Friday, May 31, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Dodgers: May 31st to June 2nd

1971 Topps #533
1971 Topps #10
Friday and Saturday 10:10, Sunday 4:10
Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA

Phillies 33-23, 1st place in the N.L. East, 3 games ahead of the Braves
Dodgers 38-19, 1st place in the N.L. West, 8 1/2 games ahead of the Padres

Phillies Probables:  Jake Arrieta (5-4, 3.60), Cole Irvin (2-1, 5.60), Nick Pivetta (3-1, 7.71)
Dodgers Probables:  Kenta Maeda (6-2, 3.67), Clayton Kershaw (5-0, 3.46), Rich Hill (1-1, 2.73)

At the Ballpark:  On Saturday night, fans will receive a Steve Garvey bobblehad as part of the Dodgers' Alumni Weekend celebrations.  Prior to the game, Dodgers alumni will take part in a special exhibition game.  Former Phillies Kevin Gross, Derrel Thomas and Fernando Valenzuela are expected to be in attendance.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .307
Runs:  Andrew McCutchen - 44
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 13
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 42
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura - 3

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 6
ERA:  Zach Eflin - 3.02
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 74
Saves:  Hector Neris - 10

Dodgers Leaders
Average:  Cody Bellinger - .377
Runs:  Cody Bellinger - 50
Home Runs:  Cody Bellinger - 20
RBIs:  Cody Bellinger - 52
Stolen Bases:  Cody Bellinger - 7

Wins:  Hyun-Jin Ryu - 8
ERA:  Hyun-Jin Ryu - 1.48
Strikeouts:  Hyun-Jin Ryu - 69
Saves:  Kenley Jansen - 16

2019 Chachi #44 Yacksel Rios

Yacksel Rios
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  204
Opening Day Age:  25
Born:  June 27, 1993, Caguas, PR
Drafted:  Selected by the Phillies in the 12th round of the June 2011 draft
Teams:  Phillies 2017-
Acquired:  Via draft
Contract Status:  Arbitration eligible in 2021, free agency eligible in 2025
2013 Choice Williamsport
Crosscutters #26
2017 Chachi #55
2018 Topps Heritage #273
2018 Topps #551
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2013 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #26
First Phillies Card:  2018 Topps Heritage #273 (with J.P. Crawford and Victor Arano)
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2018 Phillies Team Issue 2 #53
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2018 Topps #551
Newest Card Added:  2019 Phillies Team Issue #53

2018 Phillies Team Issue 2 #53
9 - Rios baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 5/30/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2017 Chachi #55
2018 Chachi #29
2018 Chachi Phillies Phestival #13 (with Odubel Herrera)
2019 Chachi #44

2019 Chachi Set Checklist
Virtual Phillies Wall - Featuring Current Active Roster

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Game 55 - 2019 Phillies Team Issue 2 #3 Bryce Harper

Phillies 11Cardinals 4
Game 55 - Wednesday Night, May 29th in Philadelphia
Record - 33-22, 1st place, 3 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The offense came through in support of Aaron Nola's fine outing, pounding the Cardinals 11-4.

What It Means:  For the second night in a row, both teams had to wait out a lengthy (and occasionally scary) rain delay with this game starting around 8:40.  The Phillies will go for the series sweep in a Thursday afternoon matinee.

What Happened:  Nola (6-0) allowed four hits and a run in his seven innings of work, striking out eight.  JD Hammer closed out the lopsided game with a perfect ninth inning.

Bryce Harper fell a triple short of the cycle, hitting his 10th home run, collecting his 200th career double and driving in four runs.  Scott Kingery (3), Maikel Franco (8) and Andrew McCutchen (9) all homered in the fifth inning.  McCutchen earned the unusual box score line of 1-4-1-2, collecting three walks and scoring four times.

Featured Card:  Harper and Nola are this team's two best players, and if they get (and stay) hot, it could make for a fun summer.  Harper's card is front and center within the packaging for the new team-issued photo card set, detailed in this post.

Transactions:  Adam Morgan became the latest Injured List casualty, landing on the list with a left forearm strain.  Yacksel Rios joined the bullpen in his place.

2019 Phillies Team Issue - 2nd Edition

Number of Cards:  45
Card Size:  4" x 6"
Description:  The second series of team-issued photo cards features a blue border along the bottom with the player's name and a script Phillies logo.  The player's uniform number appears in the upper right-hand corner against a striped design, and there is no position listed on the front of the cards.  The horizontal card backs feature biographical information and complete career statistics.

How Distributed:  The set went on sale for at Citizens Bank Park beginning on Tuesday, May 28th for $5.  Earlier that day, it was announced Odubel Herrera had been arrested in Atlantic City for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.  The team made the decision to pull the Herrera cards from every set and it's fairly obvious each set has been unsealed, with the Herrera card removed and then resealed.  The team has either already disposed of the undistributed Herrera cards or they're sitting in a box somewhere to be re-inserted into the sets at a future date.  (See update below.)

Team set packaging has been opened and then re-sealed
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 Rhys Hoskins 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
  • 9 - Phil Gosselin
  • 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
  • 24 - Roman Quinn
  • 27 - Aaron Nola
  • 30 - David Robertson
  • 35 - Jim Gott CO
  • 38 - Paco Figueroa CO
  • 39 - Bobby Dickerson CO
  • 43 - Nick Pivetta
  • 45 - Chris Young CO
  • 46 - Adam Morgan
  • 48 - Jerad Eickhoff
  • 49 - Jake Arrieta
  • 50 - Hector Neris
  • 51 - Enyel De Los Santos
  • 52 - Jose Alvarez
  • 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 (0)
First Appearances (2):  De Los Santos, Gosselin
Returning Players (28):  Alvarez, Arano, Arrieta, Dominguez, Eflin, Eickhoff, Franco, Harper, Hernandez, Hoskins, Hunter, Kingery, Knapp, McCutchen, Morgan, Neris, Neshek, Nicasio, Nola, Pivetta, Ramos, Realmuto, Robertson, Rodriguez, Quinn, Segura, Velasquez, Williams

I commended the first series checklist for being "wonderfully comprehensive," and unfortunately the pattern didn't continue with the second series.  The set only adds cards for De Los Santos and Gosselin, while dropping cards for Altherr, Butera, Cozens, Herrera, Pazos and Rios.  Altherr, Butera and Pazos are no longer in the Phillies organization, but a case could have been made for keeping in cards for Cozens and Rios.

Also deserving consideration for the set but omitted are Drew Anderson, Austin Davis, Edgar Garcia, Cole Irvin and even Mitch Walding.  I understand the omission of JD Hammer as he was recalled the weekend before the set's release and I'm assuming the cards had already been printed and packaged by then.

No offense to the team's ML Player Information Coordinator, Fuld, or their Manager for Advanced Scouting, Calitri, but I'd rather have cards for any of the omitted pitchers than repeats for them again.  A David Montgomery tribute card also would have been fitting and appropriate.  (One of these days, I'm hoping the Phillies put me in charge of crafting the checklist for these sets!)

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

Rarities:  Updated 7/12/19 - For being a group leader this season, and purchasing at least 100 tickets, the Phillies sent me a "Publication Package" recently that included a 2019 Yearbook, Media Guide, program and photo card set.  Much to my surprise, I realized the photo card set still had a clean seal, unlike the sets currently available at the ballpark from which the Herrera cards had been pulled.  The set sent to me by the Phillies contained not only the missing Herrera card but an Aaron Altherr card.

Altherr was selected off waivers by the Giants on May 11th, over two weeks before these sets went on sale at the ballpark on May 28th.  These two cards should be considered rarities from this issuance and not part of the regular set.
  • 23 - Aaron Altherr
  • 37 - Odubel Herrera
Update (1/25/20):  Fellow collector Rick was sent a photo from Joe Girardi's appearance at the Reading Fightin Phils' Baseballtown Winter Caravan held on January 21st.  Girardi is shown signing photo cards in the style of this set.
  • 25 - Joe Girardi MG

Game 54 - 2019 Phillies Team Issue 2 #16 Cesar Hernandez

Phillies 4Cardinals 3
Game 54 - Tuesday Night, May 28th in Philadelphia
Record - 32-22, 1st place, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Pivetta settled down after a rough first inning and the bullpen threw four shutout innings in this 4-3 win.

What It Means:  The game began after a 50 minute delay and was played through rain on and off throughout the evening.

What Happened:  Pivetta allowed a pair of first inning home runs and dug himself a 3-0 deficit.  The Phillies came back thanks to a pair of doubles from Bryce Harper and a two-run home run (6) from Cesar Hernandez in the fourth.  Hector Neris secured his 12th save.

Featured Card:  The Phillies began selling their second team-issued photo card set of the season on Tuesday night and I'll have a full post on this new set and its checklist soon.

Field Report:  We were there . . . briefly.  Having purchased some standing room only tickets and exchanged a few tickets to an upcoming game we couldn't attend, we justified our early departure given that this was a "bonus" game for us.  We were there long enough to pick up the new team-issued photo card sets and to enjoy the pre-game ceremony, saluting military veterans.  Doug came away empty handed in terms of autographs as no one was signing prior to the game.

Transactions:  On Monday night, Odubel Herrera was arrested in Atlantic City after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.  He was placed on the team's restricted list and MLB will begin the task of determining the length and severity of his punishment.  It's unclear when or if Herrera will return to the Phillies.

Nick Williams took Herrera's place on the active roster.  Enyel De Los Santos was sent to Lehigh Valley to make room for Pivetta.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Revisiting the 2004 Phillies Photo Day - 15 Years Ago Today

The 2004 Phillies Photo Day crowd
The first Phillies Photo Day I attended was back in 1984, and I shared some pictures from that day in a post from five years ago.  My Dad was not a fan of crowds or events with any degree of chaos or disorganization, so naturally he hated Photo Day.  After making our way down to the field for the 1984 event, we never went back again.  It would be 20 years until I'd participate in the crowded and controlled chaos that is Photo Day.

Fast forward to May 29, 2004 when Jenna and I were dating and we were invited by my then employer to attend a Phillies game from the comfort of a suite at the newly opened Citizens Bank Park.  Unbeknownst to us, it was also the first Photo Day at the new ballpark and we decided to casually walk down to the field to take some pictures.  This was pre-kids, pre-Chachi sets and pre-The Phillies Room, so I had no real outlet to share any of these pictures back then.  The pictures I took pretty much sat forgotten until recently when I was looking through the thousands (!) of pictures I had taken over the years at Citizens Bank Park.

I thought the time was right to produce a limited edition insert set to mark the 15th anniversary of this first Photo Day at Citizens Bank Park, and the 16 cards presented here were the best of the bunch.  I had a few other pictures I deemed unusable, such as Chase Utley posing with an unknown female fan, Harry Kalas with his eyes fully closed and a picture featuring only half of Larry Andersen's head.

We hope to return this year to this annual event, even though it's slightly crowded and at times chaotic.

Memory Lane
1984 Photo Day - Hudson, Maddox and Lefebvre
2004 Photo Day - First at Citizens Bank Park
2006 Photo Day - with Rick White
2007 Photo Day - with Shane Victorino
2016 Photo Day - Parts OneTwo and Three
2017 Photo Night - Parts One, Two and Three
2018 Photo Night - Cancelled due to rain

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Series Preview - Cardinals at Phillies: May 28th to May 30th

1971 Topps #435
1971 Topps #465
Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 1:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Cardinals 26-26, 4th place in the N.L. Central, 3 games behind the Cubs
Phillies 31-22, 1st place in the N.L. East, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

Cardinals Probables:  Adam Wainwright (4-4, 4.82), Genesis Cabrera (0-0, 0.00), Dakota Hudson (3-3, 4.22)
Phillies Probables:  Nick Pivetta (2-1, 8.35), Aaron Nola (5-0, 4.53), Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 3.86)

At the Ballpark:  It's another Throwback Thursday on Thursday afternoon, with the Phillies wearing their retro powder-blue uniforms.

Cardinals Leaders
Average:  Martinez - .304
Runs:  Paul DeJong - 39
Home Runs:  Marcell Ozuna - 14
RBIs:  Marcell Ozuna - 45
Stolen Bases:  Kolten Wong - 7

Wins:  Three tied with - 4
ERA:  Jack Flaherty - 3.77
Strikeouts:  Jack Flaherty - 65
Saves:  Jordan Hicks - 10

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .315
Runs:  Andrew McCutchen - 37
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 13
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 41
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura - 3

Wins:  Three tied with - 5
ERA:  Zach Eflin - 3.02
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 66
Saves:  Hector Neris - 9

Monday, May 27, 2019

First Visit to FNB Field, Home of the Harrisburg Senators

2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #7
While the Phillies were getting destroyed in Milwaukee (see below), we took a two-hour drive along I-76 to Harrisburg for our first official visit to FNB Field, home of the Harrisburg Senators.  The Senators are the Eastern League, Double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.  Our first attempt to attend a Senators game was rained out in mid-April, so for this return trip we were treated to a double header against the Phillies Double-A affiliate, the Reading Fightin Phils.

2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #1
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #2
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #3
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #4
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #5
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #6
We have yet to have a bad minor league ballpark experience, and this was another fantastic venue.  I strategically selected seats behind the Fightin Phils dugout on the third base side and Doug added autographs of several Phillies prospects to his card collection both before and between games.  Top prospects Adam Haseley and Cornelius Randolph were repeat signers and he also added autographs on the cards of Mickey Moniak and Arquimedes Gamboa.

For any players without readily available cards in his collection, or if the players came over more than once, he obtained signatures on Eastern League baseballs.  He had two baseballs to fill with signatures and the willing signers were coaches Tyler Henson and Nelson Prada, catcher Austin Bossart, pitcher Aaron Brown, infielders Gamboa, Jose Gomez, Darrick Hall and Luke Williams, and outfielders Haseley, Moniak and Randolph.

Nationals prospect Bryan Mejia was signing before the first game from a seat in Section 106, and Ben effortlessly added his autograph to his collection.  Ben's autograph hunting is limited to opportunities requiring minimal effort, which is the way I was in my younger days as well.  The Fightin Phils players liberally tossed baseballs into the stands after the bottom of each inning, and we caught balls tossed by Adonis Medina and Austin Listi.

Towards the end of the second game, and completely out of the blue, a ball rolled over the Fightin Phils' dugout roof and landed at my feet.  We were pleasantly surprised to see the ball had been signed by most of the Reading roster in a red sharpie!  Doug has catalogued the signatures and the ball was signed by the following players:  Bossart, Brown, Bailey Falter, Hall, Haseley, Henri Latrigue, Mauricio Llovera, Listi, Medina, Moniak, Randolph, Raul Rivas and Ramon Rosso.  How cool is that!

While the autograph additions were awesome, we also witnessed a double header sweep by the Fightin Phils.  Medina won the first game thanks in part to home runs from Hall and Josh Stephen.  Jose Taveras was masterful on the mount in the second game, throwing five innings of shutout ball in his first Double-A start.  Gamboa went 4 for 7 in the twinbill with two doubles and a triple.

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee . . .

Brewers 9Phillies 1
Game 53 - Sunday Afternoon, May 26th in Milwaukee
Record - 31-22, 1st place, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Brandon Woodruff shut down the Phillies offense and added a pair of RBI hits in this 9-1 loss to the Brewers.

What It Means:  The Phillies finished a tough seven-game road trip against the Cubs and Brewers with a respectable record of 4-3.

What Happened:  The only Phillies hit in this game was a solo home run from Andrew Knapp (1) in the sixth.  Zach Eflin departed after 3 2/3 innings having allowed three runs on six hits.  Vince Velasquez was knocked around in his second relief outing, giving up four runs on five hits in just 2/3 of an inning.  JD Hammer made his big league debut, pitching a scoreless sixth inning.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Game 52 - 2019 Topps Heritage #403 Jake Arrieta

Phillies 7Brewers 2
Game 52 - Saturday Afternoon, May 25th in Milwaukee
Record - 31-21, 1st place, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Jake Arrieta (5-4) threw eight solid innings and the Phillies offense showed some punch in this 7-2 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies are ten games over .500, their high water mark so far this season.  After going for the series sweep this afternoon, and a Monday off day, they'll open a three-game series at home against the Cardinals.  (An off day on Memorial Day?  That's a little disappointing.)

What Happened:  Arrieta allowed five hits and two runs while striking out eight, before yielding to Jose Alvarez to pitch the ninth.  Andrew McCutchen (8), Cesar Hernandez (5), Rhys Hoskins (13) and J.T. Realmuto (8) all homered in the winning effort.

Featured Card:  Arrieta hadn't earned featured card status since back in mid-April, so I'll gladly scan one of his many 2019 baseball cards for this post.

Transactions:  Reliever Pat Neshek landed on the Injured List with right elbow soreness and JD Hammer had his contract selected from Lehigh Valley.  Hammer was one of three players acquired from the Rockies when they originally shipped Neshek to Colorado prior to the 2017 trade deadline.  David Robertson was transferred to the 60-day IL to make room for Hammer on the 40-man roster.

2019 Chachi #43 JD Hammer

John Dale Hammer
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  215
Opening Day Age:  24
Born:  July 12, 1994, Fort Collins, CO
Drafted:  Selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 24th round of the June 2016 draft
Teams:  Phillies 2019
Acquired:  Acquired with Jose Gomez and Alejandro Requena from the Colorado Rockies for Pat Neshek and cash considerations, July 26, 2017

2018 Chachi Preview #2
2018 Choice Phillies Minor
League Top 30 Prospects #26
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2018 Choice Phillies Minor League Top 30 Prospects #26
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  N/A
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
Newest Card Added:  2018 Choice Phillies Minor League Top 30 Prospects #26

1 - Hammer baseball card in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 5/25/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2018 Chachi Preview #2
2019 Chachi #43

2019 Chachi Set Checklist
Virtual Phillies Wall - Featuring Current Active Roster

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Game 51 - 2019 Topps Heritage #149 Vince Velasquez

Phillies 6Brewers 4
Game 51 - Friday Night, May 24th in Milwaukee
Record - 30-21, 1st place, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The bullpen came through and the offense collected some timely hits in this 6-4 series opening win against the Brewers.

What It Means:  The Phillies have been either a game and a half or two games a half ahead of the Braves for the past ten days.  Here's hoping for a prolonged winning streak by the Phillies coupled with a lengthy losing streak for the Braves.

What Happened:  The Phillies and Brewers traded runs and were tied at 4-4 until Andrew McCutchen broke the tie with a clutch sixth inning double.  Rhys Hoskins homered (12) in the seventh for some breathing room.  Scott Kingery had a pair of hits including a double and Bryce Harper had a pair of RBIs.

Starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff was pulled after three innings, having allowed four runs on five hits.  The recently activated Vince Velasquez pitched two scoreless innings followed by scoreless frames from Seranthony Dominguez, Adam Morgan and Hector Neris, who recorded his ninth save.

Featured Card:  It appears as if Velasquez will finally see some time pitching in relief, which is where he may be best suited.  So far this year, he's had baseball card appearances in Topps Heritage and the Topps retail Phillies team set.

Transactions:  Velasquez was activated from the Injured List, taking Drew Anderson's spot on the roster.  Anderson collected some more frequent flyer miles with his trip back to Lehigh Valley.