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Mets Double HR #

Vincent Velasquez showed he was human last night.  He hung two 0-2 curve balls that turned into two home runs and five runs in his 4.1 innings  Fresh from his 16-strikeout game, he had four punch outs last night, three coming in the first inning.

In extending their Citizens Bank Park record to 20-6 over their last 26 games, the Mets did it with the long ball.  They came to town with nine home runs.  In the first two games of this series, they’ve hit 10.

Meanwhile, the Phillies offense was silent.  In 15 games, they’ve been held to three runs 13 times.

Series ends tonight, a day off tomorrow will include a United Airlines charter flight to Milwaukee for a three-game series with the Brewers.

Want some good news? The Mets don’t return to Citizens Bank Park until July 15.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (5-6) lost, 3-2, to Syracuse. LP: David Buchanan (0-1), 6-4-3-3-3-3. CF Nick Williams, 2-5 . . . C J. P. Arencibia, 3-5 . . . RF Cedric Hunter, 0-2, 2 BB . . .
8-game road trip starts in Syracuse with 4:05 DH, Jake Thompson and Reinier Roibal.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (9-4) edged host Richmond, 5-4, on SF by 1B Rhys Hoskins in the top of the ninth. CF Ramon Quinn, 2-5, R, 2 EBI, SB (5). SS J. P. Crawford, 1-1, 4 BB, R, RBI, SB. ND: Nick Pivetta, 5-5-3-3-2-6) . . . Series ends with a 10:35 game this morning in Richmond, Ricardo Pinto.

Clearwater Threshers (8-5) beat Daytona, 4-2. WP: Tom Eshelman (1-1), 7-2-1-1-0-9. 2B Scott Kingery, 23, R, SB. 1B Zach Green, 1-3, HR(3), RBI . . . Matt Imhoff 12 noon today vs. Daytona.

Lakewood BlueClaws (2-11) lost, 12-6, to Hagerstown.  LF Cornelius Randolph, 4=5, R, HR (1), 3 RBI. 2B Jan Hernandeez, 2-4, RBI, R. CF Zachary Coppola, 1-5; 11-26 in last 6 games . . . Tyler Gilbert starts tonight vs. Hagerstown, 6:35.

Transaction
Reading C Jorge Alfaro was placed on the DL with a right oblique strain. He joins Altherr and Asche with injuries that take time to heal.  Letter A is jinxed.

This Date
April 20, 1920–Phillies manager Gavvy Cravath inserted himself as a pinch-hitter and hits a three-run homer to beat the New York Giants 3-0. It was his 119th and final major-league home run, a major-league record that was broken by Babe Ruth the following season. (Source broadandpattison.com).

April 20, 1989–3B Mike Schmidt’s first-inning double in Pittsburgh off Mike Dunne breaks Richie Ashburn’s club record for career hits (2,217).

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies, on the following dates:

**This Saturday, April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (www.absports.com).
**Saturday, April 30, Main Point Books, 1041 West Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 1-2 p.m.
**Sunday, May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
**May 26, Maris Grove Theatre, 200 Maris Grove Way, Glen Mills, PA, 19342; 2-3 p.m.
**August 14, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Follow me at twitter: @ShenkLarry

Wright Wrongs Phils

Not sure if Mets third baseman David Wright likes cheese steaks.  Do know he likes Citizens Bank Park.  When he stepped to the plate in the first inning his scoreboard stat for HR was a 0. So, he hit his first homer of the season in his first at-bat. His last at-bat? If you guessed another HR you win a cheese steak.

In 98 games at CBP, Wright has 22 homers, most among the enemy.  Those 22 are also the most for any visiting park for him.

Despite giving up only two runs in seven innings, Jerad Eickhoff took the loss in the 5-2 decision.  He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in his last seven starts.  The bullpen gave up the other three runs on three solo homers.  The Mets are 19-6 in their last 25 games at CBP.

The Phillies offense has scored just 33 runs in 14 games and has yet to reach double figures in hits.

Velocity Vince Velasquez takes to the mound Tuesday night fresh from his 16-strikeout game.

New Phillies
David Lough (pronounced LOW) was brought up yesterday and inserted in left field.  During his 312-game big league career (Royals and Orioles) he has played all three outfield positions. Last season he hit four runs for the Orioles, a game-winner vs. the Red Sox and a pinch-hit one vs. the Yankees. He was originally selected in the 11th round by KC in 2011 and signed as a minor league free agent by the Phillies in late January five days after his 30th birthday.  He was hitting .280 at Lehigh Valley.  In 25 at-bats, he had one walk and one strikeout.

To make room for Lough, Cedric Hunter was sent to Lehigh Valley.  Hunter arrived at the clubhouse at 10 a.m. on Monday, put on his uniform, went to the indoor batting cage to work on his hitting.  A few hours later, he was called into Pete Mackanin’s office and given the news.

On the minor league level, OF Alfredo Marte (mar-TAY) was acquired from the Orioles’ Triple A Norfolk Tides for a player to be named later or cash.  The 27-year has had brief appearances in the majors with the Orioles, Angels and Diamondbacks. He’s a right-handed hitter something the Phillies are lacking among outfielders in their top levels of the minors.

Minor League Report

00Eflin at LV
Lehigh Valley RHS Zach Elfin, 21, was named the International League Pitcher of The Week and the Phillies minor league pitcher of the week. In 2 starts, he was 2-0, 0.64 ERA, allowing 1 run on 7 hits in 14 innings. His 0.64 ERA ranks third in the IL.

00Alfaro Reading

C Jorge Alfaro of the Reading Fightin’ Phils was named the Eastern League Player of the Week and the Phillies minor league player of the week. Alfaro, 22, batted an even .500 (18-36) with four doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 RBI. He posted a .750 slugging percentage and 1.276 OPS, hitting safely in all eight games he played for Reading.

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (5-5) downed Syracuse 5-1, behind Mark Appel (2-0), 6-6-1-1-2-6; season 0.77 ERA. Homers: Darnell Sweeney (#1), C Andrew Knapp (#2). LF Cameron Perkins, 2-3; 8-14 in last 4 games; 2B/SS Taylor Featherston, extended hitting streak to  7 games with a 2-4; hitting .444 for the season . . . David Buchanan, 7:05 p.m., vs. Syracuse.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (8-4) won, 6-2, at Richmond. WP: Ben Lively (2-0), 7-2-0-0-0-5. SV: Jeremy Bleich (1). 2 hits each: 3B Angelo Mora, 2B Jesmuel Valentin and P Lively, who drove in 2 runs . . . Nick Pivetta (1-1), 6:35 p.m., in Richmond.

Clearwater Threshers (7-5) were blanked on 6 singles, 2 each for LF Cord Sandberg, CF Carlos Tocci and 1B Kyle Martin. Thomas Eshelman (0-1), 7 p.m., vs. Daytona.

Lakewood BlueClaws (2-10) lost, 4-3, to Hagerstown. RF Jose Pujols, 2nd HR, 2 RBI. CF Zachary Coppola, 2-4; 10-21 in last 5 games . . . Franklyn Kilome (0-2), 6:35 tonight, vs. Hagerstown.

This Date
April 19, 1900–Phillies win in Boston, 19-17, in 10 innings, the highest scoring opener in NL history.  Boston scored nine in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

April 19, 1937–Phillies win a doubleheader beating Boston, 2-1, in 11 innings and 1-0 at Braves Field.  It is the only time the Phillies started the season with a twinbill.

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies, on the following dates:

**This Saturday, April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (www.absports.com).
**Saturday, April 30, Main Point Books, 1041 West Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 1-2 p.m.
**Sunday, May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
**May 26, Maris Grove Theatre, 200 Maris Grove Way, Glen Mills, PA, 19342; 2-3 p.m.
**August 14, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Mets In Town

00Suday win
Another good outing for a starting pitcher, no hits from his offense after the fifth inning and just three runs on three solo homers in 27 innings of the series. So what happens? The Phillies string together three consecutive hits with two out in the last of the 10th to score twice in beating Papelbon, 3-2. Try and figure out this game.

Freddy Galvis doubled in the winning run and handed Papelbon his second blown save in four games against the Phillies. In each case Freddy was the hero.

Bryce Harper continued his Super Man slugging by homering in his sixth straight game at Citizens Bank Park in the top of the 10th.  It matches Ernie Banks who also did it in six games against the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium in 1955.

The Phillies offense has gone 13 games without getting double figures in hits, a club record. It is the longest such drought to open a season since the 2014 Astros opened with a 14-game streak. The Phillies’ franchise record in that category is 17 games, which they did twice: Sept. 28, 1966-April 27, 1967, and July 22-Aug. 4, 1955.

Mets Next
While the Phillies were 4-6 against the Mets at home last season, they finished by sweeping three games in late September.

The Phillies are averaging 2.6 runs per game, last in the NL. The Mets, 3.3, third from the bottom. They’ve scored 37 and given up 37.

New York has 17 extra-base hits in its last three games after collecting 10 extra-base hits in its first eight contests.

Minor League Weekend Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (4-5) won last 2 vs. Rochester after losing to Pawtucket on Friday night. LF Cameron Perkins swung a hot bat over the weekend, 6-11, 6 R, 6 RBI, 1st HR. Hitting .400 in seven games. Edward Mujica picked up two saves.  Zach Elfin (2-0) was brilliant Sunday, 8-2-0-0-0-5 . . . Mark Appel (1-0), 7:05 p.m., vs. Syracuse.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (7-4) won 2 of 3 in Harrisburg, 3-1 on Saturday and 14-2 on Sunday. WP: Anthony Vasquez (2-0), 7.1-5-1-1-2-4 on Saturday and Alec Asher (1-2), 6-6-2-2-1-5 on Sunday. SS J. P. Crawford had an 8-game hitting streak stopped on Saturday. C Jorge Alfaro was 5-8 with a HR, 4 RBI in 2 games; he’s hit in all eight games in which he’s played, .500.  RF Dylan Cozens hit his 3rd HR and 1B Rhys Hoskins, his 1st AA HR . . . Ben Lively (1-0), 6:35 p.m., at Richmond.

Clearwater Threshers (7-4) swept 3 in Jupiter, 11-0, 4-0, 9-1. Jupiter’s lone run came in the 9th inning, ending a streak of 26.2 scoreless innings against Clearwater hurlers.  WPs: Ranfi Casimoir (2-0), 5-4-0-0-1-7; Elniery Garcia (2-0), 6-2.-3-0-0-2-5 and Tyler Viza (2-0), 5-3-0-0-2-9. 3B Mitch Walding, 5-10, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, extending his hitting streak to 7 straight. Leads FSL with 5 HR; teammate Kyle Martin (4) is second . . . Will Morris (0-0), 6:30 p.m., at Jupiter.

Lakewood BlueClaws ended 6-game losing streak, 9-0, on Sunday vs. Greensboro.  Crowd was 9,112, 7th largest in club history.  WP: Harold Arauz (1-1), 7-2-0-0-1-5. CF-RF Zachary Coppola, 7-13, 4 R, 2 RBI. 2B Josh Tobias, 4-8, 2 R, 4 RBI . . . Mitch Gueller (0-0), 6:35 p.m. vs. Hagerstown.

Transactions
Lehigh Valley: INF Carlos Alonso placed on the disabled list with a jaw fracture. Was hit in the face by a ball during batting practice on Friday night. RHR Severino Gonzalez promoted from Reading.

Lakewood: C Deivi Grullon placed on the DH with a right shin contusion. C Wilson Garcia promoted from the extended spring training program.

This Date

00Scully
April 18, 1950–Legendary announcer Vince Scully broadcast his first game on opening day, the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Phillies at Shibe Park. Phillies won, 9-1, Robin Roberts defeating Don Newcombe.

00HarrySchmidt500

April 18, 1987–3B Mike Schmidt homers at 4:53 p.m. on a 3-0 pitch from Don Robinson in Pittsburgh to become the 14th player in baseball history to reach 500 home runs.  Dramatic three-run, game-winning homer in the ninth beats the Pirates, 8-6.  Harry Kalas made one of his memorable calls.  After the game he and Schmidt hugged in the clubhouse.

Hard To Believe
40 years ago yesterday Schmidt hit four home runs in a wild Wrigley Field win. 40 years prior, 1936, Phillies right fielder Chuck Klein hit four home runs at Pittsburgh.  40 years prior, 1896, Phillies outfielder Ed Delahanty hit four home runs at Chicago.

40 years after Schmidt’s four brings us to 2016.  Which Phillie will continue the streak?

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies, on the following dates:

**This Saturday, April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (www.absports.com).
**Saturday, April 30, Main Point Books, 1041 West Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 1-2 p.m.
**Sunday, May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
**May 26, Maris Grove Theatre, 200 Maris Grove Way, Glen Mills, PA, 19342; 2-3 p.m.
**August 14, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

16 Punch Outs

00Velasquez
A 96 mph fast ball blew right past the Padres’ Will Myers to end the game. “Velocity” Vince Velasquez raised both arms in the air in jubilation. The strikeout was his 16th in a 3-0, 9-inning shutout.  He walked none. Zero, as a nada. Phillies have three shutouts in their first 10 games for first time since 1954.

Numbers are endless for the tall right-hander: 113 pitches, 76 for strikes; 80% were fastballs; 27 swings and misses; nine strike outs over his last four innings; retired 22 of the last 23 hitters; first pro complete game and shutout (52 minor league starts and seven in the majors); 25 strikeouts over his first two Phillies starts bested Jim Bunning’s club record of 20 in 1964; fourth Phillies pitcher to strike out 16 and first since Cliff Lee in 2011.

In addition to Vince and Cliff, two other Phillies pitchers recorded 16 strikeouts, Steve Carlton and Curt Schilling.  All four occurred in Philadelphia.

Velasquez, 23, fell one short of the club record set by Art Mahaffey who was also 23 when he set the record.  Vince wears #28; so did Mahaffey.

Work of Art
(The following are excerpts from my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies. Chapter 1 deals with Historic Performances in Phillies history).

The honor of having the biggest strikeout game in franchise history belongs to Art Mahaffey, who spent six seasons with the Phillies (1960-65).  The right-hander from Cincinnati, OH, struck out 17 Chicago Cubs in the second game of a Sunday afternoon doubleheader at Connie Mack Stadium on April 23, 1961.  Nine went down swinging.

Mahaffey, 23, threw 146 pitches that afternoon, of which only 48 were called balls. He fanned Don Zimmer, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks and Frank Thomas three times each in matching the Major League record for most strikeouts in a day game, set by Dizzy Dean of the St. Louis Cardinals against the Cubs, July 30, 1933.
 
“Against the Cubs that day, I had an unbelievable fastball and curve ball,” he recalled. “I threw mostly fastballs, particularly in the late innings.  Earlier, I got maybe five or six strikeouts with my curve.” Mahaffey had 15 strikeouts through seven innings. He struck out only one in each of the last two innings.  “I had two strikes on the last four hitters but only got one strikeout.  I came so close to having more than 17.”

Prior to Mahaffey’s big day, the Phillies record for strikeouts in a game was 13 shared by three pitchers: Ray Benge, June 16, 1929; Robin Roberts, May 2, 1957 and Jack Sanford, June 7, 1957.  Oddly, the opponent in each case was the Cubs.

One other note about the day, Frank Sullivan, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, blanked the Cubs, 1-0, in the first game.  It marked the last time the Phillies had two shutouts in a doubleheader.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs were flattened by Pawtucket, 13-1. Also, out-hit, 19-6. LP: Jake Thompson (0-2), 3-6-5-5-3-5. Five LV pitchers fanned 14. 1B Brock Stassi pitched a scoreless 9th . . . Adam Morgan (0-0), 7:05 tonight vs. Pawtucket.

Reading Fightin’ Phils blanked host Harrisburg, 9-0, behind Nick Pivetta (1-1), 6-1-0-0-2-7, and 2 relievers.  3B Angelo Mora, HR #2, a grand slam. 1B Christian Marrero, 2nd HR, 2 RBI. C Jorge Alfaro, 2-5; .464 average . . . Ricardo Pinto (0-0), 7:00 tonight in Harrisburg.

Clearwater Threshers defeated Port Charlotte, 6-4. 1B Kyle Martin, HR#4, 3 RBI. Hit 3 HR in pro debut last season in Williamsport; has 5 hits this season, 2B and the 4 HR. SS Malquin Canelo, 3-4, 2 RBI. WP: Alexis Rivero (2-0); SV: Miguel Manuel (2) . . . Ranfi Casimiro (1-0), 6:30 tonight in Jupiter.

Lakewood BlueClaws lost home opener, 7-4, to Greensboro before 6,869 fans. 2B Josh Tobias (4-5). 18-year-old LF Cornelius Randolph, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB . . . Shane Watson (0-1), 7:05 tonight vs. Greensboro.

Tweet of Yesterday
Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com: “Phils may not be as terrible as pholks phigured. Velasquez, rejuvenated Hellickson plus Nola, Eickhoff, not bad rotation.”

Maikel, Jared Shine

 

Two building blocks expected to be part of a winning foundation did their thing as the Phillies nipped the Padres, 2-1, Wednesday night to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

00Franco

Maikel Franco drove in both runs on a first-inning homer and third-inning double.  After that hit, the Phillies offense went hitless.

00Eickhoff

Jared Eickhoff continued the brilliant pitching by Phillies starters, nine strikeouts, no walks, four hits in seven scoreless inning. He’s now tossed 18 consecutive scoreless innings at CBP going back to last season.

Phillies got two more scoreless bullpen innings.  In their first 10.2 innings of the season, the bullpen gave up 15 runs.  Since then, zero runs in 12.2 innings. Jeanmar Gomez recorded his fourth save. He trails Jonathan Papelbon (5) for most in the NL.

Phillies pitchers lead the league in strikeouts, 82.

Phil-Ins
Series ends at 1:05 this afternoon. In case you are wondering, the clubhouse will open to the media at 10:05 a.m. . . . The Nationals are next, Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon . . . Washington was 12-6 against the Phillies a year ago, 6-3 in Philly . . . In 163 career games against the Nats, Ryan Howard has 41 homers and 127 RBI . . . Bryce Harper has hit 8 of his 11 career homers against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs lost 7-6 when Rochester scored 3 in the ninth off Edward Mujica. ND: David Buchanan, 5-5-3-3-1-2. CF David Lough, 4-6, R, RBI. RF Nick Williams, 1-3, 2 RBI, SB . . . Jake Thompson (0-1) in 7:05 home opener tonight vs. Pawtucket.

Reading Fightin’ Phils defeated Richmond, 6-4.  SS J. P. Crawford, 1st HR; PH Christian Marrero, 3-run HR. C Jorge Alfaro, 2-5. ND: Ben Lively, 5-6-2-2-1-9. WP: Ulises Joaquin (1-0). SV: Edubray Ramos (1) . . . Nick Pivetta, 6:35 tonight in Harrisburg.

Clearwater Threshers lost, 1-0 in 10 innings to Port Charlotte. Clearwater held to 5 singles. ND: Tom Eshelman, 7-2-0-0-2-4 . . . Matt Imhoff (0-1) in 7:00 night game vs. Port Charlotte.

Lakewood BlueClaws were blanked on 2 singles, 8-0, in Hagerstown . . . Tyler Gilbert in 6:35 home opener vs. Greensboro.
This Date

00billdyer
April 14, 1936–Phillies first radio broadcast, a 4-1 win over the Boston Braves at Baker Bowl. On the air were Bill Dyer, a Philadelphia sportscaster, and Dolly Stark, who took a year’s leave of absence from being a major league umpire. Home games were aired on WCAU. Road game were re-created.

More details and a history of Phillies radio and TV can be found on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies, on the following dates:

**April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (www.absports.com).
**April 30, Main Point Books, 1041 West Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 1-2 p.m.
**May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
**May 26, Maris Grove Theatre, 200 Maris Grove Way, Glen Mills, PA, 19342; 2-3 p.m.
**August 14, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

LET’S GO FLYERS!

3 W, 2 ShO

 

Baseball can be a strange game. The Phillies have won three games, two via shutouts. The Padres have lost five games, four being shutouts.

00Morton

Led by Charlie Morton’s 6.2 innings, the Phillies recorded their second shutout last night. Three relievers completed the shutout.  The beleaguered bullpen has now tossed 10.2 scoreless innings (2 hits) over the last four games. The starters have turned in a 2.87 ERA this season.  There’s no question that starting pitching sets the tone.

The Phillies offense produced only four hits but drew five walks. Going into the game, they had walked only 13 times, fewest in the NL.

Phil-Ins
Morton’s win was his first in the month of April since 2012 . . . Rookie Tyler Goeddel collected his first major league hit and scored his first run . . . Game three of the four games is tonight. Series ends with a 1:05 afternoon game on Thursday . . . Cody Asche will soon resume baseball activity in Clearwater.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs won a double-header (7-inning games) at Rochester after sitting around for 3 days. LV hitters struck out only once . . . Game #1: 6-1.  WP: Zach Elfin (1-0), 6-5-1-1-2-3. C Andrew Knapp, 3-3, HR, 2 RBI. 1B Tommy Joseph, 2-4, 2 RBI . . . Game #2: 4-0. WP: Mark Appel (1-0), 5.2-5-0-0-2-5. LF Nick Williams, 2-4, including a 3B, RBI. SV: Elvis Araujo, 1.1-0-0-0-1-2 . . . David Buchanan, 1:35 p.m. at Rochester.

Reading Fightin’ Phils lost, 7-5, to Richmond . . . SS J.P. Crawford, 3-5 for second straight game. RF Dylan Cozens, 2B, HR (#2), 3 RBI . . . Ben Lively (1-0), 6:35 p.m. vs. Richmond.

Clearwater Threshers dropped 2-1 game to Port Charlotte. 3B Mitch Walding, 3rd HR. ND: Will Morris, 5-4-0-0-1-3 . . . Tom Eshelman, 12 noon vs. Port Charlotte.

Lakewood BlueClaws lost when host Hagerstown scored 3 in their last at-bat, 8-7. 3 hits each: DH Zachary Coppola, CF Jiandido Tromp and RF Jose Pujols . . . Franklyn Kilome (0-1), 10:35 this morning in Hagerstown.

This Date

4 R UMAX     Power Look 2000  V2.0 [3]
April 13, 1955–Robin Roberts losses no-hitter on opening day at Connie Mack Stadium on Alvin Dark’s single with one out in the ninth inning.  Robbie prevails, 4-2, over the Giants. Richie Ashburn, injured late in spring training, sees club record consecutive game playing streak end at 730 games.

00Harryheadset

April 13, 2009—Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas dies while preparing for a game in Nationals Park. Game is played and Phillies won, 9-8.  He and his long-time partner, Richie Ashburn, last worked together on 9/8/1997.  Whitey died early the next day.

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies, on the following dates:

**April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (www.absports.com).
**April 30, Main Point Books, 1041 West Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 1-2 p.m.
**May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
**May 26, Maris Grove Theatre, 200 Maris Grove Way, Glen Mills, PA, 19342; 2-3 p.m.
**August 14, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

On The Air
Talking about the book, 7:45 Thursday morning on “Breakfast On Broad” now on Comcast Sportsnet.

Padres Prevail

A squeeze play and botched infield fly that turned into a double play against the Phillies paved the way for San Diego’s 4-3 win in the Citizens Bank Park home opener yesterday.  Going back to last season, the Padres have won consecutive games at CBP for the first time since June 6-7, 2010.

Tied at 3, SD scored the winning run on a suicide squeeze play in the seventh inning. The Phillies had tied the game in their sixth.  With bases loaded and no outs, pinch-hitter Darren Ruf lifted the first pitch he saw into shallow left field.  The left fielder didn’t see the ball. The shortstop back-peddled, circled and missed the ball.  Third base ump signaled the infield fly rule was in play and it was an out, even though the shortstop was in left field.  Not aware of the strange call, Odubel Herrrera took off from second for third base and was tagged out. Double play without a ball caught. End of a possible big inning for the Phillies.

Crew chief umpire Ted Barrett, “The criteria for an infield fly is a batted ball in the air that a fielder can field with ordinary effort.”  I guess I don’t understand ordinary effort.

Aaron Nola, at 22 years and 312 days old, became the youngest Phillies pitcher to start in the Phillies home opener since Robin Roberts, 22 years, 205 days, on April 23, 1949 vs. Brooklyn.  Nola took the loss.  In two starts, he’s allowed five runs and 11 hits in 14 innings while walking none and striking out 17.

The 2-5 Phillies have yet to reach double figures in hits. Their .233 batting average ranks 14th in the NL and they’ve drawn 12 walks, the fewest. On-base percentage of .275 is last. Offense needs to get in gear.

Lens Gem

00parade
A home opener tradition at Citizens Bank Park has the Phillies entering the park in left field, walking down temporary steps onto the field.  Last two in the parade fittingly were Ruiz and Howard.

Minor League Report
Tweet last evening from Matt Provence, Lehigh Valley’s Director of Media Relations/Broadcaster, says it all, “Well, IronPigs rained out at Rochester Red Wings. Doubleheader tomorrow, 5:05 p.m.  5 days into the season and LV has yet to play in front of fans.”  IronPigs’ season-opening four-game series in Syracuse was postponed by bad weather.  Two teams played a Friday morning doubleheader in Lehigh Valley but the park was closed to fans . . . Zach Eflin and Mark Appel tonight.

Reading Fightin’ Phils pinned 8-5 loss on Richmond. SS J.P. Crawford, 3-5, 2 R, 2B, RBI. C Jorge Alfaro, 2-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI. WP: Anthony Vasquez (1-0), 7-6-2-2-0-6 . . . Alec Asher tonight vs. Richmond, 6:35.

Clearwater Threshers won third in a row, 4-3, over Port Charlotte. 1B Kyle Martin, 3rd HR in last 3 games. 3B Mitch Walding, 2nd HR. WP: Tyler Viza (1-0), 5.2-4-3-2-0-3. SV: Miiguel Munoz (1) . . . Will Morris tonight vs. PC, 7.

Lakewood BlueClaws lost, 4-3, at Hagerstown before a crowd of 264 fans. CF Jiandido Tromp, 2nd HR. Mitch Gueller tonight at Hagerstown, 6:05.

Vintage Gem

00 flagraising
Phillies’ coach Hans Lobert and Boston coach Hank Gowdy raise the American flag as part of the Opening Day ceremonies at Baker Bowl on April 14, 1936. Phillies won, 4-1, in a game that took 1 hour, 45 minutes to play.  Attendance: 9,000. Photo courtesy of Bob Warrington.

This Date
April 12, 1965–Phillies win first NL game played in Houston’s Astrodome, 2-0, over the Colt 45s.  LHP Chris Short tosses four-hitter and 3B Dick Allen homers.

April 12, 2004–Cincinnati Reds spoil inaugural opener at Citizens Bank Park with 4-1 win.  RF Bobby Abreu hits first homer.

Correction
Wrote Monday the Phillies were 2-10 in home openers in the history of Citizens Bank Park. I blew it as they were 3-9.  Error: fingers or brain?

Home Sweet Home

Season-starting six-games ended with a win Sunday in Citi Field, the first series win on the Mets grass since 2014.  Jeremy Hellickson gave the Phillies their fifth quality start out of six and for the second straight day, the bullpen closed the door with Jeanmar Gomez getting both saves.

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The offense showed a little spark on Sunday. Odubel Herrera who was hitting .091 after the first three games, unloaded a two-run HR on Sunday. Once he finds his stroke he’s going to be having a lot of fun.

Ryan Howard’s game winner on Saturday night was his 359th homer of his career, matching Johnny Mize for 83th place on the all-time list. Next are Gary Gaetti (360) and Joe DiMaggio (361).  It was Ryan’s 45th against the Mets, second in Phillies history to Mike Schmidt’s 49. Vince (Velocity) Velasquez showed off his power arm in winning that game.  Nine strikeouts in six innings of work on a frigid night.

Home Sweet Home

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It’s back to friendly Citizens Bank Park this afternoon, the 13th season for the Phillies home. Well, Citizens Bank Park hasn’t been sweet or friendly. The Phillies are 2-10 on the home opener there and have lost five in a row.

Padres For 4
It is rare when a Western Division enemy is the home opener for an Eastern Division opponent.  Even rarer, the series is four games.  But, that’s the case with the Padres who get to dine on Philly cheese steaks four straight days. Cheese steaks, by the way, are the most popular post-game meal for the enemy.

San Diego began the season losing three straight shutouts to the Dodgers, 25-0.  They went to Denver and scored 32 runs in winning two of three.

Minor League Weekend Report
**Lehigh Valley IronPigs opened their season with an 11 a.m. double header on Friday at home because the 4-game series in Syracuse was postponed. LV lost both, 5-1 and 2-1, getting a total of seven hits. LP in the opener, Jake Thompson (0-1), 5-2-2-1-2-5; both runs in first inning of the 7-inning game . . . LP in the second game, Adam Morgan (0-1), 5-3-1-1-1-9; faced 18 batters and struck out 9 . . . Season resumes at 6:35 tonight in Rochester; Zach Elfin starts.

**Reading Fightin’ Phils won 2 of 3 vs. Portland, including a 5-4 decision in 13 innings on Sunday.  Reading tied the game in the ninth on a wild pitch and won it in the 13th on a bases-loaded 1B by CF Roman Quinn. RF Dylan Cozens added a 2-run HR . . . CF-2B-3B-LF Angelo Mora, 7-12, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 5 R in 3 games . . . C Jorge Alfaro, 6-10, 2 RBI in two games . . . RH Ben Lively (1-0) won on Friday, 6-4-2-2-1-7 . . . RHR Edubray Ramon (1-0) was Sunday’s winner . . . Alec Asher Monday vs. Richmond, 6:35 p.m.

**Clearwater Threshers won 2 of 3 over Dunedin, including a 7-0 decision on Sunday behind LH Elniery Garcia (1-0), 5.1-3-0-0-2-5, and 3 other relievers . . . CF Carlos Tocci, 6-13 weekend, 2 R, 3 RBI. 1B Zach Green, 6-14, HR, 6 RBI. SS/DH Drew Stankiewicz, 4-8, 2 R. 2B Scott Kingery, 4 H, 6 R in the lead-off spot . . . Tyler Viza Monday vs. Port Charlotte, 7 p.m.

**Lakewood BlueClaws lost 2 of 3 in Lexington; victory came in a 10-9, 10-inning game on Sunday; top 3 in the lineup, RF Zach Coppola, CF Jiandido Tromp, and 2B Josh Tobias, 6-17, 4 R.  Winning run scored on a suicide squeeze bunt by OF Samuel Hiciano . . . C Devi Grullon, 5-13, HR for the weekend; SS-3B Emmanuel Marrero, 6-12 . . . Harold Arauz Monday at Hagerstown, 6:05 p.m.

This Date
April 11, 1907–Following a heavy snowstorm the day before, large drifts of snow rimmed the outer edges of the Polo Grounds field where the New York Giants hosted the Phillies.  With the Phillies leading, 3-0, fans began throwing snowballs and began rushing the field.  When home plate umpire Bill Klem was hit by a snow ball, he called a forfeit in favor of the Phillies.

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies, on the following dates:

**April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (www.absports.com).
**April 30, Main Point Books, 1041 West Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 1-2 p.m.
**May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
**May 26, Maris Grove Theatre, 200 Maris Grove Way, Glen Mills, PA, 19342; 2-3 p.m.
**August 14, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Home Opener Monday

Yikes, having been swept three games in Cincinnati, stretching the losing to 11 games in last 12 in Great American Ball Park, the Phillies play three this weekend in the Mets’ Citi Field, a place that has been a den of doom for them.

Last year the Phillies won once in nine games there, 14-8, on September 1. Going back to 2014, the Phillies are 1-10 there. Law of averages where are you?

Going into the season the Phillies were dubbed a team with improved starting pitching, little power and an unknown bullpen, unknown as in quality and exactly who.  After all Jeanmar Gomez was the lone returning bullpener from a year ago.

So far the bullpen has had two meltdowns that cost two wins.  The starting pitching had two quality starts but no wins.  The offense produced 10 total runs, nine coming on the long ball as the Phillies hit five dingers.

Long Wait

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Cedric Hunter collected a pinch single with the Padres on April 5, 2011, his second big league at-bat. Three more hitless at-bats found him back in the minors.  After 1,841 at-bats in 561 minor league games, he made it back to the majors with the Phillies.

Yesterday, he got his first hit in five years and two days and it was a home run.  He didn’t get the ball from his first hit but he got it yesterday.

Home Opener
Phillies play Padres at 3:05 p.m. in the Citizens Bank Park opener.  It is the first of our games against the 0-3 Padres.

Minor League Report
**Lehigh Valley IronPigs will be the visiting team in an 11 a.m. doubleheader in their own Coca-Cola Park.  All four games in Syracuse were postponed because of bad weather and unplayable field conditions.  Two of those four postponements were moved to Lehigh Valley today.  Gates will not be open but both games will be televised in the Allentown area . . . Jake Thompson and Adam Morgan will start.

**Reading Fightin’ Phils lost, 3-1, to Portland at FirstEnergy Stadium.  Offense struck out 14 times and collected three singles and one double.  LP: Alec Asher (0-1), 5.2-7-2-2-1-4 . . . Ben Lively tonight, 7:05.

**Clearwater Threshers dropped 6-2 decision in Dunedin. 2 hits each: CF Carlos Tocci, DH Zack Green. 3B Mitch Walding, first HR. LP: Tom Eshelman (0-1), 5-2-4-1-1-2 . . . Matt Imhoff in Clearwater’s home opener, 6:15 p.m., vs. Dunedin.

**Lakewood BlueClaws lost, 7-4, in Lexington. C Deivi Grullon, single, double, HR. LP: Franklyn Kilome, 2-5-5-5-4-2.

Vintage Gem

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April 9, 1913: Phillies win first game played in Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, 1-0, over the Dodgers.  RHP Tom Seaton is the winner.

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies, on the following dates:

**April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (www.absports.com).
**April 30, Main Point Books, 1041 West Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 1-2 p.m.
**May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
**May 26, Maris Grove Theatre, 200 Maris Grove Way, Glen Mills, PA, 19342; 2-3 p.m.
**August 14, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

On The Tube
Had to postpone today’s appearance on The Comcast Network Breakfast On Broad show. It has been rescheduled for next Thursday morning, 7:45.

On Monday, I’ll be talking about the book on the NBC 10 News Today with Vai Sikahema at 11:20

Script Writer Needed

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Hollywood, we need a new script writer.  For the second straight game in Cincinnati, the Phillies offense amounted to a two-run homer and the Reds won in their last at-bat, 3-2 this time.

Maikel Franco unloaded a two-run homer in the top of the first and that was the end of the offense for the night. In Monday’s 6-2 loss, both runs came on a second-inning home run by Freddy Galvis.  So in 18 innings so far, the Phillies have scored in two.

Aaron Nola was outstanding, 0 walks, 8 career-high strike outs, 4 hits, 1 run in 7 innings.  He pounded the strike zone, 73 strikes out of 95 pitches.   David Hernandez bounced back from Monday’s rough outing with a 1-2-3 eighth but Dalier Hinojosa coughed up two runs on four hits in his debut as the closer.

The Reds have won seven straight and 10 of their last 11 games against the Phillies in Great American Ball Park. To the Phillies, it’s not so great.

Both teams had to sleep fast last night as the series ends with a 12:35 game this afternoon. Phillies fly to New York after the game for a three-game series against the Mets starting at 1:10 tomorrow afternoon.

Minor League Report
**Lehigh Valley IronPigs were scheduled to open the season tonight in Syracuse, four games in four days.  Because of inclement weather and unplayable field conditions at NBT Bank Stadium all four games were postponed yesterday.  However, the two teams will play a doubleheader in Lehigh Valley’s Coca-Cola Park on Friday.  First game is 11 a.m.  Because of the last-minute switch the games will not be open to the public.  “Unfortunately, we’re unable to open Coca-Cola Park to the public for these games due to safety issues concerning installations with contractors and vendors on-site in anticipation of our home opener on April 14,” explained LV GM Kurt Landes. The other two games will be played in Syracuse later in the season. RH Jake Thompson will start one of the games.

**Reading Fightin’ Phils will start RH Alec Asher in the season opener tonight vs. Portland.

**Clearwater Threshers open tonight in Dunedin, RH Tom Eshelman to start.

**Lakewood BlueClaws also open their season tonight.  RH Franklyn Kilome will start in Lexington.

Vintage Gem

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April 10, 1971: Inaugural game at Veterans Stadium took place on a chilly Saturday afternoon.  Phillies won, 4-1, over the Expos. Jim Bunning got the win, Larry Bowa the first hit. Don Money, who hit the Phillies last home run at Connie Mack Stadium (1970), it the first one at the Phillies new home. Price of a box seat was $4.25.

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies, on the following dates:

**April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (www.absports.com).
**April 30, Main Point Books, 1041 West Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 1-2 p.m.
**May 22, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
**May 26, Maris Grove Theatre, 200 Maris Grove Way, Glen Mills, PA, 19342; 2-3 p.m.
**August 14, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA; 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

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