Monday, June 30, 2014

The Ronny Cedeno Era is Over

2014 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #5
I wrote this a little less than a month and a half ago on this here blog:
I have this sinking feeling that this will be one of those seasons where there's a rotating cast of fringe minor leaguers and journeymen relievers who spend a short amount of time in Phillies pinstripes and then ride off into the sunset.  To date, we've already greeted and said goodbye to both Shawn Camp and Jayson Nix.
Camp has already come back (to the IronPigs at least) and the Phillies made their first of what will most likely be many trades this season yesterday afternoon.  Following the latest painful loss to the Braves, the Phillies traded infielder Ronny Cedeno to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Double-A catcher Raywilly Gomez.  Cedeno had been designated for assignment and the Phillies and Diamondbacks were able to work out a deal for the veteran.  Cedeno went 0 for 9 in seven games with the Phillies and I would be shocked if his time with the club was ever marked with a Phillies baseball card appearance.

Here's an updated list of the new 2014 Phillies acquired during the offseason and the two members of the 2014 squad who have already moved on.  I have a feeling this list is about to grow.

New Additions
Shawn Camp (11/11/13) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Chicago Cubs.
Marlon Byrd (11/12/13) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Reid Brignac (11/17/13) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
Jeff Manship (12/2/13) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Colorado Rockies.
Brad Lincoln (12/3/13) - Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen.
Wil Nieves (12/5/13) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Sean O'Sullivan (12/17/13) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the San Diego Padres.
Roberto Hernandez (12/18/13) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. (12/22/23) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ronny Cedeno (1/12/14) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the San Diego Padres.
A.J. Burnett (2/16/14) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Koyie Hill (3/17/14) - Acquired from the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later or cash.
Jayson Nix (3/28/14) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash.

Departed During the Season
Shawn Camp (5/8/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.
Jayson Nix (5/12/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.)
Ronny Cedeno (6/29/14) - Traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Raywilly Gomez.

1964 Topps #464 Dallas Green

Braves 3, Phillies 2
Game 82 - Sunday Afternoon, June 29th in Philadelphia
Record - 36-46, 5th Place, 8 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Clutch hits were not to be found as the Phillies dropped another game to the Braves, this time by a score of 3-2.

What It Means:  For the first time since the awful September of 1964, the Phillies were swept at home in a four game series by the Braves.

What Happened:  Marlon Byrd tried to single-handedly provide some offense for the team, hitting two solo home runs in the losing effort.  In the four game series, the Phillies went 3 for 32 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Back on September 27, 1964, the Phillies were in free-fall and about to get swept in a four game series by the then Milwaukee Braves.  Jim Bunning got knocked out of that game after allowing seven runs in three innings of work.  Dallas Green tried to stop the bleeding, but allowed another five runs in an inning and two-thirds of relief.  This was the loss that dropped the 1964 Phillies into second place, out of the top spot in the National League for good, dashing all hopes of a World Series appearance.

In summary, getting swept by the Braves in a four game series at home stinks.  Big time.

Transaction:  Sean O'Sullivan was designated for assignment following his spot start and infielder Andres Blanco was recalled from the IronPigs.  Blanco is the 44th player to suit up for the Phillies this year, which leads the Majors and has kept the Chachi Set Production Department on its toes.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #18 Sean O'Sullivan

Braves 5, Phillies 1 (Game 2)
Game 81 - Saturday Night, June 28th in Philadelphia
Record - 36-45, 5th Place, 7 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies couldn't get anything going as the Braves won easily, 5-1.

What It Means:  It means the Phillies were swept in yesterday's double header.  Kevin Cooney gets the Tweet of the night award, pointing out that the Phillies have only been worse than 36-45 four other times in the last 25 years at the half-way point - 1989, 1991, 1996 and 1997.  In three of those four seasons, they finished in last place. The Phils are on pace to go 72-90 this season.

What Happened:  The offense managed six hits and went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.  I feel like I've typed that same sentence at least a dozen times this season.

Featured Card:  Sean O'Sullivan got the call to start the second game of yesterday's double header and he did a decent job until he hit the sixth inning.  Through the first five innings, O'Sullivan allowed a run on five hits.  He ran into trouble in the sixth, allowing three straight two-out singles, before getting pulled for Mario Hollands.

O'Sullivan's last major cardboard appearance came in the 2011 Topps Update set when he was a member of the Royals.  This is his sole 2014 baseball card to date, featuring him with the IronPigs.  And yes, that's a strip of bacon on his hat.

Transaction:  To make room for O'Sullivan on the roster, infielder Ronny Cedeno was outrighted off the 40-man roster.  Following the game, Luis Garcia was optioned back to Lehigh Valley.

Memories of 1984 Phillies Photo Day

1984 Fleer #39
Braves 10, Phillies 3 (Game 1)
Game 80 - Saturday Afternoon, June 28th in Philadelphia
Record - 36-44

One Sentence Summary:  Shoddy defense, a rough bullpen outing and a lack of offense doomed the Phillies in a 10-3 loss to the Braves.

What It Means:  This game really wasn't fun to watch.

What Happened:  Ryan Howard committed two costly errors in the fourth, leading to two unearned runs.  Antonio Bastardo had his worse bullpen outing of the year, allowing five runs on three hits and two walks in just a third of an inning of work.

Featured Card:  In honor of today's pre-game Photo Day, I thought I'd dig into The Official Phillies Room archives.  The Phillies have been hosting a Photo Day since at least the early 1980s, allowing fans down onto the field to take pictures of the players, coaches and broadcasters as they slowly walked down a cordoned off path.  My Dad and I attended Photo Day thirty years ago at Veterans Stadium, and my clearest memory of that day was this:  My Dad hated Photo Day.

This is on the flip side of the Lefebvre picture
Don't get me wrong, my Dad was a great guy and I've documented his awesomeness throughout various posts on this blog over the past five-plus years.  But he hated crowds and he didn't really care for anything that seemed confusing and disorganized.  Photo Day is traditionally both confusing and disorganized while being crowded.  There are a lot of people milling about on the field, jockeying for prime position in order to take a quick candid photo of the players sauntering by and occasionally waving.  Some players go out of there way to be fan friendly (see here) while others just want to walk through the gauntlet as quickly as possible.

Dad snapped three photos with his camera on that afternoon in 1984 - Joe Lefebvre, Garry Maddox and Charles Hudson (with a lurking Glenn Wilson) - and then decided he had had enough of the crowds.  We left the field and I wouldn't return to a Photo Day until the mid-2000s with my wife, Jenna.  We debated going yesterday, but decided to wait until our youngest son Ben was a little older so that he could appreciate it more.  After all, it's fairly disorganized and confusing and crowded.

Charles Hudson
Garry Maddox
Joe Lefebvre
Transaction: The Phillies added reliever Luis Garcia to the roster before the game, as both team's were permitted to expand their rosters by one due to the double header.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

2014 Phillies Team Issue - Phillies Broadcasters

Braves 4, Phillies 2
Game 79 - Friday Night, June 27th in Philadelphia
Record - 36-43, 4th Place, 5 games behind the Braves and Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies couldn't overcome another shaky first inning from Kyle Kendrick, as the Braves won the series opener, 4-2.

What It Means:  Per a troubling Tweet from Todd Zolecki, the Phillies have lost five of their last seven since their five-game winning streak, and they're hitting .148 with runners in scoring position in those games.

What Happened:  Kendrick allowed three first inning runs and then settled down to pitch through the eighth inning.  He actually ended up throwing a career high 123 pitches.  Ben Revere had three hits, including his fifth triple of the season.

Featured Card:  In a gimmicky move by the Phillies television broadcast team, Tom McCarthy, Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs broadcast the game from seats in the center field bleachers.  McCarthy just happened to be at the exact right place, with his glove on, when Freddie Freeman hit his three-run first inning home run.  Unbelievably, McCarthy caught the ball and then was coaxed (by Moyer) into throwing the ball back.

I'll admit, I've listened to the TV crew a lot more this year than the past five or six years combined and McCarthy is actually starting to grow on me.  This is the broadcasters' card from this year's team issued set.

Transaction:  Prior to the game, catcher Carlos Ruiz was placed on the seven-day, concussion-related disabled list and catcher Koyie Hill was selected from Lehigh Valley.  Ruiz was plunked in the helmet with a pitch in Thursday night's game.  Hill will eventually bill card #54 in the rapidly expanding 2014 Chachi set.

2014 Donruss #19 Chase Utley

Phillies 5, Marlins 3 (14 Innings)
Game 78 - Thursday Night, June 26th in Philadelphia
Record - 36-42, 4th Place, 5 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Chase Utley ended a very long night of baseball with a walk-off, two-run home in the bottom of the 14th to give the Phillies a 5-3 win.

What It Means:  The win pulled the Phils out of the N.L. East cellar (again) and gave them a four-game series split with the Marlins.

What Happened:  First of all, the win would not have been possible without seven strong innings from Cole Hamels and another seven strong innings from the incredibly impressive Phillies bullpen.  Hamels' only blemishes came in the form of three solo home runs.  Justin De Fratus pitched the final two innings of the game for the win.  The bullpen's ERA of 1.10 since June 2nd is the best in baseball.

Second of all, the win would not have been possible without the stellar infield defense provided by Utley and Cody Asche.  Asche saved the game with a leaping catch of a line drive in the top of the 14th.

Featured Card:  Third of all, Chase Utley, you are the man!  This is his 1984 Donruss-inspired Diamond Kings card from the 2014 set.

Field Report:  My oldest son Doug and I went to this game, and I'm proud to report that we both lasted all 14 innings and stayed for the post-game fireworks show.  We both had a blast and this is a game that neither of us will soon forget!  Other highlights of the game for us included me giving Doug an introductory lesson in keeping score and picking up a free Cliff Lee figurine with the purchase of a $10 yearbook.

I'm now 3-3 in Phillies games I've attended this year.

2014 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Relics #CCR-DB Domonic Brown

Marlins 3, Phillies 2
Game 77 - Wednesday Night, June 25th in Philadelphia
Record - 35-42, 5th Place, 6 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Domonic Brown misplayed a fly ball in the fourth inning, leading to three runs and ultimately the 3-2 Marlins win.

What It Means:  It's been tough to watch Brown struggle mightily this season after making the All-Star team last year.  I have to imagine the only reason Brown hasn't been demoted yet to Triple-A is that the team is hoping he turns it around in time to be attractive trade bait for a contending team.

What Happened:  Brown completely misjudged a fly ball that ended up sailing over his head.  The fly ball would have been the third out of the inning, but the Marlins would go on to score three times against A.J. Burnett.  Burnett had fantastic stuff, and would have come away with a 2-0 victory if not for Brown's gaffe.

Featured Card:  I decided to feature Brown's jersey-embedded card from this year's Topps Heritage set in an effort to hopefully get him going.

2010 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #6 Mario Hollands

Phillies 7, Marlins 4
Game 76 - Tuesday Night, June 24th in Philadelphia
Record - 35-41, 5th Place, 6 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche paced the offense and the bullpen continued to shine, as the Phillies downed the Marlins, 7-4.

What It Means:  This win put an end to the depressing three-game losing streak.

What Happened:  Byrd hit a two-run home run in the first and Asche added a two-run double in the sixth.  David Buchanan got the win after allowing two runs over five innings of work and then turning the game over to the surprisingly strong bullpen.

Featured Card:  The bullpen has been extremely impressive since a few early season beatings, and it's been fun watching the development of young relievers Jake Diekman, Justin De Fratus, Mario Hollands and Kenny Giles.  This card is for my wife, Jenna, who asked the very timely question during this game, "Who is Mario Hollands?"

Hollands has not allowed a run in 15 2/3 innings over 17 appearances dating back to May 17th.  He was drafted by the Phillies back in 2010 and he impressed enough during the spring to earn a spot on the team's opening day roster.  He's still waiting on his first official Phillies card, but this is his first Phillies-related card from his days as a Williamsport Crosscutter.

Transaction:  Prior to the game, Tony Gwynn, Jr. was activated from the bereavement list and catcher Wil Nieves was placed on the disabled list.  The Phillies also announced they had signed outfielder Grady Sizemore to a minor league contract.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Braves at Phillies: June 27th to June 29th

Friday 7:05, Saturday 2:05 and 7:15, Sunday 1:35
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Game summary posts from the Marlins series will follow shortly.  I was at the game last night, and frankly I'm still a little tired!

Braves 40-38, 2nd Place in the N.L. East, 1 game behind the Nationals
Phillies 36-42, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 5 games behind the Nationals

Braves Probables:  Julio Teheran (6-5, 2.41), Ervin Santana (5-5, 4.15), David Hale (2-2, 3.14), Aaron Harang (6-6, 3.78)
Phillies Probables:  Kyle Kendrick (3-7, 4.20), Roberto Hernandez (3-6, 4.41), Sean O'Sullivan (0-0, 0.00), David Buchanan (4-3, 4.79)

At the Ballpark:  Following the ballgame tonight is the second of three fireworks, and let me tell you - last night's fireworks show was unbelievable.  Tomorrow afternoon is Photo Day with all fans invited to come down to the field pre-game and take pictures of the team.  All fans also receive a Phillies print and former Phillie (and current broadcaster) Matt Stairs will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.  The third and final fireworks show is Saturday night and all kids will receive a Domonic Brown replica jersey on Sunday afternoon.

The double header on Saturday is the result of the rain-out on April 15th.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Chase Utley - .296
Runs:  Chase Utley - 43
Home Runs:  Ryan Howard - 14
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 50
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 21

Wins:  A.J. Burnett - 5
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 2.84
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 91
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 18

1988 Topps #732 and 1988 Topps Traded #79T
1988 Topps Appreciation:  I absolutely loved the Topps Traded set when I was growing up, but those feelings changed with the release of the 1988 Topps Traded set.  Every year, I'd look forward to buying the box of 132 cards featuring familiar players in their new uniforms.  I'd spend the summer planning out the Phillies who would undoubtedly appear in that year's traded series.

In 1988, Topps decided to include 42 Team USA players within its 132-card traded set, shutting out most of the deserving veterans from inclusion in the set.  I was not pleased.  The Phillies were represented by just two players - Phil Bradley and David Palmer.  I was really looking forward to having a 1988 Topps Phillies card of my personal favorite, Bob Dernier, but he was one of the many veterans omitted altogether.  (I fixed that problem here.)

I understood Bradley's inclusion, as he became the team's starting left fielder upon his acquisition from the Mariners.  In retrospect, it makes sense that Palmer was included as he was a member of the starting pitching rotation.  But I always held Palmer (and the 42 Team USA players) as partly responsible for bouncing Dernier from the set.

Palmer played just the one year with the Phils after coming from the Braves as a free agent.  He was released in October 1988 after going 7-9 with a 4.47 ERA in 22 starts.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 Chachi #39 Shawn Camp

Shawn Anthony Camp
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  205
Born:  November 18, 1975, Fairfax, VA
Home:  Palm Harbor, FL
Drafted:  Selected by the San Diego Padres in the 16th round of the June 1997 draft
Teams:  Kansas City Royals 2004-2005, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006-2007, Toronto Blue Jays 2008-2011, Chicago Cubs 2012-2013, Phillies 2014
Acquired:  Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, November 11, 2013

Phillies Cards in My Collection:
There are no Phillies cards yet for Camp.

First Chachi Card:  2014 Chachi #39

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2014 Chachi #38 Mike Adams

Jon Michael Adams
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'5"  Weight:  193
Born:  July 29, 1978, Corpus Christi, TX
Home:  Robstown, TX
Signed:  Signed by the Milwaukee Brewers as a non-drafted free agent, May 15, 2001
Teams:  Milwaukee Brewers 2004-2006, San Diego Padres 2008-2011, Texas Rangers 2011-2012, Phillies 2013-
Acquired:  Signed as free agent formerly with the Texas Rangers, December 20, 2012

Phillies Cards in My Collection:
#4 - 2014 Phillies Team Issue #37

First Chachi Card:  2013 Chachi #24

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2001 Fleer Tradition #178 Marlon Anderson

Marlins 4, Phillies 0
Game 75 - Monday Night, June 23rd in Philadelphia
Record - 34-41, 5th Place, 6 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were shut out at home for the eighth time this season, as the Marlins won the series opener, 4-0.

What It Means:  The Phillies took five impressive steps forward, only to follow-up with three whimpering steps backward.  They're now back in last place.

What Happened:  Roberto Hernandez allowed two first inning runs, but then settled in to pitch fairly well for six innings.  The offense managed six hits and went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  At least the Phillies are consistent in one area.  The organization has consistently put on tremendous pre and post-game tributes whenever a special occasion arises.  Prior to last night's game, the team paid tribute to Jimmy Rollins, the franchise's new all-time hits leader.  Joining Rollins on the field in a pre-game ceremony were his former teammates Marlon Anderson, Bobby Abreu (the Mets had the night off), Mike Lieberthal and Pat Burrell.

As Tweeted from Bobby Abreu - Abreu, Burrell, Lieberthal and Anderson

We were surprised to see that Anderson was part of the tribute, but it made sense given that he and Rollins were double play partners in 2001 and 2002 - Rollins' first two years in the Majors.

Transaction:  Prior to the game, pitcher Ethan Martin was optioned to Triple-A and reliever B.J. Rosenberg was recalled.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Marlins at Phillies: June 23rd to June 26th

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

Marlins 37-38, 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 2 1/2 games behind the Nationals
Phillies 34-40, Tied for 4th Place in the N.L. East, 5 games behind the Nationals

Marlins Probables:  Nathan Eovaldi (4-3, 3.76), Andrew Heaney (0-1, 1.50), Henderson Alvarez (4-3, 2.39), Tom Koehler (5-6, 3.74)
Phillies Probables:  Roberto Hernandez (3-5, 4.52), David Buchanan (3-3, 4.95), A.J. Burnett (5-6, 3.89), Cole Hamels (2-4, 2.76)

At the Ballpark:  Preceding the game tonight will be a special ceremony to honor Jimmy Rollins and pay tribute to him recently breaking Mike Schmidt's all-time franchise hits record.  It's also a Dollar Dog Night at the ballpark.  Following Thursday night's game, the Phillies will host the first of three fireworks nights.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Chase Utley - .300
Runs:  Chase Utley - 40
Home Runs:  Ryan Howard - 14
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 50
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 20

Wins:  A.J. Burnett - 5
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 2.76
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 84
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 17

1988 Topps #378
1988 Topps Appreciation:  Reliever Todd Frohwirth falls into the category of "I have no good place to put his 1988 Topps card in any of these series preview posts."  Fortunately for Frohwirth, when the Phillies play any of the expansion teams to have originated post-1988, I'm in need of a good filler card.

Frohwirth appeared in parts of four seasons with the Phillies between 1987 and 1990.  As seemed to be the case with most Phillies pitchers from that era, he found more success once he left town.  With the Orioles between 1991 and 1993, Frohwirth went 17-13 with a 2.71 ERA over 186 games.  The Greatest 21 Days published an excellent retrospective of Frohwirth's career in a September 2013 blog post, which can be found here.