Friday, July 20, 2018

Series Preview - Padres at Phillies: July 20th to July 22nd

1978 Topps #390
1978 Topps #210
Friday and Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Padres 40-59, 5th place in the N.L. West, 14 1/2 games behind the Dodgers
Phillies 53-42, 1st place in the N.L. East, 1/2 game ahead of the Braves

Padres Probables:  Clayton Richard (7-8, 4.43), Luis Perdomo (1-4, 7.55), Tyson Ross (5-8, 4.32)
Phillies Probables:  Jake Arrieta (7-6, 3.23), Vince Velasquez (5-8, 4.39), Nick Pivetta (6-7, 4.58)

At the Ballpark:  It's Photo Night on Saturday and as an added bonus all kids will receive a W.B. Mason collectible truck.  On Sunday, all fans receive a pair of Phillies socks.

Padres Leaders
Average:  Jose Pirela - .261
Runs:  Jose Pirela - 45
Home Runs:  Christian Villanueva - 19
RBIs:  Christian Villaneuva - 43
Stolen Bases:  Travis Jankowski - 14

Wins:  Clayton Richard - 7
ERA:  Tyson Ross - 4.32
Strikeouts:  Tyson Ross - 97
Saves:  Brad Hand - 24

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Odubel Herrera - .275
Runs:  Cesar Hernandez - 63
Home Runs:  Odubel Herrera - 16
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 56
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez - 14

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 2.30
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 131
Saves:  Hector Neris - 10

All-Star Game - 2018 Chachi #45 Aaron Nola AS #AllStarGame

American League 8National League 6 (10)
All-Star Game - Tuesday Night, July 17th in Washington

One Sentence Summary:  Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer hit back-to-back home runs off the Dodgers' Ross Stripling in the 10th inning to give the A.L. and 8-6 win, and their sixth win in a row.

What It Means:  I wrote this sentence in last year's All-Star Game summary post, and it applies again this year:  "Don't get me wrong, I still love the All-Star Game, but . . . Fox's ridiculous in-game stunts left me a little jaded . . . Players were mic'd up and interviewed in the field during live at-bats. I wanted to watch a baseball game."  I think I'm getting old.

My favorite thing about this year's All-Star Game is that it's the first Mid-Summer Classic that both my two sons watched with me.  They watched the pre-game introductions with Ben making it through 5 innings and Doug lasting a few innings longer.  I'm getting to that point in my fandom where Doug knows all the players better than I do and I'll admit there were a few American League players I had never heard of before this game.

What Happened:  The two teams set an All-Star Game record with 10 total home runs.  Joining Bregman and Springer with long balls were Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Jean Seguera, Christian Yelich, Scooter Gennett and Joey Votto.  Gennett's was responsible for sending the game into extra innings as his tied the game at five with one out in the bottom of the 9th.

We also learned during the game that slugger Manny Machado would be heading from the Orioles to the Dodgers and our entire household collectively booed.

Featured Card:  The Phillies were short-changed and sent only one All-Star to Washington.  Aaron Nola entered the game in the 5th inning, relieving Mike Foltynewicz.  He struck out Salvador Perez and Mookie Betts swinging before allowing a single to center from Jose Altuve.  Nola then induced a pop-out to first from his future teammate Trout to end the scoreless inning.

Memory Lane
From 1996 - Attending the All-Star Game at The Vet
From 2009 - All-Star Game memories
2010 All-Star Game - N.L. 3, A.L. 1 in Anaheim
2011 All-Star Game - N.L. 5, A.L. 1 in Phoenix
2012 All-Star Game - N.L. 8, A.L. 0 in Kansas City
2013 All-Star Game - A.L. 3, N.L. 0 in Flushing
2014 All-Star Game - A.L. 5, N.L. 3 in Minneapolis
2015 All-Star Game - A.L. 6, N.L. 3 in Cincinnati
2016 All-Star Game - A.L. 4, N.L. 2 in San Diego
2017 All-Star Game - A.L. 2, N.L. 1 in Miami

Thursday, July 19, 2018

All-Star Break Odds & Ends - Hoskins, Truby, Milner & Machado

2018 Chachi #44
Along with the rest of baseball, The Phillies Room is enjoying a short break before the official start of the second half of the season on Friday night.  Here are some odds and ends from the break that I thought merited a quick post.

Hoskins Home Run Derby Heroics
Rhys Hoskins was impressive in Monday night's Home Run Derby, defeating Brewers slugger Jesus Aguilar in the first round 17-12, and nearly defeating Kyle Schwarber in the second round.  Hoskins slugged 20 home runs while Schwarber bested him by one with 21.  Bryce Harper would defeat Schwarber in the final round to be crowned the champion.  Pitching to Hoskins was his former manager with the Lakewood BlueClaws, Chris Truby.

Truby appeared in 263 big league games with the Astros (2000-2001), Expos (2002), Tigers (2002) and Devil Rays (2003).  He managed in the Phillies farm system from 2009 to 2013 before being named the team's minor league infield coordinator in 2014.

2011 Multi-Ad Lakewood
BlueClaws #31
2018 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #19
2003 Leaf Good Rookies #9
Milner Moves On
I'm hoping to have to update this comings and goings list over the next few weeks, but for now there's only one new addition with the recent departure of Hoby Milner.  The lefty reliever was sold to the Rays on July 15th.  In 47 games with the club, Milner owned an impressive 2.70 ERA and it's hard for me to understand how there just wasn't a place for him in the team's bullpen.  He owns three different team-issued photo cards, but no mainstream Phillies baseball cards.

Departed During the 2018 Season
Drew Hutchison (6/5/18) - Designated for assignment and elected free agency.
Hoby Milner (7/15/18) - Sold to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Milner Complete Chachi Checklist
2017 Chachi #44
2018 Chachi #21

Machado Phillies Baseball Cards
And finally, it stings a little that Manny Machado will be playing out the remainder of the 2018 season with the Dodgers and not the Phillies.  In the end, the price was way too high for a 2 1/2 month rental player and the Phillies will undoubtedly pursue Machado once he's a free agent following the season.

It's a small consolation to me that I have 22 different cards of Anderson Machado in my Phillies collection.  Not really.  Sorry Anderson.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Game 95 - 2017 Topps Heritage Minor League #21 Adonis Medina

Marlins 10, Phillies 5
Game 95 - Sunday Afternoon, July 15th in Miami
Record - 53-42, 1st place, 1/2 game ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  An overall sloppy game from the Phillies, and an eight-run 5th inning, gave the Marlins a 10-5 win in this official end to the first half.

What It Means:  This game was bad, but if I had told you in March that the Phillies would be in first place at the All-Star break would you have believed me?

What Happened:  Enyel De Los Santos received his second starting nod of the season, lasting 4 1/3 innings and allowing five runs.  A questionable ball call on reliever Edubray Ramos and Carlos Santana forgetting the number of outs in the fifth helped lead to three more Marlins runs.

Featured Card:  With De Los Santos pitching in Miami for the Phillies, pitcher Adonis Medina was the franchise's sole representative at the annual Futures Game.  It didn't go well for the young pitcher.  Medina entered the game for the World Team in the seventh inning with the score tied at 6.  He allowed a double to Jo Adell, and Adell scored the eventual winning run on a wild pitch.  Peter Alonso then hit a 2-run home run off Medina and the pitcher was removed from the game, saddled with the loss.

Transaction:  De Los Santos took Zach Eflin's spot on the roster as Eflin landed on the disabled list with a blister.

Game 93 - Jake Arrieta & We Head Back to the @BlueClaws!

Phillies 2, Marlins 0
Game 93 - Friday Night, July 13th in Miami
Record - 53-40, 1st place, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Jake Arrieta dominated the Marlins in this 2-0 win in Miami.

What It Means:  With the Braves losing, the Phillies hold a game and a half lead in the division.

What Happened:  Arrieta pitched seven strong innings, allowing just three hits.  Victor Arano and Pat Neshek pitched the final two frames, with Neshek securing his first save of the season.  Neshek became the 9th pitcher with a save this season tying a franchise record.  (Per this Matt Gelb Tweet.)

Aaron Altherr doubled home the first run in the 2nd and Maikel Franco added an insurance run with a solo home run (13) in the 9th.  In the 6th, a fine throw from Scott Kingery, following a good play and throw from Aaron Altherr in the outfield, nailed Cameron Maybin at the plate to keep the Marlins off the board.

Featured Card:  Apologies to Arrieta, but I need to go with a few BlueClaws-themed cards for this post as our July ballpark tour continued.

Field Report:  We're still trying to recover from our recent road trip, but we couldn't miss the opportunity to celebrate Harry Potter night with the BlueClaws on Friday night.  We've become big fans of the Harry Potter universe over the past few years, and the boys were excited for a night of baseball and magic.

Upon entering the ballpark, both boys were sorted into their houses with Ben landing in Gryffindor and Doug declared to be a Ravenclaw.  (For the record, they considered themselves to be a Hufflepuff and Gryffindor, respectively.)  Pitching prospects Spencer Howard and Damon Jones were signing autographs at a table outside the team store so we immediately added their signatures to a few hastily purchased team sets.

While Ben was busy selecting his wand from a make-shift Ollivander's Wand Shop, Doug was on the prowl for player autographs.  By his final tally, he secured 16 total signatures with Jhailyn Ortiz, Howard and Kyle Young signing everything he handed to them.  Prior to the start of the 9th inning, Doug caught the attention of first baseman Quincy Nieporte and Nieporte tossed him a baseball.  The game was great and the post-game Harry Potter-themed fireworks were fantastic.  For an encore, Doug ran the bases following the fireworks.

The BlueClaws secured a 7-0 win over the Asheville Tourists, thanks to a strong outing from Andrew Brown.  Brown pitched seven shutout innings, striking out seven.  Matt Vierling, a 2018 fifth round draft pick, hit his first home run for the BlueClaws and went 3 for 4.  Remember the name Matt Vierling . . . he was impressive and I predict we'll see him in red pinstripes sooner rather than later.

Memory Lane 
2013 BlueClaws Game
2014 BlueClaws Game
2015 BlueClaws Game
2016 BlueClaws Game
2017 BlueClaws Game
2018 BlueClaws Game 1 and Game 2

Game 92 - 2018 Phillies Team Issue 2 #38 Jorge Alfaro

Phillies 5, Orioles 4
Game 92 - Thursday Night, July 12th in Baltimore
Record - 52-40, 1st place, 1/2 game ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  In a make-up game attended mostly by a few thousand Phillies fans, Nick Pivetta had a decent outing and Jorge Alfaro drove in 3 runs in this 5-4 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies were back alone atop the division in first place following this game.

What Happened:  Pivetta didn't allow a hit through the first four innings, ultimately going 6 2/3 innings and striking out seven.  Seranthony Dominguez pitched a perfect 9th to record his 9th save.  Cesar Hernandez, Scott Kingery and Alfaro all enjoyed 3-hit days.

Featured Card:  Alfaro's three RBIs came on a two-run double in the 4th and a solo home run (6) in the 6th.  This is his second series, team-issued card autographed during the recent Phillies Phestival.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Game 90 - Enyel De Los Santos & Road Trip Ends #Dinger @Rockies #Rockies25th

2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #11
2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #12
Phillies 7, Mets 3
Game 90 - Tuesday Night, July 10th in Flushing
Record - 51-39, 1st place, 1 game ahead of the Braves

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 11 of 11

2018 Choice Phillies Minor
League Top 30 Prospects #13
One Sentence Summary:  Enyel De Los Santos made his big league debut, pitching 6 1/3 strong innings and Maikel Franco hit a 3-run home run in the 2nd as the Phils dropped the Mets, 7-3.

What It Means:  It's fitting that as our vacation ended, the Phillies found themselves atop the division by themselves.

What Happened:  De Los Santos struck out six, allowing three runs on five hits.  Franco had the big hit, but Nick Williams added a two-run single in the 3rd and Odubel Herrera hit a solo home run (16) in the 5th.

Featured Card:  The sole "Phillies" card in my collection for De Los Santos features him wearing the uniform of the San Antonio Missions in a photo from last season.

Transactions:  There were a flurry of roster moves before this game.  De Los Santos and infielder Trevor Plouffe had their contracts purchased from Lehigh Valley.  Reliever Jake Thompson and outfielder Dylan Cozens were both optioned to Lehigh Valley while reliever Hoby Milner was designated for assignment.  To make additional room on the 40-man roster, Pedro Florimon was moved to the 60-day disabled list.

Field Report:  On the final day of our whirlwind trip, we toured Coors Field and enjoyed a hot and steamy Rockies game from behind first base.  Our behind the scenes tour included a trip down to the field and into the Rockies dugout.  Prior to the game (and it was HOT), we enjoyed batting practice from the outfield bleachers, with Doug catching a ball thrown to him from Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley.

Doug also snagged an autograph from Trevor Story prior to the game, but just missed adding an autograph from Charlie Blackmon.  (Although Blackmon tossed Doug a ball later in the game.)  In the 3rd inning, we made our way back to the outfield to visit with Dinger, the Rockies mascot.  Noticing my Phillies hat, Dinger inscribed my autographed card with "Tell the Phanatic Dinger sends his regards."  (Dinger - Consider the message sent!)

The Diamondbacks prevailed over the Rockies, 5-3, on home runs from Nick Ahmed, David Peralta and A.J. Pollock.

Our trip was fantastic, and we made so many great memories.  The only thing left to do now is plan the next road trip and cross a few more ballparks and National Parks off our list.  I'm thinking the summer of 2020 would be a good time to head out on the road again . . .

Game 89 - 2018 Topps Heritage #188 Aaron Nola

Phillies 3, Mets 1 (Game 2)
Game 89 - Monday Night, July 9th in Flushing
Record - 50-39, Tied for 1st place, 5 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 10 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola did it all in this 3-1 win over the Mets, striking out 10 and plating all three Phillies runs with a bases-clearing double in the 5th.

What It Means:  Nola, named to the N.L. All-Star team on Sunday night, is the first N.L. pitcher to 12 wins this season.

What Happened:  Nola was the whole story here, allowing just one hit in his seven innings of work while striking out 10.  Tommy Hunter allowed a 9th inning run to the Mets before Victor Arano entered the game to record the final out and his 3rd save.

Featured Card:  I love that I'm running out of Nola's 2018 baseball cards to feature in these game summary posts.  I featured the "Hot Box Refractor" version of this card back in spring training, but here's Nola's regular card from this year's Topps Heritage set.

Field Report:  We followed updates for this game as we rested for the night in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Game 88 - 2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #3 Ty Kelly (@ArchesNPS)

Mets 4, Phillies 3 (Game 1, 10 Innings)
Game 88 - Monday Afternoon, July 9th in Flushing
Record - 49-39, Tied for 1st place, 5 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 9 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off home run in the 10th off Victor Arano to give the Mets a Game 1, 4-3 victory.

What It Means:  Zach Eflin's streak of winning pitching performances was broken, as he allowed three runs in his five innings of work on the way to a no decision.

What Happened:  The Phillies offense couldn't capitalize on plenty of opportunities, going 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.  Nick Williams had three hits and Maikel Franco hit a solo home run (11) in the 4th.

Featured Card:  Phillies Room favorite Ty Kelly was the 26th man added to the Mets roster for this double header.  He entered the game at third base as part of a double switch in the 5th, eventually going 0 for 2 at the plate.  (This card was originally featured in a post from early March.)

Transaction:  Drew Anderson was sent back to the IronPigs with Hoby Milner taking his spot on the roster.  Jake Thompson was also recalled to serve as the 26th man on the roster for the Phillies.

Field Report:  We spent the morning exploring Arches National Park in Moab, and I'm proud to report we made the difficult trek out to Delicate Arch.  It was a brutal hike, but definitely worth it once we got there.  Many bottles of water later, we piled back into our rental car and started the drive towards Denver, making a pitstop for the night in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  We were able to listen to a portion of the Phillies broadcast of this double header through the At Bat app, and it was a little surreal to hear Scott Franzke's voice and we drove up and down through canyons, mountain ranges and valleys.

Game 87 - 2018 Choice Phillies Minor League Top 30 Prospects #23 Drew Anderson (#FourCorners)

Pirates 4, Phillies 1
Game 87 - Sunday Afternoon, July 8th in Pittsburgh
Record - 49-38, Tied for 1st place, 5 games ahead of the Nationals

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 8 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  Pirates pitcher Nick Kingham shut down the Phillies offense through 6 innings and contributed a 2-run double in this 4-1 loss.

What It Means:  The Braves also lost, so the Phillies remain in a tie for first place.

What Happened:  Drew Anderson received a spot start, making his 2018 season debut with the Phillies.  He lasted five innings, allowing all four Pirates runs on eight hits.  The only Phillies run came from Nick Williams' solo home run (11) in the 4th.

Andrew Knapp became the first catcher in franchise history to bat lead-off.  The experiment didn't go well as Knapp went 0 for 4 with a strikeout.

Featured Card:  Drew Anderson is still in search of his first Phillies baseball card.  This is the most recent card of his in my collection, from the Top 30 Prospects set issued by the Reading Fightin Phils.

Transaction:  Anderson was recalled from the IronPigs prior to this game, taking the roster spot of Yacksel Rios who was sent down.

Field Report:  We listened to the Pirates broadcast of this game on XM as we drove across and up Utah, with a pitstop at Four Corners Monument.  If we ever form a family band and need a photo for our first album, I think this is it.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Game 94 - 2013 Bowman Prospects #BP30 Willians Astudillo

Marlins 2, Phillies 0
Game 94 - Saturday Afternoon, July 14th in Miami
Record - 53-41, 1st place, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola labored through the 1st inning, allowing two Marlins runs, and the Phillies offense seemed to have taken off early for the All-Star break in this 2-0 loss.

What It Means:  Nola reached the 500 career strikeout mark, becoming the fastest pitcher in Phillies history to reach that milestone.  Nola needed just 480 innings for his 500 K's.  (Per Meghan Montemurro Tweet.)

What Happened:  This was a rather forgettable game for the team, as the offense left 9 on base and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  The Phillies didn't give me much to work with for this game in terms of a featured card, so I was glad to see former Phillies prospect Willians Astudillo in the news.  Astudillo was a catcher for the Lakewood BlueClaws when we visited the Low-A team for the second time back in 2014, and he was one of the players who signed a baseball card for Doug's then small collection.

After 9 seasons in the minors, Astudillo made his big league debut with the Twins on June 30th and the 5-foot-9 catcher/outfielder/infielder made his pitching debut on Saturday against the Rays.  The story and some video can be found here.

Game 86 - 2018 Topps #606 Jake Arrieta (#BryceCanyon @BryceCanyonNPS)

Phillies 3, Pirates 2
Game 86 - Saturday Afternoon, July 7th in Pittsburgh
Record - 49-37, Tied for 1st place, 5 games ahead of the Nationals

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 7 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  Jake Arrieta recorded his first win since May and the Phillies scored three runs with two outs in the 7th inning to win this contest, 3-2.

What It Means:  The Braves and Phillies continued to match wins, and the tie atop the division remains.

What Happened:  Arrieta went seven strong innings, striking out 8.  Seranthony Dominguez pitched a scoreless 8th and Victor Arano was handed the ball in the 9th, ultimately recording his second save.  The scoring in the 7th inning came courtesy of a Nick Williams triple, a Scott Kingery single and a Jorge Alfaro double.

Featured Card:  Here's what could be considered Arrieta's first mainstream Phillies baseball card, found within packs of Topps Series Two.

Field Report:  On Saturday morning, we left the bright lights of Las Vegas and headed into the canyons of Utah.  As Arrieta was facing off against the Pirates, we were hiking down (and eventually up) the Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon.  The picture below was taken just as the Phillies-Pirates game was getting underway.

Game 85 - 2018 Donruss #21 Odubel Herrera DK (#Beatles)

Phillies 17, Pirates 5
Game 85 - Friday Night, July 6th in Pittsburgh
Record - 48-37, Tied for 1st place, 5 games ahead of the Nationals

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 6 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  Backed by three-run home runs from Odubel Herrera and Andrew Knapp, along with a 4 for 5 performance from Scott Kingery, the Phillies demolished the Pirates in this series opener, 17-5.

What It Means:  The marathon game tied a record as the longest 9-inning game in National League history at 4 hours, 30 minutes.  When it was all done, the Phillies had a share of the top spot in the division with the Braves.

What Happened:  The offense punished Pirates pitching, banging out 18 hits.  Rhys Hoskins and Cesar Hernandez contributed three hits a piece to the parade and Carlos Santana had a 3-RBI night.

Featured Card:  This is the logoless "Diamond Kings" card for Herrera from this year's Donruss set.

Transaction:  Edubray Ramos was activated from the disabled list and Jake Thompson was optioned back down to the IronPigs.  Ramos picked up the win in this game in relief as starter Nick Pivetta went just 2 2/3 innings.

Field Report:  We spent more quality time on July 5th at the Grand Canyon and then on July 6th it was off to Hoover Dam (way too hot) and Las Vegas (too crowded for me).  It was my first time ever visiting Vegas and the only real reason I wanted to go was to see the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show, LOVE.  And it was amazing!  I honestly could have seen it a second time right after the first viewing.


Game 84 - 2018 Topps Now Road to Opening Day #OD-280 Aaron Nola (#GrandCanyon @GrandCanyonNPS)

Phillies 4, Orioles 1
Game 84 - Wednesday Afternoon, July 4th in Philadelphia
Record - 47-37, 2nd place, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 5 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola was in complete control, striking out nine on the way to his 11th win overall and his 8th win at home.

What It Means:  We should go away more often.  The Phillies won six in a row during our trip and finished with an 8-2 record.

What Happened:  Nola scattered seven hits over his seven innings of work.  The Phillies scored a pair of runs in the 5th on an error by Chris Davis and Nick Williams added a two-run home run (10) in the 7th.

Per The Baron, Larry Shenk, the Phillies have five players with at least 10 home runs with Williams, Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, Carlos Santana and Maikel Franco.  The last time that happened before the All-Star break was 2008 with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Pedro Feliz and Jayson Werth.

Featured Card:  Given his spectacular season so far, I'd expect to see more Nola cards in Topps products later this year and in 2019.  This is card from the Topps Now Road to Opening Day Phillies team set.

Field Report:  We spent a very patriotic Independence Day touring the Grand Canyon.  Pictures don't do it justice . . . just an amazing day.

Game 83 - 2018 Donruss Whammy! #W3 Rhys Hoskins (and #GenerationDbacks)

Phillies 3, Orioles 2
Game 83 - Tuesday Night, July 3rd in Philadelphia
Record - 46-37, 2nd place, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 4 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin won his 6th straight decision with seven solid innings of pitching as the Phillies downed the Orioles, 3-2.

What It Means:  Eflin became the first Phillies pitcher with six straight wins since Cliff Lee did it back in 2011.

What Happened:  Rhys Hoskins reached the 100 career RBI mark with a 2-run double in the third.  Andrew Knapp plated the go-ahead run with an RBI triple in the fourth to score Nick Williams.  Tommy Hunter and Seranthony Dominguez loaded the bases with Orioles in the 8th, only to escape the jam due to an amazing play at third by Maikel Franco to throw out Chris Davis and end the inning.

Featured Card:  Hoskins became the fastest player in franchise history to 100 RBIs.  He reached the mark in his 124th game with Chuck Klein previously holding the record by needing 143 games.  (Per Tweet from Todd Zolecki.)  I don't have the Topps Now card commemorating this feat yet, but here's a cool insert from this year's Donruss set.

2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #7
Field Report:   The Phillies were off on Monday night, but we were in Phoenix for the Diamondbacks-Cardinals game.  We were the only four people to show up for the 9am tour of Chase Field, and we enjoyed our behind the scenes look at the ballpark along with our visit down to the field and the Diamondbacks dugout.  Following a fun afternoon at the Arizona Science Center, we were among the first to enter the ballpark when gates opened for the game.

Doug scored an Archie Bradley autograph along with a signature from an unknown Diamondbacks reliever, or "some random pitcher" as Doug put it.  We met up with Randy Johnson, Mark Grace and Baxter during the game and the Big Unit is even taller in person than I realized!  Ben appeared dancing on the scoreboard, but it wasn't enough to help the Diamondbacks beat the Cardinals.  The Cardinals won this game 6-3 behind a home run and three RBIs from Yadier Molina.

Following the game, we drove to Flagstaff and we spent Tuesday touring the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona.

2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #8
2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #9
2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #10

Friday, July 13, 2018

Series Preview - Phillies at Marlins: July 13th to July 15th

2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #30
2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #31
Friday 7:10, Saturday 4:10 and Sunday 1:10
Marlins Park - Miami, FL

Phillies 52-40, 1st place in the N.L. East, 1/2 game ahead of the Braves
Marlins 39-56, Tied for 4th place in the N.L. East, 14 1/2 games behind the Phillies

Phillies Probables:  Jake Arrieta (6-6, 3.47), Aaron Nola (12-2, 2.27), Zach Eflin (7-2, 3.15)
Marlins Probables:  Wei-Yin Chen (2-6, 6.14), Trevor Richards (2-5, 5.24), Jose Urena (2-9, 4.13)

At the Ballpark:  On Saturday night, the Marlins are giving out MLB Playball Baseballs and on Sunday there are a few ticket packages available that will come with either a Ham or Squints bobble head from the Sandlot.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Odubel Herrera - .277
Runs:  Cesar Hernandez - 63
Home Runs:  Odubel Herrera - 16
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 56
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez - 14

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 2.27
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 126
Saves:  Hector Neris - 10

Marlins Leaders
Average:  Starlin Castro - .296
Runs:  Starlin Castro - 57
Home Runs:  Justin Bour - 15
RBIs:  Brian Anderson - 46
Stolen Bases:  Cameron Maybin and Miguel Rojas - 6

Wins:  Caleb Smith - 5
ERA:  Jose Urena - 4.13
Strikeouts:  Caleb Smith - 88
Saves:  Brad Ziegler - 10

Game 82 - 2018 Topps Now #396 Andrew Knapp (and More #LetsGoPadres)

Phillies 4, Nationals 3 (13)
Game 82 - Sunday Afternoon, July 1st in Philadelphia
Record - 45-37, 2nd place, 3 games behind the Braves

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 3 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  Andrew Knapp launched an absolute bomb of a home run to give the Phillies a 4-3 win over the Nationals in 13 innings.

What It Means:  The Phillies won the four-game series from the floundering Nationals before heading home for a quick, two-game set with the Orioles.  With the trade deadline approaching, all eyes are on the Orioles' Manny Machado and the possibility of his being dealt for a boatload of prospects.

What Happened:  The Phillies tied it at three in the 5th inning with a bases loaded walk to Cesar Hernandez, a sacrifice fly from Rhys Hoskins and a single from Odubel Herrera.  Jake Arrieta lasted just five innings, and eight Phillies relievers held the Nationals scoreless following his departure.  Jake Thompson threw three scoreless innings and Nick Pivetta pitched the 13th to pick up the win.

Featured Card:  Since I'm late with these game summary posts, I can actually feature the Topps Now card that Knapp received for his big hit.

Transaction:  As expected, Vince Velasquez landed on the 10-day disabled list with a right forearm contusion and Pat Neshek was activated.  Neshek had been on the disabled list since opening day.  Zac Curtis was also sent to the IronPigs and Thompson took his place in the bullpen.

Field Report:  After an extremely enjoyable morning at the San Diego Zoo, we attended our second Padres game on Sunday afternoon where the game time temperature was a cool 72 degrees.  He didn't get any autographs, but Doug can now officially recommend the Hodad's cheeseburger.

2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #5
2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #6
The Pirates took this game against the Padres, 7-5, with the big hit being a fifth inning grand slam from Pirates third baseman Colin Moran.  Hunter Renfroe homered for the Padres and old friend Freddy Galvis went a combined 0 for 7 with 4 strikeouts over the two games we saw.  We loved our time in San Diego and I wouldn't be surprised if we made a return visit one day.  It would be great to root for the Phillies in this gorgeous setting.

Petco Park scoreboard shows the Phillies and Nationals tied at 3 in the 12th

Game 81 - 2018 Chachi Ballpark Visits #4 Petco Park #LetsGoPadres

Phillies 3, Nationals 2
Game 81 - Saturday Night, June 30th in Philadelphia
Record - 44-37, 2nd place, 3 games behind the Braves

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 2 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  The bullpen managed to hold back the Nationals after Vince Velasquez was forced from the game with an injury in this 3-2 win.

What It Means:  Velasquez was drilled in the right arm with a line drive off the bat of Adam Eaton, picked up the ball with his left hand and threw to first to retire Eaton.  He would land on the DL with a deep bruise.

What Happened:  Odubel Herrera broke out of an 0 for 22 slump with a solo home run (14) in the 3rd off old friend Jeremy Hellickson.  Jorge Alfaro and Aaron Altherr added RBI doubles.  Victor Arano pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

Transaction:  Following his latest melt-down on Friday night (1 innings, 3 home runs, 5 runs), Hector Neris was optioned back down to the IronPigs and Mark Leiter, Jr. was recalled.

Featured Card/Field Report:  We arrived in San Diego on Saturday afternoon to start our whirlwind, 10-day, 3 ballpark, 3 National Park road trip odyssey.  It may be a bit of a spoiler alert, but of the three ballparks we visited, Petco Park won the award as our favorite.  It probably didn't hurt that the weather was gorgeous during our visit and we needed sweatshirts for both games we attended.

We enjoyed our tour of the park prior to the start of the Padres game against the Pirates, although we didn't get to go down on the field as the team was taking early batting practice.  The Padres prevailed in the game, 4-3, thanks in part to 3 RBIs from Wil Myers.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Game 80 - 2018 Topps #563 Hector Neris

Nationals 17, Phillies 7
Game 80 - Friday Night, June 29th in Philadelphia
Record - 43-37, 2nd place, 3 games behind the Braves

Massive, Meandering Post-Vacation Catch-Up, Part 1 of 11

One Sentence Summary:  The Nationals crushed Nick Pivetta and the Phillies, 17-7.

What It Means:  The night before we left for our trip, we were treated to this mess of a ballgame.

What Happened:  Scott Kingery had three hits including his 4th home run, and both Rhys Hoskins (14) and Carlos Santana (14) homered but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome the 18-hit attack from the Nationals.  Pivetta lasted 1 2/3 innings, allowing 7 runs on 7 hits, three of which were home runs.  Rookie Juan Soto went 4 for 6 with two home runs and 5 RBIs.

Featured Card:  Hector Neris just doesn't have it this season.  Granted, the game was completely out of hand by the time Neris entered in the 9th, but he still managed to allow 3 home runs to raise his ERA to 6.90.  Neris is currently spending more time with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in an attempt to find his mojo.

Game 91 - 2018 Phillies Team Issue 2 #28 Vince Velasquez

Mets 3, Phillies 0 (10)
Game 91 - Wednesday Night, July 11th in Flushing
Record - 51-40, Tied for 1st place, 5 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies and Mets took a 0-0 tie into the 10th inning before Brandon Nimmo hit a three-run, walk-off home run off Mark Leiter, Jr. to end the game.

What It Means:  After a lengthy (and extremely enjoyable) vacation, live posting will return.  In years' past after a hiatus, I've fired off 8 or 9 or 10 game summary posts in a row in an attempt to quickly catch up.  I'm going to take my time this year, with my goal being to be caught up with game summary posts and new Chachi cards by the end of the All-Star break.

In case you didn't know, I have a running 2018 Season Summary page with links to every Phillies game this season that can be found here.

What Happened:  Vince Velasquez was terrific in his return from the DL, allowing just 2 hits in his 6 innings of work.  Jacob deGrom stifled the Phillies offense through 8 innings.

Featured Card:  My wife Jenna stood in line with my youngest son Ben at the recent Phillies Phestival to obtain this autographed card of Velasquez for my collection.

Transaction:  Enyel De Los Santos was sent back down to the IronPigs and Velasquez was activated from the disabled list prior to the game.

Game Preview - Phillies at Orioles: July 12th

2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #46
2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #47
Thursday 6:05
Oriole Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore, MD

This is the make-up date for the game originally postponed by rain on May 15th.

A return to post-vacation, semi-regular posting and a completely unnecessary series of game summary catch-up posts should be following shortly!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s - #22 Russell Branyan

Russell Oles Branyan
Pinch-Hitter/Third Base

First a disclaimer . . . In the course of drafting this post, I discovered for the first time, that Russell Branyan does in fact have a Phillies baseball card!  Unbeknownst to me until now, Topps included him within their Year in Review insert set in 2008.  Please consider this Missing Links card an Uncorrected Error, as Branyan is not in fact a Missing Link.  Carry on.

Over the course of his 14-year big league career, Branyan played for 10 teams teams and the Phillies hold the distinction of being his shortest stop.  The Indians sold Branyan to the Phillies on August 9th in a move presumably designed with the intention of Branyan being used as a left-handed bat off the bench.  The move resulted in one big win for the team as Branyan hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in his first at-bat for the Phillies on August 14th, giving the team a 3-2 win over the Nationals.  He'd have one more hit in a Phillies uniform (another home run) and it came during his only start with the team (at third base) on August 19th.  On August 27th, Chase Utley was activated from the disabled list and Branyan was designated for assignment.  He'd land with the Cardinals on August 31st - his fourth organization of the season.

Branyan's best season was on the horizon, as he hit 31 home runs and drove in 76 with the 2009 Mariners.  His last Major League appearance came in 2011 with the Angels, and he played professionally through the 2014 season during his fifth (!) stint within the Indians organization.

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'4"  Weight:  235
Born:  December 19, 1975, Warner Robins, GA
Drafted:  Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 7th round of the 1994 amateur draft, June 2, 1994
Major League Teams:  Cleveland Indians 1998-2002; Cincinnati Reds 2002-2003; Milwaukee Brewers 2004-2005; Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006; San Diego Padres 2006-2007; Phillies 2007; St. Louis Cardinals 2007; Milwaukee Brewers 2008; Seattle Mariners 2009; Cleveland Indians 2010; Seattle Mariners 2010; Arizona Diamondbacks 2011; Los Angeles Angels 2011
Professional Affiliations:  Cleveland Indians 1998-2002; Cincinnati Reds 2002-2003; Atlanta Braves 2004; Cleveland Indians 2004; Milwaukee Brewers 2004-2005; Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006; San Diego Padres 2006-2007; Cleveland Indians 2007; Phillies 2007; St. Louis Cardinals 2007; Milwaukee Brewers 2008; Seattle Mariners 2009; Cleveland Indians 2010; Seattle Mariners 2010; Arizona Diamondbacks 2011; Los Angeles Angels 2011; New York Yankees 2012; Toros de Tijuana (Mexico) 2014; Cleveland Indians 2014

Phillies Career
7 games, .222 average (2 for 9), 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, 6 strikeouts
Acquired:  August 9, 2007 - Purchased from the Cleveland Indians.
Debut:  August 14, 2007 - Pinch-hitting for Antonio Alfonseca in the 8th inning in a game the Phillies were trailing 2-1 against the Nationals, hit a home run off Jon Rauch to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.  Brett Myers struck out the side in the 9th to record his 10th save, pulling the Phillies to within 3 games of the Mets in the division.
Final Game:  August 25, 2007 - Pinch-hit for Tom Gordon in the 8th and struck out against the Padres' Heath Bell.
Departed:  August 31, 2007 - Traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later.

3 Branyan Baseball Cards in My Collection
2007 Topps Heritage #195
2007 Topps Update #US19
2007 Upper Deck #910

Complete Chachi Checklist
2007 Chachi #52

1996 Bowman #342
1998 Topps #262
2007 Topps Heritage #195
2007 Chachi #52
2011 Topps #116
Other Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1996 Bowman #342
First Topps Base Card:  1998 Topps #262 (with Eric Chavez and Russ Johnson)
Last Mainstream Card:  2011 Topps Heritage #364
Other Notable Cards:  1999 Upper Deck #358, 2000 Topps #208, 2001 Topps #599, 2001 Topps Heritage #263, 2002 Topps Traded #T32, 2005 Bowman Heritage #87, 2008 Topps Year in Review #YR134, 2011 Topps #116

Sources:  Baseball Reference and The Trading Card Database

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s
1 Kirk Bullinger
2 Chris Pritchett
3 Bryan Ward
4 Mark Holzemer
5 Turner Ward
6 P.J. Forbes
7 Matt Walbeck
8 Kelly Stinnett
9 Valerio de los Santos
10 Josh Hancock
11 Brian Powell
12 Paul Abbott
13 Todd Jones
14 A.J. Hinch
15 Ramon Martinez
16 Matt Kata
17 Aquilino Lopez
18 Adam Bernero
19 Jose Hernandez
20 Randall Simon
21 Anderson Garcia
22 Russell Branyan

This is a continuing series looking at those players who spent time with the Phillies but possess no baseball card proof of their time in Philadelphia.  In some cases, the First and Last Mainstream cards listed above have been subjectively chosen if multiple cards were released in that year.