Season of Disbelief

Hard to believe, but we’re into the second half of the season of disbelief.

June started out with a 6-4 win over Miami’s Buehrle and ended with a 3-2 loss to him.  In between nine one-run losses among many more, and the month ended at 9-19.  Starters were 7-13, relievers 2-6.  The offense scored 4.4 runs per game; pitchers’ ERA was 4.74.  But, too many games in which clutch pitching and hitting were missing.

Under Charlie, the Phillies have traditionally been a second-half team and that’s the hill they face.  Joe-B was 3-1 in June and he started July with a loss, ending with the first sweep of the Phillies in Miami in eight years. Phillies haven’t won on a Sunday since May 13.

Three months to go and plenty of baseball to be played.  Got to keep battling and fighting.

All-Star Chooch
Congrats to the Phillies three All-Stars who’ll be heading for Kansas City in a week. Chooch didn’t get the starter’s job but Phillies fans went to bat for him in the voting.  In the end, SF fans got three players elected.

Chooch is the first Phillies All-Star catcher since Mike Lieberthal 12 years ago.  Other All-Star catchers from the Phillies include Jimmy Wilson, Andy Seminick, Smoky Burgess, Stan Lopata, Bob Boone, Ozzie Virgil, Lance Parrish and Darren Daulton.

Down On The Farm
**Lehigh Valley ended the weekend with a split doubleheader at home yesterday.  They won three of four to take over first place in their division. Three wins went to the bullpen: Phillippe Aumont (2-1), Michael Cisco (1-0) and J. C. Ramirez (1-0). Ryan Howard played first base in Sunday’s second game, 0-2, 2-1 win.  With Ryan in the lineup, his teams are 4-0 (3-0 at Lakewood; 1-0 in Reading).

**Reading won two of three and moved into first place in the East.  1B Darin Ruf homered on Friday and Saturday nights (#13-14).  RHR Ryan Duke, who began the season with Lakewood, moved to Clearwater and then Reading, picked up a win in his AA debut on Friday night.  He continued the climb in the organization by pitching two scoreless innings in Lehigh Valley on Sunday.

**Reading All-Stars: Eight players have been selected to the Eastern Division squad for the league’s all-star game in Reading on July 11: 1B Dari Ruf, 2B Cesar Hernandez, SS Troy Hanzawa, C Sebastian Valle, RHR Justin Friend (promoted to AAA), RHS Julio Rodriguez, RHS Lisalverta Bonilla and LF Leandro Castro. Manager Dusty Wathan and his staff, Frank Cacciatore and Bob Milacki will direct the Eastern Squad.

**Clearwater lost all three by the combined score of 28-13, two losses to Lakeland and one to Brevard County.

**Lakewood won two of three vs. Hagerstown. DH-1B Chris Duffy is riding a 17-game (.477).  3B Maikel Franco, seven RBI in two of the games.

**Williamsport won one of three.  1B Chris Serritella, 3-5, including a single, 5th and 6th doubles and five RBI during a 10-9 loss on Saturday at Auburn.

**Gulf Coast League Phillies lost twice (league doesn’t play on Sundays).  C Willians Astudillo is hitting .423.  The 20-year-old is in his first season in the states, having played three years in the Venezuela League where he compiled a .308 average with just 16 strikeouts in 166 games.

www.phillies.com/alumni
With the All-Star Game coming up soon, look for Alumni features on past All-Star games on this section.  New Peek at the Past photo features Johnny Callison’s game-winning homer in the 1964 ASG.

1 Comment

In honor of this team having the worst first-half start since 1997, I present to you the 1997 Phillies:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PHI/1997.shtml

The Phils ended that season at 68-94 (.419 winning percentage); this year the pace is 72-90, so 2 games better.

1997 rotation was:

– Curt Schilling (who had an awesome year, 17-11, 2.97 ERA, 319 Ks in 254.1 innings)
– Mark Leiter (10-17, 5.67 ERA)
– Matt Beech (4-9, 5.07 ERA)
– Garrett Stephenson (8-6, 3.15 ERA)
– split between Tyler Green (4-4, 4.93 ERA) and Calvin Maduro (3-7, 7.23 ERA)

The closer was Ricky Bo, with 34 saves and a 3.65 ERA. Only 5 of the 23 pitchers had an ERA below league average–Schilling, Stephenson, Bottalico, Mike Grace (just 6 games) and Billy Brewer (just 22 innings).

Starting lineup was:

C – Lieberthal
1B – Brogna
2B – Morandini
SS – Stocker
3B – Rolen
LF – Jefferies
CF – Cummings
RF – Daulton

Every starter’s OPS was below league average except Daulton (.860), Rolen (.846) and Cummings (.802). Every other offensive player had a below-league-average OPS except Billy McMillon (72 ABs) and Bobby “Juicer” Estalella (29 ABs).

During the season, (a) J.D. Drew was drafted and rebuffed the Phillies’ offer, and (b) Richie Ashburn died.

Enjoy the memories as you watch this year’s team play out the second half!

P.S. That year’s total team salary was $35.5 million, 17th highest in the majors. This year’s is $174.5 million, 2nd highest in the majors.

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