Cy Young Antonio?

On a staff filled with Cy Young Award candidates, the best pitcher may just well be lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo.

With the game on the line (6-4 Phillies lead) Thursday afternoon in Cincy, he threw 18 pitches and got five outs.  The enemy is batting .122 against him, a number that’s never been done for a hurler with a minimum of 50 innings.

Vance picked up the win, capping a series in which the staff allowed the best offensive team in the NL to score five runs.  There are a lot of amazing stats this season.  One comes from Vance.  Of the 90 strikeouts he’s recorded, 47 have been called strikes.  The enemy simply can’t pick up his pitches.

The four-game sweep of the Reds in Cincinnati was the first for the Phillies since 1916.  That was the year Grover Cleveland Alexander tossed 16 shutouts, a record that may never be broken.  The staff that year recorded 26 shutouts, another club record.  This year’s staff is gaining with 19 shutouts. 

So, the Phillies are a mind-boggling 41 games above .500 for the third time in club history.  They’ve never been 42 over.

Next are the final three games in Sun Life Stadium, of whatever is the name of the Marlins’ home.  Next year the Marlins will be called the Miami Marlins and they will be playing in a new baseball park, not a football stadium.

Following this weekend, the Phillies return home for only three games, Monday through Wednesday nights with the Atlanta Braves.  Then, on to Milwaukee for four games and Houston for three.  Final homestand of the season runs from September 15 through September 22.

Dallas Green Honor
Later this month, the first ever Dallas Green Scout of the Year award will be presented pre-game.  His mentor, Paul Owens, has had a long-standing award named after him…the best pitcher and player in the minor league organization.

Following the death of John Vukovich, an award was crafted in his honor.  It goes to someone in player development, a manager, coach or instructor.

Scouts have long been overlooked but not anymore with the new Dallas Green Award.

Each year the club will present this award to an amateur or professional scout who best exemplifies the Phillies’ standard for scouting while demonstrating the same loyalty, work ethic, dedication and passion as the award’s namesake. The award will also recognize the scout’s ability to judge not only a player’s talent, but also his character and heart.

Green has spent over 55 years in baseball, including nearly 40 with the Phillies. Over his distinguished career, Green has served in almost every capacity in the game, including player, scout, manager, general manager and club executive.  Green currently is a senior advisor to Ruben Amaro Jr.

Down On The Farm
As the minor league seasons near the end, five Phillies minor league teams are in the running for postseason berths. 

**Lehigh Valley: not scheduled Thursday.  Two games out of first place, tied for a wildcard berth.  Four games left on the schedule, all on the road.

**Reading: won 6-1 at Akron behind Tyler Cloyd (6-3), 1 run in 6 innings.  Following the game in Ohio, the team bused to New York for the final four games of the season against the Binghamton Mets.  Phillies are four games out of first place, 0.5 behind in the wildcard race.

**Clearwater: rained out in Dunedin.  Threshers are 1.5 games behind Dunedin in the second half race.  Two teams meet in the final four games, including a doubleheader on Friday, and the final game in Clearwater on Sunday.

**Lakewood: won 10-1 at Hagerstown behind RH Garet Claypool (5-7), 0 runs, 6 innings.  2B Carlos Alonso had 3 hits to lead a 16-hit attack.  BlueClaws trail by 3 in the second-half race.  They close out the season with four more games in Hagerstown.

**Williamsport: lost, 8-3, at Mahoning Valley.  Crosscutters are 2 games out of first place and 1 game out of a wildcard berth.  Three more games remain, all at home against State College.

Good News/Bad News
The Phillies and five of their minor league clubs are in the running for postseason baseball.  That’s good news.

The bad news?  Will blog daily through the rest of the season.

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