September 2013

New Era Begins

The Delta charter left Atlanta last evening after the Phillies ended a dismal road trip and equally dismal season. Not all players were on the flight as some headed home without returning to Philly. Some won’t be in a Phillies uniform again.

During the season’s last weekend, they lost a game in 2 hours, 7 minutes on Friday and 3 hours, 27 minutes yesterday. Their last win came Saturday with J-Roll making a brilliant game-ending out. It didn’t appear to be a big loss for the Braves but it was. It kept them from having home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They now open with the Dodgers, who have three top starters in their rotation. St. Louis now gets the winner of Cincinnati/Pittsburgh.

Looking back at the first losing season since 2002, there were a lot of deficiencies, hitting, defense, base-running, starting pitching, bullpen, pitch selection and stopping the enemy’s running game but lack luster offense has to rank #1.

They had a winning record at home (43-38) but finished 30-51 on the road, their poorest since they had the same mark in 1997. Overall record was the worst since 2000 (65-97). With their low finish, the Phillies get the seventh selection in the first round of the draft next summer.

Look at it this way, the Phillies won 43 home games. The Eagles haven’t won a home game since a year ago today.

The season is history. Charlie Brown said it best, “Good riddance.”

Packing up the gear until next spring is the chore of the clubhouse staff these next few days. Some players have already packed, other did it after returning to Citizens Bank Park last night and a few will do so today.

Ruben and Ryno face the tough decision in selecting a coaching staff. The re-shaping of the roster will begin quickly.

A new era brings, the era of Ryne Sandberg, a stickler on preparation and organization. Should be an interesting off-season and spring training.

It’s a Fact
Indians lost 94 games a year ago, Red Sox, 93, and both are in the playoffs this season.

This Date
September 30, 1951–CF Richie Ashburn goes 4-for-8 in final game to finish with 221 hits, the first Phillie to lead the NL in 18 years. Phillies defeat Brooklyn, 9-8, in 14 innings at Shibe Park.

September 30, 1971–CF Willie Montanez sets a club rookie record with his 30th home run as the Phillies end the season with a 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh at the Vet.

September 30, 1978–LHP Randy Lerch (11-8) hits two home runs and picks up the win as the Phillies capture their third straight NL East title, 10-8, at Pittsburgh.

September 30, 2007–Phillies beat Washington, 6-1, at Citizens Bank Park and clinch National League Eastern Division title in last game of season as New York Mets who were tied with Phillies for first place lost to Florida, 8-1.

September 30, 2009–Phillies beat Houston, 10-3, at Citizens Bank Park and clinch National League Eastern Division title with four games left for third straight year and eighth overall.

Phillies Insider
This blog will swing into the off-season pattern of twice a week, Tuesdays (starting tomorrow) and Thursdays. News events will bring additional posts.

Thanks for following and hopefully, not falling asleep while reading.

No Match for Braves

The Braves, bidding to win the most games and gain the home field advantage in the playoffs, jumped on Tyler early and coasted last night, 7-1. How important is the home field advantage for Atlanta? The Braves’ 54-24 home record is the best in the NL. On the road, only 40-41.

Four tales of last night’s loss:

**After three innings, Phillies pitchers had thrown 102 pitches, Atlanta’s rookie starter, 38.

**RISP, Atlanta, 6-19; Phillies, 0-12.

**Tyler drove in the Phillies lone run.

**Atlanta had seven extra base hits, including a home run; Phillies, two doubles. They haven’t homered since September 17.

Cliff makes his last start tonight. He’s 3-1 vs. Atlanta this year. Somebody and Miner start the final two games of the season.

Where Are They Now?
Latest Paul Hagen WATN is about Billy Wagner and a new book he’s just published. You can read all about it on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

This Date
September 27, 1977–RHP Larry Christenson wins his 18th game and drives in five runs as the Phillies capture their second NL East title, 15-9, over Chicago at Wrigley Field, their 101st win for the second straight year.

September 27, 2003–Phillies beat Atlanta, 7-6, in 10 innings for final win at Veterans Stadium. Jim Thome hits last home run and Rheal Cormier is last Phillies pitcher to win a game at Veterans Stadium.

September 27, 2008–The Phillies beat Washington, 4-3, at Citizens Bank Park to wrap up Eastern Division title with one game left.

September 27, 2010–For first time, Phillies win Eastern Division Crown four consecutive years as they beat Nationals, 8-0, in Washington with five games to go.

September 28, 1919–In the fastest game ever played in the major leagues, it takes the New York Giants 51 minutes to beat the Phillies, 6-1, at the Polo Grounds. Most batters swung at the first pitch and ran the bases at will.

September 28, 1958–CF Richie Ashburn goes 3-for-4 in the final game of the season, a 6-4 win at Pittsburgh, to edge Willie Mays, .350 to .347, for the NL batting title. The Phillies haven’t had a batting champion since.

September 28, 1983–C Bo Diaz has five hits, including two homers, and 2B Joe Morgan, four hits and three RBI, as the Phillies clinch the NL East, 13-6, at Chicago, their 14th win in the last 16 games.

September 28, 2003–Before a sellout crowd of 58,554, the final game in Vet history is won by the Atlanta Braves, 5-2. Following the last out, emotional and memorable closing ceremonies are held featuring the 2003 Phillies and nearly 100 alumni, including Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt and Tug McGraw.

September 28, 2011–Phillies set club record for most wins in a season with 102 as they beat Atlanta Braves, 4-3, in 13 innings. Charlie Manuel sets club record for most wins by a manager with 646, passing Gene Mauch.

September 29, 1907, 1st game–RHP George McQuillan’s consecutive scoreless innings streak ends at 25 innings, a Phillies record for the start of a career.

September 29, 1915–The Phillies clinch first NL pennant with a 5-0 win at Boston, a 1-hitter for RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander, his 30th win. It is his fourth 1-hitter and 12th shutout of the season.

Sure Bet?

OK. What was a sure bet coming out of spring training? How about Cole needing nine wins to reach 100 in his Phillies career? As Richie Ashburn used to say, “I’ll bet my house on it.”

Well, Whitey, you’ve lost your house. Cole ended up with a career-low 8 wins and a career-high 11 no decisions. Win #100 will have to wait until next April. He pitched better than his 8-14 record but lack of run support was major. Seven times the Phillies scored one or fewer runs.

And, perhaps the most amazing note of the season: Cole did not pitch with a lead in a game from April 7 through May 31, a span of 62 consecutive innings.

The offense again was in low gear last night and the entire three-game series, scoring a total of four runs. A week ago, the Phillies took two of three from Miami at Citizens Bank Park and scored 21 runs. Perplexing, confusing, confounding, mystifying, baffling, bewildering.

On to Atlanta for the final four games of the season.

This Date
September 26, 1954–CF Richie Ashburn finishes the season by playing in his 730th straight game, a Phillies all-time record that still stands. The streak began June 7, 1950, and ended when Ashburn failed to make the 1955 opener after getting injured in a collision with LF Del Ennis during a spring training exhibition game at Wilmington, DE.

September 26, 1976, 1st game–After watching a lead of 15 ½ games on August 24, 1976, slip to three games in three weeks, the Phillies clinch their first post-season title in 26 years, 4-1 over the Expos in Jarry Park, the final day for the Montreal park.

September 26, 1998, 2nd game–RHP Curt Schilling strikes out seven Florida batters in his final start to finish with 300 strikeouts, only the fifth big league pitcher with 300 or strikeouts in back-to-back seasons.

Closing Ceremonies at the Vet
Paul Hagen’s written a feature about the emotional closing ceremonies at Veterans Stadium which took place 10 years ago. Check it out on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Not Exciting, But a W

They had only five hits (four singles), scored twice in the first inning none on run-scoring hits, didn’t score again and used a five-man bullpen approach in winning 2-1 last night in Miami. It wasn’t pretty or exciting for the Phillies but it is a W and that’s all that counts.

Miner allowed the one run in his four-inning start. He didn’t get credit for the win because he didn’t complete five innings.

A bases-loaded walk and infielder grounder plated the two first-inning runs. Last run-scoring hit by a Phillie was a single by Domonic in the sixth inning on Sunday.

Series ends tonight and Cole is aiming for two things….his 100th win with the Phillies and avoiding being the club’s first 15-game loser since 1997 (Mark Leiter).

The win boosted Tuesday’s record to 14-10, best of the seven days. Perhaps we can have more Tuesday games next year.

Vet Anniversary
Ten years ago an era of baseball ended at Veterans Stadium after 33 years. Read about the history of the Vet on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

This Date
September 25, 1955–CF Richie Ashburn is hitless in seven at-bats in a season-ending doubleheader in the Polo Grounds but easily wins his first batting title (.338).

Unproductive Night

Walks and no runs summed up last night’s loss in Miami, the Phillies 20th road defeat against five wins since July 20. For the fourth time this season, they walked nine or more in a game.

Doc left after three batters (two walks) with a fatigued right arm, something pitchers usually go through during spring training. Basically, he’s in his spring training phase following the shoulder surgery.

Offensively, it was their 14th shutout loss. Relax, the club record for being shut out the most in a season is 23 set in 1908 and matched the following season.

Elsewhere
The Florida Instructional League is off to a soggy start. The season opener was rained out yesterday and today’s game has already been postponed. Tomorrow is a camp day with an intrasquad game at Bright House Field, starting time TBA pending weather conditions. Scott Palmer is in Clearwater to provide a video update of the camp, especially Howard.

When the Vet was opened in 1971, a theme tower in the northeast corner of the parking lot made its debut. Messages about the game appeared on the board which eventually went dark. Workers have started to dismantle the tall lower. It will be replaced with another message board, a two-sided fixture that won’t be as tall.

This Date
September 24, 1911–St. Louis scores in the sixth inning to break rookie RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander’s 41 consecutive scoreless innings streak, a Phillies record that hasn’t been broken.

Ryno Era Officially Begins

First came a 9:47 a.m. e-mail media alert from the communications department saying there would be a “press conference to announce news from the Phillies” at 11:30 a.m. in the Media Room at Citizens Bank Park. Eight minutes later Ruben sent a confidential e-mail to the baseball administration department and vice presidents saying we have reached an agreement to name Ryne Sandberg the manager officially. Announcement would be made later in the morning.

No longer would Ryno carry that interim title. He’s now the 52nd manager in the history of the Phillies. And, he’s the fourth to play, coach and manage the Phillies, joining Gavvy Cravath, Hans Lobert and his close friend, Larry Bowa.

Selecting 23rd in the 1978 draft, the Phillies grabbed RHP Rip Rollins. Not exactly a Hall of Famer but none of the first-round picks that June have landed in Cooperstown.

On the 20th round, the Phillies chose INF Ryne Sandberg, North Central High School, Spokane, WA, where he was a star baseball player and highly recruited quarterback. Three years later, he made his major league debut with the Phillies.
He is the only player selected by the Phillies in the entire draft that year who had any kind of a big league career.

In the minors, he played most of his games at shortstop, a position that was blocked on the major league level by Larry Bowa. With Manny Trillo at second base and Mike Schmidt at third, Ryno faced more road blocks. GM Paul Owens wasn’t sure where Ryno would play in the majors. Begin a gifted athlete, the Pope entertained thoughts of making him a centerfielder. But, Garry Maddox was there, the secretary of Defense.

When Dallas Green went to the Cubs as their president, he traded for Bowa and asked that Ryno also be included in the deal. Ryno played third base in his first full season with the Cubs (1983). He moved to second base the following year and ended as a Hall of Famer.

To Ryno’s credit, he went to the minors to be schooled as a manager, something very few Hall of Famers have ever done. He endured long bus rides for six minor league seasons before starting this season as a big league coach. Five of his teams had winning records.

So, a new era in Phillies baseball officially begins.

Lost Weekend
While the news off the field was good, on the field wasn’t as the Mets swept all three games. Lack of clutch hitting, pitching mistakes and shaky defense all played a role in the three losses.

For the first time since 2002, the Phillies will finish with a losing record. Once before the Phillies went 10 years without a losing record, 1975-84.

After yesterday’s loss, a Delta charter flight carried the team to Miami and the start of the final road trip and final seven games, three vs. Marlins and four against the division champion Braves.

This Date
September 23, 1916–RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander pitches 7-3 and 4-0 complete-game wins over Cincinnati at Baker Bowl and ties a major league record by walking only one batter. Almost a year later (September 3) he does it again, 5-0 and 9-3, at Brooklyn, allowing one walk.

September 23, 1945, 2nd game–Hall of Fame-bound 1B Jimmie Foxx, the Philadelphia A’s all-time home run leader (302) and now with the Phillies, ends his 20-year career in a 4-3 loss at Brooklyn. Foxx also pitches in nine games that season, a first in his career.

September 23, 1965, 1st game–RHP Jim Bunning’s fifth-inning strikeout is his 242nd of the season, breaking the club record held by RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander (241, 1915). Bunning wins, 11-5, at Wrigley Field.

September 23, 1983–A 6-2, 12-strikeout victory at St. Louis gives LHP Steve Carlton his 300th career win, the 16th pitcher in baseball history to reach that milestone.

Fine-ally
The NFL is the only pro sport to issue weekly injury reports and fines. Last week the fines for players with illegal hits, blocks and throwing punches totaled a shocking $177,250.

Perhaps the NFL should change its name to National Fine League.

Cole Bids for 100th

In the 131-season Phillies history, there have been hundreds of pitchers but only six have ever won 100 games while pitching for this team. Cole is one step away.

Here’s the list……….
Steve Carlton (241)
Robin Roberts (234)
Grover Cleveland Alexander (190)
Chris Short (132)
Curt Simmons (115)
Curt Schilling (101)

Home Schedule Final Curtain
This weekend brings down another curtain on Citizens Bank Park baseball, season #9. Just seems like yesterday that CBP first opened.

The Phillies opened their home portion of their 2013 schedule on Friday, April 5, against the Kansas City Royals. The lineup for the homer opener:

Revere, CF
Rollins, ss
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Young, 3B
Brown, lf
Nix, rf
Kratz, c
Kendrick, p

A little different from what Ryno will run out there for the final game Sunday.

This Date
September 20, 1992–After snaring a low line drive hit by 3B Jeff King, 2B Mickey Morandini pulls off the first unassisted triple play in Phillies history during the sixth inning of a 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh.

September 21, 1911–RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander hurls his fourth straight shutout at Chicago. Others were September 7 (at Braves), 13 (Dodgers) and 17 (at Reds).

September 21, 1964–Holding a 6 1/2-game lead with 12 games left in the season, the Phillies lose, 1-0, to Cincinnati as Chico Ruiz steals home with Frank Robinson at bat. The defeat launches a disastrous 10-game losing streak during which the Phillies fall out of first place. Phillies drew 1,425,891, their largest attendance ever.

September 21, 1981–LHP Steve Carlton passes RHP Bob Gibson as the NL’s all-time strikeout leader when he fans Montreal CF Andre Dawson in the third inning for his 3,118th strikeout. Expos win, 1-0, in 17 innings at Montreal.

September 21, 2010–Phillies beat Atlanta, 5-3, as Roy Halladay becomes first Phillies right hander to win 20 games in a year since Robin Roberts in 1955. Halladay sets club record for most wins in a season at Citizens Bank Park with 12.

September 22, 2008–Greg Dobbs sets Phillies record for most pinch hits in a season
when he gets his 22nd at Citizens Bank Park in eighth inning against Atlanta as Phillies
beat Braves, 6-2.

Final Home Series

Sweeps are sweet. They are also difficult as the Phillies found out last night. After winning seven in a row against the Marlins, including the first two games of the series, they fell in extra innings.

In the eighth, ninth and 10th innings, the Phillies had a runner on third and couldn’t score. A brilliant play by SS Hechavarria in the eighth saved the Marlins from being swept.

Chase drove in two more runs, giving him 10 in three games this week. He’s primed to win the NL Player of the Week Award.

Day off today and then the final three home games of the season against the fourth-place Mets.

Milestone Territory
Cole needs one more win to reach 100 . . . J-Roll, one more homer for 200 . . . Chase, three more doubles for 300.

Happy Birthday
Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, 70 today.

Joe played one season with the Phillies, 1983, a strange season that ended with a World Series loss to Baltimore. Joe’s memory of that season:

“Bill Giles established a life-long relationship when I broke in with the Astros and he was the PR man. In 1982, I’m living at home (Oakland) and playing for the Giants. Giles called me, said he wanted to bring me to Philly to add my leadership to that of Rose and Schmitty. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave home but finally Bill convinced me and I was traded to the Phillies. I struggled most of the year, was hurt a couple of times but come September I and the team got hot. With me and Garry (Maddox) hitting late home runs, we won the first World Series game in Baltimore but lost the next four. To this day it still bothers me because I know we were the better team.”

For a review of that season, visis http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

This Date
September 19, 1959–CF Richie Ashburn breaks the club record for career hits (2,211) with a seventh-inning single off the first base bag in a 9-3 loss to the Milwaukee Braves at Connie Mack Stadium. Ed Delahanty (1888-89; 1891-1901) held the record.

Camped Out
This has nothing to do with the Phillies but the defending World Champion Giants.

They’re spending the week in New York, having played the Mets and now the Yankees this weekend. Strange.

Doc, Chase, Chooch Show

Doc continued his on/off performances, Chase and Chooch continued swinging a hot bat giving the Phillies a seventh straight win against the Marlins and a series win.

Since returning to the mound on August 25, Doc has had alternate good starts: 2 runs, 5 innings that first time followed by 5/5, 1/6, 4/4.1 and 1/6 last night. It is all about building up arm strength and finding his rhythm.

Chase went all season without a four-RBI game and now he’s had two in a row. His homer was #18, the most since 2009. On the Phillies all-time chart, it was #217, tying him with CF Cy Williams for seventh place. Chase got to 217 in 1,313 games; Cy, 1,463 games. Sitting in sixth with 223 homers is the Bull.

Chooch drove in two more runs. Since August 8, with RISP, 15 hits, 21 RBI, .556 average. That’s hot.

Under Ryno, the Phillies are now 18-13 with 11 more games to go. Following an MRI on his right shoulder, KK will not start tonight. Zach Miner will, his first start since 2009 when he was with the Tigers.

Congratulations
John Pierre’s hit last night was #2,215, tying him for 175th place all-time with the great Joe DiMaggio.

Comment Corner
Reader John Sours reported he was unable to find a link to vote for Chase and the Roberto Clemente Award on http://www.ChevyBaseball.com. I had the same problem until late last night.

This Date
September 18, 1903, 2nd game–RHP Chick Fraser throws the Phillies first no-hitter of the century, 10-0, at Chicago. For loser RHP George (Peaches) Graham, it is his only big league appearance.

September 18, 1952–RHP Robin Roberts defeats the New York Giants, 7-4, at the Polo Grounds improving his record to 28-7, most victories in the majors since 1935. “Robbie” led the NL in complete games (30) and innings pitched (330), but finished second in the MVP voting to OF Hank Sauer, 37 homers, 121 RBI for the fifth-place Chicago Cubs, who finished 10 games behind the Phillies.

September 18, 1959—Ryne Sandberg is born in Spokane, WA.

September 18, 1963–LHP Chris Short (8-11) wins the final game played at Polo Grounds, a 5-1 complete game. New York RF Jim Hickman hits the last home run. Attendance is 1,752.

September 18, 1971–RHP Rick Wise sets a club record by retiring 32 consecutive batters in a 4-3, 12-inning complete game win over Chicago at the Vet. Wise wins own game with a single. His line: 12 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned, 0 walks, 10 strikeouts.

September 18, 1974— RHP Erskine Thomason debuts with 1-2-3, 8-pitch inning of mop-up relief against the Cubs. He never pitches again in the majors.

September 18, 1993–2B Mariano Duncan belts his second grand slam homer of the season as the Phillies clinch the NL East crown with a 10-7 victory at Pittsburgh. Slam is the Phillies eighth, a new club record for a single season.

The Cliff Lee Show

TV Guide’s current edition previews the new fall TV shows. Well, add another: The Cliff Lee Show.

Cliff is closing out the season in style, typical of his track record. He was the hitting star (two singles, first career triple, four RBI) and pitching star (two runs, 0 walks, 14 strikeouts) last night. The only thing he didn’t do was cook the dollar hot dogs.

This month, he’s 3-0, 1.88 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 24 innings. Since 2008, he’s 41-19 after the All-Star Game break.

His RBI total was the most for a Phillies pitcher since Robert Person drove in seven 11 years ago. It also matched the major league high this season (Cubs’ Travis Wood).

The 14 strikeouts increased Cliff’s season total of 201, the third straight season he’s topped that mark. Steve Carlton did it seven times, Jim Bunning and Grover Cleveland Alexander, four times each. It was Cliff’s 27th double-digit strikeout game, 23rd in a Phillies uniform. Lefty’s the club’s all-time leader, 70

And typical of his approach to pitching, he threw 84 strikes out of 113 pitches.

Clemente Award
Chase is the Phillies’ nomination for the Roberto Clemente Award which will be presented during the World Series. Chevrolet is the sponsor and beginning today, fans may participate in the selection process by voting on http://www.ChevyBaseball.com.

Two Phillies have won the national award, Greg Luzinski in 1978 and Garry Maddox in 1986.

Alumni Webpage
30 years ago, a Phillies team dubbed the “Wheeze Kids”, got hot in September and won the National League pennant. New feature that covers that bizarre season is on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Also new on the page is a vintage photo of Dick Allen and Hank Aaron at an old-timers game at the Vet.

This Date
September 17, 1900–Cincinnati SS Tommy Corcoran, coaching at third in a game at Philadelphia, uncovers a wire in the coaching box that leads across the outfield to the Phillies clubhouse, where reserve catcher Morgan Murphy reads the opposing catcher’s signs and relays them to the Phillies coach by using a buzzer hidden in the dirt.

September 17, 2001–Baseball returns after the September 11 terrorist attacks. 3B Scott Rolen rips two home runs to lead the Phillies past Atlanta, 5-2. Rolen becomes just the fifth player to hit two home runs in a game off RHP Greg Maddux.

September 17, 2011–Phillies beat St. Louis Cardinals, 9-2, at Citizens Bank Park and wrap up Eastern Division championship for fifth straight year and it was their 11th Eastern Division championship.

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