Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015 Topps #560 Jerome Williams

Blue Jays 8, Phillies 2
Game 102 - Wednesday Night, July 29th in Toronto
Record - 38-64, 5th Place, 16 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  On the night the Phillies were working on the deal that would send 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels to the Rangers, Jerome Williams and Justin De Fratus were pummeled in an 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  I really want to be able to root for the Angels, but I'll root for the Rangers at least on the days that Hamels starts.  As of late last night, I was trying my best to keep up with the details of the trade on Twitter.  I'll have a full post and a look at the baseball cards of the newest Phillies coming later.  I'll also need to do a massive overhaul of the Virtual Phillies Wall.

What Happened:  Williams (4 2/3 innings, 4 runs, 10 hits) and De Fratus (2 1/3 innings, 4 runs, 6 hits) had horrible outings.  The bats were shut down by knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey and Troy Tulowitzki had two doubles, a home run and drove in three runs in his Blue Jays debut.

Featured Card:  When the dust settles and we figure out where the six (!) players acquired from the Rangers are heading, I'll be curious to see if Williams still has his rotation spot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#ThanksCole

Much like the Jimmy Rollins trade in December, I'm still trying to process all of this.  It's officially the end of an era.  (I can't even imagine how I'll feel when Chase Utley eventually departs.)

2008 Chachi #83

2015 Topps #561 Ken Giles

Phillies 3, Blue Jays 2
Game 101 - Tuesday Night, July 28th in Toronto
Record - 38-63, 5th Place, 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Adam Morgan pitched another effective game as Ken Giles recorded his first save in the post-Jonathan Papelbon era.

What It Means:  The Phillies have won 9 of their last 10 games and they continue to play baseball that is enjoyable to watch.  The fourth place Marlins are just 4 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies.

What Happened:  The Phillies hit three consecutive doubles in the fifth from Darin Ruf, Cody Asche and Andres Blanco, resulting in all three of their runs.  Morgan allowed just two runs on five hits in his six innings of work and the new back end of the bullpen trio of Jeanmar Gomez, Luis Garcia and Giles threw three shutout innings.

Featured Card:  Here's the baseball card of the new Phillies closer from this year's Topps flagship set.

Don't forget to vote in the poll (on the left sidebar) to help determine the design to be used for the 2016 Chachi set!

All-Time Phillies Saves Leader Papelbon Traded to Nationals

2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #89
2015 Chachi Almost #10
There has been a deal.

The big news throughout the day yesterday was the pending trade of the Phillies all-time saves leader, and general overall nutjob Jonathan Papelbon.  The deal was officially announced before the start of the fifth inning in last night's game and I'm glad the Papelbon era (2012-2015) has officially come to a close.

Papelbon was traded to the Nationals (with cash considerations) for Double-A prospect Nick Pivetta.  Pivetta is a lanky right-handed starting pitcher who was drafted by the Nationals in 2013.  Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked him the Nationals 10th best prospect.  He has yet to appear on any mainstream baseball cards although a quick eBay search shows that he has several cards in recent Nationals minor league team sets.

I decided to add Pivetta to the growing Chachi Almost set and hopefully he's appearing on a Chachi base card in the near future.  Given that he's recently appeared in three games for Double-A Harrisburg, I went ahead and assigned him to the Reading Fightin Phils for his card.  One of Papelbon's final Phillies cards (if not his final Phillies card) is from the recently released Allen & Ginter set.

Departed During Season
Grady Sizemore (6/1/15) - Released  (Signed with the Tampa Bay Rays organization 6/15/15)
Phillippe Aumont (6/24/15) - Designated for assignment and elected free agency (Signed with the Toronto Blue Jays organization 7/24/15)
Jonathan Papelbon (7/28/15) - Traded with cash considerations to the Washington Nationals for Nick Pivetta.

Arrived During Season
Kevin Correia (6/8/15) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the San Francisco Giants organization

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Phillies at Blue Jays: July 28th to July 29th


Tuesday and Wednesday 7:07
Rogers Centre - Toronto, Ontario

Phillies 37-63, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 16 1/2 games behind the Nationals
Blue Jays 50-50, Tied for 2nd Place in the A.L. East, 7 games behind the Yankees

Phillies Probables:  Adam Morgan (1-2, 4.28), Jerome Williams (3-7, 6.28)
Blue Jays Probables:  Felix Doubront (1-0, 4.34), R.A. Dickey (4-10, 4.53)

At the Ballpark:  There's nothing doing over the next two days inside the ballpark formerly known as the SkyDome.  No giveaways or special promotions are scheduled.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .302
Runs:  Ben Revere - 48
Home Runs:  Ryan Howard - 18
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 53
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 24

Wins:  Cole Hamels - 6
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 3.64
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 137
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 17

Blue Jays Leaders
Average:  Chris Colabello - .318
Runs:  Josh Donaldson - 70
Home Runs:  Josh Donaldson - 24
RBIs:  Josh Donaldson - 68
Stolen Bases:  Jose Reyes - 16*

Wins:  Mark Buehrle - 11
ERA:  Mark Buehrle - 3.29
Strikeouts:  Drew Hutchison - 98
Saves:  Brett Cecil and Roberto Osuna - 5

*Jose Reyes is now with the Rockies.  Kevin Pillar is active team leader with 15 stolen bases.

1985 Topps #688
1985 Topps Traded #80T
1985 Topps Appreciation:  I wrote about Len Matuszek's career when I featured his 1988 Topps card in a Dodgers series preview post.  Right before the start of the 1985 season, Matuszek was shipped to Toronto for prospects Ken Kinnard and Jose Escobar (neither ever played for the Phillies) and Phillies Room favorite Dave Shipanoff.

By the time Matuszek's Blue Jays card was released in the 1985 Topps Update set, he was already with the Dodgers, having been traded to L.A. on July 9th.  This is one of three baseball cards featuring him with the Blue Jays as he's also in the Fleer Update set and the Blue Jays Fire Safety set.

I was always bummed that Shipanoff didn't have a Phillies card in the 1985 Topps Traded set and I rectified that oversight with a custom card you can find here.

1909 T206 George McQuillan (Ball in Hand - Piedmont Back)


I recently achieved a significant milestone at my place of employment and I decided to celebrate the only way most 41-year-old men in my position would.  I bought an old, semi-expensive Phillies baseball card.

I guess I'm now a bit of a George McQuillan master collector, as this is my second card of the Phillies pitcher, both of which date from 1909.  I wrote at length about McQuillan when I added his American Caramel card to my Phillies collection three years ago.  This is also the second T206 card in my Phillies collection, as it joins the Mickey Doolan card I purchased a little over a year ago.

Similar to what I did when I posted the Doolan card, I wanted to share McQuillan's entry from the highly recommended book, The T206 Collection - The Players & Their Stories.

Monday, July 27, 2015

2016 Chachi Set: Which Topps Design?

1970 Topps #677
I'll admit I've been spending way too much time over the past few days hitting refresh on Twitter and MLB Trade Rumors, hoping for any Phillies scoop or consummated deals.  I realize this exercise is futile.  All the national (and local) media can report at this point is something along the lines of:

Sources telling me the Phillies are still in talks with Dodgers/Cubs/Rangers/Yankees/Blue Jays about Cole Hamels/Jonathan Papelbon/Ben Revere/Jeff Francoeur, or

Sources telling me the Phillies are listening to all potential suitors right now and they're ready to make a deal for the right pieces.

No one knows anything except the Phillies front office and these "sources" might as well be me.

With that in mind, and just between you and me, sources are telling me that the 2016 Chachi set will be based on the 1970 Topps set.  I'm actually a little surprised that as of this afternoon, votes for the 1970 Topps set have now doubled votes for the 1971 Topps set.

I'm assuming this is due to the 1970 Topps set having an underrated, underused design and maybe the folks who have voted here are ready for something different than the overused 1971 Topps design.  I'm digging the thought of spending the 2016 season with the 1970 Topps set and design and sources are also telling me that the 1971 Topps set is the early favorite for the 2017 Chachi set.

I'm going to leave this poll up until Topps goes live with its first look at its 2016 flagship set.  At that point, I'll take the poll down and officially announce the 2016 Chachi set design.  So please refresh your memories with this post and happy voting!

2015 Topps Pro Debut #166 Aaron Nola

Phillies 11, Cubs 5
Game 100 - Sunday Afternoon, July 26th in Chicago
Record - 37-63, 5th Place, 16 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The offense continued to rake against Cubs pitching and Aaron Nola pitched a solid ballgame to secure his first big league win.

What It Means:  The Phillies are now 8-1 since the All-Star break, which is their best post All-Star break start since the 1970 Phillies went 9-1.  This was their first three-game sweep in Chicago since August 2009 when Scott Eyre, Pedro Martinez and Cliff Lee were the team's winning pitchers.  The game won by new Hall of Famer Martinez happened to be his Phillies debut.

The Phillies are off today and they'll open a quick two-game series in Toronto tomorrow night.

What Happened:  Nola lasted 7 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits (two home runs) and striking out six.  Odubel Herrera and Domonic Brown both had three hits, with Brown and Maikel Franco each driving in three runs.  Franco (11) and Ryan Howard (18) homered in the win.

Featured Card:  I expect Nola to be all over the 2016 Topps releases, but for now the only 2015 Topps cards I have of his in my collection are from the Bowman and Bowman Inception sets and this Topps Pro Debut card showing him with the High-A Clearwater Threshers.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cole Hamels Throws No-Hitter!

2015 Chachi #52
Phillies 5, Cubs 0
Game 99 - Sunday Afternoon, July 25th in Chicago
Record - 36-63, 5th Place, 17 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  In what could possibly be his last start with the Phillies, Cole Hamels threw the the 13th no-hitter in team history as the Phillies won against the Cubs, 5-0.

What It Means:  Little did I know I'd witness history when I began working in our yard and mowing our lawn yesterday afternoon.  Listening to the radio broadcast of the game the entire time, I finished up after the fifth inning and sat in our garage to listen to the sixth and seventh innings.  I decided I didn't want to be exiled in the garage in case history was made, so I got over any lingering superstitions and went inside to watch the final two outs on TV with my family.

As Hamels collected the final outs he needed, my oldest son Doug could barely contain himself and my youngest son Ben wondered what all the commotion was about.  We jumped and screamed and clapped as Odubel Herrera somehow caught the final out of the game in center to preserve the no-hitter.  If this was in fact Hamels' last game as a Phillie, he gave us all a wonderful parting gift and a fantastic memory that I'll never forget.

What Happened:  Hamels struck out 13 and threw 129 pitches.  His only blemishes on the day were two walks allowed to Dexter Fowler.  Ryan Howard's three-run home run in the third gave Hamels all the run support he'd need.  The Phils scored twice more in the eighth when Cody Asche singled and Freddy Galvis blooped a double to the outfield grass behind first base.  Anthony Rizzo fielded the ball and immediately threw it beyond third, allowing Galvis to come around to score.

2015 Chachi #53
2015 Chachi #54
Featured Cards:  Hamels gets the main Highlight card here, but I also wanted to work in a Highlight card for Herrera and a Record Breaker card for Carlos Ruiz.  I was going to go with a few dreaded short-printed variation cards to accomplish this, but then I decided to just add three cards to the main set.  (Years from now, when set collectors are trying to put together their 2015 Chachi sets, they'll thank me for this.)

Ruiz joins Jason Varitek as the only catchers in Major League history to have caught four no-hitters and he becomes the only National League catcher to have accomplished this feat.  I also love the picture below capturing the moment after Herrera's grab when Ruiz and Howard were the first to greet Hamels on the mound.  Chase Utley (currently on the disabled list, but in Chicago) joined the trio a few seconds later.

Herrera's circus catch to record the 27th out preserved the no-hitter and he also made a nice play on a David Ross liner in the eighth for the second out of that inning.

Memory Lane
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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

2013 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs #BCA-CA Cody Asche

Phillies 5, Cubs 3 (10 Innings)
Game 98 - Friday Afternoon, July 24th in Chicago
Record - 35-63

One Sentence Summary:  Offensive heroics from Cody Asche and Jeff Francoeur contributed to this come from behind, extra inning win against the Cubs.

What It Means:  The Phillies are surprisingly 6-1 since the All-Star break.

What Happened:  Asche hit a two-run double in the fourth to give the Phillies a temporary 2-1 lead.  With the Cubs leading 3-2 in the ninth, he hit a double into the ivy in right-center to score Freddy Galvis with the tying run.  Galvis had reached on a triple.

Francoeur hit a two-run home run in the top of the 10th to give the Phils their lead and Jonathan Papelbon closed out the game (perhaps for the last time with the club?) for his 17th save.

Featured Card:  Asche had two clutch hits in this game, so he gets the honors.  This is the sole certified autograph card of Asche in my collection to date.  I'm hopeful that Asche's autograph has improved since two years ago.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Phillies at Cubs: July 24th to July 26th


Friday and Saturday 4:05, Sunday 2:20
Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL

Phillies 34-63, 5th Place in the N.L. East
Cubs 51-43, 3rd Place in the N.L. Central

Phillies Probables:  Jerome Williams (3-7, 6.43), Cole Hamels (5-7, 3.91), Aaron Nola (0-1, 1.50)
Cubs Probables:  Jon Lester (5-8, 3.37), Jake Arrieta (11-5, 2.52), Jason Hammel (5-4, 2.82)

At the Ballpark:  It looks as if it will be a great weekend to be at Wrigley!  The first 10,000 fans this afternoon will receive a Billy Williams replica statue.  On Saturday, the Cubs are giving away a Jorge Soler bobble head and on Sunday the first 5,000 kids will receive a Cubs batting helmet.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .300
Runs:  Ben Revere - 48
Home Runs:  Ryan Howard - 16
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 48
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 22

Wins:  Cole Hamels - 5
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 3.91
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 124
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 16

Cubs Leaders
Average:  Anthony Rizzo - .287
Runs:  Dexter Fowler - 58
Home Runs:  Anthony Rizzo - 16
RBIs:  Kris Bryant - 54
Stolen Bases:  Dexter Fowler - 15

Wins:  Jake Arrieta - 11
ERA:  Jake Arrieta - 2.52
Strikeouts:  Jake Arrieta - 133
Saves:  Hector Rondon - 12

1985 Topps #538
1985 Topps #484
1985 Topps #460
1985 Topps #189
1985 Topps #563
1985 Topps #124
1985 Topps #589
1985 Topps #210
1985 Topps Appreciation:  I've got a whole bunch of 1985 Topps cards featured today, as I thought I'd take a look at some the ex-Phillies who played for the Cubs in 1984.  When Dallas Green took over as the Cubs general manager in 1981, he began the process of bringing over as many former Phillies coaches and players as possible.

Along with the selected Phillies-related transactions detailed below, Green was responsible for bringing Lee Elia and John Vukovich over to the Cubs to serve as coaches.

12/8/81 - Acquired Dan Larson, Keith Moreland and Dickie Noles from the Phillies for Mike Krukow and cash.

1/27/82 - Acquired Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg from the Phillies for Ivan DeJesus.

6/1/82 - Signed Jay Johnstone as a free agent.

1/25/83 - Acquired Warren Brusstar and Steve Trout from the White Sox for Scott Fletcher, Randy Martz, Pat Tabler and Dick Tidrow.

5/22/83 - Acquired Dick Ruthven and Bill Johnson from the Phillies for Willie Hernandez.

1/5/84 - Signed Richie Hebner as a free agent.

3/26/84 - Acquired Bob Dernier, Gary Matthews and Porfi Altamirano from the Phillies for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz.

2015 TSR Custom #34 Odubel Herrera

Phillies 5, Rays 4 (10 Innings)
Game 97 - Wednesday Afternoon, July 22nd in Philadelphia
Record - 34-63, 5th Place, 19 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Odubel Herrera's pinch-hit RBI single in the 10th gave the Phillies a 5-4 win over the Rays.

What It Means:  With the sweep of the Marlins and this win in the Rays series, the Phillies have won back-to-back series for the first time this season.

What Happened:  Herrera's winning hit capped an impressive 11-pitch at-bat against Rays closer Brad Boxberger.  He would have had a double if he hadn't been tackled between first and second base by soon to be ex-Phillie Jonathan Papelbon.

Featured Card:  As luck would have it, my local Target finally got in a few blasters of the new 2015 TSR release, albeit from the early season Series One.  I absolutely love this set, as it's a throw-back to the baseball card designs that I enjoyed collecting as a younger lad.  The cards have a very simple Donruss-y design with some perfectly bizarre team color combinations in the spirit of late 1970s/early 1980s Topps sets.

The first Phillies card I pulled belonged to Herrera, memorializing the longer locks he sported earlier in the season which have now sadly been shorn.  If you want to see more of these fantastic cards, head on over to The Shlabotnik Report and tell them Jim sent you.

Don't forget to vote in the poll (on the left sidebar) to help determine the design to be used for the 2016 Chachi set!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

2015 Bowman Inception Prospect Autographs #PA-AN Aaron Nola

Rays 1, Phillies 0
Game 96 - Tuesday Night, July 21st in Philadelphia
Record - 33-63, 5th Place, 19 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola made his highly anticipated Major League debut, but a lack of run support from the offense gave the Rays a 1-0 win.

What It Means:  This was the first game in franchise history in which the Phillies lost 1-0 due to a home run from the opposing pitcher.

What Happened:  Nola pitched six innings, allowing five hits while striking out six.  His sole blemish was a solo home run allowed to Rays pitcher Nathan Karns in the third inning.  It was Karns' first career hit.  The offense never got going against six Rays pitchers, going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card/Field Report:  Doug and I were there and I splurged on upgrading our regular tickets to two seats in the Hall of Fame club for the occasion.  It was fantastic to be at a Phillies game that was actually exciting for a change!  We cheered on Nola and Doug received quite a few compliments on his "Nola 10" t-shirt that he had picked up at our recent Reading Fightin Phils outing.


I was very impressed that the Phillies already had a giant line-up card for Nola in Ashburn Alley.  Nola will undoubtedly have several more 2015 baseball cards to his name, and this is the most recent card of his to be added to my collection from the Bowman Inception set.  The Phils are now 3-5 in games I've attended this season.

Don't forget to vote in the poll (on the left sidebar) to help determine the design to be used for the 2016 Chachi set!

2015 Chachi #51 Aaron Nola

#27
Aaron Michael Nola
Starting Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  200
Born:  June 4, 1993, Baton Rouge, LA
Home:  Baton Rouge, LA
Drafted:  Selected by the Phillies in the 1st round of the June 2014 draft
Teams:  Phillies 2015
Acquired:  Via draft

2014 Grandstand Clearwater
Threshers #49
2014 Bowman Draft Picks
#DP4
11 Nola Baseball Cards in My Collection per Zistle
First Card:  2014 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #49
First Phillies Card:  2014 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Draft Picks #DP4
First Phillies Topps Base Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
Latest Card:  2015 Bowman Inception Prospect Autographs #PA-AN

First Chachi Base Card:  2015 Chachi #51

Nola Games I've Attended per Hardball Passport


Cards and game statistics through 7/22/15.

2015 Phillies Team Issue 2 #55 David Buchanan

Phillies 5, Rays 3
Game 95 - Monday Night, July 20th in Philadelphia
Record - 33-62, 5th Place, 19 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were able to bunch together some hits to support David Buchanan's fine pitching performance in a 5-3 win over the Rays.

What It Means:  This win brought the post-All Star game break win streak up to four.

What Happened:  Buchanan lasted into the seventh inning, allowing three runs on six hits.  Cesar Hernandez had a double and a triple and drove in a pair of runs.

Featured Card:  It seems strange to send down Buchanan after his first win of the season (see below) but the Phillies don't need a fifth starter for a little bit and I'm guessing they want to see if they have anything worthwhile in Jerome Williams prior to the trade deadline.  This is Buchanan's card from this year's second team issued set.

Virtual Phillies Wall Update:  Following this game, Buchanan was optioned to Lehigh Valley and Chad Billingsley was placed on the disabled list.  Williams was activated from the DL and last year's top draft pick Aaron Nola was recalled to make his Major League debut on Tuesday night.

Don't forget to vote in the poll (on the left sidebar) to help determine the design to be used for the 2016 Chachi set!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rays at Phillies: July 20th to July 22nd


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

Rays 47-47, Tied for 3rd Place in the A.L. East, 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees
Phillies 32-62, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 19 games behind the Nationals

Rays Probables:  Matt Moore (1-0, 7.07), Nate Karns (4-5, 3.63), Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 2.80)
Phillies Probables:  David Buchanan (0-5, 7.58), Aaron Nola (0-0, 0.00), Adam Morgan (1-2, 3.91)

At the Ballpark:  The big draw of this series is going to be the debut of last year's Phillies top draft pick, Aaron Nola.  Other than that, there are some themed ticket nights and kids can run the bases following Wednesday afternoon's game.

Rays Leaders
Average:  Joey Butler - .286
Runs:  Steven Souza - 41
Home Runs:  Steven Souza - 15
RBIs:  Evan Longoria - 41
Stolen Bases:  Steven Souza - 10

Wins:  Chris Archer - 9
ERA:  Chris Archer - 2.73
Strikeouts:  Chris Archer - 153
Saves:  Brad Boxberger - 23

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .299
Runs:  Ben Revere - 47
Home Runs:  Ryan Howard - 16
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 48
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 22

Wins:  Cole Hamels - 5
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 3.91
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 124
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 15

2015 Chachi #50 Jeff Francoeur HL

Phillies 8, Marlins 7
Game 94 - Sunday Afternoon, July 19th
Record - 32-62, 5th Place, 19 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Jeff Francoeur provided the heroics with a walk-off, two-run home run to give the Phillies an 8-7 victory and the series sweep.

What It Means:  The Phillies have started the second half with a 3-0 record and they'll face the Rays for three games beginning tonight.

What Happened:  For the second game in a row, and as several Major League scouts looked on, Cole Hamels looked awful.  Hamels left after three innings having allowed five runs on eight hits while throwing 76 pitches on a scorching hot day.

The Phillies plated five runs in the second capped by home runs from Ryan Howard and Freddy Galvis.  They took a 6-5 lead into the eighth, but Ken Giles couldn't preserve the lead.  Now trailing 7-6 heading to the ninth, Carlos Ruiz led off with a walk and Francoeur followed with his big hit a few pitches later.

Featured Card:  I don't feature Chachi Highlights cards for every walk-off win, but Francoeur has been one of the few first half bright spots for this team and I wanted to get him one more Phillies card before his inevitable trade in a few weeks' time.  Given the dearth of true Phillies highlights so far this season, I'll take my bright spots wherever I can get them.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

2015 Topps Archives #102 Ken Giles

Phillies 3, Marlins 1
Game 93 - Saturday Night, July 18th in Philadelphia
Record - 31-62, 5th Place, 20 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies scored early and hung on to down the Marlins, 3-1.

What It Means:  The Phillies could sweep the Marlins with a victory on Sunday afternoon.

What Happened:  First inning RBI singles from Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown gave the Phils all the runs they'd need.  Chad Billingsley got the win, but his outing was cut short when he left after five innings and 70 pitches with right elbow discomfort.

Featured Card:  Ken Giles hit 100 on the radar gun for the first time this season, striking out Adeiny Hechavarria in the eighth with the tying run in scoring position.  This is Giles' card from the recently released Topps Archives set.

Don't forget to vote in the poll (on the left sidebar) to help determine the design to be used for the 2016 Chachi set!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

2013 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs Update #16 Adam Morgan

Phillies 6, Marlins 3
Game 92 - Friday Night, July 17th in Philadelphia
Record - 30-62

One Sentence Summary:  The fine pitching of Adam Morgan and Jeff Francoeur's three-run pinch-hit home run sealed the 6-3 win for the Phillies.

What It Means:  On the day it was announced that Aaron Nola would make his Major League debut this Tuesday, the Phillies opened up the second half of the season with a much needed win.

What Happened:  The Phillies took advantage of several Marlins miscues in this game.  In the decisive eighth inning, Maikel Franco broke a 2-2 tie when he lofted a ball to the outfield that was completely misplayed by center fielder Cole Gillespie.  Odubel Herrera scored the Phillies third run of the game on the play, and a few batters later Francoeur hit his home run.

Featured Card:  Morgan continues to impress, as he cruised through 6 1/3 innings allowing two runs on four hits.  This is one of four cards in my collection featuring Morgan with the Triple-A IronPigs. 

Don't forget to vote in the poll (on the left sidebar) to help determine the design to be used for the 2016 Chachi set!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Marlins at Phillies: July 17th to July 19th


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

Marlins 38-51, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 11 games behind the Nationals
Phillies 29-62, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 21 games behind the Nationals

Marlins Probables:  Jose Fernandez (2-0, 2.08), Tom Koehler (7-5, 3.40), Dan Haren (7-5, 3.24)
Phillies Probables:  Adam Morgan (1-2, 4.32), Chad Billingsley (1-3, 6.75), Cole Hamels (5-7, 3.63)

At the Ballpark:  Saturday night is Photo Night with all fans being invited down on the field prior to the game to take pictures of their favorite Phillies players.  I believe this is the first time this particular promotion has taken place prior to a night game.  All fans also receive a magnetic photo frame on Saturday night.  On Sunday, fans 15 and over will receive a Phillies travel mug.

Marlins Leaders
Average:  Dee Gordon - .338
Runs:  Giancarlo Stanton - 47
Home Runs:  Giancarlo Stanton - 27
RBIs:  Giancarlo Stanton - 67
Stolen Bases:  Dee Gordon - 33

Wins:  Dan Haren and Tom Koehler - 7
ERA:  Dan Haren - 3.24
Strikeouts:  Dan Haren - 79
Saves:  A.J. Ramos - 14

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .297
Runs:  Ben Revere - 45
Home Runs:  Ryan Howard - 15
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 45
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 21

Wins:  Cole Hamels - 5
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 3.63
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 123
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 14

1985 Topps #713
1985 Topps #714
1985 Topps Appreciation:  I thought this would be a good time to feature two of the Phillies-related All Star cards from the original 1985 Topps set.  Mike Schmidt and Ryne Sandberg started in the same infield for the N.L. All-Stars in 1984, 1986 and 1987.  Both were also recently named to the Franchise Four teams for the Phillies and Cubs respectively.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Introducing the Virtual Phillies Wall


Back in September 2009, I wrote about my personal Phillies Wall and explained its genesis as follows: 
Since the early '80s, I had maintained a Phillies Wall.  Either on a bulletin board in my 12th Street bedroom, on the back of a closet door or now in the first incarnation of The Phillies Room - otherwise known as the first floor of The Crick.  The Phillies Wall faithfully and accurately reported the current Phillies roster seven days a week, twelve months a year using baseball cards of the current roster.  If a roster move was made, the Wall was updated with the appropriate player's baseball card. The Wall never failed.  The Wall was a constant.  Even during the Dark Times of the early '00s, the Wall was updated.
The Phillies Wall exists today in the actual Phillies Room, but a lack of production time (and printer ink) means that I'm no longer taking the time to print and update the physical wall.  The picture above was taken yesterday and it shows the Phillies roster at some point last season.  (I'm not sure what happened to the fifth starter's card.)  Before updating for the 2014 roster, the last time I had actually printed and updated the Phillies Wall was for the 2011 postseason roster.

The outdated-ness of the actual Phillies Wall was pointed out to me recently by my oldest son Doug who couldn't believe Kyle Kendrick was still being displayed.  He was alarmed and a little dismayed.

I think I've come up with a solution and we'll see how this goes.  During the All-Star break, I came up with the idea for a Virtual Phillies Wall which you can see by clicking here.  I've also linked to Virtual Phillies Wall on the left sidebar.  I'm going to attempt to update this for every Phillies transaction, trade, promotion or demotion and we'll see if I can keep up with it.  I'll need to re-format a little when rosters expand to 40 players and new players who arrive in the offseason will have their 2016 Chachi New Additions or Departures cards included.

This should be fun and I'm looking forward to giving it a test drive during what should surely be a busy time for the Phillies roster over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Papelbon Fails to Get Off the Pot

2015 Chachi #49
American League 6, National League 3
All-Star Game - Tuesday Night, July 14th in Cincinnati

One Sentence Summary:  Mike Trout hit a lead-off home run and the A.L. would go on to win their third All-Star game in a row.

What It Means:  The A.L. will have home field advantage in the World Series.  At this point, I'm rooting for the Angels, Astros or Royals (in that order) to match up in the World Series against the Dodgers or Pirates.  Trout won MVP honors for the second year in a row, becoming the first player ever to do that.  Makes me proud to be a Thunderbolt.  (See here for reference.)

What Happened:  Trout scored twice and set the pace of the game with his home run off Zack Greinke.  Prince Fielder and Lorenzo Cain drove in two runs in the third off Clayton Kershaw to break a 1-1 tie.  Manny Machado (two-run double), Fielder (sacrifice fly) and Brian Dozier (solo home run) added insurance runs for the A.L.  Andrew McCutchen had the sole home run for the N.L.

My oldest son Doug and I watched this game together until sleep got the better of Doug around the sixth inning.  By then we had both stopped complaining about the ridiculous looking pinstriped hats being worn by both teams.  Here's a closer look at the uniforms and hats worn by both leagues.

Featured Card:  With a little luck, and if the right buyer can be found, this will be the final Chachi card of Jonathan Papelbon that I ever have to create.  Papelbon was the obligatory Phillies player selected to represent the team in Cincinnati.  His services weren't needed, and it was the first time since 1998 that no Phillies player appeared in the game.  Curt Schilling was the lone Phillies representative in 1998 and he sat that one out.

Papelbon didn't hold back during Monday's media session, and he unleashed a few more gems following Tuesday night's game.  Jim Salisbury summarized Papelbon's pot sitting comments in this CSNPhilly.com article.  I wouldn't mind if the door hit him a little on his way out.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015 Chachi Team Logo Stickers

Happy All-Star Game day!

In celebration of tonight's game, here are the 30 team logo stickers available (one each) in every pack of 2015 Chachi cards.  Using the 1985 Topps design and team color schemes for inspiration, these stickers have adorned the top of each series preview post this season.  I had to take a few liberties with the color schemes used for the post-1985 expansion teams, but overall I like how these turned out this year.

Let's go National League!