Results tagged ‘ Athletics ’
Since the last time I’d written something here, the Phils have come to terms with both Ben Francisco (January 15) for one year for $1.175 million dollars with performance bonuses and with Kyle Kendrick (January 18) for $2.45 million, also for one year, to avoid arbitration with both players, thus having all of their players signed up for at least one season. Last season, 2010, in 88 games (28 of which were starts), Francisco batted .268 (48 for 179), as he hit thirteen doubles and six home runs and knocked in 28 RBIs. He also went .282 pinch hitting (11-39), hitting three doubles and knocking in 7 RBIs. This season, Francisco will be used in a platoon with Dom Brown in right field to replace Jayson Werth, who had during the off-season signed a long term contract with the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, Kendrick last season pitched in 33 games (a career-high), 31 of which were starts, as he went 11-10 with an ERA of 4.73, as he pitched in 180.2 innings and struck out 84 batters (both career highs) while walking 49, who, depending on what the team might do, will either be their long man coming out of the bullpen, or fighting for the fifth starter spot with Vance Worley.
As the Phils prepare for the start of spring training next month in Clearwater, Florida, they are looking at their options, thanks to their present embarrassment of riches with their starting pitching staff, which at the moment consists of Roy Halladay (Ace), Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt (who at the moment are being nicknamed either the Four Aces, R2C2 or the Fantastic Four by the fans) and Joe Blanton, as they decide whether they really need to trade Kentucky Joe to another team that needs a good starter to help give them some salary flexibility, or to just keep Joe, and use him as their fifth starter, knowing that he so far have had a good track record pitching for the Phils during the two plus seasons since they’d gotten him from the Oakland A’s to help them down the stretch towards their 2008 World Series Championship. My opinion is that they should hang onto Blanton, unless he brings in a good righthanded bat that’ll help the team in the line-up. Either way, he would be helping the team, especially as the fifth starter, since he is presently seen as a good third or fourth starter on most teams.
Lastly, Charlie Manuel’s contract is coming up this season. Although it is more than likely that the Phils will give him an extension, Charlie had announced on WIP radio yesterday, when asked about it, that he would like a three year contract, and prefer that he signed the contract extension as soon as possible so that it won’t become a distraction for the ballclub during the season, although he does see himself as signing a contract at some point this season. Me, sign him up as soon as possible Ruben. Uncle Chuck seems to know what he’s doing with the players, and we all know that they like playing for him.
It seems that several things had occurred as far as the Phils are concerned.
First, on December 2, the Phils tendered contracts to outfielder Ben Francisco and pitcher Kyle Kendrick to keep them from becoming free agents. Kyle Kendrick will likely be fighting with Vance Worley for the fifth starter’s spot during spring training, while Francisco will be involved in a platoon situation with Dom Brown, as…
on the following Sunday, December 5, it was announced that Jayson Werth had signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals. Although he was expected to leave, Jayson’s signing with another team within the NL East came as a complete surprise to everyone, including Phils manager Charlie Manuel, as everyone had expected him to sign with an AL team, like the Red Sox or the Tigers. Well, Jayson, congrats on the money, but be prepared for a lot of boos, after being given some respectful cheers the first time you come to town in a Nat uniform. (The Nats? I hope you know what you’re doing Jayson.) As for the Phils’ compensation in draft picks, they will get a player in the draft between the first and second rounds, and then a player from the second round, as the Nats’ first round pick did not fall among the first 15 players of the draft.
The next day, December 6, the Hall of Fame Expansion Era Committee announced that it had elected ex-Phil General Manager Pat Gillick (2005-2008) to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Gillick, who was also the GM for the Blue Jays, who won World Series Championships in 1992-1993, to go along with the Phils’ 2008 World Series Championship, as well as being the GM for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners, in 27 years as a GM, had 11 teams enter the post-season.
The next day, December 7, it was announced that journalist Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News (also formerly on the Philadelphia Bulletin) will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the BBWAA, for 50 years of meritorious contributions to baseball writing. He will be given the award during the induction ceremonies at Cooperstown, NY, on July 25, 2011.
Then, on December 8, the Phils announced that they had signed former Cardinal relief pitcher Dennys Reyes to a one year deal for $1.1 million, with a $1.35 million option for 2012. Reyes, who has pitched in the major leagues for fourteen seasons out of the bullpen, will be joining his eleventh team when he joins the Phils, as he finished 2010 with a 3-1 record with an ERA of 3.55, as he pitched in 59 games, with a save, as he struck out 25 batters, while walking 21. The Phils will likely be using him as their left handed specialist out of the bullpen, to compliment Antonio Bastardo.
On the 9th, the Phils took three players in the Rule 5 Draft, with the first one, Michael Martinez, an infielder, coming from the Nats organization, via their Syracuse Triple-A affiliate. Phils’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. jokingly commented that picking him up was the Phils way of getting back at the Nats for taking Jayson. (I just hope the last laugh ain’t on the Phils with this one.) The Phils would also pick up Chris Frey from the Rockies organization and Justin Friend from the A’s in the minor league part of the Rule 5 Draft. I guess it’ll be a while before we see if any of these guys pan out with the Phils.
Also during the week, the Phils brought Dom Brown back from the Dominican League, as they did not think that he was getting the seasoning that they thought he would need to be ready for spring training. Instead, they plan to do it during spring training itself, to get him ready for the regular season.
Lastly, the Phils had announced on Saturday that shortstop Jimmy Rollins had on Thursday undergone minor surgery on his left wrist. They also announced that he should be able to participate in spring training next year.
The Phils starts off their four-games set with the Bucos on a bad note as they lose a close one to the Pirates, 3-2.
The Pirates took the lead in the second as, with two men on base, and with one man out, Bobby Crosby hits an RBI single, scoring Lastings Milledge, who had earlier singled, and then moved up to second on Ryan Doumit’s walk, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead, while sending Doumit, who had just walked, on to third. The Phils tied it up at one-all in the third as Wilson Valdez hits a lead-off home run, his fourth home run of the season. The Pirates regain the lead in their half of the third as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Pedro Alvarez hits an RBI double, scoring Jose Tabata, who had just walked, to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. The Pirates then added to their lead in the fourth as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Tabata hits an RBI single, knocking in Andy LaRoche, who had earlier singled, and then went to second base on Daniel McCutchen’s sacrifice bunt, 2-4, making it a 4-1 Pirates’ lead. The Phils cut down the Pirates’ lead in the fifth as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled and then stole second base, scores on a LaRoche’s throwing error of Greg Dobbs’ infield single, beating the throw to the plate, making it a 3-2 Pirates’ lead. But that would end up being the final score as the Phils would be unable to mound up any offense for the rest of the game, before Victorino ended it in the ninth as, with a man on third, Dane Sardinha, who had come into the game earlier to replace Brian Schneider, who was taken out after his thumb got hit by a foul tip, and in the inning had singled, moved up to second on Valdez’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4, then went to third on pinch hitter Ross Gload’s ground out, 4-3, and with two outs, he struck out looking for the final out.
Cole Hamels took the lost, being hurt early by walks, as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out eight. His record is now 6-7 with an ERA of 4.07. Jose Contreras pitches a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Daniel McCutchen gets the win as he pitches five and a third inning, giving up two runs, one of which was earned, on six hits, while he strikes out four. His record is now 1-3 with an 8.87 ERA. Javier Lopez receives his fourth hold as he pitches a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. D.J. Carrasco also picks up his fourth hold as he also pitches a third of an inning, getting out the only batter he would face. Evan Meek collects his fifth hold as he pitches two scoreless inning, as he gives up only one hit and one walk, while striking out a batter. Octavio Dotel gets his seventeenth save of the year as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter.
The Phils had eight hits in the game, with Greg Dobbs leading the team with two hits, both singles. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Wilson Valdez, Dane Sardinha and Cole Hamels had the other six Phils’ hits, with Victorino, Howard, Sardinha and Hamel’s hits being singles, Rollins’ hit being a double and Valdez’s hit being a solo home run, knocking in the Phils’ only RBI. An error allowed the other Phil run to score. The top part of the Phil’s batting order is once again being its own worst enemy, trying a bit too hard to make things happen, while major parts of the machine are still on the disabled list. Come on guys, just calm down, and try to relax. Else, you’re going to end up looking at the Washington Nationals’ rear end. That’s right, I went there!!!
The Phils (41-36, 3rd NL East) continue their four-game series with the Pirates (28-51, 6th NL Central) with a night game. The game will be played at PNC Park and will begin at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Jamie Moyer (9-6, 4.30), who is coming off a win against the Blue Jays on June 27, as he went seven innings, giving up just two runs on six hits, as he strikes out seven, in the Phils’ 11-2 rout. In his last three starts, he is 3-0, pitching twenty-three innings, giving up just five runs (all on home runs) and two walks, while striking out seventeen. He will go for both his fourth win in a row and his fourth straight quality start since getting shell at Boston for nine runs in one plus innings of work on June 11. Against the Pirates he is 2-1 with an ERA of 4.30. The Pirates will counter with Ross Ohlendorf (0-6, 4.90), who is coming off a no-decision against the A’s on June 27, as he went six innings, giving up two unearned runs on two hits and four walks, while striking out three, in the Pirates’ 3-2 lost. In his last three starts, he is 0-2 with a no-decision, as he pitched seventeen innings, giving up eleven runs, nine of which were earned, on sixteen hits and two walks, while striking out eight. He is 0-0 against the Phils with a 3.75 ERA. He will be looking for his first win of the season. The Phils’ offense will be trying to overcome the loss of both Chase Utley, who will be out for at least eight weeks, as he had his thumb operated on yesterday, and Placido Polanco, who may not be back until after the All-Star break, as they continue to play the lowly Pirates. Come on, guys, concentrate. This is no time for the June Swoon to became a July Funk.
The Phillies go to Pittsburgh to play four games with the worst team in the National League…the Pirates.
Tonight the Phils (41-35, 3rd NL East) will begin a four-game series with the worst team in the National League, the Pirates (27-51, 6th NL Central). Tonight’s game will be played at PNC Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils, who ended June with a 13-13 record, and are coming off a losing series with the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati (1-2), will be trying to feast on the Bucos’ pitching, in spite of having a few of their major players on the disabled list, especially Chase Utley, who will sometime today have his broken right thumb operated on, and will be out for the next four to six weeks, at least according to the rumor mill. (Whether he actually will have an operation we will all know by the end of the day). The Phils’ starter will be Cole Hamels (6-6, 4.08), who is coming off a lost against the Twins on June 26, where he went only four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Phils’ 5-1 lost. All of the Blue Jays’ runs came off of three home runs, two two-run shots and a solo home run. In his last three starts, Hamels is 1-1 with a no-decision, having given up ten runs, nine of which were earned, on seventeen hits and seven walks, while striking out eighteen. Against the Pirates, Hamels is 1-0 with a 3.79 ERA. The Pirates, meanwhile, who had ended June with a record of six wins and twenty loses, and are coming off a winning series against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago (2-1), will be trying to see if they can win their second straight series. The Pirates will send to the mound Daniel McCutchen (0-3, 11.00), who is coming off a lost against the A’s on June 26, as he pitched six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks, while he struck out two, in the Pirates’ 5-0 lost. In his last three games, two starts and a relief appearance, his record is 0-2, as he has given up ten runs on sixteen hits and three walks, while striking out four. This will be the first time that he has faced the Phils, who have a tendency to not hit well against pitchers who they are seeing for the first time.
The Phils will be trying to continue their recent offense revival against the Pirates, hoping to win at least three of the four games, while hoping that the recent loses of such high-caliber starters as Chase Utley and Placido Polanco will not be detrimental to the ball club, as they try to stay close to both the Braves and the Mets before the former come to Philadelphia for three games, starting on the fifth.
The Phils are presently three and a half games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves, who are off today, before they start a three-game weekend series with the fourth place Florida Marlins in Atlanta. There are two games back of the second-place New York Mets, who will be starting a four-game series of their own with the last-place Washington Nationals in the Nation’s Capitol. They are presently five games ahead of the Marlins, who are off today before the face they Braves for three-games in Atlanta. They are eight and a half games ahead of the Nationals, who will start a four-game set against the Mets tonight in Washington, D.C. They hope to win tonight to gain half of game against both the Braves, and the Mets, and adding a half game against the Marlins, while hoping that the Nats will be able to handle the Mets tonight.
After being good for the first three innings, Kyle Kendrick gets hurt for six runs, as the Phils drop the opener of their three games series with the Reds, 7-3.
The Reds took the lead in the fourth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Scott Rolen hits a two-run home run, his seventeenth home run of the season, knocking in Joey Votto, who had earlier doubled, giving the Reds a 2-0 lead. The Red increased their lead in the sixth as, with the bases loaded, via Johnny Cueto reaching first base on a Chase Utley fielding error, a Brandon Phillips’ single, moving Cueto up to second base, and a Orlando Cabrera single, moving both runners up a base, and with nobody out, Votto hits an RBI single, knocking in Cueto, making it a 3-0 Reds’ lead, while moving both Phillips and Cabrera up a base. With the bases still loaded, and with still noone out, Rolen hits a sacrifiice fly, scoring Phillips, giving the Reds a 4-0 lead. The Phils got a run back in the seventh as, with one man on, and with one man out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI single, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier tripled, to make it a 4-1 Reds’ lead. The Red got the run back in their half of the seventh as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Ramon Hernandez hits an RBI double, knocking in Drew Stubbs, who had earlier reached base on an infield single, giving the Reds a 5-1 lead. Three batters later, with a runner on third, and with two men out, Cabrera hits an RBI single, knocking in Hernandez, who had gone to third on Cueto’s sacrifice bunt, 2-4, making it a 6-1 Reds’ lead. The Reds made it 7-1 in the eighth as, with two men on, and with one out, pinch hitter Chris Heisey hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Jay Bruce, who had earlier doubled, and went to third on Hernandez’s sacrifice bunt. The Phils then made it 7-3 as Ibanez hits a two-run home run, his sixth home run of the season, knocking in Jayson Werth, who had just singled. But that would be the final score as Bill Bray got pinch hitter Dane Sardinha to strikeout swinging, for the game’s final out.
Kyle Kendrick took the lost as he pitches six and a third innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, on eight hits, as he strikes out four. His record is now 4-3 with an ERA of 4.88. David Herndon pitches a third of an inning, giving up a hit. J.C. Romero also pitches a third of an inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Mike Zagurski pitches two innings, giving up a run on one hit and a walk, while striking out a batter. Johnny Cueto gets the win as he pitches eight strong innings, giving up only one run on six hits and two walks. His record is now 8-2 with a 3.74 ERA. Bill Bray pitches an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, while striking out a batter.
The Phils had only eight hits in the game, with Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez leading the team with two hits each. Howard’s hits were a double and a triple, scoring a run, Werth’s hits were two singles, scoring a run, while Ibanez’s hits were a single and a two-run home run, knocking in all three Phils’ runs. Shane Victorino and Chase Utley had the other two Phils’ hits, both singles, as the Phils’ offense was unable to do anything against Cueto, while they might have lost Utley for a while, as he jammed his right thumb while sliding into second base, head first. (The Phils have just announced that they have placed both Utley and Placido Polanco on the 15-days disabled list for their injuries: Utley (sprained right thumb) and Polanco (elbow trouble)). Alright, who’s the wise guy playing with the devil dolls? Whoever you are, cut it out!!
The Phils (40-34, 3rd NL East) continue their three-games series with the Reds (43-34, 1st NL Central) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Great American Ball Park and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (3-5, 6.53), who is coming off a spectacular win against the Indians on June 24, where he went seven and two-thirds innings, giving up just three runs on six hits, while striking out eight, in the Phils’ 12-3 rout. He will be shooting for his third straight quality start. The Reds will counter with Mike Leake (5-1, 2.92), who is coming off a no-decision against the A’s on June 24, where he went six innings, giving up a run on five hits and four walks, while striking out two, in the Reds’ 6-4 win. He will be trying to take advantage of the once again injury-hurt Phils’ offfense. The Phils will be trying to tie the series while hoping not to be too affected by the lost of their nos. 2- and 3-hole hitters for a while.
You will not believe what I’d find on the internet last night. I’d found three sites that might be of interest to people, especially those who are reading my year-by-year look at the Phillies’ history.
First, I’d discovered that the Phillies had suffered a second no-hitter during their first six seasons in the National League which I did not know about until yesterday afternoon. On October 1, 1884, Charlie Getzien of the Detroit Wolverines pitched a six innings no-hitter against the Phils, defeating them 1-0.
Second, late last night, while I was looking at several baseball related websites, which included a couple of museums, one dedicated to Ty Cobb, and the other to Babe Ruth, I’d accidently stumble upon http://www.retrosheet.org/ which is an on-line website that, among other things, contains the day-by-day standings of every major league baseball season going back to 1871 and the National Association. That was the one thing that has been missing from my year-by-year look at the Phillies, to see how the team was doing in the daily standings during each National League season. Anyway, I am not going to go back to the previous six seasons. Instead, I will instead post a link to the first game that the Phillies’ played during the years 1883-1888 and let those of you who might be interested to follow the development of the pennant races for those six seasons.
I plan to start posting how the Phillies were doing daily in the standings starting with the 1889 season.
Lastly, I was lead, via retrosheet, to another website http://www.baseballgraphs.com/main/index.php/site/, which, as its front page says “…is dedicated to the better use and communication of baseball statistics.” It is the home to Historical Baseball Graphs http://www.baseballgraphs.com/main/index.php/site/histindex/ which gives a year-to-year graph for every National and American League season since 1901. For example, say you want to see the graph for the 1914 season, the year of the Miracle Braves. You would first go to section that reads, League Graphs by Year, which is on your left, then you would go to the National League Graphs, then press on it. It will give you several listings that covers several 10 years period. You would then go to the 1910′s listing and press on it. This will give you the listing for each individual year, starting with 1910. Since the year you want is 1914, you will now press on the listing for that season. This will give up several graphs to your left, as well as several listings to your right. The most interesting of these listings are first a Pennant Race graph which, in graphic form, shows you how each team in both leagues did during the regular season, including showing you how the Braves went from being in last place on the 4th of July to winning the pennant in the NL graph, as well as showing you how the Athletics broke away from the rest of the AL that same season. But the more interesting one is the one just under it which says The Pennant in Action. This one is an animated program which shows you how the pennant race developed that season in both leagues, from opening day, to the end, showing you, among other things, how each team did, their day by day position in the race, and, towards the end, when each team was eliminated from the race until the Braves secured the pennant. For best result, I would suggest pushing speed back to one, and doing the same with smooth.
I am enclosing a link to the animated 1914 pennant race so that you can watch it for yourself: http://www.baseballrace.com/races/MLB-1914-NL-Normal.asp . When I get to the 1901 season, I will be adding a link to both the graph and the animation for that year into my history.
Anyway, I hope you folks will enjoy the graphs and the animation while I prepare to work on the 1889 Phillies season with the addition of the standings from retrosheet.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Retrosheet.org, Baseballgraphs.com. Baseballrace.com
Yesterday, when I’d made a reply to Julia of Julia’s Rants about the Phils’ signing of Shane Victorino, I’d mentioned that when Phillies.com talked about what Ryan Howard was asking for and what the Phils said they were willing to give him, the article also mentioned the differences in pay amounts between Chad Durbin and Jayson Werth and the Phils, I told her that I’d noticed that there was not one word said about Joe Blanton, and I’d figured that something was going on, and I’d figured that it meant that the two sides were close to a deal. And, boy was I right, as Joe Blanton have signed an one-year, $5.475 million dollars deal with the Phils.
Blanton, whom the Phils got in a mid-season trade with the Oakland Athletics, had a record of 4-0, 4.20 ERA, in 13 starts for the Phillies, with a combined record of 9-12 with a 4.69 ERA for both the Phils and the A’s, while having a record of 2-0, with a 3.18 ERA in the post-season.
That means five down, with three to go, and I get the feeling that Werth and Durbin will be signing contracts in the next few days since there is very little difference in money amounts between the Phils and the two players. As for Howard, I see him going to arbitration. I just hope that I’m wrong.
Well, some news occurred this weekend and today, both Phillies and non-Phillies related.
First, Phillies related news. Phillies.com has reported during the weekend that the Phillies are showing some interested in former Dodgers shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Garciaparra, who was only able to play in 55 games during the 2008 season, most of which were played in the second half of the season, after returning from an injury, batting .264 while hitting eight home runs and 28 RBIs, is a career .314 hitter after 13 seasons playing for the Red Sox, the Cubs and the Dodgers, where he has a combine total of 1702 hits for 5426 at-bats in 1369 games, knocking in 920 RBIs while scoring 910 runs. Of his 1702 hits, he has 362 2Bs, 52 3Bs and 226 HRs for a total of 2846 total bases. He also has a .525 slugging percentage and a .363 on-base percenatge. Nomar, beside playing shortstop, has also played third base and first base. If the Phillies do sign him to a deal, which will probably be for no more than one year, he would more than likely be the right handed bat that they’ll be wanting to come off the bench against lefthanded pitching to complement left hander Greg Dobbs. We’ll see if they will be able to get him. But, if they do, and he returns to his earlier form, other teams may not like to face a combo of Dobbs and Garciaparra coming off of the Phillies’ bench (depending on which of the lefties they still have (Matt Stairs, Geoff Jenkins) that they don’t trade).
Next, the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday afternoon knocked off the NFL Champions New York Giants, 23-11. I am sure that Giants fans are still not believing this. Hate to break it to you guys, but it actually happened. And you can all thank a certain thigh shooter for this lost. Anyway, next stop for the Eagles, Phoenix, and a date with those other Cardinals, the ones of the football variety. Hopefully, these Cardinals won’t realize that they’re in a championship game until its over.
And lastly, the votes are in, and the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, via the Writers’ Ballots are….drum roll please ladies and gentlemen….Rickey Henderson, in his first year on the ballot, and Jim Rice, on his 15th and last year on the ballot.
Rickey Henderson, formerly of the A’s, the Yankees, the Blue Jays, the Padres, the Astros, the Mets, the Mariners, the Red Sox and the Dodgers, was elected, on his first year of eligibility, with 94.8 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, being placed on 511 of the 539 ballots cast. Henderson, who has played from 1979 to 2003, is considered the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, and is the current leader in stolen bases with 1406 and runs scored with 2995. He also has the record for the most steals in a season, stealing 130 bases in 1982, while also having the most lead-off home runs in Major League history with 81. Henderson, in 25 seasons, has a career batting average of .279, with an on-base percentage of .401 and a slugging percentage of .419, has 3,055 hits, 510 of which were 2Bs, 66 3Bs and 297 HRs. He has won the AL MVP in 1990 and has two world series rings, being a member of the 1989 A’s and the 1993 Blue Jays World Championship teams.
Jim Rice, formerly of the Red Sox, was elected to the Hall in his fifteenth, and final, year of eligibility, with 76.4 percent of the vote, being named on 411 of the ballots. A member of the 1975 American League Champions Red Sox, Rice, who spent his entire 16 years career (1974-1989) with Boston, ended his career with a .298 batting average, with a slugging percentage of .502 and an on-base percentage of .352, has 2452 career hits, knocking in 1451 RBIs, while scoring 1249 runs, hitting 373 2Bs, 79 3Bs and 382 RBIs. His career totals in hits and home runs, along with his 4129 total bases, are all Red Sox career marks for a right handed batter. He won the AL MVP in 1978, as well as being a member of eight AL All-Stars teams. Rice’s selection has been an uphill climb, with him gathering more votes each year he was on the ballot.
Congratulations to both Henderson and Rice on their election, and hoping that the third highest vote getter on the ballot, Andre Dawson, with 67 percent (361) of the votes, will get the nod next year.
It is now two days before the start of the 2008 World Series, which will be played at the home ball park of the American League Champion, the Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field, on Wednesday, October 22, at 8:22 pm Eastern. The Tampa Bay Rays will be hosting the National League Champion, the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that has just won only its sixth pennant in its 125-years history. So, how did Charlie Manuel’s boys get here, on the verge of possibily winning the franchise’s second World Series crown? Let look at the numbers, shall we?
First, let’s see how well this team did month by month.
As can be seen, the team has winning records in six of the seven months shown above, with their best month being September, when the team, with Ryan Howard’s resurging bat leading the way, would sprint their way to the National League Eastern Division pennant, and with their worst month being June, which coincided with their bad spell of Interleague play. More on that later.
Another thing that people have said is that you have to win series to win pennants, and the Phillies have also done that. At the end of the regular season, they have ended up with 27 series wins, 19 series loses and 6 series splits. Of their 27 series wins, they have won all of the games (sweep) in nine of them (Colorado (2), Atlanta (3), Washington (2), Los Angeles (NL) (1), Milwaukee (1)) for a total of 28 wins, while in their 19 series defeats they were swept only twice (Los Angeles (AL), Los Angeles (NL)) for a total of 7 loses. Of their 10 series wins during the last two months of the regular season, their most important ones would be the one against the Padres in San Diego as it would help to get the team back on track after having been swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles; their home sweep of the Dodgers since it would help prove to the team that they can beat anybody at home; their win against the Mets in New York at the beginning of September as it would help the Phillies stay close to the Mets, especially after having lost the previous series in Washington; their four games sweep of the Brewers, as it would give the Phillies the option of winning either the Eastern Division or the Wild Card, putting them in the driver seat of the later as they challenged the fading Mets for the former; their final sweep of the Braves in Atlanta as it would help to build up momentum for; their series win against the Marlins in Miami, in which they would help to kill the Marlins’ own hope for the post-season; and lastly, their second sweep of the Nationals which would see them clinch their second straight divisonal crown on the last Saturday of the regular season, while the Sunday win by the rookies and the bench players would help them to maintain momentum going into the National League Divisional Series against Milwaukee.
Another thing that you need to do is to win games in your own division. And the Phillies have actually accomplished that, believe it or not. In fact, they have done pretty well against both teams in their own division and against the teams of the other two divisions within the National League:
National League East: 41-31
National League Central: 27-16
National League West: 20-12
Unfortunately, they have not done so well this year against teams from the American League, going 4-11 in Interleague play.
But, how well have they performed against the other clubs in the National League? The Phillies would end the regualr season with losing records against only two other NL teams, both of them being teams within their own division:
National League East:
Atlanta Braves: 14-4
Washington Nationals: 12-6
Florida Marlins: 8-10
New York Mets: 7-11
The Phillies’ best record in both the division and against the NL overall was their 14-4 record against the Braves, which included their three straight three games sweeps of the Braves’ in their own ball park, something that have not happened to the Braves since they were swept by the Chicago Cubs in 1909, when they were known as the Boston Doves. Their worst record in the division was their 7-11 record against the New York Mets, who won all but the last two series with the Phils, including their series spilt of late August in Philadelphia and the Phillies’ 2-1 series victory in New York in early September, including the spilt of a day/night Sunday doubleheader which would keep the Phillies close to the Mets before they would make their final move to win the Eastern Division pennant.
National League Central:
Milwaukee Brewers: 5-1
Cincinnati Reds: 5-3
St. Louis Cardinals: 5-4
Chicago Cubs: 4-3
Houston Astros: 4-3
Pittsburgh Pirates: 4-2
Against the teams of the National League Central Division, the Phillies would do rather well, winning most of their series against them. They would do best against the Brew Crew, spliting the series in Milwaukee and then sweeping them in an important August series in Philadelphia that would help propel the Phillies into the lead of the National League Wild Card race, on their way to their eventual winning of the National League Eastern Division.
National League West:
Colorado Rockies: 5-0
Los Angeles Dodgers: 4-4
Arizona Diamonbacks: 4-3
San Diego Padres: 4-2
San Francisco Giants: 3-3
Against the West, the Phillies would end the season with a 20-12 record, doing their best against the Rockies, as they would get even with the former National League Champions for losing the 2007 National League Divisional Series by sweeping them in five games, although they would do the home portion of the sweep against a wounded team, while doing their worst against both the Giants and the Dodgers, as they would spilt home series with both teams, winning the series at Citizens Bank Park (2-1 (Giants), 4-0 (Dodgers)), while losing the series on the road (1-2 (Giants), 0-4 (Dodgers)).
Last, and certainly not least, the Phillies did not do very well this year in Interleague play. Lets face facts, people, they stank, as they went 2-4 against two teams in the American League East, and 2-7 against three teams from the American League West, while going 1-5 against two of the elite teams in the American League (Boston and Los Angeles Angels):
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 0-3
Boston Red Sox: 1-2
Oakland Athletics: 1-2
Texas Rangers: 1-2
Toronto Blue Jays: 1-2
With their record against American League teams in Interleague play, it should means that this team might have a hard time with the American League Champion Tampa Bay Ray. But the team that got creamed by the American League in May and June is not the same team that have finished crushing first the Milwaukee Brewers in the Divisional Series and then the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Championship Series, and with little help from either their set up man (Jimmy Rollins) or their biggest offensive threat (Ryan Howard) until the end of both series. This team appears to be a lot more confident now then they did when they faced the American League elite teams the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels at home back in June. That might make all the difference by the time the World Series is over.
The Phillies also had a very good home-road split. At Citizens Bank Park, they had a record of 48-33, where they were in a four way tie for the second best record for the National League, while they were 44-37 on the road, the best record in the National League. Overall, their 92-70 record was the second best in the National League, trailing only the Chicago Cubs (97-64) and the fifth best in the Majors. Those two records of success at both home and on the road should help the Phillies when they face the Rays starting on Wednesday.
The Phillies let another game slip out of their hands as they blow another lead, losing to the Cubs, 3-2. And, to add insult to injury, a bad umpire’s call may have hurt them this time. Like yesterday, the Phillies would score first, as, with two men on and two outs, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI single, knocking in Chase Utley, who has been hit by the pitch, and then would move up to second on Ryan Howard’s walk, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between two former A’s teammates, Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton and Cubs’ starter Rich Harden. As the Phillies’ batter would be patient at the plate, causing Harden’s pitch count to rise, Blanton would breeze quickly through the first four innings, giving up only a lead-off walk and a hit. The Phillies would finally get their second run off of Harden when, with a runner on first and two outs, Howard would hit a single to right, with Utley, who has gotten on first with a single, would go to third on the hit. Cubs’ right fielder Kosuke Fukudome would then commit a throwing error, which would allow Utley to score, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Cubs would cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1, as, with runners on the corners on and one out, Daryle Ward would hit a ground ball to Utley. Utley would throw to Jimmy Rollins for the inning’s second out, removing Henry Blanco, who has earlier singled, but he would then make an errant throw to first, which would pull Howard off the first base bag, because of Blanco’s slide which would force Rollins to make a quick throw when he actually have time to throw out Ward, which would not be recorded as an error. The blunder would allow Mark DeRose, who has earlier walked, stole second and has moved to third on Blanco’s single, to score the Cubs’ first run. Blanton would then end the inning by getting Alfonso Soriano to pop out. Blanton would then melt down on the mound in the sixth, as he proceed to walk first Ryan Theriot and then Derrick Lee. After getting out the next two batters, with the runners both moving up a base on the second out, he would then walk DeRosa to load the bases. That was enough for Charlie Manuel, as he would come out to take out Blanton and replace him with Scott Eyre. Eyre would, unfortunatley, walk Fukudome on five pitches, forcing in Theriot, and tying the game at two all, while leaving the bases loaded. Eyre would end the inning by striking out Blanco. In the seventh, the Phillies would try to retake the lead, with runners on the corners and two out, Howard would hit a ball at Cubs’ first baseman Lee, who would proceed to boot the ball, but would somehow be able to throw it in time to pitcher Jeff Samardzija, to get out Howard. This would lead to an argument between Howard, Manuel, Davey Lopes and first base umpire Chris Guccione, while, according to the Phillies’ announcers, Howard, Lopes and Manuel had a point as Howard would actually beat Lee’s throw to first, which would have given the Phillies the lead with Rollins, who was safe on a force out, moved to second on Shane Victorino’s walk and has gone to third during another force out, coming across the plate during the play. Third base coach Steve Smith would eventually be ejected from the game by home plate umpire Bill Welke for still arguing the call. This would turn out to be huge, as, in the Cubs’ half of the seventh, with one out, Clay Condrey would give up a solo home run to Soriano, his twenty-third home run of the year, to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. This would be the final score, as the Phillies would be unable to score in the eighth inning, and after turning back the Cubs in their half of the eighth, would be unable to get anything done in the ninth, as Carlos Marmol would record his seventh save of the season.
Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he pitches five and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on two hits and five very costly walks. Scott Eyre would get his second blown save of the season, as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up only one walk, which sadly brought in the tying run, and one strikeout. Clay Condrey would get the lost as he pitches an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. His record is now 3-4 with a 3.58 ERA. Rudy Seanez would also pitch an inning, as he gives up no run on one hit. Rich Harden would also receive a no-decision as he would only last five innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits. Chad Gaudin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit. Jeff Samardzija would get the win as he pitches an inning and a third, giving up no runs on two hits. Carlos Marmol would get his seventh save of the year as he pitches one and two-thirds innings of scoreless ball, giving up no hits while striking out three.
Multiply factors would kill the Phillies today. First, Blanton’s five walks. Four of those walks would lead to the two runs that he would give up, especially the three walks that he would give up in the sixth inning, loading the bases. Although it would be Scott Eyre who would walk home the tying run, it would never have happened if Blanton had been able to throw strikes when he needed to, especially after getting ahead of the hitters. Secondly, the offense. Although they would force Rich Harden to leave the game early by getting him to work long pitch counts, they would be unable to get a key hit when they needed it when they threaten to score in the early innings. Business as usual for the offense. Third, Jimmy Rollins’ blunder in the fifth, when he could’ve taken his time to throw to first for the third out on Daryle Ward’s grounder to Utley, but instead would rush his throw because of Harry Blanco coming at him to break up the double play. Instead of the score staying 2-0 Phils, it became 2-1 Phillies because he would force Ryan Howard off of the bag to keep it from going past him. And lastly, the umpire’s call in the seventh inning on Howard’s grounder to first that would bounce off of Derrick Lee’s glove. According to instant reply, Howard has actually beaten Samardzija to the bag, but first base umpire Chris Guccione would call Howard out. The broadcasters think that this is the result of the same umpire earlier calling Utley safe on the previous play when he might’ve been beaten by the throw. If it is, it really stinks! as it kept the Phillies from retaking the lead. Oh man, how much more of this do we Phillies’ fan have to suffer through before we all go mad? Or when will all of this buzzard luck finally start to go our boys’ way?
The Phillies (73-62) will continue their four games series with the Cubs (85-50, 1st National League Central), now trying for a split in the series. The game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports and will start at 3:55 pm Eastern (2:55 pm Central) in Wrigley Field. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (7-10, 4.49), who is coming off a win against the Dodgers on August 25, as he pitches seven shut out innings, giving up nine scattered hits while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 5-0 win. He will be trying to pitch his six straight quality start since returning from the minors and improving his record to 5-1 in his last eight starts, while trying to stop the Phillies’ present slide at three games. The Cubs’ starter will be Ted Lilly (13-7, 4.23), who is coming off a win against the Pirates on August 25, as he went seven innings, giving up only three earned run on seven hits while striking out seven, in the Cubs’ 12-3 rout. He will be trying to see if he can continue the Cubs’ seven game winning streak and continue the Phillies’ current losing streak.
With the lost, the Phillies are presently trailing the Mets by two game and lead the Marlins by five games, as the Mets defeated the Marlins. The Phillies will be trying to regroup so that they can come back and split the series before continuing their long road trip.