Thursday, October 14, 2021

Phillies Name Kevin Long New Hitting Coach

2009 Topps Heritage #465
On Wednesday afternoon, the Phillies officially announced Kevin Long as their new hitting coach for the 2022 season, their sixth hitting coach since the team's playoff drought began in 2011.  Like Joe Dillon before him, Long is highly regarded in baseball and the hope is he can connect with the Phillies offense better than Dillon and John Mallee before him.

Long has previously served as a hitting coach for the Yankees (2007-2014), Mets (2015-2017) and Nationals (2018-2021).  This will be a Yankees mini-reunion as Phillies manager Joe Girardi, bench coach Rob Thomson and Long all worked together in the Bronx between 2008 and 2014.  Bryce Harper and Long were together in Washington in 2018.

Long was drafted by the Royals in 1989 and spent eight seasons in their minor league system, never reaching the majors.  He appeared on a bunch of minor league baseball cards between 1988 and 2005, both as a player and a minor league coach.  He shares a floating head coach's card in the 2009 Topps Heritage set with Thomson.

With Long's hiring, the Phillies are down to needing an assistant hitting coach and a new infield coach, rumored to be Bobby Dickerson, who was with the Phillies previously in 2019.  Here's a look at the list of Phillies hitting coaches since 1970, with Billy DeMars still the undisputed dean of the group.

  • Billy DeMars 1969-1981 - DeMars also served as first base coach (1969-1972) and third base coach (1972-1979).
  • Deron Johnson 1982-1984 - Johnson also served as first base coach during his coaching tenure.
  • Del Unser 1985-1988 - Unser also served as first base coach (1985-1987).
  • Denis Menke 1989-1996
  • Hal McRae 1997-2000
  • Richie Hebner 2001
  • Greg Gross 2002-2004; 2011-2012
  • Milt Thompson 2005-2011
  • Steve Henderson 2013-2016
  • Matt Stairs 2017
  • John Mallee 2018-2019
  • Charlie Manuel 2019
  • Joe Dillon 2020-2021
  • Kevin Long 2022

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A Look Back at the Phillies Transactions - 2020 to 2021

2021 Topps Heritage #337
2021 Topps Heritage #442
2021 Chachi Departures #2
2021 Topps Heritage #69
2021 Topps Heritage #421

I put together this listing each year for the sake of completeness, and similar to recent years I feel the need to hit Publish and quickly move on for the good of my own mental health.

Departures - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (10/14/20) - Elected free agency, signed with the Oakland Athletics (2/2/21).
  • Trevor Kelley - rhp (10/14/20) - Elected free agency, signed with the Chicago Cubs (12/14/20).
  • Jose Alvarez - lhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (3/6/21).
  • Jake Arrieta - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency, signed with the Chicago Cubs (2/17/21).
  • Jay Bruce - of (10/28/20) - Elected free agency, signed with the New York Yankees (2/12/21).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency, signed with the New York Mets (2/14/21).
  • Brandon Workman - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency, signed with the Chicago Cubs (2/18/21).
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency, signed with the Los Angeles Angels (2/11/21).
  • Heath Hembree - rhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency, singed with the Cleveland Indians (2/5/21).
  • Adam Morgan - lhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency, signed with the Chicago Cubs (2/12/21).
  • Blake Parker - rhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (2/16/21).
  • David Phelps - rhp (10/30/20) - Club option declined, elected free agency, signed with the Toronto Blue Jays (2/11/21).
  • David Robertson - rhp (10/30/20) - Club option declined, elected free agency, signed with the Tampa Bay Rays (8/16/21).
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (12/10/20) - Selected by the Yankees in the minor league portion of the annual rule 5 draft.
  • Garrett Cleavinger - lhp (12/29/20) - Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers with the Phillies receiving Jose Alvarado in exchange from the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Kyle Garlick - of (1/22/21) - Claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves.
  • Victor Arano - rhp (1/22/21) - Claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves.
  • Cole Irvin - lhp (1/30/21) - Traded to the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations.
Coming Back - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Ronald Torreyes - inf (10/15/20) - Elected free agency, re-signed with the Phillies (1/4/21).
  • J.T. Realmuto - c (10/28/20) - Elected free agency, re-signed with the Phillies (1/29/21).
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (10/28/20) - Elected free agency, re-signed with the Phillies (2/10/21).
2021 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs Update #26
2021 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #11
2021 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #3
2021 Topps Allen & Ginter #29
 
2021 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #7

New Additions - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Jose Alvarado - lhp (12/29/20) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays with the Dodgers receiving Garrett Cleavinger in exchange.
  • Neftail Feliz - rhp (1/4/21) - Signed as a free agent.
  • Sam Coonrod - rhp (1/9/21) - Acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Carson Ragsdale.
  • Archie Bradley - rhp (1/18/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Cincinnati Reds.
  • David Paulino - rhp (1/18/21) - Signed as a free agent.
  • Matt Moore -lhp (2/3/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.
  • Chase Anderson - rhp (2/8/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Matt Joyce - of (2/10/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Miami Marlins.
  • Brandon Kintzler - rhp (2/10/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Miami Marlins.
  • Travis Jankowski - of (2/12/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Brad Miller - inf (2/17/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Arrived During the 2021 Season
  • Jorge Bonifacio - of (5/25/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Detroit Tigers.
  • Cam Bedrosian - rhp (7/7/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Oakland Athletics.
  • Hans Crouse - rhp, Kyle Gibson - rhp and Ian Kennedy - rhp (7/30/21) - Acquired from the Texas Rangers with cash for Josh Gessner, Kevin Gowdy and Spencer Howard.
  • Freddy Galvis - inf (7/30/21) - Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles for Tyler Burch.
Departed During the 2021 Season
  • David Hale - rhp (6/27/21) - Granted free agency.
  • Neftali Feliz - rhp (7/3/21) - Granted free agency, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (7/5/21).
  • Spencer Howard - rhp (7/30/21) - Traded to the Texas Rangers with Josh Gessner and Kevin Gowdy for Hans Crouse, Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy and cash.
  • Brandon Kintzler - rhp (8/2/21) - Released.
  • Chase Anderson - rhp (8/27/21) - Released, signed with the Texas Rangers (8/31/21).
  • Vince Velasquez - rhp (9/12/21) - Released, signed with the San Diego Padres (9/15/21).
  • Enyel De Los Santos - rhp (9/13/21) - Selected off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Matt Joyce - of (9/26/21) - Released.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

2021 Chachi #68 Seranthony Dominguez


#58
Seranthony Ambioris Dominguez
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  225
Opening Day Age:  26
Born:  November 25, 1994, Esperanza, DR
How Obtained:  Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent, October 6, 2011
Contract Status:  Arbitration eligible in 2022, free agency eligible in 2025
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 2018-2019, 2021
First Phillies Card:  2018 Phillies Team Issue 2 #58
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2016 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #5
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  2018 Phillies Team Issue 2 #58

Newest Card Added:  2020 Topps Total #155

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (2):  2018-2019

16 - Dominguez baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 10/4/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2018 Chachi #36
2018 Chachi Phillies Phestival #10 - with Edubray Ramos
2019 Chachi #19
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #15 - with Edubray Ramos and Juan Nicasio
2019 Chachi Friendly Encounters #16
2019 Chachi Photo Night #15
2021 Chachi #68

Seranthony Dominguez was recalled on October 2nd, pitching a scoreless inning in the final game of the season.  He had last appeared on a big league mound on June 15, 2019, before missing 2 1/2 years following Tommy John surgery.
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Monday, October 4, 2021

Game 162 - Bring on the 2022 Season!

2021 Chachi #69

Marlins 5
, Phillies 4
Game 162 - Sunday Afternoon, October 3rd in Miami
Record - 82-80, 2nd Place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies lost the final game of the season as several players appeared with the club for perhaps the final time.

What It Means:  Celebrating my birthday, we watched the end of this game at my sister Carol's house and I was grateful to spend the the day with my family.  The time spent with family was wonderful.  The experience of watching the Phillies drop one last game of 2021, not so much.

What Happened:  It was a bullpen game with Bailey Falter starting things off, and allowing three runs in his two innings of work.  Hector Neris took the loss despite a history-making strikeout (see below).  Freddy Galvis and Andrew McCutchen both homered.  Bryce Harper doubled and recorded his 100th walk of the season.  He joined an elite list of outfielders with 40 doubles, 35 home runs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in a season:  Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Barry Bonds.  Harper finished the season with the highest OPS in the majors (1.044).

Featured Card:  Hector Neris, who enters free agency this offseason, recorded his 520th strikeout in the fifth inning, getting Jazz Chisolm to swing and miss on a ball in the dirt.  The strikeout moved him past Ron Reed on the franchise's all-time strikeout list by relief pitchers.

Transactions:  Before the game, it was announced that Joe Dillon (hitting coach) and Juan Castro (infield coach) would not have their contracts renewed.  Pedro Guerrero (assistant hitting coach) is also essentially gone as the new hitting coach will have the ability to hire his own assistant.  Because the Phillies didn't produce team-issued photo cards in either 2020 or 2021, Dillon and Castro have no baseball cards to mark their short time on the team's coaching staff.  Guerrero appeared in all four team-issued photo card sets released in 2018 and 2019.

Memory Lane - Game 162
And just like that, my 13th year of chronicling the day-to-day activities of the Phillies, for better and for worse, is in the books.  Honestly, this year was a grind at times as my other blogs (1956 Topps, 1965 Topps, 1934-36 Diamond Stars) proved to be a much more enjoyable daily respite than the 2021 Phillies did.  Still, I have no plans of stopping this daily diversion and I remain hopeful the club will see postseason action in 2022.  Thank you for reading, thank you for your comments and Go Phils!
  1. October 4, 2009 - Catcher Paul Hoover singled in the winning run in the 10th in a 7-6 win over the Marlins.
  2. October 3, 2010 - The Phillies lost 8-7 to the Braves in their final tune-up before facing the Reds in the NLDS.
  3. September 28, 2011 - The Phillies closed out the 2011 regular season with a 13-inning victory against the Braves, setting a franchise record with their 102nd regular season win.
  4. October 3, 2012 - The Phillies closed out their 2012 season with a lethargic 5-1 loss to the N.L. East Champion Nationals.
  5. September 29, 2013 - Zach Miner got the ball for the Phillies and lasted 2 1/3 innings in a 12-5 loss to the Braves.
  6. September 28, 2014 - Cole Hamels pitched another fine game and suffered through another outing with minimal run support.
  7. October 4, 2015 - Phillies avoid 100 losses and Ichiro makes his pitching debut in a 7-2 victory.
  8. October 2, 2016 - Phillies bid an emotional farewell to franchise icon Ryan Howard.
  9. October 1, 2017 - Phils clobber Mets in Pete Mackanin's final game as manager.
  10. September 30, 2018 - Lame duck Phillies win season finale in Gabe Kapler's frustrating debut season.
  11. September 29, 2019 - Phillies miss postseason for 8th year in a row, Brad Miller finishes the season red hot.
  12. September 27, 2020 - Shortened 60-game season ends with Phillies swept out by the Rays.
  13. October 3, 2021 - Hector Neris sets Phils' reliever strikeout record in the 10th straight season without postseason baseball.
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Game 161 - 2021 Choice Reading Fightin Phils Update #8 Kyle Dohy

Marlins 3
, Phillies 1
Game 161 - Saturday Night, October 2nd in Miami
Record - 82-79, 2nd Place, 5 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies offense collected eight singles and struck out 15 times as they prepared to enter the 2021-2022 offseason.

What It Means:  Unfortunately, this was another forgettable game in a long list of forgettable games from the 2021 season.

What Happened:  Hans Crouse received his second big league start and pitched four innings, allowing three runs on just two hits and three walks.  Cristopher Sanchez pitched three shut out innings in relief.  Freddy Galvis had a pair of hits, but the overall offense went 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Kyle Dohy made his major league debut, pitching a scoreless eighth inning after having trouble finding the plate over his first few batters.  He allowed a hit, a walk and recorded his first strikeout against Lewis Brinson.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Game 160 - 2019 Topps Total #663 Ranger Suarez

Phillies 5
, Marlins 0
Game 160 - Friday Night, October 1st in Miami
Record - 82-78, 2nd Place, 4 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Ranger Suarez concluded his amazing season with seven more shutout innings, as the Phillies defeated the Marlins, 5-0.

What It Means:  With the win, the Phillies secured their first winning season since 2011.

What Happened:  Suarez scattered six hits over his outing while striking out nine and improving his season record to 8-5.  Per this Tweet from Ryan Spaeder, Suarez's ERA of 1.36 is the lowest in history by a pitcher with at least 10 games started and 20 games in relief.  That's incredible.  Bryce Harper recovered from his rough series in Atlanta to go 3 for 5 with a single, double, home run and two RBIs.  Matt Vierling added his second home run of the season in the ninth. 

Featured Card:  I love that I'm running out of Suarez cards to feature and I'm hoping Topps took notice of his performance this season, giving him some cardboard appreciation in their 2022 releases.  This is his Topps Total card from 2019, and to date Suarez hasn't appeared on any baseball cards in 2021, with the exception of a recent Topps Now appearance which I don't yet have in hand.

2021 Chachi #66 Kyle Dohy


#71
Kyle Kent Dohy
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Left  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  202
Opening Day Age:  24
Born:  September 17, 1996, Arcadia, CA
How Obtained:  Selected by Phillies in the 16th round of the June 2017 amateur player draft
Major League Teams:  N/A
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2017 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #7
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A

Newest Card Added:  2021 Choice Reading Fightin Phils Update #8

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (0):  N/A

8 - Dohy baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 10/1/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2021 Chachi #66

Kyle Dohy had his contract selected from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on September 25th.  Prior to the start of the final series of the season against the Marlins, Dohy had been on the active roster for five games but had yet to make his big league debut.  He's appeared in eight different Phillies minor league team sets dating back to 2017, the year Dohy was drafted.

2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Friday, October 1, 2021

Series Preview - Phillies at Marlins: October 1st to October 3rd

1986 Topps #420
2021 Chachi Fan Favorites #15

Friday 7:10, Saturday 6:10, Sunday 3:10

loanDepot park - Miami, FL

At the Ballpark:  On Saturday, there's postgame fireworks and on Sunday all fans will receive a 2022 Marlins schedule magnet, while the first 5,000 kids will receive a bat and ball set.  On Monday, the long offseason begins.

Phillies 81-78
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 5 1/2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Ranger Suarez (7-5, 1.45)
TBD
Zack Wheeler (14-10, 2.78)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .305
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 99
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 34
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 82
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto - 13

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 14
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.78
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 247
Saves:  Hector Neris - 12
Marlins 65-94
Tied for 4th Place in the N.L. East, 21 1/2 games behind the Braves

Marlins Probables
Sandy Alcantara (9-14, 3.09)
Jesus Luzardo (3-5, 6.92)
Trevor Rogers (7-8, 2.64)

Marlins Leaders
Average:  Miguel Rojas - .263
Runs:  Jazz Chisolm - 69
Home Runs:  Jesus Aguilar and Adam Duvall - 22
RBIs:  Jesus Aguilar - 93
Stolen Bases:  Jazz Chisolm - 23

Wins:  Sandy Alcantara - 9
ERA:  Sandy Alcantara - 3.09
Strikeouts:  Sandy Alcantara - 195
Saves:  Yimi Garcia - 15
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Game 159 - 2011 Chachi #69 NLDS Game 5

Braves 5
, Phillies 3
Game 159 - Thursday Night, September 30th in Atlanta
Record - 81-78, 2nd Place, 5 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies fell somewhat quietly yet again, getting swept by the Braves and being eliminated from postseason contention, prolonging their playoff drought to 10 years.

What It Means:  Phillies fans, myself included, are wiped out.  I can't say for sure how much of this upcoming Marlins series I'll even watch.  There's so much work that needs to be done this offseason to make this team into more of a contender, and ten years of false starts and dashed hopes is way too long for a team that seemingly has money to spend.  I'm going to miss watching Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, Ranger Suarez, Zack Wheeler, Hector Neris and Matt Vierling play, but I need a break from the rest of them.

What Happened:  The Braves held a seemingly insurmountable lead after six innings, having scored five runs off Phillies starter Kyle Gibson, making his last start of the season.  Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run in the seventh and J.T. Realmuto hit a meaningless solo home run in the eighth.  Harper, who carried this team for almost all of the season, went 0 for 11 in the series with five strikeouts.

Featured Card:  In a few short days, we'll hit the 10-year anniversary of the last time the Phillies played a postseason game.  It was a painful loss in Game 5 of the NLDS on October 7, 2011, as Chris Carpenter out dueled Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard had to be helped off the field after rupturing his Achilles while running to first base for the game's final out.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Game 158 - 2021 Bowman #40 Aaron Nola

Braves 7
, Phillies 2
Game 158 - Wednesday Night, September 29th in Atlanta
Record - 81-77, 2nd Place, 4 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies continued their zombie-like march towards the offseason with another lifeless loss in Atlanta.

What It Means:  The Braves' magic number to clinch the division title is one.

What Happened:  Aaron Nola allowed three runs on seven hits over his final six innings of the 2021 season.  Relievers Jose Alvarado and Hector Neris were charged with four more runs in the seventh.  Max Fried and two Braves relievers held the Phillies to five hits.

Featured Card:  Nola had a fairly miserable season and he finishes with a 9-9 record and a 4.63 ERA over 32 starts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Game 157 - 2016 Topps Phillies #PP-17 Charlie Morton

Braves 2
, Phillies 1
Game 157 - Tuesday Night, September 28th in Atlanta
Record - 81-76, 2nd Place, 3 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  In a game the Phillies absolutely had to win to keep their postseason hopes alive, they went down quietly, collecting three singles, in this 2-1 loss to the Braves.

What It Means:  The season is on life support.

What Happened:  Zack Wheeler pitched well, but it didn't matter.  He allowed two third inning runs and the Phillies offense couldn't respond.  The Phillies had their chances, but they left seven runners on base and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.  Their final chance to score came in the ninth when Bryce Harper walked and Matt Vierling reached on an error by left fielder Eddie Rosario.  Andrew McCutchen was intentionally walked to load the bases and Didi Gregorius brought Harper home with a sacrifice fly.  With two outs and runners on the corners, Freddy Galvis battled through an eight-pitch at-bat only to strike out swinging.

Featured Card:  Charlie Morton improved to 14-6 with his seven shutout innings against the Phillies, allowing three hits while striking out 10.

Transactions:  Connor Brogdon (rhp) was activated from the injured list and Alec Bohm (3b) was recalled.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) and Luke Williams (inf) were both optioned to Lehigh Valley.

2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Series Preview - Phillies at Braves: September 28th to September 30th

1986 Topps #95
1986 Topps #600

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 7:20

Truist Park - Atlanta, GA

At the Ballpark:  On Tuesday night, the first 15,000 fans will receive a Brian McCann bobblehead and on Thursday night, the first 15,000 fans will receive an Austin Riley bobblehead.

The Braves' magic number to clinch the division is five, so essentially the Phillies need to go on a six-game winning streak to give them a shot at the postseason.

Phillies 81-75
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Zack Wheeler (14-9, 2.79)
Aaron Nola (9-8, 4.64)
Kyle Gibson (4-5, 4.87)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .313
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 98
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 34
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 82
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto - 13

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 14
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.79
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 240
Saves:  Hector Neris - 12
Braves 83-72
1st Place in the N.L. East, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies

Braves Probables
Charlie Morton (13-6, 3.53)
Max Fried (13-7, 3.12)
Ian Anderson (8-5, 3.60)

Braves Leaders
Average:  Austin Riley - .303
Runs:  Freddie Freeman - 117
Home Runs:  Austin Riley - 32
RBIs:  Ozzie Albies - 103
Stolen Bases:  Ozzie Albies - 18

Wins:  Max Fried and Charlie Morton - 13
ERA:  Max Fried - 3.12
Strikeouts:  Charlie Morton - 203
Saves:  Will Smith - 35
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

2021 Chachi #67 Hans Crouse


#51
Hans Michael Crouse
Starting Pitcher

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'4"  Weight:  180
Opening Day Age:  22
Born:  September 15, 1998, Dana Point, CA
How Obtained:  Acquired from the Texas Rangers with Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy for Josh Gessner, Kevin Gowdy and Spencer Howard, July 30, 2021
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 2021
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Minor League Card:  2021 Choice Reading Fightin Phils Update #6
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A

Newest Card Added:  2021 Choice Reading Fightin Phils Update #6

Topps Flagship Set Appearances (0):  N/A

1 - Crouse baseball card in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 9/26/21.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2021 Chachi #10
2021 Chachi Friendly Encounters #4

Hans Crouse joined the Phillies organization from the Spencer Howard trade, and he had been one of the top pitching prospects in the Rangers' system.  He pitched well for Double-A Reading, going 2-2 with a 2.73 ERA over six starts and striking out 38 over 29 2/3 innings pitched.  He made one start for the Triple-A IronPigs and was touched for three runs in 4 1/3 innings.  Crouse was the surprise starting pitcher in the Phillies regular season home finale on Sunday afternoon.  Following the game, I believe my oldest son Doug was the recipient of the first autograph signed by Crouse as a Major League ballplayer as Doug had him sign a foul ball he had tracked down during the first inning.
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Monday, September 27, 2021

Game 156 - Fan Appreciation Day Doesn't Deliver Much Appreciation


Pirates 6
, Phillies 0
Game 156 - Sunday Afternoon, September 26th in Philadelphia
Record - 81-75, 2nd Place, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies went down quietly in their final regular season home game of the 2021 season.

What It Means:  It all comes down to the final six games.  The Phillies and Brave face off in Atlanta for three games beginning on Tuesday night with the Braves holding a 2 1/2 game lead in the division.  The Phillies then head to Miami for a final series while the Braves will take on the Mets at home.

What Happened:  Hans Crouse got the call as the team's surprise starter and he made his big league debut.  On the first pitch he threw, Pirates second baseman Cole Tucker drilled a home run that banged off the right field foul ball.  Crouse, who settled down after that, combined with Cristopher Sanchez and Cam Bedrosian to keep the Padres from scoring again through six innings.  Unfortunately, the Phillies couldn't get anything together either.  In the seventh, Jose Alvarado endured a nightmare inning with the following sequence:  walk, balk, ground out, intentional walk, wild pitch, double, intentional walk, fly out.  The Pirates would tack on three more runs after that.  The Phillies offense had six hits and left nine runners on base.

Featured Card/Field Report:  All four of us enjoyed (?) this game from the Diamond Club with the pregame meals of choice being Bull's BBQ (one more time) for Doug and me and Pass and Stowe for Jenna and Ben.  As he did in 2019, Bryce Harper came out onto the field before the first pitch and addressed the fans, thanking us for our dedication.  Once in our seats, Doug added the third foul ball of the season to his collection!  He alertly picked up a foul ball thrown by Crouse and launched behind us off the bat of Bryan Reynolds after it had caromed down from the section above us.

Doug and I briefly met up with our friend and fellow collector Steve, Ben got to say hello to the Phillie Phanatic for the first time in two years and at least the weather was perfect.  We lingered after the final pitch and Doug noticed the newest Phillies pitcher Crouse by the dugout meeting with his family.  Crouse signed Doug's foul ball and the day was deemed a success, despite the product on the field.  I have to imagine that's the first autograph Crouse signed as a big league ballplayer.  Best case scenario, we return to the ballpark the second week of October for the divisional series against the Brewers.  Worst case scenario, we're back on April 8th when the Phillies open the 2022 season against the Athletics.

Transaction:  Crouse (rhp) had his contract selected from Lehigh Valley and Matt Joyce (of) was designated for assignment.

2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Game 155 - 2018 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs #CPA-RS Ranger Suarez

Phillies 3
, Pirates 0
Game 155 - Saturday Afternoon, September 26th in Philadelphia
Record - 81-74, 2nd Place, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Ranger Suarez pitched a gem, throwing his first career complete game shutout in this 3-0 win over the Pirates.

What It Means:  Suarez pitched a Maddux - a complete game shutout in less than 100 pitches - and became the first Phillies pitcher to do so since Kyle Kendrick in 2012.

What Happened:  Matt Vierling hit his first career home run in the third, followed by Bryce Harper hitting his 34th home run of the season a few batters later.  In the fifth, Brad Miller singled home Jean Segura to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead.  That was plenty of run support for Suarez.

Featured Card:  Suarez allowed four hits while striking out seven and walking none, throwing 97 pitches.  His baseball card appearances have been spotty over the past four years, and he should at least receive a Topps Now card today for his efforts.  I'd also hope to see him all over the 2022 Topps releases.

Field Report:  Doug and I made it two games in a row, watching Suarez's masterful performance from the Diamond Club.  With Doug's fall ball season in full swing, we arrived late to this game (in the second inning) and it seemed as if we spent more time waiting in line for crab fries and then trying to navigate our exit from the parking lot after the game, than we actually spent sitting in our seats watching Suarez deal.  This was the most crowded and most electric crowd I've seen at the ballpark in quite some time.


Transactions:  Kyle Dohy (lhp) had his contract purchased from Lehigh Valley and Archie Bradley (rhp) was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain.  To make room for Dohy on the 40-man roster, Matt Moore (lhp) was moved to the 60-day IL.

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Game 154 - 2021 Topps Gypsy Queen #141 Didi Gregorius

Phillies 8
, Pirates 6
Game 154 - Friday Night, September 24th in Philadelphia
Record - 80-74, 2nd Place, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies once again battled back from a deficit to dramatically win another game while gaining a half game on the Braves.

What It Means:  The Phillies have won eight of their last 10 and the upcoming Braves series will actually mean something.

What Happened:  Phillies starter Kyle Gibson cruised through the first three innings, but faltered in the fourth, allowing four runs.  Ironically enough he had hit his first career home run in the bottom of the third, and I worried he'd be too amped up when he returned to the mound.  Trailing 4-1, the Phillies got within a run when Brad Miller hit a solo home run in the fourth and Bryce Harper delivered a RBI-double in the fifth.  They tied the game on a sixth inning wild pitch from Pirates reliever Nick Mears, and took the lead on another clutch pinch-hit from Ronald Torreyes.

Reliever Cam Bedrosian recorded the team's 34th blown save in the seventh, tying the major league record held by the 2004 Rockies.  Now down 6-5, with two runners on, two outs and no real options off the bench, the struggling Didi Gregorius stepped to the plate.

Featured Card:  Gregorius launched a three-run home run to right center field, giving the Phillies an 8-6 lead.  Hector Neris battled in the seventh and eighth to keep the Pirates off the board, and then Ian Kennedy locked down his ninth save.

Field Report:  Doug and I enjoyed the beginning of this game from our seats in Section 115.  We admittedly decided to leave early as Doug had an early morning baseball game on Saturday.  So we missed the late heroics, but we did get to see a marriage proposal a few rows in front of us in Section 116.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Game 153 - 2019 Topps #537 Ronald Torreyes

Phillies 12
, Pirates 6
Game 153 - Thursday Night, September 23rd in Philadelphia
Record - 79-74, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were able to overcome an early 6-0 deficit, as the bats came alive in this 12-6 romp over the Pirates.

What It Means:  Per this Tweet from Stats by STATS, this was the third time in September the Phillies came back from being down six runs or more to win, which is the most by any team in any month in the modern era of baseball.  The Braves lost their game to the Diamondbacks, meaning the Phillies moved up a game in the standings.

What Happened:  Aaron Nola dug the team an early hole, allowing five second inning runs and giving up a sixth run in the third inning.  But the Phillies scored five runs of their own in the bottom of the third, with a solo home run from Didi Gregorius, followed by RBIs from Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen and Brad Miller.  In the bottom of the sixth, the Phillies took the lead for good on a dramatic, pinch-hit three-run home run from Ronald Torreyes.  They piled on after that with J.T. Realmuto adding a two-run home run in the seventh and a two-run single in the eighth.  New Pirates reliever Enyel De Los Santos surrendered the single to Realmuto.

Featured Card:  I'm hopeful Torreyes gets a Phillies card in the Topps Update set and as of right now, his most recent baseball card can be found in the 2019 Topps set back when he was with the Twins.

Transaction:  Cristopher Sanchez (lhp) was recalled from Lehigh Valley and Matt Moore (lhp) was placed on the injured list with a low back strain.

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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Series Preview - Pirates at Phillies: September 23rd to September 26th

1986 Topps Traded #120T
1986 Topps #326

Thursday and Friday 7:05, Saturday 4:05, Sunday 1:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  Hard to believe Harry, but this is the final home series of the 2021 season unless the Phillies can somehow squeak their way into the play-off picture.  Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day and the team's website promises "prizes and surprises all game long," as well as a 2022 schedule magnet for all fans.

Pirates 57-94
5th Place in the N.L. Central, 33 1/2 games behind the Brewers

Pirates Probables
Connor Overton (0-0, 0.00)
TBD
Wil Crowe (4-7, 5.77)
Max Kranick (1-3, 7.28)

Pirates Leaders
Average:  Brian Reynolds - .295
Runs:  Brian Reynolds - 85
Home Runs:  Bryan Reynolds - 24
RBIs:  Bryan Reynolds - 88
Stolen Bases:  Ke'Bryan Hayes - 8

Wins:  Chris Stratton - 6
ERA:  N/A
Strikeouts:  JT Brubaker - 129
Saves:  Chris Stratton - 6
Phillies 78-74
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 3 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Aaron Nola (8-8, 4.48)
Kyle Gibson (4-5, 4.76)
Ranger Suarez (6-5, 1.60)
TBD

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .314
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 95
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 33
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 80
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto - 13

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 14
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.79
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 240
Saves:  Hector Neris - 12
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Game 152 - 2021 Topps Allen & Ginter #207 Uncle Larry

Phillies 4
, Orioles 3
Game 152 - Wednesday Night, September 22nd in Philadelphia
Record - 78-74, 2nd Place, 3 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A few late-inning clutch hits delivered the win for the Phillies as they maintained their three-game deficit behind the Braves.

What It Means:  The Phillies took two out of three from the worst team in baseball and they'll open a four-game series against the Pirates tonight.  The Pirates, at 57-94, are the second worst team in the National League.

What Happened:  The game was scoreless until the sixth inning, which was extremely frustrating given the Orioles starting pitcher (Keegan Akin) had a 6.93 ERA coming into the game.  Zack Wheeler battled through six innings, allowing a run on four hits.  The Phillies took a brief 2-1 lead thanks to a two-run home run from Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the sixth.  In the seventh, the Phillies took the lead for good when Jean Segura hit a sacrifice fly to score Matt Vierling and then J.T. Realmuto singled home Brad Miller.  Ian Kennedy made the ninth inning interesting with a pair of walks, before retiring the Orioles and recording his ninth save.

Featured Card:  Here's another card of McCutchen's alter ego, Uncle Larry, from the recent Topps Allen & Ginter release.

Transaction:  Travis Jankowski (of) was activated from the injured list and Damon Jones (lhp) was optioned to Lehigh Valley.

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Game 151 - Phils Still Have a Heartbeat

2021 Topps 1986 Topps Chrome
Baseball Silver Pack Promo #86TC-19
Phillies 3
, Orioles 2 (10 Innings)
Game 151 - Tuesday Night, September 21st in Philadelphia
Record - 77-74, 2nd Place, 3 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies barely squeaked by the Orioles, winning in the 10th inning on two-run triple from J.T. Realmuto.

What It Means:  So you're saying there's a chance?

What Happened:  Adonis Medina started for the Phillies, becoming the 16th different pitcher to make a start for the club, tying the franchise record for second most starting pitchers used in a season.  The 1946 Phillies, per this Matt Gelb Tweet, used 19 starting pitchers.  Medina pitched well, allowing a run on four his over 3 2/3 innings pitched.  The Phillies tied the game in the sixth when Andrew McCutchen doubled home Realmuto.  Despite the ultimate outcome, it was another frustrating night for the Phillies offense as they went 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position, stranding nine runners.

The Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the 10th, when Austin Hays doubled home ghost runner Kelvin Gutierrez.  But the Phillies came back in the bottom half of the inning.  With two outs and Ronald Torreyes at second, the Orioles intentionally walked Bryce Harper to get to Realmuto.  Realmuto tripled to right, scoring Torreyes to tie the game and Harper, with a fantastic slide, scored the winning run.

Featured Card:  Realmuto gets the card here for his game-winning heroics.  There's a lot going on here on this super shiny and ridiculously named Topps Chrome card.

Game 150 - 2021 Choice Reading Fightin Phils Update #1 Bryson Stott

Orioles 2
, Phillies 0
Game 150 - Monday Night, September 20th in Philadelphia
Record - 76-74, 2nd Place, 3 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies, in desperate need of a win, were shut out by the Orioles, the worst team in baseball.

What It Means:  Maybe I'm completely wrong here, and I hope I am, but the Phillies don't seem like a team that should be playing in the postseason.

What Happened:  Orioles starter John Means pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed four Phillies singles.  Ranger Suarez turned in another effective outing, allowing two runs over six innings pitched while striking out five.

Featured Card:  In a pregame ceremony, third baseman Bryson Stott and pitcher Jean Cabrera were honored as the organization's annual recipients of the Paul Owens Award, given to the best position player and pitcher in the team's minor league system.  Stott could be up with the Phillies as soon as next season and he's already received his fair share of baseball cards.  To date, I don't have any cards of Cabrera in my collection and the 19-year-old righty spent the season with the DSL Phillies.


Field Report:  Jenna and I attended this game, our first game together without kids, since 2019.  While we enjoyed each other's company, the game itself was a dud.  The ballpark was mostly quiet and empty.

Transaction:  Luke Williams (inf) was activated from the Covid injured list and Mickey Moniak (of) was optioned to Lehigh Valley.  To make room for Williams on the 40-man roster, Tyler Phillips (rhp) was designated for assignment.  (Phillips would be released on Tuesday.)

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Monday, September 20, 2021

Series Preview - Orioles at Phillies: September 20th to September 22nd

1986 Topps #548
1986 Topps #16

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  There's a rare September Dollar Dog Night tonight at the ballpark.  On Tuesday night, and from the Phillies website:  Temple Health and the Phillies are teaming up to help students - and adults - have a safe return to school by offering free "Back to School" COVID-19 vaccinations at the Suite Patio.  Guests must be at least 12 years of age to be eligible to receive the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.  Those who receive their vaccines at this event will receive a voucher for two free tickets to a 2022 Phillies game, a concession credit voucher for a free hot dog and soda, and a Phillies giveaway. 

Orioles 47-102
5th Place in the A.L. East, 44 1/2 games behind the Rays

Orioles Probables
John Means (5-7, 3.41)
Chris Ellis (0-0, 2.82)
Keegan Akin (2-10, 6.93)

Orioles Leaders
Average:  Cedric Mullins - .301
Runs:  Cedric Mullins - 88
Home Runs:  Ryan Mountcastle - 30
RBIs:  Ryan Mountcastle - 83
Stolen Bases:  Cedric Mullins - 30

Wins:  Matt Harvey - 6
ERA:  N/A
Strikeouts:  John Means - 118
Saves:  Cesar Valdez - 8
Phillies 76-73
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables
Ranger Suarez (6-4, 1.50)
TBD
Zack Wheeler (14-9, 2.83)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .313
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 93
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 33
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 80
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 13

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 14
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.83
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 231
Saves:  Hector Neris - 12
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Game 149 - Phils Fall Short Against Mets

2020 Topps Future Stars Club
June 2020 Exclusive Set #1
Mets 3
, Phillies 2
Game 149 - Sunday Night, September 19th in Flushing
Record - 76-73, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A Jeff McNeil solo home run in the seventh was the difference in this game as the Phils lost the series finale to the Mets, 3-2.

What It Means:  The Phillies open a crucial seven-game homestand tonight against the Orioles (47-102) and then the Pirates (56-93).  They've put themselves in a position where they need to win the majority (if not all) of these games in order to stay in the playoff hunt.  A three game series with the first place Braves in Atlanta is on the horizon next week.

What Happened:  With a short bullpen, manager Joe Girardi pushed starter Kyle Gibson into the seventh inning and that's where he faltered.  McNeil homered to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead which ended up being the final score.  Gibson went 6 2/3 innings, allowing the three runs on seven hits.

The Phillies offense had its chances, leaving 10 runners on base.  J.T. Realmuto doubled home Bryce Harper in the first for the game's first run.  Harper hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in the fifth for their second run.  In the ninth, with Freddy Galvis as the tying run at first, Harper flied out to left off Mets' closer Edwin Diaz to end the game.

Featured Card:  Harper can't continue to carry the team, and it would be great if someone else other than Harper (or Jean Segura for that matter) got hot at this point.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Game 148 - 2021 Topps Now #719 Jean Segura

Phillies 5
, Mets 3
Game 148 - Saturday Night, September 18th in Flushing
Record - 76-72, 2nd Place, 1 game behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies kept their momentum going, as Jean Segura and Bryce Harper led the team to a 5-3 win over the Mets.

What It Means:  With the Braves losing again in San Francisco to Gabe Kapler's Giants, the Phillies are now a game out of first place.

What Happened:  Segura accounted for the first two runs of the game with solo home runs in the first and third.  The Phillies added three more runs in the seventh when Freddy Galvis doubled home Brad Miller, and then Harper doubled home Galvis and Odubel Herrera.

Aaron Nola earned the win, pitching 5 2/3 innings while allowing a run on four hits.  Ian Kennedy pitched a perfect ninth inning to seal the win and notch his eighth save with the Phils.

Featured Card:  Segura has been huge for the Phillies all season, and he's a big reason why they're now within striking distance of first place with 13 games to go.  Most of his 2021 baseball cards have come via Topps Now, a good indicator he's been the reason for quite a few Phillies wins.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Game 147 - 2021 Topps Allen & Ginter #264 Didi Gregorius

Phillies 4
, Mets 3
Game 147 - Friday Night, September 17th in Flushing
Record - 75-72, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies hung on to win in New York, inching closer to the Braves in the N.L. East standings.

What It Means:  With the Braves losing a late night game in San Francisco, the Phillies are now only two games behind them for the top spot in the division.

What Happened:  Zack Wheeler didn't have his best stuff, but he battled through five innings, allowing a run on four hits while striking out six.  After Archie Bradley allowed two Mets runs in the eighth, Ian Kennedy was asked to convert a four-out save.  He got out of the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth to send the Phillies to victory.

The Phillies held a 3-1 lead through seven innings courtesy of sacrifice flies from Freddy Galvis and Matt Vierling and a solo home run from Brad Miller.  Didi Gregorius delivered a huge RBI double in the eighth to give the team a much-needed insurance run.

Featured Card:  Gregorius has had an awful season, both with the bat and the glove, so it was great to see him contribute to this win.

Transaction:  Damon Jones (lhp) was recalled from Lehigh Valley and JD Hammer (rhp) was optioned down.

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