Saturday, July 31, 2021

Game 103 - 2021 Bowman Prospects #BP-42 Mick Abel

Pirates 7
, Phillies 0
Game 103 - Friday Night, July 30th in Pittsburgh
Record - 51-52, 2nd Place, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  On trade deadline day, the Phillies suffered one of their worst losses of the year, turning in a lifeless performance against the last place Pirates.

What It Means:  So much for a momentum swing following the dramatic Brad Miller game-winning grand slam on Thursday afternoon.

What Happened:  Vince Velasquez was shelled, pitching two innings and allowing five runs on six hits, and effectively ending his time in the starting pitching rotation.  Bryce Harper lost two balls in the outfield, contributing to the mess.  The Phillies offense had one hit - an Alec Bohm single.  Both Rhys Hoskins and Jean Segura were out of the line-up with nagging injuries.

Featured Card:  There was a complete trading frenzy across Major League Baseball on Friday with the Phillies pulling off three trades of their own.  I'm happiest about the trade that didn't happen, as last year's top draft pick, and currently the Phillies top prospect, Mick Abel was requested by a few teams as a starting point for any blockbuster deals.  Specifically, the Cubs reportedly wanted Abel as part of the return for closer Craig Kimbrel.  The Phillies held their ground and Abel remains in the system, and hopefully he'll fare better than Spencer Howard, the newest Texas Ranger.

Transactions:  In terms of the active roster, Travis Jankowski (of) was activated fro the Covid injured list.  Matt Joyce (of) was moved to the 60-day injured list and Brandon Kintzler (rhp) was designated for assignment.

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

Friday, July 30, 2021

Phillies Trade Deadline Round-Up (Hooray?)

On Friday afternoon, the Phillies pulled the trigger on a trio of trades that will hopefully make them a better team for the rest of this season and potentially beyond.  I don't know enough about the prospects dealt or most of the players received to compose an in-depth analysis, so this post will focus on the baseball cards of the players leaving the organization and the new players who we'll get to know better in the coming months.

2021 Indianapolis Indians
Team Issue
2019 Choice Lakewood
BlueClaws #8

Trade #1 - Warming Up
Phillies acquire Braeden Ogle (lhp) from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Abrahan Gutierrez (c)

This doesn't help the team immediately, but Braeden Ogle is a highly-rated pitching prospect who had yet to appear in the majors with the Pirates.  Drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, Ogle had a 3.13 ERA over 31 2/3 innings pitched this season with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.  To date he's appeared on some pre-rookie cards with Leaf and a few Pirates' minor league team sets.

Abrahan Gutierrez was supposed to head to the Pirates in the aborted Tyler Anderson deal.  He was batting .288 with the Low-A Clearwater Threshers, and I have two of his baseball cards in my collection, both from 2019 Lakewood BlueClaws team sets.

2021 Topps Heritage #224
 
2020 Topps Heritage #213
 
2020 Bowman
Prospects #BP-119
2021 Topps Gypsy Queen #231
 
2019 Choice Lakewood
BlueClaws #7

Trade #2 - The Big One
Phillies acquire Kyle Gibson (rhp), Ian Kennedy (rhp), Hans Crouse (rhp) and cash for Spencer Howard (rhp), Kevin Gowdy (rhp) and Josh Gessner (rhp).

Kyle Gibson was an All-Star this year with the Rangers and in 19 starts he's 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA.  He came up with the Twins in 2013, where he spent the first seven seasons of his career.  Gibson has appeared in six Topps flagship sets beginning in 2013, and then between 2015 and 2020.  He's in the 2021 Topps Heritage set, and I imagine he'll receive an All-Star card in the 2021 Topps Update set.

Veteran Kennedy is in his 15th big league season and in 32 games with the Rangers this year he has a 2.51 ERA with 16 saves.  Kennedy was a 21-game winner with the Diamondbacks in 2011, and he converted to a closer in 2019, saving 30 games for the Royals.  He's appeared in Topps flagship sets most years dating back to 2010, and he appears with the Royals in this year's flagship set.  He could assume the closer role with Ranger Suarez potentially returning to the starting rotation.

Crouse is interesting here, as he's apparently one of the Rangers' top pitching prospects.  His most readily available cards can be found in the 2020 Bowman set.

I'm genuinely sad to see Spencer Howard go, and it's tough to accept he went from the team's top pitching prospect to a complete question mark in such a short span of time.  I have 36 of his cards in my Phillies collection to date, and I'll continue to root for him even if he's wearing a Rangers uniform.  Kevin Gowdy was the Phillies' second round pick (after Mickey Moniak) back in 2016 and Josh Gessner was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Australia.  Gowdy has appeared on a few Bowman and minor league team set cards, and Gessner doesn't have any baseball card appearances yet.

2021 Topps #274
 
2019 Choice Williamsport
Crosscutters #3

Trade #3 - The Reunion
Phillies acquired Freddy Galvis (ss) and cash from the Baltimore Orioles for Tyler Burch (rhp)

The popular Freddy Galvis returns to his original team, where he was the everyday shortstop for three seasons between 2015 and 2017.  Galvis is expected to provide a defensive upgrade to the team's poorly fielding infield.  He's in the 2021 Topps flagships set as well as this year's Topps Heritage set, with the Reds.  I currently have 49 Galvis cards in my Phillies collection and I'm looking forward to adding a few more.  Tyler Burch is a 23-year-old reliever who has played in the Phillies system since 2019.  I have one card of his in my collection from the 2019 Williamsport Crosscutters team set.

Series Preview - Phillies at Pirates: July 30th to August 1st

1986 Topps #686
1986 Topps #278

Friday and Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:05

PNC Park - Pittsburgh, PA

At the Ballpark:  The Pirates have one of the best ballparks in baseball, and their promotional giveaways are always top notch too.  Tonight is Free Shirt Friday, with the first 20,000 fans receiving a yellow "Let's Go Bucs" t-shirt.  On Saturday, the first 20,000 fans will receive a Pirates Hawaiian shirt.  And on Sunday, kids will receive a pack of Topps baseball cards in celebration of the annual Baseball Card Day.

Phillies 51-51
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

Phillies Probables
Vince Velasquez (3-5, 5.54)
Aaron Nola (7-6, 4.37)
TBD

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .306
Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 58
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 23
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 63
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 12

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 8
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.45
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 165
Saves:  Hector Neris - 12
Pirates 38-64
5th Place in the N.L. Central, 22 1/2 games behind the Brewers

Pirates Probables
Wil Crowe (2-5, 5.89)
JT Brubaker (4-10, 4.67)
TBD

Pirates Leaders
Average:  Adam Frazier - .324
Runs:  Adam Frazier - 58
Home Runs:  Bryan Reynolds - 18
RBIs:  Bryan Reynolds - 57
Stolen Bases:  Gregory Polanco - 11

Wins:  Tyler Anderson - 5
ERA:  Tyler Anderson - 4.35
Strikeouts:  JT Brubaker - 99
Saves:  Richard Rodriguez - 14
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Game 102 - 2021 Topps Now #480 Brad Miller

Phillies 11
, Nationals 8 (Game 2 - 8 Innings)
Game 102 - Thursday Afternoon, July 29th in Philadelphia
Record - 51-51, 2nd Place, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Brad Miller hit a stunning extra inning walk-off grand slam to give the Phillies an improbable 11-8 win over the Nationals.

What It Means:  Wow!  The Phillies were down 7-0 after three innings courtesy of emergency starter Cristopher Sanchez, Connor Brogdon and a bunch of errors, but they kept fighting and ultimately came back to win.

What Happened:  Rhys Hoskins homered in the third, with Andrew McCutchen and Alec Bohm going back-to-back with home runs in the fourth, making in 7-3.  McCutchen added an RBI-single in the fifth, making it 7-4.  Down to their final inning, and with two outs, Miller singled, McCutchen walked, Bohm hit an RBI-single to make it 7-5, and then J.T. Realmuto delivered a game-tying two-run single to tie the score.  The Nationals scored their ghost runner in the eighth to give them an 8-7 lead.

Featured Card:  Miller's slam came with Rafael Marchan (ghost runner), Jean Segura (intentionally walked) and pinch-hitter (!) Aaron Nola (walked) on base.  Miller crushed the pitch thrown by reliever Sam Clay and the Phillies had their latest dramatic walk-off win.  Miller has already appeared on two Topps Now cards this season, and I have a feeling he'll get this third for this game.

Field Report:  Full disclosure . . . I did not stay for this entire game.  I'm not proud of this.  Having watched the entire first game, enjoyed the company of a few dozen co-workers, watched the Phillies go down 7-0 in the third inning, and getting the Tornado Watch alert on my phone, I decided it was OK for me to leave early.  I regret my decision, and I'll do better.  Go Phils!

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

Game 101 - 2020 Topps Update #U-86 Josh Harrison

Nationals 3
, Phillies 1 (Game 1 - 7 Innings)
Game 101 - Thursday Afternoon, July 29th in Philadelphia
Record - 50-51

One Sentence Summary:  Max Scherzer, pitching in most likely his final game for the Nationals, out dueled Zack Wheeler in this 3-1 Phillies loss.

What It Means:  The Nationals are in the midst of a Covid outbreak, which led to the cancellation of Wednesday night's game and created the need for this double header.

What Happened:  From a Phillies' fan's standpoint, the only real excitement came in the fourth inning when J.T. Realmuto hit a solo home run to tie the game, 1-1.  Wheeler was cruising until the seventh when he allowed a lead-off double (misplayed by Odubel Herrera) and then a two-run home run to Yan Gomes.  Scherzer and new Nationals closer Kyle Finnegan held the Phillies to just three hits.

Featured Card:  Nationals infielder Josh Harrison could find himself on a new team before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline.  Harrison, who was in spring training with the Phillies last season, went 5 for 8 in the double header to raise his average to .294.  It would have been nice to have had him around the past two seasons.

Field Report:  For the first time since late May, I was in attendance at a Phillies game, joining a work outing with about 100 or so of my co-workers.  After a brief tailgate, I was one of the first among our group to head inside as I wanted to watch the Scherzer-Wheeler match-up.  It was an enjoyable day from the comforts of Section 421.

Transaction:  Rafael Marchan (c) was recalled from Reading and Andrew Knapp (c) was placed on the paternity list.  Additionally, Cristopher Sanchez (lhp) was added as the 27th man for the double header.

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Game 100 - 2021 Topps Gypsy Queen #215 Bryce Harper

Nationals 6
, Phillies 4
Game 100 - Tuesday Night, July 27th in Philadelphia
Record - 50-50, 2nd Place, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Matt Moore allowed two three-run home runs in the first two innings, and the Phillies couldn't overcome that deficit in this 6-4 loss.

What It Means:  The Phillies have a starting pitching problem, and hopefully help is on the way.  But it won't be coming from Pittsburgh - see below.

What Happened:  Moore's struggles continued, although he did settle down enough to pitch a scoreless third and fourth innings.  Didi Gregorius' defensive struggles continued, with two early miscues that prolonged those early innings.  The Phillies' clutch hitting struggles continued, as the team went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine men on base.  The Phillies packed all their excitement into the bottom of the fifth when Bryce Harper circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run and Andrew McCutchen then left the yard for his own home run.

Featured Card:  Harper fell a triple short of the cycle, and his play on the field has been a major factor in the Phillies decision to (hopefully) be buyers in the trade market before Friday afternoon's deadline.

Transaction:  JD Hammer (rhp) was activated from the Covid injured list and Mickey Moniak (of) was sent back down to the IronPigs.

Non-Transaction:  On Tuesday afternoon, multiple sources reported the Phillies had acquired starting pitcher Tyler Anderson (rhp) from the Pirates in exchange for minor-leaguers Abrahan Gutierrez (c) and Cristian Hernandez (rhp).  Both prospects are currently playing with Low-A Clearwater.  There were reports that Anderson would start on Thursday afternoon for the Phillies.  Later Tuesday however, new reports began circulating the deal had hit a snag and right before midnight, it was reported Anderson was on his way to the Mariners for two of their prospects.  So the Phillies actually lost twice on Tuesday and the club woke up on Wednesday morning no closer to solving their starting pitching woes.

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Game 99 - 2021 Topps Opening Day Walk This Way #WW-12 Andrew McCutchen

Phillies 6
, Nationals 5
Game 99 - Monday Night, July 26th in Philadelphia
Record - 50-49, 2nd Place, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Andrew McCutchen hit a dramatic, three-run walk-off home run to give the Phillies a much-needed 6-5 win over the Nationals.

What It Means:  Win of the season?

What Happened:  Spencer Howard started this game, was cruising through three innings and then abruptly imploded in the fourth with two outs.  Howard surrendered back-to-back triples followed by a single and manager Joe Girardi had seen enough.  Howard left with a blister and his final line shows 3 2/3 innings pitched, with four runs allowed on six hits.  The Phillies offense was once again suffering from a lack of clutch hitting when Rhys Hoskins delivered a three-run home run in the sixth to bring the Phillies to within a run.  Archie Bradley allowed a ninth inning run to make it 5-3 Nationals and it appeared as if the Phillies would go quietly into the night.

Jean Segura led off the bottom of the ninth with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and Bryce Harper walked.  McCutchen then launched his 18th home run of the year, an opposite field shot, to give the Phillies a jubilant win.

Featured Card:  This is one of the rarer inserts from this year's Opening Day set, and I thought it would be an appropriate card to feature for McCutchen's big game.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Series Preview - Nationals at Phillies: July 26th to July 29th

1986 Topps #732
1986 Topps #764

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 1:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  Tonight is a rare July Dollar Dog Night at the ballpark.  On Wednesday, all fans will receive a MLB Network Phillies tote bag and kids can run the bases following Thursday's matinee.

Nationals 45-53
4th Place in the N.L. East, 8 games behind the Mets

Nationals Probables
Joe Ross (5-8, 4.02)
Erick Fedde (4-7, 4.88)
Patrick Corbin (6-9, 5.71)
Jon Lester (3-5, 5.02)

Nationals Leaders
Average:  Trea Turner - .319
Runs:  Trea Turner - 65
Home Runs:  Kyle Schwarber - 25
RBIs:  Juan Soto - 55
Stolen Bases:  Trea Turner - 21

Wins:  Max Scherzer - 7
ERA:  Max Scherzer - 2.83
Strikeouts:  Max Scherzer - 142
Saves:  Brad Hand - 20
Phillies 49-49
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 4 games behind the Mets

Phillies Probables
Spencer Howard (0-2, 5.11)
Matt Moore (0-2, 5.79)
Zack Wheeler (8-5, 2.37)
Vince Velasquez (3-5, 5.54)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .309
Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 55
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 21
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 59
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 12

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 8
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.37
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 160
Saves:  Hector Neris - 12
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Game 98 - 2021 Stadium Club #108 Aaron Nola

Phillies 2
, Braves 1
Game 98 - Sunday Afternoon, July 25th in Philadelphia
Record - 49-49, 2nd Place, 4 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola was fantastic, coming within one out of a complete game shutout, in this 2-1 win over the Braves.

What It Means:  The Phillies continued their so-so pace, splitting the series with the Braves.  They'll open a crucial four-game series with the Nationals tonight ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline.  I'm not alone among Phillies fans hoping for a blockbuster trade or two or three.

I listened to (most of) this game while enjoying a slightly overcast day on the beach with my family in Ocean City.

What Happened:  Nola allowed four hits, including a ninth inning solo home run to Austin Riley, while striking out nine batters and improving to 7-6.  Nola threw 116 pitches in the game and Ranger Suarez locked down the final out for his fourth save.  The Phillies couldn't manage much against Braves starter Touki Toussaint, with their first run coming via a solo home run from Jean Segura in the fourth.  Ronald Torreyes homered in the ninth for what turned out to be a crucial insurance run.

Featured Card:  It was great to root for Nola in this game, and I'm still also rooting for him to get vaccinated.

Transaction:  Cristopher Sanchez (lhp) was optioned to Lehigh Valley with Travis Jankowski (of) landing on the Covid-IL.  Chase Anderson (rhp) was activated from the Covid-IL and Mickey Moniak (of) was recalled.

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

Game 97 - Utility Player Torreyes Named Latest Phillies Room Favorite


Braves 15
, Phillies 3
Game 97 - Saturday Night, July 24th in Philadelphia
Record - 48-49, Tied for 2nd Place, 4 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Vince Velasquez managed 53 pitches before getting yanked and the Phillies were demolished by the Braves, 15-3.

What It Means:  We need two, maybe three more starting pitchers if the Phillies are going to be considered serious contenders.

What Happened:  Velasquez was hit early and often, allowing six runs on five hits including two home runs.  Brandon Kintzler lowered his ERA to 6.91 but allowed both of his inherited runners to score.  Enyel De Los Santos gave up four more runs in his mop-up duties, and his ERA is now an unsightly 8.31.  How those three pitchers are still on the Phillies' pitching staff is a mystery to me.  Andre McCutchen had three hits, but the offense overall went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.

Featured Card:  Ronald Torreyes is one of the best things to happen to the Phillies this season.  A surprise addition to the opening day roster, Torreyes has played himself into an everyday job, be it at shortstop or third base.  He's also made appearances at second base and center field, and in this game he made his second pitching appearance of the season.  Torreyes recorded the final five outs of the game, getting hit around a bit in the process, but truly taking one for the team.

Transaction:  The Phillies claimed Tyler Phillips (rhp) off waivers from the Texas Rangers.  Pitching for Double-A and Triple-A this season in the Rangers system, Phillips was 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in nine starts and 10 games overall.

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

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Game 96 - 2021 Stadium Club #174 Bryce Harper

Phillies 5
, Braves 1
Game 96 - Friday Night, July 23rd in Philadelphia
Record - 48-48, 2nd Place, 4 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler's pitching and Bryce Harper's base running willed the Phillies to this 5-1 victory over the Braves.

What It Means:  The important series continues tonight, with the non-waiver trade deadline a week away.

What Happened:  Wheeler scattered seven hits over seven innings of work while striking out eight.  Archie Bradley and Ranger Suarez kept the Braves from scoring in the final two innings.  J.T. Realmuto homered in the first and a Freddie Freeman single in the third tied the score at 1-1.  Jean Segura hit a huge two-out, two-run double in the fourth to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.  Rhys Hoskins added an insurance run in the seventh with an RBI double.

Featured Card:  Harper stole second, third and home in this game, joining an elite group of former Phillies to have accomplished that feat in the past 60 years.  Jayson Werth did it in 2009, Pete Rose in 1980 and Larry Bowa in 1970.

Transaction:  Alec Bohm (3b) was activated from the Covid injured list with Mauricio Llovera (rhp) optioned back to Lehigh Valley.

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

Friday, July 23, 2021

Game 95 - 2021 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #4 Daniel Brito

Braves 7
, Phillies 2
Game 95 - Thursday Night, July 22nd in Philadelphia
Record - 47-48, Tied for 2nd Place, 4 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Matt Moore gave up a third inning grand slam to Dansby Swanson and the Phillies offense continued to sputter in this 7-2 loss to the Braves.

What It Means:  The Phillies have lost three in a row and non-waiver trade deadline is a week away.  At this point, I might request to be traded somewhere else.

What Happened:  Moore is just not the answer.  Sure, he pitched six innings, but he gave up six runs on six hits, including a pair of home runs.  Moore dropped to 0-2 and his ERA is now just below six at 5.79.  The Phils plated their two runs in the seventh on an Odubel Herrera double and a Jean Segura single.  Overall, the offense went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position, stranding eight runners total.

Featured Card:  The current Phillies are making me grumpy, so let's turn our attention to the future Phillies.  Phillies Room Favorite and infield prospect Daniel Brito made his Triple-A debut on Thursday night, hitting a home run in the IronPigs' sixth inning.  This is his most recent baseball card from the extremely busy Reading Fightin Phils team set.

Transaction:  Herrera (of) was activated from the injured list and Nick Maton (inf) was sent back to Lehigh Valley.

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

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Series Preview - Braves at Phillies: July 22nd to July 25th

1986 Topps #776
2021 Chachi 1986 Topps Missing Links #9

Thursday and Friday 7:05, Saturday 6:05, Sunday 1:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  On Sunday, all kids will receive a multi-player Fathead with large removable stickers of Aaron Nola, Bryce Harper and Jean Segura.

Braves 46-48
3rd Place in the N.L. East, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

Braves Probables
Charlie Morton (8-3, 3.69)
Max Fried (7-5, 4.29)
Drew Smyly (7-3, 4.50)
Touki Toussaint (1-0, 1.35)

Braves Leaders
Average:  Freddie Freeman - .284
Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 72
Home Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 24
RBIs:  Ozzie Albies - 63
Stolen Bases:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 17

Wins:  Charlie Morton - 8
ERA:  Ian Anderson - 3.56
Strikeouts:  Charlie Morton - 122
Saves:  Will Smith - 19
Phillies 47-47
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

Phillies Probables
Matt Moore (0-1, 5.25)
Zack Wheeler (7-5, 2.44)
Vince Velasquez (3-4, 5.00)
Aaron Nola (6-6, 4.64)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .287
Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 54
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 21
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 57
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 8

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 7
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.44
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 152
Saves:  Hector Neris - 12
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

Game 94 - 2021 Topps Heritage #106 Spencer Howard IA

Yankees 6
, Phillies 5 (10 Innings)
Game 94 - Wednesday Night, July 21st in New York
Record - 47-47, 2nd Place, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies couldn't capitalize against a Triple-A Yankees bullpen, ultimately dropping this game in 10 innings by a score of 6-5.

What It Means:  The Phillies are a frustrating team to watch.

What Happened:  The offense had plenty of chances, but went 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.  With the game tied 2-2, Hector Neris had a rough seventh inning, allowing three runs on three hits, including a two-run home run by Rougned Odor to put the Yankees up, 5-3.  A two-run single from Luke Williams in the eighth tied the game at 5-5, but the Phillies were unable to score again in the 9th or 10th.  The Yankees finally won in the 10th when Ryan LaMarre singled home Gary Sanchez with the winning run.

Featured Card:  Injuries and lack of vaccinations dictated this to be a bullpen game, and Spencer Howard got the abbreviated start.  He pitched extremely well, giving up a hit and a walk in three scoreless innings of work while striking out a pair.

Transaction:  Howard (rhp) was recalled and Mickey Moniak (of) was sent back down.

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Game 93 - 2021 Topps #537 Aaron Nola

Yankees 6
, Phillies 4
Game 93 - Tuesday Night, July 20th in New York
Record - 47-46, 2nd Place, 2 1/2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  A struggling Aaron Nola, a costly error from Didi Gregorius and two ineffective Phillies relievers all contributed to this 6-4 loss in the Bronx.

What It Means:  The Phillies will go with a bullpen game tonight and try to earn a two-game series split.

What Happened:  Nola was chased in the sixth inning, having allowed four runs on seven hits, including two home runs.  A fifth inning throwing error from Gregorius allowed the Yankees to score the tying run and they didn't look back after that.  Brandon Kintzler (7.66 ERA) and Enyel De Los Santos (6.94 ERA) both allowed additional home runs in their sole innings of work.  Bryce Harper and Ronald Torreyes each had a pair of hits, with Rhys Hoskins and Andrew McCutchen contributing solo home runs.

Featured Card:  The on field story here is that Nola has not been consistently effective this year for the Phillies.  In 19 starts, he's now 6-6 with a 4.64 ERA and in 10 of those starts, he's not made it through the sixth inning.  The off field story is that Nola has called his decision not to receive the Covid vaccination a "personal choice" and according to various reports, at least half of the Phillies have made a similar personal choice.  This has the effect of necessitating sudden roster scrambling, as shown below, and it also puts the team in a disadvantage against three other forces - the rest of the league and teams with a majority of vaccinated players, their fans wary of people who continue to not trust science and receive their news and guidance from questionable sources and finally, science.  I've long been a fan of Nola's and he's been a strong community advocate for Philadelphia and the ALS Association in particular.  But I need to look at him, and his teammates, in a different light now and that's my personal choice.  The difference is that my personal choice won't cause anyone potential illness and won't contribute to the Phillies potentially missing the postseason again.

Transactions:  Zach Eflin (rhp), JD Hammer (rhp) and Bailey Falter (lhp) all landed on the injured list.  Eflin with a right knee injury and the latter two relievers because of Covid protocols.  Nola (rhp) was activated and Mauricio Llovera (rhp) and Mickey Moniak (of) were recalled.

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Series Preview - Phillies at Yankees: July 20th to July 21st

1986 Topps #792
1986 Topps #427

Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05

Yankee Stadium - New York, NY

At the Ballpark:  On Tuesday night, the first 10,000 fans will receive a MLB Network Yankees tote bag.

Phillies 47-45
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 2 1/2 games behind the Mets

Phillies Probables
Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.53)
Matt Moore (0-1, 5.25)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .283
Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 51
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 20
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 56
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 8

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 7
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.44
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 152
Saves:  Hector Neris - 12
Yankees 48-44
4th Place in the A.L. East, 7 1/2 games behind the Red Sox

Yankees Probables
Domingo German (4-5, 4.72)
TBD

Yankees Leaders
Average:  Aaron Judge - .282
Runs:  Aaron Judge - 51
Home Runs:  Aaron Judge - 21
RBIs:  Aaron Judge - 47
Stolen Bases:  Gleyber Torres - 6

Wins:  Gerrit Cole - 10
ERA:  Gerrit Cole - 2.63
Strikeouts:  Gerrit Cole - 158
Saves:  Aroldis Chapman - 16
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

1965 Topps - 2nd Series Phillies Alumni

In celebration of the completion of the first series (cards 1 to 88) of our 1965 Topps set, here's a look at each card from that first series featuring a former, current or future Phillies player, coach or manager.  You can follow along as we collect this set here.

#103
#106
#107
#116
#118
#123
#147
#158
#163
#165
#166

1965 Topps 1st Series Phillies Alumni / 1965 Topps 3rd Series Phillies Alumni

Monday, July 19, 2021

Game 92 - 2020 Topps Heritage #338 Hector Neris

Phillies 7
, Marlins 4
Game 92 - Sunday Afternoon, July 18th in Philadelphia
Record - 47-45, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler struggled, but the Phillies mounted an impressive come-from-behind effort in this 7-4 win over the Marlins.

What It Means:  The Phillies find themselves two games out of first place after taking three of four from the Marlins.  Since the calendar turned to July, their record is 9-4.  Following an off-day Monday, they'll play a quick two-game set at Yankee Stadium.

What Happened:  Wheeler allowed four runs in a long third inning and the Phillies were faced with a 4-2 deficit.  Andrew McCutchen and Didi Gregorius hit solo home runs in the fifth to tie the score.  The Phillies played some small ball in the sixth to take the lead.  Travis Jankowski singled and advanced to second on a Jorge Alfaro passed ball.  Brad Miller singled Jankowski to third, and the hirsute runner scored the go-ahead run on a Jean Segura sac fly.  Miller would ultimately score after a single, a walk and a force out that McCutchen beat out to spoil the double play.  J.T. Realmuto added an RBI single in the eighth - his third hit of the game.

Featured Card:  There were a lot of contributors to this win, but it was nice to see Hector Neris pitch a clean ninth inning for his 12th save.  Neris has lost the closer's role to Ranger Suarez, but with Suarez needing a day off, Neris got the ball and struck out a pair.

Transaction:  Since the Phillies and Marlins were technically playing two games on Sunday, including the resumption of Saturday night's suspended game, they were allowed to add a 27th man to the roster.  The Phillies recalled Mauricio Llovera (rhp) for the day.

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

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Game 91 - 2021 Topps Finest #36 J.T. Realmuto

Phillies 4
, Marlins 2 (10 Innings)
Game 91 - Saturday Night, July 17th in Philadelphia*
Record - 46-45, 2nd Place, 2 games behind the Mets

*Game suspended on Saturday night in the 10th inning and concluded on Sunday, July 18th.

One Sentence Summary:  After Ranger Suarez blew the save in the top of the ninth, All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto connected for a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th to give the Phillies a 4-2 win.

What It Means:  It was a rainy weekend in the Philadelphia area, and this game was marred by heavy rain that caused the game to be suspended in the top of the 10th.  The Phillies and Marlins resumed play on Sunday afternoon, with Realmuto delivering his big hit about a half hour prior to the regularly scheduled Sunday matinee.

What Happened:  Vince Velasquez (5 innings), Hector Neris (2 innings) and Archie Bradley (1 inning) all held the Marlins scoreless, but then Suarez gave up a bloop and a blast in the ninth to tie the game.  Jesus Aguilar did the damage against Suarez with a two-run home run.  The Phils had plated two way back in the first inning on an Andrew McCutchen sacrifice fly and a Rhys Hoskins double.  The offense then went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position until Realmuto's game-winner.

2019 Choice Lakewood
BlueClaws #23
Featured Card:  No offense to Realmuto, but this is one unattractive baseball card.  I have no idea what Topps was going for with the design in the background.  And it looks as if his legs have been chopped off below the knee?

Transaction:  Connor Brogdon (rhp) was activated from the Covid injured list with Mauricio Llovera (rhp) optioned back to Lehigh Valley.  Also, the Phillies dealt Victor Santos (rhp) to the Boston Red Sox to complete the deal for C.J. Chatham (inf) originally made back in January.  Santos has been in the Phillies organization since 2017 and was pitching this season for the High-A Jersey Shore BlueClaws. 

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

Game 90 - Fireworks Arrive Only After Phillies Loss

Marlins 7
, Phillies 0 (Game 2 - 7 Innings)
Game 90 - Friday Night, July 16th in Philadelphia
Record - 45-45, 3rd Place, 3 games behind the Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin struggled mightily and the offense managed only two hits in this forgettable 7-0 loss to the Marlins.

What It Means:  At least the nearly 29,000 fans in attendance were treated to a postgame fireworks show for the first time since the 2019 season.

What Happened:  Eflin's final line was ugly (3 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 6 runs) but Enyel De Los Santos didn't help any when he allowed a three-run home run to Jesus Aguilar as soon as he had relieved Eflin in the fourth.  Jordan Holloway pitched five scoreless innings of relief for the Marlins and earned the win.

Featured Card:  I don't have much to work with here, so I'm going with a card from the team's 2010 postcard set given away on Fan Appreciation Day and featuring the team's world class fireworks display.

Game 89 - 2021 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #14 Travis Jankowski

Phillies 5
, Marlins 2 (Game 1 - 7 Innings)
Game 89 - Friday Afternoon, July 16th in Philadelphia
Record - 45-44

One Sentence Summary:  Unlikely heroes Matt Moore, Travis Jankowski and Ronald Torreyes paced the Phillies to this 5-2 win to open the season's second half.

What It Means:  The win took the Phillies above .500 for the first time since June 13th when they were 32-31.  Unfortunately, the winning record would only survive a few hours given the outcome of game two.

What Happened:  Moore worked out of trouble to throw 4 1/3 effective innings while striking out nine batters.  Archie Bradley, who picked up the win, pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Ranger Suarez struck out the side in the seventh to record his third save.  Torreyes, starting at third base, made several dazzling defensive plays throughout the game.

Featured Card:  Jankowski came to bat with the bases loaded in the first and blooped a softly hit double down the right field line to clear the bases.  He added an RBI single in the third on the way to a three-hit, four-RBI game.  Jankowski hasn't appeared on any Phillies baseball cards yet, but he did make it into the recently released IronPigs team set.

Transactions:  Bailey Falter (lhp) was activated from the Covid injured list and Damon Jones (lhp) was optioned back to Lehigh Valley.  Jones has been active now for a pair of games but has yet to make his major league debut.  Matt Vierling (of) was added as the 27th man for the double header.

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

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Realmuto Hits First Phillies All-Star Game HR in 40 Years


American League 5
, National League 2
All-Star Game - Tuesday Night, July 13th in Denver

One Sentence Summary:  Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. led the A.L. All-Stars to their eighth consecutive win as the Mid-Summer Classic returned after a year absence caused by the pandemic.

What It Means:  Yes, I watched the entire game as has been my tradition every year since the mid-1980s.  Yes, I enjoyed seeing the top players in the majors showcased on a national stage and it was fun to actually root for Freddie Freeman, Max Scherzer and Fernando Tatis, Jr.  And yes, I complained early and often to my family about the atrocious uniforms being worn by both teams as MLB opted to forego having each team wear their normal uniforms in favor of poorly designed, pajama-like, beer league softball uniforms.  I hated them.

What Happened:  Guerrero homered in the third to give the A.L. an 2-0 lead and he added an RBI groundout in the third to cement his MVP status for the game.  Mike Zunino also homered for the A.L.  Shohei Ohtani was the main story of the game as he was the A.L.'s starting pitcher while also leading off.  He pitched a perfect first inning but went 0 for 2 at the plate.  Xander Bogaerts had two hits for the junior circuit with no N.L. player collected more than one hit.  Ohtani was credited with the win with White Sox closer Liam Hendriks securing the save.  Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes, tagged for two runs in his two innings of work, took the loss for the N.L.


Featured Cards:
  With Giants catcher Buster Posey injured, Realmuto got the start behind the plate for the N.L.  It was Realmuto's third All-Star Game selection and his second with the Phillies.  He caught the first five innings, receiving pitches from starter Scherzer, Burnes, German Marquez and Trevor Rogers.  Realmuto struck out swinging against Lance Lynn to end the second, but hit a solo home run in the fifth off Tigers pitcher Gregory Soto.  The homer broke a 40-year draught for the Phillies, the longest dry spell at the time, as the last Phillies player to hit a home run in an All-Star Game was Mike Schmidt in 1981.

We watched anxiously for Zack Wheeler to appear from the bullpen and we were bummed he didn't enter the game while Realmuto was still catching.  For whatever reason, N.L. manager Dave Roberts held Wheeler back until there were two outs in the top of the ninth.  Wheeler relieved Craig Kimbrel and struck out A's slugger Matt Olson on three pitches.

Memory Lane
From 1996 - Attending the All-Star Game at The Vet
From 2009 - All-Star Game memories
2010 All-Star Game - N.L. 3, A.L. 1 in Anaheim
2011 All-Star Game - N.L. 5, A.L. 1 in Phoenix
2012 All-Star Game - N.L. 8, A.L. 0 in Kansas City
2013 All-Star Game - A.L. 3, N.L. 0 in Flushing
2014 All-Star Game - A.L. 5, N.L. 3 in Minneapolis
2015 All-Star Game - A.L. 6, N.L. 3 in Cincinnati
2016 All-Star Game - A.L. 4, N.L. 2 in San Diego
2017 All-Star Game - A.L. 2, N.L. 1 in Miami
2018 All-Star Game - A.L. 8, N.L. 6 (10) in Washington
2019 All-Star Game - A.L. 4, N.L. 3 in Cleveland
2020 All-Star Game - Cancelled
2021 All-Star Game - A.L. 5, N.L. 2 in Denver

Friday, July 16, 2021

Series Preview - Marlins at Phillies: July 16th to July 18th

2021 Chachi Fan Favorites #8
1986 Topps Traded #90T

Friday Double Header 4:05, Saturday 6:05, Sunday 1:05

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

At the Ballpark:  Postgame fireworks return to Citizens Bank Park following the Friday double header.  On Sunday, all kids 14 and under will receive a Phillies beach towel featuring J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, manager Joe Girardi, Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen.

Marlins 39-50
5th Place in the N.L. East, 9 games behind the Mets

Marlins Probables
Sandy Alcantara (5-8, 3.09)
TBD
TBD
TBD

Marlins Leaders
Average:  Jesus Aguilar - .268
Runs:  Starling Marte - 44
Home Runs:  Adam Duvall - 19
RBIs:  Jesus Aguilar and Adam Duvall - 62
Stolen Bases:  Starling Marte - 17

Wins:  Trevor Rogers - 7
ERA:  Trevor Rogers - 2.31
Strikeouts:  Trevor Rogers - 122
Saves:  Yimi Garcia - 13
Phillies 44-44
2nd Place in the N.L. East, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets

Phillies Probables
Matt Moore (0-1, 5.40)
Zach Eflin (4-6, 3.88)
Vince Velasquez (3-4, 5.35)
Zack Wheeler (6-5, 2.26)

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Bryce Harper - .278
Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 49
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 20
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 55
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 7

Wins:  Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler - 6
ERA:  Zack Wheeler - 2.26
Strikeouts:  Zack Wheeler - 145
Saves:  Hector Neris - 11
2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist