Saturday, August 31, 2013

2013 Chachi #59 Ryne Sandberg MG

Phillies 6, Cubs 5
Game 135 - Friday Afternoon, August 30th in Chicago
Record - 62-73, Tied for 3rd Place, 20 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Interim manager Ryne Sandberg made his triumphant return to Wrigley Field yesterday afternoon and his team was kind enough to deliver a come-from-behind, 6-5 victory.

What It Means:  I heard this cool fact on the post-game show while driving home from work today.  The Phillies have won seven of their last ten, and they had to come from behind for all seven of those wins.  Glass half full - that's encouraging.  Glass half empty - the Phillies sure have been losing in a lot of ballgames lately.

What Went Right:  In the top of the ninth, Michael Young knocked in the winning run with a line drive single to right, his fourth hit of the game.  Kevin Frandsen had tied the game at 5-5 with a solo home run in the seventh.

The Phillies had to battle back from a 5-0 deficit as a result of a very shaky outing from Roy Halladay.  Halladay left after five innings having surrendered five runs on seven hits.  He also hit two batters and uncorked a wild pitch.

Featured Card:  This is the first time since I started the Chachi series of cards (back in 2005) that I've had to create two manager cards in the same year.  I could have gone with the same standard 1973 Topps manager card, featuring four of the coaches, but I already did that with Charlie Manuel's card.  So Sandberg gets a solo card, and l specifically had to make it a horizontal pose since "Interim Manager" looked really smooshed on a vertically oriented card.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Phillies at Cubs: August 30th to September 1st

Friday 2:20, Saturday 4:05, Sunday 2:20
Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL

Phillies 61-73, Tied for 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 20 1/2 games behind the Braves
Cubs 56-77, 5th Place in the N.L. Central, 22 games behind the Cardinals

Phillies Probables:  Roy Halladay (3-4, 7.81), Cliff Lee (11-6, 3.07), Kyle Kendrick (10-11, 4.40)
Cubs Probables:  Jeff Samardzija (8-11, 4.03), Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.64), Jake Arrieta (1-1, 4.50)

At the Ballpark:  Most of the buzz around the ballpark this weekend will be due to Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg's return to Wrigley Field as the interim manager of the Phillies.  It should be a cool weekend for Sandberg, and hopefully his team can add a few wins for him.

Today, the first 10,000 fans will receive the fourth in a series of Topps Archives Cubs cards, created especially for Wrigley.  Tomorrow afternoon is Anthony Rizzo bobble head day and the first 5,000 kids will receive a Cubs diecast car on Sunday afternoon.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Domonic Brown - .277
Runs:  Chase Utley - 60
Home Runs:  Domonic Brown - 27
RBIs:  Domonic Brown - 80
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 22

Wins:  Cliff Lee - 11
ERA:  Cliff Lee - 3.07
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 166
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 22

1973 Topps #632 and #393
1973 Topps Flashback:  The last flashback featured players with a common connection.  This time, there's no direct connection between Dick Selma and Jose Cardenal, other than they both spent time with the Phillies and the Cubs.

Right-handed reliever Selma came to the Phillies in November 1969 in the deal that sent long-time Phillie Johnny Callison to Chicago.  He spent parts of the next four seasons with the Phils, going 11-21 with a 3.93 ERA in 132 relief appearance and 10 starts.  By the time collectors were opening packs of 1973 Topps cards, Selma had already been released by the Phillies as he was cut loose in May 1973.

Cardenal's lengthy career was winding down by the time he came to the Phillies in October 1977.  He was with the team for the entire 1978 season, but was sold to the Mets in August 1979.  Almost four years ago, I ran a post featuring quite possibly one of the best Topps cards from the 1970s, starring Cardenal's magnificent afro.  I also featured this piece of trivia on another Cardenal post:
If you asked the question, "Who is the last Phillie to wear the number 1?," most people would respond, Richie Ashburn.  But most people would be wrong.  Jose Cardenal wore #1 for the Phillies in 1978 and until he was sold to the Mets on August 2, 1979.  Richie had his #1 retired on August 24, 1979, and no Phillie player has worn it since.  And now you know.

2013 Panini Golden Age #57 Richie Ashburn

Mets 11, Phillies 3
Game 134 - Thursday Afternoon, August 29th in Flushing
Record - 61-73, Tied for 3rd Place, 20 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Mets clobbered the Phillies, 11-3, sending them on their way to Chicago and hopefully better times.

What It Means:  The Phillies split the four game series with the Mets and they'll play three afternoon games against the Cubs starting today.  A winning record for 2013 slipped further away, as the team would now have to go 21-7 the rest of the way.  I'm as optimistic as any Phillies fan, but I just don't see that happening.

What Went Wrong:  Pretty much everything went wrong.  Starting pitcher Ethan Martin struck out nine, but lasted only four innings.  Relievers Cesar Jimenez, Justin De Fratus and J.C. Ramirez combined to allow eight runs in their four innings of relief.  The offense couldn't put much together against Mets starting pitcher Carlos Torres, and they only fared slightly better against the Mets bullpen.   Roger Bernadina hit a two-run home run in the eighth.

Featured Card:  I'm at a loss.  The well is dry.  This game dried up my creative juices.  Thankfully, I just received this half-decent, non-licensed card of the Mets original center fielder.  I'm always happy to add another one of Whitey's cards to my collection, even if there's no logo on the cap.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter #332 Cole Hamels

Phillies 6, Mets 2
Game 133 - Wednesday Night, August 28th in Flushing
Record - 61-72, 3rd Place, 19 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Cole Hamels turned in another solid outing as the Phillies downed the Mets, 6-2.

What It Means:  Hamels' performance after a rocky start to the season gives us reason to hope for a successful 2014.  In his last 11 starts, he's 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA.

What Went Right:  Hamels pitched seven innings, allowing two runs while striking out eight.  His biggest challenge was waiting on the bench between innings while Mets starter Daisuke Matsuzaka worked at a snail's pace on the mound.  Dice-K was mercifully pulled in the fifth inning after allowing four runs and throwing 110 pitches.  Hamels also helped himself at the plate with a two-run single in the fifth.

Featured Card:  My daily blog reading is still inundated with images of this year's Allen & Ginter release . . . and I think that's a good thing.  Any set that can generate this much dialogue in our hobby is a positive in my book, although I still haven't embraced the Ginter product as much as other collectors have.  This Hamels card is one of two short-printed Phillies found in this year's set, with John Kruk being the other one.

2013 Chachi #61 Pete Orr

Peterson Thomas Gordon Orr
Infield - Outfield

Bats: Left  Throws: Right  Height: 6'1"  Weight: 195
Born: June 8, 1979, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Home: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Signed: Signed as an amateur free agent by the Atlanta Braves, July 3, 1999
Teams: Atlanta Braves 2005-2007, Washington Nationals 2008-2009, Phillies 2011-
Acquired: Signed as a minor league free agent, formerly with the Washington Nationals' organization, November 11, 2010
Contract Status: Signed through the 2013 season

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2008 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #6 Travis d'Arnaud

Mets 5, Phillies 0
Game 132 - Tuesday Night, August 27th in Flushing
Record - 60-72, Tied for 3rd Place, 19 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Mets starting pitcher Jon Niese single-handedly defeated the Phillies in this game, pitching a complete game shutout and delivering a three-run double.

What It Means:   In yesterday's game summary post, I optimistically noted that the Phillies would need to go 22-9 the rest of the way to finish with a winning record.  That slipped to 22-8 with this loss to the Mets.  Maybe instead of keeping track of this, I should just start a countdown to the number of days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater in February.

What Went Wrong:   Niese limited the Phillies to three hits, two of which came from Michael Young.  Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick turned in another Kendrickian performance, walking four and allowing five runs in his six innings of work.  Only one of Kendrick's runs allowed was earned as a result of a costly throwing error from first baseman Kevin Frandsen.

Featured Card:   The Mets traded away Marlon Byrd and starting catcher John Buck to the Pirates on Tuesday, handing the starting catching job to rookie Travis d'Arnaud.  The young catcher made his debut on August 17th, and he's only hitting .125 through his first nine games.

d'Arnaud was drafted by the Phillies in the 37th round of the June 2007 amateur player draft and began his professional career in 2007 with the GCL Phillies.  He was promoted to Rookie A Williamsport in 2008, and was eventually promoted to the Low A Lakewood BlueClaws to finish up the season.  He helped lead the BlueClaws to the 2009 South Atlantic League championship and a few months later was traded to Toronto in the deal that brought Roy Halladay to the Phillies.

Three years later, d'Arnaud was again dealt for an ace as the Blue Jays shipped him to the Mets as part of the R.A. Dickey deal.  I have three d'Arnaud cards in my Phillies collection, and I've previously featured two of those cards here and here.  Presented here is the third, from his time with the Williamsport Crosscutters.

2013 Chachi #55 Zach Miner

Zachary Charles Miner
Relief Pitcher

Bats: Right  Throws: Right  Height: 6'4"  Weight: 225
Born: March 12, 1982, St. Louis, MO
Home: Jupiter, FL
Drafted: Selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 4th round of the June 2000 draft
Teams: Detroit Tigers 2006-2009, Phillies 2013
Acquired: Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Detroit Tigers organization, December 1, 2012
Contract Status: Signed through the 2013 season

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Bowman Platinum #45 Cliff Lee

Phillies 2, Mets 1 
Game 131 - Monday Night, August 26th in Flushing 
Record – 60-71, 3rd Place, 18 1/2 games behind the Braves 

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies continued their recent winning ways behind the arm of Cliff Lee and the bat of Cody Asche, defeating the Mets, 2-1.

What It Means:  The suddenly respectable Phillies have won seven of their last nine games. The postseason is out of the question, but to finish the season with a winning record, they'll need to go 22-9 the rest of the way.  That's a tall order, but I feel better now about their chances than I did during their recent 4-19 slide.

What Went Right:  In short, Lee pitched like an ace.  In his eight innings of work, Lee scattered five hits and struck out seven while allowing only the lone Mets run.  After allowing the run in the second, he face the minimum number of batters until the eighth inning.  Asche provided the only offensive support Lee needed with a two-run triple in the fourth.

Featured Card:   Continuing with my questionable annual tradition of picking up team sets from high-end, premium set offerings, this is Lee's card from the super shiny Bowman Platinum set.

Initially thinking this was a new brand, or perhaps a brand that had only been around since last year, I was stunned to discover that Topps has released this set every year since 2010 . . . and I have all the Phillies base cards from those sets.  I need to start paying closer attention to these things.  (Upon further review, I've actually featured a few Bowman Platinum cards from the past few years on this here blog.)

2013 Chachi #60 Roger Bernadina

Rogearvin Angelo Bernadina

Bats: Left  Throws: Left  Height: 6'2"  Weight: 200
Born: June 12, 1984, Willemstad, Curacao
Signed: Signed as an amateur free agent by the Montreal Expos, November 3, 2001
Teams: Washington Nationals 2008-2013, Phillies 2013
Acquired: Signed as free agent, formerly with the Washington Nationals, August 21, 2013
Contract Status: Arbitration eligible following the 2013 season

Monday, August 26, 2013

Phillies at Mets: August 26th to August 29th

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:10, Thursday 1:10
Citi Field - Flushing, NY

Phillies 59-71, Tied for 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 19 games behind the Braves
Mets 58-70, Tied for 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 19 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables:  Cliff Lee (10-6, 3.16), Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.51), Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62), Ethan Martin (2-2, 6.33)
Mets Probables:  Zack Wheeler (6-2, 3.49), Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.03), Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00), Matt Harvey (9-5, 2.27)

At the Ballpark:  Kudos to the Mets for actually having decent giveaways.  But . . . why limit to the giveaways to the first 1,000 or 10,000 fans?  The Phillies have never limited who gets their giveaways, and I sincerely hope they stay away from this practice.

On Tuesday night, the first 1,000 fans will receive a triple bobble head of Mets announcers Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Gary Cohen.  Wednesday night is Mets bowtie night and Thursday afternoon is Mets sunglasses day - both to the first 10,000 fans.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Domonic Brown - .275
Runs:  Chase Utley - 59
Home Runs:  Domonic Brown - 27
RBIs:  Domonic Brown - 80
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 22

Wins:  Kyle Kendrick and Cliff Lee - 10
ERA:  Cliff Lee - 3.16
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 158
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 21

1973 Topps #67 and #525
1973 Topps Flashback:  Throughout the season, my favorite flashbacks have featured cards of players whose careers intersect nicely to give the connection made in these little write-ups some meaning.  Such is the case with the two cards featured here.

Jim Fregosi was recently in town to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the wonderful 1993 Phillies team that won the N.L. pennant.  Fregosi managed that club, and it was his only winning season in his parts of six seasons with the Phils.  During his playing career, way back in December 1971, Fregosi was on the wrong end of what turned out to be an extremely lop-sided trade.

The Angels traded the six-time All-Star to the Mets for four players, including future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.  Fregosi put up horrible numbers in his two years with the Mets before he was unceremoniously sold to the Texas Rangers.  Ryan blossomed into a dominant starting pitcher and the eventual all-time strikeout leader.  On the card featured here, celebrating 1972's strikeout leaders, he's sharing space with fellow future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.