Saturday, March 25, 2023

Spring Training Game 28 - Phils Fall on Friday Night to Jays

2022 Stadium Club #101
Blue Jays 6
, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 28 - Friday Night, March 24th in Dunedin
Record - 13-14-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies went with another bullpen game, falling to the Blue Jays in Dunedin, 6-3.

What It Means:  If it seems as if the Phillies have played more than the usual amount of spring training games this year, it's because they have.  There were 20 total spring training games in 2022 due to the shortened exhibition season caused by the owner's lockout.  In 2021 there were 28 total games, with no fans in attendance, and in 2020 the Phillies played 20 games before the world went sideways.  Barring any rainouts, the Phillies will play 32 spring games this year.

What Happened:  The Blue Jays went up 6-0 after six innings, scoring off relievers Gregory Soto, Yunior Marte and Ethan Lindow.  Scott Kingery and Jake Cave knocked in Phillies runs, and Kody Clemens came home on an error after stealing third base in the ninth inning.  Cave suddenly becomes a big part of the Phillies line-up with Rhys Hoskins out for the season.

Featured Card:  I'm still feeling queasy about the Hoskins situation and I hope we've not seen his last game in a Phillies uniform.

Camp Head Count:  46

Friday, March 24, 2023

Spring Training Game 27 - Hoskins Leaves with Knee Injury

2022 Topps Allen & Ginter #65
Phillies 4
, Tigers 1
Spring Training Game 27 - Thursday Afternoon, March 23rd in Clearwater
Record - 13-13-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies won the game, but that was overshadowed by the sight of Rhys Hoskins needing to be carted from the field after appearing to suffer a bad left knee injury.

What It Means:  Not great.  Hoskins is the soul of the team, and was poised for a big year due to his looming free agency.  Thoughts immediately turned to who could start the season as the team's first baseman if Hoskins needs to miss significant time.  Darick Hall seems likely, and I wonder if Edmundo Sosa can play some first base?  Or Alec Bohm could see some time at first, with Sosa starting at third?  Or maybe it's not that bad of an injury, and Hoskins misses limited time.

What Happened:  Trea Turner picked up where he left off in the World Baseball Classic, hitting a two-run home run in the fifth.  Hoskins had singled home the first run in the first inning and Weston Wilson added a run in the seventh with an RBI double.  Bailey Falter pitched his best game of the spring, throwing five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five.

Featured Card:  I'm hoping for the best for Hoskins and his knee.

Update - The Phillies announced on Thursday night Hoskins had torn his left ACL and surgery is recommended.  This is upsetting news.

Camp Head Count:  50 - 4 = 46

Before the game, the Phillies reassigned Vito Friscia (c), Cody Roberts (c), Vimael Machin (inf) and Jake Jewell (rhp) to minor league camp.  The roster moves are coming a little more frequently now.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Spring Training Game 26 - Walker Returns from WBC; Rays Win

2022 Topps Heritage #126
Rays 6
, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 26 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 22nd in St. Petersburg
Record - 12-13-1

One Sentence Summary:  Taijuan Walker, returning from the World Baseball Classic, was hit hard in his start as the Phillies lost to the Rays, 6-2.

What It Means:  There are six more spring training games remaining.

What Happened:  Nothing to be too concerned with where Walker is concerned.  He pitched into the fifth inning, and his final line shows 6 runs on 8 hits and a pair of walks.  Walker struck out five.  Andrew Vasquez pitched the final two scoreless innings, striking out three.  The Phillies offense was relatively quiet with Kody Clemens driving in both runs with a two-run single in the sixth.  Clemens and Scott Kingery also had doubles.

Featured Card:  We need to wait a little bit longer for Walker's first Phillies baseball card, but here's his most recently available mainstream card from last year's Topps Heritage set.

Camp Head Count:  50

The Phillies have taken a different approach to trimming the roster in 2023, with very few actual roster moves through the first month-plus of spring training.  In prior years, by this point in the exhibition season, we'd be down to the 30s with the camp head count.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Spring Training Game 25 - Phils Lose to Pirates; Japan Wins WBC

2021 Topps Now Offseason #OS-42
Pirates 4
, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 25 - Tuesday Afternoon, February 25th in Bradenton
Record - 12-12-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Pirates plated four late runs to overcome the Phillies by a 4-3 score in Bradenton.

What It Means:  Of course the big baseball game of the day was the World Baseball Classic Championship, featuring USA battling Japan.  Japan prevailed, with Shohei Ohtani striking out Mike Trout to end the game, in a truly dramatic moment.  Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber provided all the offense for USA with a pair of home runs.  Turner's home run was his fifth, tying a World Baseball Classic record also held by Korea's Seung Yuop Lee.

What Happened:  The Phillies scored their runs on RBI singles from Scott Kingery and Weston Wilson, and a solo home run from Jake Cave.  Matt Strahm looked solid on the mound for the Phillies, throwing 2 1/3 innings, and striking out three while keeping the Pirates off the board.  Andrew Bellatti followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out a pair.

Featured Card:  Here's the only Ohtani card in my Phillies collection, featuring the 2021 MVPs on a dual Topps Now Offseason card.  And speaking of Bryce Harper, he'll apparently not begin the season on the 60-day IL, leaving the door open for an earlier than expected return.

Camp Head Count:  51 - 1 = 50

Prior to the game, Jeremy Walker (rhp) was reassigned to minor league camp.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Spring Training Game 24 - Phils Romp O's; Appel Released

2023 Topps #259
Phillies 14
, Orioles 6
Spring Training Game 24 - Monday Afternoon, March 19th in Clearwater
Record - 12-11-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies banged out 14 runs on 15 hits in this lopsided win over the Orioles in Clearwater.

What It Means:  Let's get this season started.

What Happened:  Rhys Hoskins went 2 for 3 with a two-run home run in the second, and Alec Bohm went 2 for 4 with a solo home run in the seven-run second inning as well.  Nick Castellanos and Edmundo Sosa also had two hits a piece.  The Phillies went with another bullpen game, and minor leaguer Matt Russell struck out the side to end the game.

Featured Card:  See below.

Camp Head Count:  55 - 4 = 51

Prior to the game, Ben Bowden (lhp), Louis Head (rhp) and Max McDowell (c) were reassigned to minor league camp and Mark Appel (rhp) was released.

Hopefully Appel will catch on somewhere and continue playing for one more year, as he had recently announced his intention for this to be his last year in baseball.  Appel pitched 10 1/3 innings last season for the Phillies over six relief appearances, earning a 1.74 ERA.  This is his card from Topps Series One, coming almost 10 years after the Astros had made his their top pick in the 2013 amateur player draft.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Spring Training Game 23 - Turner's WBC Performance Overshadows Phils

2022 Topps Gypsy Queen #203
Red Sox 9
, Phillies 5
Spring Training Game 22 - Sunday Afternoon, March 19th in Clearwater
Record - 11-11-1

One Sentence Summary:  The minor league Red Sox defeated the Phillies' minor league pitching staff in this 9-5 loss in Clearwater.

What It Means:  Most of the baseball world continues to marvel at what Trea Turner is doing in the World Baseball Classic, and the fight for the final bench or bullpen spots isn't really on many Phillies fan's minds at this point.  Turner hit a dramatic and eventual game-winning grand slam on Saturday night against Venezuela and then hit two more home runs in the 14-2 win over Cuba in the semifinals on Sunday night.

What Happened:  Back in Clearwater, it was a lazy Sunday afternoon spring exhibition game.  The Phillies offense had only five hits.  Rhys Hoskins hit a solo home run in the first, Cody Roberts hit a two-run home run in the third and Nick Castellanos contributed a two-run double in the fifth.  The Phillies went with a minor league bullpen game for their pitching and it's unlikely any of the nine pitchers used will head north with the team in less than two weeks.

Featured Card:  Hans Crouse pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Phillies.  Crouse is the only remaining player in the organization from the July 2021 Spencer Howard trade with the Rangers, and he started two games at the very end of the 2021 season for the Phillies.  He missed nearly all of 2022 with an arm injury, but that didn't stop Topps from including him in at least four of its sets, including Gypsy Queen, shown here.

Camp Head Count:  55

Spring Training Game 22 - Phils Fall Quietly to Braves

2021 Topps Heritage Minor
League 1972 Topps Poster Card 
Braves 5
, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 22 - Saturday Night, March 18th in North Port
Record - 11-10-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies line-up collected just two hits, including a solo home run from Brandon Marsh, in this 5-1 loss to the Braves.

What It Means:  We were admittedly watching the World Baseball Classic during this game, and the Phillies were an afterthought.

What Happened:  Marsh hit his home run to lead-off the game, and then the offense pretty much took off for the next eight innings.

Featured Card:  Mick Abel got the start, and was nearly perfect in his two innings of work, allowing just one walk.  He struck out a pair.  With fellow top pitching prospect Andrew Painter on the shelf with elbow issues, Abel could conceivably make his big league debut with the Phillies before Painter.  The Phillies' top draft pick in 2020, I already have 18 different Abel cards in my collection, including this cool card from 2021 Topps Heritage Minor League in the style of a 1972 Topps Poster.

Camp Head Count:  55

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Spring Training Games 20 & 21 - Phils Win Twice on St. Patrick's Day

1983 Donruss #371
Phillies 4
, Blue Jays 2
Spring Training Game 20 - Friday Afternoon, March 17th in Clearwater

Phillies 8Blue Jays 1
Spring Training Game 21 - Friday Afternoon, March 17th in Dunedin
Record - 11-9-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies split their squad, donned green hats for St. Patrick's Day, and won both games against the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  The Phillies will be playing meaningful baseball in less than two weeks, as the spring schedule has 11 games remaining over the next 11 days.

What Happened:  In Clearwater, Rhys Hoskins hit a first inning home run on his 30th birthday and doubled later in the game.  Minor leaguer Gabriel Rincones, Jr. hit a two-run home run for the Phillies in the sixth.  Bailey Falter, likely the team's fifth starter, went five innings, allowing a run on three hits.

In Dunedin, Jake Cave and Kody Clemens led the offense, with both players fighting for the same bench job.  Cave was 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs, including an RBI double in the first and a two-run single in the fourth.  Clemens was 2 for 4 with a solo home run in the fourth and an RBI-single in the fifth.  Matt Strahm drew the start for the Phillies, and looked great in two shutout innings, allowing a hit and striking out four.

Featured Card:  I'm fine with any excuse to post a Tug McGraw card, and I'll feature him here as it was McGraw who pushed the Phillies to wear green jerseys and hats for St. Patrick's Day beginning in the early 1980s.  There were only green hats yesterday, which was a little jarring given the bright red jersey pairing.

Camp Head Count:  55

Spring Training Game 19 - Stott, Haley, Hall and Fergus Homer in Win

2023 Topps #209
Phillies 10
, Tigers 1
Spring Training Game 19 - Thursday Night, March 16th in Lakeland
Record - 9-9-1

One Sentence Summary:  With a line-up dominated by likely bench players or minor leaguers, the Phillies dominated the Tigers in this 10-1 win.

What It Means:  This is one of only three night games scheduled for the Phillies this spring, and I admittedly completely missed it.

What Happened:  Bryson Stott was the only regular to make the trip to Lakeland and he announced his presence with a lead-off home run.  He had three hits in the game.  Jim Haley and Darick Hall also homered, with Hall hitting his Grapefruit League leading fifth home run of the spring.  Minor leaguer Cade Fergus hit a ninth inning grand slam for the Phillies to put the game away.

On the mound, Zack Wheeler pitched a solid 4 1/3 innings, allowing a run while striking out five.

Featured Card:  I wish I had cards for Fergus or Haley, as I'd feature one of them here.  Instead, Hall gets the call and I'd be shocked at this point if he doesn't make the opening day roster as a bat off the bench.

Camp Head Count:  55

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Spring Training Game 18 - Phils Outlast Yanks in Tampa

2023 Topps Orange Foil #237
Phillies 9
, Yankees 8
Spring Training Game 18 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 15th in Tampa
Record - 8-9-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies outslugged the Yankees in Tampa, hanging on to win by a score of 9-8.

What It Means:  With interest in World Baseball Classic games ramping up, it's easy to forget there are still regular old spring training games going on.

What Happened:  Brandon Marsh hit a bases-clearing double in the first inning to give the Phillies an early 7-0 lead.  It was an ugly inning, with Nick Castellanos and Josh Harrison contributing RBI singles before Marsh's hit, but with runs also scoring on a wild pitch and a bases loaded walk.  Aaron Nola went 3 2/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits while striking out seven.

Featured Card:  After opening our box of 2023 Topps Series One last month, I decided to try to collect a Brandon Marsh rainbow of available parallel cards from the set.  For the uninitiated, a rainbow consists of the multiple parallels available of any given player's card, with those parallel versions featuring the same photo and typically the same back, but a different border color.  

I started this quest innocently enough, getting as far as some of the less expensive versions of the Marsh card, including this Orange Foil version numbered to 299.  But then my quest stalled out when I realized I'd need to pay in excess of $20 or more for some of the lower numbered parallel versions of the card.  I'm going to have a tough time paying a ton of money for a card that, as of this writing, is about a month old.  I'll try to add a few more versions of the card, but my rainbow hunt may have ended just as quickly as it started.

Camp Head Count:  55

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Spring Training Game 17 - Braves Mash Phils; Kingery Stays Hot

2021 Topps #464
Braves 15
, Phillies 5
Spring Training Game 17 - Tuesday Afternoon, March 14th in Clearwater
Record - 7-9-1

One Sentence Summary:  Cristopher Sanchez and a few other relievers were mashed by the Braves in this 15-5 loss.

What It Means:  We have just two more weeks of exhibition baseball before the games start counting.

What Happened:  Sanchez had been in the conversation for the team's fifth starter at the start of spring, but it seems as if he's better suited for a relief role.  He gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in his one inning of work in this game.  Nick Castellanos and Dustin Peterson both homered for the Phillies, while Scott Kingery raised his average to an unreal .522 (12 for 23) with two more hits.

Featured Card:  Good for Kingery.  He's making it a tough decision whether or not to keep him around for the opening day roster and I'm rooting for him to make it.  He spent mostly all of last season in the minor leagues, and I don't have any 2022 cards of his in my collection.  Per the TCDB, his one 2022 baseball card is a tough to find Topps Opening Day Luck of the Irish insert.  He somehow completely missed out on appearing in the Lehigh Valley IronPigs team set.

Camp Head Count:  55

Again, this is a somewhat misleading tally given the players who are currently appearing in the World Baseball Classic, and knowing Bryce Harper will begin the season on the 60-day Injured List.  Additionally, the 55 includes Noah Song (rhp) who is still on the team's Restricted List.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Philly Baseball Card Show Report - 1969 Topps Commons Explosion

On Sunday, Doug and I drove an hour north to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks for the March Philadelphia Sports Collectors Show, known to its friends as the Philly Show.  This could be our last show for a while, as baseball schedules along with a packed summer and fall tend to keep us away from any June or September shows.  We were happy we had decided to attend on Sunday, as we both heard from dealers and other collectors that Saturday's show was, "way too crowded, "a madhouse" and "chaos."  There were still a lot of people there on Sunday, but we were able to leisurely browse the dealer tables and we both came away with hauls that had us smiling all the way home.
  • Doug's collecting habits are geared towards cards he thinks are cool, which is usually some combination of a signature, a relic and/or a low serial number for a favorite baseball or basketball player.  He's got quite the display going on his bedroom desk, and he added the cards shown below to his collection after a few hours of scouting and negotiating.
  • After being a big spender on star cards at the December show, and completing our 1965 Topps set, I was focused on volume this time around.  I pulled up a chair at Uncle Dick's table, found the first binder of 1969 Topps commons (1-300) and plowed through it.  I stopped after each 100 cards to ask for a price check, and with the understanding I'd buy more if there was as a discount in play for volume, I soldiered on.  I added 193 cards to our 1969 Topps set, which is most likely the highest single set tally since the 1980s when my Dad and me were collecting the 1976 Topps set and we bought most of the commons needed for that set at an Ocean City baseball card show.
  • I was happy to find quite a few dealers with Diamond Stars cards for sale.  I visited three separate dealers, making three separate purchases, all of which came in a little lower than the advertised prices. With five more cards added to that set, I'm down to needing 38 cards out of the 119 I'm collecting as my version of a master set.
I purchased one Phillies card, a 1987 team-issued variation card of the Phillie Phanatic, and we didn't purchase autographs from any of the dozens of autograph signers.  It was another great show, and it may need to hold us over until December.

Doug's Haul
New Diamond Stars cards

Memory Lane
Valley Forge 1 - September 2010 - Thinking of my Dad
Valley Forge 2 - October 2012 - Doug's first baseball card show
Valley Forge 3 - September 2014 - Meeting Darren Daulton
Oaks 1 - October 2015 - Meeting Pete Rose and Steve Carlton
Valley Forge 4 - September 2016 - Phillies acquisitions and 4 Phillies Legends
Valley Forge 5 - December 2016 - Meeting Don Money
Valley Forge 6 - September 2017 - Doug's big day
Valley Forge 7 - December 2017 - Ben's first baseball card show with Mike Schmidt and Rhys Hoskins!
Oaks 2 - December 2018 - Meeting Matt Stairs and Cole Hamels
Valley Forge 8 - March 2019 - 5 Phillies Autographs and Vintage Phillies Additions
Valley Forge 9 - September 2019 - Closing in on 1971 Topps set and Andrew McCutchen
Valley Forge 10 - December 2019 - Finishing 1971 Topps set, Starting 1965 Topps set, adding key autographs from Ryan Howard and Brad Lidge
Valley Forge 11 - February 2020 - More 1965 Topps cards, Jimmy Rollins, Mike Lieberthal and Jim Kaat
Valley Forge 12 - December 2021 - Huge haul of 1965 Topps, Jim Thome
Valley Forge 13 - March 2022 - Easy like Sunday morning, close to completing 1965 Topps
Oaks 3 - December 2022 - 1965 Topps set completed, dent made in 1969 Topps, Schwarber, Vierling and Stott
Oaks 4 - March 2023 - Huge haul of 1969 Topps and five Diamond Stars cards added

Blue Jays 8
, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 16 - Sunday Afternoon, March 12th in Clearwater
Record - 7-8-1

One Sentence Summary:  Further south, the Phillies dropped a spring training game to the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  With our fresh spoils in hand, we listened to the start of this game on our ride home from the Philly Show.

What Happened:  Starting pitcher Bailey Falter got hit early and often, allowing seven hits and three runs (two earned) in 2 2/3 innings of work.  Jake Jewell was the recipient of four unearned runs in the ninth due to a costly error by second baseman Hao-Yu Lee.  Josh Harrison hit a two-run home run in the fifth.

Featured Card:  See above!

Camp Head Count:  65 - 7 - 3 = 55

Before the game, James McArthur (rhp) was optioned and Mick Abel (rhp), Andrew Baker (rhp), Jon Duplantier (rhp), Griff McGarry (rhp), Francisco Morales (rhp) and Billy Sullivan (rhp) were all assigned to minor league camp.  Following the game, Jhailyn Ortiz (of) and Simon Muzziotti (of) were optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Johan Rojas (of) was optioned to Double-A Reading.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Spring Training Game 15 - Phils Top Yankees in Tampa

2013 Topps #249
Phillies 6
, Yankees 3
Spring Training Game 15 - Saturday Afternoon, March 11th in Tampa
Record - 7-7-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies played small ball to win this game against the Yankees, 6-3, while some of the team's stars were kicking off the World Baseball Classic Tournament.

What It Means:  After downplaying my excitement about the World Baseball Classic earlier in the week, I'll admit I've found myself tuning in to some of the games.  If nothing else, it's cool to hear some of the players' stories or to play "remember some guys" with former Phillies who are showing up in tournament games.

What Happened:  Michael Plassmeyer is still in the mix for the team's fifth starter role, and while he wriggled out of trouble in his 1+ inning of work, it wasn't pretty.  He allowed four walks and two hits without giving up a run.  The Phillies offense received RBI singles from Jim Haley, Edmundo Sosa and Jack Conley.  Scott Kingery had two more hits and his average is now a gaudy .476.

Featured Card:  In Phoenix, Team USA took on Team Great Britain beginning at 9pm with former Phillies pitcher Vance Worley on the mound for Great Britain.  Worley was the eventual losing pitcher, but  both runs he allowed were unearned as a result of a pair of errors, one from former Phillie infielder Darnell Sweeney.  Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run home run for Team USA in the win.

Camp Head Count:  65

The Phillies still haven't made any roster moves to trim their roster, which is a little odd two weeks into exhibition games.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Spring Training Game 14 - Phils Connect for 6 Home Runs, Hall Hits 2

2023 Chachi Preview #2
Phillies 10
, Pirates 4
Spring Training Game 14 - Friday Afternoon, March 10th in Clearwater
Record - 6-7-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies mashed six home runs on the way to this 10-4 win over the Pirates.

What It Means:  Injury news dominated the day, as it was announced top pitching prospect Andrew Painter (rhp) would be shut down for four weeks with a UCL sprain.  The news could have been worse.  Ranger Suarez (lhp) was sent home from the World Baseball Classic by Team Venezuela due to tightness in his left forearm.  Again, nothing too major, but still concerning.

What Happened:  The home runs were collected by Darick Hall, who had a pair, Rhys Hoskins (his first), Scott Kingery, Will Toffey and Jhailyn Ortiz.  Hall was 3 for 3 on the day, raising his average to .409, while Kingery was 2 for 3, raising his average to .444.  Both are getting serious consideration for one of the final bench spots available on the opening day roster.  Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler continued to work on some stuff, giving up three runs over three innings.

Featured Card:  It would seem as if the final two bench spots are going to go to two of Hall, Kingery, Kody Clemens or Jake Cave.  I'll take this opportunity to repost the 2023 Chachi Preview card featuring Hall I first introduced back in September.  The Phillies Room graphic design department has started some long tossing and production on the 2023 Chachi set will go into full swing in the coming weeks.  It's going to be a full season of appreciating the 1965 Topps design.

Camp Head Count:  65

Friday, March 10, 2023

Spring Training Game 13 - Phils Win, Harper Returns

2023 Topps 2022 Greatest
Hits #22GH-12
Phillies 7
, Orioles 6
Spring Training Game 13 - Thursday Afternoon, March 9th in Clearwater
Record - 5-7-1

One Sentence Summary:  On the day Bryce Harper made his first appearance in Clearwater, the Phillies hung on to beat the Orioles, 7-6.

What It Means:  The World Baseball Classic is in full swing, and while I'm not following that closely, it seems as if most of the baseball world is focused on that tournament and not these exhibition games.

What Happened:  Bryson Stott, Edmundo Sosa, Jake Cave and Aramis Garcia led the offense with two hits each.  Sosa's two hits were both home runs, tying him for the overall spring training lead in that category.   Stott and Garcia also homered.  On the mound, Aaron Nola pitched three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits.  Craig Kimbrel, Seranthony Dominguez and McKinley Moore all threw a scoreless inning of relief and each struck out a pair.

Featured Card:  I'll use the excuse of Harper's return to feature one of the three cards of his from 2023 I've already added to my Phillies collection.  Harper had offseason Tommy John surgery and will miss the first half, hopefully at most, of the 2023 season.

This card celebrates the game-tying eighth inning grand slam Harper hit against the Angels last June 5th.  Impressively enough, the photo used here is actually from the game.  One of my pet peeves from Topps over the years is when they use a photo to represent a player from a certain career highlight or game and the photo is years removed from the actual event.  They do this quite often with Steve Carlton, using photos showing him pitching in the 1980s when celebrating his 1972 season or something similar.  Topps also issued a Topps Now card following Harper's slam, and that card uses a different picture than this one.

Camp Head Count:  65

This number is completely inaccurate given the number of players who departed for the World Baseball Classic.  Also, reliever Gregory Soto (lhp) who hadn't been in camp due to Visa issues, recently arrived as well.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Spring Training Game 12 - Phils Fall to Rays as Spring Marches On

2008 Topps Update
World Baseball Classic #WBC5
Rays 7
, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 12 - Tuesday Afternoon, March 7th in Clearwater
Record - 5-6-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Rays handled the Phillies fairly easily, winning 7-3 in this mid-spring exhibition game as players started departing for the World Baseball Classic.

What It Means:  The World Baseball Classic, now somehow in its fifth iteration and the first since 2017, kicks off on Tuesday night and will be played through March 21st.  I like the concept of the tournament, and I'll likely watch some of it, but as has been the case in years' past, I'm not too worked up about it.

What Happened:  Bailey Falter, who will likely begin the season as the team's fifth starter, pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits, while striking out three.  Griff McGarry rebounded nicely from his previous outing and threw a scoreless inning.  There wasn't a lot of Phillies offense.  Weston Wilson scored in the seventh as a result of a fielding error.  Wilson would single home Jhailyn Ortiz in the eighth, and Jim Haley would double home Scott Kingery for the team's third and final run.

Featured Card:  I'm sure there have been others, but the only World Baseball Classic baseball card in my Phillies collection is this Chase Utley card from the 2008 Topps Update set.

Camp Head Count:  65

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Spring Training Game 11 - Three Homers Not Enough Against O's

2022 Topps Heritage #461
Orioles 10
, Phillies 7
Spring Training Game 11 - Monday Afternoon, March 6th in Sarasota
Record - 5-5-1

One Sentence Summary:  A trio of Phillies hit three home runs in the sixth inning, but the bullpen couldn't fend off the Orioles in this 10-7 loss.

What It Means:  I definitely look forward to composing game summary posts during the regular season.  It's enjoyable for me and gives me a way to keep up with the exploits of the team.  But every year during spring training, I get to the point where I ask myself, "Why am I summarizing these exhibition games?"  Let the record show that point came in 2023 following this 11th game of the spring.  I'm a believer in finishing what I start, so onward we go.

What Happened:  Alec Bohm, Darick Hall and Jake Cave all connected for sixth inning home runs.  It was the third home run for Bohm and the second for both Hall and Cave.  Scott Kingery continues to have a strong spring and with another hit today his average is up to .385 (5 for 13) with a .500 on-base percentage.  Michael Plassmeyer got the start for the Phillies and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings.  Bullpen casualties today included Louis Head (allowed a 3-run home run in the fourth), Billy Sullivan (four runs in 2/3 of an inning) and Andrew Baker (three runs without retiring a batter in the ninth).

Featured Card:  Cave is seemingly playing his way into a bench role on the club, as he's hitting .412 (7 for 17) with a double, triple and two home runs and he's tied for the team lead (with Bohm) with six RBIs.  He's also played solid defense in the outfield from what I've seen.  Cave has appeared on more baseball cards than I realized, including this card from last year's Heritage set.

Camp Head Count:  65

The roster head count is holding steady, and I would expect reductions to come later this year given a number of players will be departing soon for the World Baseball Classic.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Spring Training Game 10 - Phils Lose Convincingly to Jays

2023 Topps #178
Blue Jays 16
, Phillies 4
Spring Training Game 10 - Sunday Afternoon, March 5th in Dunedin
Record - 5-4-1

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler was shelled in this 16-4 loss to the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  The Phillies pitchers appear to be working out some things as the spring exhibition schedule marches onward.

What Happened:  After the game, Wheeler said he was focused on getting used to the new pitch clock and also his not being familiar with catcher John Hicks didn't help either.  His spring ERA shot up to 18.90 after allowing seven runs on seven hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings.  Non-roster invitee Jake Jewell was also hit hard, being tagged with six runs on four hits and two walks in his 2/3 of an inning.

Kyle Schwarber hit his first spring home run, on his 30th birthday to boot, and went 2 for 2 on the day.  Kody Clemens added a two-run single in the sixth in a largely forgettable exhibition game for the Phillies.

Featured Card:  I added this card to my just started 2023 Phillies binder this afternoon, featuring Schwarber atop the National League home run leaders for 2022.  I like the look of the league leaders cards in this year's Topps flagship set, but I'd like them even more if they were grouped together at the start of the set, as nature intended.

And another nitpicky thing . . . There's no need for HR to be plural in the middle panel.  Reading the card out loud, this is "National League home runs leaders."  Topps probably had enough room to go ahead and spell out Home Run here.

Camp Head Count:  65

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Spring Training Game 9 - Bohm Homers in Win Over Bucs

2022 Topps Heritage #595
Phillies 4
, Pirates 3
Spring Training Game 9 - Saturday Afternoon, March 4th in Clearwater
Record - 5-3-1

One Sentence Summary:  Alec Bohm's two-run home run was the difference in this 4-3 win over the Pirates.

What It Means:  Saturdays in early March are working days for me given my chosen profession, but it's nice to at least have the game on TV in the background as I toil away.

What Happened:  With the Pirates leading 2-0, Jhailyn Ortiz led off the third with a single and came around to score on a Kyle Schwarber single.  Bohm then hit his home run, giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead.  Edmundo Sosa singled, went to second when Darick Hall walked, stole third, and came home on a Scott Kingery sacrifice fly.  Sosa was seeing his first action in center field, as the team looks for a good back-up for Brandon Marsh.  On the mound for the Phillies, Aaron Nola threw three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out two.  Mark Appel looked good in the ninth and picked up the save.

Featured Card:  Apparently Bohm showed up to camp a few weeks ago sporting some added muscle, and the hope is that he builds off his second half success from last year.  This is his 1973 Topps inspired card from the Heritage High Numbers set, not released until December.  I had decided to use this card for this post before realizing it featured Bohm batting against the Pirates, so that's a nice coincidence.  I'm looking forward to seeing the 1974 Topps design in the 2023 Topps Heritage set.

Camp Head Count:  65

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Spring Training Game 8 - Vierling Revenge Tour Begins

2022 Stadium Club #203
Tigers 6
, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 8 - Friday Afternoon, March 3rd in Clearwater
Record - 4-3-1

One Sentence Summary:  Matt Vierling did some damage against his former team as the Phillies lost, 6-3.

What It Means:  There were a lot of Phillies news to come out of this day, but the most distressing was that Andrew Painter would be shut down temporarily due to elbow tenderness.  This could likely jeopardize his path to making the team's opening day roster, and we can only hope the issue isn't anything major.

What Happened:  Other news included the spring debut of Rhys Hoskins.  Playing as the DH, Hoskins reached in all three of his plate appearances with a pair of singles and a walk.  Taijuan Walker made his Phillies pitching debut, allowing two runs in 2 1/3 innings on four hits while striking out two.  The only Phillies runs came on long balls, including Edmundo Sosa's second home run in the fifth, and a two-run home run from J.T. Realmuto in the sixth.

Ex-Phillies were all over the Tigers' side of the box score.  Nick Maton led off, was 0 for 2 with a walk and was caught stealing by Realmuto.  Vierling batted second and was 3 for 3 with two RBIs.  Cesar Hernandez started at second base and Donny Sands was the starting catcher.  Andrew Knapp entered the game late at first base for the Tigers.

Featured Card:  It was a good deal for the Phillies, but I was still sorry to see Vierling and Maton head to Detroit.  Reliever Gregory Soto and infielder Kody Clemens came over from the Tigers in early January in exchange for Vierling, Maton and Sands, and Soto will likely be a big part of the Phillies bullpen in 2023.  I'm hoping all three ex-Phillies find success in Detroit.

Camp Head Count:  65

Friday, March 3, 2023

Spring Training Game 7 - Phils Pitching Prospects Thumped by Sox

2022 Choice Jersey Shore
BlueClaws #19
Red Sox 15
, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 7 - Thursday Afternoon, March 2nd in Fort Myers
Record - 4-2-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were blown out for the first time this spring, with the Red Sox winning, 15-3.

What It Means:  It wasn't a good day to be a Phillies pitching prospect.

What Happened:  Almost all the offense came from the Boston side of the box score.  For the Phillies, Kody Clemens hit his second spring home run in the fourth.  Darick Hall doubled home Jhailyn Ortiz in the fifth, with Jake Cave then singling home Hall.  It's way early, but Clemens is batting .444, Hall is at .364 and Cave leads them all with a .545 average.  There's likely only one bench spot to be had for the three of them.

Phillies pitching prospect Griff McGarry had a day he'd probably like to forget.  He allowed a walk to Kiké Hernandez to start the third, then struck out Rafael Devers swinging.  He then allowed a single and two walks, scoring a run.  Christian Arroyo launched a grand slam to left, and McGarry's day was done and his spring ERA, which will never mean anything, was 135.00.  Andrew Baker and Billy Sullivan didn't fare much better, with each pitcher allowing four runs.

Featured Card:  Get 'em next time, kid.  McGarry will likely start the season in the Triple-A IronPigs' rotation.  A fifth round draft pick in 2021, I've got four cards of his in my 2022 Phillies binder, including this card from the BlueClaws team set.

Camp Head Count:  65

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Spring Training Game 6 - Painter Impresses as Phils Tie Twins

2022 R-Phils Phillies
Top 25 Prospects #3
Phillies 4
, Twins 4
Spring Training Game 6 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 1st in Fort Myers
Record - 4-1-1

One Sentence Summary:  Top pitching prospect Andrew Painter made his much-anticipated spring debut and the Phillies played to a tie against the Twins in Fort Myers.

What It Means:  I'm ready for the season to start.

What Happened:  Painter gave up a run on three hits in his two innings of work, touching 99 on the radar and striking out Max Kepler looking.  Not a bad start for the 19-year-old who could be the Phillies' fifth starter to start the season.  All the Phillies runs came on home runs.  Jake Cave hit a two-run homer in the second and Darick Hall hit a two-run homer that banged off the center field batter's eye in the fifth.  The Twins tied it up in the ninth on a wild pitch by Phillies pitcher Braden Zarbnisky followed by a throwing error from catcher Aramis Garcia.

Scott Kingery and Cave both had multiple hits for the Phillies.

Featured Card:  I fully expect to be inundated with Painter baseball cards once he makes his debut, but for now I have a grand total of just six of his cards in my Phillies collection.  This is the first card of his I added, back in April 2022 from the Reading Fightin Phils Top 25 Prospects set.  Painter was #3 on that list last year, and he's since made the climb to #1.

Camp Head Count:  65

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Spring Training Game 5 - Wheeler Perfect in Debut

1999 Sports Illustrated #15
Phillies 7
, Blue Jays 2
Spring Training Game 5 - Tuesday Afternoon, February 28th in Clearwater
Record - 4-1

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler threw two scoreless innings and Trea Turner had a pair of hits and two more RBIs in this 7-2 win over the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  Five games into the exhibition schedule, and this marks the first game I didn't follow for at least a pitch.  I'll try to get back on track today.

What Happened:  Wheeler struck out two and didn't allow a baserunner, throwing just 19 pitches in his spring debut.  Turner is now 4 for 6 this spring with two runs scored and three RBIs.  Johan Rojas, Vito Friscia, Turner and Nick Castellanos all had RBIs in the five-run fourth inning.  Rojas would make a nice diving catch in center field in this game as well.  Vimael Machin added a two-run double in the eighth for the Phillies.

Featured Card:  Roger Clemens was invited into the Phillies clubhouse by manager Rob Thomson to give the team a pre-game pep talk.  Clemens and Thomson were both employed by the Yankees in the early 2000s, and Clemens' son, Kody Clemens, is trying to make the Phillies' team as a utility player.  One of the all-time greatest pitchers in the game, Clemens' PED use has led to his exclusion from the Hall of Fame so far.  I have two Clemens baseball cards in my Phillies collection, and on both he's paired with another controversial pitcher from the same era - Curt Schilling.  This card is from the 1999 Sports Illustrated set and the pair is included on another card in the 1998 Collector's Choice set.

Camp Head Count:  65

I'll still listing this as 65, even though Bryce Harper won't report for another week or so.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Spring Training Game 4 - Nola Cruises, Sosa Hits 3-Run Bomb

2022 Topps Now #1038
Phillies 9
, Pirates 7
Spring Training Game 4 - Monday Afternoon, February 27th in Bradenton
Record - 3-1

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut, and Edmundo Sosa launched a three-run home run to left center field as the Phillies nudged out the Pirates, 9-7.

What It Means:  The game got away a little late, and the Phillies had been up at one point by a score of 9-2.  Minor league call-ups Tyler McKay and Matt Seelinger got hit around a bit in the later innings by the Pirates.

What Happened:  The Phillies offense continues to hit the ball well, adding 11 hits on the day with home runs from Sosa and Alec Bohm, and an inside-the-park home run from Weston Wilson.  Darick Hall had a pair of hits, Garrett Stubbs and Josh Harrison both doubled, and Jake Cave tripled.  Jose Alvarado threw a scoreless inning, striking out a pair.

Featured Card:  Sosa hit his blast in the third with Bohm and Hall aboard, giving the Phillies a 5-0 lead.  I'm hoping he gets a proper Phillies baseball card this year, as his baseball card appearances last year were limited to Topps Now cards, none of which were dedicated to him specifically.  This is one of those cards and while Sosa is front and center on the card's front, there's no mention of him on the front or on the back.

Camp Head Count:  65

Monday, February 27, 2023

Spring Training Game 3 - Turner Debuts, Wilson Slams

2022 Topps Heritage
Minor League #90
Phillies 10
, Twins 8
Spring Training Game 3 - Sunday Afternoon, February 26th in Clearwater
Record - 2-1

One Sentence Summary:  Trea Turner made his Phillies debut, and Ethan Wilson hit a grand slam in the sixth to break a 6-6 tie and ultimately lead to the win.

What It Means:  What I was hoping would be a productive day turned out to be an enjoyable day as I couldn't pull myself away from watching this game.  Chores can wait a little bit.

What Happened:  In the first inning, Turner singled in his first Phillies at-bat, stole second and came around to score on a bloop single to left from J.T. Realmuto.  Turner would add an RBI-single in the second.  I'm going to enjoy watching him for the next 11 seasons.  In the fifth, with the Phillies leading 2-0, the Twins' Elliot Soto hit a grand slam off reliever Brian Marconi.  Nick Castellanos hit a two-run home run in the fifth, and he's already looking better at the plate than last season.  In the sixth, Kody Clemens hit a solo home run and Vito Friscia would walk with the bases loaded to tie the score.  Wilson then hit his grand slam to give the Phillies a 10-6 lead.

Featured Card:  I'm confident Turner will get his share of featured cards during the 2023 season, so I'll go with Wilson here.  (Not to be confused with Weston Wilson, who was the featured card from Saturday's games.)  Wilson had a bunch of 2022 minor league cards in 2022, including this one from the Topps Heritage Minor League set.

Camp Head Count:  65

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Spring Training Games 1 & 2 - Phils Split First Games of '23

2022 Choice
Nashville Sounds #32
Phillies 7
, Yankees 4
Spring Training Game 1 - Saturday Afternoon, February 25th in Clearwater

Tigers 4Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 2 - Tuesday Afternoon, February 25th in Lakeland
Record - 1-1

One Sentence Summary:  The reigning National League Champion Phillies split their squad for the spring lid lifter, winning at home against the Yankees and losing on the road to the Tigers.

What It Means:  With no owner's lock-out this year, and an earlier spring schedule due to the World Baseball Classic, baseball is back a little early in 2023.  The first spring game last year wasn't until March 19th.  It's such a great feeling to have baseball back, even though the offseason wasn't as long as usual thanks to an unexpected trip to the World Series.  We watched most of the Yankees game with snow flurries coming down outside, and I found myself wishing several times throughout the game we were in Florida.

What Happened:
  In Clearwater, non-roster invitee Weston Wilson hit the first home run of the spring for the Phillies.  He'd  add a two-run double in the fifth to tie the game at 4-4, and he'd make a nice catch in right field.  Jake Cave and Brandon Marsh also had a pair of hits for the Phillies.  First baseman and minor league call-up Carlos De La Cruz hit a moonshot home run in the eighth, and pitching prospect Andrew Baker earned the win following a scoreless seventh inning in which he struck out a pair.

In Lakeland, all the offense came from minor league addition Nick Podkul, who had a two-run double to center in the seventh.  Michael Plassmeyer got the start and threw two scoreless innings.

Featured Card:  Wilson's baseball card appearances have been slim to date, and the TCDB shows him with six minor league cards to his name.  This is his most recent card, and the watermark across it gives away I snagged the image from the Go Sports Cards minor league baseball card online store.

Camp Head Count:  65

The Phils break camp with 65 players on their roster - 40 on the 40-man roster, 24 non-roster invitees and one player on the restricted list - Noah Song (rhp).  Song was recently discharged from active military duty, and there are a bunch of complex roster rules around him given his military service and the fact he was a rule 5 pick from the Red Sox.  He's the one addition to the list of 64 players I posted here last week.  The Phillies could add him to the 40-man roster as a corresponding move whenever Bryce Harper (dh), recovering from Tommy John surgery, is placed on the 60-day Injured List.  From pictures I've seen, it looks as if Song is wearing #52, which was one of four numbers under 60 still available.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Getting Closer to Games - New Numbers are Here!

2023 Topps #283
2023 Topps #209
2023 Topps #176
2023 Topps #86
2023 Topps #145

It looks as if I skipped the "New Numbers" post last year, which I'll blame on the owners' lock-out that delayed the start of spring training.  One of the many milestones I look forward to each offseason is the assignment of new uniform numbers on the Phillies' website.  This is a hit or miss process as some years the numbers have arrived in spurts, very late or not at all.  I checked the roster page on Friday morning, noticing "--" listed as the uniform number for every non-roster invitee except Francisco Morales, and for most of the non-high profile new additions to the 40-man roster.  By Friday afternoon, uniform numbers had miraculously appeared and we're now that much closer to baseball returning.

Here's a look at the new players and their uniform numbers, who wore the number previously, and a few uniform number switches.

40-Man Roster
  • #2 Josh Harrison (inf) - Worn by Jean Segura since 2019.  Harrison had worn #7 when he was in summer camp with the Phillies in 2020.
  • #7 Trea Turner (ss) -  Johan Camargo wore #7 in 2022, and Turner will wear it through at least the 2033 season.
  • #23 Kody Clemens (inf) - Corey Knebel last year.
  • #25 Matt Strahm (lhp) - Strahm took the number from Darick Hall, who switched to #24.
  • #30 Gregory Sosa (lhp) - David Robertson in 2022.
  • #31 Craig Kimbrel (rhp) - Last worn by Jeurys Familia.
  • #37 Andrew Vasquez (lhp) - This had been Odubel Herrera's number since 2015.
  • #43 Yunior Marte (rhp) - Worn by Noah Syndergaard in 2022.
  • #44 Jake Cave (of) - Kyle Gibson's former number.
  • #47 Erich Uelman (rhp) - Worn very briefly last season by Chris Devenski.
  • #56 Luis Ortiz (rhp) - This had been Zach Efllin's number since 2016.
  • #99 Taijuan Walker (rhp) - Last worn by So Taguchi in 2008.  Prior to that, the only other #99 in franchise history were Turk Wendell and Mitch Williams.
Notable Non-Roster Invitees - 60 and Under
  • #29 John Hicks (c) - Worn in 2022 by Nick Maton.
  • #39 Vimael Machin (inf) - Worn briefly by back-up catcher Donny Sands.
  • #41 Vito Friscia (c) - Belonged to Yairo Munoz last year.
  • #50 Jon Duplantier (rhp) - Worn by Austin Wynns in spring training last year, and last worn in season by closer Hector Neris.
  • #51 Ben Bowden (lhp) - Hans Crouse, still in the organization, wore this number for one game in 2021.
  • #60 Louis Head (rhp) - Ryan Sherriff wore this number in spring training last year, Ramon Rosso wore it in 2021.
Uniform Number Switches
  • #24 Darick Hall (inf) - Hall surrendered #25 to Strahm, and takes the number last worn by Roman Quinn.
  • #73 Will Toffey (inf) - Toffey was active for one game in 2022 and wore #33, which now belongs to Edmundo Sosa.
Still Unofficially Retired
#6 Ryan Howard, #11 Jimmy Rollins, #26 Chase Utley, #35 Cole Hamels

Still Available - 60 and Under
#19, #48, #52, #54

#19 was worn by Matt Vierling in 2022, #48 was Vinny Nittoli, #52 was Brad Hand and #54 was Sam Coonrod.  I always suspect they're saving these for an acquisition that hasn't been  made official yet.  Coonrod was the latest departure, as he was claimed by the Mets off waivers on February 6th.

2021 New Numbers - Part One and Part Two
2022 New Numbers - Skipped it!
2023 New Numbers