Monday, April 22, 2024

Phillies at Reds: April 22nd to April 25th

2024 Chachi 1984 Topps Missing Links #15
1984 Topps #475

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 6:40, Thursday 1:10

Great American Ball Park - Cincinnati, OH

At the Ballpark:  Each of these four games have theme tickets available for various deals or promotional items, and Wednesday's game is a Bark in the Park night with "ticket packages available for dogs and their owners with pet activities, samples and more."

Phillies 14-8
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Ranger Suarez (3-0, 1.73)
Cristopher Sanchez (1-2, 2.53)
Spencer Turnbull (2-0, 1.23)
Zack Wheeler (1-3, 2.30)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Trea Turner - .348
Runs:  Trea Turner - 17
Home Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 6
RBIs:  Alec Bohm - 18
Stolen Bases:  Johan Rojas - 6

Wins:  Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez - 3
ERA:  Spencer Turnbull - 1.23
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 38
Saves:  Jose Alvarado - 4
Reds 12-9
3rd Place in the N.L. Central, 2 1/2 games behind the Brewers

Reds Probables
Hunter Greene (0-1, 4.35)
Andrew Abbott (1-2, 2.70)
Nick Lodolo (2-0, 0.75)
Graham Ashcraft (3-1, 5.24)

Reds Leaders
Average:  Spencer Steer - .307
Runs:  Elly De La Cruz - 20
Home Runs:  Elly De La Cruz - 6
RBIs:  Spencer Steer - 18
Stolen Bases:  Elly De La Cruz - 10

Wins:  Graham Ashcraft - 3
ERA:  Andrew Abbott - 2.70
Strikeouts:  Hunter Greene - 30
Saves:  Alexis Diaz - 4

Game 22 - Nola Continues Trend of Dominant Starting Pitching

2023 Philadelphia Phillies Photo Cards
Phillies 8
, White Sox 2
Game 22 - Sunday Afternoon, April 21st in Philadelphia
Record - 14-8, 2nd Place, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola continued the trend of masterful starting pitching and the Phillies offense did its job in this 8-2 series sweeping win against the White Sox.

What It Means:  The Phillies embark on a three-city, 10-game road trip through Cincinnati, San Diego and Anaheim on Monday night with a six-game winning streak on the line.

What Happened:  Nola went eight innings, his only blemish a first inning, two-run home run to Eloy Jimenez.  He allowed four hits overall, with one walk, while striking out seven.  Yunior Marte worked a scoreless ninth, avoiding a repeat of the prior day's bullpen near-meltdown.  After Jimenez' home run in the top of the inning, the Phillies answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.  Bryce Harper singled home Kyle Schwarber who had worked a lead-off walk.  Harper then got into a run down, allowing Trea Turner, who had also walked, to scamper home with the Phillies' second run.  Brandon Marsh would single home Harper, giving the Phillies the lead they wouldn't relinquish.  

In the fourth, three more runs scored courtesy of a Turner RBI single, Harper's sacrifice fly and an RBI double from Alec Bohm.  Schwarber launched his sixth home run of the year in the sixth, and he capped the scoring with a sac fly in the seventh.

Featured Card:  Nola gets the card, and for some reason, he wasn't included in the Topps Heritage set yet.  Maybe that will be rectified with the High Numbers release, which comes later in the year.  For now, here's his team-issued photo card from last season.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Game 21 - Wheeler, Phillies Offense Master Sox

2024 Topps Heritage #493
Phillies 9
, White Sox 5
Game 21 - Saturday Night, April 20th in Philadelphia
Record - 13-8, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and the Phillies offense supported him with clutch hitting in this 9-5 win over the White Sox.

What It Means:  The Phillies will go for a series sweep, and their sixth win in a row, on Sunday afternoon behind Aaron Nola.

What Happened:  Wheeler lost his no-hitter with one out in the eighth inning when Korey Lee singled up the first base line.  He departed to a standing ovation, having allowed the one hit, two walks and striking out eight.  The game should have been a shutout but the White Sox batted around against reliever Ricardo Pinto in the ninth.  Pinto allowed five runs, and Jose Alvarado had to come in for a one-pitch save.

The Phillies scored their runs in bunches.  Brandon Marsh hit a two-run home run in the second, and Johan Rojas singled home Nick Castellanos a few batters later, giving the Phillies an early 3-0 lead.  Castellanos hit a two-run single in the fifth, Bryce Harper added an RBI single in the sixth and J.T. Realmuto contributed a sacrifice fly to make it 7-0 Phillies.  Turner plated two final runs with an RBI double in the seventh.

Featured Card:  Wheeler's ERA dropped to 2.30 and he picked up his first win of 2024 after finally receiving some run support.  This is his 1975 Topps-inspired Topps Heritage card.

Game 20 - Bohm Homers Twice and Turnbull Nearly No-Hits Sox

2024 Topps Heritage #469
Phillies 7
, White Sox 0
Game 20 - Friday Night, April 19th in Philadelphia
Record - 12-8, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Spencer Turnbull took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Alec Bohm hit two, three-run home runs in this 7-0 romp over the White Sox.

What It Means:  The White Sox are a team on the decline right now, and hopefully the Phillies can earn a few more wins this weekend.  The Phillies are 1-1 in their City Connect uniforms.

What Happened:   Turnbull, who may be losing his spot in the rotation when Taijuan Walker returns from injury, looked fantastic.  He improved to 2-0, with his ERA dropping to 1.23, as he allowed one hit and two walks while striking out six.  Matt Strahm and Orion Kerkering completed the shutout with two innings of relief.

Trea Turner continued to swing a hot bat, going 3 for 4 and raising his season average to a team-best .350.  Bohm was the offensive hero of the game, hitting a first inning and third inning home run, both with a pair of runners on.

Featured Card:  As promised, I'll work my way through the awesome 2024 Topps Heritage Phillies team set as opportunity present themselves, and here's Bohm's card.

Happy Birthday Ben!


It's been a whirlwind year with little to no let-up and today we joyously celebrate our youngest son Ben's 14th birthday.  He made his debut last season in cross country and he was fearless again this season as his times got better and better.  Before I get to how great a piano player he's becoming, I'd like to speak now about his tennis game too.  He regularly had his opponents seeing red, and sometimes watching him play is like watching Boris Becker or Steffi Graf in their primes, circa 1989.  He's always had a reputation as a smart kid, and he's a lover of all things creative.  One of my favorite things is listening to him practice piano as he works on a song until it sounds fantastic.

Ben is developing his own folklore, creating blogs of his own, playing video games with his friends and demonstrating an amazing imagination.  His creativity is something his mom and me watch with amazement and it will likely serve him evermore as he tackles high school next year.  Speaking of high school . . . it's crazy to think our Ben will be entering his freshman year not many midnights from now.

I don't want to sound too much like a tortured poet, but it's hard to put into words how proud we are of Ben and he's clearly in his own department.  Happy birthday Ben, and may your 14th year be one of the best eras ever!

Memory Lane
2010 - Welcome Ben!
2010 - Ben is born, Roy Halladay wins, all is right with the world
2011 - Ben turns one as Roy Oswalt pitches the Phillies past the Padres
2012 - Happy 2nd Birthday Ben!
2013 - Happy 3rd Birthday Ben!
2014 - Ben is Four!
2015 - Ben is Five!
2016 - Ben and Chewbacca
2017 - Ben is Seven!
2018 - Ben is Eight!
2019 - Ben at the Grand Canyon
2020 - Ben is Ten! (Social distancing version)
2021 - Ben, accomplished piano player, amazing kid, turns 11
2022 - This kid, with unlimited potential and an unrivaled imagination, is 12.
2023 - Ben enters teen years. (What?)
2024 - The 14 Era begins.

Friday, April 19, 2024

White Sox at Phillies: April 19th to April 21st

1984 Topps #20
1984 Topps #43

Friday 6:40, Saturday 6:05, Sunday 1:35

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  Fans will have their second chance to witness the new City Connect jerseys in action on Friday night.  On Sunday, all kids will receive a pair of Phillie Phanatic mittens.

White Sox 3-15
5th Place in the A.L. Central, 9 games behind the Guardians

White Sox Probables
Garrett Crochet (1-2, 3.57)
Michael Soroka (0-2, 6.98)
Nick Nastrini (0-1, 3.60)

White Sox Leaders
Average:  Andrew Benintendi - .175
Runs:  Gavin Sheets - 5
Home Runs:  XX
RBIs:  Paul DeJong and Gavin Sheets - 3
Stolen Bases:  Brandon Shewmake - 2

Wins:  Three tied with - 1
ERA:  Erick Fedde - 3.10
Strikeouts:  Garrett Crochet - 31
Saves:  Michael Kopech - 2
Phillies 11-8
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Spencer Turnbull (1-0, 1.80)
Zack Wheeler (0-3, 3.00)
Aaron Nola (2-1, 3.47)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Trea Turner - .329
Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 13
Home Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 5
RBIs:  Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper - 11
Stolen Bases:  Johan Rojas and Trea Turner - 4

Wins:  Ranger Suarez - 3
ERA:  Ranger Suarez - 1.73
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 30
Saves:  Jose Alvarado - 3

2024 Chachi #4 J.T. Realmuto


#10
Jacob Tyler Realmuto
Catcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  212
Opening Day Age:  33
Born:  March 18, 1991, Del City, OK
Acquired:  Traded by the Marlins to the Phillies for Will Stewart, Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sanchez and international bonus slot money, February 7, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2025
Major League Teams:  Miami Marlins 2014-2018; Philadelphia Phillies 2019-2024
World Series Appearances:  Philadelphia Phillies 2022

Informally known in Philadelphia as the BCIB (best catcher in baseball), J.T. Realmuto begins his sixth season with the Phillies after being acquired from the Marlins in February 2019.  He entered free agency following the 2020 season, re-signing with the Phillies for five years.  He's a three-time All-Star, a three-time Silver Slugger winner and a Gold Glove recipient in 2019 and 2022.  Realmuto enjoyed a career year for the National League Champions in 2022, batting .276 with career highs in home runs (22), RBIs (84) and stolen bases (21).  He started 130 out of 162 games in 2022 behind the plate, and caught every inning of all 17 Phillies postseason games.  Realmuto was just as durable in 2023, again making 130 starts behind the plate and helping to lead the Phillies to the NLCS.

2015 Topps Update #US398
2018 Topps #79
2019 Topps Update #US66
2022 Topps #180
2024 Topps #194

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  2011 Topps Pro Debut
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (10):  2015-2024
Newest Card Added to My Phillies Collection:  2024 Topps Heritage #159
Total Cards in My Phillies Collection:  132 as of 4/18/24.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2023 Chachi #44 - Hits for Cycle HL
2024 Chachi #4

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Game 19 - Phils Hang on to Win Slugfest, Complete Sweep

2024 Topps Heritage #161
Phillies 7
, Rockies 6
Game 19 - Wednesday Night, April 17th in Philadelphia
Record - 11-8, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies survived a late-inning blow-up by the bullpen to win 7-6 against the Rockies and complete a three-game sweep.

What It Means:  The Phillies are three games above .500 and the last place White Sox will come to Philadelphia for a three-game series beginning Friday night.

What Happened:  Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner led off the game with back-to-back home runs off Rockies' starting pitcher Ryan Feltner.  Two more runs would score in the inning following a J.T. Realmuto single, an RBI double from Alec Bohm and an RBI single from Brandon Marsh.  Schwarber homered again in the sixth, his fifth of the year, giving the Phillies a commanding 7-1 lead.  Cristopher Sanchez pitched effectively through six innings, allowing an unearned run on five hits while striking out 10.  Turner finished the game a triple short of the cycle.

Gregory Soto got hit hard in the eighth, and five Rockies runs would score off him and Jeff Hoffman, with all the runs credited to Soto.  Thankfully, Jose Alvarado had an easy ninth inning as he notched his third save.

Featured Card:  Topps Heritage is out!  Like a lot of collectors, I've been waiting for Topps to pay tribute to the iconic 1975 set since the Topps Heritage line began in 2001.  I'll be working my way through the Phillies team set in these posts, beginning with the Schwarber card shown here.

Field Report:  Given the earlier than usual start time of 6:05 due to the competing Sixers game, Doug and I arrived a little later than usual, settling into our seats in the bottom of the first inning.  Fortunately, we were in time to see the back-to-back home runs from Schwarber and Turner to start the game.  We also signed up for the new teen Club 215 fan club, which will allow us to build the 21-card baseball card set available to club members, one per card per game attended.

Scene from Section 315 following Schwarber's second home run in the sixth inning

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Game 18 - Suarez Fires Complete Game Shutout

2024 Topps Phillies #PHI-4
Phillies 5
, Rockies 0
Game 18 - Tuesday Night, April 16th in Philadelphia
Record - 10-8, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Everything went right for the Phillies in this game with Ranger Suarez throwing a complete game shutout and the offense responding with a pair of key home runs.

What It Means:  The Phillies will go for the three-game sweep tonight with Cristopher Sanchez on the mound.

What Happened:  It was the second complete game shutout of Suarez's carreer, and he made it look easy.  He scattered seven Rockies singles, walked one batter and struck out eight as his record improved to 3-0 and his ERA dropped to 1.73.  His first career shutout came back on September 25, 2021 against the Pirates.

J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run home run in the first, and Bryce Harper bookended that blast with a two-run home run in the eighth.  The other Phillies run came in the sixth when Trea Turner doubled and Harper doubled him home.

Featured Card:  I have a feeling I'm going to need some more Suarez cards.  This is his card from the 17-card Topps Phillies retail set, featuring a white Topps logo on the front instead of the shiny Topps logo found in the flagship release.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Game 17 - Pache's Liner Walks It Off in 10th

2024 Topps Phillies #PHI-15
Phillies 2
, Rockies 1 (10 Innings)
Game 17 - Monday Night, April 15th in Philadelphia
Record - 9-8, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Cristian Pache, inserted the prior inning as a pinch-runner for Kyle Schwarber, played the hero when he lined a single to right to score Bryson Stott and give the Phillies an extra inning, 2-1 win.

What It Means:  It wasn't an ideal way to win, as the offense was mostly quiet again throughout much of this game.  But a win's a win.  Both teams wore blue #42 on the backs of their jerseys, paying tribute to Jackie Robinson on his annual day of celebration.

What Happened:  Trea Turner doubled with two outs in the third, and Bryce Harper singled him home to give the Phillies their first run.  Rockies' right fielder Michael Toglia hit a solo home run in the fifth to tie the score, 1-1.  Aaron Nola pitched well, but didn't factor into the win.  He threw 7 1/3 innings, allowing four hits overall while striking out nine.  Jeff Hoffman and Seranthony Dominguez pitched two big innings of relief in the 9th and 10th.  Hoffman tagged out pinch-runner Kyle Freehand in the 10th in a home plate collision, preserving the tie.

Featured Card:  Pache gets the card, and this card appears in the 17-card Topps Phillies retail set I recently bought at the ballpark.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Rockies at Phillies: April 15th to April 17th

2024 Chachi Series Previews #1
2024 Chachi 1984 Topps Missing Links #13

Monday and Tuesday 6:40, Wednesday 6:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  Tonight the Phillies and Rockies will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day wearing special on-field hats.  Tuesday is the next of the unpopular Hatfield Phillies Franks BOGO Nights.

Rockies 4-12
5th Place in the N.L. West, 6 1/2 games behind the Dodgers

Rockies Probables
Cal Quantrill (0-2, 7.20)
Austin Gomber (0-0, 4.91)
Ryan Feltner (1-1, 3.38)

Rockies Leaders
Average:  Ryan McMahon - .373
Runs:  Brenton Doyle - 10
Home Runs:  Three tied with - 3
RBIs:  Ryan McMahon - 11
Stolen Bases:  Ezequiel Tovar - 2

Wins:  Pete Lambert - 2
ERA:  Ryan Feltner - 3.38
Strikeouts:  Ryan Feltner - 18
Saves:  Jake Bird - 1
Phillies 8-8
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Aaron Nola (2-1, 4.50)
Ranger Suarez (2-0, 2.65)
Cristopher Sanchez (0-2, 3.52)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Brandon Marsh - .313
Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 11
Home Runs:  Brandon Marsh - 4
RBIs:  Alec Bohm - 10
Stolen Bases:  Trea Turner - 4

Wins:  Three tied with - 2
ERA:  Ranger Suarez - 2.65
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 30
Saves:  Jose Alvarado - 2

Game 16 - Sloppy Defense, Pitching, Offense Cost Phils in Loss

2021 Topps Update
1992 Topps Redux #T92-37
Pirates 9
, Phillies 2
Game 16 - Sunday Afternoon, April 14th in Philadelphia
Record - 8-8, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Sloppy play, a lack of offense and a rough start from Zack Wheeler contributed to this 9-2 loss to the Pirates.

What It Means:  The Phillies split the series, and they'll open up a three-game series against the last place Rockies on Monday night.

What Happened:  The Phillies are winless in Wheeler's four starts, scoring a total of six runs when he's on the mound.  Ahead 2-1 in the top of the sixth, the Pirates opened the inning when Ke'Bryan Hayes reached on an error by Alec Bohm.  Rowdy Tellez walked, Andrew McCutchen singled and Jack Suwinski hit a back-breaking grand slam off Wheeler to give the Pirates a 5-2 lead.  Relievers Seranthony Dominguez and Ricardo Pinto would allow four more runs to score.  Trea Turner raised his average to .302 by going 3 for 4 with a third inning solo home run.

Featured Card:  McCutchen hit a two-run home run off Pinto in the ninth, the 300th of the popular outfielder's career.  I remember being so hopeful when McCutchen signed here prior to the 2019 season, but a devastating knee injury on June 3rd that season and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season essentially derailed his Phillies career.

Transaction:  Orion Kerkering (rhp) was activated from the Injured List, pitching a scoreless inning in this game in his 2024 debut, and Nick Nelson (rhp) was optioned to Lehigh Valley.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Game 15 - Phils Win as Casty Walks It Off

2024 Topps Phillies #PHI-12
Phillies 4
, Pirates 3
Game 15 - Saturday Afternoon, April 13th in Philadelphia
Record - 8-7, 2nd Place, 1 game behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Castellanos lined a bases-loaded ninth inning single to center, scoring the winning run and notching the Phillies' first walk-off win of 2024.

What It Means:  The Phillies will go for the series win this afternoon and hope for a Braves loss against the Marlins.  The Rockies come to town on Monday night for a three-game set.

What Happened:  Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull labored through four innings, allowing three runs on four hits.  He departed with the Phillies trailing 3-2.  The Phillies scored twice in the first inning when Kyle Schwarber led off the game with his third home run of the season, and Castellanos singled home Trea Turner, who had doubled to reach.  Matt Strahm deserves a lot of credit for his two scoreless innings of relief, in which he struck out five.

The Phillies tied the game in the seventh after Aroldis Chapman entered in relief for the Pirates.  Schwarber walked, went to second on a passed ball, advanced to third when Turner grounded out and came home on an Alec Bohm single.

Featured Card:  By his own admittance, Castellanos has had a horrible start to his 2024 season, and hopefully his big day is the start of his turnaround.  Schwarber walked to start the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Whit Merrifield.  A walk and a wild pitch put Merrifield at third and Castellanos brought him home with his game-winning hit.  Here's a sneak preview of his Topps Series Two flagship card from the 17-card Topps Phillies retail team set.

2024 Chachi #3 Bryce Harper


#3
Bryce Aron Max Harper
First Base

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  210
Opening Day Age:  31
Born:  October 16, 1992, Las Vegas, NV
Acquired:  Signed as a free agent with the Phillies, March 2, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2031
Major League Teams:  Washington Nationals 2012-2018; Philadelphia Phillies 2019-2024
World Series Appearances:  Philadelphia Phillies 2022

The current face of the franchise, Bryce Harper is already in the sixth year of the 13-year contract he signed with the Phillies prior to the 2019 season.  Since signing the contract, he's won MVP honors in 2021, helped lead the team to the World Series in 2022 and to the NLCS in 2023.  His dramatic two-run home run against the Padres in 2022 NLCS Game 5 propelled the Phillies to the World Series and cemented his NLCS MVP honors.  

Harper made the full-time move to first base for the 2024 season, and as of this writing he's off to a slower than normal start.  By the time he retires, Harper will likely have the most Chachi custom cards in the history of Chachi sets, surpassing the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

2012 Topps #661
2015 Topps #207
2020 Topps #250
2022 Topps #250
2024 Topps #200

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP1
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (13):  2012-2024
Newest Card Added to My Phillies Collection:  2024 Topps Phillies #PHI-1
Total Cards in My Phillies Collection:  372 as of 4/13/24.

2023 Chachi #55 - 300th Home Run HL
2023 Chachi #62 - NLDS Game 1
2023 Chachi #63 - NLDS Game 2
2023 Chachi #64 - NLDS Game 3
2023 Chachi #71 - NLCS Game 5
2024 Chachi #3

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Game 14 - Phils Falter in City Connect Uniform Debut

2023 Topps Heritage #314
Pirates 5
, Phillies 2
Game 14 - Friday Night, April 12th in Philadelphia
Record - 7-7, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies dropped a sloppy game against the Pirates on the night they debuted their long-awaited City Connect uniforms.

What It Means:  With the series now tied, the Phillies will try to recover and win a pair of weekend afternoon games today and tomorrow.

What Happened:  The energy generated by the new uniforms was not replicated on the field.  The Phillies were trailing 2-0 in the fifth when Brandon Marsh doubled and Bryson Stott singled him home.  Down 5-1, they loaded the bases in the eighth and came away with only one more run from a bases loaded walk issued to Alec Bohm.  Cristopher Sanchez was shaky on the mound, but did battle through six innings, allowing an unearned run (the error was his) on four hits while striking out six.  Yunior Marte and Ricardo Pinto allowed three more runs to score in relief.


Featured Card:  Bailey Falter started for the Pirates and took the win.  He gave up a run on four hits in his five innings of work, besting Sanchez, who essentially replaced him in the Phillies' starting pitching rotation last season.

Field Report:  Doug and I took in this game from Section 315, and we contributed to the Phillies' merchandise revenue with several City Connect related purchases.  I've long been a fan of the Phillies' blue and yellow uniform combinations from the 1930s, and I personally love the blue and yellow color combination of their new City Connect uniforms.  I would have tweaked a few things, and maybe not had the all-black pants, but overall they're not bad.  I love the hat and the yellow highlights, and I'm also a fan of the Declaration of Independence-style "Philly" font prominent on the fronts of the jerseys.

We're also happy to report our first visit to Bull's BBQ for 2024 was a success, and we're looking forward to many repeat visits throughout the summer and fall.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Game 13 - Three Homers Support Suarez's Latest Win

2023 Topps #642
Phillies 5
, Pirates 1
Game 13 - Thursday Night, April 11th in Philadelphia
Record - 7-6, 2nd Place, 1 game behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies connected for three home runs in support of Ranger Suarez's solid outing, taking the series opener over the Pirates, 5-1.

What It Means:  It's early and we're only 13 games into the season, but the Phillies have their first winning record of the year and they've matched the Braves in the win column.

What Happened:  Suarez was fantastic, throwing six shutout innings and striking out eight on the way to his second win of the year.  Yunior Marte and Nick Nelson held the Pirates down over the final three frames, with the Pirates scoring their only run off Nelson in the ninth.

Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh and Bryson Stott all homered in this game, and Bohm also made a few impressive defensive plays.

Featured Card:  Somehow I've not yet featured Suarez's card from last year's Topps flagship release, so let's fix that here.

Field Report:  Jenna and I arrived fashionably late following our son's rain soaked high school baseball game, and we met up with her college friends Heather and Joe.  It was nice to actually witness a win from a baseball team I was rooting for, as I had been shut out over the first few weeks of April.

Game 12 - Nola, Phils Battle Rain, Cards for Series Win

2023 Stadium Club #199
Phillies 4
, Cardinals 3
Game 12 - Wednesday Afternoon, April 10th in St. Louis
Record - 6-6, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola and the Phillies battled through the rain in St. Louis to win this game, 4-3, and secure the series win.

What It Means:  The Phillies open up a season-long 10-game homestead against the Pirates on Thursday night, before the Rockies and White Sox come in to town.

What Happened:  Nola won his second game, pitching six innings in a steady drizzle, allowing two runs on three hits.  Jeff Hoffman was the closer of the day, pitching a scoreless ninth to clinch his first save of the season.  The Phillies scored twice in the first on an error by center fielder Victor Scott and an RBI single from Alec Bohm.  Two more runs scored in the sixth on RBI singles from Brandon Marsh and Nick Castellanos.

Featured Card:  As I anxiously await the arrival of my Topps Heritage Phillies team set, I find myself without any more 2024 Nola baseball cards to post yet.  Here's a card not released until January 2024, but still considered to be a 2023 release.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Pirates at Phillies: April 11th to April 14th

1984 Topps #754
1984 Topps #564

Thursday and Friday 6:40, Saturday 4:05 and Sunday 1:35
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  Weather permitting, the Phillies kick off a four game series against the cross-state rival Pirates tonight.  Tonight is Asian Pacific Heritage night and tomorrow night marks the debut of the team's new City Connect jerseys.  On Sunday, all kids will receive a Phillies sleeveless hoodie.

Pirates 9-3
1st Place in the N.L. Central, 1/2 game ahead of the Brewers

Pirates Probables
Jared Jones (1-1, 3.86)
Bailey Falter (0-0, 5.40)
Marco Gonzales (0-0, 2.45)
Mitch Keller (1-1, 5.29)

Pirates Leaders
Average:  Connor Joe - .324
Runs:  Connor Joe - 11
Home Runs:  Edward Olivares - 3
RBIs:  Bryan Reynolds - 10
Stolen Bases:  Four tied with - 1

Wins:  Nine tied with - 1
ERA:  Martin Perez - 1.89
Strikeouts:  Jared Jones and Mitch Keller - 17
Saves:  Five tied with - 1
Phillies 6-6
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Ranger Suarez (1-0, 4.09)
Cristopher Sanchez (0-1, 4.82)
Spencer Turnbull (1-0, 0.00)
Zack Wheeler (0-2, 1.89)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Brandon Marsh - .333
Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 8
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper and Brandon Marsh - 3
RBIs:  Three tied with - 7
Stolen Bases:  Trea Turner - 4

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 2
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 1.89
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 20
Saves:  Jose Alvarado - 2

Game 11 - Phils Can't Support Wheeler in 3-0 Loss to Cards

2021 Topps Heritage #591
Cardinals 3
, Phillies 0
Game 11 - Tuesday Night, April 9th in St. Louis
Record - 5-6, Tied for 2nd Place, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler deserved better in this lifeless 3-0 loss to the Cardinals.

What It Means:  The Phillies would try to go for a series win on Wednesday afternoon.

What Happened:  Wheeler pitched seven strong innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out five.  The Phillies offense had eight singles and went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.  Nick Castellanos is hopefully starting to emerge from his brutal start to the season, as he had two of the eight hits.

There was a scary moment in the seventh when catcher J.T. Realmuto had a ball bounce into his throat, causing his departure from the game.  Fortunately Realmuto would return to the line-up on Wednesday.

Featured Card:  JoJo Romero, one of the Cardinals' top relievers, pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing a hit and striking out four.  Romero was dealt to St. Louis in July 2022 in exchange for Edmundo Sosa, and the deal has seemingly worked out for both clubs.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Game 10 - Bohm's 10th Inning Double Leads to Win

2024 Topps Big League #174
Phillies 5
, Cardinals 3 (10 Innings)
Game 10 - Monday Night, April 8th in St. Louis
Record - 5-5, 2nd Place, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Alec Bohm came through with a go-ahead double in the 10th as the Phillies hung on to beat the Cardinals, 5-3.

What It Means:  The Phillies reached .500 (briefly) for the first time in 2024.

What Happened:  Spencer Turnbull and Miles Mikolas were locked in a pitcher's duel at the outset of this game, with the Phillies scoring first in the fifth inning.  Three straight singles from Brandon Marsh, Garrett Stubbs and Johan Rojas resulted in the first Phillies run, and Trea Turner added a fourth single to score Stubbs.  The Cardinals got on the board in the seventh when Ivan Herrera greeted Seranthony Dominguez with a lead-off home run.  Marsh got the run back with a solo home run in the top of the ninth, making it 3-1 Phillies, but then reliever Jeff Hoffman couldn't close out the Cardinals in the bottom of the inning.  A lead-off walk, a double and a sacrifice fly plated the first run and Masyn Winn tied it with a single to left with two outs.

In the top of the 10th, ghost and pinch-runner Cristian Pache started at second, Bryce Harper was intentionally walked and Bohm doubled Pache home.  Bryson Stott would score Harper on a sacrifice fly to give Gregory Soto a two-run cushion in the bottom of the inning.  Soto earned his first save of the year.

Featured Card:  This is already the second game of the 2024 season featuring a Bohm card, and hopefully there are many more to come.  This is his card from the Topps Big League set.