Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Phillies NL East Champions 2009





         It was the Phillies night tonight at Citizens Bank Park, the whole season full of games totaled up to give the Phillies their third NL Championship in as many years. There are a few more games remaining in the season, and the Phils would do well to keep winning so they can get home field advantage.


          Charlie Manuel brought out Brad Lidge to finish it all off tonight in a classy move by Chuck, but only after the Phils got the first two outs!


           The Magic Number is ‘0’ now, the Phillies are in the Playoffs in 2009!

Shades of the 1964 Phillies hopefully not repeated, Magic number is at 1

1964a 001

   The Phillies are down to the magic number of just 1 to clinch it all for the third straight year, we're going to go back in time to revisit 45 years ago when the Phillies were in the drivers seat to go to the World Series with only 10 days left in the season.

   The talk at the water cooler wasn’t about the Eagles yesterday at work, it was about something more sinister, something that Phillies fans will never want to see repeated. I wasn’t even born in 1964, but to those who were rooting the Phillies on back in ‘64, it is all too fresh in their minds what happened.

    Let’s go back to 1964, it was the Beatles storming the world with their music, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” reached number 1 in February 1st that year. They Fab Four then made their first trip to America on the Ed Sullivan Show on the 9th of February. Jimmy Hoffa was convicted by a federal jury of tampering with a jury a couple of years before. In March of ‘64, a Dallas, Texas jury found Jack Ruby guilty of killing JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. The Rolling Stones released their debut album with the same name in April of ‘64. The computer language BASIC was also written in ‘64 and basically help start the computer revolution only years later.

  The Phillies baseball team in 1964 was on a roll, they had spent 132 days of the season in first place this year including their days off. They were also 31 games over .500 on September 17th of 1964 and things looked really rosy for the Phils to make the World Series this year. Then the unexpected happened for the Phillies. Starting on September 21st, they went on a losing streak that rivaled any terrible streak to ever happen to a baseball team. On the 21st of September 1964, the Phillies were 5.5 games up in the NL East with only 12 more games left in the regular season.

The Phillies lost a tough game on the 21st of September,  just 1-0 but this started the ball rolling on a 10 game losing streak for the Fightin Phils that they could never recover from. 7 of those 10 losses were suffered at home and the Phillies were not going to win the NL that year, they weren’t even going to make the playoffs because they didn’t have the setup that they do now. Back then in 1964, the two top finishing teams in either in the NL and the AL went to the World Series. There was no Wild Card or other ways for the teams to get to the World Series, you just had to win the NL or AL Title to go to the World Series. Of course the NL consisted of 10 teams and the Phillies were in the drivers seat to be in the World Series before blowing it all.

     The Phillies wound up losing it all by playing the team that caught up with them by the end of the season. The Saint Louis Cardinals played the Phillies in three games from Sept. 28, 29, 30th and the Phillies somehow lost all of them in St. Louis, but they were already in second place on the 27th of September 1.0 games back because they lost their last 7 games at home including the 27th. The Phillies recovered from their spell of losses but it was too late, the Phils would up winning their last two games of the regular season vs. the Cincinnati Reds on Oct 2nd and Oct 4th. The team finished tied for second place just 1.0 GB away from the Cards.
  The team that would catch the Phillies at the wire was the Saint Louis Cardinals and they went on to beat the New York Yankees in the 1964 World Series that year in 7 games. Tim McCarver was the catcher for the Cardinals at only 22 years old. McCarver was a well season veteran by then though, he broke in with the Cardinals at only 17 years old playing in 8 games and then 10 games when he was 18.

     The MLB postseason is exciting as we know it today. It was a much different setup though from 1903 to 1968, the top two finishing teams from each league made the World Series. There was no Division Series games, no NLCS, or ALCS during this period in Major League Baseball. This was the way baseball was played for 65 years with only the top two teams in each league going at it in the Fall Classic. There were only 16 teams in baseball from 1903 which is the first ‘modern era’ World Series game. 8 Teams made up the American League and 8 teams made up the National League. This lasted until the 1961 season when the MLB expanded to include more teams, the American League went to a 10 team league. The National League stayed at 8 teams in ‘61 but went to 10 teams in 1962. Many adjustments have been made regarding the playoffs from 1969 to 1994, but we’ve seen the playoffs pretty well stay the same as we play them now since 1995.

     There are still plenty of current Phillies fans who remember ‘the collapse’ of 1964, they speak of it with fluidness. The games being remembered as if it were just a few years ago, when in fact it’s been 45 years since the famous stumble by the Phillies who could have won it all in 1964. Remember though, this is baseball and anything can happen even when your team is 5.5 games up with 11 games to go in the season as the ‘64 Phils were many years ago.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hearing footsteps of Atlanta, Phils lead down to 4 in NL East, this is getting ‘Barzardo’ bizarre

Sgt. Pepper - Inside
Phillies would like to “Get A Little Help From My Friends” with the Marlins getting a win vs. the Braves on Tuesday night in Atlanta

The game on Monday night was a tough one to lose. The Phillies have coasted through a road trip and came home to lose the first one with the Houston Astros while watching the Braves win 15 of their last 17 games including their first game of the series last night against the Marlins. The Braves are now just 4 GB in the NL East, I don’t care about the Wild Card anymore. I am afraid for the whole division the Phillies could end up losing if they don’t pull out all the stops and just win. It’s easy to say, but not as easy to do.

   There are only 6 games left now, and this is a full out and out race to the finish line now for the Phillies to get a win. The Phillies just didn’t have anything tonight to offer on offense, they made a guy named ‘Bazardo’ a winner against the Phillies for his first win of the year. Bazardo went to spring training with the Phillies, and then he comes out to pitch against them and win. Can anyone say, Ed Wade is a real weasel?

    8-2 is the score that the Phillies lost by and hardly a game that the Phillies wanted to lose at home on Monday night. The Phils have left all of their fans in a serious fog of concern. Have the Phillies run out of gas? How big is not having a top rate catcher in now, when they really need experience behind the plate? All of this is coming into focus now and it’s the worst possible time for it to happen for the team in a season where they have really coasted most of the season in first place.

     The Phillies can go 2-5 at home for these last seven games and still win the divison if the Braves lose 2 games, the Phillies will still be in as divison winners. The Braves basically have to win all their remaining games and the Phillies would have to lose 4 more games straight for them to be in serious jeopardy to lose the NL East.

       Don’t give up the ship and keep the faith, the Phillies will be the NL East Champions by the end of this season. You can bet the farm on that!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Phillies down to 6 home games in regular season- they will draw over 3.5 million fans this year

  The Phillies are down to a precious 6 home games left after tonight's game on Monday. They’ve had an incredible 67 home sellouts including tonight’s sold out Citizens Bank Park. It’s a dream come true to the ballclub, and fueled by the World Series win from last year. Last year for the 2008 season, the Phillies just missed drawing the magical 3.5 million fans, they finished with 3,422,583 that went through the turnstiles and paid to see baseball in Philadelphia for the Phillies. In fact, the Phillies have never drawn 3.5 million fans in one year ever in the history of Phillies baseball. Even when the cavernous Veteran’s Stadium was open from 1971-2003. The year after the Phillies won it all in 1980, the attendance actually went down from 2,651,650 in 1980 to 1,638,752 in 1981 because of the strike shortened season that year. The attendance figure rebounded in 1982 with 2,376,394 paying to see baseball that year at Veteran’s Stadium.
Citizens Bank Attendance totals


    So this season will put the total of fans through the turnstiles at CBP at 3.5 million fans takes the total of fans just watching the Phillies there to 18.6 million total watching baseball. That’s an incredible amount of fans in just 6 full seasons at the new ballpark after the regular season winds down this coming Sunday.

     The magic number may be 3 tonight for the Phillies to clinch the National League East, but the real 'magical' number is  3.5 - the millions of fans that have watched them play this year by the time this homestand is over. Does the area have Phillies fever? You bet they do!

       Clinch dates of Phillies teams:

Clinch Date
Win World Series
Win NL Pennant
Win NL East Title
Win NL East Title

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Live Game Chat today at 2 pm - Phillies vs. Brewers

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Phils can’t get it done in Milwaukee, regular season over in one week


        National League Division Series starts October 7th



  The Phillies probably would have wanted to celebrate in Milwaukee this weekend. That won’t happen with the Phillies losing on Saturday night and the Braves winning again. The magic number is stuck on 4 and there is only today’s game and then a four game series vs. Houston and a final weekend series vs. Florida to go at home for the Phils.


   Did the Phillies purposely do this so they can clinch at home? I don’t think so but it’s probably not as sweet to clinch on the road than it is at home in front of your own fans. The Phillies have been in a season that they weren’t used to: that is being the World Champions of baseball and going out there and defending your title. It probably made it that much harder to play teams with the fact that they probably went out there with a little more effort in wanting to beat the World Champs.


  So this then brings the question? When will they clinch? If the season keeps going like this it’s hard to predict. One thing that this has done though is fuel ticket sales to the remaining games because everyone wants a seat at the game that the Phils will clinch at. Who knows it could be Thursday, Friday or it just may be over next weekend. The chance that Atlanta has to come back and take this division still exists, the chances are very slim but it still exists. 


   One thing is becoming more clear though and that is the first round opponent of the Phillies could be the Cardinals now that the Phillies have the lower number of wins of all three division leaders at this time.  Atlanta is making a valiant run at the Wild Card now just 2.5 games back from the Rockies. They would be a dark horse to win it all but you never know. Everything changes the minute the regular season ends, then it starts again from the beginning, everything that happened 162 games ago is all but history and you still have to play to win and survive in the first round of the quick division series.


    The Phillies have been going through a rough period over the last 10 games or so. They are 5-5 and losers of the last two. I still think this could have been a 100 win team if it weren’t for certain things that have happened over the season. A week from now when the season ends all the stats will be in, the regular season will be over and the Phillies should have a couple of days to rest before they enter into the playoffs again and a chance to become World Series champions again, you have to make the playoffs to have a chance to accomplish that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cliff Lee: Why he hasn't had success lately


 The reason why Cliff Lee hasn't been effective lately as he was when he came to the Phillies from the Indians is simple. When he first arrived on the Phillies team, Lee went straight after hitters and kept the ball low and he painted corners from side to side of home plate. Lately, Lee has been hanging pitches up in the zone and batters have been making him pay for it. The bad pitches last night were only a few but Milwaukee seemed to make the most of their opportunities again as they scored 4 quick runs off of Lee in the first inning.

   It always seems as if Cliff Lee is going to dominate the way he runs out to the mound and gets down to business. Last night though, it was him turning around to see where the ball was just hit more than anything.

  The way Lee has changed in the last couple starts is not all that good. The Phillies benefited from the success he had in the early going with the team, but now everything has settled back to earth surrounding Mr. Lee and I don't know if anyone really considers him as the 'ace' of the Phillies team anymore. To mention that, do the Phillies even have an 'Ace' this year?



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Hilarious 'Cadillac Time' website is active

          A Phillies fan with a big heart put up a website simply to honor Gary Mathews Sr.'s call of a homerun, "Cadillac Time" is what he usually says.

                                    Go to this website and you'll see for yourself!  


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Friday, September 25, 2009

Phillies woes: RISP or Lidge - Does it matter?

  In trying to figure out the mysteries of why Brad Lidge has imploded so many times this year, I started to think about the other Phillies woes that they've had this year. One of the most glaring problems this season has been scoring runners from scoring position. This problem has been with the Phillies for some time, and it was with them in the playoffs and World Series last year.

  The Phillies went 1-28 with RISP last year in the World Series, but somehow still found a way to win it all. It begs the question, with all that has happened to the Phillies with RISP and Brad Lidge losing 8 games for the Phils, does it matter at all when the Phillies are on the verge of clinching and taking their third division title in three years.

 A little improvement in both areas could have yielded fantastic results this year. Just a few games where the results came out differently could have had the Phillies with more wins than the Yankees this year. This group of players on this team aren't like that though, they didn't want to take the MLB by storm, or it just happened to work out that way. This team is more grit than glamor. A team that fights and slugs until the last out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The curse on Lidge continues, Phils lose with blown save 7-6


Thoughts of maybe he made a deal with the devil last year race around in one's head as this year hasn't been kind to Brad Lidge. If he would have just retired last year, it would have been fine. To go out when you where the best, a perfect season, is about the best you can ask for.

        Things have changed dramatically for Brad Lidge this season. He's a changed pitcher and it seems as if there is a curse following him when he goes out there on the mound. There's a lingering doubt about whether he'll get hit every time he goes out on the mound anymore.

         I was at the last Phillies home game before the road trip on Sunday. Lidge came out of the bullpen and he was still given a round of ecstatic applause. He strode to the mound, and again got into trouble. The Phillies had a few run lead thankfully, and the damage that was done wasn't enough to lose the game for the Phillies on this day. Last night was another story though, and now the cat is out of the bag. Lidge should no longer be the closer for this baseball team.

         Fortunes changes, seasons change and for whatever reason Brad Lidge changed. He has went from perfect to anything but in a short amount of time. The patience Charlie Manuel has had with him should be gone, Lidge is broke and nothing is seeming to fix him.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Phillies Talk - the podcast tonight at 6:30 pm

         Join us right here on the website at 6:30 PM and listen to the show, or listen later on our audio player on the page or go to the iTunes music store and download our podcasts reguarly! It's time for another edition of "Phillies Talk" with Rich Baxter and Jim Mulry.

           Play the show right here by clicking the green button below:



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Monday, September 21, 2009

Playoff picture changes everyday as to Phillies opponent

   With about 2 weeks left in the season, the Phillies playoff opponent is still very unclear. Here's how the Division Series usually works out:

     The first round is the Division Series, which is a best-of-five series that matches up the top four teams in each league. The team with the best overall record gets the top seed and home-field advantage in the playoffs. It hosts Games 1, 2 and 5 in the Division Series round. The team with the second-best record will hosts Games 1, 2 and 5 in its series.

Typically the wild-card team plays the team with the best overall record. But if those teams are in the same division, then the wild-card team will face the team with the second-best record.

   The Dodgers have the highest win total at this point in time, and the Phillies and St. Louis are tied for the second and third place as far as best record is concerned with 87 wins each, although St. Louis has two more losses than the Phillies at the start of play tonight. So there are still many variables to consider including the Wild Card which isn't a done deal yet either.

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Victorino brushes umpire yesterday, will there be a penalty?

Shane Victorino is officially in need of some anger management. He flew off the handle yesterday and went on a tantrum after being called out at second on a close play. It happened just into the first inning in Atlanta and after being called out, Victorino really unleashed a tirade after he learned he was thrown out of the game.

   What happened after Shane learned he was thrown out?  He then continued his tirade and brushed the ump with his arm and then 1st base coach Davey Lopes stepped between the ump and Victorino. I don't think the Phillies broadcasters mentioned the fact that he did actually make contact with the umpire.

    Time will tell if there is any penalty for this, I haven't read about it anywhere this morning so perhaps it will just go away.

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Marlins: the surprise team of the year in NL

        Starting tomorrow the Phillies play three games with the Marlins over the course of two days. Believe it or not, the Marlins are still in striking range to win it all in the NL East although it is an outside chance. They will play the Phillies in three games at home, and then the Phillies will host them in two weeks to end the season in Philly the first few days of October.

        The Marlins have to be the surprise team of the year in the NL, they've exceeded many expectations of the pundits and knowledgable sports people that made their predictions in March of 2009, prior to the start of the season. The Florida Marlins are 10 games above .500 at this time, and they went through a tough time in the middle of the year, but started out really hot and set the pace for the NL East in the first month of the season.

         The Marlins would have a stake to a wild card if the Colorado Rockies didn't keep winning baseball games like they have been. The Marlins are now 5 games back in the Wild Card race and 8 games back in the division. Baseball is known for strange things to happen though and a five game lead can turn into a three game lead and less really quickly sometimes. Is there going to be a team that blinks going down the stretch? If there is, that team could find themselves in hot water in making the playoffs.

          Look at the Marlins starter in game one of the double header that will start on Tuesday. Josh Johnson is 15-4, he's had a great year and looks to improve to be in qualification for the Cy Young possibly along with Tim Lincecum and Chris Carpenter. That's not a bad record for a pitcher on a team like the Marlins who weren't expected to be close in late September.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Regular season down to 15 games for Phillies


        To say this major league baseball regular season went by fast is an understatement. It seems only a few weeks ago that the season started to me. Now the regular season is down to 15 games. The magic number for the Phillies to eliminate the Braves or Marlins is still at 8, it moves with a Phillies win or Marlins or Braves loss. The Phillies have the NL East division safe at hand for now, the other teams in the NL East are struggling to get into the playoffs and they compete with the Colorado Rockies and San Francisco for a wild card spot.


    The Rockies are in a safe position for the wild card on Sunday, barring an untimely losing streak by them, they should secure the spot in the playoffs. Here’s a look at the Rockies schedule remaining:


Sun, 9/20 at Diamondbacks 2:10p FSN, MLB.TV Jimenez (13-11) Haren (14-8) BuyBuy Tickets
Tue, 9/22 Padres 6:40p FSN, MLB.TV De La Rosa (15-9) Mujica (3-4) BuyBuy Tickets
Wed, 9/23 Padres 6:40p FSN, MLB.TV Marquis (15-11) Stauffer (4-7) BuyBuy Tickets
Thu, 9/24 Padres 6:40p FSN, MLB.TV   Richard (8-5) BuyBuy Tickets
Fri, 9/25 Cardinals 6:10p FSN, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sat, 9/26 Cardinals 6:10p FSN, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sun, 9/27 Cardinals 1:10p FSN, TBS, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Tue, 9/29 Brewers 6:40p FSN, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Wed, 9/30 Brewers 6:40p FSN, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Thu, 10/1 Brewers 1:10p FSN, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Fri, 10/2 at Dodgers 8:10p FSN, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sat, 10/3 at Dodgers 8:10p FSN, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sun, 10/4 at Dodgers 2:10p FSN, MLB.TV


              As you can see the Rockies have some formidable opponents that they will face near the end of the season, the Cardinals and Dodgers. So they will have their work cut out for them, but they will also have good opponents to keep them sharp.


           Here is the San Francisco Giants remaining games:

Sun, 9/20 at Dodgers 1:10p CSN-BA, MLB.TV Lincecum (14-5) Wolf (10-6) BuyBuy Tickets
Mon, 9/21 at Diamondbacks 6:40p CSN-BA, MLB.TV Zito (10-12) Davis (7-13) BuyBuy Tickets
Tue, 9/22 at Diamondbacks 6:40p CSN-BA, MLB.TV Cain (13-6) Buckner (2-6) BuyBuy Tickets
Wed, 9/23 at Diamondbacks 7:10p CSN-BA, ESPN, MLB.TV   Mulvey (0-1) BuyBuy Tickets
Thu, 9/24 Cubs 7:15p CSN-BA, MLB.TV   Dempster (10-8) BuyBuy Tickets
Fri, 9/25 Cubs 7:15p CSN-BA, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sat, 9/26 Cubs 1:10p FOX, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sun, 9/27 Cubs 1:05p CSN-BA, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Tue, 9/29 Diamondbacks 7:15p CSN-BA, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Wed, 9/30 Diamondbacks 7:15p CSN-BA, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Thu, 10/1 Diamondbacks 12:45p CSN-BA, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Fri, 10/2 at Padres 7:05p CSN-BA, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sat, 10/3 at Padres 7:05p CSN-BA, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sun, 10/4 at Padres 1:05p CSN-BA, MLB.TV

           The Giants seem to have an easier schedule to finish out the regular season than the Giants do, so we’ll see if that helps them in their quest for the postseason.



                  Here is the remaining schedule for the Marlins in 2009:

Sun, 9/20 at Reds 1:10p Sun Sports HD, MLB.TV West (7-5) Wells (1-4) BuyBuy Tickets
Tue, 9/22 Phillies 4:10p FS-F HD, MLB.TV Johnson (15-4) Hamels (10-9) BuyBuy Tickets
Tue, 9/22 Phillies TBD FS-F HD, MLB.TV Sanchez (2-7) Moyer (12-9) BuyBuy Tickets
Wed, 9/23 Phillies 7:10p Sun Sports HD, ESPN, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Fri, 9/25 Mets 7:10p Sun Sports, MLB.TV   Redding (3-6) BuyBuy Tickets
Sat, 9/26 Mets 7:10p FS-F HD, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sun, 9/27 Mets 1:10p Sun Sports HD, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Mon, 9/28 at Braves 7:00p Sun Sports HD, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Tue, 9/29 at Braves 7:00p FS-F HD, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Wed, 9/30 at Braves 7:00p Sun Sports HD, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Fri, 10/2 at Phillies 7:05p FS-F HD, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sat, 10/3 at Phillies 7:05p Sun Sports HD, MLB.TV     BuyBuy Tickets
Sun, 10/4 at Phillies 1:35p Sun Sports HD, MLB.TV    


                      A lot of games against the Phillies remain for them and the Braves, they could use these series to make their push towards the top at the end of the season. The Phillies just need to win to keep the pressure on the Marlins. If the Phils slip up, the Marlins could just find themselves in luck and bring this season down to the last series of the regular season.


    The Atlanta Braves will finish the season this way:


    The Mets, Washington, Florida, and then Washington again for a four game series to end their regular season. So in many ways the Braves may have the easiest schedule remaining of all.