Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Phillies Throw Combined No-Hitter!

2014 Chachi #61
Phillies 7, Braves 0
Game 137 - Monday Afternoon, September 1st in Atlanta
Record - 63-74

One Sentence Summary:  Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined to no-hit the Braves as the Phillies won a memorable Labor Day game in Atlanta.

What It Means:  It means (for me at least) that this was the highlight of the 2014 Phillies season.  We all watched each and every pitch of the last two innings together, and we cheered when first baseman Darin Ruf caught the line drive from Phil Gosselin to end the game and give the Phillies their first combined no-hitter in franchise history.  Very cool stuff.

What Happened:  Hamels threw the first six innings, but departed when his pitch count reached 108.  Diekman, Giles and Papelbon shut down their nine batters in order.  Marlon Byrd made a spectacular diving catch in the third to preserve the no-hitter.

Somewhat lost in the shuffle due to the amazing pitching performance was Ben Revere's first career five-RBI day.  Revere cleared the bases with a triple in the seventh.  Jimmy Rollins had three hits and an RBI triple, with his triple giving him 658 multi-hit games as a Phillie - the most in franchise history.  Richie Ashburn was the previous record holder with 657 multi-hit games.

Other cool stuff/random thoughts from the no-hitter . . .

2014 Bowman #204
  • Hamels dedicated the game ball from the final out to team president David Montgomery who is currently out on medical leave recovering from jaw cancer.
  • This was the third no-hitter caught by Carlos Ruiz, second only to the four caught by Jason Varitek.
  • Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were in the line-up for all three no-hitters.
  • I hope Topps does something cool to commemorate the four pitchers who contributed to this feat.  It would be easy to just feature Hamels on a card, but I'm hoping for a card featuring all four pitchers.
  • The Phillies typically give away a set of postcards during the last game of the season showing highlights from the past year.  Do you think they stopped the presses to squeeze in a card for the combined no-hitter?

Featured Cards:  I had to produce a Chachi Highlight card to celebrate this feat, although I had to get a little creative with the photo selections.  I was really hoping to find a photo with all four pitchers smiling and celebrating, but the only photos out there are from the post-game interview and press conference, which seemed somewhat anti-climatic.

Memory Lane:  This is the third no-hitter to be thrown during the lifetime of the Chachi sets.  Here are the links to the other two no-hitters, both courtesy of Roy Halladay.

5/29/10 - Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in Major League history
10/6/10 - Halladay no-hit the Reds in Game 1 of the N.L.D.S.
9/1/14 - Hamels, Diekman, Giles and Papelbon combine for the franchise's 12th no-hitter

Monday, September 1, 2014

2014 Phillies Team Issue 2 #15 John Mayberry, Jr.

Mets 6, Phillies 5
Game 136 - Sunday Afternoon, August 31st in Flushing
Record - 62-74, 5th Place, 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  A.J. Burnett struggled again, and despite Domonic Brown's four-hit game, the Phillies still fell to the Mets, 6-5.

What It Means:  I'm writing this game summary post after Monday afternoon's big game, so let's get through this so that I can better focus on the team's no-hitter today!

What Happened:  Brown (#8) and Ryan Howard (#20) both homered in this game.  Burnett lost his 15th game of the season, becoming the first Phillies pitcher to lose that many games in a season since Mark Leiter lost 17 in 1997.

Featured Card/Transaction:  Last night the Phillies announced what will most likely be their final player move before this offseason.  The much maligned John Mayberry, Jr. was traded to the Blue Jays for third base Double-A prospect Gustavo Pierre.  In parts of six seasons (six season?!!) with the Phillies, Mayberry hit .242 with 52 home runs and 169 RBIs in exactly 500 games.

If you're looking for any Pierre baseball cards, he's been featured in the 2008 Donruss Elite Extra Edition, 2010 Topps Pro Debut and 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects sets.

Departed During the Season
Jayson Nix (5/12/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.)
Ronny Cedeno (6/29/14) - Traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Raywilly Gomez.
Steve Susdorf (7/10/14) - Released by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. (7/21/14) - Designated for assignment and released on 7/27/14.  (Resigned to a minor league contract by the Phillies on 8/3/14.)
Roberto Hernandez (8/7/14) - Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players to be named later or cash.  (Phillies would later receive Jesmuel Valentin and Victor Arano.)
John Mayberry, Jr. (8/31/14) - Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Gustavo Pierre

Arrived During the Season
Grady Sizemore (6/24/14) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Boston Red Sox.
Jerome Williams (8/10/14) - Selected off waivers from the Texas Rangers.

Phillies at Braves: September 1st to September 3rd

Monday 1:10, Tuesday 7:10, Wednesday 12:10
Turner Field - Atlanta, GA

Phillies 62-74, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals
Braves 72-65, 2nd Place in the N.L. East, 6 games behind the Nationals

Phillies Probables:  Cole Hamels (7-6, 2.59), Kyle Kendrick (7-11, 4.97), David Buchanan (6-7, 4.03)
Braves Probables:  Julio Teheran (13-9, 2.90), Mike Minor (6-8, 4.70), Ervin Santana (13-7, 3.53)

At the Ballpark:  All fans attending this afternoon's game will receive a bobblehead of Hall of Famer Bobby Cox.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .308
Runs:  Jimmy Rollins - 75
Home Runs:  Marlon Byrd - 25
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 86
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 40

Wins:  A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick - 7
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 2.59
Strikeouts:  A.J. Burnett - 165
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 33
1988 Topps Traded #39T

1988 Topps Appreciation:  It's hard for me to recall anything in particular from Ron Gant's time with the Phillies.  He was one of those veteran guys that came along when the team was struggling, filled a need for a short time and then moved along.  The Phils acquired Gant along withJeff Brantley and Clif Politte from the Cardinals for Ricky Bottalico and Garrett Stephenson.  In his season and a half with the Phillies, Gant hit .257 in 227 games while hitting 37 home runs and driving in 115.  Honestly, that's not a bad showing and I'm surprised at myself for not having any real memory of his time with the club.

Right before the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July 2000, he was shipped to the Angels for Kent Bottenfield.  Gant of course came up with the Braves, and this is his first Topps card (or his "XRC" according to Beckett).

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2001 Bowman Draft Picks #BDP23 Marlon Byrd

Phillies 7, Mets 2
Game 135 - Saturday Night, August 30th in Flushing
Record - 62-73, 5th Place, 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Each of the starting eight had a hit in this game and Jerome Williams enjoyed another impressive outing as the Phillies downed the Mets, 7-2.

What It Means:  The victor in today's rubber match will claim the title of sole possession of fourth place in the N.L. East.  Try to stay calm.

What Happened:  Who is this Williams guy and is he pitching his way into the team's 2015 plans?  Williams pitched into the seventh inning, picking up his third win in four starts and lowering his Phillies ERA to 2.03.

Marlon Byrd started the scoring with a solo home run (his 25th, a career high) in the fifth.  The Phils added five runs in the sixth, courtesy of seven singles.  Ryan Howard knocked in three more runs to raise his season total to 84.  Anybody know of an American League team looking for a DH In 2015?

Featured Card:  Doug and I decided to go with a Byrd card for this post, since it was his birthday yesterday and Byrd has been one of the few bright spots during a dismal season.  I've featured many of Byrd's 2014 Phillies cards, and a lot of his cards from his first stint with the team in the mid-2000s, but this is his first Phillies card in my collection.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

2014 Phillies Team Issue 2 #55 David Buchanan

Mets 4, Phillies 1
Game 134 - Friday Night, August 29th in Flushing
Record - 61-73, 5th Place, 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Grady Sizemore was the hero on Wednesday, but the goat on Friday as his dropped fly ball allowed the Mets to score three times in the seventh and ultimately win the game, 4-1.

What It Means:  The Phils will have to wait a little longer before handing over last place to the Mets.

What Happened:  My one sentence summary pretty much sums it up.  The score was tied 1-1 in the seventh when Jake Diekman walked two and hit a batter to load the bases.  Justin De Fratus came in with two outs and induced a short fly ball to left, which Sizemore dropped.

Featured Card:  My wife Jenna actually yelled at the TV when Domonic Brown pinch-hit for starting pitcher David Buchanan in the seventh.  Buchanan had only thrown 64 pitches to that point, and was pretty much cruising.  Brown grounded into a double play to end the inning, Diekman came in and did his thing, and it turned out that maybe Buchanan should have stayed in the game.  So this card is for her.

2009 Upper Deck #440 Indians Team Leaders

Phillies 8, Nationals 4
Game 133 - Wednesday Night, August 27th in Philadelphia
Record 61-72, 5th Place, 14 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies completed a shocking sweep of the first place Nationals, thanks in part to Grady Sizemore's pinch-hit, two-run home run in the sixth inning.

What It Means:  For a brief moment, it was fun to be a fan of the 2014 Phillies.

What Happened:  The offense pounded out 15 hits, including home runs from Sizemore, Jimmy Rollins (leading off the first) and Marlon Byrd (two-run shot in the seventh).  Kyle Kendrick did his thing in the first, spotting the Nationals two runs, but he'd regroup and go on to allow only two more runs in his six innings of work.

Featured Card:  Doing a search of my Phillies collection in Zistle, I was surprised to see that I actually had a Sizemore card in my collection.  Let me explain . . . One of my Phillies collecting quirks is that I like to obtain all cards from a given year for any player who appears with the Phillies.  In 2009, I was busy tracking down all Cliff Lee cards, even those featuring him with the Indians.  This card made its way into my collection, and little did I know that Lee and Sizemore would be teammates again in 2014.

Taney Dragons:  The Taney Dragons, the first team from Philadelphia to reach the Little League World Series, were honored in a pre-game ceremony with all 12 members of the team throwing out ceremonial first pitches to 12 Phillies players.  We weren't there for the ceremony, but I did catch their parade as it started down Market Street earlier in the day.  In a summer filled with mostly bad sports-related news, and a lot of bad news in general, it was great to have the Taney Dragons to cheer on during their time in Williamsport.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Phillies at Mets: August 29th to August 31st

Friday and Saturday 7:10, Sunday 1:10
Citi Field - Flushing, NY

Phillies 61-72, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 14 1/2 games behind the Nationals
Mets 62-72, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 14 games behind the Nationals

Phillies Probables:  David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21), Jerome Williams (2-0, 1.77), A.J. Burnett (7-14, 4.30)
Mets Probables:  Jacob deGrom (6-6, 3.13), Bartolo Colon (12-10, 3.82), Dillon Gee (5-6, 3.77)

At the Ballpark:  Three ballgames, three giveaways this weekend at Citi Field.  First up, all fans will receive a Mets t-shirt tonight as part of the season-long Free Shirt Friday promotion.  Tomorrow night, the first 20,000 fans will receive a Curtis Granderson Bobblehead and on Sunday, the first 15,000 fans will receive a Mets Lunch Cooler Bag.  Not a bad weekend haul!

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .310
Runs:  Jimmy Rollins - 71
Home Runs:  Marlon Byrd - 24
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 81
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 39

Wins:  A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick - 7
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 2.59
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 158
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 33

1988 Topps #356 and #787
1988 Topps Appreciation:  For a few magical months at the beginning of the 1988 season, Luis Aguayo and Billy Almon were teammates on the Phillies.  By July, they had both gone their separate ways.

Aguayo was the club's long-time utility infielder, logging 471 games with the Phillies in nine seasons between 1980 and 1988.  He was the first player traded during the Lee Thomas era, being shipped to the Yankees by Thomas just weeks after the new General Manager had joined the club.  On July 15, 1988, Aguayo was traded to New York for pitcher Amalio Carreno and I honestly remember being a little sad that day since I had no real memory of the pre-Aguayo days.

Almon had already left town a month prior to Aguayo's departure, having been released by the Phillies on June 16, 1988.  In his 20 games with the club, Almon hit just .115 (3 for 26).  He had been traded by the Mets to the Phils at the end of spring training for a few prospects and his short time in Philly marked the end of his 15-year career.