Sunday, August 31, 2014

2001 Bowman Draft Picks #BDP23 Marlon Byrd

Phillies 7, Mets 2
Game 135 - Saturday Night, August 30th in Flushing
Record - 62-73, 5th Place, 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Each of the starting eight had a hit in this game and Jerome Williams enjoyed another impressive outing as the Phillies downed the Mets, 7-2.

What It Means:  The victor in today's rubber match will claim the title of sole possession of fourth place in the N.L. East.  Try to stay calm.

What Happened:  Who is this Williams guy and is he pitching his way into the team's 2015 plans?  Williams pitched into the seventh inning, picking up his third win in four starts and lowering his Phillies ERA to 2.03.

Marlon Byrd started the scoring with a solo home run (his 25th, a career high) in the fifth.  The Phils added five runs in the sixth, courtesy of seven singles.  Ryan Howard knocked in three more runs to raise his season total to 84.  Anybody know of an American League team looking for a DH In 2015?

Featured Card:  Doug and I decided to go with a Byrd card for this post, since it was his birthday yesterday and Byrd has been one of the few bright spots during a dismal season.  I've featured many of Byrd's 2014 Phillies cards, and a lot of his cards from his first stint with the team in the mid-2000s, but this is his first Phillies card in my collection.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

2014 Phillies Team Issue 2 #55 David Buchanan

Mets 4, Phillies 1
Game 134 - Friday Night, August 29th in Flushing
Record - 61-73, 5th Place, 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Grady Sizemore was the hero on Wednesday, but the goat on Friday as his dropped fly ball allowed the Mets to score three times in the seventh and ultimately win the game, 4-1.

What It Means:  The Phils will have to wait a little longer before handing over last place to the Mets.

What Happened:  My one sentence summary pretty much sums it up.  The score was tied 1-1 in the seventh when Jake Diekman walked two and hit a batter to load the bases.  Justin De Fratus came in with two outs and induced a short fly ball to left, which Sizemore dropped.

Featured Card:  My wife Jenna actually yelled at the TV when Domonic Brown pinch-hit for starting pitcher David Buchanan in the seventh.  Buchanan had only thrown 64 pitches to that point, and was pretty much cruising.  Brown grounded into a double play to end the inning, Diekman came in and did his thing, and it turned out that maybe Buchanan should have stayed in the game.  So this card is for her.

2009 Upper Deck #440 Indians Team Leaders

Phillies 8, Nationals 4
Game 133 - Wednesday Night, August 27th in Philadelphia
Record 61-72, 5th Place, 14 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies completed a shocking sweep of the first place Nationals, thanks in part to Grady Sizemore's pinch-hit, two-run home run in the sixth inning.

What It Means:  For a brief moment, it was fun to be a fan of the 2014 Phillies.

What Happened:  The offense pounded out 15 hits, including home runs from Sizemore, Jimmy Rollins (leading off the first) and Marlon Byrd (two-run shot in the seventh).  Kyle Kendrick did his thing in the first, spotting the Nationals two runs, but he'd regroup and go on to allow only two more runs in his six innings of work.

Featured Card:  Doing a search of my Phillies collection in Zistle, I was surprised to see that I actually had a Sizemore card in my collection.  Let me explain . . . One of my Phillies collecting quirks is that I like to obtain all cards from a given year for any player who appears with the Phillies.  In 2009, I was busy tracking down all Cliff Lee cards, even those featuring him with the Indians.  This card made its way into my collection, and little did I know that Lee and Sizemore would be teammates again in 2014.

Taney Dragons:  The Taney Dragons, the first team from Philadelphia to reach the Little League World Series, were honored in a pre-game ceremony with all 12 members of the team throwing out ceremonial first pitches to 12 Phillies players.  We weren't there for the ceremony, but I did catch their parade as it started down Market Street earlier in the day.  In a summer filled with mostly bad sports-related news, and a lot of bad news in general, it was great to have the Taney Dragons to cheer on during their time in Williamsport.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Phillies at Mets: August 29th to August 31st

Friday and Saturday 7:10, Sunday 1:10
Citi Field - Flushing, NY

Phillies 61-72, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 14 1/2 games behind the Nationals
Mets 62-72, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 14 games behind the Nationals

Phillies Probables:  David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21), Jerome Williams (2-0, 1.77), A.J. Burnett (7-14, 4.30)
Mets Probables:  Jacob deGrom (6-6, 3.13), Bartolo Colon (12-10, 3.82), Dillon Gee (5-6, 3.77)

At the Ballpark:  Three ballgames, three giveaways this weekend at Citi Field.  First up, all fans will receive a Mets t-shirt tonight as part of the season-long Free Shirt Friday promotion.  Tomorrow night, the first 20,000 fans will receive a Curtis Granderson Bobblehead and on Sunday, the first 15,000 fans will receive a Mets Lunch Cooler Bag.  Not a bad weekend haul!

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .310
Runs:  Jimmy Rollins - 71
Home Runs:  Marlon Byrd - 24
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 81
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 39

Wins:  A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick - 7
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 2.59
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 158
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 33

1988 Topps #356 and #787
1988 Topps Appreciation:  For a few magical months at the beginning of the 1988 season, Luis Aguayo and Billy Almon were teammates on the Phillies.  By July, they had both gone their separate ways.

Aguayo was the club's long-time utility infielder, logging 471 games with the Phillies in nine seasons between 1980 and 1988.  He was the first player traded during the Lee Thomas era, being shipped to the Yankees by Thomas just weeks after the new General Manager had joined the club.  On July 15, 1988, Aguayo was traded to New York for pitcher Amalio Carreno and I honestly remember being a little sad that day since I had no real memory of the pre-Aguayo days.

Almon had already left town a month prior to Aguayo's departure, having been released by the Phillies on June 16, 1988.  In his 20 games with the club, Almon hit just .115 (3 for 26).  He had been traded by the Mets to the Phils at the end of spring training for a few prospects and his short time in Philly marked the end of his 15-year career.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 Topps #637 Freddy Galvis

Phillies 4, Nationals 3
Game 132 - Tuesday Night, August 26th in Philadelphia
Record - 60-72, 5th Place, 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Home runs from Freddy Galvis and Darin Ruf, along with an overturned call that went the Phillies way in the eighth, led to a 4-3 win over the Nationals.

What It Means:  What is going on with the Phillies?  They're winning.  They're playing with energy.  They actually look . . . good.

What Happened:  Galvis got the Phils on the board in the fifth with an unexpected two-run, line drive home run to left.  Ruf added his solo shot an inning later.  In the eighth, Ben Revere was initially ruled out at a play at first, but the call was overturned upon review.  Revere would steal second, go to third on Jimmy Rollins' fly ball and score on Carlos Ruiz's sac fly.

Cole Hamels had another strong outing before falling apart a little in the seventh and eighth.  Ken Giles came on in the eighth and struck out the side - the heart of the Nationals order.  Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 33rd save after a perfect ninth.

Featured Card/Field Report:  Doug and I attended this game together, and it was actually a thoroughly enjoyable Phillies game.  Unbelievably, the Phillies now have a winning record in games I've attended, as the win raised my personal record to 6-5.  On the way home, Doug and I decided that Galvis deserved the card for this game summary post, despite the fact that Giles was the radio broadcast's star of the game on the post-game show.

I'm glad I get to show off this Galvis card, as it's one of the best Phillies cards of 2014.  I don't even mind the fact that Topps borrowed the photo from one of last year's Chachi cards.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 Phillies Team Issue 2 #34 A.J. Burnett

Phillies 3, Nationals 2
Game 131 - Monday Night, August 25th in Philadelphia
Record - 59-72, 5th Place, 16 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  A.J. Burnett rediscovered his early season form, striking out 12 and leading the Phillies to a 3-2 win over the Nationals.

What It Means:  The Phillies would need to go 22-9 over their remaining 31 games in order to avoid a losing season.  They're currently two games behind the fourth place Mets and 6 1/2 games behind the third place Marlins.

What Happened:  Burnett pitched seven strong innings, allowing a run on just three hits.  Jake Diekman pitched a scoreless eighth and Jonathan Papelbon allowed a solo home run to Wilson Ramos before recording his 32nd save.

Cody Asche and Carlos Ruiz both homered for the Phils and Domonic Brown continued his poor play in the field, dropping a catchable ball in the seventh.

Featured Card:  The Phillies second team set of the year allows me to feature another Burnett Phillies card.  Burnett and the Phillies hold a mutual option for the 2015 season, and neither side has committed to whether or not the option will be picked up.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nationals at Phillies: August 25th to August 27th

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

Nationals 75-54, 1st Place in the N.L. East, 8 games ahead of the Braves
Phillies 58-72, 5th Place in the N.L. East, 17 1/2 games behind the Nationals

Nationals Probables:  Tanner Roark (12-7, 2.80), Gio Gonzalez (6-9, 3.83), Doug Fister (12-4, 2.38)
Phillies Probables:  A.J. Burnett (6-14, 4.42), Cole Hamels (7-6, 2.53), Kyle Kendrick (6-11, 4.93)

At the Ballpark:  There are theme nights during this series requiring special tickets, but no actual give-aways.  The Philadelphia based Taney Dragons Little League team will be honored in a pre-game ceremony prior to Wednesday night's game.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .314
Runs:  Jimmy Rollins - 70
Home Runs:  Marlon Byrd - 23
1988 Topps #251
RBIs:  Ryan Howard - 80
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 38

Wins:  Cole Hamels - 7
ERA:  Cole Hamels - 2.53
Strikeouts:  Cole Hamels - 153
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 31

1988 Topps Appreciation:  No offense to current Rays third base coach Tom Foley, but this isn't really a very exciting entrant into the 1988 Topps Appreciation series.  Foley played the bulk of his 13-year career with the Expos, appearing in 661 games with the club between 1986 and 1992.  He arrived in Montreal via a trade with the Phillies, with the Phils sending Foley and Lary Sorensen to the Expos for Skeeter Barnes and Dan Schatzeder on July 24, 1986.

Jerome Williams Needs a Phillies Card

2005 Topps Heritage #348
Phillies 7, Cardinals 1
Game 130 - Sunday Afternoon, August 24th in Philadelphia
Record - 58-72, 5th Place, 17 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Jerome Williams pitched eight strong innings as the Phillies easily dismissed the Cardinals, 7-1.

What It Means:  By winning both series against the Mariners and Cardinals, the Phillies won their first back-to-back series since April.

What Happened:  Williams allowed just a run on five hits in his outing, winning his second game with the club and lowering his ERA in his three starts to 1.77.  He also executed a perfect safety squeeze in the second, bringing home Cody Asche for the team's second run.  Ben Revere had two more hits in this game to raise his average to .314 and tie him with the Rockies Justin Morneau for the National League batting lead.

Featured Card:  Sadly, Williams might not ever appear on a real, cardboard Phillies baseball card which means I'll need to make due with featuring his older non-Phillies baseball cards if he continue to be the main factor in upcoming Phillies wins.  Williams appeared in three straight Topps Heritage sets from 2003 to 2005 as a member of the Giants, and this is his 2005 card which used the classic 1956 Topps design.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

2nd Annual Lakewood BlueClaws Outing

2014 Brandt Lakewood
BlueClaws #5
Cardinals 6, Phillies 5 (12 Innings)
Game 129 - Saturday Night, August 23rd in Philadelphia
Record - 57-72, 5th Place, 17 1/2 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils fell in extra innings to the Cardinals, 6-5, after Marlon Byrd's big two-run single in the eighth tied up the game.

What It Means:  It means these losses are getting increasingly frustrating, and at least two Phillies (starting pitcher David Buchanan and left fielder Domonic Brown) were critical of manager Ryne Sandberg following the ballgame after both players deemed they were removed from the game prematurely.

What Happened:  Brown botched a couple of balls badly in the sixth, ultimately leading to three runs.  Buchanan was chased after five having thrown 90 pitches and allowed two runs on eight hits.  Daniel Descalso scored the Cardinals winning run in the 12th after Ken Giles began the inning by walking him.  Descalso came in to score on a Matt Carpenter sacrifice fly.

2014 Brandt Lakewood BlueClaws #3, #29, #31 and #4
Featured Cards/Field Report:  We missed the bulk of this game as we were taking in our second ever BlueClaws game in Lakewood, New Jersey.  The BlueClaws are the Phillies Low A team playing in the South Atlantic League.  We were once again able to get first row tickets right behind the BlueClaws bullpen, and my oldest son Doug spent the bulk of the hour leading up to the game tracking down autographs.

He got autographs from BlueClaws home run leader (and Phillies top prospect) Dylan Cozens along with catcher Willians Astudillo.  He also got autographs from former big leaguers Gregg Legg and Les Lancaster, both of whom were ejected in this game for arguing balls and strikes.

Our youngest son Ben was the recipient of a baseball when BlueClaws starting pitcher Ranfi Casimiro finished his pre-game warm-up, walked over to Ben and handed him his ball.  I wanted to include Casimiro's card in this post because his generosity was such an awesome gesture.  There were a ton of kids seeking autographs (and demanding baseballs) in our section and Casimiro made it a point to walk over to the youngest, quietest kid and hand him a ball.  Ben went to bed clutching both the baseball and his new BlueClaws giant foam finger.

It was a great night of baseball along with a fun night for our family, and we'll be back for another game (or two) in 2015.

Memory Lane
2013 BlueClaws Game