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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.

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

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.


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. (
**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

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, “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.


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


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.

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

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

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. (
**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.


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.


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.

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.


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. (
**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

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.

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.


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

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. (
**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

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

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. (
**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

00nola at cincy

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

00Vet opener_sm
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. (
**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.

Thome New WOF Inductee

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 14:  Jim Thome #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches his 400th career homerun leave the park on a two out, full count pitch from Jose Acevedo of the Cincinnati Reds which tied the score 2-2 in the first inning before rain delayed the game after 2 1/2 innings with the Reds winning 4-3 during MLB action at the Citizens Bank Park on June 14, 2004 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Jim Thome is the 2016 inductee into the Toyota Wall of Fame. Knowing their days at the Vet were numbered and Citizens Bank Park was right around the corner, the Phillies signed Thome, a free agent, to a six-year, $85 million contract on December 6, 2002, signaling the start of a new era in franchise history.

The slugging first baseman hit 101 home runs for the Phillies and led the National League with 47 in 2003, then a club record for a first baseman and one shy of Mike Schmidt’s club record. He hit the last home run at the Vet (2003) and his 400th at Citizens Bank Park (2004). His 100th homer with the Phillies (2012) made him just the fourth player in major league history with at least 100 for three different teams, joining Reggie Jackson, Darrell Evans and Alex Rodriguez. #609 was another historic one in a Phillies uniform, a pinch-hit, walk-off homer (2012).  It was his 13th walk-off homer, a new major league record.  Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx shared the previous record.

In recognition of his community involvement, he was given the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award and the Lou Gehrig Award in 2004 while playing for the Phillies. He was also an NL All-Star that season.

When he becomes eligible, Thome is a sure shot to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

WOF Voting Process
Fan voting on begins the annual process for selecting the Toyota Wall of Fame inductee.  A 12-Alumni ballot for fan voting appears on during spring training.  The top five as selected by the fans is presented to a Special Wall of Fame Selection Committee consisting of baseball writers, broadcasters and club executives. That committee selects the inductee. The annual ballot is determined each January by Phillies executives.

Consideration is given to ability, character and contributions to the Phillies and baseball plus special achievements. Players, managers and coaches with four or more years of service are eligible. With rare occasions, all candidates must be retired for three years before they can be eligible for the ballot.

The final five candidates this year were Jim Fregosi, Jim Konstanty, Scott Rolen, Thome and Manny Trillo.

Tonight’s Arms

On Deck game vs. Orioles
Aaron Nola and Brandon Finnegan, who have something in common other than being 22-year-old pitchers, oppose each other tonight in Cincinnati.

Two years ago at this time, they were pitching college ball, Nola at LSU and Finnegan at TCU.  Both were selected in the 2014 draft, Nola as the seventh overall pick and Finnegan, 17th overall by the Royals.

Impressive Debut
LHP Jason Groome, one of the premier high school players in the country, made his 2016 debut on Tuesday afternoon.  Excerpts from the Asbury Park Press online story:

“Barnegat coach Dan McCoy was on his way to the mound to take Jason Groome out after 59 pitches with no outs in the top of the fifth inning. For the baseball universe beyond the Shore Conference, the rest was immaterial.

“They’d seen enough, with Groome, considered by many to be the No. 1 prospect in the nation heading into June’s MLB Draft, struck out 10 and got two pop-up outs in four-plus innings, allowing no runs and one hit in his first start of the season.

“His fastball averaged between 92 and 94 mph on a frigid day, while his wicked curveball was consistently between 75 to 77 mph.

“In all, there were probably 150 baseball professionals on hand, including Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, director of player development Joe Jordan and director of scouting Johnny Almaraz.”

The Phillies have the first overall selection in the June draft.

Merchandise Gem

Starting today a Phillies/Villanova cap will be on sale exclusively in the Majestic Clubhouse Store in Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies and ARAMARK had several dozen caps on hand Saturday afternoon during the Futures Game and sold out.  More were ordered.

On The Tube
While I’m infamously known as a person with a face for radio, I’ll be making two TV appearances soon promoting my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits:

**This Friday, 7:35 a.m., “Breakfast On Broad” on The Comcast Network. @BOBOONTCH.

**Monday, April 11, 11:20 a.m., “NBC 10 News Today.”

8th-Inning Bummer


New season, new players, new gray uniforms and shiny new red batting helmets were all there for the Phillies who opened the season in Cincinnati on Monday.

Unfortunately, the result was so similar to last year, low production from the offense and implosion by the bullpen in the eighth inning. Leading 2-1 after 7, the fateful eighth featured 3 relievers, 5 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, a hit batter and an error.  A year ago in the eighth, the Phillies allowed 73 runs and 66 walks.

Hellickson, making his first ever opening day start, was outstanding, 1 unearned run on 3 hits in 6 innings; threw 79 pitches. He struck out 6 including Votto 3 times. His 2-1 lead came on Galvis’ 2-run homer in the second inning. Phillies hits after the fifth inning: 0.

Well, Phillies weren’t going to go undefeated nor will they go winless.  Game 2 is Wednesday night, a game carried on ESPN2.

Happy Birthday
President Andy MacPhail, 63 today.

Opening Day Phun Fact

Sherwood Robert Magee Positions: Leftfielder and First Baseman Bats: Right, Throws: Right Height: 5' 11", Weight: 179 lb. Born: August 6, 1884 in Clarendon, PA Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1904. (All Transactions) Debut: June 29, 1904 (Age 19.328, 2,637th in MLB history) Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 1904 season  Teams (by GP): Phillies/Braves/Reds 1904-1919 Last Game: September 27, 1919 (Age 35.052)   vs. CHC 4 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 SB Died: March 13, 1929 in Philadelphia, PA (Aged 44.219) Buried: Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, PA
CF Sherry Magee (1914) (above) and SS Don Money (1969) are the only Phillies to hit two home runs on opening day.

Minor League Report
**Lehigh Valley IronPigs open their season on Thursday in Syracuse. First seven games are in New York, Syracuse (4) and Rochester (3) . . . for roster and schedule.

**Reading Fightin’ Phils open at home vs. Portland, also on Thursday. First eight games are at home . . . for roster and schedule.

**Clearwater Threshers travel three miles to Dunedin, also on Thursday. Home opener is Friday against Dunedin . . . for roster and schedule.

**Lakewood BlueClaws start their season Thursday in Lexington, the first of eight road games (Hagerstown) . . . for roster and schedule.

Special Season
Reading is celebrating its 50th year as a Phillies minor league affiliation.  It is the longest affiliation currently in all of Minor League Baseball.

This Date
April 5, 2010
3B Placido Polanco drives in 6 runs in 11-1 romp in Washington.  RHP Roy Halladay wins Phillies debut. Polanco’s RBI are the most for a Phillies player since CF Sherry Magee drove in 6 in 1914.

April 5, 2012
Phillies beat the Pirates, 1-0, in Pittsburgh.  Roy Halladay tosses eight, two-hit innings as the starter. It is the third 1-0 opening day win in franchise history.

Book Signings
I’ll be signing my new book,The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits, on the following dates:

**April 23, AB Sports, Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803; 1-3 p.m. (
**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.

No Classes Today
Yep, that’s the story at Villanova today following Monday night’s classic NCAA Championship win. The buzzer-beating thriller capped three straight wins over basketball powers Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina. That’s really impressive.

As Charlie Manuel once said, “To be the best you’ve got to beat the best.”

Congratulations to the Wildcats!


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