Sunday, March 31, 2019

Game 2 - 2019 Phillies Team Issue #10 J.T. Realmuto

Phillies 8, Braves 6
Game 2 - Saturday Afternoon, March 30th in Philadelphia
Record - 2-0, Tied for 1st place, 2 games ahead of the Braves, Marlins and Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Capped by a monster home run from Bryce Harper, his first hit with the club, the Phillies held on to defeat to Braves, 8-6.

What It Means:  They'll go for the series sweep on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

What Happened:  This offense is looking pretty good.  J.T. Realmuto had an RBI single in the 2nd and his 2-run home run (1) in the 5th gave the Phillies the lead they'd hold to for the rest of the game.  In the 4th, Odubel Herrera scored on Cesar Hernandez's triple and then Maikel Franco hit a 2-run home run (2).  Franco became the first Phillie with home runs in the first two games of the season since Ryan Howard did it in 2010.

2019 Topps Phillies #PP-7
Bryce Harper's bomb was a staggering 465 feet shot to right field, landing in the second deck.  As Matt Breen Tweeted, the Phillies have six home runs in the their first two games for the first time in franchise history.

Featured Card:  Harper's moonshot followed by his electric curtain call was probably the most memorable moment from the game, but it was Realmuto's big hits that started the scoring for the Phillies and gave them the lead.  Harper has already received his share of Phillies cards and I'm hoping Realmuto starts catching up to him.  The team's new catcher has two Phillies cards to date - his Topps Now Offseason card, and this card from the team-issued photo card set.

Field Report:  Doug attended this game with his Uncle Bill, scoring pre-game autographs from Scott Kingery and MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal.  He was three kids away from getting his first Harper autograph when Harper left to begin his pre-game routine.  So close!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

2019 Phillies Team Issue

Number of Cards:  49
Card Size:  4" x 6"
Description:  The 2019 set of Phillies team-issued photo cards feature a player photo with a red and blue border lining the left and bottom of each card.  A Liberty Bell is featured at the bottom right with the players' number and position at the top left.  As has been the case with all recent first edition sets, photos are from spring training.  Also consistent with prior years' designs, the horizontal card backs feature biographical information and complete career statistics.

How Distributed:  The set went on sale at Citizens Bank Park at the March 28th home opener,  and sets could be found for sale for $5 at souvenir locations throughout the ballpark up until the Phillies game on Sunday, May 19th.

Complete Standard Checklist:  The cards are unnumbered, but I've presented them below ordered by uniform number.  The set comes in clear packaging with Bryce Harper and Aaron Nola facing up on either side, and with the cards originally packaged in alphabetical order.
  • 2 - Jean Segura
  • 3 - Bryce Harper
  • 4 - Scott Kingery
  • 5 - Nick Williams
  • 7 - Maikel Franco
  • 8 - John Mallee CO
  • 10 - J.T. Realmuto
  • 12 - Juan Nicasio
  • 13 - Sean Rodriguez
  • 15 - Andrew Knapp
  • 16 - Cesar Hernandez
  • 17 - Rhys Hoskins
  • 19 - Gabe Kapler MG
  • 21 - Vince Velasquez
  • 22 - Andrew McCutchen
  • 23 - Aaron Altherr
  • 24 - Roman Quinn
  • 25 - Dylan Cozens
  • 27 - Aaron Nola
  • 30 - David Robertson
  • 35 - Jim Gott CO
  • 37 - Odubel Herrera
  • 38 - Paco Figueroa CO
  • 39 - Bobby Dickerson CO
  • 41 - Drew Butera
  • 43 - Nick Pivetta
  • 45 - Chris Young CO
  • 46 - Adam Morgan
  • 47 - James Pazos
  • 48 - Jerad Eickhoff
  • 49 - Jake Arrieta
  • 50 - Hector Neris
  • 52 - Jose Alvarez
  • 53 - Yacksel Rios
  • 56 - Zach Eflin
  • 57 - Dave Lundquist CO
  • 58 - Seranthony Dominguez
  • 59 - Rob Thomson CO
  • 60 - Pedro Guerrero CO
  • 61 - Edubray Ramos
  • 62 - Dusty Wathan CO
  • 64 - Victor Arano
  • 81 - Craig Driver CO
  • 82 - Bob Stumpo CO
  • 87 - Sam Fuld
  • 93 - Pat Neshek
  • 95 - Mike Calitri
  • 96 - Tommy Hunter
  • Phillie Phanatic
One and Done (2):  Butera, Pazos
First Appearances (8):  Alvarez, Harper, McCutchen, Nicasio,  Realmuto, Robertson, Rodriguez, Segura
Returning Players (24):  Altherr, Arano, Arrieta, Cozens, Dominguez, Eflin, Eickhoff, Franco, Hernandez, Herrera, Hoskins, Hunter, Kingery, Knapp, Morgan, Neris, Neshek, Nola, Pivetta, Ramos, Rios, Quinn, Velasquez, Williams

This is a wonderfully comprehensive checklist.

Of the 34 players on the checklist, 25 were on the team's opening day roster, 2 started the season on the disabled list (Hunter and Quinn), 6 started the season in the minors (Arano, Cozens, Eickhoff, Pazos, Rios and Rodriguez) and 1 has already left the organization (Butera).  If nothing else, the Phillies have covered the bases in terms of potential early season call-ups.  Butera was released by the Phillies on March 22nd and signed by the Rockies on March 25th, meaning the latest the set went to print was March 21st.

There has not been a broadcasters card since the 2017 first edition team photo card set.

The First Appearance designation is for players who have never before appeared within a Phillies team issued set. These players may have already appeared on other Phillies baseball cards.

Manager (1):  Kapler
Coaches (11):  Dickerson, Driver, Figueroa, Guerrero, Lundquist, Gott, Mallee, Stumpo, Thomson, Wathan, Young
Phillie Phanatic (1)
Broadcasters (0)
Other Cards (2):  Calitri, Fuld

Coaches Dickerson, Figueroa and Lundquist are marking their first appearances in a Phillies team issued set.  Bullpen catchers Driver and Stumpo make appearances for the second year in a row.  New to the main set this year are Sam Fuld and Mike Calitri.  No coach indication is made on their cards, but they hold the titles of "Player Information Coordinator" and "Manager, Advance Scouting", respectively.

No offense to either guy, but I'm not sure why cards are merited for either of them.  If the Phillies had asked me (they didn't), I would have replaced the Calitri and Fuld cards with cards for Drew Anderson and Enyel De Los Santos who will both likely appear at Citizens Bank Park at some point this season.

Rarities:  None yet, but watch this space!

Annual Section 36 Package Arrives, Marking End of Winter

2018 Topps All-Star Game
Factory Set #11
2018 Topps Big League
Rainbow Foil #227
2018 Topps Big League
Black & White #297
1987 Sportflics #123
2014 Topps Chrome Rookie
Autographs Refractors #128
Like the groundhog emerging from its hole or the first sign of green leaves on the trees, the annual arrival of a box of baseball cards from Section 36 means that we've survived another winter and spring time is almost here.  Each year, Section 36 reduces its baseball card inventory by parting with cards from 10 years prior.  I was expecting the haul to be heavy with cards from 2009, but to my surprise most of the cards were from the past two years.  I think this is because the prior year packages had already featured quite a few cards from 2009, leaving more room for newer cards in this year's box.

I always enjoy receiving this package, flipping through the cards initially and then sorting them.  I couldn't help but notice Doug eyeing up a few cards as I first flipped through them, and sure enough there are a few cards that have already mysteriously disappeared and have already made their way into his Phillies binder.

Here are some other observations from this year's installment:
  • The oldest card received was a 1987 Sportflics Juan Samuel card.  I remember when Sportflics first came out and thinking we were truly living in the future.  Cards that move?  What magical witchcraft is this?
  • Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt were heavily featured in this year's assortment of cards.
  • Doug was a huge fan of the 2018 Topps Big League set, so numbered parallels from that set for Vince Velasquez and Nick Williams have already entered his collection.  His favorite autograph-seeking cards are the black and white parallels Topps puts out, so it's only a matter of time before he tracks down a new Williams' autograph.
  • Manufactured "Patch" cards confuse me somewhat as an old school collector, but I think these are cool.
  • I received a full 2018 Topps Phillies team set with a special foil All-Star Game stamp on the front.  These were available only with complete Topps factory sets and I'm always happy to add these quirky parallels to my collection.
  • Finally, and what could be the first of many Bryce Harper cards sent to me from Section 36 over the next 13 years, I received a rare French text variation card of Harper's from the recently released 2019 Topps Heritage set.
2018 Topps Players Weekend
Patches #PWP-RH
2019 Topps Heritage French Text #415
2019 Topps 150th Anniversary
Manufactured Patches #AMP-RH
Another great package and all welcome editions to The Phillies Room archives!  A return package featuring nothing but Red Sox cards will soon be on its way to Section 36.

Memory Lane - Section 36 Purge

Friday, March 29, 2019

Game 1 - Phils Have Grand Opening Day

2019 Topps Phillies #PP-17
2019 Topps Phillies #PP-18
2019 Topps Phillies #PP-2
2019 Topps Phillies #PP-4
2019 Topps Phillies #PP-1
Phillies 10, Braves 4
Game 1 - Thursday Afternoon, March 28th in Philadelphia
Record - 1-0, Tied for 1st place, 1 game ahead of the Braves, Marlins and Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  Andrew McCutchen started the scoring with a lead-off home run and Maikel Franco and Rhys Hoskins sealed the win with their big hits as the Phillies downed the Braves on opening day, 10-4.

What It Means:  Baseball is back and this was an electric day for Phillies fans!  Everyone was excited to welcome Bryce Harper to Philadelphia, but his debut was somewhat forgettable with the exception of his Phanatic-inspired cleats.  Harper went 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts.

What Happened:  McCutchen somehow managed to increase the energy level in the ballpark with his first inning home run (1).  Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez added clutch, two-out singles in the 4th to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.  Franco hit a 3-run home run (1) in the 6th and Hoskins followed that with his first career grand slam (1) in the 7th.

Aaron Nola (1-0) was victimized by a tight strike zone, walking a career high 5, but he allowed only 2 hits and struck out 8 in his 6 innings of work.

Featured Cards/Field Report:  I couldn't decide, so it's a quintet of cards from the Topps Phillies retail team set which includes an unannounced 18th card for Harper.  This set along with the team photo card set were the first purchases made this season.  Doug and I attended this game together, sitting someplace new for us - Section 127 between home plate and the visitor's dugout.  I imagine that section is ideal in the summer, but we were in the shade the entire game and a little chilly.  Doug snagged his first autograph of the year down by the Phillies dugout getting Aaron Altherr to sign his score card.

The ballpark had more energy and noise than it has had in a very long time.  It was crowded, the lines were long and we loved it.  We escaped to Harry the K's to eat dinner and watch the last few innings of the game, and we were there when Hoskins hit his grand slam.  A few minutes earlier, Doug noticed Larry Christenson walking by and he called him over for a quick picture.

Aaron Altherr's autograph
2019 Chachi Friendly Encounters #7
Transactions:  Both Roman Quinn (oblique) and Tommy Hunter (right forearm) were placed on the 10-day Injured List.  The last three non-roster invitees - Sean Rodriguez (inf), Rob Brantly (c) and Josh Martin (rhp) - were all presumably reassigned to the minors.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Series Preview - Braves at Phillies: March 28th to March 31st

1971 Topps #359
1971 Topps #574
Thursday 3:05, Saturday 4:05 and Sunday 7:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

2018 Records
Braves 90-72, 1st place in the N.L. East, 8 games ahead of the Nationals
Phillies 80-82, 3rd place in the N.L. East, 10 games behind the Braves

2018 Statistics
Braves Probables:  Julio Teheran (9-9, 3.94), Bryse Wilson (1-0, 6.43), Kyle Wright (0-0, 4.50)
Phillies Probables:  Aaron Nola (17-6, 2.37), Nick Pivetta (7-14, 4.77), Jake Arrieta (10-11, 3.96)

At the Ballpark:  There will be the usual pre-game celebrations and ceremonies before today's opening day, but there will be many more fans in attendance compared to recent years.  All fans will receive a Phillies rally towel.  On Saturday, all kids will receive a hooded t-shirt and fans attending Sunday night's ESPN game will receive a nice looking opening night t-shirt.

Braves Spring Training Leaders
Average:  Ozzie Albies - .309
Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 14
Home Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 4
RBIs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. and Christian Pache - 10
Stolen Bases:  3 tied with - 3

Wins:  Chad Sobotka and Bryse Wilson - 2
ERA:  Sean Newcomb - 5.14
Strikeouts:  Julio Teheran - 21
Saves:  4 tied with - 1

Phillies Spring Training Leaders
Average:  Scott Kingery - .264
Runs:  Scott Kingery - 11
Home Runs:  Dylan Cozens and J.T. Realmuto - 4
RBIs:  Maikel Franco and Nick Williams - 9
Stolen Bases:  3 tied with - 2

Wins:  Cole Irvin - 3
ERA:  Zach Eflin - 3.54
Strikeouts:  Zach Eflin - 18
Saves:  6 tied with - 1


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Grapefruit Game 31 - 2017 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #17 Malvin Matos

Phillies 3, Rays 2
Spring Training Game 31 - Monday Afternoon, March 25th in Clearwater
Record - 14-14-3

One Sentence Summary:  In the final Grapefruit League game of the year, prospect Malvin Matos hit a walk-off home run to give the Phillies a 3-2 win over the Rays.

What It Means:  The Phillies and Braves play the first game that matters on Thursday afternoon.

What Happened:  Maikel Franco (2) also homered.  Jake Arrieta went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 8.

Featured Card:  It looks as if Matos missed all of last season due to injury, having only appeared in 3 games for the Lakewood BlueClaws.  This is the only card of his in my collection, and I don't think anyone would have predicted the final card featured in the final game summary post of Phillies 2019 exhibition season would be Matos.

Camp Head Count:  30.  The Phillies have 5 roster moves to make prior to the home opener and I don't anticipate any surprises at this point.  (But you never know!)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Grapefruit Game 30 - 2018 Topps Gallery #52 Aaron Altherr

Phillies 11, Orioles 4
Spring Training Game 30 - Sunday Afternoon, March 24th in Clearwater
Record - 13-14-3

One Sentence Summary:  In their second to last game of the spring, the offense unloaded for 18 hits in this 11-4 win over the Orioles.

What It Means:  The Phillies will play one last time in Clearwater this afternoon before making the trip north to start the season on Thursday.

What Happened:  Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera each had three hits, including home runs for each.  Cole Irvin got the start, allowing a run over his four innings of work.

Featured Card:  Altherr's performance raised his average to .267 and solidified his spot on the bench to open the season.  The outfielder is out of options so a tough decision could be looming once Roman Quinn (who is also out of options) is eligible to come off the Injured List.

Camp Head Count:  30.  I think the opening day roster is all but set at this point, with Quinn and Tommy Hunter destined for the Injured List and the 3 remaining non-roster invitees (Sean Rodriguez, Rob Brantly and Josh Martin) possibly sticking around to play for the IronPigs.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Grapefruit Game 29 - 2016 Topps Heritage #537 Phil Gosselin

Pirates 5, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 29 - Saturday Afternoon, March 23rd in Bradenton
Record - 12-14-3

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin took the loss in his final start of the spring as the Pirates downed the Phillies, 5-3.

What It Means:  Eflin pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing 5 runs on 4 hits while striking out 6.  Three of the hits went for extra bases, including two home runs, doing all the damage.

What Happened:  Victor Arano continued his nightmare spring, allowing another run in 2/3 of an inning.

Featured Card:  Every year, it seems as if there's a player who has a red hot spring and despite his best efforts, he's not going to make the club.  This year, that player is Phil Gosselin who had two more hits in this game, including his second home run, raising his spring average to .410.  The local product (West Chester) should hopefully get the call to the big leagues at some point this season.

Through Sunday, Gosselin is leading the team in spring hits with 17 and he's hitting .415.

Camp Head Count:  33 - 3 = 30.  Before the game, Jerad Eickhoff was optioned to the IronPigs.  Like Drew Anderson, I have to imagine Eickhoff will make a start for the Phillies at some point this season.  Following the game, relievers Arano and Yacksel Rios were both also optioned to Triple-A.  Arano had one of the worst springs in recent memory, compiling a 45.00 ERA by allowing 20 runs in 4 innings pitched over 7 games.

Grapefruit Game 28 - 2019 Topps Heritage Hot Box Refractor #THC-488 Odubel Herrera

Yankees 6, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 28 - Friday Night, March 22nd in Tampa
Record - 12-13-3

One Sentence Summary:  Jerad Eickhoff turned in a decent outing, but the Yankees got to the Phillies bullpen in this 6-3 loss.

What It Means:  Eickhoff is slated for Triple-A to start the season.  It's nice knowing he's down there in case one of the pitchers in the back end of the rotation falters early in the season.

What Happened:  Odubel Herrera (1) and Scott Kingery (2) both homered.

Featured Card:  Herrera hit his first spring home run, raising his average above the Mendoza Line to an even .200.

Camp Head Count:  33.

Grapefruit Game 27 - 2019 Topps Now Spring Training #ST-3 Bryce Harper

Phillies 13, Blue Jays 6
Spring Training Game 27 - Thursday Afternoon, March 21st in Dunedin
Record - 12-12-3

One Sentence Summary:  The offense, led by Bryce Harper, unleashed 6 home runs against the Blue Jays in this 13-6 win.

What It Means:  The regular season starts one week from this game.

What Happened:  Harper hit a pair of bombs, his first two home runs of the spring.  Joining him were Gift Ngoepe (2), Andrew Knapp (2), J.T. Realmuto (4) and Andrew McCutchen (2).  Vince Velasquez allowed 5 hits and 3 runs over 3 1/3 innings while striking out 9.

Featured Card:  This is the first Topps Now card featuring Harper as a Phillie, released to commemorate his introductory press conference.  Topps sold 12,387 of these cards, making it the most popular Topps Now Phillies card since the program began in 2016.  The previous high was 4,221 cards for the Chase Utley/Ryan Howard combo card from 2016, which I'm including as a Phillies' card due to Howard's inclusion on the back photo.

2019 Chachi Almost #1
Camp Head Count:  48 - 13 = 35.  This was a busy day.  Before the game, Drew Anderson (rhp) and James Pazos (lhp) were optioned to the IronPigs.  Both will pitch for the Phillies at some point this upcoming season.  Non-roster invitees Edward Paredes (lhp), Jeremy Bleich (lhp), Trevor Plouffe (inf) and Gregorio Petit (inf) were all released.  A few hours later, Dylan Cozens (of) was also optioned and Adam Haseley (of) was reassigned to minor league camp.  Additionally, Shane Robinson (of), Lane Adams (of), Phil Gosselin (inf), Gift Ngoepe (inf) and Matt McBride (c) were told they would not make the opening day roster, but will remain with the team through the rest of spring training.

35 - 2 = 33.  Following the game, both Andrew Romine (inf) and Drew Butera (c) were granted their unconditional release.

There are 6 more roster moves to be made, assuming both Roman Quinn (of) and Tommy Hunter (rhp) start the season on the Injured List.  Only 3 non-roster invitees remain - Sean Rodriguez (inf), Rob Brantly (c) and Josh Martin (rhp).

Grapefruit Game 26 - 2019 Topps Heritage #6 Nick Pivetta

Tigers 3, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 26 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 20th in Clearwater
Record - 11-12-3

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Pivetta took the loss, but he struck out 8 in his 5 innings of work.

What It Means:  We'd later learn that Pivetta is slated to open the season as the second starting pitcher in the rotation, behind Aaron Nola and in front of Jake Arrieta.

What Happened:  The offense managed only 6 singles against Tigers pitching.

Featured Card:  Pivetta finished the spring with a 3.31 ERA over 16 1/3 innings pitched.  This is his 1970 Topps inspired card from the recently released Topps Heritage set.

Camp Head Count:  48.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2019 Phillies Want List

2019 Topps Opening Day Team Traditions & Celebrations #TTC-LB
Autographs - CPA-AB Bohm, CPA-MV Vierling

Stadium Club
Image Variations - 102 McCutchen, 155 Hoskins, 206 Halladay, 291 Harper
Autographs - SCA-CH Hernandez
Beam Team - BT-6 Harper
Instavision - IV-7 Harper
Power Zone - PZ-3 Harper, PZ-17 Hoskins

Topps Allen & Ginter
Baseball Star Signs - BSS-40 Hoskins
N43 Boxloaders - N43-4 Hoskins

Topps Series 1
Stars of the Game - SSB-28 Hoskins, SSB-51 Nola

Topps Series 2
Historic Through Lines - HTL-16 Harper

Topps Archives
Base Variations - 200 Harper

Topps Gallery
Impressionists - IM-22 Hoskins, IM-28 Harper
Masterpiece - MP-19 Hoskins

Topps Heritage and Topps Heritage High Number
1970 Topps Player Story Booklet - 9 Hoskins
1970 Topps Poster Box Loader - 19 Hoskins, 49 Harper
Clubhouse Collection Relics - CCR-RH Hoskins
Real One Autographs - ROA-RH Hoskins

Topps Now
Offseason - OS-36 Realmuto (with Garver)

Topps Opening Day
Dugout Peeks - DP-16 Arrieta, DP-17 Herrera
Rally Time - RT-RH Hoskins
Sock it to Me! - SM-7 Hoskins

Topps Throwback Thursday
Base Set - 68 Harper, 74 Harper, 78 Nola, 142 Harper, 221 Harper

2018 Phillies Want List

2018 Topps Heritage High Numbers Classic Combos #CC-4
Somehow I managed to make it through all of last year without posting a 2018 Phillies baseball card want list.  I publish these posts mainly as a reference for me to pull up on my phone as I'm searching eBay or going through newer Phillies cards at baseball card shows.

This isn't an all-exclusive list of 2018 Phillies cards I need, but rather it's a list of Phillies cards from 2018 sets that I'd like to eventually add to my collection.

Bowman Chrome
Main Set - 3 Kingery, 22 Nola, 25 Hoskins, 28 Herrera, 35 Williams, 65 Crawford
Prospects - BCP153 De Los Santos, BCP164 Seabold, BCP178 Sanchez, BCP210 Moniak

Donruss Optic
Main Set - 38 Hoskins
Rated Rookies Retro 1984 - 8 Hoskins, 12 Williams, 14 Crawford

Base Variations - 259 Hoskins
Future Stars - FS-8 Williams
Silver Pack 1983 Chrome Promo - 69 Williams

Topps Archives
Fan Favorites Autographs - FFA-RH Hoskins

Topps Heritage
1969 Team Poster - 69P-PP Phillies
Real One Autographs - ROA-AN Nola, ROA-JC Crawford, ROA-RH Hoskins, ROA-SK Kingery

Topps Now
Offseason - OS45 Hoskins/417
Player's Weekend Bonus - PWB-41 Hunter/28, PWB-42 Ramos/16

Topps On Demand
'78 Four Player Rookies - R4 Hoskins
3D - 2 Nola, 47 Arrieta, 50 Kingery, 74 Bour, 64 Hoskins
3D Motion - M7 Nola, M30 Hoskins
Black & White - 28 HoskinsDynamic Duals Award Winners - AW4 Carlton
Dynamic Duals Dominant Duos - 4 Hoskings/Kingery
Dynamic Duals Hall of Fame - HOF5 Fingers/Carlton
Dynamic Duals Youngsters - YG1 Hoskins
Rookie Sensations - 14 Kingery, 16 Hoskins, 18 Crawford
Rookie Sensations Photo Variations - 16 Hoskins
Rookie Sensations Rookie Teammates - RT2 Hoskins/Kingery

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Grapefruit Game 25 - 2018 Topps Heritage High Numbers #711 Carlos Santana

Cardinals 4, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 25 - Monday Afternoon, March 18th in Jupiter
Record - 11-11-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies offense couldn't solve the Cardinals pitching, as the team dropped this one, 4-1.

What It Means:  With today's game against the Astros already cancelled because of rain, there are just six games remaining on the Grapefruit League schedule for the Phillies.

What Happened:  Zach Eflin pitched 5 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits.  Bryce Harper had a pair of hits (his first of the spring) in a minor league game.

Featured Card:  Strangely enough, former Phillie first baseman Carlos Santana, was the big story for the Phillies yesterday.  ESPN published an account of Santana taking a bat to a TV following a game in late September, angered that his teammates were playing Fortnite during the game.  The game in question was summarized here and I mentioned in that post that Doug was successful with adding autographs from Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn and Rhys Hoskins prior to the game.

With this news, Santana, back with the Indians this season, solidifies his position as a Phillies Room Favorite despite his short time with the club.

Camp Head Count:  48.  I would expect the roster reductions to start coming fast and furious at this point.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Grapefruit Game 24 - 2018 Topps Now Road to Opening Day #OD-279 Jerad Eickhoff

Yankees 7, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 24 - Sunday Afternoon, March 17th in Clearwater
Record - 11-10-3

One Sentence Summary:  The bullpen continued to look shaky as the Phillies lost to the Yankees, 7-3 on St. Patrick's Day.

What It Means:  Hector Neris and Adam Morgan gave up six total runs in their 2 1/3 innings of work.

What Happened:  After getting drilled in the ankle with a pitch on Friday, Bryce Harper returned to the line-up in the DH role, going 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts.  He's now 0 for 8 for the spring.  Shane Robinson had a two-run triple for the Phillies in the 5th.

Featured Card:  Jerad Eickhoff has lost most of the past two seasons due to injury, and he's hoping to make a comeback this year.  Slated to start the season in the IronPigs' rotation, Eickhoff pitched three shutout innings while striking out 5.  His baseball card appearances were scarce in 2018, and this is his card from the 2018 Topps Now Road to Opening Day set, limited to 411 copies.

Camp Head Count:  48.

Memory Lane
2010 - Mike Schmidt and the entire 1986 team go green.
2011 - Chase Utley models the green jerseys worn during Spring Training 2006.
2012 - A smiling card of Tugger and Roy Halladay models a green jersey.
2013 - Irish Mike Ryan's 1972 Topps card and Freddy Galvis in green.
2015 - David Buchanan started the game last year.  This year, he's already in minor league camp.
2016 - Vince Velasquez pitched well and Ryan Howard hit his first spring home run.
2017 - Kendrick and Altherr homered while Venditte made his switch-pitching debut.
2018 - Santana hits his first spring home run in a win against the Braves.
2019 - Harper still hitless, Eickhoff sharp in his start.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Grapefruit Game 23 - 2019 Topps Heritage #168 Victor Arano

Astros 13, Phillies 5
Spring Training Game 23 - Saturday Afternoon, March 16th in Clearwater
Record - 11-9-3

One Sentence Summary:  Victor Arano and James Pazos were on the wrong end of a 9-run 5th inning from the Astros, and Houston cruised to a 13-5 victory.

What It Means:  Odubel Herrera made his spring debut, going 1 for 2 with a double as the team's DH.

What Happened:  Aaron Nola allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in 2 2/3 innings before giving way to the bullpen.  Arano didn't retire a batter, allowing 6 runs on 5 hits and a walk.  J.T. Realmuto hit his 3rd home run of the spring.

Featured Card:  Arano has had a rough spring, and his ERA is up to 51.00 after 5 appearances and 3 innings pitched.  This is his first solo Topps Heritage card, having appeared on a Rookie Stars card in the 2018 set with J.P. Crawford and Yacksel Rios.

Camp Head Count:  48.  For comparison purposes, on March 16th last season, the Phillies had 48 players on their active roster and were 8-13-1.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Grapefruit Game 22 - 2019 Topps Bryce Harper Art Card #A

Phillies 3, Blue Jays 2
Spring Training Game 22 - Friday Afternoon, March 15th in Clearwater
Record - 11-8-3

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Pivetta pitched well, but Phillies fans everywhere held their breath after Bryce Harper was drilled with a pitch and limped off the field.

What It Means:  X-rays on Harper's ankle were negative and he's day to day.  He'll most likely miss playing time this weekend, which means he'll have even less time to prepare prior to opening day in less than 2 weeks.  Harper is hitless in five spring at-bats.

What Happened:  Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th, Nick Williams doubled home Shane Robinson to tie up the game and Gift Ngoepe walked with the bases loaded to win it.  Williams is hitting .324 so far this spring.  Pivetta pitched five innings, allowing a home run to Freddy Galvis and striking out two.  He's penciled in as the team's third starter to begin the season, behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta.

Featured Card:  I'm considering this to be Harper's first official Phillies card, made available for purchase on Friday, March 1st.  This is card "A" featuring him in a photoshopped Phillies road uniform, and there's also a card "B" that uses the same photo but has a different background and features his career statistics in the design.  Harper has since appeared on two more Topps Now cards, bringing his official Phillies baseball card tally to 4.  That number will grow exponentially in the coming months.

Total print runs were 1,839 for the "A" card and 1,348 for the "B" card.  Given how quickly these cards were made available, I have to imagine prototype cards exist with Harper appearing in Giants, Padres, Dodgers or Yankees uniforms.

Camp Head Count:  49 - 1 = 48.  Following the game, third baseman Mitch Walding was optioned to the IronPigs.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Grapefruit Games 20 & 21 - 2019 Topps Heritage #288 Cesar Hernandez

Phillies 4, Rays 3
Spring Training Game 20 - Thursday Afternoon, March 14th in Port Charlotte

Pirates 11, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 21 - Thursday Afternoon, March 14th in Clearwater
Record - 10-8-3

One Sentence Summary:  We're two weeks away from opening day, and this was the final split squad double header on the spring schedule for the Phillies.

What It Means:  I'm ready for some baseball that counts.

What Happened:  Against the Rays, Drew Anderson turned in his latest impressive outing, pitching four shutout innings while allowing 2 hits.  Yacksel Rios picked up the win with two scoreless innings of his own.  Gift Ngoepe (1) and Dylan Cozens (4) both homered in the win.

Jake Arrieta and the Phillies were shellacked by the Pirates in Clearwater.  Arrieta gave up 5 runs on 6 hits over 3 1/3 innings.  Cesar Hernandez had a hit in his first game back after missing two weeks with a hip injury.

Featured Card:  Hernandez, Maikel Franco and Aaron Nola are expected to be the only three players from last year's opening day line-up playing the same positions for the Phillies on March 28th.

Camp Head Count:  49.  The Phillies have exactly two weeks to trim down the roster by 24 more players.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Grapefruit Game 19 - 2019 Topps Heritage #186 Scott Kingery

Phillies 5, Yankees 5
Spring Training Game 19 - Wednesday Night, March 13th in Tampa
Record - 9-7-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies and Yankees played to a draw in Tampa.

What It Means:  Not that anyone is keeping track, not even the Phillies own website, but this is the third tie for the team this spring.

What Happened:  Zach Eflin pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits.  Pedro Beato, back with the Phillies on a minor league deal, held the Yankees scoreless in the 9th.

Andrew Romine scored the tying run in the top of the 9th on a wild pitch.  J.T. Realmuto (2) and Scott Kingery (1) both homered in the 4th.

Featured Card:  Again, not that it matters (yet), but Kingery is hitting just .212 through this game and he's battling for one of the precious few bench spots..  This is his hatless card from the recently released Topps Heritage set, which is really faithful to what an actual 1970 Topps card would have looked like.

Camp Head Count:  49.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Grapefruit Game 18 - 2018 Topps Now Offseason #OS59 Andrew McCutchen

Rays 8, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 18 - Monday Afternoon, March 11th in Clearwater
Record - 9-7-2

One Sentence Summary:  Vince Velasquez and Jerad Eickhoff struggled on the mound as the Rays downed the Phillies, 8-2.

What It Means:  I'm not sure what to make of Velasquez.  Carrying over from his performance the last few seasons, he's either unhittable and dominant or hittable and ineffective.  There doesn't seem to be any middle ground.

What Happened:  Velasquez allowed 5 runs on 5 hits in two innings.  Eickhoff allowed 3 runs on 3 hits in two innings.  On the plus side, Pat Neshek worked a scoreless 7th and struck out the side, while David Robertson added a shutout 8th inning, striking out 2.

Featured Card:  Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura hit back-to-back home runs in the 4th inning.  McCutchen's first official Phillies card was released in December in the Topps Now Offseason set.

Camp Head Count:  55 - 6 = 49.  Following the game, Austin Davis (lhp), Enyel De Los Santos (rhp), Edgar Garcia (rhp) and Ranger Suarez (rhp) were optioned to Triple-A.  Cole Irvin (lhp) and Tyler Gilbert (lhp) were reassigned to minor league camp.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Tracking the Ex-Phillies

Each spring, I'll spend time reviewing every team's roster, list of non-roster invitees and their coaching staff.  There are always a few ex-Phillies that I'm surprised to see still around with Tyler Cloyd (Rays) and Cameron Perkins (Dodgers) catching my eye this year.

Here's a list of each team's Phillies alumni representation, and I've only included players, coaches and managers who actually suited up for the team.  Players who passed through the Phillies minor league system but never made the big club aren't represented here.

Special mention goes to Tommy Joseph, who signed with the LG Twins in Korea over the offseason, and Ty Kelly, who signed a minor league deal with the Angels but doesn't appear to be a non-roster invitee.

N.L. East
Atlanta Braves:  Andres Blanco - inf (NRI), Pedro Florimon - inf (NRI), Rick Kranitz - pitching coach, San Fasano - catching coach
Miami Marlins:  Jorge Alfaro - c, Brian Schneider - catching coach
New York Mets:  Wilson Ramos - c, Luis Avilan - lhp (NRI)
Washington Nationals:  Jeremy Hellickson - rhp, Howie Kendrick - of, Henderson Alvarez - rhp (NRI)

N.L. Central
Chicago Cubs:  Cole Hamels - lhp, Mike Zagurski - lhp (NRI)
Cincinnati Reds:  David Hernandez - rhp, David Bell - manager, Turner Ward - hitting coach
Milwaukee Brewers:  Erik Kratz - c
Pittsburgh Pirates:  Tom Prince - bench coach
St. Louis Cardinals:  Mike Maddux - pitching coach

N.L. West
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Torey Lovullo - manager, Humberto Quintero - bullpen catcher
Colorado Rockies:  Michael Saunders - of (NRI)
Los Angeles Dodgers:  Ezequiel Carrera - of (NRI), Cameron Perkins - of (NRI)
San Diego Padres:  Aaron Loup - lhp, Rod Barajas - bench coach
San Francisco Giants:  Rick Schu - assistant hitting coach

A.L. East
Baltimore Orioles:  Jose David Flores - third base coach
Boston Red Sox:  Ron Roenicke - bench coach
New York Yankees:  J.A. Happ - lhp, Drew Hutchison - rhp (NRI)
Tampa Bay Rays:  Charlie Morton - rhp, Tyler Cloyd - rhp (NRI), Hoby Milner - lhp (NRI), Ricardo Pinto - rhp (NRI)
Toronto Blue Jays:  Clay Buchholz - rhp, Ken Giles - rhp, Freddy Galvis - inf, Mark Leiter Jr. - rhp (NRI)

A.L. Central
Chicago White Sox:  None
Cleveland Indians:  Carlos Santana - inf, Terry Francona - manager, Brad Mills - bench coach
Detroit Tigers:  Daniel Stumpf - lhp, Cameron Rupp - c (NRI, and recently traded from the Giants)
Kansas City Royals:  Jake Diekman - lhp, Ben Lively - rhp, Dale Sveum - bench coach
Minnesota Twins:  None

A.L. West
Houston Astros:  A.J. Hinch - manager
Los Angeles Angels:  Luis Garcia - rhp, JC Ramirez - rhp, Justin Bour - inf, Peter Bourjos - of (NRI), Shawn Wooten - assistant hitting coach, Andrew Bailey - bullpen coach
Oakland Athletics:  None
Seattle Mariners:  J.P. Crawford - inf
Texas Rangers:  Asdrubal Cabrera - inf, Zac Curtis - lhp (NRI), Jeanmar Gomez - rhp (NRI), Chase d'Arnaud -inf (NRI), Hunter Pence - of (NRI), Ben Revere - of (NRI)