Saturday, April 10, 2021

2021 Chachi #6 Didi Gregorius


#18
Mariekson Julius Gregorius
Shortstop

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  205
Opening Day Age:  31
Born:  February 18, 1990, Amsterdam, Netherlands
How Obtained:  Signed as a free agent, December 13, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2022
Major League Teams:  Cincinnati Reds 2012; Arizona Diamondbacks 2013-2014; New York Yankees 2015-2019; Philadelphia Phillies 2020-
First Phillies Card:  2019 Topps Now Offseason #OS-50
First Phillies Minor League Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A

Newest Card Added:  2021 Donruss #100

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (8):  2013-2020

19 - Gregorius baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 4/10/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2020 Chachi New Additions #8
2020 Chachi Preseason Photo Cards #18
2020 Chachi #5
2020 Chachi #6

Gregorius has appeared in Topps flagship sets dating back to 2013.  His first Phillies baseball card, from the 2019 Topps Now Offseason set, came out in late December 2019 following his official signing with the club, and he's been photoshopped into a Phillies uniform in several other 2020 Topps releases since then.

We're still waiting for an official Gregorius team-issued photo card, and with the popular shortstop now signed through the 2022 season we'll hopefully get one either this year or next.  His 2021 baseball card appearances have been sparse so far, as he's only appeared in the Donruss set and as a short-print in the Heritage set.
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Game 7 - 1975 Topps #319 Johnny Oates

Braves 8
, Phillies 1
Game 7 - Friday Night, April 9th in Atlanta
Record - 5-2, 1st Place, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Not much went right for the Phillies in this 8-1 loss against the Braves in the Atlanta home opener.

What It Means:  In front of about 14,000 mostly maskless fans, which I just don't understand, Zack Wheeler and the Phillies had a bad night.

What Happened:  Wheeler was struggling, but he was prematurely pulled in the fifth inning when manager Joe Girardi forgot he was about to visit the mound for the second time.  Wheeler's final line wasn't great - 4 2/3 innings, seven hits, three runs, four walks, four strikeouts and a very big two-run home run to Ronald Acuna, Jr.  Brandon Kintzler allowed a three-run home run to pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza in the sixth, with Freddie Freeman homering for good measure in the eighth off David Hale.

Andrew McCutchen drove in the only Phillies run with a single to right in the third, and the team had only six hits overall against Braves starter Charlie Morton and three relievers.

Featured Card:  The only positive for me as a baseball fan was seeing the Braves wear their 1974-era throwbacks in honor of the late Hank Aaron.  Former Brave and Phillie Johnny Oates is wearing the uniform the Braves wore last night on his 1975 Topps card.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Series Preview - Phillies at Braves: April 9th to April 11th

1986 Topps Traded #7T
1986 Topps Traded #119T

Friday and Saturday 7:20, Sunday 7:08

Truist Park - Atlanta, GA

At the Ballpark:  It's opening weekend for the Braves, and all fans will receive 2021 schedule magnets on Friday and Saturday.  On Sunday, the first 3,000 kids will receive a Freddie Freeman poster and Freeman is scheduled to receive his 2020 MVP award prior to that game as well.  With the ongoing pandemic, Truist Park is currently capped at 33% capacity or about 13,500 fans.

Phillies 5-1
1st Place in the N.L. East, 2 games ahead of the Mets

Phillies Probables
Zack Wheeler (1-0, 0.00)
Zach Eflin (0-0, 1.29)
Matt Moore (0-0, 5.40)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Rhys Hoskins - .417
Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 6
Home Runs:  5 tied with - 1
RBIs:  J.T. Realmuto - 6
Stolen Bases:  Alec Bohm and Roman Quinn - 2

Wins:  Connor Brogdon - 3
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 0.00
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 11
Saves:  Jose Alvarado and Hector Neris - 1
Braves 2-4
4th Place in the N.L. East, 3 games behind the Phillies

Braves Probables
Charlie Morton (0-1, 5.40)
Ian Anderson (0-0, 1.80)
Drew Smyly (0-0, 3.00)

Braves Leaders
Average:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - .304
Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 4
Home Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. and Pablo Sandoval - 2
RBIs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. and Pablo Sandoval - 4
Stolen Bases:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 2

Wins:  Luke Jackson and Josh Tomlin - 1
ERA:  Huascar Ynoa - 0.00
Strikeouts:  Max Fried - 11
Saves:  Sean Newcomb and Will Smith - 1
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

2021 Chachi #5 Alec Bohm


#28
Alec Daniel Bohm
Third Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'5"  Weight:  218
Opening Day Age:  24
Born:  August 3, 1996, Omaha, NE
How Obtained:  Selected by the Phillies in the 1st round of June 2018 amateur player draft
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 2020-
First Phillies Card:  2019 Bowman Prospects #BP-2
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2018 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #5
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A

Newest Card Added:  2021 Topps Opening Day #62

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (1):  2021

39 - Bohm baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 4/8/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2018 Chachi Almost #6
2020 Chachi #40
2021 Chachi #5

Bohm was been all over the Bowman and Topps minor league releases in 2019 and 2020 and despite only joining the organization in mid-2018, he's managed to make it into eight Phillies minor league team sets.  He's also appeared on six different Topps Now cards to date, and I'd expect that number to continue to grow.
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Game 6 - 2021 Topps Opening Day #21 J.T. Realmuto

Phillies 8
, Mets 2
Game 6 - Wednesday Afternoon, April 7th in Philadelphia
Record - 5-1, 1st Place, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Mets and Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  J.T. Realmuto and Alec Bohm each connected with three-run home runs in this 8-2 win against the Mets.

What It Means:  The Phillies took the series, and are one of four teams in baseball with five wins along with the Reds, Dodgers and Astros.  After an off-day on Thursday, they'll open up a weekend series with the Braves in Atlanta on Friday night.

What Happened:  Aaron Nola didn't have his best stuff and battled through four innings.  He departed having allowed a run on six hits while striking out five.  The new and improved bullpen continued to get the job done with Connor Brogdon, Archie Bradley, Sam Coonrod and Hector Neris sealing the victory.  Brogdon picked up the win to make him 3-0 and the first pitcher in Phillies franchise history to win three of the team's first six games.

The offense only had nine hits, but three of them were home runs - the big blasts from Realmuto and Bohm, along with a first inning solo home run from Rhys Hoskins.  Hoskins also had two doubles, taking over the league lead in that category as he now has six doubles to start the season.

Featured Card:  Six months ago, it seemed like a real possibility Realmuto would be playing in 2021 for the Mets.  But with the Mets signing James McCann, Realmuto's return to Philadelphia was set in motion and after signing a five-year contract, he'll be the team's catcher through at least 2025.  This is the latest card of his added to my collection, from the Topps Opening Day set.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

2021 Chachi #4 J.T. Realmuto


#10
Jacob Tyler Realmuto
Catcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  212
Opening Day Age:  30
Born:  March 18, 1991, Del City, OK
How Obtained:  Acquired from the Miami Marlins for Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sanchez, Will Stewart and international bonus pool money, February 7, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2025
Major League Teams:  Miami Marlins 2014-2018; Philadelphia Phillies 2019-
First Phillies Card:  2018 Topps Now Offseason #OS67
First Phillies Minor League Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2019 Phillies Team Issue #10

Newest Card Added:  2021 Topps Opening Day #71

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (6):  2015-2020

63 - Realmuto baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 4/7/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi New Additions #7
2019 Chachi #5
2019 Chachi #52 - All-Star
2019 Chachi #70 - Gold Glove
2019 Chachi Friendly Encounters #10
2020 Chachi #4
2021 Chachi #4

I'm thrilled to know I get to create custom J.T. Realmuto cards through at least 2025, given the contract the Best Catcher in Baseball signed with the Phillies on January 28th.

We met Realmuto in May 2019 at Carl's Cards & Collectibles where he signed a few things for us and posed for his Friendly Encounters card with Doug.
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Game 5 - 2020 Topps #402 Vince Velasquez

Mets 8
, Phillies 4
Game 5 - Tuesday Night, April 6th in Philadelphia
Record - 4-1, 1st Place, 1 game ahead of the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The bullpen struggled in the Phillies' first loss of the season.

What It Means:  I genuinely wonder how long a leash Vince Velasquez has at this point.  The team's fifth starter, Chase Anderson, kept the Phillies in the game by allowing two runs in five innings of work.  The bullpen duo of Velasquez and David Hale couldn't keep the Mets off the scoreboard.

What Happened:  In his Phillies debut, Anderson allowed a pair of hits, including a two-run home run to Dominic Smith in the fourth.  Didi Gregorius got the Phillies to within a run when his solo home run made it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the fourth.  Velasquez dominated in the sixth, striking out the side.  But then he fell apart in the seventh, walking four in a row before departing.  Hale allowed a two-run home run to Pete Alonso in the ninth.

Featured Card:  In five seasons with the Phillies, Velasquez has been maddeningly inconsistent.  He's either brilliant and unhittable or wild and extremely hittable.  He doesn't have any 2021 baseball cards yet, and this is his card from last year's Topps flagship second series release.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Game 4 - 2021 Topps #31 Brandon Kintzler

Phillies 5
, Mets 3
Game 4 - Monday Night, April 5th in Philadelphia
Record - 4-0, 1st Place, 2 games ahead of the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Handcuffed by Jacob deGrom through six innings, the Phillies took advantage of his early departure and plated five in the eighth in this come-from-behind, 5-3 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies are 4-0 and the only remaining undefeated team in baseball.  Hard to believe, Harry.

What Happened:  deGrom was nearly unhittable through six innings, striking out seven, but after 77 pitches his night was over.  A quick sequence of events in the eighth saw the Phillies take the lead.  Mets' reliever Trevor May allowed a single to pinch-hitter Brad Miller, walked Andrew McCutchen and allowed another single to Rhys Hoskins to load the bases.  Aaron Loup entered and hit Bryce Harper to allow the Phillies' first run to cross the plate.  J.T. Realmuto singled to tie the game, and then the Phillies scored twice more when Alec Bohm reached on a fielder's choice and Mets' third baseman Luis Guillorme threw wide of the plate.  Didi Gregorius added a sacrifice fly for the fifth and final run.

Matt Moore made his first Phillies start and was the victim of some bloop hits and shaky Phillies defense.  His final line shows 3 1/3 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks and 4 strikeouts.  The new and improved bullpen did its job with Brandon Kintzler, Sam Coonrod and Connor Brogdon combining for 4 2/3 scoreless innings.  Jose Alvarado got into some trouble in the ninth, but eventually locked down the save. 

Featured Card:  Brogdon picked up the win, but it was Kintzler who entered the game in the fourth with the bases loaded and immediately induced an inning-ending double play.  He's in the 2021 Topps set with the Marlins, and with the Phillies not producing a team-issued photo card set this year (yet) this could realistically be the only baseball card he's on this season.

2021 Chachi #3 Bryce Harper


#3
Bryce Aron Max Harper
Right Field

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  210
Opening Day Age:  28
Born:  October 16, 1992, Las Vegas, NV
How Obtained:  Signed by the Phillies as a free agent, March 1, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2031
Major League Teams:  Washington Nationals 2012-2018; Philadelphia Phillies 2019-
First Phillies Card:  2019 Topps Bryce Harper Art Card #A
First Phillies Minor League Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2019 Phillies Team Issue #3

Newest Card Added:  2021 Topps Opening Day #50

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (10):  2012-2021

181 - Harper baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 4/5/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi Greatest Moments #1
2019 Chachi New Additions #8a
2019 Chachi New Additions #8b
2019 Chachi #3
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #2
2019 Chachi Photo Night #2
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #24
2019 Chachi #63a - Walk-Off Grand Slam HL
2019 Chachi #63b - Walk-Off Grand Slam HL
2020 Chachi #3
2020 Chachi Friendly Encounters #5
2021 Chachi Preview #2
2021 Chachi #3
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Monday, April 5, 2021

Series Preview - Mets at Phillies: April 5th to April 7th

1986 Topps #53
1986 Topps #475

Monday and Tuesday 7:05, Wednesday 4:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  The city of Philadelphia allowed the Phillies to move to about 11,000 fans in the ballpark beginning with Sunday's game, so if it seems incrementally louder that's the reason why.  Fans attending both night games against the Mets will receive a McDonald's Opening Night t-shirt.  The Mets will finally begin their 2021 season after a coronavirus mini-outbreak on the Nationals led to the postponement of their series over the weekend.

Mets 0-0
Tied for 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 1 1/2 games behind the Phillies

Mets Probables
Jacob deGrom (0-0, 0.00)
Marcus Stroman (0-0, 0.00)
David Peterson (0-0, 0.00)

Mets Leaders - Spring Training
Average:  Francisco Lindor - .370
Runs:  Brandon Nimmo - 10
Home Runs:  Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor - 4
RBIs:  Pete Alonso - 16
Stolen Bases:  Kevin Pillar - 2

Wins:  Jacob deGrom - 3
ERA:  Marcus Stroman - 3.44
Strikeouts:  Jacob deGrom - 21
Saves:  Sam McWilliams and Daniel Zamora - 2
Phillies 3-0
1st Place in the N.L. East, 2 games ahead of the Marlins

Phillies Probables
Matt Moore (0-0, 0.00)
Chase Anderson (0-0, 0.00)
Aaron Nola (0-0, 2.70)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  J.T. Realmuto - .444
Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 2
Home Runs:  Andrew Knapp - 1
RBIs:  Alec Bohm and Rhys Hoskins - 2
Stolen Bases:  Alec Bohm and Jean Segura - 1

Wins:  3 tied with - 1
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 0.00
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 10
Saves:  Hector Neris - 1

Game 3 - 2021 Topps Opening Day #62 Alec Bohm

Phillies 2
, Braves 1
Game 3 - Sunday Afternoon, April 4th in Philadelphia
Record - 3-0, 1st Place, 2 games ahead of the Marlins

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin pitched wonderfully through seven innings and Alec Bohm came through with the game-winning clutch RBI single in the eighth as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 2-1.

What It Means:  Similar to how they started the 2019 season, the Phillies start the 2021 season with a sweep of the Braves at home.  The Mets come to town next for three games beginning on Monday night.

What Happened:  Eflin continued the trend started by Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler with a solid outing, striking out eight and only allowing a seventh inning home run to Travis d'Arnaud.  The d'Arnaud home run was one of only four hits surrendered by Eflin, and it's a shame he couldn't come away with the W.  Andrew Knapp had started the scoring for the Phillies with a solo home run in the second, the first home run of 2021 hit by the club.  Didi Gregorius contributed solid defense again.

The revamped Phillies bullpen held the lead provided by Bohm with Jose Alvarado striking out a pair in the eighth and Hector Neris working around two walks in the ninth to record his first save of the season.  Braves slugger Freddie Freeman went 0 for 9 in the series.

Featured Card:  With the score tied at 1-1, Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back singles in the bottom of the eighth.  Bohm lined a single to center to score Hoskins and give the Phillies the lead.  The young third baseman has been one of the team's (and the league's) best hitters with runners in scoring position, and I'm excited to watch him play in Philadelphia for many, many years.  Bring on the Mets!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Game 2 - 2020 Topps Living Set #347 Zack Wheeler

Phillies 4
, Braves 0
Game 2 - Saturday Afternoon, April 3rd in Philadelphia
Record - 2-0, 1st Place, 1 game ahead of the Mets and Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler was masterful, allowing one hit, striking out 10 and driving in a pair of runs in this 4-0 Phillies win.

What It Means:  Wheeler's performance was incredibly impressive, and if not for a Travis d'Arnaud single up the middle in the second he would have been perfect.  He's the first Phillies pitcher to go 7-plus innings with one or less hits, no walks and strike out at least 10 since Roy Halladay threw his perfect game on May 29, 2010.  He's also the first Phillies pitcher to pitch seven-plus innings and get more hits than hits allowed since Terry Mulholland's no-hitter on August 15, 1990.

What Happened:  The Phillies plated three in the fifth.  Wheeler singled home Jean Segura and Roman Quinn, and then Rhys Hoskins doubled to score Wheeler.  In the sixth, Wheeler struck again, doubling home Alec Bohm.  Wheeler departed the game after seven innings, having thrown 90 pitches and yielded to Archie Bradley who threw a perfect eighth.  Hector Neris came on in the ninth and struck out the side to finish the ballgame.

Featured Card:  Of course it's got to be Wheeler, and this is his Living Set card released last September.

Field Report:  My entire family attended this game, making two games in a row for Doug and me.  It wasn't as chilly in Section 319, and we settled into our seats with some nachos and Crab Fries.  Following the offensive outburst in the fifth inning, we ventured out for food, stopping to say hello to Greg Luzinski, back in his regular perch outside Bull's BBQ.  Doug and I enjoyed some Bull's again with my wife Jenna and our youngest son Ben splitting a Seasons pizza.  We stayed the for the entire nine innings, four of the 8,582 socially distanced fans in attendance.

2021 Chachi #2 Rhys Hoskins


#17
Rhys Dean Hoskins
First Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'4"  Weight:  245
Opening Day Age:  28
Born:  March 17, 1993, Sacramento, CA
How Obtained:  Selected by Phillies in 5th round of June 2014 amateur player draft
Contract Status:  Arbitration eligible 2021, free agent 2024
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 2017-
First Phillies Card:  2014 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Draft Picks #DP122
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2014 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #14
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2017 Phillies Team Issue Update #17

Newest Card Added:  2021 Topps Opening Day #103

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (4):  2018-2021

192 - Hoskins baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 4/3/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2017 Chachi #53
2017 Chachi In Action #7
2017 Chachi #56 - HL 9 HRs in 16 Games
2017 Chachi #57 - HL Rookie HR Record
2017 Chachi Valley Forge #3
2017 Chachi Christmas #1
2018 Chachi #4
2018 Chachi #44 - HL Home Run Derby
2018 Chachi Friendly Encounters #6
2019 Chachi Preview #1
2019 Chachi #4
2019 Chachi Phillies Festival #19
2020 Chachi #2
2021 Chachi Preview #1
2021 Chachi #2

2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist 

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

2021 Chachi #1 Andrew McCutchen


#22
Andrew Stefan McCutchen
Left Field

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  195
Opening Day Age:  34
Born:  October 10, 1986, Fort Meade, FL
How Obtained:  Signed as a free agent, December 12, 2018
Contract Status:  Signed through 2021 with a club option for 2022
Major League Teams:  Pittsburgh Pirates 2009-2017; San Francisco Giants 2018; New York Yankees 2018; Philadelphia Phillies 2019-
First Phillies Card:  2018 Topps Now Offseason #OS59
First Phillies Minor League Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2019 Phillies Team Issue #22

Newest Card Added:  2021 Topps 70 Years of Topps Baseball #70YT-5

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (14):  2005, 2009-2021

35 - McCutchen baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 4/2/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi New Additions #5a
2019 Chachi New Additions #5b
2019 Chachi #1
2019 Chachi Friendly Encounters #18
2020 Chachi Preview #3
2020 Chachi #1
2021 Chachi #1

McCutchen first appeared in the 2005 Topps Updates & Highlights set as a Pirates' draft pick, before returning for a 13-year (and counting) run in the Topps flagship sets.

His Chachi Friendly Encounters card uses a photo taken with my son Doug at the Philly Baseball Card show held in September 2019.

2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Friday, April 2, 2021

Game 1 - Welcome Home! Fans Return to Citizens Bank Park

2021 Chachi #31

Phillies 3
, Braves 2 (10 Innings)
Game 1 - Thursday Afternoon, April 1st in Philadelphia
Record - 1-0, 1st Place, 1/2 game ahead of the Mets and Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  For the first time in 550 days, fans were in attendance at a regular season Phillies game, and we were treated to a walk-off, extra inning win.

What It Means:  The longest offseason is over.  8,529 grateful fans braved the elements and took in the sights and smells of Phillies baseball.

What Happened:  Aaron Nola was brilliant through six innings, and then ran into trouble in the seventh when he allowed a double to Cristian Pache and a long home run to pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval.  That tied the game at 2-2.  The Phillies had scored their first two runs earlier on an Alec Bohm sacrifice fly and a J.T. Realmuto infield single.

The bullpen quartet of Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris and Connor Brogdon kept the Braves from scoring over the final four innings, and the defense was solid with excellent plays from Bohm and Didi Gregorius.  In the 10th, with Bryce Harper starting the inning at second base, Jean Segura chopped a single down the third base line to plate the winning run.

2021 Topps Opening Day #128
2021 Topps #109

Featured Card / Field Report:  My oldest son Doug and I attended this game, and I was admittedly a little emotional as we made our way to our seats in the Hall of Fame Club.  It was a much more subdued opening day out of necessity, but the ceremonies fit the mood as anything too over the top would have been too much to take.  Just being there was enough.

We did two full laps around the ballpark to see what was and wasn't open, and to make sure there definitely weren't any Phillies team-issued photo cards available for sale*.  My sole souvenir purchase was a Phillies Media Guide and given the cold, windy weather we had to strategize a little on our food purchases.  We waited until after the fifth inning to venture over to Bull's BBQ and the limited menu (for now) was a welcome sight.  After Bull's, we enjoyed a dessert of Shake Shack fries.

It was great to run into fellow Phillies fans we knew and who we hadn't seen in over a year and a half.  While the interactions were brief, those still marked another milestone as we get closer to normalcy.  After 550 days, it was wonderful to walk back into the ballpark and cheer, boo, eat, smile and hope.

*We were told photo cards may go on sale later in the season if there's enough interest and if the ballpark returns to full capacity.  Scorecards were also a casualty of the reduction in available souvenirs.

Transaction:  Ronald Torreyes (inf) was officially selected to the roster with Kyle Dohy (lhp) passing through waivers and outrighted to Lehigh Valley.

2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Series Preview - Braves at Phillies: April 1st to April 4th

1986 Topps #51
1986 Topps #621

Thursday 3:05, Saturday 4:05 and Sunday 1:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  Holy crap, we made it.  After 18 months of not being able to attend live Phillies baseball in Philadelphia due to the ongoing pandemic, 8,800 fans will return to the ballpark this afternoon to watch the Phillies take on the Braves.  For this entire opening series, all fans will receive a Rally Towel.

Braves 35-25 in 2020
1st Place in the N.L. East, 4 games ahead of the Marlins

Braves Probables - 2020 Records
Max Fried (7-0, 2.25)
Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.74)
Ian Anderson (3-2, 1.95)

Braves Leaders - Spring Training
Average:  Sean Kazmar - .409
Runs:  Ozzie Albies - 11
Home Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 5
RBIs:  Ehire Adrianza - 12
Stolen Bases:  Braden Shewmake - 3

Wins:  3 tied with - 2
ERA:  Ian Anderson - 6.38
Strikeouts:  Huascar Ynoa - 28
Saves:  9 tied with - 1
Phillies 28-32 in 2020
3rd Place in the N.L. East, 7 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables - 2020 Records
Aaron Nola (5-5, 3.28)
Zack Wheeler (4-2, 2.92)
Zach Eflin (4-2, 3.97)

Phillies Leaders - Spring Training
Average:  Bryce Harper - .343
Runs:  Odubel Herrera - 11
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper and Odubel Herrera - 4
RBIs:  Didi Gregorius - 12
Stolen Bases:  Johan Rojas - 5

Wins:  4 tied with - 2
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 5.03
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 22
Saves:  JoJo Romero - 2

2021 Chachi #9 Aaron Nola


#27
Aaron Michael Nola
Starting Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  200
Opening Day Age:  27
Born:  June 4, 1993, Baton Rouge, LA
How Obtained:  Selected by Phillies in 1st round of June 2014 amateur player draft
Contract Status:  Signed through 2022 with a club option for 2023
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 2015-


First Phillies Card:  2014 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Draft Picks #DP4
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2014 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #49
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2015 Phillies Team Issue 2 #27

Newest Card Added:  2021 Topps Opening Day #128

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (5):  2016-2020

177 - Nola baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 3/31/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2014 Chachi Almost #4 Future Stars
2015 Chachi #51
2016 Chachi #15
2016 Chachi Archives #14
2016 Chachi Photo Day #26
2016 Chachi Special Edition #6
2017 Chachi #16
2017 Chachi #64 - Team Leaders (with Cesar Hernandez)
2017 Chachi Phillies Phestival #20
2017 Chachi Archives #16
2017 Chachi Photo Night #24
2018 Chachi #9
2018 Chachi #45 All-Star
2018 Chachi Phillies Phestival #17
2019 Chachi #9
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #10
2019 Chachi Friendly Encounters #23
2020 Chachi #10
2021 Chachi #9

2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Spring Training Game 28 - Phils Head North to Begin '21 Season

2019 Choice Williamsport
Crosscutters #27
Blue Jays 13
, Phillies 7
Spring Training Game 28 - Monday Afternoon, March 29th in Clearwater
Record - 12-15-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies bullpen decided to pay tribute one last time to the 2020 team in this 13-7 drubbing by the Blue Jays in the final exhibition game of 2021

What It Means:  It wasn't pretty, but at least this spring training came to its natural conclusion instead of the sudden jolt of a stop we experienced last year.

What Happened:  Zach Eflin went five strong innings, allowing one earned run while scattering 8 hits.  The bullpen trio of Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado and Tyler Carr combined to allow 11 runs on 9 hits over 1 2/3 innings of work.  After starting the spring strong, Alvarado has looked Brandon Workman-like in his final few spring games.  The Phillies offense banged out 12 hits, led by solo home runs from Bryce Harper (his 4th) and Bryson Stott (his 1st).  Adam Haseley had two hits and a stolen base on the way to earning a spot on the opening day roster.

2021 Chachi Almost #5
Featured Card:  Stott, the team's top draft pick in 2019, looked good this spring and I'm looking forward to seeing him soon at Citizens Bank Park.  This is the first card of his I added to my collection, from the 2019 Williamsport Crosscutters team set.

Camp Head Count:  47 - 20 - 1 = 26.  None of the 20 mini-camp invitees made the club, including Odubel Herrera, so I'll subtract those 20 players from the tally.  C.J. Chatham (inf) was released to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, and non-roster invitees Matt Joyce (of) and Brandon Kintzler (rhp) had their contracts selected.  At this point, the only thing left to do is to clear another 40-man roster spot for Ronald Torreyes (inf) who also made the team.  That leaves Neftali Feliz (rhp) as the last remaining non-roster invitee and hopefully he accepts an assignment to the minor league camp.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Spring Training Game 27 - 2020 Topps Big League #234 Scott Kingery

Phillies 6
, Yankees 2
Spring Training Game 27 - Sunday Afternoon, March 28th in Clearwater
Record - 12-14-1

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler threw three scoreless innings in his final appearance of the exhibition season as the Phillies defeated the Yankees, 6-2.

What It Means:  After one final game on Monday afternoon, the Phillies will make the trip back to Philadelphia where they'll open the season on Thursday.

What Happened:  Wheeler struck out 4 in his outing and allowed only one hit.  The new and improved Phillies bullpen combined for six innings, allowing only 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 10.  Vince Velasquez, David Hale, Archie Bradley, Connor Brogdon and Brandon Kintzler will all be in the 'pen to start the season.  A group of mini-campers came through in the seventh driving in three runs.  Nick Maton doubled home Matt Vierling who had hustled to reach on a ground ball to avoid a double play.  Luis Garcia then doubled home Maton, with Bryson Stott singling home Garcia.

Featured Card:  See below.

Camp Head Count:  53 - 6 = 47.  Or 27, if you don't count the 20 mini-camp invitees still around.  The Phillies haven't had very many surprising roster moves lately, but this one came as a bit of a surprise.  Scott Kingery (inf-of), JoJo Romero (lhp) and Rafael Marchan (c) were all optioned to minor league camp.  The Kingery move makes sense, as he's struggled mightily for over a year now.  This will allow him to get some regular at-bats and hopefully figure out what's going on.  The Romero move surprised me.  He's been a reliable and consistent reliever since last year's shortened season and his demotion leaves Jose Alvarado as the only lefty in the bullpen to start the season.

In additional moves, Rodolfo Duran (c) and Travis Jankowski (of) were reassigned to minor league camp and Christian Bethancourt (c) was released.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Spring Training Game 26 - Only 2 More Grapefruit League Game Remain

2019 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #21
Tigers 9
, Phillies 8
Spring Training Game 26 - Saturday Afternoon, March 27th in Lakeland
Record - 11-14-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were cruising along with an 8-1 lead until the Tigers plated 8 in the bottom of the 8th and went on to a 9-8 win.

What It Means:  This was an ugly finish, but the Phillies relievers victimized in the 8th are all from the minor league camp and won't be heading north with the club.  David Parkinson, David Paulino and Zach Warren allowed 8 runs (all earned) on just 3 hits, a hit batter and 5 walks.  The Tigers were down 8-5 when Warren allowed three straight walks, two with the bases loaded.  Julian Garcia relieved Warren and gave up two more bases loaded walks to give the Tigers a 9-8 lead.

What Happened:  Before the 8th inning implosion, things were going well.  Aaron Nola threw 3 innings in his final spring tune-up, allowing a run on 3 hits while striking out 5.  Odubel Herrera had a big day at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a solo home run.

Darick Hall and Adam Haseley both came to the plate with the bases loaded in the fourth.  Hall tripled to clear the bases, and Haseley doubled to clear the bases again.

Featured Card:  JoJo Romero has had one the best springs of any Phillies reliever, and he pitched another scoreless inning in this game to reduce his spring ERA to 1.04.  He apparently also hit 99mph with his fastball at one point.  I'm looking forward to the return of minor league baseball, but I'm also excited to collect Phillies minor league team sets again in 2021.

Camp Head Count:  53.  The number held steady at 53, but the Phillies also announced that Michael Ynoa (rhp) had been released.  Ynoa had been sent to minor league camp on March 22nd.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Spring Training Game 25 - 2021 Chachi Almost #4 Tony Watson

Blue Jays 6
, Phillies 5
Spring Training Game 25 - Friday Night, March 26th in Dunedin
Record - 11-13-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Blue Jays scored five late runs to defeat the Phillies under the lights in Dunedin, 6-5.

What It Means:  Again, it was great to watch this game (Blue Jays feed) but I'm anxious to get to the point where the games actually count.

What Happened:  Chase Anderson pitched well against his former team, getting the start and going 4 innings while allowing a run on two hits.  Bryan Mitchell (4 runs) and Neftali Feliz (1 run) were charged with the late-inning runs and the two relievers walked a combined 4 batters.  Mitchell also allowed a pair of Blue Jays home runs.  The Phillies scored four in the fifth on a Bryce Harper home run (his 3rd), a two-run double from Scott Kingery and an RBI-single from Ronald Torreyes.  Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura each had multi-hit games with Torreyes contributing three hits.  If Brad Miller is injured at the start of the season, I would think Torreyes gets his roster spot.

Featured Card:  See below.

Camp Head Count:  55 - 2 = 53.  Two more pitchers were subtracted from the opening day mix on Friday with Tony Watson (lhp) requesting and being granted his release and Spencer Howard (rhp) optioned to minor league camp.  In 7 games, Watson pitched 5 innings and had a 7.20 ERA.  It was also announced that Matt Joyce (of) and Brandon Kintzler (rhp) had made the opening day roster.  While they've not been added to the 40-man roster yet, the Phillies cleared a space by placing Simon Muzziotti (of) on the restricted list.  Muzziotti has had visa issues and has yet to appear in camp.  With the 20 mini-campers still technically around, the head count of 53 can be broken up as 26 players currently on the 40-man roster 7 remaining non-roster invitees, and 20 mini-camp invitees.  The Phillies need to get down to 26 players by Thursday.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Spring Training Game 24 - 2021 Donruss #173 Bryce Harper

Phillies 13
, Yankees 12
Spring Training Game 24 - Thursday Night, March 25th in Clearwater
Record - 11-12-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies prevailed in a slugfest against the Yankees in Clearwater, winning on a walk-off single from outfield prospect Johan Rojas.

What It Means:  There are only four more spring training games before the start of the regular season on Thursday afternoon, weather permitting.

What Happened:  Matt Moore looked shaky in this outing, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits over 3 2/3 innings.  He allowed long home runs to Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres.  Jose Alvarado had his first rough outing of the spring, throwing three balls to the backstop and walking three before Joe Girardi mercifully ended to reliever's wild night.  And Enyel De Los Santos, who had also been solid all spring, got lit up for 6 runs in the ninth.  On the offensive side of things, Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura and Rojas all had multi-hit games.  Didi Gregorius and Logan O'Hoppe both connected with three-run home runs.

Featured Card:  I had wanted to go with a Rojas card for this post, but I have yet to add any of his cards to my Phillies collection.  To date, he's only appeared on a few 2020 Panini releases.  I tend to generally stay away from the unlicensed Panini releases, but I do try to add a Donruss team set to my collection every year.  The 2021 Phillies team set arrived in my mailbox yesterday, and included two versions of Harper's card - this running version and another version with Harper at the plate.

2021 Chachi Almost #2
2021 Chachi Almost #3

Camp Head Count:
  57 - 2 = 55.  Veteran pitchers Hector Rondon (rhp) and Ivan Nova (rhp) both requested and were granted their releases yesterday afternoon.  Nova was a contender for the 5th or 6th starting pitcher spot, but with Zach Eflin apparently ready to go, his services were most likely no longer needed.  He went 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA over 5 games and 12 1/3 innings pitched.  Rondon made it into 8 games and had an ERA of 7.71 over 7 innings pitched.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Spring Training Game 23 - 2021 Chachi Almost #1 Jeff Mathis

Tigers 4
, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 23 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 24th in Lakeland
Record - 10-12-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies offense was relatively quite and starter Ivan Nova gave up four runs early in this 4-1 loss to the Tigers.

What It Means:  Opening day is a week from today.

What Happened:  Nova lasted into the sixth inning, giving up 4 runs on 10 hits.  JoJo Romero continued his hot spring, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings and lowering his ERA to 1.17.  Darick Hall had a pair of hits for the Phillies, and Luke Williams drove in the team's only run with an RBI-single in the second.  Scott Kingery (1 for 3, .139 average) and Odubel Herrera (1 for 4, .225 average) continued their struggles as spring training draws to a close.

Featured Card:  See below.

Camp Head Count:  58 - 1 = 57.  With J.T. Realmuto seemingly recovered enough to start the season, catcher Jeff Mathis requested and was granted his release.  I was disappointed to see Mathis go, as it would have been nice to have him in Lehigh Valley working with the team's young pitching prospects.  In 10 spring games, Mathis batted .207 (6 for 29) with a home run and hopefully he latches on with another team.  He receives the first Chachi Almost insert card of the year to mark his short time with the club.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Spring Training Game 22 - 2020 Topps Gallery #78 J.T. Realmuto

Blue Jays 9
, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 22 - Tuesday Night, March 23rd in Clearwater
Record - 10-11-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Blue Jays' offense connected early and often against Phillies' starting pitcher Zack Wheeler as the Phillies lost, 9-3.

What It Means:  Wheeler's tough outing wasn't the big news here, rather it was the news of who was catching him.  J.T. Realmuto saw his first action of the spring, homering on his first swing of his season.  Realmuto caught six innings and was replaced by Edgar Cabral in the seventh.

What Happened:  Wheeler went 3 1/3 innings, allowing 7 runs (5 earned) on 6 hits.  He also had 5 strikeouts.  Archie Bradley threw two scoreless innings and Neftali Feliz made his spring debut throwing a scoreless ninth while striking out a pair.  Roman Quinn added a home run in the third, and Jean Segura singled home Realmuto in the sixth.  At this point, the only remaining starting line-up question mark is in center field, with Quinn, Adam Haseley and Scott Kingery all still in the mix.

Featured Card:  After a lengthy offseason when it seemed at times Realmuto would land with a division rival, and a thumb injury at the start of camp, it was wonderful to see the catcher's name finally in the line-up last night.  We'll be treated to Phillies baseball cards for the Best Catcher in Baseball for years to come.

Camp Head Count:  60 - 2 = 58.  I would expect the roster moves to come fast and furious at this point.  Mickey Moniak (of) was optioned out along with Ranger Suarez (lhp).  Moniak started off hot this spring, but then seemed to not get a lot of playing time.  I'd bet he'll be back up at some point in 2021.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Spring Training Game 21 - 2020 Topps 1985 Topps Baseball #85TB-AN Aaron Nola

Phillies 4
, Yankees 0
Spring Training Game 21 - Monday Night, March 22nd in Tampa
Record - 10-10-1

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola hosted a pitching clinic against the Yankees "A" line-up, tossing six shutout innings in this 4-0 Phillies win.

What It Means:  Earlier in the day, Nola was named the team's opening day starting pitcher.  It will be his fourth consecutive opening day start, the longest streak for the Phillies since Steve Carlton pitched 10 straight opening days between 1977 and 1986.

What Happened:  Nola allowed 1 hit and struck out 9 in his best start of the spring.  Brandon Kintzler, Tony Watson, Hector Neris and Enyel De Los Santos kept the Yankees from scoring over the final three innings.  The Phillies scored their first two runs courtesy of an RBI-single from Rhys Hoskins in the third and an RBI-double (lost in the lights) from Jeff Mathis in the fourth.  Didi Gregorius hit a two-run home run off his former team in the seventh.

Featured Card:  I haven't added any 2021 Nola cards to my collection yet, but I still have plenty of his cards from 2020 not yet featured in posts.  Topps celebrated the 35th anniversary of its 1985 set last season with cards in the style of that set appearing as inserts in packs of 2020 Topps.

Camp Head Count:  63 - 3 = 60.  Before the game, the Phillies optioned Ramon Rosso (rhp) and reassigned non-roster invitees Bryan Mitchell (rhp) and Michael Ynoa (rhp) to minor league camp.  While there are still technically 60 players in camp, 20 of those are on the mini-camp invitee list.  29 players remain from the Phillies 40-man roster with 11 of the non-roster invitees still in the mix - some more than others.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Spring Training Game 20 - 2021 Topps #277 Alec Bohm

Tigers 5
, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 20 - Sunday Afternoon, March 21st in Clearwater
Record - 9-10-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Tigers defeated the Phillies 5-3 in Clearwater.

What It Means:  This was the rare spring training game I completely missed as we were attending Doug's baseball try-outs.  It was nice to spend the day in the sunshine as we get closer to opening day.  Monday begins the last full week of exhibition games before the season officially starts a week from this coming Thursday against the Braves.

What Happened:  J.T. Realmuto was originally supposed to start and DH but was scratched due to lingering soreness in his thumb.  Chase Anderson, likely the team's number five starter to open the season, went 3 2/3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 3 hits while striking out 5.  Andrew McCutchen went 1 for 3 and made a nice diving catch in left field in the fifth.

Featured Card:  Third baseman Alec Bohm seems to be locked in and ready to go.  He went 1 for 3 with a pair of RBIs, raising his average to .323.  I suspect I'll have more cards from 2021 in my collection for Bohm than for anyone else, and this is one of five cards of his already in my newly-created 2021 Phillies binder.

Camp Head Count:  63

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Spring Training Game 19 - 2019 Topps Heritage High Numbers #639 Jose Alvarado

Blue Jays 3
, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 19 - Saturday Afternoon, March 20th in Clearwater
Record - 9-9-1

One Sentence Summary:  On a spring-like day back north, the Blue Jays defeated the Phillies in Grapefruit League action, 3-1.

What It Means:  With regular play-by-play announcer Tom McCarthy covering the NCAA Tournament, this televised game was broadcast by the unlikely crew of Ricky Bottalico, Ben Davis and Ruben Amaro, Jr.  It was the second time this broadcasting trio had worked a game and . . . it wasn't bad?  Bottalico was a little too amped up at times for me, but I didn't have to mute the broadcast so I consider that a win.

What Happened:  Starting pitcher Matt Moore looked a little off in this start, and he ended up allowing a pair of runs on five hits.  Reliever Connor Brogdon also struggled, walking three in just a third of an inning.  The Phillies lone run came in the fourth when Roman Quinn reached on a perfect bunt single up the first base line and then Bryce Harper doubled him home.

Featured Card:  Phillies reliever (and potential closer) Jose Alvarado hit 101 on the radar gun in this game, while striking out the side in the seventh inning.  As Sarah Langs pointed out in this Tweet, Phillies pitchers have thrown one pitch at least that fast since the start of the 2016 season.  Seranthony Dominguez hit 100.9 mph on August 22, 2018 with Bryce Harper batting.  Alvarado is going to be fun to watch this season.

Camp Head Count:  63