Friday, July 31, 2009

2006 Chachi #34 Aaron Rowand HL

There are a few moments from recent memory that serve to cement a player's legacy in Philadelphia as a fan-favorite. Bob Dernier's game-winning, inside-the-park home run in 1988, Matt Stairs' pinch-hit home run in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS, and Aaron Rowand's amazing, yet painful, catch back on May 11, 2006 are just such moments.

Running at full speed and with his back to the infield, Aaron Rowand somehow caught Xavier Nady's deep fly ball in the top of the 1st inning that night. The catch ended the inning and helped Gavin Floyd escape a bases-loaded jam against the Mets. The Phils would eventually win the rain-shortened game by a score of 2-0. Aaron broke his nose, suffered fractures around his left eye and received 15 stitches for face lacerations, yet somehow held onto the ball.

Aaron played just two seasons with the Phillies (2005-2006) before leaving for San Francisco via free agency. During his short time here, his hustle, his team-first attitude and "the catch" guarantee him a standing ovation each time he comes back to Philadelphia.

2009 Chachi #53 Ben Francisco

Ben will wear #10 with the Phillies. He had been #12 with the Indians, but that number is currently occupied by a legendary Philadelphia folk hero.

Phillies debut: July 30, 2009
Major League debut: May 1, 2007
Former team: Cleveland Indians 2007-2009
How acquired: Acquired from the Cleveland Indians with Cliff Lee for Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp and Lou Marson, July 29, 2009
Pictured: Phillies website head shot for now.

Ben Francisco plugs another hole within the Phillies' 25-man roster by providing a legitimate right-handed bat off the bench. He'll also see occasional spot starts in all three outfield positions, although he's played mostly in left over the past few seasons. John Mayberry, Jr. will head back down to AAA Lehigh Valley to continue to work on his swing.

UPDATE, August 31 - I've commandeered the picture from the Phillies Team Issue Update set.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009 Chachi #52 Cliff Lee

Have I mentioned yet I'm excited about this deal? Driving to work this morning, listening to Baseball This Morning on XM, Scott Graham and Buck Martinez were actually going through the Phillies' potential Postseason pitching rotations. They were debating who will start Game 3 after Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. We're still in July, and smart baseball people are talking about how the Phillies will line up their starting rotation for the Postseason. Hard to believe, Harry.

Cliff is going to go with uniform #34, which is the number he wore in Cleveland in 2003 and 2004. He probably could have had his more familiar #31, as he's most likely taking the rotation spot of the current #31, Rodrigo Lopez.

Phillies debut:
Pending (tomorrow night)
Major League debut: September 15, 2002
Former team: Cleveland Indians 2002-2009
How acquired: Acquired from the Cleveland Indians with Ben Francisco for Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp and Lou Marson, July 29, 2009
Pictured: For now, it's a picture from this afternoon from Todd Zolecki's Twitter page. I'll update this with an action shot after tomorrow night's game. (UPDATE, July 31 - You know what? I like this picture, so it's staying. I'll remember this picture as the first shot I saw of the team's new ace in a Phillies uniform. Besides, I'll make sure Cliff has an action shot for his 2010 Chachi card).

Cliff Lee has been traded twice in his career and both times it was to teams managed by Charlie Manuel. On June 27, 2002, the Montreal Expos traded Cliff with Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens to the Indians for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew. Charlie would be fired by the Indians two weeks after this trade due to a contract dispute.

2008 Topps Update & Highlights #UH228 Joe Blanton

1 day away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 17, 2008: Joe Blanton acquired from the Oakland Athletics for Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman and Matthew Spencer

Joe Blanton was the final piece of the pitching puzzle resulting in the Phillies' 2008 World Series title. The Phillies were 9-4 in Joe's 13 starts following his acquisition from the A's. The team also won all three games Joe started in the Postseason.

Phillies at Giants: July 30th through August 2nd

Thursday & Friday 10:15, Saturday 9:05, Sunday 4:05

Records: Phillies 58-41, 1st Place in NL East (6 games ahead of the Marlins); Giants 55-46, 2nd Place in NL West (7 games behind the Dodgers)
Former Phillies with the Giants: Giants' center fielder Aaron Rowand (2006-2007) is still extremely popular in Philly. Mike Krukow (1982) has been announcing Giants games for 19 years. Ron Schueler (1974-1976) and Joe Lefebvre (1983-1986) are both listed on the Giants home page as Senior Advisors, Player Personnel. Former Phillies coach Jim Davenport (1986-1987) is a Special Assistant, Player Development for the Giants.
Vacation, all I ever wanted: Once again and for the last time this summer, vacation time is here! Please look for posts containing a few updated wantlists over the next several days.
Phillies Probables: Rodrigo Lopez, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels (Probables? I'd expect this to be tweaked given the addition of Cliff Lee)
Giants Probables: Jonathan Sanchez, Ryan Sadowski, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Newest Cleveland Indians

2009 Upper Deck Goudey #152 Lou Marson
2009 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #5 Carlos Carrasco
2009 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #7 Jason Donald
2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP120 Jason Knapp

The Phillies Room bids a fond farewell to the quartet of prospects traded this afternoon to the Cleveland Indians. Of the four, only catcher Lou Marson (2008-2009) spent time with the Phillies, appearing in 8 games, going 6 for 21 (.286) with a home run. We watched Lou catch for the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs a few weekends ago.

Right-handed pitcher Carlos Carrasco entered the year as the Phillies' top pitching prospect, but he's struggled so far this season. With the IronPigs, Carlos had a record of 6-9 and a 5.18 ERA. Shortstop Jason Donald has struggled as well with his transition to AAA, hitting just .236 with the IronPigs. Jason won a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. I'm assuming Lou, Carlos and Jason will all report to the Indians' AAA team, the Columbus Clippers. Interestingly enough, the Clippers are visiting Lehigh Valley for a 3-game series this upcoming weekend.

Jason Knapp
is viewed by many as the centerpiece of the deal for the Indians. In 85.1 innings with Low A Lakewood this summer, Jason has 111 strikeouts to just 39 walks. However, Jason was recently shut down with "shoulder fatigue."

I think this is a great deal for the Phillies, and the deal has future upside for the Indians. The only question remaining for the Phillies - who gets bumped from the starting rotation to make room for Cliff Lee?

2004 Topps Heritage Then & Now #TN4 Robin Roberts & Roy Halladay

There has been a deal.

No, not this guy . . . that other guy. We got the guy who won the 2008 AL Cy Young Award and cost the Phillies way less than what the Blue Jays wanted for this guy. (Pending medical evaluations, of course).

The Phillies have acquired pitcher Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Carlos Carrasco, pitcher Jason Knapp, shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson.

The latest 2009 Chachi cards will follow as soon as the whole thing is official. I'll also have a final Phillies Room tribute to the departing quartet of prospects. Isn't trade deadline time a magical time of year?

2007 Chachi #49 Tadahito Iguchi

2 days away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 27, 2007: Tadahito Iguchi acquired from the Chicago White Sox for Michael Dubee
July 30, 2007: Kyle Lohse acquired from the Cincinnati Reds for Matt Maloney

This is where former general manager Pat Gillick shined. As other teams were out making huge acquisitions, stripping their farm systems in the process, Gillick picked up small pieces here and there. Maybe there's a lesson to be learned from that approach . . .

Tadahito Iguchi started 27 games at second base in 2007 as Chase Utley recovered from a broken hand. He was the first Japanese-born player in Phillies' history and his performance was key to the Phillies staying in the pennant race and eventually winning the NL East.

On August 30, 2007, Tadahito singled and scored the winning run in a dramatic come from behind victory against the Mets. Jimmy Rollins recently credited this win as the true beginning of the Phillies new-found, never say die winning attitude.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 SP Legendary Cuts #35 Cole Hamels

Tonight's game will end too late for this post.

6 Inning Summary: Through six innings in Phoenix, the Phillies lead the Diamondbacks by a score of 3-1. Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels has surrendered just four hits so far, while striking out eight. Dan Haren struggled through five innings, leaving the game after throwing 117 pitches. The offense has been paced by Shane Victorino's solo home run in the 3rd inning and his 2-run double in the 5th inning.

Prediction: Following a bizarre brawl in which both benches will empty, the Phillies will hang on to win the game by a final score of 4-3. The brawl will begin when Diamondbacks' relief pitcher Clay Zavada insults the beards of both Eric Bruntlett and Chan Ho Park. (Clay is sporting an impressive handle-bar mustache these days).

Actual Results (UPDATE, June 29):
I scanned the reports of the game, and I could find no evidence of an incident involving Eric Bruntlett or Chan Ho Park. So I was wrong on that one. But the final score was indeed 4-3, following a 2-run home run by Mark Reynolds off closer Brad Lidge. Anyone else worried about our closer's 7.11 ERA?

2006 Chachi #51 Trade Deadline HL

3 days away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 22, 2006: Sal Fasano traded to the New York Yankees for Hector Made
July 28, 2006: David Bell traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Wilfrido Laureano
July 30, 2006: Ryan Franklin traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Zac Stott
July 30, 2006: Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle traded to the New York Yankees for C.J. Henry, Matt Smith, Jesus Sanchez and Carlos Monasterios
July 31, 2006: Rheal Cormier traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Jason Germano

These too were rough days to be a Phillies fan. It seemed as if the team wasn't going anywhere, and we traded away a lot for very little in return. Jenna was especially distraught over the departure of Rheal.

Amazingly enough, the dismantling had the effect of rejuvenating the team, as they finished the season just 3 games back in the NL Wild Card race.

2005 Chachi #48 A.J. Hinch

If you don't remember current Diamondbacks' manager A.J. Hinch's time with the Phillies, you're probably not alone. A.J. spent the majority of the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the Phils' AAA team in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as their back-up catcher.

When rosters expanded to 40 players on September 1, 2004, A.J. was recalled and appeared in 4 games with the Phillies, hitting .182. He started only one game, on September 18th against the Expos, catching all 14 innings in the extra-inning loss and going 1 for 5.

The following year, A.J. was once again recalled when rosters expanded on September 1, 2005. However, this time he'd spend the entire month on the active roster without appearing in one single game with the Phillies. He was the first player cut following the 2005 season, refusing his assignment to Scranton and electing free agency. Shortly afterwards, he was named manager of minor league operations for the Diamondbacks. The rest, as they say, is history.

Monday, July 27, 2009

2009 Topps Phillies #PHI2 Ryan Howard

Tonight's game will end too late for this post.

4 Inning Summary: In Phoenix, Jamie Moyer found himself in trouble early, but he somehow escaped unscathed. Through 3 innings, the game was scoreless and the Diamondbacks' Jon Garland had not allowed a hit. In the 4th, Ryan Howard followed a Chase Utley single with his 26th home run of the year, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

Prediction: The Phils will continue to score and Paul Bako will have a break-out game, finishing the night with 3 hits and 4 RBI. Jamie Moyer will settle in, pitching into the 6th inning. Final score - Phillies 6, Diamondbacks 1.

Actual Results (UPDATE, June 28):
I was close, and if not for Paul Bako's 0 for 3, I would have been extremely impressed with my prediction. The Phils ended up winning last night's game by a final score of 6-2. Jamie Moyer pitched into the 7th inning and Brad Lidge managed to pitch a 1-2-3 9th inning to close it out. The game ended around 12:30, so I made the right call in turning in early.

2005 Chachi #44 Matt Kata

4 days away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 21, 2005: Tim Worrell traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Matt Kata

I debated even listing this deal, as it was more a result of the Phils wanting to deal an unhappy pitcher than it was about improving for the stretch run. So we'll acknowledge the trade, admire Matt Kata's Chachi card, and move on.

Phillies at Diamondbacks: July 27th through July 29th

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 9:40

Records: Phillies 56-40, 1st Place in NL East (6½ games ahead of the Braves and Marlins); Diamondbacks 43-56, 4th Place in NL West (19½ games behind the Dodgers)
Former Phillies with the Diamondbacks: Former Phillies' closer Tom Gordon is on the 60-day disabled list with a hamstring injury, although reports are that he's close to returning to the team. He's thrown just 1.2 innings this year in the Majors. Current Diamondbacks' manager A.J. Hinch played briefly with the Phillies in 2004. He took over the team on May 8, following the dismissal of Bob Melvin.
The Phillies Room Sleep Deprivation Worries III: I'm not going to do it this week. I can't stay up and watch these late games in Arizona and San Francisco. I have to be well-rested and ready to give it my best each day at work this week, so I'll watch the first inning of each game and then turn in early. (Or I'll probably watch every game and be completely exhausted by the weekend).
Phillies Probables: Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ (or whoever he's traded for . . .)
Diamondbacks Probables: Jon Garland, Dan Haren, Yusmeiro Petit

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2009 O-Pee-Chee #259 Joe Blanton

Things continue to go the Phillies' way. The Phils won again this afternoon against the Cardinals, 9-2, pounding four home runs in the process. They are now a season-high 16 games over .500 with a 6½ game lead over both the Braves and Marlins.

On a hot and steamy day in Philly, Joe Blanton gave up just two runs in 8 solid innings of work, striking out six and scattering seven hits. Who needs Roy Halladay anyway?

The offensive highlights:
- Chase Utley gave the Phils an early 3-1 lead with a 2-run home run in the 2nd inning. It was his 22nd home run of the year, and he'd finish the day 3 for 4.
- Ryan Howard went 3 for 3 with a 2-run home run in the 5th inning, his 25th.
- Jimmy Rollins hit a 2-run home in the 6th inning, his 10th.
- Raul Ibañez added a 2-run home run in the 7th inning, his 26th.

When Bees Attack: The Phillies Room is accepting any and all home remedies for dealing with multiple bee stings. Apparently, some bees form nests in the ground and they do not enjoy being run over by lawn mowers. Who knew?

2004 Upper Deck Update #563 Felix Rodriguez

5 days away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 30, 2004: Felix Rodriguez acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Ricky Ledee and Alfredo Simon
July 31, 2004: Todd Jones and Brian Correll acquired from the Cincinnati Reds for Josh Hancock and Anderson Machado

Sadly, Todd Jones does not have a Phillies card. (In 2004, I was still a year away from the inaugural Chachi set). Even more sadly, the Phillies would fail to make the Postseason yet again, despite bolstering their bullpen at the trade deadline. Both pitchers acquired pitched well enough, but the Phils finished the season 10 games behind the Braves in the NL East and 6 games behind the Astros in the Wild Card race.

Todd Jones left the team after the season via free agency, signing with the Florida Marlins. He'd play four more seasons in the Majors, saving 133 games for the Marlins and the Tigers.

F-Rod (yes, F-Rod), was traded to the Yankees in December 2004 for Kenny Lofton. He'd play for the Yankees in 2005 and the Nationals in 2006 before calling it a career.

1984 Topps #132 Home Run Leaders - Mike Schmidt & Jim Rice

Congratulations to the Hall of Fame Class of 2009!

Ricky Henderson
- Athletics, Yankees, Blue Jays, Padres, Angels, Mets, Mariners, Red Sox, Dodgers (1979-2003)
- All-time stolen base leader, All-time runs scored leader, 1990 AL MVP, Hit .227 with a stolen base agains the Phillies in the 1993 World Series.

Jim Rice
- Red Sox (1974-1989)
- 1978 AL MVP, 382 career home runs, 8-time All-Star, 3-time home run champion (including 1983 with NL leader Mike Schmidt)

Joe Gordon
- Yankees & Indians (1938-1950)
- 1942 AL MVP, 9-time All-Star, on 5 World Series winning teams, World War II Veteran

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2009 Chachi #51 Steven Register

One of the Phillies' strengths last year was their dependable bullpen. Half of that bullpen is now on the disabled list, as Clay Condrey returned to the injured ranks today, joining Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero. Steven Register (wearing #21) was recalled from AAA Lehigh Valley to take Clay's spot on the roster. In desperate need of fresh bullpen arms, the Phils also sent Andrew Carpenter down to AAA, bringing back Kyle Kendrick to take his place.

Phillies debut: July 25, 2009
Major League debut: August 4, 2008
Former team: Colorado Rockies 2008
How acquired: Claimed off waivers from the Colorado Rockies, May 20, 2009
Pictured: Steven struggled through the 8th and 9th innings of the blow-out today against the Cardinals.

2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History #73 Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins hit his 6th inning grand slam to put the Phillies ahead for good this afternoon against the Cardinals, and my entire neighborhood immediately knew it.

Doug requested a picnic dinner tonight, so that meant we were grilling and eating outside on our back patio. As we were dining on the perfectly grilled Italian sausages with just the right amount of grilled red peppers and onions, perfectly plated I might add, we had the radio tuned to the Phillies game. The Phils were down 4-3 when they loaded the bases for J-Roll.

Jimmy's second career grand slam cleared the fence, and our little family loudly cheered and waved and shouted "Go Phillies!," thrilled with the sudden 7-4 lead in the game. Somewhere a dog barked. The next batter, Shane Victorino, followed up with a solo home run and the entire unabashed celebration began again . . .

The Phillies ultimately won the game, 14-6, following the further pounding of the Cardinals' bullpen. Shane finished the game with 4 hits, and Jimmy knocked in a career high 5 runs. Rodrigo Lopez improved his record to 3-0, pitching six solid innings. The Phils are once again 15 games above .500, with a 6 game lead over the Marlins as of this writing.

2003 Fleer Tradition Update #U152 Mike Williams

6 days away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 20, 2003: Mike Williams acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Frank Brooks.

On the day this trade was made, the Phils were 11 games out of first place in the NL East and had six teams ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. For the Phils to have made a run at the Postseason, they probably needed a little more than Mike Williams.

In his second stint with the Phillies, and in his 12th and final Major League season, Mike did not pitch well. In 28 games, Mike went 0-4 with a 5.96 ERA. In 25.2 innings pitched, he allowed 24 hits and 19 walks. That's too many.

If I remember correctly, Mike, along with Jose Mesa, was one of the few active Phillies who did not take the field for the Veterans Stadium closing ceremonies. I was also annoyed at Topps for including Mike in its 2004 Topps Heritage set, even though the Phils had set him loose in October 2003.

1972 Topps #751 Steve Carlton

In February 1972, the Phillies and Cardinals swapped pitchers Rick Wise and Steve Carlton. Rick had played in parts of seven seasons for the Phils, compiling a respectable 75-76 record with a 3.60 ERA for teams spending most of the summer entrenched firmly at the bottom of the NL standings. He was 26 at the time of the trade, and he was coming off a season in which he was the Phils' lone All-Star Game representative.

Steve, who was also 26, had spent parts of seven seasons with the Cardinals, putting together a record of 77-62, an ERA of 3.10 and striking out 951 to just 449 walks. A three-time All-Star, Steve pitched in three World Series games with the Cardinals in 1967 and 1968. On paper, I guess the trade seemed fair for both teams at the time.

Only that Steve "Lefty" Carlton would go on to have one of the best single-season pitching performances in the modern baseball era in 1972. For a bad, bad team, Lefty won 27 games, and he led the NL in ERA (1.97), complete games (30) and strikeouts (310). Overall, the Phillies won just 59 games in 1972. Lefty took care of 27 and every other person on their pitching staff managed to win just 32. He was easily the unanimous choice for the NL Cy Young award, receiving all 24 first place votes cast.

Friday, July 24, 2009

2003 Topps #531 Placido Polanco

7 days away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 26, 2002: Scott Rolen and Doug Nickle traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin and Bud Smith

I've previously discussed my feelings on the whole Scott Rolen debacle . . .

Placido Polanco would play in parts of four seasons (2002-2005) with the Phillies, ultimately being usurped by Chase Utley. In 344 games, as the team's primary third baseman or second baseman, Placido hit .297. There is no truth to the rumor that the English translation of his name is Randy Ready.

Mike Timlin finished the 2002 season with the Phils, pitching 30 games in relief with a 3.79 ERA, and then moved onto the Boston Red Sox after the season. Bud Smith never pitched a game for the Phillies.

2001 Upper Deck Victory #483 Bruce Chen

7 days away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 23, 2001: Todd Pratt acquired from the New York Mets for Gary Bennett
July 27, 2001: Dennis Cook and Turk Wendell acquired from the New York Mets for Bruce Chen and Adam Walker
July 27, 2001: Felipe Crespo acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Wayne Gomes

The Phillies decided to be buyers when the 2001 non-waiver trade deadline rolled around. In second place and only a few games behind the first place Atlanta Braves, the Phils went in search of bullpen help. They did not find it.

Dennis Cook and Turk Wendell combined to go 0-2 with a blown save and a 6.75 ERA. The team would finish the year 2 games behind the Braves, failing to make the Playoffs.

Cardinals at Phillies: July 24th through July 26th

Friday 7:05, Saturday 4:05, Sunday 1:35

Records: Cardinals 52-46, 1st Place in NL Central (1½ games ahead of the Cubs and Astros); Phillies 54-39, 1st Place in NL East (6½ games ahead of the Braves and Marlins)
The Catalyst: In games in which Jimmy Rollins scores a run, the Phillies are 39-8 this year.
Played with the Cardinals and the Phillies: Per Baseball Reference.com, 295 players have played for both the Cardinals and the Phillies, including - Ricky Bottalico, Steve Carlton, Rheal Cormier, Pickles Dillhoefer, Del Ennis, Tommy Herr, Gregg Jefferies, Steve Lake, Bake McBride, Abraham Nunez, Placido Polanco, Scott Rolen, Dick Sisler, Lonnie Smith, So Taguchi and Andy Van Slyke
Cardinals Probables: Joel Pineiro, Kyle Lohse, Todd Wellemeyer
Phillies Probables: J.A. Happ, Rodrigo Lopez, Joe Blanton

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2007 Topps Turkey Red #10 Jimmy Rollins

To celebrate his 100th tribute card, Goose Joak is hosting a contest. Can you guess which card I chose as my favorite Goose Joak Tribute?

Hint: It has something to do with this card.

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter #151 Cole Hamels

A new win streak begins! The Phillies finished off the last-place Padres tonight by a score of 9-4. Cole Hamels won his 6th game of the year, pitching seven innings and allowing three runs (all in the 4th inning) while striking out six.

Every member of the Phils' starting eight had at least one hit in tonight's game, with Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz contributing three hits a piece. Raul Ibañez and Ryan Howard both reached the 70-RBI plateau tonight.

The Phils open up a 3-game series with the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals tomorrow night.

Perfect Game: Comcast showed footage of the Phillies' clubhouse watching Mark Buehrle pitch the 18th perfect game in Major League history this afternoon. Jenna tells me Clay Condrey was particularly excited when Dewayne Wise made his amazing catch to preserve the perfecto.

2009 Upper Deck #801 Clay Condrey

Clay Condrey recently returned from a stint on the disabled list to resume his role as a valuable middle-inning right handed reliever. A benefactor of being in the right place at the right time, Clay is tied for third on the team with 6 wins.

Clay was acquired from the Padres towards the end of Spring Training 2004 in a move completely ignored by most Phillies fans, including me. In 2004, Clay led AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in games started (27) and innings pitched (155). In 2005, Clay was summoned to the Phils on July 21, but unfortunately did not appear in any games with the team before being sent back down on July 24. (His inclusion on the roster was good enough for a Chachi card however, and Clay appears as card #43 in the inaugural Chachi set).

Clay was shuttled back and forth between the Phillies and AAA in 2006 and 2007, getting the call to the big leagues seven different times over the two year period. In Spring Training 2008, Clay set a personal goal of being on the Phils' big league roster from Opening Day through the end of the season. He accomplished his mission by making it not only to the end of the regular season, but by being a contributor on the Phils' Postseason roster.

2000 Fleer Focus #34 Curt Schilling

8 days away . . . The Phillies Room counts down to the Trade Deadline

July 12, 2000: Andy Ashby traded to the Atlanta Braves for Bruce Chen and Jimmy Osting
July 26, 2000: Curt Schilling traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Travis Lee, Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla and Nelson Figueroa
July 26, 2000: Rob Ducey traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a PTBNL (John Sneed or some might say . . . himself)
July 30, 2000: Ron Gant traded to the Anaheim Angels for cash

These were dark days. On the day General Manager Ed Wade pulled the trigger to trade the team's ace, the Phillies were in last place, 17 games behind the first place Braves.

Padres at Phillies: July 23rd

Thursday 7:05

Records: Padres 37-58, Last Place in NL West (24 games behind the Dodgers); Phillies 53-39, 1st Place in NL East (5½ games ahead of the Braves)
Blame it on the rain: This is the make-up of the rained out April 20th game.
Last Trade Between the Padres and the Phillies: The Phillies acquired pitcher Clay Condrey from the Padres on March 28, 2004, for Trino Aguilar.
Padres probable: Kevin Correia
Phillies probable: Cole Hamels

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1991 Topps #232 Jose DeJesus

An 11th win in a row was not to be in 2009. The Cubs roughed up Jamie Moyer, Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge this afternoon, defeating the Phils 8-5. Having seen enough, Charlie Manuel was ejected in the sixth inning.

1991 Flashback: But the Phils were able to win their 11th in a row on August 10, 1991, defeating the Expos 4-2. Jose DeJesus pitched seven strong innings, allowing only one earned run. In the seventh inning, a Lenny Dykstra RBI-double followed by a Wes Chamberlain RBI-single put the Phils ahead for good. The win pulled the Phils to within 12½ games of the first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

I haven't been able to confirm this, but I believe The Phillies Room is the first blog in the history of blogs to feature both Ivan and Jose DeJesus in the same week. (Ivan and Jose are no relation to each other).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter #156 Jayson Werth

Jayson Werth's 3-run home run in the bottom of the 13th tonight gave the Phils the 4-1 win and extended their win streak to 10 games!

The other stars of the game were Joe Blanton and the Phillies' bullpen. Joe pitched seven strong innings allowing just the one Cubs' run. Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Chan Ho Park and Clay Condrey pitched 6 innings of scoreless relief, with Chan Ho throwing 3 scoreless frames. In his last 16 games, Chan Ho's ERA is 1.82.

1991 Flashback: The last time the Phillies won 10 in a row was August 1991. On August 9, 1991, the Phils defeated the Expos, 5-4, when Dickie Thon's sacrifice fly scored John Kruk in the eighth inning with the go-ahead run. Ricky Jordan hit a 3-run pinch-hit double in the seventh inning as 13,297 fans watched the game at the Vet.

Doug Report: Doug attended his third game of the year, lasting until the fifth inning before toddler fatigue set in. The highlight of his evening was practicing his Rauuuuul cheer, much to the pleasure of our section.

1983 Fleer #157 Ivan DeJesus

Why Paul Owens? Why? As covered during the infancy of The Phillies Room, the Phillies traded Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg to the Chicago Cubs on January 27, 1982 for shortstop Ivan DeJesus. DeJesus was coming off a 1981 season in which he hit .194 with no home runs and 13 RBI for the Cubs. Known mostly for his glove, Ivan hit .249 in three years with the Phils (1982-1984). He was the team's starting shortstop during its 1983 NL Championship season.

Ivan was traded to the Cardinals in April 1985 with Bill Campbell for relief pitcher Dave Rucker. He played a total of 15 seasons in the Majors with the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals, Yankees, Giants and Tigers.

Ivan's son, Ivan Jr., was named the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2008 minor league player of the year. Unfortunately, Ivan Jr. broke his leg in Spring Training in a home plate collision, and he's expected to miss the entire season.

Monday, July 20, 2009

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter #198 Raul Ibañez

9 in a row for the hottest team in baseball! The Phillies pounded the Cubs tonight, 10-1, to extend their winning streak and keep their lead in the NL East at 6½ games. Rodrigo Lopez had another effective outing, pitching six strong innings and earning his second win as a Phillie.

Raul Ibañez started the scoring in the first inning with a 3-run blast against Cubs' starter Ted Lilly. It was Raul's 25th home run of the season. Carlos Ruiz kept things going with his own 2-run home run in the second inning. A 4-run fourth inning, aided by an Alfonso Soriano error, and a Ryan Howard solo shot in the eighth inning gave the Phils the easy win.

Pitching Notes: Apparently, Brett Myers is saying he could return to the Phillies' bullpen by mid-August . . . Pedro Martinez pitches his first simulated game tomorrow in Clearwater . . . Peter Gammons just reported on Baseball Tonight the Blue Jays will make a decision on Roy Halladay by the end of the week.

Cubs at Phillies: July 20th to July 22nd

Monday & Tuesday 7:05, Wednesday 1:05

Records: Cubs 47-43, 2nd Place in NL Central (2 games behind the Cardinals); Phillies 51-38, 1st Place in NL East (6½ games ahead of the Braves)
Former Phillies with the Cubs: There was a time in the mid '80s when it seemed as if everyone on the Cubs roster was an ex-Phillie. Today, after browsing the Cubs website, the only ex-Phillie I could find was Ivan DeJesus (1982-1984), listed simply as "coach". (Strange since everyone else's coaching duties are listed - pitching coach, hitting coach, 1st base coach, etc.) My favorite Phillie growing up, Bob Dernier (1980-1983; 1988-1989), is the team's minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator. Carmelo Martinez (1990) is the Latin American field coordinator for the Cubs.
This should be good: The Phils have won 8 in a row. The Cubs have won 4 in a row and (like the Phillies) are starting to turn it on.
Cubs Probables: Ted Lilly, Rich Harden, Carlos Zambrano
Phillies Probables: Rodrigo Lopez, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer

1969 Topps #73 Johnny Briggs

Recent purchase from Pitchout Baseball Cards in Avalon, NJ

On this day 40 years ago, it was not all rainbows and lollipops for Phillies fans. The team was swept in a Shibe Park double header with the Cubs, losing the first game 1-0 and the second game 6-1. Rightfielder Johnny Briggs played all 18 innings that day, going 1 for 7 with three strikeouts to lower his season average to .220. At the end of the day, under skipper Bob Skinner, the Phillies were 39-55 and 20 games behind the first place Cubs.

So it wasn't a great day in Phillies history. Of course, there was the whole man walking on the moon thing to take the fans' minds away from the team's struggles . . .

And that's the way it was on July 20, 1969.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2008 Multi-Ad Lehigh Valley IronPigs #9 J.A. Happ

The Phillies won again today, shutting out the second place Marlins, 5-0. So I'll make an official announcement - it's a great time to be a Phillies fan! The team is 13 games over .500 and they now enjoy a 7 game lead in the NL East. This is the largest lead held by the Phillies this late in the season since 1993. They look unbeatable, so it's all rainbows and lollipops right now for The Phillies Room.

Former IronPig J.A. Happ pitched like an ace again today, shutting out the Fish through seven innings and improving his record to 7-0. He's cracked the top 5 on the NL ERA leader board, and his 2.68 ERA trails only Dan Haren, Chris Carpenter, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. (Pretty good company!)

Jimmy Rollins had three hits (single, double, triple) and Raul Ibañez had two more RBI to pace the Phils' offense.

2009 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #30 Champ

If you live within a few hours of Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I'd highly recommend a night at the ballpark, rooting for the hometown Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The 'Pigs are the Phillies' AAA affiliate - the last rung on the minor league ladder before reaching the big leagues. We attended the double header last night and had the opportunity to meet the team's Director of Greeting, Champ.

If you read Champ's biography on the back of his card, you'll see he's had an eventful few months. For this reason, and because he was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule last night to say hello, I decided to feature his card from the 2009 IronPigs' team set. (Chachi also felt strongly about featuring Champ on the blog).

Other notes from last night's double header:
- The IronPigs won both games of the double header for the sweep.
- For some reason, Kyle Kendrick was sitting behind home plate (in his street clothes) charting IronPigs' pitcher Gustavo Chacin's pitches with a radar gun.
- We were fascinated watching the interaction of the players' wives/girlfriends and their children in the section behind home plate.
- I'd recommend the Big Porker sandwich, while Jenna recommends going with the Boss Dog.
- Phils' top prospect Michaal Taylor started his first AAA game in Game 1 and hit his first AAA home run in Game 2.
- We wandered over to the outfield during Game 1 and watched Jack Taschner warm up. If Jack reads this blog, he'll remember I had trouble finding a good picture of him for his 2009 Chachi card.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

1998 Leaf Rookies & Stars #213 Billy McMillon

Remember Billy McMillon? Completely out of contention and floundering in last place, the Phils traded popular catcher turned outfielder Darren Daulton to the Florida Marlins for McMillon in July 1997. I remember being a little confused as to why we'd trade Dutch for a marginal outfield prospect who was flirting with the wrong side of the Mendoza Line. In retrospect, I now view the trade as more of a way to "reward" Dutch by getting him out of a bad situation in Philly and sending him to a contender. (The Marlins would go on to win the 1997 World Series).

In 24 games with the '97 Phils, Billy hit .292 with 2 home runs and 13 RBI, closing out the season as the team's regular left fielder. Billy never made it back to the Phillies, spending '98 and '99 as a regular with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Billy returned to the Majors in 2000 with the Detroit Tigers. Over the course of 4 seasons with the Tigers and Oakland Athletics, he'd play 204 games compiling a .250 batting average.

2008 Chachi #39 Mike Cervenak

We're taking a break from the Phillies tonight and going to see the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in a little AAA action. As an unexpected bonus, due to last night's rain-out, we'll be seeing a double header! (I seem to be a little more excited about this than Jenna).

One of the IronPigs' leading hitters is Mike Cervenak, who played in 10 games last year with the Phils. I'll have a full report and a post from the 2009 IronPigs team set tomorrow.

2009 Topps Heritage #484 Chase Utley AS

The Phils pulled out another one this morning, winning 6-5 in 12 innings against the Marlins.

Lowlights from this evening's/morning's game:
- 78 minute rain delay after the 5th inning
- The usually dependable Chan Ho Park and the inconsistent Chad Durbin surrendering 3 runs in relief, allowing the Marlins to tie the game 4-4
- An inconsistent strike zone (for both teams)
- Brad Lidge looked iffy (again).
- I'm going to be tired later this morning.

Highlights from this evening's/morning's game:
- Chase Utley's 2-run home run in the 1st inning
- Cole Hamels looked pretty good - 5 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 5 strikeouts
- Chase Utley's RBI single in the 12th to score Jimmy Rollins, giving the Phils a 5-4 lead
- Brad Lidge escaping out of his own trouble, as the Phils won 6-5

Friday, July 17, 2009

1994 Topps #504 Jim Eisenreich

1993 Phillies - The Rightfielder

Uniform Number: 8
1993 Stats: Eisey appeared in 153 games for the '93 Phils, hitting .318 with 7 home runs and 54 RBI. He started 77 games and entered 38 games as a late-inning defensive replacement, usually for Wes Chamberlain. In 137 games in the outfield, he committed only one error.
1993 Notable: Jim started all six games of the 1993 World Series, hitting .231 with a home run in Game 2 off the Blue Jays' Dave Stewart. His homer led the way to the Phils Game 2 victory.
How Acquired: Signed as a free agent formerly with the Kansas City Royals, January 20, 1993
Phillies Career: 1993-1996
How Departed: Granted free agency and signed with the Florida Marlins, December 3, 1996

Jim was simply one of the most popular Phillies of the '90s. Philly fans love an underdog, and the fans took to Jim's story of courage and perseverance as he dealt with and overcame Tourette's syndrome early on in his career. Following his time with the Phils, Jim spent 1997 and part of 1998 with the Florida Marlins, contributing to the Marlins' 1997 World Series title. He played the balance of '98 with the Dodgers, having been included in the blockbuster Mike Piazza/Gary Sheffield trade. After a 15-year career and with a .290 life-time batting average, Jim retired following the 1998 season. Jim threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 2 of the 2008 NLCS, a game proudly attended by Jenna and me.

2007 Chachi #39 Ryan Howard RB

Looking back a few years, Ryan Howard also set the record as the fastest to reach the 100 home run mark, again breaking the record originally set by Ralph Kiner.

Ryan hit his 100th on June 27, 2007, against the Reds' Aaron Harang. The homer sailed over the brick batter's-eye wall in center field, bouncing in the Wall of Fame Area, and ultimately landing in Ashburn Alley. At the time (and I believe still), the 505-foot blast is the longest home run to date at Citizens Bank Park.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2009 Chachi #50 Ryan Howard RB

In the sixth inning of tonight's game against the Marlins, Ryan Howard became the fastest player in Major League history to reach 200 career home runs. Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner needed 706 at-bats to reach the plateau, and it took Ryan only 658 at-bats. He hit the historic blast off Marlins' starting pitcher Chris Volstad.

Ryan is eighth on the Phillies' all-time home run list, trailing Dick Allen by four.

2009 Bowman #103 Jamie Moyer

I was speculating with a few co-workers today about which Phillies pitcher would be bumped from the starting rotation upon the activation of Pedro Martinez. While the obvious choice is newcomer Rodrigo Lopez, I wondered aloud what would happen if Jamie Moyer struggled over his next few outings. After the first half of the season, Jamie's ERA was teetering on 6.

Fortunately, Jamie pitched a gem tonight. He's always had success against the Marlins and tonight he limited them to 1 hit over 7 innings as the Phils won, 4-0. The offensive stars were Ryan Howard and Raul Ibañez. Raul hit his 23rd and 24th home runs of the season to give the Phils the early lead. Ryan belted his 200th career home run in the sixth inning. (More on that milestone home run on an upcoming 2009 Chachi Highlight card).

At the end of the television broadcast tonight, this fact was thrown up on the screen: The last combined Phillies 1-hitter was thrown in 1986 by Marvin Freeman and . . . Kent Tekulve. All is right with the world, as the Phils now have a 5-game lead over the Marlins.

Phillies at Marlins: July 16th through July 19th

Thursday, Friday & Saturday 7:10, Sunday 1:10

Records: Phillies 48-38, 1st Place in NL East (4 games ahead of the Marlins); Marlins 46-44, 2nd Place in NL East (4 games behind the Phillies)
Last Trade Between the Marlins and the Phillies: On July 21, 1997, the Phillies traded Darren Daulton to the Marlins for outfielder Billy McMillon.
Pedro-Mania Begins: No word yet as to when or where Pedro Martinez will make his first minor league start for the Phillies.
Where Are We?: When the Phils visited Miami in April, the Marlins' home ballpark was called Dolphin Stadium. According to the Marlins' website, since then the Miami Dolphins' owner "and celebrated singer songwriter Jimmy Buffett announced that Dolphin Stadium would be renamed Land Shark Stadium, bringing together Buffett's Margaritaville and Land Shark themes to enhance the gameday experience at the venue."
Marlins Probables: Chris Volstad, Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Andrew Miller

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 Chachi Special Edition #PM Pedro Martinez

It's finally official . . .

The Phillies signed pitcher Pedro Martinez to a pro-rated one-year deal today, and then promptly placed him on the disabled list so he could rehab his strained shoulder in the minors. I watched parts of the press conference, and I'm honestly a little more excited about the Pedro signing than I thought I would be. However, I was a little bothered by his continuing professed "love" of the Mets' organization. That's just not going to fly in these parts.

In any event, bench coach Pete Mackanin (who will now wear #22) graciously surrendered his #45 so the future Hall of Famer could wear his familiar number. Pedro doesn't get a Chachi base card yet since he's not officially a Phillie until he takes the mound, but I thought today's signing at least merited a Chachi insert card.

2009 Chachi #49 Jayson Werth AS

All-Star Game: 2009 (Busch Stadium, St. Louis)
How He Got to St. Louis: Jayson was named to the NL All-Star squad by manager Charlie Manuel to replace the injured Carlos Beltran. He's well on his way to a career year, hitting .263 with 20 home runs and 56 RBI.
2009 All-Star Game Notes: Jayson entered the game in the top of the seventh, taking over for Shane Victorino in center field. In the bottom of the inning, he struck out against Jonathan Papelbon. Jayson also made a nice running catch in center to end the top of the ninth. He was in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth when Mariano Rivera induced Miguel Tejada to pop up to second base, ending the game.
Pictured: July 13, 2009 - Taking batting practice prior to the Home Run Derby

2009 Chachi #48 Shane Victorino AS

All-Star Game: 2009 (Busch Stadium, St. Louis)
How He Got to St. Louis: The Flyin' Hawaiian won the Final Vote contest, giving him the 33rd and final spot on the NL All-Star roster. Similar to Jayson Werth, he's on his way to a career year, currently hitting .309 with 42 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Shane is second only to Albert Pujols in NL runs scored with 63. He's also in the NL top 10 in hits, doubles and triples.
2009 All-Star Game Notes: With Carlos Beltran landing on the disabled list, Shane found himself as the starting center fielder for the NL All-Stars. In the second inning, facing Roy Halladay, Shane singled and scored on the combination of Yadier Molina's single and center fielder Josh Hamilton's throwing error. In the fourth, Shane struck out swinging against Zach Greinke. Teammate Jayson Werth took over for Shane in center in the top of the seventh.
Pictured: July 13, 2009 - Working out in the field prior to the Home Run Derby.

2009 Chachi #47 Ryan Howard AS

All-Star Games: 2006 (PNC Park, Pittsburgh), 2009 (Busch Stadium, St. Louis)
Prior All-Star Game Performance: Ryan grounded out against Mariano Rivera in his lone plate appearance in the 2006 All-Star Game.
How He Got to St. Louis: Ryan was named a NL All-Star reserve by manager Charlie Manuel. Ryan finished the first half of 2009 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI - both marks placing him within the top 5 in the NL.
2009 All-Star Game Notes: With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, two runners on, and with the American League holding onto a 4-3 lead, Ryan came to the plate as a pinch-hitter. Unfortunately, pitcher Joe Nathan won the battle as Ryan struck out on a check swing to end the inning.
Pictured: July 13, 2009 - Hitting one of his 15 home runs in the annual All-Star Game Home Run Derby