Monday, May 31, 2010
Records: Phillies 28-21, 1st Place in NL East (½ game ahead of the Braves); Braves 28-22, 2nd Place in NL East (½ game behind the Phillies)
2005 Chachi #25 Billy Wagner
I wish I could say I was looking forward to this series, but I'm not. I'm worried. I'm a life-long Phillies fan, so this feeling of pending dread comes natural to me. The Phils enter play this afternoon having scored 7 runs in their past 7 games. The 5 game lead in the NL East they enjoyed on May 17th has dwindled down to just a half game over the Braves. They look lifeless. The swagger is gone. Something's got to give.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Game 49 - Sunday Afternoon, May 30th in Miami
If not for the lingering euphoria from Roy Halladay's perfect game on Saturday night, the woeful state of the Phillies' offense would have me seriously grumpy right now. As the Phils prepare to leave Miami and head for Atlanta, it sure doesn't seem as if they won the series, but they managed to take 2 of 3 from the equally offensively-challenged Marlins.
For the 4th time in six games, the Phils were shut out. Anibal Sanchez added his name this afternoon to the growing list of recent starting pitchers the Phillies couldn't touch. Jamie Moyer was the hard luck loser, allowing just a 6th inning run and surrendering 4 hits. The Phils managed just 4 hits - 2 of them from Shane Victorino - and they left 8 runners on base.
This has got to end right? The Phillies are too good a team to be this miserable at the plate.
#00: The Phils won after I decided to go with a baseball card of #0, Al Oliver, in a recent post. So I'll play the #00 card tonight with Rick White. White was picked from the scrap heap by the Phils in June 2006 after being waived by the Reds. He appeared in 38 games with a 4.34 ERA, but he was not invited back for the 2007 season. I know I'm safe using the picture featured on this 2006 Chachi card, as I'm the one who took it. This shot is from the Phillies on-field Photo Day event in July 2006.
For some strange reason, I have shutouts and no-hitters on my mind this week.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Game 47 - Friday Night, May 28th in Miami
Finally. After 30 scoreless innings, Raul Ibañez' triple in the top of the 4th inning scored Ryan Howard. Howard touched the plate and I promptly shut my eyes and fell completely asleep. It had been an exhausting week for the Phils (and me) and the scoring of this monumental run was all I needed to see in order to slumber peacefully.
Thankfully, the team was able to add two more runs, defeating the Marlins, 3-2. In the 5th, Chase Utley singled, stole second and came home on a Howard base hit. And in the 7th, following a double steal by Shane Victorino and Wilson Valdez, Victorino scored on an Utley ground-out.
Kyle Kendrick pitched 6 strong innings for the win. The back-end of the bullpen (Chad Durbin, Danys Baez and Jose Contreras) held the Marlins scoreless over the final 3 frames of the game.
Game 46 - Thursday Night, May 27th in New York
I decided to refrain from posting any additional game summaries until the Phillies scored a run again. Thankfully, the scoreless streak ended last night.
I'll be brief. The Phillies did not score any runs for the third game in a row, being completely shut out in their 3-game series with the Mets. Cole Hamels pitched well, scattering 9 hits and allowing 2 earned runs in his 6+ innings of work. Shane Victorino went 3 for 4 in the game.
The last time the Phillies were shut out three games in a row was May 20th, 23rd and 24th, 1983, against the Padres (5-0) and the Dodgers (2-0, 3-0). The last time the Phils were completely shut out in a series was way back in August 1974 against the Houston Astros.
#0: Representing this inauspicious game is none other than #0 himself, Al Oliver. As Jim from Downington pointed out in the comments section of a previous post, Oliver was acquired by the Phils in August 1984 to hopefully provide a little spark from the first base position. He played in 28 games, hitting .312 with no home runs and 14 RBIs. Following the '84 season, Oliver was traded to the Dodgers for relief pitcher Pat Zachry. The Phils were determined to give more playing time to prospect Rick Schu at third base, so future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt would be shifted to first for the '85 season.
Two players have worn #00 for the Phillies - pitcher Omar Olivares in 1995 and pitcher Rick White in 2006.
Friday, May 28, 2010
In 2007, he published his autobiography, If They Only Knew. Amazon's description of the book provides the following summary: "If They Only Knew is about the interesting world of the metaphysical and the author's beliefs and personal experiences with it. Daulton delves into issues of ascension such as dimensions and levels of consciousness, the Mayan Calendar and December 21, 2012, creating one's own reality and a lot more. The book's message is clear- Open your mind to new ideas and know that there is more to our life than only what we can see, feel and touch!" But will this help the Phillies score any runs?
Please disregard the series graphic in the upper right hand corner. The Phillies are playing in Miami, and not in a sideways universe series in April in Philadelphia. Or are they?
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Game 44 - Tuesday Night, May 25th in New York
And so it comes to this. The first Kent Tekulve card of the 2010 season. Last season, I called on the former relief pitcher whenever things looked bleak and the Phils needed a shot in the arm, a pick-me-up, an exciting dose of Teke. As a Phillies fan, I should be used to the streakiness of this team, the sudden dry spells that have plagued them for the past several seasons. But it's still frustrating. The Phillies have not been fun to watch for 3 games in a row, and their offense has been M.I.A. for almost a week.
A journeyman knuckle-baller named R.A. Dickey was the culprit tonight, shutting out the Phillies through 6 innings. The Mets scored single runs in 5 different innings, and plated a trio in the 8th just to rub salt in the wound. Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur knocked in 2 runs a piece. The Phils offense? Absent again, leaving 13 men on base and going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
All-Stars: Ending with a bit of positive news, in the early stages of the All-Star voting, 5 Phillies lead their respective positions - Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are in second place at their positions.
Records: Phillies 26-17, 1st Place in the NL East (3½ games ahead of the Braves); Mets 22-23, 5th Place in the NL East (5 games behind the Phillies)
Monday, May 24, 2010
I recently received an e-mail from blog reader Jeff, who asked the very good question, "How do you create a custom card template" using a vintage Topps baseball card design? He's thinking about entering this racket himself, so I thought I'd share a few secrets. Actually, they're not really secrets and I'm not a graphic designer in real life, I just play one on this blog.
I use very, very basic graphic design software - MicroSoft Picture It!, which is close to being about 10 years old and is probably just a few short months away from becoming completely unusable and obsolete. At some point in the near future, my custom card making gig may require a short hiatus while I try to learn a new software package. Using my software, here's how a custom baseball card comes to life:
Sunday, May 23, 2010
1980 Topps Empire Strikes Back #80 Lobot
The Saga Continues: 30 years ago this weekend, The Empire Strikes Back opened in theaters. As I've revealed previously, my son Doug is somewhat obsessed with all things Star Wars, having recently inherited his father's collection of old toys. He's watched the first movie a few dozen times now, so I thought last night would be as good a time as any to introduce him to the next movie, the "scary" movie. We had talked about it, and I made him aware the "mean guys" win this time. Undaunted, we charged onward, and with a few of the more intense scenes skipped over, Doug is now enamored with Dagobah and Cloud City and Lobot and Boba Fett.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Game 41 - Friday Night, May 21st in Philadelphia
Cole Hamels shut down the Red Sox through 7 innings, and the big bats of Howard and Werth paced the Phils in their win tonight, 5-1. They're now 11 games over .500 - the high-water mark so far for 2010. Hamels seems to have turned things around, as he's now 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA in May.
Down 1-0, the Phils started their scoring with 2 runs in the 4th. Ryan Howard hit his 8th home run of the season to start the inning. Jayson Werth followed with a double (his 21st, tops in the NL) and Shane Victorino brought him home with a single. Werth added a 2-run home run - a second decker bomb - in the 5th.
Hamels' sole blemish came 3 batters into the game when he allowed a solo home run to Sox catcher Victor Martinez. He settled in after that, at one point retiring 9 in a row. Hamels exited with an impressive line of 7 innings, 3 hits, 1 run and 8 strikeouts. The bullpen made things interesting in the 9th, but the team held on to give Hamels his 5th win of 2010.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Game 39 - Wednesday Night, May 19th in Philadephia
It was a dreary day outside, a deflating day at work and another flat performance by the Phillies offense at the ballpark tonight. I'll try not to dwell too much on today or the Phillies second loss in as many days. It's best to just get a good night's sleep and keep moving forward.
Jamie Moyer continued his personal renaissance, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 7 in his 7 innings of work. Unfortunately, the Phils just couldn't get anything going against Cubs' starter Tom Gorzelanny. Their lone run came on an RBI-groundout from Ryan Howard in the 8th inning. The Phils have scored a total of 2 runs in their last 2 games and they hope to split the quick 2-game series with the Cubs tomorrow afternoon.
Tomorrow's going to be a better day.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Game 37 - Monday Night, May 17th in Philadelphia
The bats came alive on the night Jimmy Rollins returned to the line-up, and the Phillies demolished the Pirates, 12-2. Pitching in a steady rain, Kyle Kendrick threw 8 solid innings, allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits. Rollins doubled and scored a run in his return following a 29-game absence. (To make room for Rollins on the roster, shortstop Wilson Valdez was designated for assignment.)
Two swings accounted for 7 of the Phillies' runs - Jayson Werth's 3-run home run in the 3rd inning and Ryan Howard's grand slam (off old friend Jack Taschner) in the 8th inning. Werth and Howard finished the night with 4 and 6 RBIs between the two of them. The hot hitting Shane Victorino added 2 hits and scored 3 times.
The Phils are now 11 games over .500 and they could be 5 games ahead of their nearest competition - the Nationals and the Marlins - depending on the outcome of those teams' games tonight. Go Phils!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Placido Polanco and Hamels contributed RBI doubles in the first two innings to give the Phils an early 2-0 lead. Jayson Werth, who had doubled to reach, was then doubled home by Wilson Valdez in the 3rd for a 3-0 lead. Finally, Shane Victorino scored the Phils' 4th run of the night on an 8th inning wild pitch. Valdez also contributed some fine defensive work at short in the 8th and 9th innings.
Closer du jour J.C. Romero shut down the Brewers in the 9th for his 1st save, securing Hamels' 4th win of the season.