Monday, May 31, 2010

Holiday Bookshelf: Phillies official history book “An Extraordinary Tradition”

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  I’ve been waiting for this book since I read about it being assembled this past winter. It sort of made the cold snowy winter warmer for me, knowing that in the Spring, a huge Phillies book would be ready that told all of the history about the team.
 
There’s been books here and there to tell about different segments of Phillies history, especially recently with the 2008 World Series Phillies win. The smaller books written about specific Phillies events over the years have been nice, but this new ‘official history’ book about the Phillies since 1883 takes you back to the very beginnings of it all.

    “An Extraordinary Tradition” is a coffee table sized book full of just about everything you would want to see about the long history of the team. This book probably could have been released in volumes with all the rich history that a team like the Phillies has, but this 250 page book has enough history and anecdotes in it to keep a Phillies fan busy for hours on end.

    There is small mementos inserted into the book at various points in this book. Reproductions of contracts, scouting reports, and tickets are some of the surprises you’ll find inside this ‘time capsule’ about the Phillies. There are countless pictures of old programs, old Phillies stadiums, and player profiles on some of the more famous Phillies players. There is also a section that recognizes some long time Phillies employees who work at the stadium.

    The book features an introduction by Mike Schmidt, foreward by Christopher Guest, and a dedication to Harry Kalas. It was an amazing project that had a lot of participants.

    If you’re a really huge Phillies fan, you won’t want to be without this book, it’s ‘Extraordinary”.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

After Perfection last night, Phillies cling to half game lead

 

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Let’s face it, out doing last night’s performance would be hard to do. Roy Halladay’s perfect game was the best thing that’s happened to a pitcher to earn that unusual feat with the Phillies for 46 years. The Phillies could only muster one run to give to Halladay to win his Perfect Game, and they didn’t even get one run today down in Miami, Florida. The Phillies lost this afternoon 1-0 to a tough Marlins team who took the final game of this series.

  The Phils again could not get started on offense today. The week just may as well end and the Phils can look forward to a brand new week starting tomorrow for a 1:10 PM Memorial Day game with a team that is hot on their heels, the Atlanta Braves.

   Jamie Moyer pitched a brilliant game today, but these pitchers now know that they are only half of what makes this team great. The offense is the other half, and right now it is no where to be found. The Phils just managed 4 hits today, and one has to wonder if they are really out of their slump at all now. Moyer’s record fell to 5-5 without the support of the offense.

   Jason Werth had chances today with the bat, he was just not in sync as he struck out 4 times and left 6 men on base. As hot as he was playing a couple weeks ago, now has turned cold and he can’t get into a rhythm. He’s shaved his beard, maybe that has something to do with it?

    The Phillies now find themselves clinging to a lead of only 1/2 game in the NL East and they go up to Atlanta to play a re-energized Braves team. The Braves come home to a 5 game winning streak and look suddenly like the best contender besides the Mets to give the Phillies a run for their money for the division.

     Monday afternoon on Labor Day it will be Joe Blanton (1-3) for the Phillies, who desperately needs to show improvement on the mound for the Phils, against Tommy Hanson (4-3) for the Braves.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Halladay pitches Perfect Game, only 2nd of Phillies history

 

Halladay Perfect

   Well the story changed this weekend down in Miami, Florida. It’s the Memorial Day Holiday or ‘Halladay’ weekend and what a weekend it’s shaping up to be. The talk early in the series is how the Phillies were going to break out of a slump that they were in that lasted 5 games.

    The story now is something different, Roy Halladay pitched a perfect game tonight in Florida and it was only the second Perfect Game in Phillies history. The first perfect game was 46 years ago in 1964 for the Phillies.

   There were several ‘no hitters’ throw by Phillies pitchers.

  April 27th, 2003 was the last time a Phillies pitcher pitched a ‘no hitter’. The difference between a ‘no hitter’ and a ‘perfect game’ is that in the perfect game, no batter reaches any base during the course of the game.

The last ‘no hitter’ game by the Phillies was thrown by Kevin Millwood just into the last season at Veteran’s Stadium which now was quite some time ago in 2003.

The even more rare ‘perfect game’ has been thrown by a Phillies pitcher before Halladay’s perfect game thrown tonight, the first perfect game was on June 21, 1964 which was Father’s Day by Jim Bunning. This is the only other time in over 19000 games that the Phillies have played that a ‘perfect game’ was pitched.

     Here’s the official definition and updated entry at Baseball-Reference.com that was just posted to the internet just minutes after Roy’s Perfect Game:

 

Perfect Game:

A perfect game is a complete game pitched without a runner reaching base either by hit, base-on-balls, or error. It one of the rarest feats in baseball and a subset of no-hitters.

The first major league perfect game was thrown in 1880 by Lee Richmond. Only five days later, John Ward threw the second one. It was nearly a quarter of a century before a third one occurred, even though there were two or even three leagues for part of that time.

In Major League Baseball history nineteen pitchers have thrown perfect games. In addition, two pitchers (Harvey Haddix and Pedro Martinez) have thrown nine perfect innings, only to have their perfect game broken up in extra innings. Four pitchers have been perfect through less than nine innings before their games were called.

A perfect game has been thrown sixteen times in Nippon Professional Baseball history, one in the postseason. There have been nine perfect games in the Mexican League, including one utilizing three pitchers, one in the postseason and several 7-inning affairs. There has been one perfect game in the Cuban Serie Nacional.

No major league player has ever thrown two perfect games, although Jean Faut of the AAGPBL accomplished the feat with perfect games in 1951 and 1953.

The most recent perfect game in the MLB was pitched by Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies against the Florida Marlins at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL on May 29, 2010.

Looking at streaks: Phils win after 5 game slide

 

 

  The word ‘win’ hasn’t been heard around town in Philly lately and fans of the Phils were starting to get worried about the recent losing streak that the Phillies endured for five games prior to getting a win last night against the Marlins 3-2.

   Over the course of a long season we will have some rough spots and this is just what the Phillies went through from Saturday to Thursday of last week. Five games that they lost, but the hardest part of the losing streak is how many times the Phillies got shut out during the streak. Four of the five losses saw the Phillies get shut out. The last ten games have seen the Phillies produce a 3-7 record.

   Which brings us to the ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ Records for the Phils from the 2010 Media Guide with help from Baseball Almanac.com and Baseball-Reference.com:

  Best Homestands Ever:

Dates                         W-L                                      Against

June 30 – July 7, 1977 8-0 PIT, NYM
Sept 24–28, 1929 7-0 BKYN, BOS
May 13-18, 1975 7-0 CIN, ATL

                  The Phils also went 7-0 two other times at home

   Worst Homestands Ever:

Sept 21-27, 1964 0-7 CIN, MIL
May 1-7, 1883 0-6 PRO, BOS
July 6-20, 1941 1-9-1 NYG, PIT, STL, CHI, CIN

 

     Of course the homestand streaks isn’t really a complete picture of streaks, to see that we have to go to the combination of road and home games.  Here’s a look at that:

   Longest Winning streaks in a row in a season by the Phillies:

16 games 1887, 1890, 1892 All games won on the road
13 games 1977, 1991 All games won on road
12 games 1895 All games at home
11 games 1955 (all home) and 1983    (all road)  

 

    You may look at the 1895 run of 12 straight by the Phils at home and wonder why it isn’t on the list of ‘best homestands’ by the Phillies. They did things much different back then, and the Phillies won those 12 games in a row in the middle of a 28 game homestand. Incidentally, that homestand in 1895 saw the Phillies go 23-5.

  

     Now for the longest losing streaks in a row in a season by the Phillies:

23 games 1961 This may never be broken
14 games 1883, 1927, 1936  
13 games 1919 (2), 1942, 1955 Twice in ‘19
12 games 1897, 1904, 1922, 1928 (2), 1944 Now you know how the Phillies were first to 10,000 losses!

 

     In the modern era of 1965 to present here are the current streaks:

        Winning Streaks

                                  Wins                 Season

13

1977, 1991

 

11

1983

 

10

1984, 2009

 

      Losing Streaks 

                          Losses                 Season   

11

1985, 1989, 1997, 1999

 

10

1970, 1972

 
     

Friday, May 28, 2010

Anatomy of the Phillies losing streak

The losing streak is something that takes on a life of it's own after a while. The particular losing streak the Phillies are going through now offers no real explanation as to why. Let's look at how it all started:

  • Friday, May 21 - The Phillies defeat the Boston Red Sox 5-1 at home, they are about to start streak
  • Saturday, May 22 - Dice K almost 'no hits' the Phillies with a 1 hitter, the streak starts, 5-0 loss 
  • Sunday, May 23 - Roy Halladay has his worst start of the season, Phils lose 8-3 
  • Monday, May 24- Phillies off day but they put in a day for charity at the ballpark
  • Tuesday, May 25, Phillies travel to New York and face back to back knuckleballers, they lose 8-0
  • Wednesday, May 26, Phillies look to rebound in NY, but get shutout again 5-0
  • Thursday, May 27, Citi Field hasn't been kind, Phils get swept in the series, loss 3-0    

 The Phils packed up and left for Florida for the weekend series down there, and then onto Atlanta for Memorial Day, and the start of another series. Can the team be tired? One thing is for sure, they are not scoring runs.

  The streak may continue tonight, or it may be halted. It is currently at 5 games. More on the streak as time goes on, if it continues.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Phillies Talk Podcast - Phils stumble in May




                   Sound the alarm? Not quite yet, the Phillies can bounce back from this losing streak. The Phils have dropped four games in a row now is their any end to this slump? We'll be talking about this and more on this week's edition of 'Phillies Talk' the independent podcast.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Power drought continues for Phillies

     

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     The Phillies scoring power has dried up recently

       We all saw that the Phillies had a serious problem over the weekend scoring runs. Maybe it was the pitching of the Boston Red Sox? The Phillies team seemed to be unstoppable just a week ago, and now suddenly can’t produce runs as the end of May is nearing.

      Teams will go through these cycles, but the scary thing is when it starts happening and there doesn’t seem like there is any solutions in sight to solve it. The problem is not so much getting hits, it scoring runners after they’ve reached base. Something more drastic has to be started to jump start this. Sacrifice flies, and bunting ahead runners should be used more often. Just letting batters go up there and swing away is normally how Manuel approaches hitting, but I think he should start trying to ‘manufacture’ runs rather than sitting back and seeing what happens.

       The Mets seem like a team on the upswing. They beat the Yankees over the weekend and that’s enough to put them into good spirits heading into this series with the Phillies. Jason Bay hit two home runs against the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball, and have won 3 or 4 heading into tonight’s first game of the series with the Phillies. This is the first time in a while that the Phillies have faced back to back knuckleball pitchers and it seems they haven’t quite picked up on hitting the knucklers yet.

        Phillies players who have ‘dried up’ in the last few days:

              Placido Polonco -  4-23 on the homestand prior to NY

              Carlos Ruiz – 1-17            “                       “

              Shane Victorino – 5-27      “                     “

               Greg Dobbs  -  1 – 10       “                    “

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    ALS benefit today for Phillies at CBP

     

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         Scenes from last year’s ALS Phillies Phestival   

     

       If you’ve never been to an ALS Phillies festival, you’re missing a great opportunity to donate to a charity and have a great time at the ballpark. It’s almost like a carnival and the fun part is you get to meet the players and get some autographs and other interesting things they have set up at the stadium.

          The Festival is a great way to get more into the team and have a wonderful time, so next year make sure you make plans to go to this event!

     

           It’s off to New York, Florida, and Atlanta for the Phillies starting Tuesday night for this 9 game road trip.

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    Boston roughs up Doc and Phillies defense

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       Pedroia – by request of my San Diego friend and
                                                    Doc Halladay couldn’t contain the Sox today
         
    The Phillies final game against the Boston Red Sox today was one that was ugly to watch for a Phillies fan. First was the weather, it looked as if it were going to begin raining at any moment and just prior to the start of the game, then just minutes before the game started it was sunny  All day long though like the weather that kept changing, it seemed nothing was going right for Doc Halladay and the Phillies both offensively and defensively. The Boston Red Sox started off slow but got to Halladay by the middle of the game.
    Boston started off with getting an RBI by the guy that Phillies fans love to boo, JD Drew. I still think it makes Drew play better every time he has come into Philly, but what do I know. The fans will boo him till he leaves the game of baseball whenever he comes to Philly. JD Drew refused to play in Philadelphia when he was drafted many years ago now, but the fans still don’t forget it. The next Boston runs came from an error by third baseman Greg Dobbs for the Phillies when a ball hit by Adrian Beltre found it’s way into left field as it scooted under Dobbs’ reach.
     
    I can’t blame Dobbs entirely, he’s been used so sparingly this year, it’s a wonder he still has any baseball skills. It was only his 6th start of the season and without more playing time, Dobbs will struggle to maintain his sharpness. In 2008 with the Phillies, Dobbs played in 128 games with 226 AB’s where he hit .301 on the year. You hardly see him play anymore for the team.

      I also saw one of the weirdest plays ever today as Adrian Beltre rounded third to score and Juan Castro fielded the ball and threw it to third base instead of home. I am still baffled on how the scorer’s didn’t give Castro an error for that. All in all a terrible defensive day for the Phillies today.
      
    The Phils couldn’t contain Kevin Youkilis, and if you read the post here prior to the start of the series with Boston at fightinphillies.com, we said the key is containing Youkilis and the Phillies didn’t. He went 2-4 today and scored 3 runs.

       The run producing drought is starting to haunt the Phillies and especially when Halladay has been pitching lately. The Phillies have scored just 1 run total in the last two starts for Doc through the 5.2 innings he pitched today. It seems the Phillies just can’t get a rally going where they get runners on base and then score them.
    They’ve been stranding runners in scoring position quite a lot lately.

      The game score was 8-3 in the end but it was never even close with Boston winning this one and the series against the Phillies going away.

    Halladay vs Wakefield as Phils look to find offense Sunday


          It's Roy Halladay for the Phillies today against knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, this afternoon in Philly. The Phillies look to rebound from having a near no-hitter thrown at them by Dice K last night. The Phils bats went silent and the lone hit of the game came from Juan Castro who said he was lucky to get that hit off of Dice K.

          Dice K improves to 3-1 on the season while Kyle Kendrick fell to 2-2. Kyle was sailing along until the top of the 4th inning when the Red Sox scored 4 runs to make it 5-0 on the evening and that was the final score.
      
         The Phillies lone hit didn't come till the 8th inning, and it was good they avoided the no-hitter because of all of the negative publicity that surrounds it for the team that it is thrown against. The hit was a soft fly ball to left field that fell in for the hit and broke up the no-hitter.

        Halladay's starts so far  (thanks to www.baseball-reference.com)



    Rk Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP HR ERA Pit Exited
    1 314 1 Apr 5 PHI @ WSN W,11-1 GS-7 W(1-0) 7.0 0 1.29 88 7b 3 out a10
    2 315 6 Apr 11 PHI @ HOU W,2-1 CG W(2-0) 9.0 0 0.56 111 9b 3 out a1
    3 316 10 Apr 16 PHI FLA W,8-6 GS-8 W(3-0) 8.0 1 1.12 100 8t 3 out a6
    4 317 14 Apr 21 PHI @ ATL W,2-0 SHO W(4-0) 9.0 0 0.82 113 9b 3 out a2
    5 318 19 Apr 26 PHI @ SFG L,1-5 GS-7 L(4-1) 7.0 1 1.80 104 7b 3 out d4
    May Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP HR ERA Pit Exited
    6 319 23 May 1 PHI NYM W,10-0 SHO W(5-1) 9.0 0 1.47 118 9t 3 out a10
    7 320 28 May 6 PHI STL W,7-2 GS-7 W(6-1) 7.0 0 1.45 119 7t 3 out a4
    8 321 33 May 12(1) PHI @ COL L,3-4 GS-7 6.1 0 1.59 121 7b --3 1 out tie
    9 322 38 May 18 PHI PIT L,1-2 CG L(6-2) 9.0 0 1.64 132 9t 3 out d1
    PHI 71.1 2 1.64
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/23/2010.