Flashback Moment

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 19:  Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a game-winning walkoff 2-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 5-4 against Jonathan Broxton #51 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 19, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jimmy Rollins;Jonathan Broxton


October 19, 2009, NLCS #4 at Citizens Bank Park: Trailing the Dodgers, 4-3, in the
bottom of the ninth, Jimmy Rollins delivers a walk-off, two-run double off Jonathan
Broxton and a 5-4 win.  Phillies take a 3-1 lead in the Series and win the pennant two
days later.

Phillies players in Glendale’s first game on Tuesday: SS J. P. Crawford, 1-4, 2 runs scored including the game-winner.  DH Andrew Knapp, a double in 3 AB . . . RH Yacksel Rios, 1 run allowed in 2 innings; LH Tom Windle, 1 scoreless inning, 2 strikeouts; WP: Jesen Dygestile-Therrien, 1 scoreless inning, 1 strikeout . . . In Wednesday’s game, RH Edubray Ramos recorded a one-inning save.  He was the only Phillie in the game.

Phillies scouts assigned to the AFL include Jon Merecurio, Craig Colbert, Howie Freiling, Dave Hollins, Del Unser, Ed Wade and Danny Wright.

Instructional league’s last game is 1 this afternoon, Yankees at Bright House Field.

Winter Ball
So far in the Venezuela Winter League, Phillies players include: C Willians Astudillo, INF Edgar Duran, C Gabriel Lino, OF Herlis Rodriguez, OF Carlos Tocci, Ps Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Chris Leroux, Manny Martinez, Alexis Rivero and Stephen Shackleford.  Pitching in Mexico, Victor Arano.

1B Rhys (pronounced reese) Hoskins and OF Aaron Brown are playing in the Australia.

More Postseason Honors
Seventeen Phillies prospects are ranked among the top players in the different minor leagues, Baseball America reports:

International League: 3B Maikel Franco (3rd); OF Aaron Altherr (19).
Eastern: SS J. P. Crawford (2), Aaron Nola (6), C Andrew Knapp (14).
Texas: OF Nick Williams (7), C Jorge Alfaro (14), RHP Jake Thompson (17).
Carolina: RHP Nick Pivetta (8).
South Atlantic: SS Malquin Canelo (14), 1B Rhys Hoskins (20).
New York-Penn: RHP Franklyn Kilome (5), OF Jesus Pujols (13), 2B Josh Tobias (19).
Gulf Coast: OF Cornelius Randolph (5), RHP Adonis Medina (18), INF Jonathon Arauz (20).

Early Peek
As everyone knows, the Phillies will have the first selection in next summer’s draft.  One of the highly-rated college pitchers is LH A. J. Puk, a 6-foot-7 junior at the University of Florida. The Gators began their fall baseball program on Tuesday.  It will end November 22.

Included are workouts and scrimmages. Puk is listed to be one of the pitchers in Sunday’s scrimmage.  As CSNPHILLY.com’s Jim Salisbury reported, Pat Gillick will be there. Gillick is returning to his advisory role and will be scouting on the amateur level.

“You ARE The Man”

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 29:  Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies follows watches the flight of his seventh inning grand slam against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 29, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)


Yep, Chase Utley was the man in the 2009 World Series. Even though the Phillies lost, he turned in the greatest hitting performance in team WS history.  Check out the story at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Postseason Tidbits
ICYMI the Cubs won a postseason series in Wrigley Field for the first time….ever. Windy city has turned into Goosebump City.

The Cubs are the first team in major league history to have six different players age 26 or younger homer in one postseason.

1B Anthony Rizzo homered on a 0-2 pitch to give the Cubs the lead Tuesday night.  It was only the second time in his career he homered when down in the count, 0-2.

54 home runs were hit in the Division Series, a new record.  Old one was 50 in 1995 and 2004.





Phun Photos

Crowd and teams before start of game at Shibe Park


For the first time since 1915, the Phillies were in the World Series.  On October 4, 1950, Shibe Park hosted the first two games against the New York Yankees.

“Misfits,” “rejects,” “throwbacks,” “outlaws”…those flattering descriptions of the 1993 Phillies were replaced by “National League champions” when they upended the highly-favored Atlanta Braves before 62,502 delirious fans at Veterans Stadium on October 13.

Opening Day
The Arizona Fall League opens its season today.  Seven Phillies prospects are on the roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs who play the Mesa Solar Sox at 12:30 p.m.: SS J. P. Crawford, C Andrew Knapp, OF Dylan Cozens and four pitchers, RH Edubray Ramos, RH Yacksel Rios, LH Tom Windle and RH Jesen Dygestile-Therrien. One of the Desert Dogs’ coaches is Nelson Prada, who coached for the Lakewood BlueClaws.

You can follow the league at http://www.mlbfallball.com.

Postseason Honors
Baseball America has announced its All-Star teams for the different minor league levels. Seven Phillies players are honored:

Overall, second team: C Andrew Knapp
AA: OF Nick Williams, RHP Aaron Nola
Low-A:  OF Carlos Tocci, 1B Rhys Hoskins
Short-season: 2B Josh Tobias
Rookie: OF Cornelius Randolph

Say What?
I know I am on the ancient side in baseball. Well-schooled in the world of wins and losses, ERA, innings and strikeouts for pitchers. When it comes to the world of sabermetrics, I flunk.

Love the MLBTrade Rumors site (www.mlbtraderumors.com). Last week Steve Adams wrote a story about some pitchers who are free agents.  One was Dillon Gee of the Mets.  Here’s a sentence from Adams’ comments about Gee: “FIP and xFIP marks were mostly in line with his career numbers, and he was plagued by factors like a .355 BABIP and a fluky 63 percent strand rate.”

Not picking on Steve Adams, but I wonder if the average baseball fan understands that “fluky” sentence.  I sure don’t. In his brief big league career, Gee is 40-37 with a 4.03 ERA and the enemy is hitting .259 against him.  I understand those numbers.

Postseason Morsels & Opinions
Monday’s statistical summary: 21, 41, 61. Most home runs (21) and most runs (61) in one postseason day.  Where’s 41 fit in? Number of pitchers used in the four games.

LHP Clayton Kershaw, pitching tonight, is 114-56 in his career but 1-6 in the postseason losing his last five. LHP David Price is 104-56 in his career.  In postseason, 2-6 with both wins coming in relief, including Monday. Go figure.

Cubs had two run-scoring squeeze bunts in the second inning of their Saturday night win, a first in postseason history. Monday night, the Cubs hit a postseason record six, one each by the first six batters in their batting order.

Chase Utley’s slide at second base on Saturday night is the most-controversial slide in baseball history.  Did folks expect Chase to tip-toe into second base?

Best broadcasting team: Bob Costas and Jim Kaat of the MLB Network.  What a novel idea, two voices in a booth.


Peek at 2017 Roster

Dusted off my old crystal ball to see what the Phillies roster will look like in the future. For some reason, this highly-sophisticated ball skipped to 2017. When asked for 2016, the ball reverted back to 2017. Crystal balls sometimes can be stubborn.

Starting Pitching
Goal this winter is to add a couple of veterans to help ease the innings load on the young arms.  When asked for the identity of these vets, the ball turned cloudy.  RH Aaron Nola and RH Jared Eickhoff have two other spots. In the mix are RH Jake Thompson, RH Zach Elfin and LH Adam Morgan.  Waiting in the wings, RH Ricardo Pinto, RH Alec Asher, and LH Brandon Leibrandt, Nick Pivetta.

RH Ken Giles anchors the pen as the closer. He’ll be joined by a veteran arm plus LH Elivs Araujo, LH Tom Windle with RH Ben Lively, RH Jimmy Cordero, RH Edubray Ramos trying a spot.

Some combination of Andrew Knapp, a switch hitter and right-handed hitters, Jorge Alfaro and Cameron Rupp.

First Base
Darrin Ruf from the right side, Brock Stassi from the left side. Crystal ball says something about Alfaro possibly changing positions.

Middle Infielders
J. P. Crawford will be the shortstop and for a long time. Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis will be dueling for second base and a back-up role. Cody Asche is a super sub, first, third, left field, pinch-hitter.

Third Base
Maikel Franco. Period.

Rookie Ramon Quinn will take over in centerfield.  He’s a switch-hitter with a strong arm as he was once a shortstop. Odubel Herrera switches to left field and Aaron Altherr remains in right.  Nick Williams begins as the fourth outfielder.  Fifth outfielder will be a right-handed hitting vet. Waiting in the minors are Dylan Cozens, Andrew Pullin, Aaron Brown, Cord Sandberg, Herlis Rodriguez. All are left-handed hitters, as are Herrera and Williams.

Pete Mackanin

Bench Coach
Yikes. Crystal ball turned green: Phillie Phanatic? So, who’s going to be the mascot? Chris Wheeler?  The crystal ball turned cloudy again, started shaking and went up in smoke.  They just don’t make quality crystal balls anymore.

Phun Facts
100 years ago today Grover Cleveland Alexander won the Phillies’ first World Series game, 3-1, over the Boston Red Sox at Baker Bowl. Check out the complete story about the 1915 Series at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

George Stephen Vukovich Position: Rightfielder Bats: Left, Throws: Right Height: 6' 0Pinch-hitter George Vukovich is the only Phillies player to hit a walk-off homer in the postseason–10th inning, Division Series against Montreal at the Vet, Game 4, October 10, 1981. 6-5 win tied the series, 2-2.  Expos advanced with a 3-0 win the next day.


Another flashback moment to remember took place October 6, 2010, at Citizens Bank Park when Roy Halladay no-hit the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of the NLDS.  It was Halladay’s first postseason start and second no-hitter in baseball’s postseason history.  The other: the Yankees’ Don Larson’s World Series gem in 1956.

Real View Mirror

Relief ace and NL MVP Jim Konstanty was the surprise starter in game one of the 1950 World Series


Jim Konstanty, who relieved in 74 games, was chosen to start the Phillies first World Series game, October 4, 1950. Manager Eddie Sawyer named Jim over 20-game winner Robin Roberts who pitched the 10-inning pennant clincher three days earlier, his fourth start in nine games.  The Phillies second-best starter, 17-game winner Curt Simmons, was in the Army. New York Yankees beat Konstanty, 1-0. (National Baseball Hall of Fame photo).

Last Rear View Mirror Look
For the last time, time to look back at the 2015 season.

The Phillies had two presidents, two general managers and two managers.  Pretty unusual until you look at the Boston Red Sox who did the same. These two franchises met in the 1915 World Series and 100 years later each was in last place.  You may ask what kind of silly note is that.  Honestly, I don’t have an explanation other than I thought of it.

How did the Phillies lose 99 games?  Well, pitching, hitting, fielding, base-running, youth.

Most wins for a pitcher: 6, Hamels, Harang, Nola, Giles. That’s a new Phillies low; previous was 8 by Ray Benge in 1928. Last single-digit leader, 9, Curt Schilling, 1996.  Most pitchers, season: 29, not including Francoeur.  That’s a new high, one more than 2007. 18 rookies appeared in at least one game, 13 being pitchers.  From Baseball-Reference.com: Most batting orders 161 (including pitchers), compared to 144 the year before.  Researched last 30 seasons and 161 is the most.

The Envelope, Please
Time for some postseason awards.  Drum roll, please:

Team MVP: Blanco who was an asset on the field, in the dugout and clubhouse.

Good-Guy: Francoeur. Always upbeat, always smiling and like Blanco, a huge asset.

Outstanding Rookie: Since he was there all season, Herrera.  Amazing season considering he was in AA ball a year ago.  Franco was also very impressive.

Best Trade: Papelbon.  Nationals went from three games up when they acquired him to missing the postseason.

Biggest Surprise: Sandberg’s resignation.

Biggest Disappointment: 5-14 record against the Mets.

Best Percentage: 59.5% in replay challenges.

Most Thrilling Win:  Hamels last game as a Phillie, a no-hitter.

Thank Goodness: Avoiding 100 losses.

Most Painful: Howard’s latest season-ending injury.

Hard To Believe: Phillies finished near the NL bottom in homers (130) but led in pinch-hit homers (10).

Best Move: Naming Mackanin the manager.

Most Consistent: Phillie Phanatic.  He never had a bad game or a slump.

Consolation: Late-season sweep that started the Mets on their way to blowing the home field advantage.

Most Entertaining:  The squirrel that ran across the backstop over to a guide wire and then jumped into the Phillies dugout nearly scaring Chase Utley to death.

Best Radio Comment: “Hinojosa throws 94 miles per hour.  That’s why he wears #94 and I wore #47,” Larry Andersen.

New Book
The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits
is my new book. It will be available starting next May in book stores and on-line. Publisher again is Triumph Books (triumphbooks.com).

Larry Andersen wrote the foreword.  Here’s a small peek: “After just turning 18 and graduating from high school, yes, I actually did, I was chosen by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh round of the 1971 draft. I was stunned that two other pitchers in the state of Washington were picked ahead of me, one in the fourth round and the other in the fifth. That all became a moot point when the Indians threw $10,000 my way to sign with them and spurn a football/baseball scholarship to attend the University of Oregon. It was an easy decision at the time, as Oregon didn’t offer a major in practical jokes.”


183 Days Until ’16 Opener

The big, square Sherwin Williams clock in center field at Citizens Bank Park said 5:37 when Giles ended the Phillies season with a strikeout.  Not the same emotion as seven years ago when Lidge ended the season with a World Championship strikeout.  The Phillies faithful of 21,734 were on their feet applauding when Giles tossed the final pitch.

All game long, the fans cheered as sunshine finally replaced dreary wet, cold days.  Buchanan got a standing ovation when he exited the game in the seventh inning.  He waived and tossed his cap into the stands.  He didn’t get the win but goes home fresh from four starts in which he had a 2.49 ERA.  Much better than his 0-5 beginning. Ending on a positive note is huge.

They cheered when Altherr’s triple cleared the bases to give the Phillies the lead in the seventh inning.  They cheered when the Phanatic took off his shirt and gave it to a lucky fan.  They cheered pre-game when Ruiz was saluted for catching four no-hitters.  He received an oil painting from Phillies artist Dick Perez depicting the final out of each no-hitter.

They cheered when prizes were given away between innings, the biggest cheer and prize being a new, red Toyota Camry.

For most of the season, there wasn’t much to cheer about.  Gloom was predicted and at the All-Star Game the Phillies were last in the world 29-62, on their way to perhaps breaking baseball’s record for most losses (120).  A 34-37 record the second half showed some hope for the future.  What made the second half record more impressive was the fact Hamels, Diekman, Papelbon, Revere and Utley were traded during that period of time, putting more emphasis on young players.

Following the last out the players one-by-one left the field, tossing their hats to the fans.  Some took off their jerseys and tossed them. In the clubhouse, it was time to pack and say good-bye.  Players receive first class airfare to their homes.  If they drive, they receive a check covering the amount of a flight.  Some will be playing winter ball. Some will be back, some won’t.  Two coaches weren’t invited back, Mizerock and Nichols.

More changes will be forthcoming.  Soon Andy MacPhail assumes the role as president.  A new general manager is in order.  They’ll plenty of news this winter.

A 162-game baseball season is played in 182 days.  Only 183 days until opening day in Cincinnati. Can’t wait.

Alumni in Postseason
The postseason races and berths have been decided.  Wild card games are first and followed by the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series. Phillies Alumni will be sprinkled throughout baseball this month:

Los Angeles Dodgers, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley . . . Texas Rangers, Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman . . . Toronto Blue Jays, Ben Revere . . . Kansas City Royals, Ryan Madson . . . Pittsburgh Pirates, A. J. Burnett, J. A. Happ, Anthony Bastardo, Joe Blanton.

Saw an LA Times story on Saturday that the Dodgers may go with a rookie at shortstop, Seager. “I’m OK with it,” Rollins was quoted saying. “Obviously, no one is ever happy. I mean, you want to be out there playing, especially this time of the year. But like I said in my meetings, it isn’t about the name on the back, it’s about winning baseball. So if that’s the lineup that is best for us to win, let’s go with that.”

(Phillies Insider will be moving into an off-season mode.  Will post every Tuesday and Thursday and on other newsworthy occasions. Thanks for hanging in this season.  Hope you will continue to follow the blog).

Sweet Sweep

Love Hershey kisses.  Love sweeping the Mets even more.  How sweet.  It was the Phillies first sweep of the Mets at Citizens Bank Park since 2009 and the team’s fifth sweep of the season. Shut out was the Phillies’ seventh and the 14th for the Mets.

Eickhoff ended his season on a high note with double-digit strikeouts for the second straight start.  Last Phillies rookie right-hander to do that was Ray Culp in 1963, twice.  In Eickhoff’s last 30 innings, 27 were scoreless.

One more win and the Phillies avoid losing 100 games.  Hurricane Joaquin may be a factor as to whether the Phillies can get all three games played.  Series with Marlins begins Friday night and ends at 3:05 Sunday afternoon.

This Date In Phillies History
October 2, 2005
Jimmy Rollins ends season with 36-game hitting streak, a club record, in 9-3 win in

October 2, 2008
NLDS #2 at Citizens Bank Park: Shane Victorino hits a grand slam home run off CC
Sabathia to cap a five-run second inning that lifts the Phillies to a 5-2 win and 2-0 lead
over the Brewers.

October 2, 2011
NLDS #2 at Citizens Bank Park: Phillies grab a 4-0 lead after two innings but the
Cardinals come back against Cliff Lee to win, 5-4, and even the series at 1-1.

Being that we are in October when postseason play is a daily occurrence, there are a lot of daily flashback moments.  For October 3 and 4 check in at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Book on Horizon
The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits
is the title of my new book which will be available starting next May in book stores and on-line.

But, will try to have a book signing at Bright House Field next March as we did two years ago with “If These Walls Could Talk.”  Triumph Books (triumphbooks.com) was the publisher then and again now..


Hey, Game Today at Noon

With rainy weather coming Thursday night, Major League Baseball moved the starting time from 7:05 p.m. to 12:05 p.m. for the series finale between the Mets and Phillies. Last time it happened to the Phillies was September 18, 2003 when a 7:05 night game was moved to 1:05 in the afternoon also because of a bad weather forecast.  The Marlins were the opponent at Veterans Stadium.  Phillies won, 5-4, on a Jim Thome home run in the eighth inning.

Wednesday night’s 7:05 game ended at 11:05. Next game in 13 hours.  Both teams needed to sleep fast.

Seven batters into the game, the Mets had five runs. Asher exited after getting just two outs.  Seven Phillies relievers held the Mets scoreless the rest of the game, allowing just three hits.  It was the most innings pitched without being charged with a run by Philadelphia’s bullpen since April 25, 1991 when they threw nine scoreless innings, also against the Mets, in a 5-3 win. The Phillies relievers that night were Tommy Greene, Joe Boever, Roger McDowell and Mitch Williams. (Elias Sports Bureau)

For the second straight night, the Phillies winning pitcher retired one batter. Loewen on Tuesday and Roberts on Wednesday. Roberts is the eighth Phillies rookie to taste victory.

In the sixth inning, the nine hole in the Mets batting order had a pinch-hitter, pinch-runner and four pitchers. The Phillies scored three times in the bottom of the sixth on two walks, a two-run single, a hit batter and two wild pitches. The Phillies lead run in that inning and an insurance run in the eighth came on wild pitches.  Their last five runs came on three hits.

The game featured 17 pitchers, 10 walks, four hit batters and seven wild pitches. Number of pitches? 342. No wonder pitching coaches have gray hair.

Most Dramatic Phillies Home Run?

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It happened 65 years ago today in Brooklyn by a player wearing #8.  For complete details visit http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

This Date In Phillies History
October 1, 1982
RHP Terry Leach pitches 10, 10inning 1hitter against Phillies. Luis Aguayo’s triple in 5th is lone hit.  RHP John Denny pitches 1hitter through 9 innings (Dave Kingman single in 2nd).

October 1, 2008
NLDS #1 at Citizens Bank Park: Phillies earn first postseason win in 15 years with a 3-1 decision over the Brewers. Cole Hamels tosses eight shutout innings to get the win, retiring the first 14 batters.

October 1, 2011
NLDS #1 at Citizens Bank Park: Ryan Howard’s three-run homer keys a five-run sixth inning as the Phillies defeat the Cardinals, 11-6.  Roy Halladay retires the last 21 batters to earn the win.

Around MLB
Despite the loss, the Mets maintain a one-game lead over the Dodgers in the home field advantage as LA lost last night in SF.

Cardinals have won 100 games for the ninth time, a National League record.

For the first time all games on Sunday, the final day of the regular season, will begin at 3:05 p.m. EDT.  MLB looked to create more excitement on the last day by having a universal starting time.  As it turns out, only the home field advantage may go down to the wire in the National League.  American League still has the Western division winner and one wild card team at stake. Rangers, Astros, Angels and Twins are in that mix. Angels are at the Rangers in a four-game series that begins Thursday night.


Phils Phinally Beat Mets

When the Phillies score four or more runs, they are 51-29. Less than four, 8-68. That pretty well defines their season.

Phinally a Philly win over the Mets, 4-3, last night, a defeat that snapped New York’s 11-game winning streak on the road. It was only third Phillies win in 17 games between the two clubs. While the Mets have clinched the division title, they are battling for the home field advantage in the playoffs which is huge.  By clinching the NL west last night, the Dodgers now trail the Mets by one game.

Ruf hit a three-run homer in the first and Altherr drove in the fourth run in the eighth inning. Duda went deep twice, including a two-run homer off Giles in the ninth. It was only the third homer Giles has yielded in his big league career. But, Giles struck out Travis d’Arnaud for his 14th save. Earlier, Travis’ older brother, Chase, struck out as a Phillies pinch hitter.  It was the first time they had been on a baseball field together since an all-star game in the minor leagues in 2009.

Loewen, one of six Phillies pitchers, picked his first win since 2007 and first hit since 2011 . . . Blanco was not at the game, instead he became a daddy, Adrian, his second son . . . Herrera returned from three days off and collected four hits . . . Franco could be back for the last three games this weekend.

Florida Instructional League
Phillies first game was Monday in Dunedin against the Blue Jays. CF Ramon Quinn was back on the field for the first time since he sustained a tear in his left hip flexor on June 13.  3B Maikel Franco had five at-bats.  Six pitchers worked for the Phillies. The FIL is all about instruction. Base-runners will work on stealing bases without the concern of being caught.  One reliever who was drafted in June threw a slider for the first time.  Another worked from a different side of the rubber and a third focused on being quicker to the plate with runners on base.

1915 Pennant
Check out http://www.phillies.com/alumni for excerpts from the September 30, 1915, Philadelphia Inquirer story about the Phillies pennant-clinching game from the day before.  The headline: PHILLIES, BEATING BRAVES, CAPTURE NATIONAL’S FLAG.

This Date In Phillies History
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.

Around MLB
Phillies have used a club-record 30 pitchers this season, breaking the old mark (28) set in 2007.  Overall, they are tied for fourth behind Atlanta (37), Yankees (33) and Rangers (31).

Astros fell to third place in the AL west for the first time since April 18.

Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are headed for the playoffs.

Coming Next Spring
The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits
is the title of my new book which will be available starting next May in book stores and on-line. Larry Andersen penned the foreword. Publisher again is Triumph Books (triumphbooks.com).


6 Games Remain

For the first time since 2006, the Mets are in the postseason.  Their road was paved by their dominance of the Phillies, 14-2. Last three games between the Phillies and Mets starts Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.  Phillies are playing to avoid 100 losses, sitting on 97 as Tuesday night comes around. Three with the visiting Marlins this weekend ends the Phillies season.

From Elias Sports Bureau: The Mets completed a four-game series sweep in Cincinnati on Sunday by defeating the Reds, 8-1. It was the Mets’ 31st consecutive road game in which they scored three or more runs, matching the longest streak of its kind in National League history! New York now shares that mark with the 1891 Phillies, Chicago from 1894 to 1895, and the 1897 New York Giants. Several AL teams have had longer such streaks, including the 1937 Yankees, who scored at least three runs in a major-league record 45 consecutive road games.

First Florida Instructional League game for the Phillies took place Monday against the Blue Jays in nearby Dunedin.  October 16 is the last day for the 17-game schedule that also includes the Yankees and Orioles.  Wins and losses aren’t the focus but instruction is.  No records or stats are kept.

A total of 58 players dress and work out at Carpenter Field but their home games are at Bright House Field.  No games are scheduled for Sundays.  Not all 58 will be there the entire time.  RHP Jake Thompson, acquired in the Cole Hamels trade, will be there for a short time.  OF Nick Williams and C Jorge Alfaro, also part of that deal, are also in camp.  Refining base-stealing is on the agenda for Williams.  Alfaro, who injured an ankle in June and was out of action until this month, needs playing time.

Three 16-year-olds, OF Jhailyn Ortiz, C Rafael Marchan and LHP Manual Silva and 22-year-old OF Reggie Wilson are making their debuts in pro ball.

Coordinators: Doug Mansolino (field coordinator), Andy Tracy (hitting), Rafael Chaves (pitching), Chris Truby (infield), Ernie Whitt (catching), Andy Abad (outfield/base running) and Brett Gross (video coaching).

Staff: Pat Borders (manager), Rob Ducey, Rafael DeLima, Waner Santana (hitting), Roly deArmas, Shawn Williams (instructors), Carlos Arroyo, Brian Sweeney (pitching).

Athletic Trainers: Joe Rauch, rehab coordinator, Troy Hoffert, Michael Hefta, Aaron Scott.

Strength and conditioning: Jason Meredith, coordinator, Ken Matanane, Seth Gregorich.

Minor League Gold Gloves
Two Phillies outfielders, Cord Sandberg and Aaron Altherr, have been selected to the  Rawlings Gold Glove team in the minor leagues.

To be eligible to receive the Award, players must have participated in one of the 10 domestic-based, full-season leagues, and shown outstanding defensive skills. The Rawlings Gold Glove Award® was re-introduced to Minor League Baseball in 2011 after an almost 50-year hiatus.

Sandberg, Lakewood’s left fielder, recorded a .983 fielding percentage in 120 games. He had 232 chances and recorded 13 assists. Sandberg, 20, was a third round pick of the Phillies in the 2013 draft out of Manatee (FL) High School.

Altherr, a right fielder who split the season between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, was perfect in 107 games in the field, recording 279 chances and eight assists without committing an error. Altherr, 24, was selected by the Phillies in the ninth round of the 2009 draft out of Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona.

This Date In Phillies History
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.  A story about this game will be posted at http://www.phillies.com/alumni later today.

Overlooked yesterday (September 28) was a great moment in baseball history that took place at Shibe Park on the last day of the 1941 season against the Philadelphia Athletics. Boston’s left fielder, Ted Williams, entered the last day of the season with a .400 average.  Rather than sit out the double-header, he went 4-5 in the first game and 2-3 in the second game to finished .406, the last .400 hitter in baseball history.

Another Book
The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits
is the title of my new book which will be available starting next May in book stores and on-line. Larry Andersen penned the foreword, very entertaining as one might expect. Publisher again is Triumph Books (triumphbooks.com).

Around MLB
Nationals not only suspended Papelbon for the rest of the season but removed his jersey from the team store.

Fun Weekend

Needless to say there haven’t been many fun moments this season for the Phillies.  Winning the last road series this weekend in Nationals Park may rank as the most fun weekend.  Not only did the Phillies help knock the Nationals out of the playoff race but they beat Papelbon with an eight-run ninth inning on Sunday.  Before he took the mound in that inning, Pap and Harper got into a fight in the dugout.  Yes, there’s still a Natitude in DC thanks to Pap.

It was the first game in which the Phillies scored as many as eight runs in an inning in the ninth inning or later since September 17, 2005, when they scored ten runs in the ninth inning of a 10-2 come-from-behind victory in Miami. Source: Elias Sports Bureau.

On the 3-6 trip, Phillies starters were awesome, posting a 1.74 ERA over the nine games.  A little more offense could have turned the trip around as the Phillies lost four 2-1 games and a 1-0 decision.  Yet, it’s hard to point the finger at the offense that is missing Franco, Hernandez, Howard and Brown.

Phillies finished the season only 26-55 on the road, their worst record since the 1942 team went 19-58 during the era when they played 77 games on the road.

Sunday morning, the Phillies announced that Nolan will not throw another pitch this season.  After last year’s June draft, he worked 55.1 innings in 12 pro games. Nola was Reading’s starting pitcher in the season opener this year, April 11, in Portland.  He lost, 4-2, allowing four runs in 4.2 innings. He ended the season with five scoreless innings on Saturday night, giving him 187 total innings.  Guess you could say he came a long way this season.

One player who sparkled over the weekend was Altherr, playing center field.  His
two home-run game on Friday night which included an inside-the-park grand slam became a very notable performance: first inside-the-park GS in the majors since 1999, Randy Winn, Tampa Bay Rays against the Yankees . . . first for a Phillies player since 1956, Ted Kazanski at the Polo Grounds against the New York Giants . . . became the third Phillies rookie with two homers, including a grand slam in a game, joining Mike Schmidt (1973) and Pat Burrell (twice in 2000). Sunday Aaron made the greatest catch of the season for the Phillies.

GPS and the Pope
Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia caused the Phillies to change their Amtrak travel plans following Sunday’s game. Because of street closings, potential traffic volume, tourist buses parking in the sports complex and uncertainty that buses could meet the traveling party of 60 at the 30th Street Station, the Phillies returned home from Washington, DC, today.  The charter train took them to Wilmington from where buses took them to Citizens Bank Park.

Many of the rookies on the team are staying in a center city hotel. Getting there Sunday night could have been problem. “Some of our guys haven’t been here that long and they only know one way home,” Frank Coppenbarger, Director, Team Travel, said. “The GPS doesn’t factor in the Pope.”

This Date In Phillies History
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 in the final game of the season.

September 28, 1958

Ashburnbattitle - Copy
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.

Special Birthday
To Bobby Shantz, the left-handed pitcher who won the 1952 American League MVP with the Philadelphia A’s, who turned 90 on Saturday.   Bobby’s career ended in 1964 with the Phillies, who sent him a Phillies jersey with “Shantz 35” on the back, the number he wore with the Phils.  Bobby, his wife, Shirley and daughter will celebrated with their weekly round of golf on Tuesday, weather-permitting.

Around MLB
Marlins’ Jose Fernandez on Friday became the first pitcher ever to start off his career 17-0 at home. On Sunday, Dallas Keuchel finished unbeaten in Houston, 15-0, this season,

Pirates’ Gerrit Cole has 18 wins. Closer Mark Melancon saved 15 of them.

Each of the Rockies outfielders, Charlie Blackman, Carlos Gonzalez and Corey Dickerson homered in the fourth inning vs. the Dodgers on Friday night in Denver.  Only one other team in the last 12 years to match that, Blue Jays’ Alex Rios, Vernon Wells and Matt Stairs, May 20, 2007, at Citizens Bank Park off Geoff Geary. Phillies won, 5-3. Rollins and Utley played in that game as they did on Friday night.

The Orioles reached a franchise first by being shut out three straight games by the same team.  For Boston, three consecutive shutouts was the first for the Red Sox since 1958.



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