Friday, April 18, 2014

Phillies at Rockies: April 18th to April 20th

Friday 8:40, Saturday 8:10 and Sunday 4:10 
Coors Field – Denver, CO 

At the Ballpark:  On Sunday afternoon, the first 15,000 fans will receive a Dinger Bunny Bobblehead Gnome.  For those of you confused by this, it's a bobble head of the Rockies' mascot (Dinger) outfitted as the Easter Bunny while posing as a lawn gnome.  There's a lot going on with this giveaway.

Programming Note:  The Phillies Room staff and series preview production department is currently away on spring break.  As such, these crucial game preview posts are lacking any current won-loss records, pitching probables and Phillies team leaders.  We will return to business as usual next week.

1988 Topps #154
1988 Topps Appreciation:  Whenever the Phillies play the Rockies, Marlins or Diamondbacks this year, I need to get creative if there's going to be any kind of 1988 Topps Appreciation.  I can report this is the furthest I've stretched to try to draw a connection between a Philllies-related 1988 Topps card and the team's series opponent.

Jeff Stone.  Get it?  Stone . . . rocks . . . Rockies?  This is the kind of thing that happens when you draft these posts right before vacation after a 70-hour work week.

2014 Phillies Team Issue #34 A.J. Burnett

Phillies 1, Braves 0
Game 15 - Thursday Afternoon, April 17th in Philadelphia
Record - 7-8, 4th Place, 3 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A.J. Burnett pitched a fantastic game, and Ben Revere provided the lone run the team needed to come away with a 1-0 victory over the Braves.

What It Means:  It means the Phillies avoided the sweep, and now they head out to the west coast for a ten-game swing against the Rockies, Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

What Happened:  Pitching with a hernia (how does one actually do anything with a hernia?), Burnett shut out the Braves for seven innings and only allowed three hits.  Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon held off the Braves offense for the final two innings.  Revere singled home Domonic Brown in the eighth with the only run of the game.

Featured Card:  Burnett has cards so far this year in the Topps Heritage and Gypsy Queen sets, but he's featured with his former team, the Pirates.  This is his first and lone Phillies card to date, found within the team issued postcard set.  If he pitches another gem soon, I'll break down and feature one of his 2014 Pirates cards.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Dealing Aces #DA-CL Cliff Lee

Phillies 1, Braves 0
Game 14 - Wednesday Night, April 16th in Philadelphia
Record - 6-8, 4th Place, 4 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Despite pitching another masterpiece, Cliff Lee was one again the losing pitcher in a game in which the Phillies managed just three singles.

What It Means:  It means the Braves will go for the shortened series sweep this afternoon with A.J. Burnett on the mound.

What Happened:  Lee's sole blemish was a solo home run to Evan Gattis in the fourth inning that just barely made it into the left field flower bed.  Lee finished with a complete game loss and 13 strikeouts.  Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran pitched his first career shutout.

Featured Card:  This is the latest Lee card in my collection, from the recently released Topps Gypsy Queen offering.

Over the coming week, I'm going to start posting each of this year's Chachi cards and I've decided to list within each post the first Phillies card of the player in my collection, as well as the most recent Phillies card of the player.  Not to spoil anything, but thanks to having my Phillies collection complete and up to date on Zistle, I know that the card featured here is now my 145th different Lee card.

1950 Bowman #84 Richie Ashburn

Just a quick post this morning to show off the latest addition to my growing vintage Bowman collection, and to wish my Mom a very happy birthday.  My Mom was the one who added this card to my collection recently as a thank you gift for preparing her tax return again this year.  Everyone wins in this scenario.  My Mom doesn't have to put up with the H&R Block folks, and I get some amazing baseball cards out of the deal.

And what an amazing baseball card this is.  The card has four sharp corners and still has great color.  This is Ashburn's second Bowman card as his iconic rookie card can be found in the 1949 Bowman set.

Thanks again Mom and happy birthday!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Topps Phillies #PHI-13 Domonic Brown

Braves 9, Phillies 6
Game 13 - Monday Night, April 14th in Philadelphia
Record - 6-7, Tied for 3rd Place, 3 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Jake Diekman's brutal ninth inning negated an impressive comeback by the Phillies, as the Braves won a late inning slugfest, 9-6.

What It Means:  Throughout every season, there are several tough losses that stick with you and result in bad vibes carrying over into the next day.  This was the first of that type of loss this season.

What Happened:  Down 5-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies scored five times, capped by Domonic Brown's dramatic three-run home run.  The deficit existed in the first place as a result of reliever B.J. Rosenberg giving up back-to-back-to-back home runs to the Braves in the top of the eighth.  Diekman entered the ninth with a one run lead and quickly loaded the bases, setting up Dan Uggla's deflating and depressing grand slam.

Featured Card:  Even though the team lost, I still wanted to feature one of Brown's newer cards in honor of his clutch home run to give the Phillies the lead for about 15 minutes.  This is the non-foil version of his base Topps card from this year's retail team set.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Braves at Phillies: April 14th to April 17th

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

Braves 8-4, 1st Place in the N.L. East, 1 game ahead of the Nationals
Phillies 6-6, 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 2 games behind the Braves

Braves Probables:  Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.00), David Hale (0-0, 2.89), Julio Teheran (1-1, 2.84), Alex Wood (2-1, 1.89)
Phillies Probables:  Roberto Hernandez (1-0, 4.35), Cliff Lee (2-1, 5.50), A.J. Burnett (0-1, 3.941), Jonathan Pettibone (0-0, 1.80)

At the Ballpark:  Tonight is the first Dollar Dog Night of the season.  Tomorrow night, the Phillies and Braves will pay tribute to Jackie Robinson.  As has been the practice over the past several years, all uniformed personnel will wear Robinson's #42.  I can't find any word online as to whether or not both teams will wear their normal uniforms, or if they'll be sporting throw-backs.

On Thursday afternoon, all fans will receive a MLB Network tote bag.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Chase Utley - .500
Runs:  Carlos Ruiz - 9
Home Runs:  Chase Utley - 3
RBIs:  Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley - 10
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 5

Wins:  Cliff Lee - 2
ERA:  Kyle Kendrick - 3.50
Strikeouts:  Cliff Lee - 15
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 3

1988 Topps #90 and #188
1988 Topps Appreciation:  The only connection between the two players featured here is that Dale Murphy and John Russell were teammates on the 1989 Braves, and both spent time with the Phillies.  Russell played the first five seasons of his career with the Phils between 1984 and 1988, and on March 25, 1989, he was sold to the Braves.  He backed up Jody Davis in '89, hitting .182 in 74 games.

Murphy was traded to the Phillies in August 1990 with Tommy Greene for Jeff Parrett, Jim Vatcher and Victor Rosario.  The long-time Brave played parts of three seasons with the Phillies, hitting .249 in 228 games before playing his final 26 games with the 1993 Rockies.

2014 Donruss Career Stat Line #62 Chase Utley

Phillies 4, Marlins 3
Game 12 - Sunday Afternoon, April 13th in Philadelphia
Record - 6-6, 3rd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Chase Utley's solo home run in the eighth broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Phillies an eventual 4-3 win.

What It Means:  When the series started, the Phillies were in the midst of a four-game losing streak and they had sole possession of last place.  Heading into the upcoming series against the first place Braves, the Phils are back at .500 and two games out of first.

What Happened:  Utley is absolutely on fire right now and his late home run capped a 3 for 4 day at the plate.  Back-up catcher Wil Nieves contributed a clutch two-run double in the fifth to tie up the ballgame and Ryan Howard starting the scoring with his second home run of the year in the third.

Jonathan Papelbon, who looked extremely shaky at the start of the season, pitched a perfect ninth to record his third save.

Featured Card:  This is the shiny and numbered parallel card to Utley's Donruss base card.  There are only 217 of these cards out there, with that number corresponding to Utley's career home run total entering the 2014 season.  He's already tacked three onto that tally so far this season.

Transaction:  Reliever Justin De Fratus was optioned down to the IronPigs before the game, with reliever Luis Garcia taking his spot.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 Phillies Team Issue #11 Jimmy Rollins

Phillies 5, Marlins 4 (10 Innings)
Game 11 - Saturday Night, April 12th in Philadelphia
Record - 5-6, Tied for 3rd Place, 2 games behind the Braves and Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Jimmy Rollins gave the Phillies a 5-4 win in 10 innings with a walk-off home run.

What It Means:  The Phillies have looked good the past two games and they'll go for the series sweep this afternoon with Kyle Kendrick on the hill.

What Happened:  Rollins' heroics wouldn't have been needed if the Phillies were able to contain Giancarlo Stanton.  Stanton hit a monster home run to Ashburn Alley in the fifth and then tied up the score at 4-4 with a two-run home run in the seventh.  A pair of RBI-doubles from Chase Utley and RBI singles from Rollins and Ryan Howard gave the Phillies their first four runs.

Featured Cards/Field Report:  I attended this game with my seven-year-old son Doug and I can say with absolutely no shame that we left in the eighth inning because the little guy was just too dang tired.  Prior to the game, we walked around the concourse and met up with Phillies Room favorite Rheal Cormier.  Cormier was signing autographs and he was kind enough to pose for a picture with Doug.  The former lefty reliever was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the ongoing ten-year anniversary celebration of Citizens Bank Park.

What's interesting about the card Cormier was signing is that it's in the same style as other Phillies Alumni cards, but the copyright on the back is 2014.  This is truly an unchecklisted set at this point, and the Phillies clearly just print these cards up whenever the need arises for one of their returning alumni.

Doug and I also picked up the team issued postcard set (one for him and one for me) and the Topps Phillies retail set (again, one for each of us).  I was thankful to find a Bobby Abreu card in my team issued set as early reports indicated these cards had already been pulled from the set.  (And thank you to reader Brad who had graciously volunteered to send me his Abreu card.  I'm good to go now, Brad!)

The Phillies are off to a 1-0 start in games I've attended this year.

Doug and Rheal Cormier
Transaction:  Prior to the game, starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and reliever Brad Lincoln was outrighted off the roster.  Lincoln cleared waivers and will join the IronPigs.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage #48 Marlon Byrd

Phillies 6, Marlins 3
Game 10 - Friday Night, April 11th in Philadelphia
Record - 4-6, Tied for 4th Place, 3 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies stopped their four-game losing streak with a surprising 6-3 win over the Marlins and their ace, Jose Fernandez.

What It Means:  After four depressingly sloppy games agains the Cubs and Brewers, the Phils returned home last night and looked as if they knew what they were doing.

What Happened:  All the production came from the heart of the order with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Marlon Byrd and Domonic Brown all contributing runs or RBIs.  Utley had two more hits to raise his average to .469 over the first ten games of the season.

Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett left in the fourth inning with a groin issue, but the bullpen was able to hold back the Marlins offense.  Rookie Mario Hollands pitched two shutout innings.

Featured Card:  I still have stacks of Topps Heritage cards staring at me, waiting to be sorted and checklist'd.  With my work schedule not letting up until next week and with the entire staff of The Phillies Room heading off to spring break shortly thereafter, the want list may just have to wait.

I was able to pull this Byrd card from the leaning stacks, and this represents his second official new Phillies card since rejoining the club this past offseason.  Donruss beat Heritage to the punch by about a week with a logo-less Byrd Phillies card.

Transaction:  Prior to the game, infielder Freddy Galvis (staph infection) was activated from the 15-day disabled list and infielder Cesar Hernandez was optioned to Double-A Reading.  Galvis will be card #35 in the 2014 Chachi set.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Marlins at Phillies: April 11th to April 13th

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

Marlins 5-5, 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 2 1/2 games behind the Nationals
Phillies 3-6, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 4 games behind the Nationals

Marlins Probables:  Jose Fernandez (2-0, 0.71), Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 3.46), Henderson Alvarez (0-2, 4.15)
Phillies Probables:  A.J. Burnett (0-1, 3.86), Jonathan Pettibone (0-0, 0.00), Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 3.75)

At the Ballpark:  Sunday afternoon is Kids Opening Day with all kids 14 and under receiving a Ryan Howard commemorative baseball.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Chase Utley - .464
Runs:  Carlos Ruiz - 9
Home Runs:  Marlon Byrd and Chase Utley - 2
RBIs:  Marlon Byrd and Jimmy Rollins - 8
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 5

Wins:  Cliff Lee - 2
ERA:  Kyle Kendrick - 3.75
Strikeouts:  Cliff Lee - 23
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 1

1988 Topps #468
1988 Topps Appreciation:  Obviously there are no Marlins cards in the 1988 Topps set, as the franchise was still five years away from making its debut.  However, I thought this would be a good opportunity to feature the card of former Phillies (and former Marlins) catcher Darren Daulton.

Dutch played in parts of 14 seasons with the Phillies before being unceremoniously traded to the Marlins in July 1997 for outfielder Billy McMillon.  He'd help stabilize the Marlins clubhouse and he'd help lead them (along with fellow former Phillie Jim Eisenreich) to their first World Series title.  Daulton went only 1 for 4 in the N.L.C.S. against the Braves, but he came alive in the World Series against the Indians when he hit .389 (7 for 18) with a home run and two doubles.  After securing his ring and winning the N.L. Comeback Player of the Year, Dutch retired and began speaking to lizards.

2014 Topps Turkey Red #83 Roy Halladay

Brewers 6, Phillies 2
Game 9 - Thursday Night, April 10th in Philadelphia
Record - 3-6, 5th Place, 4 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Brewers easily handled the Phillies, completing the three-game sweep with a 6-2 victory.

What It Means:  It's still really early, but it sure seems as if it's going to be a long season.  Nine games into the season, and the Phils are in last place in the N.L. East.

What Happened:  Cliff Lee was victimized by a lack of run support, as the staff ace earned his first loss of the year.  He pitched six innings, allowing three runs on eight Brewers hits.  Jeff Manship didn't retire a batter in the seventh, allowing three more Brewers runs.

Featured Card:  I saw a slightly depressing Tweet following last night's game, pointing out that the last Phillies pitcher to win a game at Citizens Bank Park was the now-retired Roy Halladay.  Halladay won against the Marlins back on September 17th, and he'd play his last game a week later on September 23rd.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1960 Fleer #30 Chuck Klein

Brewers 9, Phillies 4
Game 8 - Wednesday Night, April 9th in Philadelphia
Record - 3-5, Tied for 4th Place, 3 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Ryan Howard and Antonio Bastardo contributed to a rough eighth inning by the Phillies, as the Brewers scored five late runs and won the ballgame, 9-4.

What It Means:  The Phillies have looked sloppy so far this season, and through this game they had allowed a league leading ten unearned runs.

What Happened:  With the score tied 4-4 in the eighth, Bastardo walked Mark Reynolds to lead off the inning and Reynolds stole second.  Howard couldn't field a ball hit to him allowing Reynolds to score the go-ahead and eventual winning run.  The Brewers piled on four more runs after that.

Featured Card:  As Todd Zolecki pointed out in this Tweet, the Phillies hadn't lost their first two home games by allowing nine runs or more in each game since opening the 1929 season at the Baker Bowl.  This unfortunate fact gives me the opportunity to feature, for the first time on this blog, a Chuck Klein card.  Seriously, it amazes me that after five years of posting, this is the very first time Hall of Famer Klein has had a card featured.

Playing right field, Klein went 0 for 3 (with two walks) in the 1929 home opener and then 2 for 4 in the second game.  I don't have any cards of Klein from his actual playing days, and the oldest card of his in my collection is this 1960 Fleer card, released 16 years after he had retired.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2012 Topps Heritage #1 N.L. Batting Leaders

Brewers 10, Phillies 4
Game 7 - Tuesday Afternoon, April 8th in Philadelphia
Record - 3-4, Tied for 4th Place, 2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Ryan Braun, shoddy Phillies defense and a poor start from Kyle Kendrick combined to give the Brewers a 10-4 win.

What It Means:  The Brewers ruined the Phillies home opener, turning the festive mood at the outset of the day into a disgruntled funk by early evening.

What Happened:  Braun, booed heavily every time he appeared, hit three home runs and drove in a career-high seven runs.  Kendrick lasted just five innings, allowing nine hits and six runs (four earned). He contributed one of the costly errors, along with Cody Asche and Ben Revere.  Revere booted a fly ball for the second time in two games.

Featured Card:  This is the sole Braun card in my Phillies collection, and it's only in there because of Hunter Pence's goofy floating head in the bottom left.  Which reminds me . . . as soon as things calm down again at work, I'll be posting my 2014 Topps Heritage want list.  Hopefully next week . . .

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Phillies at Brewers: May 8th to May 10th

Tuesday 4:05, Wedensday and Thursday 7:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Brewers 4-2, Tied for 1st Place in the N.L. Central, 1/2 game ahead of the Cardinals
Phillies 3-3, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins

Brewers Probables:  Kyle Lohse (0-1, 3.86), Matt Garza (0-1, 1.13), Marco Estrada (0-0. 1.59)
Phillies Probables:  Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 1.29), Roberto Hernandez (1-0, 3.38), Cliff Lee (2-0, 6.00)

At the Ballpark:  It's the Phillies home opener this afternoon, and all fans will receive a Citizens Bank Park commemorative banner, celebrating ten years in the ballpark.  On Wednesday night, fans 15 and older will receive a nice blue opening night t-shirt.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Chase Utley - .458
Runs:  Carlos Ruiz - 6
Home Runs:  Chase Utley - 2
RBIs:  Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley - 6
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 4

Wins:  Cliff Lee - 2
ERA:  Kyle Kendrick - 1.29
Strikeouts:  Cliff Lee - 7
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 1

1988 Topps #592 and #268
1988 Topps Appreciation:  I've sure I've disclosed this at some point on this blog during its now five-year run, but for about a season and a half beginning in 1986 and running through 1987, Bruce Ruffin was one of my favorite Phillies.  He was the rookie called upon in the middle of the 1986 season to replace the released Steve Carlton, and he went 9-4 with a 2.46 ERA in his first 21 starts.  He came down to earth a little in 1987, going 11-14 with a 4.34 ERA.  Ruffin lasted a total of six seasons with the Phillies before being dealt to the Brewers in December 1991 for Dale Sveum.

Ruffin spent only a season with the Brewers, before landing with the Rockies and having several successful seasons as the team's closer.  He peaked in 1996 with 24 saves.

Sveum's time with the Phillies was short-lived.  He appeared in 54 games at the start of the 1992 season, hitting just .178 before getting shipped to the White Sox for pitcher Keith Shepherd.  My favorite all-time Sveum-related quote was memorialized back in this post from a few years ago.

Monday, April 7, 2014

1996 Denny's Instant Replay Holograms #27 Darren Daulton

Cubs 8, Phillies 3
Game 6 - Sunday Afternoon, April 6th in Chicago
Record - 3-3, 4th Place, 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins

One Sentence Summary:  A.J. Burnett unraveled in the first inning, and the Phillies weren't able to overcome an early deficit as the Cubs won, 8-3.

What It Means:  It means the Phils head home for their home opener on Tuesday.  The game was originally scheduled for this afternoon, but the forecast of heavy rain led to the unusual move of the team postponing a game because of weather more than 24 hours before the scheduled game time.

What Happened:  Burnett allowed three walks, a triple and a double in the bottom of the first, spotting the Cubs a 4-0 lead.  The offense tried to overcome their early deficit, but that's tough to do when going 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position.  Ben Revere booted a line drive fly ball in the sixth leading to four unearned Cubs runs.

Featured Card:  It was a play that will quickly be forgotten and it meant nothing to the ultimate outcome of the game.  But in the fifth inning, manager Ryne Sandberg challenged the umpire's call at first in which Chase Utley was ruled out on a close play and requested the call be reviewed via instant replay.  The Phillies lost the challenge and Utley's out call was upheld, but it marked the first time in Phillies history that instant replay was used for a non-home run call.

I thought such an historic occasion deserved a card with "Instant Replay" in its title.  That, and the Phillies stunk in this game and I couldn't think of any other cards to feature.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2014 Topps Turkey Red #41 Cliff Lee

Phillies 2, Cubs 0
Game 5 - Saturday Afternoon, April 5th in Chicago
Record - 3-2, Tied for 3rd Place, 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins

One Sentence Summary:  Cliff Lee pitched seven shutout innings on the way to a 2-0 Phillies win over the Cubs.

What It Means:   The Phillies will go for the series sweep this afternoon behind A.J. Burnett.

What Happened:  Lee, Jake Diekman and Jonathan Papelbon combined for the shutout, with Papelbon pitching a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.  Runs came courtesy of Chase Utley's second home run of the year, and an RBI-single from Domonic Brown in the fourth.  Marlon Byrd and Jimmy Rollins starred defensively in the win.

Featured Card:  I haven't featured any of this year's Turkey Red cards yet, as I agree with the opinion of my fellow bloggers (see here for an example) that this is just a horrible set.  It's boring.  It's pointless.  It pays absolutely no tribute at all to the original.  But of course I've added the Phillies cards I could find to my collection, and I just need the Utley card to complete the team set.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Topps Opening Day #119 Chase Utley

Phillies 7, Cubs 2
Game 4 - Friday Afternoon, April 4th in Chicago
Record - 2-2, 4th Place, 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins

One Sentence Summary:  Chase Utley and Domonic Brown paced the offense as the Phillies took the series opener from the Cubs, 7-2.

What It Means:  The Phillies ruined the Cubs home opener, and the kick-off of their celebration of Wrigley Field's 100th birthday.  Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg joined Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins and Billy Williams in throwing out the first pitches prior to the game.

What Happened:  Utley hit his first home run of the season with a two-run shot in the fifth and he'd later add an RBI-single in the seventh.  Brown went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and John Mayberry, Jr. hit a pinch-hit two-run home run in the eighth.

Roberto Hernandez made his Phillies debut, pitching 5 1/3 innings while allowing a pair of runs on three hits.

Featured Card:  The Utley card featured here isn't from my collection . . . it's actually from my seven-year-old son Doug's collection.  It was the "First Phillie" encountered in the initial packs of Topps Opening Day he opened a week or so ago.  I borrowed the card for this post, and I'll dutifully return it to its owner once I'm done with it.  I'm entering an interesting place in terms of my Phillies collecting habits.  Normally by now, I would have purchased a Topps Opening Day team set on eBay, added it to my checklist and then slipped the cards into 9-pocket pages in my 2014 Phillies binder.

The fact that Doug is now semi-collecting, and enjoying getting packs of cards from Target, leads me to wonder if there will come a day, perhaps soon, when I'm just supporting his collection and not really focusing on mine.  I still have time to figure this all out and perhaps his sudden interest in baseball cards will wane in time.  Nevertheless, it's not the worse problem a father could have if he's buying more baseball cards for his son than he is for himself.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Phillies at Cubs: April 4th to April 6th

Friday, Saturday and Sunday 2:20
Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL

Phillies 1-2, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 2 games behind the Nationals
Cubs 1-2, Tied for 3rd Place in the N.L. Central, 1 game behind the Pirates and Cardinals

Phillies Probables:  Roberto Hernandez (0-0, 0.00), Cliff Lee (1-0, 14.40), A.J. Burnett (0-0, 1.50)
Cubs Probables:  Travis Wood (0-0, 0.00), Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 0.00), Carlos Villanueva (0-2, 13.50)

At the Ballpark:  Today is opening day at Wrigley, and given my current work schedule (crazy bananas), I'll be daydreaming about sitting in the bleachers this afternoon.  The first 30,000 fans both today and Saturday will receive a Cubs schedule magnet.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cody Asche - .500
Runs:  Carlos Ruiz - 5
Home Runs:  Four tied with - 1
RBIs:  Jimmy Rollins - 5
Stolen Bases:  Domonic Brown and Ben Revere - 1

Wins:  Cliff Lee - 1
ERA:  Kyle Kendrick - 1.29
Strikeouts:  Kyle Kendrick - 4
Saves:  None

1988 Topps #287, #416, #642 and #768
1988 Topps Appreciation:  Featured are a quartet of Cubs who appeared with the Phillies during their first World Championship season in 1980.

Manny Trillo was dealt to the Indians following the 1982 season as part of the infamous 5-for-1 Von Hayes deal.  He spent time in Cleveland, Montreal and San Francisco before ending up back in Chicago in 1986 for his second stint with the franchise.  Relegated to mostly a back-up role, Trillo hit .250 in 76 games for the 1988 Cubs.

Catcher Keith Moreland spent the bulk of his 12-year career with the Cubs, appearing in 902 games over six season between 1982 and 1987.  He enjoyed his best season in 1985, hitting .307 with 14 home runs and 106 RBIs.

Phillies Room favorite Bob Dernier was already back with the Phillies by the time this card came out, having signed with his original team as a free agent in December 1987.  Dernier's career peaked with the Cubs and his finest season was 1984 when he won a Gold Glove for his outfield defense.

Finally, some collectors might not actually consider this Dickie Noles card to be a Cubs card.  As the little notation to the right indicates, Noles was "Now with Tigers."  But was he?  Baseball Reference documents Noles' long, strange 1987/1988 offseason as follows:

So in the month and a day Noles was property of the Tigers, the fine people at Topps decided to make the "Now with Tigers" notation on his card.  It retrospect, it should have been, "Was with Tigers, but you've already missed it."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1990 CMC #238 Jim Adduci (@Greatest21Days)

Rangers 4, Phillies 3
Game 3 - Wednesday Night, April 2nd in Arlington
Record - 1-2, 4th Place, 1 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Jonathan Papelbon couldn't hold a two-run lead and walked in the winning run as the Rangers walked off, 4-3.

What It Means:  Just when you thought Papelbon's trade value and popularity couldn't go any lower.  They do.

What Happened:  Kyle Kendrick pitched a fantastic ballgame, allowing just a run on five hits in seven innings of work.  Mario Hollands earned redemption for the previous night's rough outing with a perfect eighth inning.  Papelbon entered the ninth with a 3-1 lead and allowed a single, double, single, single, walk, and finally a bases loaded walk to end the game.  Dating back to last season, he's now blown eight of his last 24 save opportunities.

Ryan Howard hit his first home run of the season with a two-run shot in the third.

Featured Card:  Rangers pinch-hitter Jim Adduci knocked in the first run of the ninth with an RBI-single.  If that name sounds familiar to Phillies fans, it's because his Dad, also Jim Adduci, appeared in 13 games for the Phils back in 1989 when the younger Adduci was only four years old.

The elder Adduci has a Phillies card in the extremely elusive 1989 Tastykake Phillies Update set, but the only Phillies-related cards I currently have of his are from his time with the the Triple-A Red Barons.  Here's a nice profile on Adducci Sr. from the fantastic The Greatest 21 Days blog.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Phun Cards Have Arrived from @phungo2008!

2014 Phungo #6
Rangers 3, Phillies 2
Game 2 - Tuesday Night, April 1st in Arlington
Record - 1-1, Tied for 3rd Place, 1 game behind the Marlins

One Sentence Summary:  The Rangers walked off with a 3-2 win after relievers Mario Hollands and B.J. Rosenberg couldn't escape the ninth inning.

What It Means:  The Phillies should have saved some runs from Monday's opener.

What Happened:  With the score tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth, manager Ryne Sandberg elected to bring in Hollands to face the potent Rangers line-up . . . in his Major League debut.  Hollands walked two of the three batters he faced and yielded to Rosenberg who promptly allowed the game-winning hit to Adrian Beltre.

Sandberg's line-up was notable as it featured Ryan Howard not batting clean-up for the first time since June 29, 2008.  The card featured here is now the newest Howard card in my collection - see below.

A.J. Burnett made his Phillies debut, allowing a run on seven hits in his six innings of work.

2014 Phungo #10, #43, #25 and #28
Featured Cards:  I had a pleasant surprise when I arrived home from work on Monday night.  Waiting for me on the kitchen counter was my first pack of this year's offering from Team Phungo.  It seems like it was only November when I was opening my last pack of Phungo cards.  Time sure does fly!

As is usually the case with any pack of Phungo cards, this pack contained a selection of cards from the 2014 Phungo set as well as a number of fantastic newish and older Phillies cards that will find their way into my collection.  By far, this is one of the best packs I'll probably open all year.

And I'm particularly happy to have an authentic Ringo Starr Phungo card now in my collection!

Memory Lane

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 Chachi #34 Jimmy Rollins RB

Phillies 14, Rangers 10 
Game 1 – Monday Afternoon, March 31st in Arlington 
Record - 1-0, Tied for 1st Place, 1 game ahead of the Braves and Mets

One Sentence Summary:  In an opening day for the record books, the Phillies offense exploded for 17 hits on their way to a 14-10 victory over the Rangers.

What It Means:  Absolutely no one saw this coming.  The Phillies offense had been completely lethargic throughout the spring, so of course they go ahead and explode on the Texas Rangers in their home opener.  (And the fact that the Phillies and Rangers played each other on opening day is completely absurd.)

What Happened:  The big hits came from Jimmy Rollins' grand slam in the second, John Mayberry, Jr.'s pinch-hit, two-run double in the fifth and Cody Asche's two-run single in the sixth.  Asche and Marlon Byrd also added solo home runs.

Starting pitcher Cliff Lee got knocked around, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in his five innings of work.  He became the first Phillies pitcher to allow eight or more runs in a game and still earn the victory since Dick Ruthven did it back in 1981.

Featured Card:   So here's the first official Chachi card of 2014, and we’re already up to card #34.  How'd that happen?  After much deliberation, I've decided to give manager Ryne Sandberg and each of his coaches their own cards within this year's set.  The first 25 cards of the set will featured the team's opening day roster, while cards 26 through 33 will feature Sandberg and his staff.

This card serves to commemorate Rollins' big day.  By starting at shortstop, Rollins set a National League record for most consecutive opening day starts at that position for one franchise, with 14.  The previous record holder had been the Reds' Davey Concepcion.  Rollins' big grand slam was the 200th home run of his career, and put him in a class of just five other Phillies to have hit a grand slam on opening day. (The fact courtesy of this High Heat Stats Tweet.)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Phillies at Rangers: March 31st to April 2nd

Monday 2:05, Tuesday and Wednesday 8:05
Globe Life Park in Arlington - Arlington, TX

2013 Season
Phillies 73-89, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 23 games behind the Braves
Rangers 91-72, 2nd Place in the A.L. West, 5 1/2 games behind the Athletics

2013 Statistics
Phillies Probables:  Cliff Lee (14-8, 2.87), A.J. Burnett (10-11, 3.30), Kyle Kendrick (10-13, 4.70)
Rangers Probables:  Tanner Scheppers (6-2, 1.88), Martin Perez (10-6, 3.62), Robbie Ross, Jr. (4-2, 3.03)

At the Ballpark:  All fans 21 and older will receive a Budweiser Opening Day magnetic schedule this afternoon.  Wednesday night features Nolan Ryan beef dollar hot dogs.  I'm not sure why Nolan Ryan's name is attached to this particular promotion, I'm only reporting the happenings.

Phillies Spring Training Leaders
Average:  Marlon Byrd - .298
Runs:  Ryan Howard and Ben Revere - 9
Home Runs:  Cody Asche, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins - 3
RBIs:  Cody Asche, Marlon Byrd and Carlos Ruiz - 8
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 6

Wins:  Jeff Manship - 2
ERA:  Jeff Manship - 1.80
Strikeouts:  Cliff Lee - 26
Saves:  Shawn Camp, Cesar Jimenez and Hector Neris - 1

1988 Topps #756, #26, #280 and #369
1988 Topps Appreciation:  Get ready for a whole season of glorious 1988 Topps cards in these series preview posts, as I look at cards featuring the Phillies and their opponents that have some sort of Phillies connection.

Mike Maddux is entering his sixth season as the Rangers pitching coach, and if the team is smart they won't let him leave anytime soon.  Maddux has has constant success in Texas as he's mentored a whole host of young arms including the trio that will face the Phillies in this series.

Mitch Williams and Pete Incaviglia were teammates with the Rangers prior to reuniting on the glorious 1993 Phillies team.  Pitcher Greg Harris signed as a free agent with the Phillies in 1988, after spending  the prior three seasons as part of the Rangers pitching staff.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ready or Not, the 25-Man Roster is Set

2014 Chachi Transactions #21
Pirates 3, Phillies 0
Spring Training Game 30 - Friday Night, March 28th in Philadelphia
Record - 9-18-3

One Sentence Summary:  The exhibition season mercifully drew to a close as the Phillies were shut-out by the Pirates, 3-0, in front of a sparse crowd in Philadelphia.

What Happened:  Chase Utley has three hits for the Phillies, accounting for all the team's offense.  Kyle Kendrick pitched five shutout innings in his final tune-up of the spring.

Featured Card/Camp Head Count:  Stay with me here . . . 35 - 11 + 1 = 25.  We'll get there in a little bit.

Some sort of vicious and evil stomach bug along with a current work schedule that could only be described as pure bananas have both conspired to keep me away from any Phillies happenings since Thursday night.  When I could raise my head again and check to see if the roster had been finalized yet for opening day, I was baffled to say the least.  After I've sorted it all out, I updated the sidebar on the left to list the 25 players who will head to Arlington for this year's opener against the Rangers.

Jayson Nix, not to be confused with his brother and former Phillie Laynce Nix, was this year's Ezequiel Carrera, acquired out of nowhere for cash considerations or a player to be named later to fill the last bench spot.  He's the +1 in the equation above.

2012 Grandstand Reading Phillies #10
As for the rest of the departures, 6 players will start the season on the disabled list - Darin Ruf, Freddy Galvis, Mike Adams, Cole Hamels, Miguel Gonzalez and Ethan Martin.  Struggling reliever Phillippe Aumont was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to work on his control.  Finally, non-roster invitees Reid Brignac, Shawn Camp, Koyie Hill and David Buchanan were all reassigned to the minors.

So there you have it, the 25-man roster is ready and so are the first 25 cards of this year's Chachi set, which should debut soon.  Surprise roster addition Mario Hollands will be making his virtual Phillies card debut, as will Jeff Manship.

Finally, we had tickets to the Friday night On-Deck series game with the Pirates, but the aforementioned vicious and evil stomach bug kept me from going.  I'll have to check my favorite blog sources to see if (a) the team went with giant sized cards using something other than the 2011 Topps design for the line-up posted in Ashburn Alley and (b) if the team issued postcard set is available yet.

Play ball!

Friday, March 28, 2014

2014 Chachi Almost #3 Bobby Abreu

Blue Jays 3, Phillies 0
Spring Training Game 29 - Thursday Afternoon, March 27th in Clearwater
Record - 9-17-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies wrapped up their Florida portion of the exhibition season with a less than impressive 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays.

What Happened:  A.J. Burnett allowed a run on three hits in his five innings of work to lower his spring ERA to 6.05.  A Jimmy Rollins single was the offense's lone contribution for the day.  Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth inning wearing a Carlos Ruiz jersey.  He's a nutjob.

Featured Card/Camp Head Count:  37 - 2 = 35.  For the second time, the Phillies bid adieu to Bobby Abreu as the veteran outfielder was released yesterday.  In his second abbreviated stint with the club, Abreu looked good with the bat, but looked awful with the glove.  The thought is that he'll latch on with an American League club where he can assist with DH duties.  As much as I would have liked to see a reunion with Abreu, for pure nostalgia's sake, I agree with the logic of not carrying someone who was going to be a liability on the field.  For his troubles, Abreu earns a Chachi Almost card which is the virtual insert set reserved for those players who almost make it into the official Chachi set . . . but not quite.

Pitcher Jonathan Pettibone was also optioned to Triple-A yesterday, leaving the Phillies with 35 bodies on the roster.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2013 Phillies Team Issue 2 #40 Michael Stutes

Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Spring Training Game 28 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 26th in Clearwater
Record - 9-16-3

One Sentence Summary:  Cliff Lee and Justin Verlander faced off in their final spring starts, with Verlander and the Tigers coming out ahead in a 1-0 win.

What Happened:  Lee allowed the lone Tigers run in his five innings of work while striking out seven.  The Phillies managed just two singles off Verlander and three relievers.

Featured Card:  I was going to post Lee's Heritage card again, just to see if anyone would notice.  Instead, I decided to post what will most likely be Michael Stutes' last official Phillies card - see below.

Camp Head Count:  Still holding at 37, but the final pieces are starting to fall into place.  Veteran outfielder and former All-Star Bobby Abreu was informed yesterday he wouldn't make the team's opening day roster.  While his official opt-out date is Sunday, chances are he might be gone before then, rather than accept an assignment with the Triple-A IronPigs.

Reliever Stutes was also officially released, after being designated for assignment earlier in the week.  In parts of three seasons, Stutes appeared in 79 games for the Phillies, going 9-3 with a 4.01 ERA.  His best season by far was his rookie year of 2011, when he appeared in 57 games and put together a 3.63 ERA while striking out 58 in 62 innings.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage #280 Ryan Howard

Phillies 6, Yankees 0
Spring Training Game 27 - Tuesday Night, March 25th in Tampa
Record - 9-15-3

One Sentence Summary:  Jeff Manship pitched four scoreless innings while Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd hit back-to-back home runs and the Phillies defeated the Yankees, 6-0.

What Happened:  This was a nice little ballgame from the Phils.  The offense produced, while Manship and five relievers combined to shutout the Yankees.  Reliever Mike Adams, who hadn't appeared in game action since last June due to injuries, made his spring debut and pitched well.

Featured Card:  If you're already sick of Topps Heritage, this just isn't the place for you.  I'm getting closer to trotting out the entire team set in these game summary posts.  This is Howard's card from the set and as long as he's able to hit leftys in the regular season, we should see a lot more smiles coming from him.

2013 Topps Update #US58
Camp Head Count:  39 - 3 + 1 = 37.  We've now reached that portion of spring training in which guys are reassigned to the minors, but still stick around for game action, or guys are brought in from minor league camp just to provide roster depth before the team officially heads north.  In a flurry of catcher moves, the Phillies optioned Cameron Rupp to the minors, reassigned (again) Sebastian Valle and brought in catcher Koyie Hill to big league camp.

Veteran shortstop Ronny Cedeno was released after hitting .182 in 13 games.  The Phillies and Bobby Abreu agreed to push back the final decision regarding his opt-out until Sunday.

And finally, Phillies Room favorite Kevin Frandsen officially became a free agent, ending his three year tenure with the organization.  Here's wishing him well wherever he ends up . . . unless he's playing against the Phillies.

Thanks for everything, Kevin.  You should have had more Phillies cards.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2013 Grandstand Reading Fightin Phils #3 David Buchanan (@davidb413)

Phillies 6, Blue Jays 3 (8 Innings)
Spring Training Game 26 - Monday Afternoon, March 24th in Dunedin
Record - 8-15-3

One Sentence Summary:  The offense showed signs of life in a 6-3, rain-shortened victory over the Blue Jays.

What Happened:  Each spring, there comes a time when I'm a little tired of writing these spring training game summaries and I'm ready for the regular season to start.  I've arrived at that point now.  Cameron Rupp and Tony Gwynn, Jr. each drove in a pair of runs for the Phillies.

Featured Card:  I haven't posted any cards other than Topps Heritage since last week, so I'll break the streak with a card of the pitcher who could be the team's fifth starter on April 13th.  David Buchanan pitched two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays yesterday, continuing to impress manager Ryne Sandberg with his performance so far this spring.  In five games this spring (four starts), Buchanan has struck out 11 and walked just two in 12 innings pitched while compiling an ERA of 2.25.

This is one of Buchanan's two cards released last year with the Reading Fightin Phils' team sets.

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage #337 Jimmy Rollins

Phillies 5, Twins 1
Spring Training Game 25 - Sunday Afternoon, March 23rd in Clearwater
Record - 7-15-3

One Sentence Summary:  Kyle Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins starred in a 5-1 win over the Twins.

What Happened:  Kendrick tossed six strong innings, allowing just a run on five hits while striking out six.  Rollins had two hits, including his third home run of the spring.

Featured Card:  All staged Phillies photos used in the Heritage set were taken at the start of spring training in 2013.  I think this Rollins card is one of my favorite staged-shot Heritage Phillies cards, as you can see part of the scoreboard in the outfield of Bright House Networks Field in the background.  The other staged shots just show a splotch of blue sky with nothing in the background.

Observant fans will recognize that the top two advertising billboards shown behind Rollins are for Hooters and Budweiser.  Of course, my delicate eyes aren't offended by such things, but I wonder if this is the first time both Hooters and Bud have been featured together on one baseball card?

Camp Head Count:  40 - 1 = 39.  In a surprising move, the team outrighted Phillies Room favorite Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley yesterday afternoon.  Frandsen had been fairly reliable off the bench the past two seasons and all indications were that he was a positive presence in the clubhouse.  He led the Majors with 14 pinch-hits in 2013.

The move seems to indicate that the Phillies needed to free up space on the 40-man roster for one or more non-roster invitees who could make the team, including Bobby Abreu and Ronny Cedeno.  Frandsen can now decide to stick around or test free agency.  We here at the Phillies Room hope he decides on the former.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage #75 Cody Asche

Pirates 5, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 24 - Saturday Afternoon, March 22nd in Bradenton
Record - 6-15-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Pirates mounted a 5-3 come from behind victory after roughing up reliever Brad Lincoln in the eighth inning.

What Happened:  Lincoln gave up three runs in the eighth to allow the Pirates to take the lead and eventually win the game.  A.J. Burnett had a shaky outing, allowing seven hits and walking six in his 5 1/3 innings of work.  Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard homered in the first to start the scoring, and Cody Asche added a bomb in the fifth.

Featured Card:  At some point, I'm either going to get tired of or run out of Topps Heritage cards to feature in these game summary posts.  Asche is all but guaranteed to be the team's opening day third baseman, as his sole competition, Maikel Franco, was reassigned to minor league camp yesterday.

Camp Head Count:  44 - 4 = 40.  This past Tuesday, the Phillies returned Rule V pick Kevin Munson to the Arizona Diamondbacks.  In five games this spring, Munson had allowed seven hits and eight walks in seven innings pitched.  He was a long-shot to make the team.

Yesterday, the Phillies reassigned pitcher Sean O'Sullivan, third baseman Franco and outfielder Clete Thomas to minor league camp, to get the official head count down to 40.