September 2012

Offense, Pen Falter

The mountain to the wildcard got steeper.

After dropping the first game in Minute Maid Park, the Phillies are faced with must wins in the next three games against the Astros.  Then again, nearly every game is a must win.

Aumont gets tagged with his first loss on Thursday night.  He has a terrific arm, nasty stuff but is still mastering location.  When he’s throwing strikes, its lights out.  Pitching in his third straight game, he threw 17 pitches, five for strikes.

The young arms have stabilized the pen as witnessed by a consecutive innings streak of 21 ended last night in the eighth inning.  If only the Phillies didn’t have a play the eighth inning, this season would have been different.  Think baseball will allow us to go from the seventh to the ninth inning?

While Aumont as an L behind his name, the offense should have a 0.  Nine hits, of which eight were singles, and seven walks produced four runs, nothing after the third inning.  Two of the singles came from pinch hitters. Inconsistent offense has also been a drawback during the season.

Roster Limit?

Every September Larry Andersen complains about the MLB rule in which the 25-man roster can be expanded after September 1.  For five months, teams battle with 25 players and that goes out the window during the last month when pennant races are being decided.

Perhaps he’s on to something.  The Astros used 21 players last night.  Tampa, which lost to Baltimore, used a club-record 26 players on Thursday.  So, there’s proof it doesn’t necessarily win or lose games.

LA doesn’t have a problem with extra players but feels there should be a daily roster limit of say, 27 players.  Sort of like having a taxi squad.  Only 27 players can dress for a game.  Not a bad idea.

TV Ratings Update

Wednesday’s late afternoon game on CSN drew a 13 household rating.  That’s the highest for CSN since a 13 on July 6.

Manual Time

No, not Charlie but MLB’s postseason manual.

Every team with postseason potential receives a manual from Major League Baseball.  It contains guidelines on hotel requirements, facility/security, finance, ticketing, publications, media accommodations, broadcasting needs, hospitality, MLB Properties sales, pre-game festivities, transportation/parking, sponsorship/scoreboard, food/retail and community affairs.

While the postseason remains a long shot for the Phillies, it is only a little more than two weeks away if they make it.

So, the office staff met Thursday for the first time to go over the manual.  Fortunately, the staff has been through enough postseasons to know what to expect.  No one is panicking over the details and everyone is gearing up to work endless hours if need be.  Let’s hope to comes to that.

Alumni News, Notes, Photos

Visit www.phillies.com/alumni.

Falling Into Place

All of a sudden, things are beginning to fall into place for the Phillies.

Starting four in the rotation are all clicking, hitters are coming up with clutch hits, pinch hitters are also coming through, young arms are stabilizing the pen in order to get to The Pap, the team is winning at home, winning series and the teams in the wildcard race ahead of them are losing.

J-Roll has hit two homers off Josh Johnson this season and both have been game-winners, including Wednesday’s.

The Phillies completed a 6-0 homestand, the first perfect one since they went 7-0 vs. Colorado and Arizona in 2010.

Unfriendly Minute Maid Park

Phillies took a Delta charter flight to Houston after Wednesday’s game where they will play a four-game series against the struggling Astros.

The Astros have the majors’ most losses (97), are last in the NL in hitting (.237) and second from the bottom in ERA (4.65), while making 101 errors, third most in the league.

That said, the Phillies have struggled at Minute Maid Park that opened in 2000.  They are only 17-24 there, 1-2 last September 12-13-14.The two teams met at Citizens Bank Park this May 14-15 with the Phillies winning both.

Toss all those numbers aside.  Focus is on Thursday night’s game and nothing else.

TV Ratings

Comcast SportsNet drew an 11 household share for Tuesday night’s game, CSN’s highest rating since August 25.

2013 Home Opener

With Houston moving to the American League next year, there will be a lot more interleague games.

The Phillies begin their Citizens Bank Park schedule with an AL opponent, the Kansas City Royals, a first in their 129 seasons.  The Royals’ best starting pitcher the last three years is LHP Bruce Chen, who pitched for the Phillies in 2000-2001, 7-9 for 31 starts.

Golf Buddies?

Check www.phillies.com/alumni to find out which teammates Phillies Alumni would invite to play golf.  It’s in the Alumni Views section.

September Surge

As with snowflakes, no two baseball games are alike.

Monday, 4 total runs, 8 hits, 8 LOB, 5 walks, a crisp 2:38 game time.  Tuesday night, 16 runs, 26 hits, 18 LOB, 10 walks, a not-so crisp 3:30.  Fortunately for the Phillies, both turned out to be two-run wins.

After sitting at 28-28 on June 4, the Phillies went into a serious nose dive.  86 games later, they are back at .500, 71-71.

Credit Aumont with gutty pitching in the eighth that saved the lead.  Then, Papelbon did his job in the ninth and recorded the “official” save.

J-Roll took the team lead in homers with his 18th, passing Hunter’s 17.  J-Roll finished the night with 3,200 total bases, moving him into second place on the Phillies all-tie list ahead of Ed Delahanty’s 3,197. Schmidt leads, 4,404.

Last time the Phillies had a home run leader under 20 for a full season was 1988 when Chris James hit 18.  1988 was the first Schmidt-less season.

Sweep potential is there for Wednesday’s late afternoon game and then it’s on to Houston for four games with the Astros.  Can’t look ahead.  One game at time.  We’ve seen that from the Phillies for the last six seasons.

Down On The Farm . . . League Leaders

International League: ERA (2.35), Tyler Cloyd.

Eastern League: Games (139, tie 1st), home runs (38), total bases (303), RBI (104), on-base percentage (.408), slugging percentage (.620), Darin Ruf . . . Triples (11, tie 1st), Cesar Hernandez . . . Saves (24), Justin Friend . . . Walks (78), strikeouts (151), Trevor May.

Florida State League: Doubles (43), Jim Murphy . . . Wins (11, tie 1st), Austin Wright . . . Strikeouts (151), Jesse Biddle. (teammates Adam Morgan, 140, and Wright, 133, followed Biddle).

New York-Penn League: Runs (56); triples (11), stolen bases (30), Ramon Quinn. . . Doubles (24), RBI (47), total bases (131), Chris Serritella . . . Innings pitched (81.2), Joshua Warner.

Phlashback

September 12, 1972: 3B Mike Schmidt makes his big league debut, taking over for Don Money in the third inning during a 4-3 loss to the New York Mets at the Vet.  Schmidt singles in the ninth inning for his hit. Four days later, he hits his first home run against Montreal LHP Balor Moore.

For more Phlashbacks, visit www.phillies.com/alumni.

 

KK Wave

Riding the KK wave, the Phillies have pulled within one game of .500 and five games of a wildcard berth.

By beating Miami for the eighth straight time, KK pulled within one game of .500.  He carried a no-hitter through five innings.  Once a swing man between the rotation and bullpen, he may never return to the pen.

Domonic gave KK a two-run lead and that’s all he needed. Since the All-Star Game break, KK is 7-2 with a 2.34 ERA.  Phillies starters have the league’s best ERA in that time frame, 3.38, and a lot of credit goes to KK.

New No. 18

Darin Ruf had some kind of season at Reading, just missing the Triple Crown in the Eastern League while leading all minor leaguers in home runs. His season ended when he grounded into a double play in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday as the R-Phillies were eliminated in the postseason at Trenton.

Dejected after the game, he received good news….he was going to the majors. According to the AP, Ruf arrived at Citizens Bank Park around 12:30 p.m. on Monday and had a meeting with Charlie.  “He had a little smile on his face when I walked in,” Ruf told reporters. “But I think mine was a little bigger than his.”

At some point he’ll get into his first major league game.  His short name is a perfect fit for a box score.

Responding to a Posted Comment

Steve recently asked about Phillies videos for Comcast On Demand.  Here’s an update:

Video department is still working on an Alumni Weekend Video On Demand piece that will include segments from the Luncheon.  ETA to be determined.  Comcast VOD also features “Behind the Pinstripes” shows as well as a number of the Phillies year-end DVDs, mostly from the Citizens Bank Park era.

There are no plans at the moment to do anything with the old highlight films.  It is a subject that might be discussed internally and with Comcast. Old highlight films would require a lot of production changes for broadcast purposes.

Appreciate the suggestion, Steve.

Down On The Farm

Postseason All-Stars:

**International League–RHS Tyler Cloyd.  Also named IL Most Valuable Pitcher.  **Eastern League—1B-LF Darin Ruf, 2B Cesar Hernandez, C Tommy Joseph.  **Florida State League—C Cameron Rupp, LHP Austin Wright, LHP Adam Morgan.  Wright also named Pitcher of the Year in the FSL.

**Gulf Coast League—OF Andrew Pullin.

Alumni News, Notes, Photos

Visit www.phillies.com/alumni

 

 

 

Long Day Seems Shorter

Day-night doubleheaders can make for a long day the ballpark.   When you win both, the day doesn’t seem as long.

Sunday started with another solid start for Cole, but a no decision, and ended with five, one-hit, shutout innings from six relievers.  Papelbon picked up a win and a save, first time he’s ever appeared in both games of a DH.  BJ picked up his first major league win, the fifth Phillies pitcher to do so this season and the 18th Phillies pitcher with a win.

Since August 23, the Phillies are 12-4, best record in the league.

Then, there was Chooch making his first appearance since August 2.  Fans responded with standing ovations, once when his name as announced as a pinch hitter and after he got a hit.  Oh, he also had an RBI single in his second at-bat, his 29th multi-hit game.

By winning twice, they climbed over the Diamondbacks in the wildcard race, six games behind St. Louis.  Odds are still very, very long.

Tonight the Marlins start a three-game series.  They’ve scored 539 runs and allowed 637 but lead the Phillies, 7-5, in the season series.

Down On The Farm

Reading was eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs, 5-4, at Trenton on Sunday afternoon, despite out-hitting the Thunder 13-5.  The R-Phillies won the series opener but the Thunder rebounded with three consecutive wins.

Darin Ruf, who homered in the sixth inning, grounded into a series-ending double play with runners on first and second and one out in the ninth.  The R-Phillies were 3-8 with RISP and left eight runners on base. Trenton left one runner.

LHS Adam Morgan was the loser, five runs in six innings, including a pair of home runs.

3B Cody Ashe led Reading with a .429 average in the series.

After the game, the Phillies announced they had purchased the contract of Ruf.  He’ll be in uniform for Monday’s game.

Phlashback

September 9, 1997: Just hours after broadcasting a Phillies game, Richie Ashburn dies in a New York hotel.  Ashburn’s passing produces a huge outpouring of affection from friends and fans. Phillies win, 1-0.  Ironically, as a player with the Phillies, he wore #1 and his final game was with the Mets.

Visit www.phillies.com/alumni for more phlashback memories.

 

Time To Make Hay

This is the time of the year when farmers are making hay.  Well, I’m not sure because I’m not a farmer, but I believe that is true.

This is the time of the baseball season when the Phillies need to make hay, big hay, if they have visions of postseason baseball for the sixth straight year.

Starting Friday night, the Phillies play 13 straight games against teams with losing records, Rockies, Marlins, Astros and Mets.  Combined those four teams have 100 more losses than wins (223-323). It won’t be easy and focus needs to be on tonight’s game only.

The Rockies came here from Atlanta where they were 1-3, losing, 1-0, 1-0 the last two days, winning 6-0 on Tuesday and losing 6-1 to start the week.  Despite the last two games, they have scored 646 runs, third best in the NL.  On the other hand, they lead the league in runs allowed (679) and errors (106).  Both 1-0 losses came on unearned runs.

Even though Colorado is in the Western Division, this is the third series with the Phillies, one of the scheduling quirks.  The Phillies are 4-2.

In the wildcard race, the Phillies are 8 games behind the Cardinals, who would qualify as the second wildcard winner this season.  Bigger issue is there are four other teams ahead of the Phillies.  There’s still hope, although the percentages are not good.

Down On The Farm

A two-out bases-loaded triple by DH Rob Segedin in the top of the ninth lifted the Trenton Thunder to a 4-1 win over the host Reading Phillies on Thursday night.  The series, tied at 1-1, shifts to Trenton for the last three games.

Reading jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when CF Tyson Gillies walked and 3B Cody Asche and LF Darin Ruf followed with singles.  DH Jake Fox, the cleanup hitter, also got a base hit but Reading couldn’t score any more runs that inning or the rest of the game.  The R-Phillies managed only two other singles the rest of the game off six Trenton pitchers.

RH Trevor May started for Reading and allowed  only  lead-off homer in the fifth inning. RH Kyle Simon followed May and tossed 2.2 hitless, scoreless innings with 3 strikeouts.  Loser Colby Shreve issued a one-out walk in the ninth that was followed by a single, wild pitch and an intentional walk to load the bases.  He struck out 1B Kevin Mahoney but Segedin followed with his game-winning triple.

RH Ethan Martin (5-0) starts for Reading on Friday night, a 7:05 p.m. game.

New Alumni Feature

Jeff Grotewold isn’t a household name for Phillies fans but he had a three-game span that put him in the team’s record book.  Check out Paul Hagen’s “Where Are They Now?” feature at www.phillies.com/alumni.

Phlashbacks

September 7, 1971: 1B Greg Luzinski hits his first major league home run (off RHP Reggie Cleveland), a towering shot into Section 570 at the Vet in a 7-5, 10-inning loss to St. Louis, second game.

September 7, 1972: LHP Steve Carlton beats his former team (Cardinals), 2-1, at the Vet and strikes out nine, breaking the Phillies single season record of 268 set by Jim Bunning in 1965.  23rd win breaks the club record for a LHP set by Eppa Rixey in 1916.

 

 

Doc, R-Phillies Win

Thursday’s a day off so here’s a chance to review some numbers:

**Road trip ended 4-2 against two teams that are headed for the playoffs. Included was one painful loss and one painful blown call by the umpires.

**The Phillies have now won the season series (4-3) from the Reds eight straight seasons.

**Phillies outscored Jay Bruce in the series, 11-6.  Yep, Bruce drove in all the runs.

**Doc improved to 110-0 when given a lead of four or more runs. Has won six of last seven decisions, 3.00 ERA.

**Phillies are 58-38 in his starts.

**Wednesday’s win means the Phillies are 10-3 in day games after starting 9-22.

**Leak, in his career vs. the Phillies, 26 runs in 27 innings.

**Since the All-Star Game, Phillies starters have a 3.39 ERA, second only to the Nationals in the NL.

**Same starters have issued the fewest walks (198) and recorded the most strikeouts (769) in the majors for the season.

**Eight series remain, three against teams with winning records (Washington twice, Atlanta once).

*Phillies Insider ranked #16 in August among MLB Pro blogs.  At the end of July, #22.  A big thank you!

Down On The Farm

Reading defeated visiting Trenton, 4-2, on back-to-back, 7th inning homers by C Tommy Joseph and RF Leandro Castro.  DH Jake Fox also homered for the R-Phillies who took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-5 first-round playoffs.  RHS Austin Hyatt, no decision, 2 run, 4 hits, 6.1 innings.  RH Tyler Knigge (1-0), 1.2 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts.  Save for RH Justin Friend, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 inning.  Game 2 is Thursday night.

Williamsport ended its season with an 8-4 win over visiting Auburn.  RF Cameron Perkins, 2 hits to lead the club in hitting, .304.  1B Chris Serritella, 2 hits; LF Larry Greene, 2 hits, including club-high 22nd double; finished at .272.  SS Roman Quinn, set club records in runs (56) and stolen base (30) while hitting .281.  RH Jeb Stefan (2-4) was the winner.

Phlashback

September 6, 1952: RHP Robin Roberts gives up six runs in eight innings but pitches all 17 inings as the Phillies rally for a 7-6 win over Boston, first game of a Saturday doubleheader.  Roberts’ line: 17 innings, 18 hits, 6 runs, 5 earned, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. Second game is suspended after eight with the Phillies losing.  It is completed the next day, a 3-1 loss.

Guess they didn’t focus on pitch counts back then.

Alumni phlashbacks, pheatures and photos: www.phillies.com/alumni.

 

Double, Fitting For J-Roll

Two streaks ended Tuesday night.  KK’s four-game winning streak came to a halt thanks to a two-run homer by Bruce, who has driven in all four Reds runs in this series.  The loss ended the Phillies five-game winning streak at Great American Ballpark.

KK hasn’t given up more than two runs in five straight starts but the Phillies couldn’t produce much offense against three Cincinnati pitchers.  A bases-loaded walk accounted for the Phils lone run.

One of the Phillies four hits was a historic one, a double that was #2,000 for J-Roll.  He’s only the 30th switch hitter to reach that plateau. His first hit came on September 17, 2000, vs. Florida. Number 500 also came this month, September 7, 2003, vs. the Mets.

So, J-Roll, Schmidt, Ashburn and Delahanty now are the four Phillies with 2,000 hits.  J-Roll needs two more stolen bases to reach 400 which puts him in exclusive company in Phillies history as only two have gotten there, Delahanty (412) and “Sliding” Billy Hamilton (508). If he remains healthy, J-Roll could sit atop both categories.

Guess it was fitting that Schmidt’s 2,000th hit was a home run, Ashburn’s, a single and J-Roll’s, a double.  On the Phillies all-time list for doubles, he now has 420.  Delahanty is the record holder at 432.

Down On The Farm

Reading hosts Trenton in the first round of the best-of-5 Eastern League playoffs on Wednesday night.  RH Austin Hyatt will start. R-Phillies took season series from Thunder, 7-6. Winners advance to a best-of-5 championship round.

Williamsport closes out its season Wednesday night hosting Auburn.  Crosscutters lost Tuesday night to Auburn, 9-7.  Cameron Perkins, 2 doubles, 3 RBI.

Phlashback

September 5, 1913: Phillies tie a major league record by scoring the only run in a doubleheader.  They won the opener, 1-0, and played a 10-inning, 0-0 tie in the second game at Boston.

For Alumni news, notes and photos, check out www.phillies.com/alumni.

 

Rookies & J-Roll

A painful walk-off loss, the Phillies 11th, on Sunday night in Atlanta was followed by a day game in Cincinnati on Monday against the leading Cy Young Award candidate who was 11-0 in day games. Rookie Tyler Cloyd would be making his second big league start.

Odds were in Cincinnati’s favor but that’s why the games are played.  Cloyd, along with fellow rookies DeFratus and Aumont bested the Reds, 4-2.  Cueto had allowed just five home runs at home this season and the Phillies got to him for two, a three-run job by J-Roll and solo from Mayberry.

Lerud, catching his second major league game, got his second major league hit with two out in the 5th inning. Cloyd followed with his first hit and J-Roll drove one into the right field seats, his 1,999th career hit. Just think, Lerud and Cloyd are only 1,996 hits behind Jimmy.

Just think, winning five of those 11 walk-off losses would have painted a rosier picture in the wildcard race.  But, would have doesn’t count in the standings.  Two more games in Cincinnati and then 13 against four teams with losing records.  Mathematically, there’s still hope.  The percentages are against the Phillies but that’s why they play the games.  Just like Sunday.

2000-Hit Club

J-Roll’s next hit puts him in an exclusive 2,000-hit club with the Phillies.  Only three of the 1,909 who have worn a Phillies uniform have reached that level: Mike Schmidt (2,234), Richie Ashburn (2,217) and Ed Delahanty (2,207).  All are Hall of Famers.

Schmidt’s 2,000th hit came on a home run, June 14, 1987, off Curt Brown in Montreal.  Ashburn’s was a single, August 15, 1958, off Carlton Willey in Milwaukee.  Delahanty played from 1888-89; 1891-1901. Day-by-day records are not available from his era.

Down On The Farm

Lehigh Valley, eliminated from postseason play on Saturday night, was rained out in the season finale on Sunday.  IronPigs

Reading advanced to the Eastern League playoffs with a 7-3 win at Portland on Sunday.  The R-Phillies finished second, 1 game ahead of New Britain who won its sixth straight game but fell short.  (First and second place winners in each division qualify for the postseason). Best-of-5 series vs. 1st-place Trenton starts on Wednesday at Reading.  R-Phillies won season series, 7-6. Winner advances to the best-of-5 championship round.

Clearwater’s season ended Sunday.  The Threshers finished in 2nd place, 1 game out of first place in the second half.  First and second half winners reach the playoffs.  Final home game on Saturday drew 7,054 and pushed Clearwater’s final total to a record 177,297.

Lakewood ended its season on Monday with a 3-2, 10-inning loss to Greensboro. RF Kelly Dugan was 3-3 and finished at .300.

Darin Ruf Update

Finished the season with a .317 average and led the league in 38 homers and 104 RBI.  Fell short of the Triple Crown as Altoona’s Brock Holt won the batting title, .322.

Ruf hit .371 in August with 20 homers and 36 RBI in 31 games. His 20 homers tied pro baseball’s record for one month, set by Sammy Sosa in June of 1998.

Trivia Time

Who holds the Phillies big league record for homers in a month?

Klein, Schmidt, Thome, Howard?

Try Cy Williams, 15, in May 1923 and matched by Jim Thome in June 2004.

Phlashback

September 4, 1962: Phillies lose at Houston, 4-1, after winning the first 17 games of the season against the Colt 45s.

September 4, 1970: Game in Pittsburgh is suspended with Pirates leading, 4-1, after six innings when the automatic tarpaulin gets stuck while trying to cover the field during rain.  Game resumed next day with a Phillies rally falling short, 4-3.

Check out www.phillies.com/alumni for more phlashback moments and Alumni features.

 

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