Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Topps #348 Jeremy Hellickson

Phillies 3, Marlins 2
Game 20 - Thursday Afternoon, April 27th in Philadelphia
Record - 11-9, 2nd place, 4 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Jeremy Hellickson had another solid outing and Brock Stassi contributed a key RBI triple as the Phillies sunk the Marlins, 3-2.

What It Means:  The Phillies have a six-game win streak going and they'll open a three-game series late Friday night in Los Angeles.

What Happened:  Hellickson has now won four games.  He scattered seven hits in his six innings of work, working out of jams in both the fourth and fifth innings.  Stassi's first career triple scored Michael Saunders who masterfully avoided a home plate tag to score a crucial inusurance run. Hector Neris worked a quick ninth for his third save.

Featured Card:  Hellickson has been fantastic so far this season and his four wins ties him for the top spot in the league in that category with Wily Peralta and Clayton Kershaw.  This is his card from the Topps series one release.

2017 Topps Gypsy Queen #220 Maikel Franco

Phillies 7, Marlins 4
Game 19 - Wednesday Night, April 26th in Philadelphia
Record - 10-9, Tied for 2nd place, 4 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Maikel Franco hit his second grand slam of the season and Vince Velasquez had an effective outing as the Phillies defeated the Marlins, 7-4.

What It Means:  The Phillies have a five-game win streak and they're a game over .500.

What Happened:  Franco's slam came in the third.  Freddy Galvis (3) added a solo home run in the sixth and Michael Saunders provided more insurance with his first home run of the season - a two-run shot in the eighth.  Velasquez earned the win, allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings and striking out three.

Featured Card:  Franco has 20 RBIs so far in April, which is the most in the first month of the season for a Phillies player since Ryan Howard had 27 in April 2011.  (Source - Meghan Montemurro via Twitter.)  This is his newest card in my collection from the Topps Gypsy Queen set.

Transaction:  On Tuesday, Aaron Nola was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain and infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly was added to the active roster.  Nick Pivetta is slated to take Nola's spot in the starting pitching rotation.  Here's hoping Nola's latest injury setback is only temporary.

The Phillies Room is actively seeking a decent photo of Kelly in a Phillies uniform for his Chachi card.

2017 Chachi #8 Freddy Galvis

#13
Freddy Jose Galvis
Shortstop

Bats:  Switch  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'10"  Weight:  188
Born:  November 14, 1989, Punto Fijo, Falcon, Venezuela
Home:  Punto Fijo, Falcon, Venezuela
Signed:  Signed as an amateur free agent, July 2, 2006
Teams:  Phillies 2012-
Acquired:  Via free agency

2007 Choice Williamsport
Crosscutters #8
2009 Bowman Chrome
Prospects #BCP149
2012 Chachi #8
 
2014 Topps #637
 
44 Galvis Baseball Cards in My Collection per The Phillies Room Checklist
First Card:  2007 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #8
First Phillies Card:  2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP149
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2012 Phillies Team Issue First Edition #13
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2014 Topps #637
Latest Card:  2017 Topps Phillies #PHI-12

Click to enlarge
Complete Chachi Checklist
2011 Chachi Almost #4
2012 Chachi #8
2013 Chachi #11
2013 Chachi #39 HL - Walk-Off HR
2014 Chachi #35
2015 Chachi #8
2016 Chachi Preview #5
2016 Chachi #8
2016 Chachi #66 RBI Leaders
2016 Chachi Archives #13
2016 Chachi Photo Day #15
2017 Chachi Preview #5
2017 Chachi #8
2017 Chachi #34 HL - 1st Inning Explosion

Card statistics through 4/26/17.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 Chachi #7 Cameron Rupp



#29
Cameron Arthur Rupp
Catcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  260
Born:  September 28, 1988, Dallas, TX
Home:  Plano, TX
Drafted:  Selected by the Phillies in the 3rd round of the June 2010 draft
Teams:  Phillies 2013-
Acquired: Via draft

2010 Choice Williamsport
Crosscutters #17
2010 Bowman Draft
Prospects #BDPP41
2013 Chachi #63
 
2016 Topps #432
 
33 Rupp Baseball Cards in My Collection per The Phillies Room Checklist
First Card:  2010 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #17
First Phillies Card:  2010 Bowman Draft Prospects #BDPP41
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2015 Phillies Team Issue #29
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2016 Topps #432
Latest Card:  2016 Topps Gypsy Queen #72

Click to enlarge
Complete Chachi Checklist
2013 Chachi #63
2014 Chachi #53
2015 Chachi #10
2016 Chachi #10
2016 Chachi #43 HL - Rupp Hangs On
2016 Chachi Archives #7
2016 Chachi Photo Day #34
2017 Chachi #7

Card statistics through 4/24/17.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Series Preview - Marlins at Phillies: April 25th to April 27th


Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 1:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Marlins 10-8, 2nd Place in the N.L. East, 2 1/2 games behind the Nationals
Phillies 9-9, 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 3 1/2 games behind the Nationals

Marlins Probables:  Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 3.94), Edinson Volquez (0-2, 4.82), Adam Conley (1-1, 3.00)
Phillies Probables:  Vince Velasquez (0-2, 7.20), Nick Pivetta (0-0, 0.00), Jeremy Hellickson (3-0, 1.88)

At the Ballpark:  The Phillies are giving away texting gloves tonight to fans 15 and over, and these same fans can presumably use their new gloves to try to keep their hands dry.  It's another dollar dog night tomorrow night.

Marlins Leaders
Average:  J.T. Realmuto - .344
Runs:  Christian Yelich - 19
Home Runs:  Giancarlo Stanton - 7
RBIs:  Marcell Ozuna - 21
Stolen Bases:  Dee Gordon - 4

Wins:  Wei-Yin Chen and David Phelps - 2
ERA:  Adam Conley - 3.00
Strikeouts:  Dan Straily - 24
Saves:  A.J. Ramos - 3

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .338
Runs:  Cesar Hernandez - 18
Home Runs:  Cesar Hernandez - 4
RBIs:  Maikel Franco - 16
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez - 3

Wins:  Jeremy Hellickson - 3
ERA:  Jeremy Hellickson - 1.88
Strikeouts:  Jerad Eickhoff - 25
Saves:  Hector Neris - 2

2017 Phillies Team Issue


Number of Cards:  40
Card Size:  4" x 6"
Description:  The Phillies introduced a bold new design for their first team issued photo card set of 2017.  Player names appear at the top right in a red script font against a blue border.  The Phillies script logo, the player's position and uniform number also appear at the top.  The horizontal card backs feature biographical information and complete career statistics.

How Distributed:  The set has been available for sale at Citizens Bank Park since their home opener on April 7th.  Sets can be found at Phillies Newstands and at souvenir locations throughout the ballpark for $5.

Complete Standard Checklist:  The cards are unnumbered, but I've presented them below ordered by uniform number.

  • 4 - Andres Blanco
  • 5 - Michael Saunders
  • 7 - Maikel Franco
  • 8 - Juan Samuel CO
  • 9 - John McLaren CO
  • 10 - Larry Bowa CO
  • 12 - Mickey Morandini CO
  • 13 - Freddy Galvis
  • 16 - Cesar Hernandez
  • 17 - Pat Neshek
  • 19 - Tommy Joseph
  • 21 - Clay Buchholz
  • 22 - Bob McClure CO
  • 23 - Aaron Altherr
  • 24 - Roman Quinn
  • 25 - Daniel Nava
  • 27 - Aaron Nola
  • 28 - Vince Velasquez
  • 29 - Cameron Rupp
  • 31 - Michael Mariot
  • 33 - Rick Kranitz CO
  • 37 - Odubel Herrera
  • 39 - Adam Morgan
  • 40 - Matt Stairs CO
  • 41 - Brock Stassi
  • 45 - Pete Mackanin MG
  • 46 - Jeanmar Gomez
  • 47 - Howie Kendrick
  • 48 - Jerad Eickhoff
  • 50 - Hector Neris
  • 52 - Pat Venditte
  • 53 - Joaquin Benoit
  • 57 - Luis Garcia
  • 58 - Jeremy Hellickson
  • 61 - Edubray Ramos
  • 63 - Joely Rodriguez
  • 64 - Andrew Knapp
  • 76 - Jesmuel Valentin
  • Phillie Phanatic
  • Broadcasters
One and Done (0 for now)
First Appearances (13):  Benoit, Buchholz, Kendrick, Knapp, Mariot, Nava, Neshek, Quinn, Rodriguez, Saunders, Stassi, Valentin, Venditte
Returning Players (17):  Altherr, Blanco, Eickhoff, Franco, Galvis, Garcia, Gomez, Hellickson, Hernandez, Herrera, Joseph, Morgan, Neris, Nola, Ramos, Rupp, Velasquez

As of now, there's no one in the One and Done category as everyone in the set is still currently within the Phillies system.  This could change of course as the season progresses.  As of this writing, the following players in the set have yet to suit up for the Phillies in 2017:  Mariot, Quinn, Valentin and Venditte.  Venditte's position is listed as "SHP" for switch-handed pitcher, which is something I've never seen before on a baseball card.

The checklist creators did a fantastic job as the set includes ever player on the team's opening day roster.  Strangely enough, both Stassi and Knapp were assigned lower numbers a few days before the season started (#78 to #41 and #64 to #34, respectively) and Stassi's card reflects his new number while Knapp's does not.

The First Appearance designation is for players who have never before appeared within a Phillies team issued set. These players may have already appeared on other Phillies baseball cards.

Manager (1):  Mackanin
Coaches (7):  Bowa, Kranitz, McClure, McLaren, Morandini, Samuel, Stairs
Phillie Phanatic (1)
Broadcasters (1):  Featuring Andersen, Davis, Franzke, Jackson, Kruk, McCarthy, Murphy, Schmidt
Other Cards (0)

New broadcaster Kruk makes his first appearance in a team-issued photo card set since he appeared on a broadcaster card within the 2003 set.  Stairs appeared on the broadcaster cards in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 sets and this is his first card as a coach.

Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 Topps Now #28 Cesar Hernandez

Phillies 5, Braves 2
Game 18 - Sunday Afternoon, April 23rd in Philadelphia
Record - 9-9, 3rd place, 4 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Capped by back-to-back-to-back home runs from Cesar Hernandez, Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera in the eighth inning, the Phillies downed the Braves, 5-2.

What It Means:  The win completed the three-game sweep of the Braves and the Marlins come to town beginning Tuesday night.

What Happened:  The trio of home runs marked the first time for the three-in-a-row feat since Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell did it on June 13, 2008.  Another highlight of this game was the fine pitching performance of Zach Eflin.  Making his second start of the season, Eflin pitched seven strong innings, allowing a run on three hits.

Featured Card:  The Phillies have already had their share of Topps Now cards so far this season, marking memorable game events and highlights.  The three home runs hit by Hernandez, Altherr, and Herrera merited a Topps Now card but I don't have that in hand yet.  The card featured here is the first Topps Now card to arrive in the mail so far this season, beating the 12-run first inning Topps Now card from the game prior.

This card celebrates Hernandez's walk-off single from April 9th, and it's the second of four (so far) Topps Now card issued for the Phillies this season.  The card finish for this year's Topps Now cards is glossier and the back almost seems refractor-ish.

2017 Chachi #6 Tommy Joseph

#19
Thomas Richard Joseph
First Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  225
Born:  July 16, 1991, Phoenix, AZ
Home:  Destin, FL
Drafted:  Selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 2nd round of the June 2009 draft
Teams:  Phillies 2016-
Acquired:  Acquired with Seth Rosin and Nate Schierholtz from the San Francisco Giants for Hunter Pence, July 31, 2012

2012 Grandstand Reading
Phillies #15
2013 Bowman Chrome Cream
of the Crop #CC-PP2
2016 Phillies Team Issue 2
Update #19
25 Joseph Baseball Cards in My Collection per The Phillies Room Checklist
First Card:  2012 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #24
First Phillies Card:  2013 Bowman Prospects #BP95
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2016 Phillies Team Issue 2 Update #19
Latest Card:  2017 Topps Gypsy Queen #284

Click to enlarge
Joseph appears on card #174 within 2017 Topps series one along with four of his teammates, but he still hasn't received his own solo card within a Topps flagship release.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi #42
2016 Chachi #67 Home Run Leaders
2016 Chachi Archives #4
2016 Chachi Photo Day #12
2017 Chachi Preview #1
2017 Chachi #6

Card statistics through 4/23/17.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

2017 Donruss #132 Maikel Franco

Phillies 4, Braves 3 (10)
Game 17 - Saturday Night, April 22nd in Philadelphia
Record - 8-9, 3rd place, 4 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils won a sloppy game against the Braves with a clutch two-run single from Maikel Franco in the 10th.

What It Means:  It means the Phillies are a game under .500 and they'll go for the series sweep this afternoon.  The Phillies also have their first three-game win streak since last July.

What Happened:  Brought in to the game with a 2-1 lead, Edubray Ramos recorded the first two outs of the ninth before allowing a no-doubt-about-it solo home run to Brandon Phillips.  The Braves took a 3-2 lead in the 10th thanks in part to throwing errors from Tommy Joseph and Franco.

In the bottom of the 10th, Franco delivered a two-out, bases loaded single off the right field wall to give the Phillies the 4-3 win.

Featured Card:  This was Franco's first official walk-off hit, as his game winner back on August 3, 2016 was ruled a fielder's choice when Aaron Altherr failed to reach second base.  This is his 1990 Donruss-inspired card from this year's Donruss release.

2012 Bowman Chrome
Prospects #BCP129
Transaction:  On Saturday afternoon, the Phillies required super utility player Ty Kelly from the Blue Jays for cash considerations.  Kelly appeared in one game for the Mets in early April before being designated for assignment.  Selected off waivers by the Blue Jays, he didn't appear in a game with the club prior to the Phillies acquiring him.  Kelly is expected to be activated prior to Tuesday's game.

Kelly appeared in 39 games last season for the Mets and has played professionally within the Orioles, Mariners, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Mets systems since 2009.  His only mainstream baseball cards to date can be found within the 2010 Topps Pro Debut and 2012 Bowman Chrome sets.

Departed During the 2017 Season
  • Tyler Goeddel - of (4/5/17) - Claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds
Arrived During the 2017 Season
  • Ty Kelly - inf (4/22/17) - Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash.

2017 Chachi #5 Michael Saunders

#5
Michael Edward Brett Saunders
Right Field

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'4"  Weight:  225
Born:  November 19, 1986, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Home:  Castle Rock, CO
Drafted:  Selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 11th round of the June 2004 draft
Teams:  Seattle Mariners 2009-2014; Toronto Blue Jays 2015-2016; Phillies 2017
Acquired:  Signed as a free agent formerly with the Toronto Blue Jays, January 19, 2017

2009 Topps Update #UH3
2017 Phillies Team Issue #5
1 Saunders Baseball Card in My Collection per The Phillies Room Checklist
First Card:  2017 Phillies Team Issue #5
First Phillies Card:  2017 Phillies Team Issue #5
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2017 Phillies Team Issue #5
Latest Card:  2017 Phillies Team Issue #5

First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2009 Topps Update #UH3


Complete Chachi Checklist
2017 Chachi New Additions #7
2017 Chachi #5

Card statistics through 4/22/17.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ben's Birthday Night with the Phillies

2017 Topps Heritage #213
Phillies 4, Braves 3
Game 16 - Friday Night, April 21st in Philadelphia
Record - 7-9, 4th place, 4 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Jeremy Hellickson outdueled Bartolo Colon as the Phillies overcame the Braves, 4-3.

What It Means:  Hellickson improved to 3-0 with his performance and his WHIP of 0.71 is the lowest in the N.L.

What Happened:  Aaron Altherr had an RBI-double and went 2 for 3. Freddy Galvis and Tommy Joseph added RBI singles.  Hellickson allowed just three hits over his seven innings, striking out five. Hector Neris made it interesting in the ninth but waited out a 24 minute rain delay to secure his second save.

Featured Card:  Hellickson has been incredibly impressive so far this season and one has to wonder if he'll still be with the club if (and that's a big if) they fall out of contention.  This is his 1968 Topps-style Topps Heritage card.

Field Report:  While Doug and I were battling the Indians in Little League action (our team is the Pirates), Jenna and Ben traveled to the ballpark to celebrate Ben's birthday.  He received a hat from the Phils for his birthday and his name appeared on the scoreboard following the 4th inning.  It was a little wet (and a little cold) but Ben had a great time!  I still can't believe he's seven.

video

Transaction:  Prior to the game, Ben Lively was optioned back to Lehigh Valley and Pat Neshek was activated from the paternity leave list.  Lively, who was assigned #49, did not appear in a game.

2017 Topps Phillies #PHI-5 Hector Neris

Phillies 6, Mets 4
Game 15 - Thursday Night, April 20th in Flushing
Record - 6-9, Tied for 4th place, 4 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies took advantage of some sloppy defense to defeat Noah Syndergaard and the Mets, 6-4.

What It Means:  The Phillies won this series and they opened a weekend series with the Braves on Friday night.

What Happened:  Three of the five runs allowed by Syndergaard in the first three innings were unearned due to Mets errors.  Tommy Joseph went 3 for 4 with an RBI and Maikel Franco hit a solo home run (3) in the eighth.

Aaron Nola earned the win, allowing four runs on seven hits over five innings.  Closer-of-the-day Hector Neris locked down the ninth for his first save of the season.

Featured Card:  Manager Pete Mackanin isn't committing at this point to either Neris or Joaquin Benoit as the team's closer, preferring to make his decision game by game.  Neris earned a card in the first series of the Topps flagship set this year, due to his fine relief from last season.  He has a similar card, albeit with a white Topps logo, in the retail team set.

2017 Spring Training Roster - Where They Went

2016 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils Playoff #28
2016 Topps Heritage
High Numbers #667
2016 Topps Heritage Minor
League Blue Border #190
2017 Topps Gypsy Queen #4
 
This is the sixth year I've taken a look back at the players who broke camp with the Phillies in February and charted where they all ended up.  This year, the Phillies started with 62 players (40 on the 40-man roster and 22 non-roster invitees) and they added two more players along the way.  25 of the 64 players started the season with the big club in Cincinnati.

Here's a look at where the other 39 players ended up.

Disabled List (1):  Zach Eflin

Released (4):  Sean Burnett, Chris Coghlan, Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday

Coghlan signed with the Blue Jays, Hanigan with the Rockies and Holaday with the Tigers.

Traded (2):  Alec Asher and Tyler Goeddel

In his first start for the Orioles on April 15th, Asher allowed one run and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings.

AAA - Lehigh Valley IronPigs (25):  Jorge Alfaro, Mark Appel, Pedro Beato, Dylan Cozens, J.P. Crawford, Taylor Featherston, Pedro Florimon, Luis Garcia, Hector Gomez, Dalier Hinojosa, Rhys Hoskins, Ben Lively, Michael Mariot, Hoby Milner, Logan Moore, Colton Murray, Cam Perkins, Ricardo Pinto, Nick Pivetta, Roman Quinn, Cesar Ramos, Jake Thompson, Jesmuel Valentin, Pat Venditte and Nick Williams

Hinojosa and Murray began the season on the IronPigs' 7-day disabled list.

AA - Reading Fightin Phils (6):  Drew Anderson, Victor Arano, Elniery Garcia, Scott Kingery, Chace Numata, Andrew Pullin

Arano is on Reading's disabled list and shortly after the season began Garcia was suspended 80 games for PEDs.

A - Clearwater Threshers (1):  Alberto Tirado

Memory Lane
2012:  The Spring Training 57 (+1): Where They Went
2013:  The Spring Training 62: Where They Went
2014:  The Spring Training 58 (+2): Where They Went
2015:  The Spring Training 58 (+2): Where They Went
2016:  The Spring Training 66 (+1): Where They Went
2017:  The Spring Training 64 (+2): Where They Went

Friday, April 21, 2017

Series Preview - Braves at Phillies: April 21st to April 23rd


Friday and Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Braves 6-7, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 2 games behind the Nationals
Phillies 5-8, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 3 games behind the Nationals

Braves Probables:  Bartolo Colon (1-1, 4.24), Jaime Garcia (0-1, 4.67), Mike Foltynewicz (0-2, 4.26)
Phillies Probables:  Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 1.59), Jerad Eickhoff (0-1, 2.75), Zach Eflin (0-0, 3.60)

At the Ballpark:  Tonight the Phillies will pay tribute to Jackie Robinson, and I believe both the Braves and Phillies will once again all wear Robinson's #42.  The Phanatic celebrates his birthday on Sunday afternoon with all kids receiving a Phanatic cap.

Braves Leaders
Average:  Freddie Freeman - .407
Runs:  Freddie Freeman - 13
Home Runs:  Freddie Freeman - 6
RBIs:  Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis - 8
Stolen Bases:  Brandon Phillips - 4

Wins:  Jim Johnson - 2
ERA:  Julio Teheran - 3.52
Strikeouts:  Julio Teheran - 18
Saves:  Jim Johnson - 3

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .299
Runs:  Cesar Hernandez - 13
Home Runs:  Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez - 3
RBIs:  Maikel Franco - 12
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez - 3

Wins:  Jeremy Hellickson and Aaron Nola - 2
ERA:  Jeremy Hellickson - 1.59
Strikeouts:  Vince Velasquez - 19
Saves:  Three tied with - 1

1982 Topps #296
1982 Topps #680
1982 Topps Appreciation:  On March 25, 1981, about five short months after winning the first World Championship in franchise history, the Phillies traded their World Series game one starting pitcher to the Braves for outfielder Gary Matthews.  Bob Walk went 11-7 for the Phillies in 1980 and he wouldn't find success again in the big leagues until the 1986 season with the Pirates.  Walk bounced back and forth between the Braves and their Triple-A team in Richmond for three seasons, ultimately posting a 12-13 record over 45 games with the Braves.

Matthews had signed a lucrative six-year contract with the Braves in 1976 and was set to become a free agent following the 1981 season.  Following public acrimony between Matthews and the Braves, the Phillies landed Matthews to replace Greg Luzinski whose departure to the White Sox was imminent.  The trade worked out for both Matthews and the Phils, as he'd earn MVP votes in both 1981 and 1982 and then win N.L.C.S. MVP honors in 1983.

Happy Birthday Ben!


I find it hard to believe that Ben, our youngest son, turns seven today.  It's absolutely true what everyone says in that seven years went by in the blink of an eye.

Ben loves his dog Chewbacca and he loves dogs (especially puppies) in general.  He loves to play soccer and tennis and he loves to swim.  He likes school and his friends.  He likes to write little stories and he recently found enjoyment with building Legos.  He likes to garden - both flowers and vegetables, and he likes to play outside.  Ben has shown an incredible interest in traveling and seeing as many different places as possible.  He likes telling people where he's been and where he'd like to go next.

He's a great kid with a big heart and I'm prouder of him every day.  Happy birthday Ben!

Memory Lane
2010 - Welcome Ben!
2010 - Ben is born, Roy Halladay wins, all is right with the world
2011 - Ben turns one as Roy Oswalt pitches the Phillies past the Padres
2012 - Happy 2nd Birthday Ben!
2013 - Happy 3rd Birthday Ben!
2014 - Ben is Four!
2015 - Ben is Five!
2016 - Ben and Chewbacca

Thursday, April 20, 2017

2017 Topps Gypsy Queen #92 Vince Velasquez

Mets 5, Phillies 4
Game 14 - Wednesday Night, April 19th in Flushing
Record - 5-9, 5th place, 4 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Jay Bruce hit two home runs leading to this 5-4 Mets win.

What It Means:  Ugh.

What Happened:  Vince Velasquez was pitching a great ballgame until he allowed Bruce's three-run home run in the sixth.  Bruce added a two-run shot off Edubray Ramos in the eighth.

Michael Saunders had a pair of hits and an RBI, while Cesar Hernandez went 0 for 5, snapping his 11-game hitting streak.

Featured Card:  Velasquez has been maddeningly inconsistent in his short career so far, but he's only 24 and I think the best is yet to come.  Here's his card from the recently released Topps Gypsy Queen set.

Transaction:  Ben Lively joined Mark Leiter, Jr. in the bullpen before the game, as the young prospect was recalled from Lehigh Valley to take the place of Pat Neshek.  Neshek was placed on the paternity leave list and Lively's stay (for now) will be temporary.

Happy Birthday Mom!

1950 Bowman #204
1952 Bowman #148
I'm a few days late with this post, as I had to take a quick little work trip to Chicago.  Sadly, I was unable to fit a baseball game into my visit and return trips to Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park (aka Guaranteed Rate Field) will have to wait until (hopefully) my next Chicago trip.

But I digress.  Another tax day has come and gone and my Mom's birthday was on Monday.  As has been the tradition in recent years, I'm compensated for preparing my Mom's tax returns in the form of vintage Phillies baseball cards.  This is an amazing form of compensation and at the same time a horrible business model if I was actually in the business of preparing individual tax returns.  I'm always extremely grateful for the time my Mom takes to review my want lists and then track down Phillies cards I need.  She's very meticulous in her hunt, and the cards she provides are always in fantastic shape.

This year was no different than prior years.  I added two more Bowman Phillies cards to my collection as I creep ever closer to having a full run of vintage Bowman Phillies team sets.  The fantastic horizontal Granny Hamner card from the 1950 Bowman set means I'm just one card away (#177 Hank Borowy) from the complete team set.  And the Ken Heintzelman card from the 1952 Bowman set means I'm three cards away from completing that team set.

1952 Topps #44
1958 Topps #134
Next up were a few vintage Topps cards.  I've had a reprint of Con Dempsey's 1952 Topps card in my collection for over 30 years, and I now I've added the original.  My Mom also tracked down a 1958 Topps Phillies team card, with a pristinely unmarked back.

Even though I'm extremely thankful for my Mom every day, I like to officially declare my gratitude every year on (or near) her birthday.  Nothing I've accomplished so far would have been possible without the love, support, patience and baseball card purchasing of her and my Dad.  Happy birthday Mom!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 Topps Phillies #PHI-13 Andres Blanco

Phillies 6, Mets 2 (10 Innings)
Game 13 - Tuesday Night, April 18th in Flushing
Record - 5-8, 5th place, 3 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies took advantage of a costly Jose Reyes error to tie the game in the eighth, and then eventually won the game with four 10th inning runs.

What It Means:  It wasn't pretty, and the Phillies had several gaffes of their own, but we'll take it.

What Happened:  The Mets were leading 2-1 with two outs in the eighth when Reyes dropped a pop up from Freddy Galvis.  Andres Blanco followed with a game-tying, ground rule double that should have scored Galvis had he run out the dropped pop up.  In the 10th, Cameron Rupp broke the tie with a sacrifice fly, Aaron Altherr singled home Tommy Joseph and Daniel Nava capped the scoring with a two-run single that shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera couldn't handle.

2016 Grandstand Reading
Fightin Phils #13
In his first start of the season, Zach Eflin settled down after allowing two first inning runs.  He lasted five innings, giving up just the two runs on three hits.

Featured Cards:  Blanco gets the honors due to his big pinch-hit double in the eighth.  The super utility player received a card in this year's Topps Phillies retail team set.

Transactions:  Prior to the game, Clay Buchholz was placed on the disabled list and Eflin was recalled from Lehigh Valley.  Buchholz had forearm surgery yesterday and his season is likely done after two games and 7 1/3 innings.

Howie Kendrick was also placed on the disabled list with an abdominal strain and pitcher Mark Leiter, Jr. was selected from the IronPigs.  Leiter, Jr.'s dad pitched for the Phillies in 1997 and 1998, saving 23 games.