Monday, April 30, 2018

Series Preview - Phillies at Marlins: April 30th to May 2nd

2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #20
2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #21
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:10
Marlins Park - Miami, FL

Phillies 16-11, Tied for 2nd place in the N.L. East, 1 1/2 games behind the Mets
Marlins 9-18, 5th place in the N.L. East, 8 1/2 games behind the Mets

Phillies Probables:  Jake Arrieta (3-0, 1.82), Zach Eflin (0-0, 0.00), Aaron Nola (3-1, 2.58)
Marlins Probables:  Dan Straily (0-0, 0.00), Jarlin Garcia (1-0, 1.00), Jose Urena (0-4, 4.91)

At the Ballpark:  Unless I'm missing it, the Marlins don't even appear to have a link to promotions and giveaways on their website.  In any event, it doesn't look as if there's anything special scheduled in Miami for this three-game series other than hopefully a Phillies sweep.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Odubel Herrera - .337
Runs:  Cesar Hernandez - 19
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 4
RBIs:  Maikel Franco - 20
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez - 5

Wins:  Three tied with - 3
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 2.58
Strikeouts:  Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez - 34
Saves:  Hector Neris - 5

Marlins Leaders
Average:  Starlin Castro - .292
Runs:  Starlin Castro - 13
Home Runs:  Three tied with - 4
RBIs:  Justin Bour - 13
Stolen Bases:  Seven tied with - 1

Wins:  Orisamer Despaigne and Dillon Peters - 2
ERA:  Jarlin Garcia - 1.00
Strikeouts:  Caleb Smith - 41
Saves:  Brad Ziegler - 3

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Game 26 - Odubel's Catch and Ben's Hot Dog Launching Skills

2018 Chachi Special Edition #4
2018 Chachi #32
Braves 4, Phillies 1
Game 26 - Saturday Night, April 28th in Philadelphia
Record - 16-10, 2nd place, 1/2 game behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies went quietly against Mike Foltynewicz and the Braves in this 4-1 loss.

What It Means:  Other than a solo home run from Maikel Franco in the fifth, the Phillies bats were quiet.  They had five total hits (four singles, Franco's homer) and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

What Happened:  Nick Pivetta labored through five innings allowing four runs on six hits.  J.P. Crawford left the game in the fifth after suffering an arm injury.

The true highlight of this game was a leaping catch made by Odubel Herrera in the third inning to bring back what would have been a home run off the bat of Freddie Freeman.  This catch will go down as one of the most impressive catches this season.

Featured Card:  Herrera's catch deserves a season highlight card, and the photo I used was taken by photographer Yong Kim.

Field Report:  While Doug and I were traveling to North Jersey for his latest baseball tournament, Jenna and Ben decided to head to the Phillies game.  Ben became the first in our family to enjoy the new offerings found in the family-friendly area known as The Yard, locating in the former location of Bull's BBQ.  He went a perfect 3 for 3 with the hot dog shooter, and made a valiant attempt to climb the cityscape-themed rock wall, but the wall proved too slippery for climbing.

A kind-hearted Phillies usher let them sit in a few open seats in Section 128 given that the ballpark was mostly empty.  They enjoyed the game (and Herrera's catch) from there until the sideways rain kicked in around mid-game leading to an early departure.

Game 25 - 2018 Topps Heritage #306 Odubel Herrera

Phillies 7, Braves 3
Game 25 - Friday Night, April 27th in Philadelphia
Record - 16-9, 2nd place, 1/2 game behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Odubel Herrera homered twice and Aaron Nola held the Braves in check in this 7-3 victory.

What It Means:  The Phillies and Mets are matching wins and losses so far this week, meaning the Phillies continue to hold steady at a half game behind the first place Mets in the division.

What Happened:  Nola pitched seven innings on the way to his third win of the season, allowing three runs on seven hits.  All three runs allowed came in a shaky first inning for Nola.  Tommy Hunter and Hector Neris pitched the last two uneventful, scoreless innings.  Herrera hit a three-run in the first to tie up the score and a solo home run in the sixth to give the Phils the lead for good.

Jorge Alfaro went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs, including a two-run home run in the seventh.

Featured Card:  When Herrera goes on these hot streaks, he's a lot of fun to watch.  This is 1969 Topps-inspired card from this year's Topps Heritage offering.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Game 24 - 1992 Fleer/ProCards #580 John Escobar

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 2
Game 24 - Thursday Afternoon, April 26th in Philadelphia
Record - 15-9, 2nd place, 1/2 game behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Ben Lively was shellacked in his brief outing as the Diamondbacks easily won, 8-2.

What It Means:  The Diamondbacks are a good ballclub, and this series win gives them eight in a row to start the season, the most since the 1977 Dodgers.

What Happened:  Lively's ERA is now up to 6.85 after he allowed seven runs on seven hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings.  The offense went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and Aaron Altherr drove in both Phillies runs.

Featured Card:  I'm putting away a box-load of older Phillies minor league sets I recently acquired, and I came across this card recently.  Just like Lively's performance lately something seems to be a little off here.

John Escobar played in parts of six seasons in the Phillies minor league system, topping out at Double-A Reading in 1992 and 1993.

Game 23 - 2018 Topps Gypsy Queen #266 Aaron Altherr

Phillies 5, Diamondbacks 3
Game 23 - Wednesday Night, April 25th in Philadelphia
Record - 15-8, 2nd place, 1/2 game behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Jake Arrieta battled through his start, keeping the Phillies in the game long enough for Aaron Altherr's 3-run home run in the sixth to put the team ahead for good.

What It Means:  So close to first place, yet so far away.

What Happened:  Arrieta didn't have his best stuff, and he it seemed as if he was working out of trouble every inning mostly due to sloppy play behind him.  Still, he held on to allow three runs (only one earned) on four hits in his seven inning outing.  Altherr's home run (3) came off Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke.  Cesar Hernandez had three hits and scored twice.

Featured Card:  Altherr seems to have a knack for coming up with the big hits this season, and this is his third featured card in a game summary post so far.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Series Preview - Braves at Phillies: April 27th to April 29th

2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #18
2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #19
Friday 7:05, Saturday 6:05 and Sunday 1:35
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Braves 14-10, 3rd place in the N.L. East, 1 1/2 games behind the Mets
Phillies 15-9, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 1/2 game behind the Mets

Braves Probables:  Julio Teheran (1-1, 4.00), Mike Foltynewicz (1-1, 2.77), Brandon McCarthy (3-0, 3.38)
Phillies Probables:  Aaron Nola (2-1, 2.30), Nick Pivetta (1-0, 2.57), Vince Velasquez (1-3, 4.50)

At the Ballpark:  All adults will receive a nice looking pair of Phillies headphones prior to tonight's game and there's a postgame concert featuring the EDM performer Zedd.  Sunday is the Phanatic's annual birthday celebration with all kids receiving a Phanatic bucket hat.

Braves Leaders
Average:  Freddie Freeman - .326
Runs:  Ozzie Albies - 24
Home Runs:  Ozzie Albies - 8
RBIs:  Preston Tucker - 18
Stolen Bases:  Ender Inciarte - 9

Wins:  Brandon McCarthy - 3
ERA:  Mike Foltynewicz - 2.77
Strikeouts:  Sean Newcomb - 34
Saves:  Arodys Vizcaino - 2

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Odubel Herrera - .341
Runs:  Cesar Hernandez - 18
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 4
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 19
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez - 5

Wins:  Jake Arrieta and Yacksel Rios - 3
ERA:  Jake Arrieta - 1.82
Strikeouts:  Vince Velasquez - 30
Saves:  Hector Neris - 5

2018 Chachi #5 Aaron Altherr

Aaron Samuel Altherr

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'5"  Weight:  223
Opening Day Age:  27
Born:  January 14, 1991, Landstuhl, Germany
Drafted:  Selected by the Phillies in the 9th round of the June 2009 draft
Teams:  Phillies 2014-
Acquired:  Via draft

2011 Choice Williamsport
Crosscutters #22
2011 Bowman Chrome
Prospects #BCP112
2014 Chachi #52
2016 Topps #419
29 Altherr Baseball Cards in My Collection per The Phillies Room Checklist
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2011 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #22
First Phillies Card:  2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP112
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2016 Topps #419
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2017 Phillies Team Issue #23*
Latest Card:  2017 Topps Now #49

*Technically, Altherr first had a card issued in the style of the 2015 Phillies Team Issue 2 set, which we first learned about thanks to a tip from fellow collector Steve F.  I'm still trying to track down this card for my collection.

2017 Phillies Team Issue 2 #23
First Mention on The Phillies Room:  November 24, 2013 - The Phillies recently crossed another offseason milestone off their list by adding four players to the 40-man roster in advance of December's Rule 5 draft.  I've tracked these additions over the past four seasons below and the percentage of players added to the 40-man roster in November to eventually play with the big club is a so-so 44% (7 for 16).  Hopefully that percentage goes up this year . . .

Aaron Altherr (of) - The speedy outfielder was drafted in 2009 by the Phillies and he spent last season with the High-A Clearwater Threshers.  He batted .275 and led the Florida State League with 36 doubles.  Along with several cards from minor league team sets, I have Altherr's cards from the 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects and 2011 Topps Pro Debut sets in my collection.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2014 Chachi #52
2015 Chachi #58
2015 Chachi #69 HL - Inside the Park Grand Slam
2016 Chachi #51
2017 Chachi #13
2017 Chachi Phillies Phestival #1
2017 Chachi Archives #2
2017 Chachi In Action #10
2018 Chachi #5

Card statistics through 4/26/18.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

2018 Chachi #4 Rhys Hoskins

Rhys Dean Hoskins
Left Field

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'4"  Weight:  240
Opening Day Age:  25
Born:  March 17, 1993, Sacramento, CA
Drafted:  Selected by the Phillies in the 5th round of the June 2014 draft
Teams:  Phillies 2017-
Acquired:  Via draft

2014 Choice Williamsport
Crosscutters #14
2014 Bowman Draft
Picks #DP122
2017 Chachi #53
2018 Topps #259
56 Hoskins Baseball Cards in My Collection per The Phillies Room Checklist
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2014 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #14
First Phillies Card:  2014 Bowman Draft Picks #DP122
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2017 Phillies Team Issue Update #17
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2018 Topps #259
Latest Card:  2018 Topps Phillies #PP-1

2017 Phillies Team Issue Update #17
First Mention on The Phillies Room:  April 3, 2016 - Phillies 6, Phillies Futures 5 . . . Darin Ruf capped his fantastic spring with a pair of hits and three RBIs, and it was his double in the bottom of the ninth that tied up the ballgame.  Nick Williams and Rhys Hoskins homered for the Phillies Futures team.  Dylan Cozens had the defensive play of the game, firing a cannon from right field to nail Freddy Galvis in a play at the plate.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2017 Chachi #53
2017 Chachi In Action #7
2017 Chachi #56 HL - 9 HRs in 16 Games
2017 Chachi #57 HL - Rookie HR Record
2017 Chachi Valley Forge #3
2017 Chachi Christmas #1
2018 Chachi #4

Card statistics through 4/25/18.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Game 22 - 2003 Upper Deck #591 Chase Utley

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 4
Game 22 - Tuesday Night, April 24th in Philadelphia
Record - 14-8, 2nd place, 1 1/2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Robbie Ray struck out 11 Phillies batters in his brief outing as the Diamondbacks prevailed, 8-4, in a soggy, cold game.

What It Means:  This series is rightfully being viewed as the first big test for the new and improved Phillies as the Diamondbacks currently hold the best record in the National League.  The Phils briefly held the lead following a three-run third inning, but the Diamondbacks were largely in control of this game.

What Happened:  Vince Velasquez lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits.  Yacksel Rios faltered for the first time this season, allowing the Diamondbacks to score three times in the eighth and putting the game out of reach.  Aaron Altherr had a two-run double in the third for the Phillies.  Scott Kingery went 0 for 4 to drop his average to .216.

Featured Card:  15 years ago on this date, Chase Utley collected his first big league hit in the form of a grand slam off Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook.  The slam scored Jim Thome, Mike Lieberthal and David Bell while Gabe Kapler was in right field for the Rockies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Series Preview - Diamondbacks at Phillies: April 24th to April 26th

2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #16
2018 Chachi Fan Favorites #17
Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 1:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Diamondbacks 15-6, 1st place in the N.L. West, 4 games ahead of the Dodgers
Phillies 14-7, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 1/2 game behind the Mets

Diamondbacks Probables:  Robbie Ray (2-0, 4.98), Zack Greinke (2-1, 4.13), Matt Koch (0-0, 1.13)
Phillies Probables:  Vince Velasquez (1-2, 3.80), Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.04), Ben Lively (0-1, 4.64)

At the Ballpark:  It's Mystery Bobblehead night tonight if you've purchased a separate theme ticket, and tomorrow night is the second Dollar Dog Night.  The Phillies will wear their powder blue uniforms again on Sunday afternoon during the next Throwback Thursday.

Diamondbacks Leaders
Average:  David Peralta - .310
Runs:  Paul Goldschmidt - 16
Home Runs:  A.J. Pollock - 5
RBIs:  A.J. Pollack - 16
Stolen Bases:  A.J. Pollock - 5

Wins:  Patrick Corbin - 4
ERA:  Patrick Corbin - 1.89
Strikeouts:  Patrick Corbin - 48
Saves:  Brad Boxberger - 6

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Odubel Herrera - .329
Runs:  Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins - 15
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 4
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 19
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez - 5

Wins:  Yacksel Rios - 3
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 2.30
Strikeouts:  Nick Pivetta - 28
Saves:  Hector Neris - 4

2018 Chachi #3 Nick Williams

Billy Nicholas Williams

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Left  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  195
Opening Day Age:  24
Born:  September 8, 1993, Galveston, TX
Drafted:  Selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2nd round of the June 2012 draft
Teams:  Phillies 2017-
Acquired:  Acquired with Jerad Eickhoff, Matt Harrison, Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson and Alec Asher from the Texas Rangers for Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman and cash considerations, July 31, 2015

2015 Topps Pro Debut #91
2015 Reading Fightin Phils
Holiday Set #28
2016 Bowman Prospects #BP105
2017 Chachi #46
2018 Topps #226
35 Williams Baseball Cards in My Collection per The Phillies Room Checklist
First Card:  2015 Topps Pro Debut #91
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2015 Reading Fightin Phils Holiday Set #28
First Phillies Card:  2016 Bowman Prospects #BP105
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2017 Phillies Team Issue Special Edition #5
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2018 Topps #226
Newest Card:  2018 Topps Phillies #PP-16

2017 Phillies Team Issue Special Edition #5
First Mention on The Phillies Room:  July 31, 2015 - Cole Hamels (and Jake Diekman) are now officially members of the Texas Rangers and the Phillies have six new players in their organization that I've honestly never heard of before.  No offense meant here, but if Matt Harrison, who was an A.L. All-Star in 2012, bumped into me on the streets of Philadelphia I'd have no idea he was the newest Phillies starting pitcher.

The best way for me to get acclimated with these new guys is to summarize their baseball card careers to date.  I won't attempt to provide scouting reports on these players as I'm just purely interested in getting to know them through their baseball cards for now.  If you want something a little more in-depth, I thought this article was a good read . . .

Nick Williams (OF - AA) - Williams was ranked the fifth best prospect in the Rangers system in Baseball America's pre-season rankings.  In 97 games this season with Frisco, he's hitting .299 with 13 home runs and he's split time between center and right field.  Williams started appearing in Bowman releases in 2012 and his most release mainstream baseball cards can be found in the 2015 Bowman Prospects insert set and the 2015 Topps Pro Debut set.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi Almost #25
2016 Chachi IronPigs Signing Autographs #4
2017 Chachi #46
2017 Chachi Archives #9
2017 Chachi Archives #18
2017 Chachi Photo Night #32
2017 Chachi In Action #9
2018 Chachi #5

Card statistics through 4/21/18.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Game 21 - 2018 Donruss #124 Aaron Altherr

Phillies 3, Pirates 2 (11)
Game 21 - Sunday Afternoon, April 22nd in Philadelphia
Record - 14-7, 2nd place, 1/2 game behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Andrew Knapp tripled to start the 11th and scored the winning run on Aaron Altherr's single to left, giving the Phillies a 3-2 win over the Pirates.

What It Means:  The Phillies completed their first four-game sweep of the Pirates since May 1994, improving their home record so far to 9-1.  That's their best home start since the 1964 season.  With the Braves-Mets game postponed due to rain, the Phillies are just a half game out of first place.  Hard to believe, Harry.

What Happened:  Altherr entered the game as part of a double switch in the seventh inning and collected three hits.  Nick Pivetta doubled home the Phillies' first run of the day in the fifth, also collecting the team's first hit off Pirates starter Trevor Williams.

Pivetta struck out seven and allowed two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings of work.  Victor Arano contributed two more scoreless innings while Yacksel Rios was the recipient of his third win of the year thanks to his scoreless 11th inning.

Featured Card:  Here's Altherr's logo-less card from this year's Donruss set.

Transaction:  Following Saturday night's game, reliever Hoby Milner was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  Tommy Hunter was activated from the disabled list on Sunday afternoon, making his Phillies debut with a scoreless eighth inning.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Game 20 - 2018 Topps Living Set #4 Rhys Hoskins

Phillies 6, Pirates 2
Game 20 - Saturday Night, April 21st in Philadelphia
Record - 13-7, 2nd place, 1 game behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola dominated again and Rhys Hoskins put the Phillies ahead for good with a 3-run home run in the sixth.

What It Means:  The Phillies are playing good baseball and this win brought them to within a game of first place behind the Mets.

What Happened:  Nola allowed a lead-off home run to Sean Rodriguez and then settled in to allow just one more run in his seven innings of work.  He struck out nine.  Hector Neris recorded the last four outs for his fourth save.

In the decisive sixth inning, trailing 2-0, replay review showed that Carlos Santana had been hit by a pitch and he was awarded first.  Odubel Herrera singled and then Hoskins drilled a 1-2 pitch to left for his fourth home run of the season.  The Phils plated three more in the eighth with RBI singles from Hoskins and Scott Kingery.

Featured Card:  It was a coin flip between Hoskins and Nola for the featured card, and I gave Hoskins the nod for his four-RBI day.  This card is from a new offering this year from Topps called their Living Set.  Using the design of the classic 1953 Topps set, each week cards of 3 different players will be offered and the set is meant to go on "living" year after year.  Players will be featured only once unless they switch teams.  Hoskins is the first Phillies representative in the Living Set and more information can be found here.  I like the idea of this concept, and it certainly helps that these are really nice looking cards.

2018 Chachi #2 Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana
First Base

Bats:  Switch  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  210
Opening Day Age:  31
Born:  April 8, 1986, Santo Domingo, DR
Signed:  Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent, August 13, 2004
Teams:  Cleveland Indians 2010-2017; Phillies 2018
Acquired:  Signed as a free agent formerly with the Cleveland Indians, December 20, 2017

2010 Topps Update #US330
2018 Topps #40
2018 Topps Gypsy Queen #136

5 Santana Baseball Cards in The Phillies Room Collection
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2010 Topps Update #US330
First Card:  2018 Topps #40
First Phillies Card:  2018 Topps Gypsy Queen #136
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2018 Phillies Team Issue #41
Latest Card:  2018 Topps Phillies #PP-10

2018 Phillies Team Issue #41
First Mention on The Phillies Room:  December 22, 2017 - On Wednesday afternoon, the Phillies held a press conference to officially introduce their new slugging first baseman, Carlos Santana.  Santana will wear his familiar #41 with the Phillies, the same number he wore for his eight seasons in Cleveland.  He comes to the team on a three-year, $60 million contract which is the Phillies' biggest free agent signing since the Cliff Lee deal ($120, five years) signed in December 2010.

The Phillies like the fact that Santana plays good defense at first base, but they love the fact that he will provide some legitimate power in the middle of their line-up.  And as Jayson Stark Tweeted, only two players have averaged at least 20 home runs and 100 walks over the past five seasons - Joey Votto and Santana.

The signing also brings with it some questions.  Will the Phillies add a big-name starting pitcher to supplement the questions marks in their rotation?  With Rhys Hoskins now moving to left field permanently, will one of Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr or Nick Williams be traded?

From a baseball card perspective, and as already pointed out by Phungo, Santana already unofficially has his first Phillies card.  He's featured on Chase Utley's 2014 Topps card, sliding into second.  Santana's first mainstream baseball card appearances (featuring him as a catcher) can be found in a few 2008 Bowman releases.  He made his big league debut in 2010, appearing in most of the 2010 baseball card releases and earning his first Topps flagship card in the 2010 Topps Update set.

Complete Chachi Checklist 
2018 Chachi New Additions #4
2018 Chachi #1

Card statistics through 4/21/18.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Game 19 - 2018 Topps Opening Day #79 Odubel Herrera

Phillies 2, Pirates 1
Game 19 - Friday Night, April 20th in Philadelphia
Record - 12-7, 2nd place, 2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Odubel Herrera tripled home Cesar Hernandez with the winning run in this 2-1 victory over the Pirates.

What It Means:  The Phillies are 7-1 at home, the first time they've hit that mark to start the season since 1981 at Veterans Stadium.  They'll go for the series win this afternoon.

What Happened:  Hernandez and Herrera have provided steady offense from the top of the line-up so far this season.  With the score knotted at one in the eighth, Hernandez led off with a double and came home on Herrera's triple.  After Rhys Hoskins walked, the inning ended on a bizarre double pick-off (scored 1-3-4-2-5-8-7) when Hoskins apparently lost track of the number of outs.

Ben Liveley threw six strong innings, allowing a run on five hits.  Luis Garcia pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the win and Hector Neris recorded his third save.

Featured Card:  As infuriating as he can be to watch sometimes, Herrera is still one the team's best players.

Happy Birthday Ben!

This kid is getting so big, so fast!  Our youngest son Ben turns eight today and he's been reminding me all week that I needed to make him a custom "Ben is Eight" baseball card to go along with the other birthday themed cards I've made for him over the years (see below).  He told me he wanted me to use the picture from the night of his recent first communion.

Ben is kind and happy and he's developing his own independent personality.  He loves swimming, playing tennis, gardening and spending time with his dog, Chewbacca.  He discovered Harry Potter this year and he's asked for the complete run of Harry Potter books as his "big" birthday present.

He's a great kid and I'm so proud of him.  Happy birthday Ben!

Memory Lane
2010 - Welcome Ben!
2010 - Ben is born, Roy Halladay wins, all is right with the world
2011 - Ben turns one as Roy Oswalt pitches the Phillies past the Padres
2012 - Happy 2nd Birthday Ben!
2013 - Happy 3rd Birthday Ben!
2014 - Ben is Four!
2015 - Ben is Five!
2016 - Ben and Chewbacca
2017 - Ben is Seven!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Game 18 - 2018 Topps Now Spring Training #ST-10 Jake Arrieta

Phillies 7, Pirates 0
Game 18 - Thursday Night, April 19th in Philadelphia
Record - 11-7, Tied for 2nd place, 2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Jake Arrieta dominated and Cesar Hernandez hit a 3-run single as the Phillies cruised to a 7-0 win over the Pirates.

What It Means:  The Hernandez single was impressive and it was also his 500th career hit.  With two outs in the second and runners breaking on contact, Hernandez singled to center with Nick Williams, Scott Kingery and the speedy J.P. Crawford scoring in quick succession.  Hernandez became the first Phillie to collect a 3-run single since Jose Cardenal did it in 1978.

What Happened:  Arrieta allowed just an infield hit and struck out 10 in his seven innings of work.  Rhys Hoskins started the scoring in the second with his third home run of the year.

The Phillies wore their baby blue throwback uniforms at home for the first time in game action since 1972.

2018 Chachi
Friendly Encounters #2
Featured Card:  This is Arrieta's first official Phillies baseball card from the Topps Now Spring Training set.  According to the Topps website, only 376 of these cards were sold.  I'm banking on Arrieta having a few more Phillies baseball cards before his time with the team is done.

Field Report:  I could be wrong, but I believe this is the coldest I've ever been at a Phillies game.  It was very cold and very windy and I'll admit Doug and I didn't stay that long.  This was our first time seeing Arrieta pitch for the Phillies in person and we enjoyed watching the five-run second inning.  Doug posted himself by the Phillies dugout for about an hour before game time, and only Hector Neris came over to sign for him.  We also took a picture with Gary "Sarge" Matthews and Doug was very proud of the selfies he took with each member of the Galapagos Gang in Ashburn Alley.

Tax Day Spoils from My Favorite Client (and Happy Birthday Mom!)

1933 Goudey #28
1933 Goudey #136
1934 Goudey #91
My Mom's tax return isn't necessarily that complex or difficult to navigate, yet somehow I reap the biggest rewards from annually preparing it.  Her payment for tax return preparation services has traditionally come in the form of vintage Phillies baseball cards and this year she decided to check a few cards off my 1930s Phillies Want List.

I'm two cards closer to a complete 1933 Goudey Phillies team set with the addition of these cards of Dick Bartell and Flint Rhem.  The back of Bartell's card notes that he's a "mighty good shortstop and also a dangerous batter."  Bartell made his first All-Star team in 1933 and he was the regular shortstop for the four seasons (1931-1934) he played with the Phillies.

This is the first card in my collection for Rhem, a pitcher for the Phillies for parts of two seasons in 1932 and 1933.  The bulk of his 12-year career was spent with the Cardinals.

The Dolph Camilli card from the 1934 Goudey set gets me to the half-way point with that four-card Phillies team set.  I had to break this card out of its graded PSA slab, and it seems happy to be able to breath again.  Camilli began the 1934 season with the Cubs before a trade on June 11th sent him to the Phillies.

1936 National Chicle Fine Pens (R313) Camilli / Jurges
Finally, my Mom tracked down what may not at first appear to be a Phillies card.  This is from the 1936 National Chicle Fine Pen Premiums (R313) set featuring an action shot of Camilli applying a diving tag on Cubs shortstop Billy Jurges.

According to our crack research team and after spending some time navigating through Baseball Reference . . . the play appears to be from May 18, 1935 when the Cubs hosted the Phillies at Wrigley Field.  Camilli was playing first that day and in the fifth inning Jurges drew a walk against Phillies pitcher Bucky Walters.  The box score shows that catcher Jimmie Wilson made the throw to pick off Jurges, first base umpire Dolly Stark made the call and thus, "Camilli catches Jurges off first."

I'd also like to wish my Mom a very happy birthday as she just recently celebrated her big day surrounded by friends and family.  Happy birthday Mom!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Series Preview - Pirates at Phillies: April 19th to April 22nd

1978 Topps #661
2018 Chachi 1978 Topps Missing Links #10
Thursday and Friday 7:05, Saturday 4:05, Sunday 1:35
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Pirates 12-6, 1st place in the N.L. Central, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Cardinals
Phillies 10-7, Tied for 2nd place in the N.L. East, 3 games behind the Mets

Pirates Probables:  Jameson Taillon (2-0, 0.89), Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.88), Steven Brault (2-1, 4.74), Trevor Williams (3-1, 1.93)
Phillies Probables:  Jake Arrieta (1-0, 3.38), Ben Lively (0-1, 5.87), Aaron Nola (1-1, 2.22), Nick Pivetta (1-0, 2.49)

At the Ballpark:  The Phillies have their first scheduled Throwback Thursday game of 2018, and the team will wear their throwback powder blue uniforms.  All fans 15 and over will also receive a Nick Williams retro t-shirt tonight.  On Sunday, all kids will receive an Odubel Herrera emoji hat.

Pirates Leaders
Average:  Corey Dickerson - .328
Runs:  Starling Marte - 16
Home Runs:  Gregory Polanco - 5
RBIs:  Gregory Polanco - 15
Stolen Bases:  Starling Marte - 5

Wins:  Trevor Williams - 3
ERA:  Jameson Taillon - 0.89
Strikeouts:  Ivan Nova - 22
Saves:  Felipe Vazquez - 5

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Rhys Hoskins - .327
Runs:  Cesar Hernandez - 13
Home Runs:  Seven tied with - 2
RBIs:  Maikel Franco - 17
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez - 4

Wins:  Yacksel Rios - 2
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 2.22
Strikeouts:  Vince Velasquez - 24
Saves:  Hector Neris - 2

1978 Topps Appreciation:  Jim Morrison appeared in 53 games for the 1978 Phillies and received a black and white photo card in the team-issued set that season.  He also appeared in black and white (along with Lonnie Smith and Jim Wright) on his 1979 Topps rookie card.  Morrison enjoyed a 15-year career with the Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Tigers and Braves.

Game 17 - 2013 Topps Heritage Minor Leage Road to the Show #RTTS-JBI Jesse Biddle

Braves 7, Phillies 3
Game 17 - Wednesday Night, April 18th in Atlanta
Record - 10-7, Tied for 2nd place, 3 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  New Phillie-killer Ryan Flaherty's three-run home run in the fifth ended up sinking the Phillies, 7-3.

What It Means:  Flaherty was released by the Phillies at the end of spring training, and his .365 average currently leads the National League.  He added an RBI-single in the eighth.  Flaherty's playing time may be limited going forward as the Braves signed Jose Bautista yesterday to eventually serve as their primary third baseman.

What Happened:  The home run allowed to Flaherty was Vince Velasquez's only real mistake, as the starter allowed just those three runs in his six innings of work.  Hoby Milner allowed three more runs in the eighth.  The offense was mostly quiet.  Velasquez started the scoring with an RBI-single in the fifth. 

Featured Card:  The Braves recalled lefty Jesse Biddle from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game, marking the former Phillies prospect's first time on a big league roster.  He did not get into this game.  The Phillies number one draft pick in 2010 has missed significant time during his career battling injuries and he missed the entire 2016 season following Tommy John surgery.  The Phillies Room wishes Biddle nothing but success, unless he's facing the Phillies.