Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter #290 Cliff Lee

Phillies 3, Reds 0
Game 132 - Wednesday Night, August 31st in Cincinnati

One Sentence Summary:  Cliff Lee followed up on Roy Halladay's dominant pitching performance with an almost complete game victory as the Phils won, 3-0.

What It Means:  The Phillies are 86-46 and they maintain a 7 1/2 game lead in the East.

What Went Right:  Lee (15-7) closed out a phenomenal August by scattering six hits while walking one and striking out seven over 8 2/3 innings.  He loaded the bases in the ninth before Ryan Madson recorded his 25th save on two pitches.  Lee finished with a 5-0 record in August and a 0.45 ERA for the month.  That's pretty good.

Reds starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis (0-4) battled all night and his only real mistake was a 6th inning home run surrendered to Hunter Pence.  The Phils manufactured their other solo runs in the first and seventh innings.

Featured Card:  Here's Lee's horizontal card from this year's Allen & Ginter release.

Transaction:  The Phils acquired outfielder John Bowker this afternoon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later or cash.  Bowker will provide another left-handed bat off the bench down the stretch.  Reliever Michael Schwimer was optioned back to Triple-A to open up a roster spot.

WANTED - A picture of Bowker in his Phillies uniform.  He's card #49 in the 2011 Chachi set and I have a feeling it's going to be tough finding a good picture to use.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 Topps #359 Roy Halladay HL

Phillies 9, Reds 0
Game 131 - Tuesday Night, August 30th in Cincinnati

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils cruised to an easy win over the Reds on the arm of Roy Halladay and the bat of Ryan Howard.

What It Means:  The Phillies are now 85-46.  With the Braves losing against the Nationals, they've opened up a 7 1/2 game lead in the East.  They are eight games ahead of the Brewers in the loss column for the best record in the National League.

What Went Right:  Halladay (16-5) pitched seven masterful innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out nine.  He added a three-run double in the sixth to help his own cause.

Howard hit two home runs, giving him 29 on the year and 102 total RBIs.  By passing the century mark in RBIs, Howard became the first Phillie to have six consecutive 100-RBI seasons.  He had previously been tied with Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, who reached the 100-RBI mark in five consecutive seasons.  Hunter Pence and Raul Ibanez also homered for the Phillies.

Featured Card:  It's hard to believe we're already approaching the one-year anniversary of Halladay's N.L.D.S. no-hitter against the Reds back on October 6, 2010.  I recently paid my postseason ticket invoice, and I'm already looking forward to hopefully seeing some Phillies postseason baseball for the fifth season in a row.

Monday, August 29, 2011

2011 Topps Heritage Stamps

Phillies 3, Reds 2
Game 130 - Monday Night, August 29th in Cincinnati

One Sentence Summary:  Baseball returned after a wet and windy weekend, as the Phillies held on to win in Cincinnati, 3-2.

What It Means:  The two-game losing streak is over and the Phillies are now 84-46.  With the Braves idle, the lead in the East is now 6 1/2 games.

What Went Right:  Cole Hamels returned from his DL-stint to pitch six strong innings.  He was perfect through three and the first Reds hit came when Hunter Pence fell down in the outfield while trying to track down a Brandon Phillips fly ball.  (It was ruled a triple.)  Hamels exited after 76 pitches (50 for strikes) and seven strikeouts.

The bullpen trio of Antonio Bastardo (6-0), Michael Stutes and Ryan Madson (24th save) held the Reds at bay.

Shane Victorino's huge two-run home run in the eighth broke the one-all tie.  The Phils scored their first run in the fifth on a Wilson Valdez RBI-double.

Featured Cards:  There was a great post today over at 14,000 Phillies about the dilemma faced by a team collector trying (in vain) to track down every single Phillies baseball card.  I read the post and thought to myself, "He just described my exact mentality towards collecting Phillies baseball cards."  I went through the same stages he did and as a young(er) collector and I wanted to collect every single baseball card until the Topps Tiffany set came along in 1984.

After that, I figured I'd just collect each and every baseball card set and forgo the Tiffany sets and some of the stranger oddball sets and eventually the 1987 Fleer Glossy set.  With each passing year, I got further and further away from the elusive "complete" collection.  1990 came along and I decided I'd just try to go after every Phillies card.  That worked until the Desert Shield cards of 1991 and the glut of different sets and parallels and limited print runs that soon followed.

Still, there have been low-print run cards that have come along through the years that I've tried to track down.  I have three of these Topps Heritage Stamps cards from the Phillies team set (numbered to 62), and maybe one day I'll track down the other eight Phillies featured in the set.  But realistically, that's doubtful.

Even if I had unlimited funds (I don't) and unlimited time (negative), I still wouldn't have the energy, the desire or the storage space to try and track down every single Phillies baseball card.  But I still try.  I'm a baseball card collector after all, and much like the guy who now owns 14,601 Phillies cards (and counting), I'm still having fun.

Phillies at Reds: August 29th through September 1st

Great American Ball Park - Cincinnati, OH
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:10, Thursday 12:35

Phillies 83-46, 1st Place in the N.L. East, 6 games ahead of the Braves
Reds 67-66, 3rd Place in the N.L. Central, 13 games behind the Brewers

So Far in 2011:  The Phils won three out of four when the Reds visited town back in May.

Meet the Reds: Manager - Dusty Baker
Starters - Ramon Hernandez (c), Joey Votto (1b), Brandon Phillips (2b), Miguel Cairo (3b), Paul Janish (ss), Fred Lewis (lf), Drew Stubbs (cf), Jay Bruce (rf)
Rotation - Johnny Cueto (rhp), Homer Bailey (rhp), Bronson Arroyo (rhp), Dontrelle Willis (lhp), Mike Leake (rhp)
Bench - Ryan Hanigan (c), Todd Frazier (inf), Edgar Renteria (ss), Yonder Alonso (of), Dave Sappelt (of)
Closer - Francisco Cordero (rhp)
Bullpen - Jose Arredondo (rhp), Bill Bray (lhp), Aroldis Chapman (lhp), Sam LeCure (rhp), Nick Masset (rhp), Logan Ondrusek (rhp)
Disabled List - Zach Cozart (inf), Scott Rolen (3b), Chris Heisey (of)

At the Ballpark:  Nothing but ballgames - no bobble heads, no beach towels, no back-to-school backpacks, nothing.

Phillies Probables: Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62), Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56), Cliff Lee (14-7, 2.71), Vance Worley (9-1, 2.65)
Reds Probables: Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44), Bronson Arroyo (8-10, 5.02), Dontrelle Willis (0-3, 4.10), Mike Leake (11-8, 4.04)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

1979 Topps Phillies

1979 Burger King Phillies #13, 1979 Topps #610, #540 and #470
1979 was a watershed year for me as a baseball fan and as a baseball card collector.  My Dad took me to my first ever Phillies game in the summer of '79 and I added my first cards to my baseball card collection.  I was five years old at the time (going on six) and my life was pretty much dominated by Star Wars before I was introduced to baseball cards.

Occasionally on Friday nights, as a treat for the whole family, we'd pile into the station wagon and travel to nearby Vineland to dine at one of the finer dining establishments in our area - Burger King.  It was on one of those visits that I came away with my first baseball cards - treasures from the 23-card Burger King Phillies set, modelled after the mainstream 1979 Topps set. 

1979 Topps #540 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  Topps stuck with a 726-card set for the second year in a row.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  It's never been one of my favorite baseball card sets, but you never forget your first.  Maybe I'd give the set a little more respect if Topps had used blue or red for the team banner on the Phillies cards, instead of purple.  Strangely enough, my favorite card from the set isn't actually in the set.  It's the Burger King Pete Rose card, which I've written about before.
Notable competition:  I don't know if the Burger King set could be considered competition, as it was manufactured by Topps, but I know I would have gladly traded two regular Topps cards for one Burger King card.  There were also sets released by Kellogg's and Hostess.  The Kellogg's card for Rose features him in a Reds uniform, but it has a Phillies logo on the back.  So it's technically a Phillies card.  (At least by my rules.)

1979 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phils slipped in 1979, finishing 84-78 and in fourth place in the division, 14 games behind the Pirates.
Key players:  Rose came as advertised, hitting .331 and helping the club set a franchise attendance record.  Mike Schmidt (.253, 45 home runs, 114 RBIs) and Greg Luzinski (.252, 18 home runs, 81 RBIs) provided the power in the middle of the line-up once again.  Steve Carlton (18-11, 3.62 ERA, 213 strikeouts) had another great year, but the rest of the pitching staff struggled.  Newcomer Nino Espinosa secured 14 wins and Ron Reed won 13 games out of the bullpen, despite owning a 4.15 ERA.  Tug McGraw led the club with 16 saves, but his 5.16 ERA was proof of a rough year for the lefty reliever.
Key events:  The Phillies signed free agent Rose on December 5, 1978, after the Phillies local televison affiliate, WPHL-TV, kicked in the necessary additional funds to land the future hit king.  In February, General Manager Paul Owens pulled off a blockbuster trade, sending Barry Foote, Jerry Martin, Ted Sizemore and two prospects to the Cubs for Manny Trillo, Greg Gross and Dave Rader.  The underachieving Phillies cost manager Danny Ozark his job in late August.  Former Phillies pitcher and the current Farm Director, Dallas Green, took over in an effort to right the ship.

1979 Topps #90, 1979 Burger King Phillies #14, 1979 Topps #210 and #630
1979 Phillies in 1979 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are just 25 cards needed to complete the Phillies team set.  The tally is now 290 total Topps Phillies cards from the 1970's, and 758 Topps Phillies cards overall.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 6 cards
#90 Bob Boone (c), #210 Larry Bowa (ss), #610 Mike Schmidt (3b), #540 Greg Luzinski (lf), #470 Garry Maddox (cf), #630 Bake McBride (rf)

The regular first baseman (Rose) and second baseman (Trillo) are in the set, but are featured with their former teams.
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#25 Steve Carlton, #52 Randy Lerch, #419 Dick Ruthven, #493 Larry Christenson

1979 Topps #25 and #52, 1979 Burger King Phillies #11, 1979 Topps #419
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1979 - 9 cards
#118 Bud Harrelson, #136 Jim Kaat, #177 Ron Reed, #271 Rawley Eastwick, #317 Jose Cardenal, #345 Tug McGraw, #446 Jim Lonborg, #653 Warren Brusstar, #675 Tim McCarver
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player "Prospects" cards - 1 card
#722 Jim Morrison, Lonnie Smith and Jim Wright

Only Smith actually played with the Phils in 1979.
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1979 - 4 cards
#161 Barry Foote, #297 Ted Sizemore, #382 Jerry Martin, #567 Rich Hebner
  • Team card with manager - 1 card, #112 with Danny Ozark
1979 Burger King Phillies #22, 1979 Topps #675, #177 and #345
Who’s out:  Given how active Owens was in the offseason, there are a ton of players featured on other teams in the set (see below).  Also missing are utility infielders Rudy Meoli (30 games, .178 average) and Ramon Aviles (27 games, .279 average), starting pitcher Dickie Noles (3-4 in 14 starts) and reliever Kevin Saucier (29 games, 1 save).
Phillies on other teams:  There are a whopping eight Phillies featured on other teams in the set - #579 Greg Gross, #639 Manny Trillo and #693 Doug Rader (all with the Cubs), #102 Mike Anderson (Orioles), #566 Nino Espinosa (Mets), #628 Del Unser (Expos), #650 Pete Rose (Reds) and #664 Doug Bird (Royals)
What’s he doing here:  Current Rockies' bullpen coach Jim Wright appeared on multi-player rookie cards with the Phillies in both the 1979 and 1981 Topps sets, but he never played a game with the Phils.  The Royals selected him in the 1980 Rule 5 draft and he appeared in 24 games with Kansas City in 1981 and 1982.
Cards that never were candidates:  Burger King already took care of six players who should have had 1979 Topps Phillies cards, so I'll omit those from consideration here - Rose, Trillo, Gross, Espinosa, Bird and Pete Mackanin.  (Manager Ozark also has a solo card in the Burger King set.)  Unser and Anderson both saw significant time off the bench for the Phils, and they weren't in the Burger King set, so they'll need cards.  Same goes for third-string catcher Rader, who was the only one of the trio who came over in the Cubs trade who was left out of the Burger King set.  Noles and Saucier should also have cards, and how about an updated team card featuring an updated shot of the actual 1979 Phillies team along with new manager Green?
Favorite Phillies card:  Since the Rose card isn't actually in the set, I'll go with my second favorite.  I've always been a fan of the Bowa card - home uniforms, eye black and the All-Star banner make for a great combination.

1979 Topps #628
Other Stuff
Recycled:  There are just two recent Phillies cards (that I'm aware of) to recycle the 1979 Topps design - Lonborg's 2001 Topps Archives card, which is a reprint of the original, and a 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites card for Maddox, which features a different photo than the original.
Blogs/Websites:  Check out The Vintage Sportscard Blog and let Chris know that the world needs a blog dedicated to the 1979 Topps set.  I hadn't realized this set is the first to feature a Topps logo on the front of the cards until I read his post.
Did You Know?:  Hurricane Irene delayed this post initially.  The actual Phillies Room (our basement) was a little soggy this morning, so we spent the bulk of the day vacuuming up water and arranging fans and dehumidifiers to dry the basement carpet.  Fortunately, one of the very last things I did before I went to bed last night was to pick up my binder holding the 1979 Topps set from the floor.  I frequently leave binders on the floor around my computer desk, but last night I had the foresight to pick up the '79 Topps binder and put it away.  If I hadn't picked it up, it would have been a watery mess this morning.  Hope everyone made it out of the storm safe and sound.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2008 Topps #443 Greg Dobbs

Marlins 6, Phillies 5
Game 129 - Friday Night, August 26th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  A grand slam from Marlins catcher John Buck sunk Roy Oswalt and the Phillies as the Marlins won, 6-5.

What It Means:  The Phillies are now 83-46.  Thankfully, the Braves lost too, so the lead in the East holds steady at six games.

What Went Wrong:  As Hurricane Irene bore down on the East Coast, the Marlins took advantage of a seemingly lifeless Phillies offense and a sub-par outing from Oswalt.  Wilson Valdez hit his first home run of the year in the third and Ryan Howard hit a three-run home run in the sixth (his 27th), but it wasn't enough to overcome the Marlins lead.

The big hit for the Marlins was Buck's slam off Oswalt (6-8).  Oswalt allowed a career high twelve hits, lasting only 5 2/3 innings and allowing all six Marlins runs.  Former Phillie favorite Greg Dobbs enjoyed a four-hit night for the Marlins.

Featured Card:  I tried without success to find some sort of a hurricane-themed Phillies card.  In lieu of that, here's one of Dobbs' cards back when he was still one of the good guys.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Marlins at Phillies: August 26th through August 27th

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Friday 7:05, Saturday 1:05 and 7:05

Marlins 58-72, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 26 games behind the Phillies
Phillies 83-45, 1st Place in the N.L. East, 6 games ahead of the Braves

So Far in 2011:  This is the Marlins' final visit to Philly.  Due to the weather trouble expected this weekend as a result of Hurricane Irene, Sunday afternoon's game has already been moved to Saturday afternoon.  In twelve games so far this season, the Phillies are 9-3 against the Marlins, which includes wins in seven of their last eight match-ups.

Meet the Marlins: Manager - Jack McKeon
Starters - John Buck (c), Gaby Sanchez (1b), Omar Infante (2b), Greg Dobbs (3b), Emilio Bonifacio (ss), Logan Morrison (lf), Mike Cameron (cf), Mike Stanton (rf)
Rotation - Anibal Sanchez (rhp), Ricky Nolasco (rhp), Javier Vazquez (rhp), Chris Volstad (rhp), Clay Hensley (rhp)
Bench - Brett Hayes (c), Alfredo Amezaga (inf), Jose Lopez (inf), Bryan Petersen (of)
Closer - Leo Nunez (rhp)
Bullpen - Burke Badenhop (rhp), Jose Ceda (rhp), Steve Cishek (rhp), Michael Dunn (lhp), Chris Hatcher (rhp), Edward Mujica (rhp), Ryan Webb (rhp)
Disabled List - Randy Choate (lhp), Josh Johnson (rhp), Brian Sanches (rhp), John Baker (c), Donnie Murphy (inf), Hanley Ramirez (ss), Scott Cousins (of)

At the Ballpark:  Kids will receive a Cliff Lee Back-to-School Gym Bag on Saturday afternoon.

Marlins Probables: Clay Hensley (1-5, 5.47), Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 4.01), Ricky Nolasco
Phillies Probables: Roy Oswalt (6-7, 3.51), Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56), Cliff Lee (14-7, 2.71)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1978 TCMA The 1960's #133 Tony Taylor

Mets 7, Phillies 4
Game 128 - Wednesday Afternoon, August 24th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Michael Martinez committed a costly error in the first, leading to four unearned Mets runs, and the Phillies never recovered.

What It Means:  The Phillies are now 83-45 as they prepare for a weekend series against the Marlins.

What Went Wrong:  For starters, I was working too hard to catch anything but the bottom of the ninth of this game.  I'm in the throes of one of my busiest times of the year at work, and I'm stopping only for bathroom breaks, snacks and sleep, in that order.

And then there was the Martinez error.  I have yet to see the play, but from what I've read, Martinez booted a double play ball, opening the floodgates for the four first inning Mets runs.  The Phils did manage to score three times in the second, but the Mets tacked on solo runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to put the game away.

Featured Card:  I was hoping for a "super" grand slam when I tuned in to MLB Gameday in the bottom of the ninth.  The Phils were down by three entering the inning and had the first three batters cooperated, John Mayberry, Jr. would have stepped to the plate as the potential winning run.  Alas, it was not to be.  Bo Diaz and Tony Taylor remain the only two Phillies to date to own "super" grand slams.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter #179 Shane Victorino

Phillies 9, Mets 4
Game 127 - Tuesday Night, August 23rd in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies coasted to another easy victory over the Mets, 9-4.

What It Means:  The Phillies improved to 83-44 and they'll go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon.  With the Braves winning too, the Phils maintained a 6 1/2 game lead in the division.

What Went Right:  Shane Victorino started the scoring with a solo home run in the third and John Mayberry, Jr. added a three-run home run a few batters later.  Victorino added a two-run triple in the fifth.

Vance Worley (9-1) turned in another solid outing, striking out a career high nine and allowing just a run on five hits in his seven innings of work.

Featured Card:  Nothing earth shaking here, it's just Victorino's 2011 Allen & Ginter's card.

Transaction:  Cole Hamels was placed on the disabled list today, although he expects to make his next start Monday.  The stint is retroactive to August 13th.  Pete Orr was recalled from Lehigh Valley to assist the team's battered infield.

In other news, reliever Jose Contreras will have season ending exploratory surgery on his pitching elbow.  He's been on the disabled list since June 20th.

2011 Topps Diamond Stars #DS-15 Cliff Lee

Phillies 10, Mets 0
Game 126 - Monday Night, August 22nd in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies crushed the Mets, 10-0, behind another great pitching performance from Cliff Lee and several key hits from the offense.

What It Means:  The Phillies improved to 82-44 and rebounded nicely from a brutal defeat the day before in Washington.

What Went Right:  Lee (14-7) continued his hot August, allowing just three hits in seven innings while striking out seven.  He's now 4-0 this month with a 0.58 ERA and his 191 strikeouts so far this season represent a new career high.  Just for good measure, he's hitting .283 since May 11th with two home runs and seven RBIs.

Big hits came from Shane Victorino (two-run triple in the second), John Mayberry, Jr. (two-run homer in the third), Carlos Ruiz (two-run single in the fourth) and Hunter Pence (two-run homer in the sixth).

Featured Card:  Here's a super sparkly card of the Phillies co-ace.  Sadly, I think I've hit the point where the 2011 Topps insert cards are starting to bore me.  The design of these Diamond Stars cards could easily be something Topps recycled from a 1999 or 2000 release.  I'm sure it's not an exact copy, but I feel as if I've seen this design before.

Transaction:  One infielder came off the disabled list, but another one went on.  Jimmy Rollins was placed on the DL with groin issues and Placido Polanco was activated, as his sports hernia appears to be responding well to treatment.

1979 Topps #223 Kent Tekulve

Nationals 5, Phillies 4 (10 Innings)
Game 125 - Sunday Afternoon, August 21st in Washington

One Sentence Summary:  With the game tied and the bases loaded, Brad Lidge hit Jonny Gomes with a pitch to force in the winning run in the the 10th.

What It Means:  The Phillies were 81-44 following this game and their lead in the East had shrunk to 6 1/2 games.

What Went Wrong:  A torrential downpour in the top of the sixth ended Roy Halladay's day and resulted in yet another rain delay.  The Phils held a 3-2 lead when the rain stopped, but Michael Schwimer, in his Major League debut, allowed a home run to Danny Espinosa to tie up the game.  Later, the Phils took a 4-3 lead into the ninth, but Antonio Bastardo allowed a two-out home run to Ian Desmond to tie up the game once again.

Lidge had nothing.  He promptly loaded the bases in the 10th before plunking Gomes to hand the win to the Nationals.

Featured Card:  This was a bad day all around.  Without going into any detail, an unfortunate chain of events led to a rough morning for us as we were leaving Pittsburgh to travel back home.  The Phillies provided no solace as they lost in painful fashion to the lowly Nationals.  Despite our troubles in Pittsburgh, I wanted to post a card to celebrate one of my favorite former Pirates and Phillies pitchers - Kenton Charles Tekulve.

I've got the 1979 Topps set on my mind this week, and this is a great card featuring Teke wearing one of the five different uniform combinations the Pirates wore back in the late-'70s.

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Topps Kimball Champions #KC-38 Roy Oswalt

Phillies 5, Nationals 0
Game 124 - Saturday Night, August 20th in Washington

One Sentence Summary:  Roy Oswalt dominated the Nationals as the Phillies won, 5-0.

What It Means:  The Phillies were 81-43 following this game.

What Went Right:  Oswalt (6-7) pitched eight strong innings, scattering eight hits and a walk while striking out nine.

Wilson Valdez started the scoring with a two-run triple in the fourth.  Hunter Pence led off the sixth with a solo home run and Jimmy Rollins added a two-run single later in the inning.

Featured Card:  I haven't had many opportunities to feature Oswalt's cards this year, so I'm glad I finally get to feature his card from the Topps Kimball Champions insert set.  In my opinion, these mini cards are some of the nicer cards issued by Topps in 2011.

1983 Fleer #160 Bo Diaz

Nationals 8, Phillies 4
Game 123 - Friday Night, August 19th in Washington

One Sentence Summary:  Ryan Madson imploded in spectacular fashion, allowing six runs (including a grand slam) as the Nationals walked off with the 8-4 victory.

What It Means:  As I catch up from a weekend away, I'm going to keep these posts short and sweet.  Nothing to see here, please move along.  The Phillies were 80-43 after this game.

What Went Wrong:  The Phillies scored four times in the third, aided by an RBI-triple from John Mayberry, Jr. and an RBI-double from Chase Utley, and then they stopped scoring.

Following a two hour and twenty-two minute rain delay in the top of the first, Kyle Kendrick came in and pitched six strong innings, allowing just two runs while striking out four.  Madson (3-2) entered the ninth holding on to a 4-2 lead and then things went horribly wrong.  The Nationals managed to tie things up at 4-4 before Ryan Zimmerman ended it with the slam.

Featured Card:  Baseball Almanac has a cool page featuring players who have hit "super" walk-off grand slams.  A "super" grand slam occurs when a player from the home team wins the ballgame on a walk-off grand slam when his team is down by three runs at the time of the slam.  (Zimmerman's unfortunate slam does not qualify.)  Two Phillies are on the list - Tony Taylor who accomplished the feat on August 2, 1970, and Bo Diaz, who did it on April 13, 1983, with two outs.

Mets at Phillies: August 22nd through August 24th

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Monday and Tuesday 7:05, Wednesday 1:05

Mets 60-66, 4th Place in N.L. East, 21 1/2 games behind the Phillies
Phillies 81-44, 1st Place in N.L. East, 6 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

So Far in 2011:  This is the Mets final visit to Philly in 2011.  These teams have played each other twelve times so far, and the Phillies hold a record of 8-4 against the Metropolitans.

Meet the Mets: Manager - Terry Collins
Starters - Josh Thole (c), Lucas Duda (1b), Justin Turner (2b), David Wright (3b), Ruben Tejada (ss), Jason Bay (lf), Angel Pagan (cf), Scott Hairston (rf)
Rotation - Jon Niese (lhp), Dillon Gee (rhp), Mike Pelfrey (rhp), Chris Capuano (lhp), R.A. Dickey (rhp)
Bench - Ronny Paulino (c), Nick Evans (inf), Mike Paxter (of), Willie Harris (of), Jason Pridie (of)
Closer - Jason Isringhausen (rhp)
Bullpen - Manny Acosta (rhp), Pedro Beato (rhp), Tim Byrdak (lhp), D.J. Carrasco (rhp), Ryota Igarashi (rhp), Bobby Parnell (rhp)
Disabled List - Taylor Buchholz (rhp), Johan Santana (lhp), Chris Young (rhp), Ike Davis (1b), Daniel Murphy (inf), Jose Reyes (ss)

At the Ballpark:  All fans will receive a Jimmy Rollins Pride of the Phillies print on Wednesday afternoon.

Mets Probables: Jon Niese (11-10, 4.05), Dillon Gee (11-4, 3.92), Mike Pelfrey (6-10, 4.61)
Phillies Probables: Cliff Lee (13-7, 2.82), Vance Worley (8-1, 2.76), Kyle Kendrick (7-5, 3.24)

Nationals Game Summaries:  They're coming . . . We just returned from a quick weekend trip to Pittsburgh.  The trip itself mirrored the Phillies play over the weekend - tough day on Friday, wonderful day on Saturday, super crappy day on Sunday.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1979 Burger King Phillies #12 Doug Bird

A busy work schedule and a quick weekend trip to Pittsburgh have contributed to my inability to complete the 1979 Topps Phillies post in time for publishing this morning.

However, Doug Bird is still smiling in spite of his crazy beard and airbrushed Phillies cap.  He knows the 1979 Topps Phillies post will run soon enough.  (This card always freaked me out a little as a kid.)

Go Phils!

Friday, August 19, 2011

2009 Topps Update #UH72 John Mayberry, Jr.

Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 1
Game 122 - Thursday Night, August 18th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  After a rain delay of over two hours, the Phillies held off the D-Backs to win the game and the series.

What It Means:  The Phils improved to 80-42 with the win and they maintained an 8 1/2 game lead in the division.

What Went Right:  John Mayberry, Jr. continued to impress at the plate, hitting a key two-run home run in the third.  Wilson Valdez and Raul Ibanez added RBI-doubles.

Vance Worley was forced from the game following three innings of work because of the rain, but the bullpen managed to negate the Diamondbacks' offense.  Especially impressive was David Herndon's three shutout innings in which he struck out four.

Featured Card:  I'm quickly running out of Mayberry's cards to feature on the blog, which is a testament to just how surprising of a year the guy is having.  Mayberry made the opening day roster as the fourth outfielder and after a brief detour in June back to Lehigh Valley, he's starting to find his name in Charlie Manuel's line-up more frequently.  With 179 at-bats so far this year, he's hitting .263 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs.  He's also played great defensively and he's a threat on the base paths.

With center and right field locked up next year by Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, it's going to be interesting to see if Domonic Brown is handed the left fielder's job in 2012, or if Mayberry continues to earn himself more serious consideration as an every day player.

Phillies at Nationals: August 19th through August 21st

Nationals Park - Washington D.C.
Friday and Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35

Phillies 80-42, 1st Place in N.L. East, 8 1/2 games ahead of the Braves
Nationals 59-63, 4th Place in N.L. East, 21 games behind the Phillies

So Far in 2011:  These teams have faced each other 11 times so far this year, with the Phillies owning a 7-4 record, but losing three of their last four meetings with the Nationals.

Meet the Nationals: Manager - Davey Johnson
Starters - Wilson Ramos (c), Michael Morse (1b), Danny Espinosa (2b), Ryan Zimmerman (3b), Ian Desmond (ss), Jonny Gomes (lf), Rick Ankiel (cf), Jayson Werth (rf)
Rotation - Jordan Zimmermann (rhp), Livan Hernandez (rhp), John Lannan (lhp), Chien-Ming Wang (rhp), Ross Detwiler (lhp)
Bench - Jesus Flores (c), Alex Cora (inf), Brian Bixler (of), Laynce Nix (of)
Closer - Drew Storen (rhp)
Bullpen - Collin Balester (rhp), Sean Burnett (lhp), Tyler Clippard (rhp), Todd Coffey (rhp), Tom Gorzelanny (lhp), Ryan Mattheus (rhp), Henry Rodriguez (rhp)
Disabled List - Cole Kimball (rhp), Elvin Ramirez (rhp), Doug Slaten (lhp), Stephen Strasburg (rhp), Ivan Rodriguez (c), Adam LaRoche (1b)

At the Ballpark:  Tonight is Black Heritage Night at the ballpark with the Nationals celebrating the contributions of African-Americans to the game of baseball.  All fans will receive an Ian Desmond Bobblehead on Saturday night and Sunday is kids' duffle bag day.

Phillies Probables: Roy Oswalt (5-7, 3.84), Kyle Kendrick (7-5, 3.25), Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.53)
Nationals Probables: Livan Hernandez (7-11, 4.21), John Lannan (8-8, 3.55), Chien-Ming Wang (2-2, 4.22)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2011 Phillies Team Issue 2 #21 Wilson Valdez

Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 2
Game 121 - Wednesday Night, August 17th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  The bats came to life late, as the Phillies scored seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings to cruise to the win, 9-2.

What It Means:  The Phillies are now 79-42.  With the Braves losing last night, they're back to an 8 1/2 game lead in the division.

What Went Right:  Jimmy Rollins started the game with a lead-off home run on the first pitch he saw, and then for the most part the bats went quiet for the next several innings.  It was a Wilson Valdez two-run double in the seventh that started the late scoring surge for the Phillies and gave them a 4-2 lead.  John Mayberry, Jr. was also a big contributor to the offense with a three-hit night.

Cliff Lee (13-7) pitched seven innings, allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out seven.

Featured Card:  As I mentioned in my previous post, I picked up another Phillies Team Issue set at the ballpark a few nights ago, solely for the Hunter Pence card now included with the set.  As I was sorting the cards tonight, I noticed a new Domonic Brown card had also been inserted into the set.  Basically, some poor schlub who works for the Phillies had to go through the inventory of existing sets, open the seal on the set's plastic bag, slide in the new cards for Pence and Brown and then re-seal the bag.  The only reason I noticed the Brown card was because it was facing the opposite way of all the other cards.

The card featured here is Valdez' card from the "Series 2" set.  Valdez is still waiting for his 2011 Topps card, which will hopefully make an appearance in the 2011 Topps Update set.

Transaction:  With Placido Polanco landing on the disabled list, and Cole Hamels scheduled to miss his next start with dead arm issues, the Phillies decided to go with another arm in the bullpen and recalled righty Michael Schwimer.

Programming Note:  Semi-regular posting and more timely game summaries will resume after the weekend.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2011 Topps Heritage Green Tint #146 Placido Polanco

Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 2
Game 120 - Tuesday Night, August 16th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Lyle Overbay stunned Roy Halladay (and everyone else in the ballpark) with a two-run double in the ninth to give the D-Backs the lead and eventual 3-2 victory.

What It Means:  The Phillies dropped to 78-42.

What Went Wrong:  Halladay (15-5) had never before lost a lead in the ninth inning before this game.  (He had also never doubled before, which he did in the seventh, but that seems kind of trivial now.)  After striking out the side in the eighth, Halladay seemed poised to clinch his 16th win and pitch another complete game when the ninth inning started.  He allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, struck out Chris Young and then allowed Overbay's deflating double.

The offense managed only two runs on Shane Victorino's two-run home run in the fifth.

Featured Card:  On the night all fans received his bobble-head, Placido Polanco was feeling a little "green" from the sports hernia that landed him on the disabled list.

Field Report:  A friend of mine had an extra ticket for this game, and he kindly invited me to attend with him.  And it was a perfectly enjoyable evening until Overbay's double.  I added a Polanco bobble-head to my collection, I picked up yet another Phillies Team Issue Series 2 set with a new Hunter Pence card included and I got to see the brand new Harry Kalas statue unveiled prior to the game.  (More on the Pence card in a future post.)  The Phillies are now 8-4 in games I've attended this year.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1986 Keller's Butter Juan Samuel

I recently received a nice package from Matthew, fellow Phillies fan and proprietor of the fine 14,000 Phillies blog.  (It's actually 14,519 and counting as I write this, but can you imagine trying to change the name of your blog every time you added a card to your collection?)

There were several recent Phillies inserts in the package, including a few nice autographs, a relic card for the newest member of the Colorado Rockies, Kevin Millwood, and a 1999 Finest insert featuring both Scott Rolen and Pat Burrell.  Matthew also added a few 1985 O-Pee-Chee cards to my expanding collection of Canadian Phillies baseball cards.

But the highlights of the package were two cards originally available only with a purchase of butter.  Back in 1986, one-pound packages of Keller's butter came with one of six Phillies baseball cards affixed to the package.  Matthew sent along his doubles of the Glenn Wilson card (seen here) and the Juan Samuel card.

Thanks Matthew!  I believe I'm now only four cards short of having a master set of every Phillies baseball card originally packaged with butter.

Diamondbacks at Phillies: August 16th through August 18th

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 7:05

Diamondbacks 68-53, 1st Place in N.L. West, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Giants
Phillies 78-41, 1st Place in N.L. East, 8 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

So Far in 2011:  The Phillies dropped two of three when they visited Phoenix way back in late April.

Meet the D-Backs: Manager - Kirk Gibson
Starters - Miguel Montero (c), Paul Goldschmidt (1b), Kelly Johnson (2b), Ryan Roberts (3b), Willie Bloomquist (ss), Gerardo Parra (lf), Chris Young (cf), Justin Upton (rf)
Rotation - Ian Kennedy (rhp), Daniel Hudson (rhp), Wade Miley (lhp), Josh Collmenter (rhp), Joe Saunders (lhp)
Bench - Henry Blanco (c), Sean Burroughs (3b), Lyle Overbay (1b), Cody Ransom (inf), Collin Cowgill (of)
Closer - J.J. Putz (rhp)
Bullpen - Zach Duke (lhp), David Hernandez (rhp), Micah Owings (rhp), Joe Paterson (lhp), Bryan Shaw (rhp), Brad Ziegler (rhp)
Disabled List - Alberto Castillo (lhp), Juan Gutierrez (rhp), Jason Marquis (rhp), Geoff Blum (inf), Stephen Drew (ss), Xavier Nady (1b)

At the Ballpark:  All fans attending tonight's game will receive a Placido Polanco Bobble Head.  The unveiling of the new Harry Kalas statue in front of the ballpark was rained out on Sunday and rescheduled for tonight.

Diamondbacks Probables: John Collmenter (7-7, 3.51), Joe Saunders (8-9, 3.76), Ian Kennedy (15-3, 3.12)
Phillies Probables: Roy Halladay (15-4, 2.51), Cliff Lee (12-7, 2.83), Vance Worley (8-1, 2.85)

Monday, August 15, 2011

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Home Run Heroes #HH14 Jim Thome

Congratulations Jim Thome!

Thome hit his 600th career home run tonight in Detroit off pitcher Daniel Schlereth.  I vividly remember him hitting his 400th career home run in a Phillies uniform back on June 14, 2004.  In total, 96 of his 600 home runs were hit while wearing the red pinstripes between 2003 and 2005.

I'm looking forward to visiting Cooperstown one day and seeing Thome's plaque hanging among the game's greats.

1975 Topps Mini Phillies Team Set - Completed!

Top Row:  1975 Topps Mini #118, #138, #162, #267 and #292
Bottom Row:  1975 Topps Mini #399, #444, #477, #501 and #527
I've already displayed one of the larger cards received in the Bounty from Burnell, so I thought I'd post some of the smaller cards received as well.  Burnell noticed within my 1975-1979 Phillies Wantlist that I needed the entire 1975 Topps Mini team set.  So he sent it to me.  Every single card.  Even the Mike Schmidt card and the two League Leader cards and the multi-player rookie card featuring Tom Underwood.  He completely wiped the 1975 Topps Mini Phillies cards off my Wantlist with one glorious trade package.  So thank you again, Burnell, and your package is (finally) going into the mail today.

I've displayed here several cards from the set that didn't make it into my 1975 Topps Phillies post from a few weeks back.

Vote:  Please take a moment to vote in the poll I've set up in the sidebar.  I've renovated the blog with a new look, but I can't decide on the appropriate background color.  This is a Phillies blog after all, so I thought a red background would be nice.  However, my wife Jenna prefers the blue background.  It's quite the quandary.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1978 Topps Phillies

1978 Topps #420, #360, #26 and #610
Back in the early '80s, when I was first piecing together the prior year chronology of the Topps baseball card sets, I remember being surprised that the 1978 Topps set wasn't actually from the early '70s.  Maybe it was the occasionally strange, washed out and poorly airbrushed photos used for some of the cards, or it could have been the black and white photos used on the manager cards that initially tricked me.

In any event, at least to me, the 1978 Topps set just never seemed as cool as the other sets from the '70s.  Only recently have I learned to appreciate the sets quirks and what I now understand to be a definite late-'70s vibe to the set.  For whatever reason, I've probably never really given the 1978 Topps set the appropriate appreciation it deserves.

The Set
1978 Topps #610 (Back)
Number of cards in the set:  The set jumped from 660 cards to 726 in 1978, making it the largest Topps baseball card set since 1972.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  There sure are a lot of portrait shots of the Phillies in the set, and not much action.  I counted, and there are only two Phillies cards with in-game action shots, so maybe that's another reason why the set has never resonated with me.  Yet another reason could be the cards' orange backs.
Notable competition:  Along with the standard Hostess and Kellogg's issues, there was a 27-card Phillies set issued by SSPC as part of an instructional baseball booklet called Baseball The Phillies Way.  The cards were featured on cardboard sheets in the center of the book, and they were designed to be cut down to the standard 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" size.  I bought two of these books back in the mid-'80s for a few dollars each.  I've kept one in tact and cut the cards in the other into individual cards to be displayed in pages in my 1970s Phillies binder.

1978 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies finished with a record of 90-72 to win the division for the third straight year, just a game and a half in front of the Pirates.  And for the third straight year, they lost the N.L.C.S.  The Dodgers were the culprits again, winning the series in four games.
Key players:  The duo of Greg Luzinski (.265, 35 home runs, 101 RBIs) and Mike Schmidt (.251, 21 home runs, 78 RBIs) led the offense once again, although it was an off-year for Schmidt.  Richie Hebner also turned in a nice season, hitting .283 with 17 home runs and 71 RBIs.  Steve Carlton led the pitching staff (16-13, 2.84 ERA) followed by Larry Christenson (13-14, 3.24 ERA) and the re-acquired Dick Ruthven (13-5, 2.99 ERA).  Closer Ron Reed saved 17 games and pitched to a 2.24 ERA.
Key events:  Paul Owens was wheeling and dealing at the trade deadline, picking up reliever Rawley Eastwick from the Yankees for the popular Jay Johnstone.  He also dealt away reliever Gene Garber for Ruthven.

1978 Topps #161, #136, #90 and #340
1978 Phillies in 1978 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 28 cards in the Phillies team set.  That's 265 Topps Phillies cards from 1970-1978 and 733 Topps Phillies cards from 1951-1978.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#161 Bob Boone (c), #26 Richie Hebner (1b), #136 Ted Sizemore (2b), #90 Larry Bowa (ss), #360 Mike Schmidt (3b), #420 Greg Luzinski (lf), #610 Garry Maddox (cf), #340 Bake McBride (rf)
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 5 cards
#540 Steve Carlton, #247 Larry Christenson, #271 Randy Lerch, #715 Jim Kaat, #52 Jim Lonborg

Ruthven had more innings pitched than Kaat and Lonborg, but the latter two started more games.

1978 Topps #540, #247, #271 and #75
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1978 - 10 cards
#177 Gene Garber, #210 Jose Cardenal, #222 Jerry Martin, #235 Tim McCarver, #297 Warren Brusstar, #317 Davey Johnson, #446 Tug McGraw, #472 Ron Reed, #513 Barry Foote, #675 Jay Johnstone
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1978 - 2 cards
  • League Leader card - 1 card
#205 Victory Leaders - Steve Carlton with Dave Goltz (Twins), Dennis Leonard (Royals) and Jim Palmer (Orioles)
  • Team card - 1 card, #381
  • Manager card - 1 card, #631 for Danny Ozark

1978 Topps #317, #210, #472 and #52
Who’s out:  The only real omission is infielder Jim Morrison, who appeared in 53 games with the Phillies.  
Phillies on other teams:  There are four cards featuring players who played with the 1978 Phillies but appeared on other teams within the set - #75 Dick Ruthven (Braves), #399 Pete Mackanin (Expos), #403 Bud Harrelson (Mets) and #405 Rawley Eastwick (Cardinals)
What’s he doing here:  Topps has a decent track record over the past several years of giving cards to Phillies players who actually deserved cards.  I can't argue with the inclusion of either Hutton (sold to the Blue Jays in December 1977) or long-time Phillie Harmon (released in early April 1978) in the team set.
Cards that never were candidates:  Harrelson, Ruthven and Eastwick should all have Phillies cards.  Farmhands Lonnie Smith and Keith Moreland made their debuts, and they would be members of the 1980 Championship squad.  There were no Phillies pictured on the multi-player "Rookie" cards, so I'd make a card featuring Morrison, Smith, Moreland and perhaps Todd Cruz. (Cruz already has his "card that never was," featured in a past post.)
Favorite Phillies card:  There's no denying the majesty of Cardenal's card, but solely for the lack of a real stand-out from the set, I'll go with the Secretary of Defense's card which features a shot of Maddox at Spring Training sporting the baby blue road unis.  (I'd also consider the team card, as it features one of the best teams in franchise history, the '77 squad, posing in front of two of the huge statues from the outside of The Vet.)

Other Stuff
1978 Topps #381
Recycled:  Other than a Bob Boone card from the 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set, I don't know of any other Phillies cards out there that have borrowed the design.
Blogs/Websites:  There are a few blogs I'd like to highlight here.  Garvey Cey Russell Lopes has been working on putting together a 1978 Burger King/Topps Update set featuring Dodgers who should have had cards in the 1978 Topps set.  There's also the Collective Troll's Nitty Gritty blog, which I believe started as a blog celebrating the 1978 Topps set, and then morphed into a blog celebrating awesome, vintage cards.
Did You Know?:  There are two questionable cards within the set that could be considered for inclusion within a master Phillies team set.  The first is card #412 featuring the 1977 N.L.C.S. recap noting that the Dodgers had "overpowered" the Phillies in four games.  Catcher McCarver is pictured on the card, watching Davey Lopes presumably knock one of his four hits.  (EDIT:  Lopes actually lines out on the swing - Thanks to Night Owl.)  The other card is #401 for Reds manager and Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson.  Anderson's "As Player" photo features him with the Phillies, back when he was still just George.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

2011 Topps Purple and Red (but not Blue) Diamonds

2011 Topps Purple Diamond #PDC10 and
2011 Topps Red Diamond #RDT18
Phillies 11, Nationals 3
Game 119 - Saturday Night, August 12th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies scored seven unearned runs to defeat the Nationals, 11-3, and give Roy Oswalt his first victory in two months.

What It Means:  The team's record is now 78-41.  With the Braves losing against the Cubs, the lead in the East is back to 8 1/2 games.

What Went Right:  I left the room to read Doug a bed-time story and it was 2-2 in the third.  I came back after he was tucked into bed and it 7-2, Phillies.  Apparently a throwing error by Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond started a chain of events that led to the 5-run Phillies inning.  The scoring was capped by a two-run single from Jimmy Rollins after Oswalt had walked with the bases loaded.

Oswalt (5-7) pitched seven solid innings and allowed just three runs on six hits while striking out five.  Ryan Howard led the offense with a two-run home run in the first and four RBIs overall.

Featured Cards:  I'm trying to put together a master set of all 2011 Topps Phillies base cards and inserts this year.  I realize this is a daunting task, and there's a good chance I'll lose interest in this quest by the time the 2012 Topps set rolls around.  I've mentioned before how hard it was to put together a checklist for the multitude of Phillies cards within the Series 1 and Series 2 releases, or any of the new releases for that matter.  One of these days, I'd like to see a (reliable) website where I can easily compile my Phillies checklists without needing to cross-reference eBay and Beckett and BaseballCardPedia.  Perhaps Zistle will be the one to finally get this right.

In any event, thanks to a recent Check Out My Cards purchase, I'm closer to having a complete run of the retail exclusive Phillies inserts.  Featured here are Howard's Purple Diamond card, available only at Toys 'R Us and his Red Diamond card, available only in packs found at Target. (Not to be confused with Howard's Sapphire Blue card, exclusive to packs found at Walmart, which I'm still trying to track down.)

Other Stuff:  The blog has a new look, so please check it out and let me know what you think.  For the background color - should I go with blue or red?  It's red now, but I'm not sure if I like it or not.

Friday, August 12, 2011

1994 Score Gold Rush #28 John Kruk

Nationals 4, Phillies 2
Game 118 - Friday Night, August 11th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  It wasn't Cole Hamels' or the offense's night, as the Nationals snuck by the Phillies, 4-2.

What It Means:  The Phillies are 77-41 and with the Braves winning tonight, they now have a 7 1/2 game lead in the East.

What Went Wrong:  Hamels (13-7) was in trouble from the start, walking two of the first three batters in the first, and he just didn't seem like himself tonight.  He lasted just five innings and gave up three runs on six hits and four walks.

The offense managed just four hits through the first eight innings as junk-baller Livan Hernandez (7-11) kept them completely off-balance.

Featured Card:  In an on-field ceremony prior to the game, John Kruk was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.  He was introduced by former teammate, and 2010 Wall of Fame inductee, Darren Daulton, and Jim Eisenreich unveiled his plaque in Ashburn Alley.  Former Phillies greats and Wall of Fame members Mike Schmidt, Dick Allen, Steve Carlton, Jim Bunning, Garry Maddox, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone, Dallas Green, Tony Taylor and Juan Samuel took part in the pre-game ceremony.  Here's the Phillies photo gallery from the festivities.

All of Kruk's baseball cards are great, but I especially like his cards from 1994.  They feature him as I best remember him - scruffy beard, scraggly mullet and all.

Field Report Detour to the ER:  We were on our way to the game tonight when our babysitter called to tell us that our 4-year-old son, Doug, had just cracked his head open playing in the backyard.  We turned the car around and rushed home to take him to the ER.  The poor kid needed two staples in the back of his head to close the wound.  I'm bummed I missed Kruk's induction ceremony, but I'm extremely grateful that Doug is doing OK after his tumble.  His recovery was aided by a ton of water ice and a new Star Wars man.

Nationals at Phillies: August 12th through August 14th

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Friday and Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35

Nationals 56-61, 4th Place in N.L. East, 21 games behind the Phillies
Phillies 77-40, 1st Place in N.L. East, 8 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

So Far in 2011:  The Phillies are 6-3 against the Nationals having most recently lost two out of three when they visited D.C. in late May.

Meet the Nationals: Manager - Davey Johnson has managed the Nationals since June 25th when he took over for Jim Riggleman, who abruptly resigned due to a contract dispute
Starters - Wilson Ramos (c), Michael Morse (1b), Danny Espinosa (2b), Ryan Zimmerman (3b), Ian Desmond (ss), Jonny Gomes (lf), Rick Ankiel (cf), Jayson Werth (rf)
Rotation - Jordan Zimmermann (rhp), Livan Hernandez (rhp), John Lannan (lhp), Chien-Ming Wang (rhp), Ross Detwiler (lhp)
Bench - Jesus Flores (c), Alex Cora (inf), Brian Bixler (of), Laynce Nix (of)
Closer - Drew Storen (rhp)
Bullpen - Colin Balester (rhp), Sean Burnett (lhp), Tyler Clippard (rhp), Todd Coffey (rhp), Tom Gorzelanny (lhp), Ryan Mattheus (rhp), Henry Rodriguez (rhp)
Disabled List - Cole Kimball (rhp), Elvin Ramirez (rhp), Doug Slaten (lhp), Stephen Strasburg (rhp), Ivan Rodriguez (c), Adam LaRoche (1b)

At the Ballpark:  It's Alumni Weekend at the ballpark.  John Kruk will be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame tonight and dozens of Phillies alumni including Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton will be in attendance for the ceremony.

Saturday Night is Alumni Night with nearly 50 former Phillies scheduled to be introduced in a pre-game ceremony.  Phillies lifer and current Lakewood BlueClaws coach Greg Legg will receive the John Vukovich Award.  Sunday afternoon will feature the unveiling of a Harry Kalas statue outside the ballpark.

Nationals Probables: Livan Hernandez (6-11, 4.41), John Lannan (8-7, 3.56), Chien-Ming Wang (1-2, 3.60)
Phillies Probables: Cole Hamels (13-6, 2.53), Roy Oswalt (4-7, 3.84), Roy Halladay (15-4, 2.51)