Thursday, July 18, 2019

Game 96 - 2019 Chachi Photo Cards #65 JD Hammer

Dodgers 7Phillies 2
Game 96 - Late Wednesday Night, July 17th in Philadelphia
Record - 49-47, 3rd place, 8 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies lost a game that ended around 1:45 in the morning after a two and half hour rain delay.

What It Means:  I made it to the sixth inning after the Phillies had tied the score at two and then I went to bed, figuring I should quit while I was ahead (or at least tied).

What Happened:  The Phillies pitchers walked 10 Dodgers batters, four of those walks coming from Nick Pivetta in his rain-shortened 2 1/3 inning outing.  On the bright side, Pivetta didn't allow a hit.  Edgar Garcia, Juan Nicasio and Austin Davis couldn't keep the Dodgers off the board in the later innings, with those three relievers giving up six runs in their four innings of work.

Featured Card:  JD Hammer entered the game after the lengthy rain delay and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.  He grounded out to first in his first professional baseball plate appearance in the third.  This is the self-created photo card I had Hammer sign this past weekend at his Deptford Mall appearance.

Transactions:  Jay Bruce became the tenth player currently on the injured list for the Phillies, landing there with a right oblique strain.  Nick Williams was recalled from Lehigh Valley.

Game 95 - 2019 Topps Now #63 Bryce Harper

Phillies 9Dodgers 8
Game 95 - Tuesday Night, July 16th in Philadelphia
Record - 49-46, 3rd place, 8 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Bryce Harper's first walk-off hit for the Phillies gave them a 9-8 victory after Hector Neris had blown the save in the ninth.

What It Means:  I'm happy for Harper, and this was a huge win for the club.  But the Phillies were up 6-1 in the second inning and I couldn't help but feel they'd still find somehow to lose.  I wish I had more confidence in this team right now.

What Happened:  The early lead was provided by home runs from Scott Kingery (13), Brad Miller (4) and Harper.  Four unanswered homers from the Dodgers, including the despair inducing, three-run shot from pinch-hitter Matt Beaty off Neris to give the Dodgers an 8-6 lead, and it seemed as if the Phillies would notch yet another painful loss.

After Neris was ejected for plunking David Freese, Andrew Knapp doubled in the bottom of the ninth, followed by singles from Cesar Hernandez and Kingery.  Knapp scored on Kingery's single.  Harper then doubled off Kenley Jensen, scoring Hernandez and Kingery, and the post-game celebration commenced.

Featured Card:  Harper earned a Topps Now card for his heroics, giving him eight cards in this year's ongoing set.  Here's his Topps Now card from way back on April 9th, back when I still had a good feeling about the Phillies.

Transactions:  In what now seems to be a daily bullpen move, Juan Nicasio was activated from the injured list and Austin Davis was recalled from the IronPigs.  Edubray Ramos landed back on the injured list (right shoulder) and Yacksel Rios was optioned to Triple-A.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

2019 Chachi #53 Rob Brantly

Robert Jacob Brantly

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  195
Opening Day Age:  29
Born:  July 14, 1989, San Diego, CA
Drafted:  Selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 3rd round of the June 2010 draft
Teams:  Miami Marlins 2012-2013; Chicago White Sox 2015, 2017; Phillies 2019
Acquired:  Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Cleveland Indians organization, December 14, 2018
2013 Topps #511
2019 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #3
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2013 Topps #511
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #3
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
First Topps Phillies Flagship Base Card:  N/A
Newest Card Added:  2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #3

1 - Brantly baseball card in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 7/15/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi #53

2019 Chachi Set Checklist
Virtual Phillies Wall - Featuring Current Active Roster

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Game 94 - 2019 Phillies Team Issue #24 Roman Quinn

Dodgers 16Phillies 2
Game 94 - Monday Night, July 15th in Philadelphia
Record - 48-46, 3rd place, 9 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Dodgers demolished the hapless Phillies, 16-2.

What It Means:  This was an embarrassing loss.  Mid-game, Matt Gelb Tweeted, "The Phillies are getting pantsed by the best team in the National League."

What Happened:  This was bad, and the most painful part of the loss was the fourth inning in which the Dodgers scored six runs and out-hustled the Phillies.  After the inning was over, half the Phillies on the field didn't realize the out just recorded was the third out, lingering on the field.  Cody Bellinger homered twice and went 4 for 6.  Zach Eflin was hung out for six innings, ultimately allowing seven runs.  Yacksel Rios allowed four runs without retiring a batter.  The Phillies offense went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Outfielder Roman Quinn recorded the final four outs for the Phillies, and gave up two runs on four hits in the process.  He struck out Casey Sadler looking.  Quinn is the third position player to pitch for the Phillies this season, joining Aaron Altherr and Sean Rodriguez.

Game 93 - The Big Piece Retires; Franco Walks It Off

2019 Chachi #54
Phillies 4Nationals 3
Game 93 - Sunday Afternoon, July 14th in Philadelphia
Record - 48-45, 3rd place, 8 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  On the day Ryan Howard officially retired, Maikel Franco provided a dramatic walk-off home run to give the Phillies a 4-3 win.

What It Means:  The win meant a sweep was avoided and the Dodgers, the best team in baseball, come to town for a four-game set.

What Happened:  Franco hit his blast with one out in the ninth off reliever Matt Grace, and it was also his 100th career home run.  The heroics were necessitated when the Nationals scored a pair of runs off JD Hammer in the seventh, tying the game at three.  J.T. Realmuto had two RBIs, including his 11th home run in the sixth.

Jake Arrieta threw five innings with his elbow bone spur, allowing a run on four hits.

2019 Chachi Greatest Moments #4
Featured Cards:  Franco gets a highlight card for his walk-off home run and hitting the century mark, but I also wanted to make a card commemorating Howard's day.  This was the final of three retirement ceremonies this season for alumni from the 2008 World Championship team and it followed similar ceremonies for Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.  The usual suspects were in attendance (Charlie Manuel, Milt Thompson) with Mike Trout and Ken Griffey, Jr. delivering pre-recorded messages.

He ended his on-field speech with a plea for the fans about the 2019 Phillies team, "Damn it, they're trying. Don't ever boo these men. I'm out."

Transactions:  Tommy Hunter landed back on the injured list with a right forearm strain and Edubray Ramos was recalled.  Hunter has been limited to just five appearances this season due to injuries.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Series Preview - Dodgers at Phillies: July 15th to July 18th

1971 Topps #650
1971 Topps #616
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 12:35
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Dodgers 62-33, 1st place in the N.L. West, 14 1/2 games ahead of the Diamondbacks and Rockies
Phillies 48-45, 3rd place in the N.L. East, 8 1/2 games behind the Braves

Dodgers Probables:  Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 3.09), Walker Buehler (8-1, 3.46), Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.82), Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.65)
Phillies Probables:  Zach Eflin (7-8, 3.78), Vince Velasquez (2-5, 4.63), Nick Pivetta (4-4, 5.81), Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.63)

At the Ballpark:  There are a few theme nights on tap with Italian Heritage night on Tuesday and Star Wars night on Wednesday.  All fans will receive a MLB Network retro Phillies tote bag on Thursday and kids can run the bases following the game.

Dodgers Leaders
Average:  Cody Bellinger - .335
Runs:  Cody Bellinger - 72
Home Runs:  Cody Bellinger - 31
RBIs:  Cody Bellinger - 73
Stolen Bases:  Cody Bellinger - 8

Wins:  Hyun-Jin Ryu - 10
ERA:  Hyun-Jin Ryu - 1.78
Strikeouts:  Walker Buehler - 113
Saves:  Kenley Jansen - 23

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .287
Runs:  J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura - 56
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 20
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 62
Stolen Bases:  Jean Segura - 7

Wins:  Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola - 8
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.63
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 133
Saves:  Hector Neris - 17

Game 92 - Nats Stun Phils; 7th Annual BlueClaws Outing

We missed the majority of the Phillies' Saturday night loss as we were enjoying our 7th annual outing to First Energy Park in Lakewood to watch the Low-A BlueClaws take on the Hagerstown Suns.  It was Margaritaville Night at the ballpark with all players wearing a Jimmy Buffett inspired jersey.  It was hot, but once the sun went down it was actually quite comfortable.

Prior to the game, it seemed as if most of the team made their way over to the stands to sign autographs for the half dozen or so assembled fans (mostly kids).  Doug was able to secure a South Atlantic League baseball and collected autographs from most of the team on either the baseball or on BlueClaws baseball cards.  I've created cards for most of the players and coaches who signed for Doug as I missed getting pictures of catcher Abraham Gutierrez and coach Adam Godwin.

We also won and bid on a Kevin Gowdy game-used jersey and following the game we waited patiently for Gowdy to arrive and deliver his jersey.  The young pitcher apparently didn't get the message that he was supposed to wait around, as he signed his jersey and departed for the evening.  A few other players were available though, and the boys added their autographs to their growing collection.

It was another fantastic night, and although the BlueClaws lost 2-0, we had a great time and we'll be back in 2020.

Memory Lane 
2013 BlueClaws Game
2014 BlueClaws Game
2015 BlueClaws Game
2016 BlueClaws Game
2017 BlueClaws Game
2018 BlueClaws Game 1 and Game 2
2019 BlueClaws Game

Meanwhile in Philadelphia . . .

Nationals 4Phillies 3
Game 92 - Saturday Night, July 13th in Philadelphia
Record - 47-45, 3rd place, 8 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  With two outs in the top of the ninth, Juan Soto stunned the Phillies with a two-run home run off Hector Neris to give the Nationals a 4-3 win and the eventual win.

What Happened:  Neris' blown save wasted another fine effort from Aaron Nola.  Maikel Franco continued to swing a hot bat, hitting his 14th home run in the second.

Transactions:  J.T. Realmuto returned from paternity leave and Rob Brantly was designated for assignment.  Sean Rodriguez landed on the injured list with an abdominal strain and Adam Haseley was recalled from the IronPigs.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Meeting Franco, Hammer and Dan Baker at the Deptford Mall

The Phillies Room support staff had a very busy Saturday, first heading to the Deptford Mall to meet a few Phillies and later making the trek to Lakewood for our annual Lakewood BlueClaws outing.  I'll have a full write-up of the BlueClaws game, the resulting autographs and an obligatory (now annual) BlueClaws Signing Autographs insert set, but first I wanted to share a post on our Deptford Mall outing.

Originally advertised as a Maikel Franco/Odubel Herrera joint appearance, Phillies reliever JD Hammer stepped in to take the place of the suspended Herrera.  It was a relatively light crowd for the event, but both Hammer and Franco were friendly and both graciously posed for pictures.  Hammer noted that he really liked his recently released Reading Fightin Phils card (modelled after the 1990 Topps set) and he also signed a few copies of the Chachi Photo Card I created given that the Phillies haven't gotten around to making a photo card for him yet.

The highlight for the boys though was meeting Phillies public address announcer Dan Baker who was there emceeing the event.  Baker posed with the boys and let them each try on his 2008 World Series ring.  Very cool indeed.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Game 91 - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #3 Rob Brantly

Nationals 4Phillies 0
Game 91 - Friday Night, July 12th in Philadelphia
Record - 47-44, 3rd place, 7 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The flat Phillies fell easily to the Nationals, 4-0, in the second half opener.

What It Means:  Jon Morosi's Tweet is depressing:  On May 29th, the Phillies led the N.L. East by 3 1/2 games.  Since then, they're 14-22 with only the Mets having a worse record in the N.L.  This is the furthest out of first place they've been all season.

What Happened:  Nick Pivetta labored through five innings, allowing three runs on six hits.  The offense had eight hits, seven of them singles, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Catcher Rob Brantly made his Phillies debut, striking out as a pinch-hitter against Sean Doolittle to end the game.  He was kind enough to sign Doug's card before the game.  Doug reported he made sure to honor each and every pre-game autograph request before returning back to the dugout.

Field Report:  Jenna and Doug attended this game, and Doug's pregame autograph hunt garnered signatures from Brantly (along with a selfie) and injured star Andrew McCutchen.  The signed Cutch ball was the highlight of Doug's night and he rode that joy through the duration of a rather boring game.

Transactions:  J.T. Realmuto was placed on the paternity list for a game, and he's expected to rejoin the Phillies on Saturday.  Brantly had his contract selected from the IronPigs and reliever Pat Neshek was moved to the 60-day injured list.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Series Preview - Nationals at Phillies: July 12th to July 14th

1971 Topps #418
1971 Topps #323
Friday 6:05, Saturday 7:15 and Sunday 1:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Nationals 47-42, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 6 games behind the Braves
Phillies 47-43, 3rd place in the N.L. East, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

Nationals Probables:  Stephen Strasburg (10-4, 3.64), Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.34), Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.30)
Phillies Probables:  Nick Pivetta (4-3, 5.84), Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.74), TBA

At the Ballpark:  There will be postgame fireworks on Friday and Saturday.  On Sunday, the Phillies will pay tribute to Ryan Howard in a pre-game retirement ceremony and all fans in attendance will receive a Howard bobblehead.

Nationals Leaders
Average:  Anthony Rendon - .304
Runs:  Anthony Rendon - 65
Home Runs:  Anthony Rendon - 20
RBIs:  Anthony Rendon - 62
Stolen Bases:  Trea Turner - 17

Wins:  Stephen Strasburg - 10
ERA:  Max Scherzer - 2.30
Strikeouts:  Max Scherzer - 181
Saves:  Sean Doolittle - 19

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .285
Runs:  J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura - 55
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 20
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 62
Stolen Bases:  Jean Segura - 7

Wins:  Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola - 8
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.74
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 124
Saves:  Hector Neris - 17

All-Star Game - 2019 Chachi #52 J.T. Realmuto AS

American League 4, National League 3
All-Star Game - Tuesday Night, July 9th in Cleveland

One Sentence Summary:  The A.L. squeaked by the N.L. for their seventh straight win as Michael Brantley and Joey Gallo provided the big hits for the junior circuit.

What It Means:  I'm getting old.  For the first time in recent memory, I didn't watch the entire game.  I honestly don't know most of the players anymore (especially from the American League) and I was annoyed with the the in-game interviews with players while they were either at bat or in the field.  I just want to watch and enjoy the game.  Still, we enjoyed the first six innings as a family before calling it a night and checking on the final result on Wednesday morning.

What Happened:  There wasn't a whole lot of offense in the game with only Charlie Blackmon and Gallo homering.  No player had more than one hit.  Pete Alonso drove in two eighth inning runs with a single.  Clayton Kershaw was tagged with the loss, having allowed Brantley's RBI-double in the second that put the A.L. up for good.  Indians' pitcher Shane Bieber was the surprise MVP choice, earned by striking out the side in the fifth (Willson Contreras, Ketel Marte and Ronald Acuna, Jr.) in front of his hometown fans.

Featured Card:  J.T. Realmuto was the sole Phillies representative, and the last time the Phillies had more than one player named to an All-Star team was 2013 when both Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown made the squad.  Realmuto pinch-hit for starting DH Josh Bell in the seventh, popping up against Shane Greene.  Remaining in the game as the DH, he was the first of three batters struck out by Aroldis Chapman in the ninth to give the A.L. the win. 

Realmuto's Phillies batting helmets apparently didn't make it to Cleveland and was seen on deck sporting a Brewers helmet in the top of the sixth.  He then found a Phillies sticker and put it on a Cardinals helmet for his actual two at-bats.

Memory Lane
From 1996 - Attending the All-Star Game at The Vet
From 2009 - All-Star Game memories
2010 All-Star Game - N.L. 3, A.L. 1 in Anaheim
2011 All-Star Game - N.L. 5, A.L. 1 in Phoenix
2012 All-Star Game - N.L. 8, A.L. 0 in Kansas City
2013 All-Star Game - A.L. 3, N.L. 0 in Flushing
2014 All-Star Game - A.L. 5, N.L. 3 in Minneapolis
2015 All-Star Game - A.L. 6, N.L. 3 in Cincinnati
2016 All-Star Game - A.L. 4, N.L. 2 in San Diego
2017 All-Star Game - A.L. 2, N.L. 1 in Miami
2018 All-Star Game - A.L. 8, N.L. 6 (10) in Washington
2019 All-Star Game - A.L. 4, N.L. 3 in Cleveland

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Game 90 - 2019 Topps Now #328 Jay Bruce

Phillies 8Mets 3
Game 90 - Sunday Afternoon, July 7th in New York
Record - 47-43, 3rd place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola turned in another ace-like performance and Jay Bruce hit two home runs in this 8-3, first-half ending win against the Mets.

What It Means:  The Phillies entered the All-Star break in third place and holding onto the National League's second Wild Card.  This time last year, they had a half game lead in the division but they'd finish the season in third place, 10 games behind the Braves.

What Happened:  Nola (8-2) pitched 6 2/3 innings, striking out six and allowing two runs (one earned) on just three hits.  Bruce drove in half the Phillies runs with two home runs and an RBI single.  Rhys Hoskins and All-Star J.T. Realmuto also drove in a pair of runs.

Featured Card:  This is one of three Topps Now cards to feature Bruce this season, marking his only three Phillies baseball card appearances to date.  This is Bruce's first Topps Now card, celebrating his six-RBI game against the Padres on June 4th.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

2019 Chachi #51 Tommy Hunter

Raymond Thomas Hunter
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  250
Opening Day Age:  32
Born:  July 3, 1986, Indianapolis, IN
Drafted:  Selected by the Texas Rangers in the 1st round of the June 2007 draft
Teams:  Texas Rangers 2008-2011; Baltimore Orioles 2011-2015; Chicago Cubs 2015; Clevand Indians 2016; Baltimore Orioles 2016; Tampa Bay Rays 2017; Phillies 2018-
Acquired:  Signed as a free agent formerly with the Tampa Bay Rays, December 15, 2017
Contract Status:  Signed through 2019 season
2010 Topps #658
2018 Chachi #31
2019 Topps #619
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2010 Topps #658
First Phillies Card:  2018 Phillies Team Issue #40
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2018 Phillies Team Issue #40
First Topps Phillies Flagship Base Card:  2019 Topps #619
Newest Card Added:  2019 Topps #619

2018 Phillies Team Issue #40
6 - Hunter baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 7/7/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2018 Chachi New Additions #3
2018 Chachi #31
2019 Chachi #51

2019 Chachi Set Checklist
Virtual Phillies Wall - Featuring Current Active Roster

2019 Chachi #49 Fernando Salas

Noel Fernando Salas
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  200
Opening Day Age:  33
Born:  May 30, 1985, Huatabampo, Mexico
Purchased:  Purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals from Saltillo (Mexican Baseball League), April 5, 2007
Teams:  St. Louis Cardinals 2010-2013; Los Angeles Angels 2014-2016; New York Mets 2016-2017; Los Angeles Angels 2017; Arizona Diamondbacks 2018; Phillies 2019
Acquired:  Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican Baseball League

2011 Topps Update #US133
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2011 Topps Update #US133
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
First Phillies Minor League Card:  N/A
First Topps Phillies Flagship Base Card:  N/A
Newest Card Added:  N/A

0 - Salas baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 7/7/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi #49

2019 Chachi Set Checklist
Virtual Phillies Wall - Featuring Current Active Roster

Monday, July 8, 2019

Game 89 - 2019 Stadium Club #127 Jake Arrieta

Mets 6Phillies 5
Game 89 - Saturday Night, July 6th in New York
Record - 46-43, 3rd place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

Annual Post-Vacation Game Summary Catch-Up, Part 10 of 10

One Sentence Summary:  The Mets took care of Jake Arrieta and the Phillies in this 6-5 win.

What It Means:  In his last seven starts, Arrieta has a 6.63 ERA, having allowed 53 hits in 38 innings.  (Per Jim Salisbury Tweet.)  Following this game, Arrieta revealed he had been suffering from an elbow injury, and the extent of his injury isn't yet known.

What Happened:  Arrieta was pulled in the fifth inning having allowed six runs (five earned) on 11 hits.  Jay Bruce (22) and Maikel Franco (13) both homered for the Phillies in the loss.

Featured Card:  I'll go with an Arrieta card, only because I may not get the chance to feature one of his cards again this season.  To date, in his 1 1/2 seasons with the Phillies, Arrieta is 18-18 with a 4.23 ERA in 49 starts.  Those aren't exactly ace-like numbers.

Game 88 - 2019 Topps Living Set #196 J.T. Realmuto

Phillies 7Mets 2
Game 88 - Friday Night, July 5th in New York
Record - 46-42, 2nd place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

Annual Post-Vacation Game Summary Catch-Up, Part 9 of 10

One Sentence Summary:  A five-run ninth inning broke a 2-2 tie and sent the Phillies onto a 7-2 win over the Mets.

What It Means:  After getting beat around by the Braves two games in a row, it was nice to see the Phillies rebound with a big inning and a big win.

What Happened:  The Phillies once again victimized Mets closer Edwin Diaz when J.T. Realmuto led off the ninth with a double and was singled home by Jay Bruce.  The Phillies piled on with an RBI single from Sean Rodriguez, a two-run double from Jean Segura and then a double from Bryce Harper to bring Segura home.

Featured Card:  I'll give the card to Realmuto, the team's sole All-Star, who started the ninth inning rally with his lead-off double.  This is his Topps Living Set card, limited to 2,796 copies and created in the style of the iconic 1953 Topps set.

Transactions:  Austin Davis was sent back down to Lehigh Valley and Yacksel Rios took his spot in the bullpen.  It was also announced that Odubel Herrera has been suspended for 85 games for violating MLB's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.  It's unclear at this time if he'll ever play for the Phillies again.

Field Report:  We spent all day Friday on Mickey's very own private island, Castaway Cay.  It was a great way to end a great vacation, and I was able to reconnect to the outside world briefly on Friday night to follow along as the Phillies came back to win against the Mets.  Our voyage came to a close on Saturday morning, as we started the long trip back to reality.

Game 87 - 1994 Fleer Update #U171 Fernando Valenzuela

Braves 12Phillies 6
Game 87 - Thursday Night, July 4th in Atlanta
Record - 45-42, 3rd place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

Annual Post-Vacation Game Summary Catch-Up, Part 8 of 10

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin couldn't make a four run first inning lead last as the Braves pounded the Phillies, 12-6.

What It Means:  This loss and a Nationals win dropped the Phillies into third place for the first time all season.

What Happened:  Eflin lasted just three innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits.  The big blow came in the third when Ozzie Albies hit a three-run home run to break a 4-4 tie.  The Phillies were mostly held in check after scoring four runs in the first on singles from Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Cesar Hernandez.  Sean Rodriguez added a pinch-hit home run in the sixth followed a few batters later by an RBI double from Rhys Hoskins.

Featured Card:  While sailing aboard the Disney Fantasy, we visited Mexico for the first time as the ship ported in both Cozumel and Costa Maya.  Since the Phillies aren't giving me much to work with in terms of featured cards, here's a card of probably the most famous baseball player born in Mexico, Fernando Valenzuela.  Valenzuela appeared in 8 games for the Phillies back in 1994.

Field Report:  We celebrated the 4th at sea, complete with a fireworks display over the Disney Fantasy.

Transactions:  Juan Nicasio joined the long list of injured relievers this season, landing on the IL with a strained left groin.  Austin Davis was (briefly) recalled to take his place.

Game 86 - 2019 Stadium Club #291 Bryce Harper

Braves 9Phillies 2
Game 86 - Wednesday Night, July 3rd in Atlanta
Record - 45-41, 2nd place, 5 1/2 games behind the Braves

Annual Post-Vacation Game Summary Catch-Up, Part 7 of 10

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Pivetta couldn't handle the Braves and the Phillies offense went quiet in this 9-2 loss.

What It Means:  As difficult as it is for me to admit this, I realize the Braves are simply a better team at this point than the Phillies.

What Happened:  Pivetta continued his inconsistent season with a 5 2/3 inning outing in which he allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits, including two home runs.  In the sixth, Bryce Harper homered off Braves pitcher Bryse Wilson for his 200th career home run and his 1,000th career hit.

Featured Card:  I believe the photo for this Stadium Club card of Harper's was taken during his first official spring appearance with the Phillies.

Game 85 - 2019 Topps Total #66 Aaron Nola

Phillies 2Braves 0
Game 85 - Tuesday Night, July 2nd in Atlanta
Record - 45-40, 2nd place, 4 1/2 games behind the Braves

Annual Post-Vacation Game Summary Catch-Up, Part 6 of 10

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola was masterful in this 2-0 win against the division leading Braves.

What It Means:  This was the high water mark of our vacation, as the win pulled the Phillies to within 4 1/2 games of first place.  Things fell apart quickly after this.

What Happened:  Nola went eight innings, allowing four hits and striking out eight.  Hector Neris struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 17th save.  Jay Bruce accounted for both Phillies runs with a two-run double in the fourth.

Featured Card:  After a 14 year absence, Topps brought back its Topps Total brand this year through a convoluted and expensive online exclusive set to be released in "waves".  I've passed on buying the cards directly from Topps and I'm piecing together the Phillies team set via online retailers and auctions.  This is Nola's card from the set.

I love the idea (cards for bench players, middle relievers, etc.) but I hate the execution (high price, online exclusive).

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Game 84 - 2019 Topps #400 Bryce Harper

Phillies 13Marlins 6
Game 84 - Sunday Afternoon, June 30th in Miami
Record - 44-40, 2nd place, 5 1/2 games behind the Braves

Annual Post-Vacation Game Summary Catch-Up, Part 5 of 10

One Sentence Summary:  Bryce Harper led the Phillies' 17 hit effort, going 3 for 4 with a two-run home run in this 13-6 win.

What It Means:  The win salvaged the series with the Marlins, avoiding a sweep.

What Happened:  Harper, Jean Segura and Cesar Hernandez all had three-hit games.  Brad Miller had a pair of RBIs, including a solo home run (3) in the fourth.  Jake Arrieta also added a two-run single in the sixth.  Arrieta got the win, allowing four runs on eight hits in his six innings of work.

Following the game, J.T. Realmuto was named as the Phillies sole representative for this year's All-Star Game, to be held in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

Featured Card:  Harper gets the card for his big day, which included a season high four RBIs.  The Phillies slugger was excluded from the All-Star roster for the first time since 2014.

Transactions:  Reliever Fernando Salas, designated for assignment on June 28th, cleared waivers and was assigned to Lehigh Valley.

Field Report:  On this day, we were busy meeting with the unofficial Captain of the Disney Fantasy before embarking on our six night Mexican cruise.  The internet service was spotty (and expensive) and I wasn't particularly sorry to miss this week of games.  It was odd waking up the next morning and having no idea how the Phillies had fared the night before.

Game 83 - Vintage Phillies Baseball Cards in the Magic Kingdom

Marlins 9Phillies 6
Game 83 - Saturday Afternoon, June 29th in Miami
Record - 43-40, 2nd place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

Annual Post-Vacation Game Summary Catch-Up, Part 4 of 10

One Sentence Summary:  The bullpen duo of Juan Nicasio and Adam Morgan allowed six runs in the seventh inning, as the Marlins stunned the Phillies with a 9-6 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies remain unable to solve the Marlins, losing their fifth in a row to the team after an impressive four-game sweep of the Mets.  They had been up 6-1 as late as the sixth inning before the Marlins began their comeback.

What Happened:  Zach Eflin was effective in his start, giving up three runs over six innings of work.  But Nicasio and Morgan couldn't keep the Marlins off the basepaths.  Scott Kingery contributed a two-run single in the fourth and Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run home run (19) in the fifth.

Featured Card:  On the wall of Casey's Corner, a quick service hot dog restaurant on the northwest corner of Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom, there's a frame on the wall containing what appear to be vintage baseball cards.  I took a few pictures as we were heading to our breakfast at The Crystal Palace, making a note to research the cards further when I returned home.

After some searching, and a review of the fantastic book, Classic Baseball Cards, The Golden Years 1886-1956, I came up empty with an exact match for the cards.  They appear to be reproductions (?) of photos used for the Old Judge set issued between 1887 and 1890, featuring Jack Clements, Jim Fogarty and Charlie Ferguson from the Phillies, Billy Nash from the Boston Beaneaters, Duke Farrell from the Washington Senators and Charlie Duffe from the St. Louis Browns.  The three Phillies were teammates between 1884 and 1887, and Nash played for the club from 1896 to 1898.

It would make sense that Disney would crop out any cigarette advertisement from something hung prominently in one of its restaurants, but hopefully these are reproductions and no actual vintage cards were harmed in the production of this display.