to Chris Wheeler, former pitching coach Claude Osteen and pitcher Kevin Saucier . . . E-Poll and Nielson survey of the most popular baseball players: Doc, #1, Cliff #2, Chase tied for 4th and Howard, #10 . . . J. C. Romero has been released by the Yankees and Kevin Millwood, released by the Red Sox, has been signed by the Rockies.  Both were playing the in minor league.  Another ex-Phillies pitcher, Arthur Rhodes, was released by the Rangers.

Postseason Meeting
Thirty front office staffers will have their first postseason meeting Tuesday afternoon.  MLB annually provides a thick manual about practices and policies for the postseason..

Among the topics for today’s meeting: hotels, facility/security, finance, ticketing, publications, media accommodations, broadcasting, hospitality functions, baseball operations re rosters, MLB properties, pre-game anthem and first pitch transportation/parking, scoreboard sponsorships, food, player wives accommodations and community affairs.

Experience of being in the postseason over the last four seasons is a real plus for the staff.

Down On The Farm
Lehigh Valley won, 6-3, at Norfolk.  RHP Scott Mathieson (1-1), 1 run in 7 innings; RHR Phillippe Aumont recorded his 3rd save, 1.2 innings, 4 strikeouts. . . Reading was idle . . . CF Jiwan James had a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th as Clearwater edged Daytona, 2-1.  1B Darin Ruf hit his 15th homer . . . Lakewood bested West Virginia, 10-7.  1B Jim Murphy hit his organization-high 22nd home run . . . Williamsport and Gulf Coast League were rained out.

First Series Win in SF since ’06

In a series matching two great starting pitching staffs, the Phillies came out ahead, winning another series on the road, their eighth straight.  Last time the Phillies took a series in SF was June of 2006, winning two of three. 

Cliff started the series with a shutout on Thursday night, Vance became the first Phillies rookie to win six games over a seven-start span since Bob Walk (6-1) in 1980, Cole lost a shutout on a two-out homer in the ninth and Sunday, Roy-O returned to the rotation and took the defeat. He wasn’t sharp, as could be expected, but he kept the Phillies in the game.

It was the fist time the Phillies lost since Hunter came aboard.  He’s hit in all nine games, 14 hits and 7 RBI.

Phil-Ins
Last time the Phillies had a sweep in SF was 1984, 3-0 . . . 10-game road trip and 20-day span of consecutive games ends with three in LA starting on Monday night and ending on Wednesday afternoon . . . Phillies are 127-157 in Dodger Stadium.

Down On The Farm
Lehigh Valley dropped 2 of 3 in Durham over the weekend to fall into second place by .001 . . . Reading lost 2 of 3 in Binghamton; Phillies are in 2nd place, 4 games out .  . . Clearwater did the same, losing 2 of 3; Threshers are in 2nd place, 2 games behind . . . Lakewood continued the pattern; BlueClaws are in 3rd, 2.5 out of 1st place . . . Williamsport won 2 of 3 vs. Batavia; Crosscutters are in 3rd, 2 games out of 1st . . . Gulf Coast League Phillies dropped all 3; 3 runs Thursday on 3 hits (triples); 1 run on 9 singles in next 2 losses.

Alumni Weekend
It all stars with a sold out Alumni Luncheon for Seniors Thursday noon in the Diamond Club . . . John Kruk will be inducted into the Toyota Wall of Fame on Friday; Darren Daulton, 2010 inductee, will have the honor . . . Saturday is Garry Maddox’ BBQ challenge on Citizens Bank Way starting at 4:30 p.m. with 40 Alumni from eight decades introduced on the field pre-game . . . Sunday is the unveiling of the Harry Kalas statue (1:10 p.m.) near Harry The K’s Restaurant and Alumni surprises throughout the game . . . Some 25 Alumni will play in a private golf tournament on Monday with Phillies sponsors.

Cliff: 000 000 000

Cliff tossed his NL-leading fifth shutout and Hunter delivered three hits and two RBI Thursday night in SF, a 3-0 series opening win for the Phillies.

Voting for the Cy Young Award in the NL this fall will be a tough one.  Leading candidates have to be Doc, Cole and Cliff.  There’s never been a three-way tie.

Phil-Ins
Phillies are 51-15 when they score first . . . Saturday’s game will be on FOX.  Most of the country will see the Red Sox-Yankees game.  Surprise! . . . Ricky Jordan attended Thursday’s game.  He’ll be in Philly next weekend as part of Alumni Weekend that includes the unveiling of a Harry Kalas statue pre-game on Sunday . . . Alumni Luncheon for seniors on Thursday noon is sold out.

Down On The Farm
RHS Kevin Bass (6-8) gave up 2 runs in 7 innings as Lehigh Valley won, 5-3, at Durham . . . Reading and Harrisburg split 2-1 decisions, one of which was the conclusion of Wednesday’s 1-1 game suspended after 8 by rain . . . 1B Darin Ruf collected his 35th and 36th doubles in Clearwater’s 8-4 win over Tampa . . . Lakewood lost, 4-3, at Delmarva . . . LF Aaron Altherr homered for the third straight games (#5) as Williamsport was a 5-1 winner at Brooklyn . . . Gulf Coast League Phillies lost, 4-3, to the Blue Jays.

Alumni Views
What changes would you like to see in Major League Baseball is a question posed to Phillies Alumni.  From time to time, will be posting their responses.
Steve Bedrosian, (RHP, 1986-89)
“I’m old-fashioned and don’t like the DH. I like the fact pitchers have to hit.  Managers need to do more thinking without the DH.  Since the playoffs run longer every year and the World Series has spilled over to November, I don’t believe more wildcard teams should be added.  Instant replay as it stands is fine.”

Today In Baseball
1921: First radio broadcast featured the Phillies at the Pirates, Pittsburgh winning, 8-5.  Harold Arlin, a foreman at Westinghouse, broadcast the game on KDKA in Pittsburgh.  He was stationed in a box seat in the stands.

Phillies’ Cy Williams hit the first home run during a broadcast.  According to current Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes who wrote an article for the Baseball Hall of Fame, there was no recording of the first broadcast so we’ll never know how Arlin called the home run.

Hughes is the proprietor of “Baseball Voices, the Hall of Fame Series” featuring commemorative audio tributes to the game’s greatest announcers (www.baseballvoices.com).

Doc, Ryan Lead Sweep

Doc wasn’t his sharpest but great pitchers bend but don’t break.  Ryan committed two errors in the first inning but doubled that in RBI and the Phillies left Denver with a three-game sweep.

For some reason, hitters starting an inning get on base against Doc, six times in his seven innings.  That seems to happen quite often with him.  What doesn’t often happen, they don’t score.  Phillies are 19-4 in Doc’s 23 starts this season.

Ryan is swinging a hot bat, .333 in last 12 games with six homers and 13 RBI.  The Big Piece can certainly carry a club. His home run was the first off a LH pitcher this season.

Winning a four-game series means taking three games.  That’s not easy. And, it won’t be in SF where the Phillies open a four-gamer against the Giants on Thursday night.  Phillies haven’t done well in ATT&T Park, 14-24.

With Madson away from the team and about to become a daddy for the fourth time, Brad got his first save opportunity.  He went 1-2-3 for his 100th save with the Phillies, the fourth ever to reach that number: Mitch Williams (102), Steve Bedrosian (103) and Jose Mesa (112).

Phil-Ins
Dallas Green turns 77 today . . . Saturday’s game will be a FOX national telecast . . . Phillies Insider climbed five spots to #25 among the MLB Blogs.  Thanks for reading and not falling asleep . . . From the Daily News today: Phillies are 112-56 since August 1, 2010.

Down On The Farm
Lehigh Valley was not scheduled . . . Reading wound up in a 1-1 game suspended after 8 innings by rain.  RHP Austin Hyatt fanned 12 in innings, 3 hits, 1 run . . . Clearwater was also not scheduled . . . Lakewood scored 3 in the top of the 9th for a 3-0 win in Delmarva.  OF Anthony Hewitt hit a 2-run homer (12th) and stole his 31st base . . . Williamsport was edged at Brooklyn, 3-2.  CF Aaron Altherr, his 4th home run and 2nd in last 2 games . . . Gulf Coast League Phillies lost, 9-7, to Blue Jays.  SS Carlos Valenzuela had 2 hits, boosting team-high average to .339.

Citizens Bank Park Numerology
Since the opening of the Phillies new home in 2004:
25,000,000+  Fans attending regular season games
3,878,238  Hot dogs sold
2,963,873  Bottles of water sold
2,274,600  Rally towels, regular season and postseason
1,886,552  Cheesesteaks sold
1,125,551  Peanuts sold
304,497  Baseballs used
138,447  Phillies hats sold
125,956  Citizens Bank Park tours attendance
1,210   Times the grass was mowed
4   Regular doubleheaders
3   NL East clinching victories
2   World Series
1   NLCS clinching victory . . .  World Series championship
Infinite  Number of peanut shells

KK Comes Through

The Phillies got yet another outstanding effort from a starting pitcher.  This time, KK threw eight shutout innings and fanned a career-high seven in Coors Field, best known as a hitter’s park.

With Roy-O ready to come off the DL, KK will most likely return to the bullpen.  He’s done a solid job this season bouncing between the pen and starting, not an easy job by any means.

Ryan belted two more homers, his 27th multi-homer game since 2006.  Only Albert Pujols has more (29).

Win was the Phillies 70th, the first team in the majors to get there.  In Phillies history dating back to 1900, the Phillies have done that only one other time, 1976, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Phil-Ins
Phillies have won six straight series on the road . . . Doc goes for his league-leading 14th win and a sweep this afternoon . . . Phillies re 31-29 at Coors, winning 14 of their last 20 there . . . During this 20-game stretch in 20 days, Phillies re 9-3 . . . Team flies to SF after today’s game for four with the Giants.  Saturday’s game is on FOX.

Down On The Farm
Dominic Brown homered in Lehigh Valley’s 3-2 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  SS Freddy Galvis and 3B Carlos Rivero made their AAA debuts after moving up from Reading . . . INF Steve Singleton, just promoted from Lakewood, made a dramatic debut, a pinch-hit grand slam in the sixth inning that lifted Reading to an 8-4 win over Harrisburg.  Reading trails first-place New Hampshire by 2 games . . . RHP David Buchanan, in his first start after being promoted from Lakewood, was an easy winner as Clearwater defeated Tampa, 10-3 . . . LHP Austin Wright, 8th rounder this summer out of Ole Miss, picked up the win as Lakewood bested Delmarva, 6-2.  It was his first start after promotion from Williamsport.  RHR Colby Shreve worked 2 scoreless innings. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in last 19 innings, including none in July . . . OF Aaron Altherr had 3 hits, including a homer, in Williamsport’s 7-2 win at Brooklyn . . . Gulf Coast League Phillies hit three home runs in the third inning in winning, 6-5, over the Pirates.

Alumni Thoughts
What changes would you like to see in Major League Baseball is a question posed to Phillies Alumni.  From time to time, will be posting their responses.

Jack Baldschun, (RHP, 1961-65)
“A couple of things bug me in baseball today.  When a pitcher is doing well in the late innings, leave him in until he falters. This business of the pitch count is a bunch of bull. Way too many times the new relief pitcher doesn’t get the job done, but you can’t go back. Someone sometimes has to suck it up and go nine. I would vote for the no DH.  In the good ole’ days, the manager had to manage. Remember Gene Mauch making about eight changes in one inning? The poor scorekeeper went nuts. Now there is very little weakness in the lineup.

 

Late Lightning

John Mayberry Jr. had his finest at-bat of his brief big league career in the ninth inning Monday night in Denver.  With the Phillies trailing, 3-1, and Chooch on second base, he fell behind in the count to a tough right-handed closer, 1-2, before working it to a full count.

John Jr. then delivered a dramatic game-tying home run and Shane sealed it in the top of the 10th with a solo home run and the Phillies improved to 30 games above .500 with their 29th come-from-behind victory.

Cole was outstanding once again.  He’s given up two or fewer runs in 12 of his last 13 starts.  Scott Franzke mentioned on the radio broadcast that Cole has the lowest ERA in the NL, dating from 8/1/10-through 7/31/11.

Down On The Farm
Roy-O threw 90 pitches in his second rehab start for Lehigh Valley, a 4-2 winner over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the first game.  SWB won the second, 4-1 . . . Reading was idle . . . Clearwater dropped a 7-3 decision to Palm Beach . . . LHS Jesse Biddle (5-7) lost his first game since June 9, a 4-0 win for Delmarva over Lakewood . . . Williamsport dropped a 6-1 decision to Hudson Valley;  RHS Colin Kleven took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before giving up 6 runs . . . Gulf Coast League Phillies bowed, 8-1, to the Pirates.

Alumni Luncheon
A limited number of tickets remain for the August 11 Alumni Luncheon for seniors.  Fans will be able to ask questions of Jim Bunning, Tony Taylor, Rick Wise, Tommy Greene, John Kruk and Mitch Williams.  A tour of Citizens Bank Park, silent auction, trivia prizes and lunch are part of the event.  Tickets may be ordered by calling 215 463 1000.

Pence Feels The Passion

Hunter started in RF for Houston in Milwaukee on Friday night, was removed in the fifth inning because he was dealt to the Phillies, 24 hours later he started in right field for the Phillies and received a Citizens Bank Park goose-bump welcome. Quite a swing in emotions.

He was cheered when he walked on the field for BP on Saturday, cheered when he hit some bombs into the second deck in left field, cheered when he came out to stretch just before the game’s start, cheered when the lineup was announced, received a standing-O when he went to right field and again for his first at-bat. 

The night had the electricity of a postseason game and Hunter felt the fans’ passion.  There’s nothing like the passion of Phillies fans.  Nothing.

Frank Coppenbarger is the team’s Director, Travel and Clubhouse Services.  He’s the one who assigns the uniform numbers, among a thousand other duties.  “After the trade, I called him.  I had looked up his college number, 8.  With the Astros, 9.  I told him 9 wasn’t available.  He asked about 8 and I said that’s Shane’s.  I told him if he wanted a single digit number, 3 is available or I have some double-digit numbers.  He said, ‘Let’s go with 3, new team, new number.’’

So, Hunter is 3.  The last impact player to wear that number for the Phillies was Dale Murphy, also a right fielder.

“After the game, I offered to drive him to his center city hotel,” said Frank.  “As we were pulling out of the parking area, about 50 fans were still there.  He asked me to stop.  You know, he signed for everyone and told them how happy he was to be here.  I tell you, he couldn’t have handled the entire night any better.  The fans are going to love this guy.”

Meanwhile, the Majestic Clubhouse Store began turning out Pence #3 jerseys as fast as they could.  There wasn’t time to have them mass produced so they had to put the letters and number on the back of the jersey which takes some time.  They sold 65 of them.  By Wednesday, a large shipment of Pence jerseys and red t-shirts will be available.

When Hunter took the field on Sunday, a little girl was standing in right field, a Sunday tradition (nine kids are selected to be on the field with the Phillies for the Anthem).  He bent over and said something to the girl.  Next thing you know, both were waving and acknowledging the standing-O he was receiving from the faithful in right field.  That little girl has a memory that will last her lifetime.

He capped the day by scoring the winning run.  Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script.

Phils-Ins
Sweep gave the Phillies an 18-5 record over the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.  At PNC Park in Pittsburgh, the Pirates have a 22-13 edge . . . After Sunday’s game, the Phillies boarded a Delta charter flight to Denver.  They start a grueling 10-game road trip Monday night against the Rockies.  After three in Denver, four in San Francisco and then three in Los Angeles. By the time they a return, the August calendar will have turned from the 1 to12. Time flies . . . Phillies have won 16 or more games six straight months, a club record . . . They are 36-17 on weekends this season, best in the NL . . . 26-11 day game record is also the league’s best . . . Howard has 274 career home runs, half of Schmidt’s club record.

Down On The Farm
First-place Lehigh Valley dropped 3.  Domingo Brown started if LF Saturday night and stretched his LV hitting streak to a club-record 19 games (covering last season and two stints there earlier this season) . . . Reading dropped 2 of 3 in New Hampshire . . . Clearwater won 2 of 3 in Palm Beach as RHS Julio Rodriguez improved his record to 14-6 with his 6th straight win . . . Lakewood won 2 of 3 in West Virginia.  RHS David Buchanan (11-5) was promoted to Clearwater . . . Williamsport won all 3 to move within 1 game of first place . . . Gulf Coast League Phillies lost a pair to the Yankees by a combined 25-10 score.

 

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