Wednesday, September 27, 2023

2023 Chachi #56 Orion Kerkering

Richard Orion Kerkering
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  204
Opening Day Age:  21
Born:  April 4, 2001, Huntington Beach, CA
Acquired:  Drafted by the Phillies in the 5th round of the 2022 amateur draft, July 18, 2022
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 2023

Selected in the 2022 amateur player draft, Orion Kerkering quickly rose through the Phillies' minor league ranks, pitching at four levels in 2023 before making his major league debut on Sunday night.  In parts of two minor league seasons, Kerkering was 5-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 55 relief appearances, striking out 86 in 60 2/3 innings pitched.  He's looking to become the first Phillies pitcher to make his debut in September and play in the postseason since Marty Bystrom did it in 1980.  The Phillies were obviously aware of this comparison, assigning Kerkering uniform #50, the same number worn by Bystrom.

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  2023 Topps Now #915
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (0):  N/A
Newest Card Added to My Phillies Collection:  2023 Choice Jersey Shore BlueClaws #1
Total Cards in My Phillies Collection:  2 as of 9/26/23.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2023 Chachi #56

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Pirates at Phillies: September 26th to September 28th

2014 Topps Heritage #34
2023 Chachi 1965 Topps Missing Links #6

Tuesday and Wednesday 6:40, Thursday 6:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  The Phillies hope to secure a postseason spot with a win tonight against the Pirates.  On Wednesday, all kids receive a Phillies friendship bracelet, and on Thursday, all fans will receive a 2024 schedule magnet.  (They must have had some of these left over from Sunday's game.)

Pirates Leaders 74-82
4th Place in the N.L. Central, 14 games behind the Brewers

Pirates Probables
Mitch Keller (13-9, 4.25)
Johan Oviedo (9-14, 4.12)
Luis Ortiz (4-5, 4.96)

Pirates Leaders
Average:  Ke'Bryan Hayes - .276
Runs:  Bryan Reynolds - 82
Home Runs:  Jack Suwinski - 26
RBIs:  Bryan Reynolds - 82
Stolen Bases:  Ji Hwan Bae - 24

Wins:  Mitch Keller - 13
ERA:  Johan Oviedo - 4.12
Strikeouts:  Mitch Keller - 204
Saves:  David Bednar - 37
Phillies 87-69
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 13 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.57)
Ranger Suarez (4-6, 3.89)
Zack Wheeler (13-6, 3.64)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .292
Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 105
Home Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 45
RBIs:  Nick Castellanos - 106
Stolen Bases:  Bryson Stott - 30

Wins:  Taijuan Walker - 15
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 3.64
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 207
Saves:  Craig Kimbrel - 23

Game 156 - Sanchez Dominates Mets Completing Series Sweep

2021 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #26
Phillies 5
, Mets 2
Game 156 - Sunday Night, September 24th in Philadelphia
Record - 87-69, 2nd Place, 13 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Cristopher Sanchez was phenomenal and Nick Castellanos hit his 29th home run of the season in this 5-2 win over the Mets, completing a four-game sweep.

What It Means:  What was originally supposed to be an afternoon game was pushed to a night game as wet weather continued to move through our area all day Sunday.  A Marlins or Cubs loss earlier in the day, coupled with a Phillies win in this game, would have clinched a postseason berth.  Unfortunately, both the Marlins and Cubs won, meaning the Phillies would have to delay a celebration by a few days.

What Happened:  Sanchez went seven strong innings and had no-hit the Mets until DJ Stewart singled with two outs in the fifth.  Sanchez allowed two runs on three hits while striking out 10 and allowing only one walk.  Orion Kerkering made his big league debut in the eighth, striking out a pair of Mets batters.  It was quite the moment for Kerkering, who began the season pitching for Low-A Clearwater.  Michael Lorenzen, trying to figure it out, was given the ninth inning and earned the save.

The Phillies plated four runs in the fourth inning courtesy of a two-run single from J.T. Realmuto and Castellanos' two-run home run.  They added a run in the fifth when Bryce Harper singled home Trea Turner, who had doubled to reach.

Featured Card:  I have only four Sanchez cards in my Phillies collection, and this is the first card I added from the 2021 IronPigs team set.  Hopefully he starts to show up in a few 2024 Topps releases.

Field Report:  The four of us attended this game with seats in the Diamond Club.  We've made it a tradition to attend Fan Appreciation Day annually, although this year's celebration was a little anti-climatic given there's still a week left in the regular season.  Still, we enjoyed our dinner at Pass & Stow and Ben was the lucky recipient of a Bryson Stott foul day when a fan behind us corralled the ball and graciously handed it over to Ben.  Ben, being the excellent little brother that he is, has since relinquished the ball to Doug and his collection.  Before departing the ballpark, we made a quick visit to Scott Rolen's newly hung Wall of Fame plaque.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Game 155 - Harper, Offense Dismantle Mets in Win

2023 Philadelphia Phillies Photo Cards
Phillies 7
, Mets 5
Game 155 - Saturday Afternoon, September 23rd in Philadelphia
Record - 86-69, 2nd Place, 13 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Playing in a windy, steady mist, Bryce Harper drove home three runs to support Zack Wheeler's outing as the Phillies overcame the Mets, 7-5.

What It Means:  If the Phillies win on Sunday AND the Marlins OR the Cubs lose, the Phillies will clinch a postseason spot.

What Happened:  Wheeler won his 13th, allowing five runs (three earned) over seven innings, while striking out six.  Gregory Soto and Jose Alvarado kept the Mets from scoring in the final two innings, with Alvarado earning his 10th save.

The Mets were up 2-0 in the bottom of the second when Harper cut the deficit in half with a solo home run, his 20th of the year.  J.T. Realmuto then reached on a Francisco Lindor error, and scored the tying run when Nick Castellanos tripled him home.  (The triple resulted in a ball misplayed by center fielder Brandon Nimmo.)  Alec Bohm put the Phillies ahead with a home run in the third, and Harper provided some cushion with a two-run single to right in the fifth.

Featured Card:  This is Harper's somewhat rare 2023 team-issued photo card.  My hopes the Phillies would release a full set of 2023 photo cards have been dashed, and instead collectors will need to piece together the set through autograph requests or future grab bag purchases.  I have no idea how many of these photo cards were created this year, and my guess is the production numbers are much lower than in prior years.  I sincerely hope the Phillies return to selling their fantastic photo card sets in 2024.

Philly Baseball Card Show Report - Rainy, Quick Trip

We weren't supposed to attend this show, as Doug had a travel baseball tournament scheduled for the weekend in the Toms River area.  The torrential downpour that started on Friday night scuttled those plans, so we pivoted and made the hour-plus drive to Oaks, Pennsylvania for the latest Philadelphia Sports Collector Show, better known as The Philly Show.

Our goals were simple.  Doug wanted to add a Michael Lorenzen signature to the recently released Phillies scorecard celebrating the pitcher's August no-hitter.  Lorenzen may not return in 2024, and this could have easily been the only chance to get his autograph before he moves on.  I wanted to add at least one Diamond Stars card and hopefully a few 1969 Topps star cards.  My massive 1969 Topps haul from March is still mostly sitting on my project table, as life and work have forced me to step away from my 1969 Topps blog for a little bit.  (I hope to return to it in October.)

We drove through a hard, steady rain, navigated our way through the confusing admission lines, found the not-well-marked autograph pavilion, stood in line again, purchased our autograph tickets and waited our turn.  I made an impulse Jim Thome autograph ticket purchase, as I wanted to have the Hall of Famer sign his Phillies Alumni photo card.

For the first time ever, I spent all my allotted money at one table and one table only.  Technically, it was two tables, but the two dealers from the Buffalo area were working together and even provided me with a joint business card.  From the Ed Hans side of the table, I found a Paul Waner card needed for my 1934-36 Diamond Stars set build, which is steadily plugging along.  From the Gary Nuchereno side of the table, I first settled on four star cards needed for our 1969 Topps set - all in good shape and very reasonably priced.  After we secured Thome's and Lorenzen's autographs, I went back and found 11 needed commons and semistars from the same dealer's 1969 Topps binder.

Doug spent his money on Ultra Pro supplies with nary a new baseball card purchased.  We were on our way out in less than two hours, me with 26 new cards for my two current, primary set builds and a Thome autograph, Doug with his signed Lorenzen scorecard and some much needed supplies.  We'll now rest up and get ready to likely do a little more damage at the next show in December.

Recent Memory Lane
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
Oaks 5 - September 2023 - Thome, Lorenzen, only 26 cards purchased from two dealers

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Game 154 - Rolen Returns, Bohm Walks It Off

Phillies 5
, Mets 4 (10 Innings)
Game 154 - Friday Night, September 22nd in Philadelphia
Record - 85-69, 2nd Place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Mets' attempted comeback fell short when Alec Bohm singled home Trea Turner to give the Phillies a 5-4 walk-off win.

What It Means:  The Magic Number to clinch a postseason berth is three.

What Happened:  The Phillies took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth when J.T. Realmuto hit a three-run home run, his 20th of the season.  Kyle Schwarber singled home Johan Rojas in the seventh for an insurance run.  Francisco Lindor hit a solo home run off Gregory Soto in the eighth, bringing the Mets to within a run.  In the ninth, and with Craig Kimbrel on the mound trying to close it out, Brett Baty stunned the crowd with a game-tying solo home run.

With the game in extra innings, Seranthony Dominguez worked out of a mostly self-created bases loaded jam, striking out Lindor and Pete Alonso to end the Mets' threat in the top of the 10th.  With Turner at second as the ghost runner in the bottom of the 10th, Bohm laced his single to right, scoring the winning run and starting yet another on-field celebration.

Featured Card/Field Report:  Jenna, Doug and I braved the windy weather and attended this game, solely to see Scott Rolen officially inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in a pregame ceremony.  Rolen had a scheduling conflict and couldn't attend Alumni Weekend in August.  My feelings toward Rolen have softened over the years, and the bitterness I felt when he unceremoniously left Philadelphia in 2002 has dissipated over time.  His speech was on the mark and sincere and the cheers from the early-arriving fans outweighed the few boos.  Former teammates Wayne Gomes, Mark Grace, Kevin Sefick, Rico Brogna, Kevin Jordan and a few others I couldn't quite place were on hand.  The card shown above shows the Wall of Famers who were in attendance for the ceremony.

Doug staked out the alumni suite within the Hall of Fame club, and his patience was rewarded when Rolen came through and signed for the autograph seekers assembled there.  Rolen signed Doug's Wall of Fame print, which joined his quickly growing, and impressive collection.  Shake Shack was on the menu for all of us, and I continue to be underwhelmed by their burgers.  I think I'm in the minority?

Transaction:  The Phillies purchased the contract of Orion Kerkering (rhp) a 22-year-old 5th round draft pick from 2022 who began the season at Low-A Clearwater.  Kerkering has shot up through the system quickly, having been recently promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  Yunior Marte (rhp) was sent down to Lehigh Valley and Drew Ellis (inf) was designated for assignment to make room for Kerkering on the 40-man roster.

Game 153 - Castellanos (Again) Leads the Phils to Victory

2022 Topps Stadium Club #17
Phillies 5
, Mets 4
Game 153 - Thursday Night, September 21st in Philadelphia
Record - 84-69, 2nd Place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Castellanos homered again and had four RBIs in this 5-4 series opening win against the Mets.

What It Means:  Castellanos became the first Phillies player to cross the 100-RBI threshold in 2023.  Kyle Schwarber joined him on Friday night, and Alec Bohm is close with 94 RBIs and eight games remaining.

What Happened:  Ranger Suarez picked up his fourth win, pitching 6 2/3 innings and allowing four runs on five hits while striking out six.  The somewhat surprising back-end of the bullpen trio of Jeff Hoffman, Craig Kimbrel and Jose Alvarado closed it out, with Alvarado recording his ninth save.

Nick Castellanos had a two-run single in the first, giving the Phillies a quick 2-0 lead.  The Mets tied the game at 2-2 in the second, but Alec Bohm would un-tie it a solo home run in the third.  Castellanos added a sacrifice fly in the same inning to put the Phillies up, 4-2.  After the Mets tied it up again, 4-4 in the sixth, Castellanos launched a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, his 28th of the season.

Featured Card:  Another win, another Castellanos baseball card.  This is from last year's Topps Stadium Club set, which I've never really had a chance to feature as the set wasn't released until December.

Game 152 - The Nick Castellanos Game (2023 Edition)

2022  Topps Update
Image Variation #US266
Phillies 6
, Braves 5 (10 Innings)
Game 152 - Wednesday Afternoon, September 20th in Atlanta
Record - 83-69, 2nd Place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Castellanos hit a pair of home runs and made a game-saving (and probably ill-advised) catch and throw-out at home as the Phillies prevailed over the Braves in 10 innings.

What It Means:  The Phillies impressively took two out of three from the pennant-winning Braves, and they headed home for a four-game weekend series against the Mets.

What Happened:  Castellanos' first home run, a solo shot in the second, was his 26th of the year and gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead.  His second home run, this one a two-run blast, gave the Phillies a 4-0 lead.  The Braves scored a few times off Phillies' starter Aaron Nola, who departed after six innings with the score, 4-2.  Nola struck out eight in his outing.

In the eighth, and with the reliable Jeff Hoffman on the mound, Ozzie Albies doubled and scored on Austin Riley's RBI single.  Hoffman yielded to Gregory Soto who allowed an RBI double to Marcell Ozuna, tying the game, 4-4.  In the ninth, Craig Kimbrel issued a lead-off walk to Sean Murphy and former Phillie Luke Williams came in to pinch-run for Murphy.  Williams stole second and third base.  With two outs, Orlando Arcia lofted a fly ball into foul territory that likely should have been dropped.  But Castellanos opted to catch the ball, spinning and unleashing a perfect throw to catcher Garrett Stubbs, cutting down Williams at the plate and prolonging the game.

Bryson Stott doubled home two runs in the top of the 10th and Matt Strahm eventually closed it out, giving the Phillies a 6-5 win. 

Featured Card:  Castellanos' clutch hitting this season has meant I need to dig deeper for cards to feature in these game summary posts.  This is his image variation card from last year's Topps Update set.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Mets at Phillies: September 21st to September 24th

1965 Topps #187
2014 Topps Heritage #57

Thursday 7:15, Friday 7:05, Saturday 4:05, Sunday 1:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  Unbelievably, this is the final regular season homestead of the Phillies' 2023 season.  Tomorrow night, Scott Rolen will be officially inducted onto the Phillies Wall of Fame and there will be a pregame ceremony honoring Rolen.  Sunday is fan appreciation day, and all fans will receive a 2024 schedule magnet.

Mets 71-81
4th Place in the N.L. East, 26 games behind the Braves

Mets Probables
David Peterson (3-8, 5.22)
Tylor Megill (8-8, 4.94)
Jose Quintana (3-5, 3.02)
Jose Butto (1-2, 3.09)

Mets Leaders
Average:  Brandon Nimmo - .272
Runs:  Francisco Lindor - 99
Home Runs:  Pete Alonso - 45
RBIs:  Pete Alonso - 114
Stolen Bases:  Francisco Lindor - 28

Wins:  Kodai Senga - 12
ERA:  Kodai  Senga - 2.96
Strikeouts:  Kodai Senga - 194
Saves:  Adam Ottavino - 11
Phillies 83-69
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 14 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Ranger Suarez (3-6, 3.80)
Taijuan Walker (15-5, 4.40)
Zack Wheeler (12-6, 3.63)
Cristopher Sanchez (2-5, 3.55)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .287
Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 103
Home Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 45
RBIs:  Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber - 99
Stolen Bases:  Bryson Stott - 29

Wins:  Taijuan Walker - 15
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 3.63
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 201
Saves:  Craig Kimbrel - 23

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Game 151 - Sanchez, Lorenzen Roughed Up by Braves

2023 Topps Now #685
Braves 9
, Phillies 3
Game 151 - Tuesday Night, September 19th in Atlanta
Record - 82-69, 2nd Place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Not much went right for the Phillies in this 9-3 loss, as Cristopher Sanchez and Michael Lorenzen were hit hard by the Braves' potent offense.

What It Means:  The Phillies will try to win the series with an early afternoon game on Wednesday.

What Happened:  Sanchez was pulled after four innings, having allowed three runs on seven hits.  Lorenzen took over in the fifth and retired one batter on 37 pitches before having his outing mercifully ended.  He allowed four runs on three hits and thee walks in his roughest outing since joining the Phillies.  Yunior Marte allowed two more Braves runs to score in the sixth, and gave up the second home run of the night to likely National MVP winner and noted home run celebrator, Ronald Acuna, Jr.

Bryce Harper hit a three-run home run in the sixth off Braves' starting pitcher Spencer Strider, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome the sizable deficit.

Featured Card:  Lorenzen has been pretty awful since pitching his no-hitter, commemorated with this Topps Now card.  In his first two starts, including the no-hitter against the Nationals, he was 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA over 17 innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing one home run.  In his six appearances since the no-hitter, he's 2-2 with a 9.23 ERA over 26 1/3 innings with 8 home runs allowed.

Game 150 - Phils Homer 5 Times in Victory Over Braves

2022 Topps Now #1100
Phillies 7
, Braves 1
Game 150 - Monday Night, September 18th in Atlanta
Record - 82-68, 2nd Place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  On the strength of five home runs, including a 483-foot moonshot from Kyle Schwarber, the Phillies defeated the Braves, 7-1.

What It Means:  The Phillies are creeping closer to clinching a postseason berth for the second straight season.

What Happened:  The home runs from the Phillies offense came early and often.  Johan Rojas hit a two-run home run in the second, his first career home run against an actual pitcher and not a position player.  Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos hit solo home runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings, putting the Phils up, 5-1.  With Brandon Marsh aboard, Schwarber launched his monster home run, giving the Phillies a commanding 7-1 lead.

Zack Wheeler picked up his 12th win, pitching six innings, allowing a run on three hits while striking out five.  The bullpen trio of Gregory Soto, Matt Strahm and Dylan Covey shut down the Braves over the final three innings.

Featured Card:  Schwarber's home run was the second longest Phillies home run since Statcast started tracking distances in 2015.  He owns the furthest hit Phillies home run in that timespan, which was his 488-foot shot in Game 1 of the 2022 NLCS.  Topps Now released the card shown here to commemorate Schwarber's big home run against the Padres back on October 18th of last year.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Phillies at Braves: September 18th to September 20th

1965 Topps #583
1965 Topps #23

Monday and Tuesday 7:20, Wednesday 12:20

Truist Park - Atlanta, GA

At the Ballpark:  On Tuesday, the first 15,000 fans will receive a Ronald Acuna, Jr. Bat Flip bobble head.

Phillies 81-68
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 15 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Zack Wheeler (11-6, 3.70)
Cristopher Sanchez (2-4, 3.40)
Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.62)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .291
Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 101
Home Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 44
RBIs:  Kyle Schwarber - 97
Stolen Bases:  Bryson Stott - 29

Wins:  Taijuan Walker - 15
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 3.70
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 196
Saves:  Craig Kimbrel - 23
Braves 96-53
1st Place in the N.L. East, 15 games ahead of the Phillies

Braves Probables
Kyle Wright (0-2, 7.48)
Max Fried (7-1, 2.64)
Spencer Strider (17-5, 3.73)

Braves Leaders
Average:  Ronald Acuna - .337
Runs:  Ronald Acuna - 135
Home Runs:  Matt Olson - 52
RBIs:  Matt Olson - 129
Stolen Bases:  Ronald Acuna - 66

Wins:  Spencer Strider - 17
ERA:  Bryce Elder - 3.50
Strikeouts:  Spencer Strider - 259
Saves:  Raisel Iglesias - 29

Game 149 - Phils Battle Back, But Dominguez Can't Hold Cards

2023 Choice Clearwater
Threshers #14
Cardinals 6
, Phillies 5
Game 149 - Sunday Afternoon, September 17th in St. Louis
Record - 81-68, 2nd Place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies battled back after Taijuan Walker dug an early hole, but once again Seranthony Dominguez faltered and the Cardinals prevailed, 6-5.

What It Means:  This was yet another tough game to lose, and Dominguez has more often than not contributed to these late inning losses.  The Phillies will travel to Atlanta to open a three-game series against the Braves.

What Happened:  Walker battled through seven innings, but allowed five runs on eight hits, including a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the fifth inning.  The Phils first tied the game in the fourth when Bryson Stott laid down a sacrifice but, Alec Bohm got into a run-down and Bryce Harper scored from second base.  Nick Castellanos grounded into what appeared to be a double play ball, but second baseman Juniel Querecuto made a costly throwing error, allowing two runs to score and tying the game, 3-3.  With the Cardinals later holding a 5-3 lead, Bohm hit a solo home run in the eighth to bring the Phillies to within a run.  Later in the inning, Castellanos singled home Stott to tie the game, 5-5.

In the bottom of the eighth, Dominguez retired the first two batters but then gave up a solo home to Jordan Walker, giving the Cardinals the lead.  The Phils went down quietly in the top of the ninth.

Featured Card:  A reliever to watch in the Phillies system is 22-year-old Orion Kerkering.  The righty was a 5th round pick in 2022, and he's advanced four levels in the Phillies minor league system in 2023.  He started the season in Clearwater (A), advanced to Jersey Shore (A+), and then Reading (AA), and was promoted on Sunday to Lehigh Valley (AAA).  Kerkering has pitched in 47 games this season, striking out 76 and walking just 12 in 51 2/3 innings pitched.  He has 14 saves and a 1.57 ERA.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Game 148 - Schwarber's Laser Homer Boosts Ranger

2022 Topps Chrome Platinum
Anniversary #265
Phillies 6
, Cardinals 1
Game 148 - Saturday Night, September 16th in St. Louis
Record - 81-67, 2nd Place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Kyle Schwarber broke the game open with a three-run home run in the fifth inning and the Phillies would go on to win, 6-1.

What It Means:  With 14 games remaining, the Phillies are five games up in the loss column for a Wild Card spot.  They lead the Cubs by 3 1/2 games for the top spot.  They'll go for a series sweep of the Cardinals behind Taijuan Walker this afternoon.

What Happened:  Ranger Suarez pitched six innings, allowing a run on four hits and then turned it over to the bullpen.  The bullpen, once again highlighted by Jeff Hoffman's outing, shut the Cardinals down over the remaining three innings.  The bottom of the Phillies' order - Nick Castellanos, Brandon Marsh and Johan Rojas - were a combined 6 for 11 with a pair of RBIs and three runs scored.

Featured Card:  Schwaber's shot was a laser line drive that just cleared the right field wall, and was his 44th home run of the year.  At .197, his average is inching towards the Mendoza line.  I featured Castellanos' card from the 2022 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary set in Friday's game summary post, and here's Schwarber's card from the same set.

Game 147 - Casty, Middle Relievers Contribute to St. Louis Win

2022 Topps Chrome Platinum
Anniversary #134
Phillies 5
, Cardinals 4
Game 147 - Friday Night, September 15th in St. Louis
Record - 80-67, 2nd Place, 16 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A four-run first inning and a mostly effective bullpen led to this 5-4 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis.

What It Means:  The Phillies need to win these games against second division teams if they want to maintain control of the top Wild Card spot.

What Happened:  The first of four runs scored when Bryce Harper grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring Trea Turner.  With two runners on a few batters later, Nick Castellanos hit a three-run home, giving the Phillies a 4-0 advantage.  Harper would be ejected in the third inning after a few questionable calls from the home plate umpire.

Aaron Nola also had his night cut short, as he was pulled after 4 2/3 innings having allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits.  Nola threw 97 pitches in his outing.  The bullpen did its job through the middle innings, with Matt Strahm, Jeff Hoffman and Seranthony Dominguez pitching uneventful innings.  J.T. Realmuto singled home Edmundo Sosa in the sixth for what proved to be an important insurance run.  Craig Kimbrel and Jose Alvarado walked a tight rope in the eighth and ninth innings, allowing a combined  five walks and two hits, but allowing only one more Cardinals run to score.  Alvarado worked out of his own jam in the ninth to record his 8th save.

Featured Card:  Castellanos' three-run home run was the big hit in this game.  Here's the newest card of his in my collection from the 2022 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary set, which wasn't released until  August 2023.  It's a shame this set took so long to get to the collecting public, as it's a great looking set, albeit somewhat outdated.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Game 146 - Phils Lose, Braves Clinch Pennant

2022 Topps Now #1010
Braves 4
, Phillies 1
Game 146 - Wednesday Night, September 13th in Philadelphia
Record - 79-67, 2nd Place, 17 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies fell quietly to the Braves, and the Braves clinched the National League East pennant, enjoying a postgame celebration at Citizens Bank Park.

What It Means:  We turned off the game before seeing any of the postgame celebration.  I didn't need to see that.

What Happened:   Spencer Strider quieted the Phillies line-up, allowing four hits and a run over his seven innings of work, while striking out nine.  Cristopher Sanchez pitched well for the Phillies too, striking out 10, but allowing four runs in 7 1/3 innings.  The Phillies had four singles, and never posed any real threat in this game.

Featured Card:  Let's flash back to happier times, when the Phillies clinched a Wild Card berth last year in Houston.  Here's the Topps Now card celebrating that wonderful day.

Phillies at Cardinals: September 15th to September 17th

1965 Topps #322
1965 Topps #373

Friday 8:15, Saturday 7:15, Sunday 2:15

Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO

At the Ballpark:  The Cardinals always seem to have great giveaway items.  Tonight, the first 25,000 fans will receive a Cardinals hockey sweater.  On Saturday night, the first 25,000 fans will receive a really nice-looking Ozzie Smith "Wizard" bobble head.  And on Sunday, the first 10,000 kids will receive a Build-A-Bear Workshop Cardinals puppy plush.  Not a bad haul for a three-game series!

Phillies 79-67
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 17 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.64)
Ranger Suarez (2-6, 3.93)
Taijuan Walker (15-5, 4.30)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .295
Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 100
Home Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 43
RBIs:  Kyle Schwarber - 94
Stolen Bases:  Bryson Stott - 28

Wins:  Taijuan Walker - 15
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 3.70
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 196
Saves:  Craig Kimbrel - 23
Cardinals 65-81
5th Place in the N.L. Central, 17 games behind the Brewers

Cardinals Probables
Zack Thompson (5-5, 4.06)
Miles Mikolas (7-11, 4.75)
Dakota Hudson (6-2, 5.10)

Cardinals Leaders
Average:  Paul Goldschmidt - .271
Runs:  Paul Goldschmidt - 82
Home Runs:  Nolan Gorman - 27
RBIs:  Nolan Arenado - 89
Stolen Bases:  Tommy Edman - 24

Wins:  Miles Mikolas - 7
ERA:  Miles Mikolas - 4.75
Strikeouts:  Miles Mikolas - 116
Saves:  Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Hensley - 10

Game 145 - Once Again, Bullpen Ruins Late Inning Comeback

Braves 7
, Phillies 6 (10 Innings)
Game 145 - Tuesday Night, September 12th in Philadelphia
Record - 79-66, 2nd Place, 16 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies dramatically scored five runs over the final three innings to tie the game, only to see the Braves quickly retake the lead in the 10th for the win.

What It Means:  This is getting to be an unfortunate pattern.

What Happened:  The Braves led the game 6-1 after six innings, as Zack Wheeler allowed three home runs to the powerful Braves offense in his short five-inning outing.  Nick Castellanos homered in the second for the Phillies' only early run.  In the eighth, now trailing 6-2, Bryce Harper hit a solo home to center, his 17th of the year.  Bryson Stott later would hit a two-run home run, getting the Phillies to within a run.  In the bottom of the ninth, Trea Turner greeted Braves' closer Raisel Iglesias with a solo home run, tying the game, 6-6.

But it was all for naught.  In the 10th, and with Craig Kimbrel on the mound, Eddie Rosario singled home ghost runner Forrest Wall to give the Braves a 7-6 lead.  The Phillies went down quickly and easily in the bottom of the 10th.

Featured Cards/Field Report:  All four of us attended this game, but Jenna and I had the pleasure of joining other ALS Night sponsors in the executive dining room for a pregame reception and dinner.  Seated at the table next to us was Shane Victorino and Larry Bowa, and admittedly it was difficult to stay focused on the food being put in front of us.  As Victorino has long been one of Doug's favorite players, we were able to bring the boys in for a very quick autograph and picture with the Flyin' Hawaiian.  I also showed Victorino the photo of him and Doug from 2007 Photo Day, and asked if he wanted to try to recreate that photo.  He passed, but not before making sure to get a picture of Doug in his Baseballism Maui shirt, which we had purchased earlier this month to support relief efforts needed as a result of the Hawaiian wild fires.  (Still available for purchase here.)

Following the dinner, we (mostly) enjoyed the game from our seats, missing the last few innings as it was a school night.  I was upset we missed the ninth inning comeback, but not upset we missed the 10th inning letdown.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Game 144 - Four-Run 1st Inning Provides Spark for Win

2023 Topps Heritage #486
Phillies 7
, Braves 5 (Game 2)
Game 144 - Monday Night, September 11th in Philadelphia
Record - 79-65, 2nd Place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies rode a four-run first inning to this much-needed 7-5 win over the Braves.

What It Means:  With a little more than two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Phillies maintain a 1 1/2 game lead over the Cubs for the first Wild Card spot, and a 3 1/2 game lead overall with the three Wild Card spots up for grabs.

What Happened:  The Phillies began the bottom of the first with singles from Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner and a walk to Bryce Harper.  J.T. Realmuto brought Schwarber home with a sacrifice fly, Nick Castellanos singled home Turner and Edmundo Sosa capped the scoring with a two-run double.  Michael Lorenzen barely kept the Phillies in the game, allowing a three-run home run to Matt Olson in the third.  Jake Cave's triple and Trea Turner's double brought home two more Phillies runs in the fourth, giving them a 6-3 lead.  Brandon Marsh hit a solo home run in the fifth to cap the scoring for the Phillies, and Olson homered again in the sixth for his 50th home run of the season.

Lorenzen got the win, lasting through five innings.  Craig Kimbrel slammed the door in the ninth to record his 23rd save.

Featured Card:  Sosa's first non-Topps Now Phillies baseball card can be found as a short-print in the 2023 Topps Heritage set.

Transaction:  Between games of the double header, Yunior Marte (rhp) was recalled and Andrew Bellatti (rhp) was optioned to the IronPigs.

Game 143 - Bullpen Fails Phils Yet Again

1994 Finest #416
Braves 10
, Phillies 8 (Game 1 - 10 Innings)
Game 143 - Monday Afternoon, September 11th in Philadelphia
Record - 78-65

One Sentence Summary:  Bryce Harper hit a dramatic, game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth only to have Jose Alvarado immediately allow the go-ahead, and eventual winning run in the top of the 10th.

What It Means:  Frustrating day at work, frustrating day watching the Phillies.

What Happened:  The Phillies trailed by a score of 8-4 after six innings, and clawed back to tie the game with Harper's blast in the ninth.  Trea Turner hit a two-run home in the seventh to make it 8-6 and then Harper homered off Braves' closer Raisel Iglesias with Turner aboard to make it 8-8.  Alvarado entered in the 10th and allowed a lead off single to Kevin Pillar to score the Braves' ghost runner.  Orlando Arcia added an RBI-double to pour salt into the wound.

Prior to all of that, Taijuan Walker labored through 5 1/3 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out five.  Andrew Bellatti gave up two home runs in his 1 2/3 innings of relief.  Alec Bohm had a huge hit in the third, tying the game at 2-2 with a two-run double.

Featured Card:  I had this game on mute on my TV as I opted to work from home today in order to save myself some commuting time.  Maybe I should have driven in?  The few parts of the game I heard were highlighted by John Kruk's commentary, and Kruk remains the only part of the television broadcast team I regularly enjoy.  My 1994 Phillies binder is open next to me, and here's Kruk's shiny card from the 1994 Finest set.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Braves at Phillies: September 11th to September 13th

1965 Topps #106
2023 Chachi 1965 Topps Missing Links #1

Monday 1:05 and 6:40, Tuesday and Wednesday 6:40

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  The double header on Monday is a result of the rainout on June 21st.  Each game of the series has at least one theme, with theme night ticket holders entitled to special promotions, but there are no ballpark-wide giveaways.

Braves 93-49
1st Place in the N.L. East, 15 games ahead of the Phillies

Braves Probables
Charlie Morton (14-11, 3.32)
Max Fried (7-1, 2.70)
Spencer Strider (16-5, 3.83)

Braves Leaders
Average:  Ronald Acuna - .336
Runs:  Ronald Acuna - 129
Home Runs:  Matt Olson - 48
RBIs:  Matt Olson - 121
Stolen Bases:  Ronald Acuna - 64

Wins:  Spencer Strider - 16
ERA:  Charlie Morton - 3.32
Strikeouts:  Spencer Strider - 250
Saves:  Raisel Iglesias - 29
Phillies 78-64
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 15 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Taijuan Walker (15-5, 4.15)
Michael Lorenzen (3-2, 4.97)
Zack Wheeler (11-6, 3.49)
Cristopher Sanchez (2-3, 3.26)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .294
Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 95
Home Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 43
RBIs:  Kyle Schwarber - 94
Stolen Bases:  Bryson Stott - 28

Wins:  Taijuan Walker - 15
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 3.49
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 192
Saves:  Craig Kimbrel - 22

Game 142 - Phils Waste Ranger's Gem, Lose Miserably

2022 Topps Now #1144
Marlins 5
, Phillies 4
Game 142 - Sunday Afternoon, September 10th in Philadelphia
Record - 78-64, 2nd Place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  It was smooth sailing through six innings, but then the wheels came off and the offense couldn't string together clutch hits as the Marlins stunned the Phillies in this 5-4 loss.

What It Means:  The Phillies hold a two-game lead on the Cubs for the top Wild Card spot, as the first place Braves come to town beginning tomorrow for a crucial four-game series.

What Happened:  In the second inning, Trea Turner connected on the first pitch he saw for a two-run home run, and Kyle Schwarber hit a solo home run, his 43rd, in the third inning.  Ranger Suarez was in complete control, allowing no hits through the first six innings and baffling the Marlins' batters.  In the seventh, with one out, Bryan De La Cruz walked and Dane Myers doubled to center, ending the no-hit bid.  Yuli Gurriel doubled them both home, cutting the lead to 3-2 Phillies, and chasing Suarez from the game.  Matt Strahm entered and allowed a game-tying single to Nick Fortes.

In the eighth, Seranthony Dominguez's struggles continued as he allowed a two-run home run to De La Cruz.  The Phillies' offense had their chances, leaving 10 runners on base and going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Suarez has had surprisingly few baseball cards the past few years, which I guess is the fate of the team's fourth (or fifth) starting pitcher.  This is the only Topps Now card he's appeared on the past two seasons, highlighting his performance in last year's World Series Game 3.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Game 141 - Marsh's Clutch Double Leads to Big Win

2023 Philadelphia Phillies
Kids Club
Phillies 8
, Marlins 4
Game 141 - Saturday Night, September 9th in Philadelphia
Record - 78-63, 2nd Place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Brandon Marsh cleared the bases with a 3-run double in the fifth inning, giving his team the insurance runs needed for this big win.

What It Means:  With the Cubs losing on Saturday, the Phillies are now four games ahead of them in the loss column for the top Wild Card spot.  The Phillies will try for the series win this afternoon, weather permitting.

What Happened:  The Phillies offense unloaded on Marlins' starter Johnny Cueto in the second inning, scoring five runs.  Nick Castellanos, dropped to eighth in the batting order, started the scoring with a two-run double.  Kyle Schwarber then hit a three-run home run, his 42nd of the season, to give the Phillies a 5-0 lead.  Aaron Nola's struggles continued.  He was charged with four runs in the top of the fifth, and was chased from the game after 4 1/3 innings.  Nola struck out six, but allowed four runs on seven hits.

With the game close at 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth, Marsh lined a double to right field, scoring Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Bryson Stott and giving the Phillies a much-needed cushion.  The bullpen did its job the rest of the way, with Jeff Hoffman earning the win after pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

Featured Card:  The Phillies Kids Club cards are still available at the ballpark to club members, but they're completely out of the Phanatic card from the set.  I'd predict the Harper card will be the next to run out.  This is Marsh's card from the 12-card stadium exclusive set.

1994 Philadelphia Phillies Photo Cards

Number of Cards:  46
Card Size:  4" x 6"

Description:  For the sixth year in a row, the card fronts feature a photo with the player's, coach's or manager's name in a red band with white text.  The card backs feature biographical information along with complete career statistics.  The card backs also feature the club's 1993 N.L. Champions logo.  From this point forward (as of this writing), the Phillies team issued sets have been sponsor-less.  Medford Food Company sponsored its third and final set in 1993.

How Distributed:  The original 36-card set was available for sale at Veterans Stadium throughout the season.  A ten-card update series was produced and sold at the ballpark in the second half of the season, before the player's strike ended the season prematurely on August 11th.  The update series is fairly difficult to track down.  I attended a few games at the Vet that July, adding the set to my collection.  The Phillies played on only 19 days following the All-Star break and before the strike, meaning the set was on sale for only a short time.

Complete Set Checklist (Unnumbered, presented here alphabetically with uniform number and position from the front of cards): 

1. Larry Andersen (#47 - RHP)
2. Kim Batiste (#5 - INF)
3. Larry Bowa (#2 - Third Base Coach)     
4. Wes Chamberlain (#44 - OF)
5. Norm Charlton (#37 - LHP)
6. Darren Daulton (#10 - C)
7. Mariano Duncan (#7 - INF)
8. Lenny Dykstra (#4 - OF)
9. Jim Eisenreich (#8 - OF)
10. Jim Fregosi (#11 - MG)
11. Tyler Green (#28 - RHP)
12. Tommy Greene (#49 - RHP)       
13. Dave Hollins (#15 - INF)
14. Pete Incaviglia (#22 - OF)
15. Danny Jackson (#27 - LHP)
16. Doug Jones (#23 - RHP)*
17. Ricky Jordan (#17 - 1B)
18. Jeff Juden (#43 - RHP)
19. John Kruk (#29 - 1B)
20. Tony Longmire (#16 - OF)
21. Roger Mason (#48 - RHP)
22. Denis Menke (#14 - Hitting Instructor)     
23. Mickey Morandini (#12 - INF)
24. Bobby Munoz (#35 - RHP)
25. Johnny Podres (#46 - Pitching Coach)
26. Todd Pratt (#6 - Catcher)
27. Ben Rivera (#34 - RHP)
28. Mel Roberts (#26 - First Base Coach)
29. Mike Ryan (#9 - Bullpen Coach)
30. Curt Schilling (#38 - RHP)
31. Heathcliff Slocumb (#51 - RHP)
32. Kevin Stocker (#19 - INF)
33. Milt Thompson (#25 - OF)
34. John Vukovich (#18 - Dugout Assistant)     
35. David West (#40 - LHP)
36. Mike Williams (#41 - RHP)

Complete Update Checklist (Unnumbered, presented here alphabetically with uniform number and position from the front of cards):
1. Toby Borland (#42 - RHP)     
2. Andy Carter (#50 - LHP)
3. Billy Hatcher (#3 - OF)
4. Mike Lieberthal (#24 - C)
5. Tom Marsh (#21 - OF)
6. Paul Quantrill (#48 - RHP)       
7. Randy Ready (#31 - INF)
8. Fernando Valenzuela (#33 - LHP)     
9. Phillie Phanatic
10. 1994 Phillies All-Stars

One and Only Phillies Baseball Card (1):  Carter
First Appearance in Phillies Team Issued Set (12):  Borland, Charlton, Hatcher, Jones, Juden, Lieberthal, Longmire, Marsh, Munoz, Quantrill, Slocumb, Valenzuela
Returning Players in Phillies Team Issued Set (24):  Andersen, Batiste, Chamberlain, Daulton, Duncan, Dykstra, Eisenreich, Green, Greene, Hollins, Incaviglia, Jackson, Jordan, Kruk, Mason, Morandini, Pratt, Ready, Rivera, Schilling, Stocker, Thompson, West, Williams

*The Jones card in the original 36-card set erroneously lists his date of birth of January 2, 1972.  This was corrected with a second Jones card (with an identical photo) issued with the update set.

Andy Carter's only Phillies baseball card can be found within the update set.  

Manager (1):  Fregosi
Coaches (6):  Bowa, Menke, Podres, Roberts, Ryan, Vukovich
Phillie Phanatic (1):  The Phanatic is shown atop the Phillies dugout, wearing his blue hat which was briefly introduced at certain home games during the 1994 season.
Broadcasters (0):  N/A
Other Cards (1):  1994 Phillies All-Stars, featuring Vukovich, Fregosi, Podres, Dykstra, Jones, Jackson and Duncan.

Set Composition:  The entire 25-man opening day roster made it into the set, with the exception of outfielder Tom Marsh, who didn't get a card until the update set was released.  Also appearing in the original set were John Kruk, Norm Charlton, Wes Chamberlain and Larry Andersen, who all began the season on the Disabled List.  Charlton would miss the entire season.  The oft-injured Tyler Green got a card too, but he spent the entire season with the Triple-A Red Barons.

The eight players included in the update set were added to the roster between opening day (Marsh) and June 29th (Mike Lieberthal), meaning the update set was likely released shortly after the All-Star break.  Fernando Valenzuela looks as if he was asked to put on a uniform for the sole purpose of letting the Phillies take pictures.

Omissions:  Shawn Boskie, who pitched in 18 games for the Phillies in 1994, is the big omission here.  Boskie was added too late for inclusion in the original set, as the Phillies acquired him from the Cubs on April 12th for Kevin Foster.  He could have been added to the update set, as he was with the club and active up until his trade to the Mariners on July 21st.  Boskie was included within the Mellon Bank Phillies SGA set, given away to all kids attending the June 26th game.  There are four other players who appeared with the Phillies during the strike-shortened season who didn't get team-issued photo cards:  Tom Quinlan, on the roster for 45 days in May and June, Bob Wells, Ricky Bottalico and Tom Edens, who was acquired from the Astros a few weeks before the end of the season.

  In the comments to the original post for this set, fellow Phillies collector Rick  pointed out the following non-set cards/variations.  Rick also adds some of the popular players (including John Kruk) had cards issued including a facsimile autograph.

1. Dick Allen (with 1994 copyright)
2. Doug Jones (corrected birthday of 6/24/57)

  The Beckett database lists the set as "1994 Phillies Medford" even though Medford Food Company was not the sponsor of this set.  The listing also omits the ten card update set.  The set's listing in the 2001 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards lists the set as "1994 Phillies Photocards" and includes only the base 36 cards.
Resources:; Phillies collector Rick (@rickphils)

This set was originally featured in a post back in November 2014, and I'm going through these older team-issued set posts to update them with new information learned (if any) over the past six years.

1993 Medford Philadelphia Phillies Photo Cards / 1995 Philadelphia Phillies Photo Cards