Results tagged ‘ Runs Scored ’

Philadelphia Phillies – The Players: Charlie Ferguson, the Phillies’ unknown first star.

I’m sure that most Phillies fans have probably never even heard of Charlie Ferguson, or if they have, know very little about him. Well, to be rather frank, I was among those who have never even heard of him, until I’d started doing my year-by-year look at our loveable losers and discovered him for the very first time, while also discovering that before his untimely death in 1888, at a very young age, from typhoid fever, he was developing into the team’s first true pitching star, way before the more well known Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander.

Ferguson was born on April 17, 1863, in Charlotteville, Virigina, the home of American Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, and located near the strategic Shenandoah Valley, an area that during his youth would be constantly fought over by Northern and Southern troops during the country’s Civil War, while the city would itself be spared. Going to the University of Pennsylvania for his college education, where he would learn to play baseball, Ferguson would come back home after graduation and proceed to play for the Virginia member of the Eastern (now International) League in 1883. His team would win the Eastern League pennant that year, while his pitching would catch the eyes of the Philadelphia Quakers (now Phillies), who were preparing for their second year as a member of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or the NL. After signing a contract, he would make his Major League debut on May 1, 1884, pitching against the Detroit Wolverine in Philadelphia at Recreation Park. He would be the game’s winning pitcher, as the Phillies would trounce the Wolverines 13-2. During his rookie season, he would pitch in 50 games, starting in 47 of them, and completing all but one of his starts, while finishing up three more. His record would be 21-25, thus becoming the franchise’s first twenty-game winner, as well as saving one other game, and throwing two shut outs, as he ended the season with an ERA of 3.54. Ferguson would pitch in 416.7 innings that year, giving up 297 runs, 164 of which would be earned, on 443 hits, as he struck out 194 batters while walking only 93 and giving up 13 home runs. In his rookie season he would be among the NL leaders in games (6), games started (6), complete games (6), games finished (3), wins (7), loses (2), saves (2), shut outs (10), innings pitched (6), strikeouts (7), hits allowed (6), walks (7), earned runs allowed (1), home runs allowed (7) and walks (7).

After helping lead the team to a 6th place finish in 1884, he would lead them to a third place finish in 1885, as he would have his second straight twenty-win season, as he would go 26-20 that year, with an ERA of 2.22. Ferguson would this time pitch in only 48 games, starting and completing 45 of them, of which five were shut outs, while finishing three other games. He would pitch in 405 innings, giving up just 197 runs, only 100 of which would be earned, on just 345 hits, as he would rung up 197 strike outs while walking just 81 batters and giving up only 5 home runs. On August 29, 1885, in Philadelphia, he would pitch the first Phillies’ No-Hitter, as he would blank the Providence Grays, 1-0. In his second season as a Phil, he would be among the league leaders in games (8), games started (9), complete games (8), games finished (1), wins (5), win/lost percentage (8), ERA (7), shut outs (6), innings pitched (7), strikeouts (6), hits allowed (10) and walks (10). He would also hit .306 for that year, in which he would play 15 games in the outfield for a grand total of 61 games.

1886 would be his breakout season, as he would become the Phillies’ first thirty-game winner as he would go 30-9, with a 1.98 ERA, in 48 games pitched, of which 45 would be starts,  completing 43. He would also pitch four shut outs that year, while he would finish two other games, and collect two saves. In 395.7 innings of work, he would give up just 145 runs, of which 87 would be earned, on only 317 hits, while striking out 212 batters and walking only 69, while giving up 11 home runs. In his junior year as a Phil, he would be among the leaders in games (7), games started (9), complete games (7), games finished (7), wins (6), win/lost percentage (2), saves (1), ERA (2), shut outs (2), innings pitched (7), strikeouts (8), and home runs allowed (6). Although his efforts would help to improve the team’s overall record, the Phillies would end the year in fourth place in the National League.

In 1887, his pitching record would drop as he would end the season going only 22-10 with an ERA of 3.00, in just 37 games, of which 33 would be starts, he would complete 31 of them, with 2 of them being shut outs, while he would finish four out other games, collecting a save. In only 297.3 innings of work, he would give up 154 runs, of which 99 would be earned, on 297 hits, while he would strike out 125 batters, while walking only 47 and giving up 13 home runs. In his fourth season as a Phil, he would be among the league leaders in only games finished (2), wins (8), win/lost percentage (3), saves (1), ERA (3), shut outs (5) and strikeouts (5).

The main reason for his pitching drop was because the Phillies’ manager, future Hall of Famer Harry Wright, an early strategist of the game, had decided to place Ferguson’s strong bat into the Phils’ regular lineup for the pennant run, as Ferguson would end up playing six games in the outfield, five games at third base, and twenty-seven ballgames at second base, playing that position for the final eight weeks of the season, as he would replace the bats of a couple of second baseman who were hitting a combine total of only .214. In 72 games, Ferguson would hit .337, going to the plate 264 times, knocking in 85 runs on 89 hits, while scoring 67 runs, Ferguson would hit 14 doubles, 6 triples and 3 home runs, while stealing 13 bases. He would walk 34 times while striking out only 19. He would miss out being the team’s leading batter for that year, because he would not have enough plate appearances. He would, though, end up leading the team in RBIs. Ferguson’s strong bat would help the Phillies end up a strong second to the Detroit Wolverines.

The Phillies’ strong finish at the end of the 1887 season, going 16-0-1 in their last seventeen games, would make the team confident of being able to challenge for their first NL pennant when the team entered spring training in 1888. Sadly, it was not to be as they would be struck an early blow in camp as Charlie Ferguson would be struck down by typhoid fever, dying to the dreaded disease on April 29, at the young age of 25. Ferguson would be sent back home to Charlotteville, Virginia, where he would be buried in Maplewood Cementery. During the 1888 season, in which the Phillies would drop to third place in the standings, the Phillies, the Giants, the Beaneaters and the Washington Nationals would all commemorate his passing by wearing a black crepe on their left shoulders of their team uniforms.

During his four years as a Phil, Charlie Ferguson would pitch in 183 games, starting in 170 and completing 165, while finishing 12 others. He would have a winning record of 99-64, with a winning percentage of .607, having 13 shut outs and four saves. In 1514.2 innings pitched, he would give up only 793 runs, 450 of which would be earned, on 1402 hits. He would strike out 728 batters while only walking 290, while giving up only 42 home runs. His career ERA would be 2.67. His career batting average would be .288 in 257 total games played, getting 191 hits in 963 at-bats, knocking in 157 runs while scoring 191. He would have a career total of 37 doubles, 13 triples and 6 home runs, while stealing 22 bases. Ferguson would walk 113 times while striking out 119. His 99 wins would land him in 8th place on the all-time Phillies’ win lists, trailing the likes of Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Robert Roberts and Alexander, as well as Chris Short and possible future Hall of Famer Curt Schilling, while his 64 losses would have him tied for 24th place on that list. His ERA would place him 6th. Ferguson would also be 17th in games started, 4th in complete games, 11th in innings pitched and strikeouts and tied for 14th in shut outs, as well as be among the top 50 in several other pitching categories. 

With Ferguson’s death, the Phillies would lose a chance to win a NL pennant before the turn of the century. Although the team would remain a member of the first division, except during the period 1895-97, they would not reach second place again until 1901. His early death would also deny Ferguson a place among baseball immortals at the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., as it would be more than likely he would have won enough games, based on his winning 99 games in just four years with a then good Phillies team, to get the nod via the Veterans Committee, if not for his being stricken down by typhoid.

Main sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Ferguson_%281880s_pitcher%29 - Wikipedia page

http://www.19cbaseball.com/players-charlie-ferguson.html - Biography at Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball.com

http://www.baseball-reference.com//f/ferguch01.shtml - Stats at Baseball-reference.com

http://www.thedeadballera.com/Obits/Obits_F/Ferguson.Charles01.Obit.html - Charlie Ferguson’s Philadelphia Inquirer obit – TheDeadballEra.com

Other sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-reference.com, Phillies.com: Team History, Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball.com  

Philadelphia Phillies – Year 3: Finishing in the first division for the first time, at third place.

With Harry Wright still the team’s manager and with second-year pitcher Charlie Ferguson becoming a rising star, the Quakers/Phillies would begin 1885 attempting its first serious run at the National League pennant, with a chance to meet the winner of the other recognized major league, the American Association, in a post season playoff system, which would be a precusor to today’s World Series, which was first established in 1884, where the National League Champions Providence Grays would end up defeating the American Association Champions New York Metropolitans, 3-0, in a best of three games series.

The Phillies would face a National League that would be slightly different from the one that they had joined in 1883, as the Cleveland Blues franchise would fold early in the year, while the New York Gothams would change their name to the Giants, based on a comment that was suppose to have been said by their player/manager Jim Mutrie, after a victory over the Phillies in the previous season: “My big fellows! My giants!” The franchise that would replace the Blues in the NL would be the best team from the failed third major league of the previous season, the Union Association Champions, the St. Louis Maroons. Along with the Maroons, the Giants and the ‘World Champions’ Grays, the Phillies in 1885 would face the Beaneaters, the Bisons, the Wolverines and the White Stockings.

The Phillies would begin the 1885 season with a twenty-three games home stand that would cover all of May and their first game in June. During this long home stand, they would play a game with the league champs Grays, followed by two with the Beaneaters, another game with the Grays, then two more with the Beaneaters, before playing eight straight two-games series with the Wolverines, the White Stockings, the Wolverines again, the White Stockings again, the Maroons, the Bisons, the Maroons again, the Bisons again, and then a single game with the Giants. The Phillies would start the season off on a sour note as they would lose their first three home games by scores of 8-2, 2-0 and 9-8, before going on a six-games winning streak, which would include a 15-5 crushing of Boston, followed by 10-3 and 17-8 drubbings of the Wolverines. After dropping two straight games to their western nemesis, the White Stockings, they would then win two straight games against the Maroons, winning the second game by the lop-sided score of 12-1, before losing the first game in their two-games series with the Bisons. The Phils would then go on a five-games winning streak, thus ending May with a winning record of 14-8, the team’s best start in its short history.

The Phillies would start off June, and end their home stand, with a lost to the Giants, giving them a 14-9 home stand. This game would be the start of a four-game, Philadelphia to New York and back again series between the two clubs. After defeating the Giants in New York, the Phillies would drop their second home game with New York, before dropping the second game in NY. The Phils would then go on an eight-games road trip to the east coast, meeting the Grays for two-games, the Beaneaters for two, and then going to Providence, Boston, Providence and then Boston again for the last four games of the trip. The Phillies would lose both of their games with the Grays, before finally breaking their four-games losing streak with a victory over Boston. After losing their second game with Boston, they would defeat the Grays, before losing the next two games in Boston and Providence. They would then end their nine-games road trip with a victory over the Beaneaters, thus ending their Eastern trip with a 3-7 record. After splitting another Philadelphia to New York series with the Giants, losing at home and winning in New York, the Phillies would go on their first trip to the west, planning to meet the White Stockings, the Maroons, the Bisons and the Wolverines for several four-games series, for the rest of June and the start of July. After losing the first two games, the Phillies would end their visit to Chicago with a series split, as they would win the last two games. Going to St. Louis for the first time in the organization’s existance, their would lose the first three games of the series, thus ending the month with a sour record of 7-14, while having an overall record of 21-22 for the season.

July would begin with the Phillies winning the final game of their first road series in St. Louis. After losing the first game of their series with the Bisons, the Phillies would sweep a July 4th doubleheader from them by the scores of 10-5 and 7-2, the first doubleheader sweep in the franchise’s history. The Phils would then lose the last game of their series with the Bisons, then lose their first two games with the Wolverines, before splitting the last two games, thus ending the road trip with a 6-10 record. The Phillies would then come home to play a twenty-games home stand for the rest of July and early August, in which they would play seven straight two-games series with the Beaneaters, the Grays, the Wolverines, the Maroons, the Wolverines again, the Maroons again, and the White Stockings, before playing a single game with the Bisons, followed by two more games with the White Stockings and then three more games with the Bisons, before they would go on another east coast road trip. The Phillies would start the home stand by splitting their series with Boston, before being swept by Providence. After splitting the next two series, they would sweep their second two-games series with Detriot, including a 19-2 rout, before being swept themselves by both the Maroons and the White Stockings, with the later two games being 2-0 and 9-0 shut outs. The Phillies would thus end July just as badly as they had ended June, with a 9-14 record, while their overall record would now be a somewhat respectible 30-36.

After starting August by defeating the Bisons, the Phillies would be swept once again by the White Stockings, before ending the home stand by winning two of their three games with the Bisons, thus ending the home stand with an 8-12 record. The Phils would then visit Boston, Providence and New York for three straight two-games series on the road. The Phils would sweep the Grays, then spilt their series with the Beaneaters, before being swept by the Giants, to end up with a 3-3 road trip. They would then participate in a six-games home stand with the Beaneaters for two games, the Grays for three and the Giants for one. After splitting the series with Boston, the Phillies would then proceed to sweep the Grays, starting it with a 2-0 blanking in the series’ first game, and ending it with Charlie Ferguson pitching a 1-0 no-hitter against the Grays on August 29, the first no-hitter in the franchise’s history. The Phils would then end their home stand by losing to the Giants for a 4-2 home stand and ending the month with an 11-11 record. The team’s overall record would now be at 41-47.

The Phillies would start off September by visiting the Giants, before playing against them at home for two more games. After losing the game in New York, the Phillies would sweep New York at home, which would be their last home games of the year, as they would now spend the rest of September and all of their October games on the road. With their two wins over the Giants, they would end the year with a 29-26 mark at home, while their overall record at this point would be 43-48. Their long twenty-games road trip would include two straight two-games series with the Grays and the Beaneaters, before ending with four four-games series with the four western teams, the Bisons, the Wolverines, the Maroons and the White Stockings. After splitting the series with Providence, they would sweep the two-games series with Boston. After losing the first game in Buffalo, they would win the next three games against the Bisons, before going to Detroit and losing the series with the Wolverines, 1-3. The Phillies would then go to St. Louis, where they would win their last game in September, to end the month with a 10-6 record, and an overall record of 51-53, now just two games under .500.

The Phillies would start October with a 3-3 tie against the Maroons, before sweeping the next two games to take the series at 3-0-1. In their last series of the year, against Chicago, after losing the first game, they would win their last three games of the season, to end the month with a 5-1-1 record, and the road trip at 13-6-1, as they would end the season at 56-54-1. This would land them in third place for the first time in the team’s history with a .509 winning percentage, three games ahead of the fourth place Grays, 28 games behind the second place Giants and 30 games behind the 1885 NL Champs, the White Stockings. The team’s road record would end up being 27-28-1.

The Phillies would meet the other teams in the National League sixteen times each, except for the Grays, whom they would meet fifteen times. They would have winning records against five of those teams (Beaneaters, Bisons, Wolverines, Grays and Maroons) with their best record being against the Bisons at 11-5. Their worst records would be against the White Stockings and the Giants, both ending up at 5-11. The Phillies would be 10-9 in shut outs, 13-12 in 1-run games and 17-19 in blowouts. The Phillies would play 55 games at home before 150,698 fans.

In 111 games played, Phillies batters would end up being second in doubles (156), fourth in walks (220), fifth in at-bats (3893), runs scored (513) and home runs (20) and sixth in hits (891), triples (35), strike outs (401), batting average (.229), slugging percentage (.302) and on-base percentage (.270), while also having 327 rbis. Among pitchers, the team ended up second in hits allowed (860), third in ERA (2.39), wins (56), complete games (108), shut outs (10), runs allowed (511), home runs allowed (18), walks given up (218), fourth in innings pitched (976), fifth in saves (0) and strike outs (378) and sixth in loses (54), while also finishing three games, giving up 259 earned runs, throwing 63 wild pitches and being called for three balks.

Individually, the team leaders in offensive categories would be Joe Mulvey at Batting Average (.269), Slugging Percentage (.393), Hits (119), Total Bases (174), Doubles (25), Triples and Home Runs (6 each) and RBIs (64), Ed Andrews in on-base percentage (.318), runs scored (77) and singles (94), Sid Farrar and Jim Fogarty in games played (111), Jack Manning in at-bats (445), total plate appearances (482) and walks (37) and Charlie Bastian in strikeouts with 82. Among pitchers, Charlie Ferguson and Ed Daily would be tied for the team lead in wins with 26, becoming the first pitchers to win 20 or more games in the same year in franchise’s history, while Daily would become the team’s second twenty-games winner. Daily would also lead the team in ERA (2.21), games pitched (50), innings pitched (440), home runs allowed (12), walks (90), hits allowed (370), loses (23), earned runs allowed (108), and wild pitches (40), while Ferguson led the team in strikeouts (197), shut outs (5) and games finished (3).

The Phillies’ third place finish would, for the moment, place them among the league’s elite, while they prepare to compete for a league pennant in 1886.

Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-reference.com, Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball.com

Philadelphia Phillies – Year 2: Trying to become a first division team.

In 1884, with Harry Wright, the future Hall of Fame manager, as the ballclub’s third manager, Reach and Rodgers would try to put together a team that they hope would become a better contender for the National League pennant than was the previous year’s team. Among the changes made would be a change in the team’s nickname, as the Quakers would now be known as the Philadelphias, following the naming convention of the time. The local sports writers would later shorten the team’s nickname down to the Phillies, which is today the longest used team nickname in American sports history. But, the local sports writers would continue to call the ballclub the Quakers in their reporting on the team, officially until 1890, using the two names interchangeably, and unofficially into the first couple of decades of the 20th century.

The Harry Wright-led Phillies would face in 1884 the same seven teams that they had faced the previous season: Boston, Providence, New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. Their home ball park would remain Recreation Park.

The Phillies would begin the 1884 season as they have begun the disastrous 1883 season, in May, with a home stand. But, unlike the previous season, the Phillies would be involved in a twenty-one-games home stand, facing the Wolverines for two games, the White Stockings for four games, the Bisons for two games, the Blues for two games, then another two-games series with the Bisons, followed by a second two-games series with the Blues, two games with the Beaneaters, two games with the Grays, a second two-games series with Boston and finally a single game series with the Grays. The Phillies’ home opener with the Wolverines would see the Phillies win their first opening day game in the club’s history, as they pounded Detroit, 13-2. After winning the second game in their short series with the Wolverines, the team would win their third game in a row as they would beat the White Stockings in a close game, 9-8. The Phillies, after starting the season off on such a high note, would go back to their losing ways as they would lose their next three games with the White Stockings, followed by a lost to the Bisons, 9-7. After winning their next two games and then splitting the next four games of their home stand, the Phillies would find themselves mired in a long seven games losing streak, which would include seeing them being shut out three times, including a 13-0 defeat at the hands of the Beaneaters, before they would defeat the Grays in the final game of their long home stand, 4-3. Leaving Philadelphia with a record of 8-13, they would begin their first road trip of the season, a trip along the eastern seaboard, where they would face both the Beaneaters and the Grays for two two-games series, before ending the road trip with a two-games series against the Gothams in New York. Their first two two-games series against the Beaneaters and the Grays, which would include a doubleheader that was played first in Boston with the Beaneaters and then in Providence with the Grays on May 30, would see the Phillies end up losing all four games, thus ending the month of May with a losing record of 8-17.

June would begin just as badly for the Phils as May has just ended, as they would lose the two games of their second two-games series with Boston and then lose the first game of their second two-games series with the Grays, 4-0, before they would finally win their first road game of the year, a close 9-8 victory over the Grays. The Phillies would then start an eight-games series with the Gothams, that would include two two-games series in Philadelphia, as well as a second two-games series in New York. After losing the first two games in New York, thus ending their first road trip of the year with a 1-9 record, the Phillies would begin the first of their two two-games series with the Gothams in Philadelphia. The eight-games series between these two future rivals would see the Phillies playing the Gothams as competitively as they could, but when the eight-games series was over, the Phillies would leave Philadelphia having lost the series 3-5, although winning the second of the two-games series played in New York and splitting the second two-games series in Philadelphia. The Phillies would then begin their second major road trip of the year with a single game against the Grays, followed by a two-games series with the Beaneaters, then a second single game series against the Grays, before heading to Cleveland for four games with the Blues, followed by a four-games series in Buffalo, then four games against the White Stockings and then four games with the Wolverines, before finally ending the road trip with two games against the Gothams, for a total of twenty-two games from mid-June to mid-July. After losing the first game in Providence and then splitting the series with the Beaneaters, the Phillies would then lose the second game in Providence, before going on to Cleveland and losing their series with the Blues, 1-3. The Phillies would then drop the series with the Bisons, also 1-3, thus ending the month of June with a 7-17 record for the month, while having a season record of 15-34.

The Philles would begin July losing their four-games series with the White Stockings, 1-3, including losing a July 4 doubleheader by the scores of 3-1 and 22-3, before splitting the four-games series with the Wolverines and then losing the two-games series with the Gothams, ending their long road trip with a 6-16 record. After losing a two-games series at home against the Gothams, the Phillies would play four single games series, facing first the Grays, then Boston, then Providence again and then the Beaneaters once more, before coming home for a long home stand. The Phillies would split the four games, 2-2, losing the first two and then winning the last two. Their next home stand would see the Phillies play two games with the Grays, then two games with the Beaneaters, followed by a single game against the Grays, then two more games with the Beaneaters, followed by another single game series with the Grays, before they would face the Gothams for the final two games of the home stand with their east coast opponents. The Phils would begin the home stand by first losing the two games with the Grays, then losing the two with the Beaneaters, the two teams that would once again be fighting it out for the National League pennant, thus ending July on another losing note, as they would end the month with a dismal 5-15 record, while their season record would now be at 20-49.

The Phillies would start August with their losing streak going to six games as their would lose their game with Providence and then their first game with the Beaneaters, before finally ending the streak with a 6-2 victory over Boston. After losing the next game with Providence, the Phillies would split their two games with the Gothams, thus ending the home stand with a 2-8 record, before the two teams would head on to New York for another two games series, which would also end up as a split series. The Phillies would then go back home to Philadelphia for another long home stand, this time against teams from the west, starting with a five-games series with the Blues, followed by a four-games series with the Bisons, then a six-games series with the Wolverines, and then, finally, a four-games series with the White Stockings, for a grand total of twenty-nine games from late-August to mid-September. The Phils would begin the home stand by losing the opener to the Blues, and then tying the second game on August 20, 9-9. They would then win the next three games with Cleveland, including a 20-1 pounding of the Blues, thus winning their first series since their July 23 single series game with Boston, going 3-1-1. They would then lose the series with the Bisons, going 1-3, ending August with a somewhat good record of 7-9-1 and with an overall season mark of 27-58-1.

The Phillies would start off September on a high note as they would win their six-games series with the Wolverines, going 4-2, before getting creamed in their four-games series with the White Stockings, losing by scores of 15-10, 16-6, 19-2 and 5-2, thus ending their long home stand with a somewhat respectible record of 8-10-1. The Phillies would then conduct their second and final western road trip, facing the Bisons, the Blues, the Wolverines and the White Stockings for four games each. The Phillies would start their series against Buffalo by losing the first three games, increasing their losing streak to seven games, before finally ending it with a 3-0 shut out of the Bisons on September 20. The Phillies would then embark on a winning streak of their own, defeating the Blues for four straight games and then winning their first game with the Wolverines, for a six games winning streak, as they would end their first winning month in the team’s history by going 10-9, while increasing their season record to 37-67-1.

The Phillies would start October seeing their winning streak end as they lose to Detroit, 1-0, before going on to win their next two games, winning the series at 3-1. The Phillies would then go on to Chicago, where they would be swept in four games by the White Stockings. They would then come back home on October 15, to finish out the season by losing to the Grays, 8-0, ending the month with a 2-6 record and the season with a record of 39-73-1, with a winning percentage of .348.

In their second season of existance, the Phillies would end the year in sixth place, 23 games behind the fifth place White Stockings and 45 games behind the 1884 NL champions, the Providence Grays. The Phillies would end up playing sixteen ballgames with each of their opponents, except for the Blues, whom they would face in seventeen games. Their best season record would be with the Wolverines, against whom they would go 11-5, followed by the Blues at 10-6-1. They would have losing records with the rest of the league: Bisons and Gothams (5-11), Beaneaters and Grays (3-13) and White Stockings (2-14). The Phillies would go 3-13 in shut outs, 10-11 in 1-run games and 12-43 in blow outs. The Phillies would be 19-37-1 at home, while they would go 20-36 on the road, which would be improvements over their previous season’s home/road record, as they would go 9-40-1 at home and 8-41 on the road. The team’s home attendence for the year, at 100,475 fans, would be an increase over the team’s 1883 attendence mark of 55,992 fans.

In 1884, the team would play in 113 games, with the batters ending the season with a team batting average of .234 (7th), a team slugging percentage of .272 (6th) and a team on-base percentage of .301 (7th). The team batted 3998 times (6th) and had 934 hits (6th), as they scored 549 runs (6th) of which 343 would be by RBIs. Of their 934 hits, the Phillies would have 149 2Bs (5th), 39 3Bs (8th) and 14 HRs (8th). Phillies batters would receive 209 walks (5th), while striking out 512 times (4th). Pitching wise, the Phillies pitchers would have a team ERA of 3.93 (8th), with 106 complete games (7th), of which only three were shut outs (7th), while seven other games would be completed by another pitcher. The pitchers would convert one save (3rd) during the season. In 981 innings pitched (8th), they would give up 1090 hits (7th) and 824 runs (8th), of which 428 were earned. They would give up 38 home runs (6th) and walked 254 batters (6th), while striking out 411 (8th). They also committed 126 wild pitches.

Among the team’s batting leaders, Jack Manning would lead the team in batting average (.271), slugging percentage (.394), on-base percentage (.334), total bases (167), doubles (29), home runs (5), RBIs (52), walks (40), strikeouts (67) and extra-base hits (38), while Bill McClellan would lead the team in at-bats (450), total plate appearances (478), hits (116) and singles (98), Ed Andrews would lead in runs scored (74), Blondie Purcell would lead in triples (7), while McClellan and Sid Ferrar would be tied for most games played at 111. In pitching, Charlie Ferguson led the team in games pitched (50), games started (47), games finished (3), complete games (46), wins (21), loses (25), saves (1), shut outs (2), innings pitched (416.7) and strikeouts (194), while Bill Vinton would lead in ERA (2.23) and Jim McElroy in wild pitches (46).

Charlie Ferguson, in his first major league season, would become the first twenty-game winner in franchise’s history with his 21 victories.

Harry Wright would continue as the Phillies’ manager in 1885, as he continue to try to turn the team into a first division team in the eight team National League.

Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-Reference.com

Philadelphia Phillies – Year 1: Rejoining the National League and landing in the cellar.

In 1883, Philadelphia, along with New York, would rejoin the eight-teams National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or the National League, after the 1876 editions of both clubs, in the league’s first season of existence, were both expelled by the league for their refusal to participate in a late season western cities road trip. The new Philadelphia team, nicknamed the Quakers, would be brought into existance by former professional ballplayer and sporting goods manufacturer Al Reach, and his partner, attorney John Rogers, after the two men had successfully won the franchise rights of the now defunct Worcester (Massachusetts) Brown Stockings (also known as the Ruby Legs), which has gone bankrupt in 1882. Reach would become the team’s first president. The team’s first manager would be Bob Ferguson, who was, like Reach, a former professional ballplayer, as well as the former manager of the Troy (New York) Trojans, another disbanded team, whose franchise right would be bought by the New York Gothams (later the New York/San Francisco Giants). The Quakers would play their home games out of Recreation Park, which was located in North Philadelphia between 23rd and 25th Streets and Ridge and Columbia (now Cecil B. Moore) Avenues.

The Phillies’ opponents for its inaugural season, along with fellow newcomer, the New York Gothams, would be, by geographical order: Boston Beaneaters (1876 member);  Providence (Rhode Island) Grays (1878 member); Buffalo (New York) Bisons (1879 member); Cleveland Blues (1879 member); Detroit Wolverines (1881 member) and Chicago White Stockings (1876 member). Of the other six teams, only Boston (now in Atlanta) and Chicago, along with the new teams from Philadelphia and New York (now in San Francisco), would still be playing in the National League.

The Quakers’ first game, which was also their first home game, would be played on May 1, 1883 against the Providence Grays. The game would end up as a 4-3 lost to the Grays. The Phillies would then play two more games with the Grays, followed by a three game series at home with the Beaneaters, all loses, including two games in which the opposition would score twenty or more runs against the Quakers, a 24-6 thumping by the Grays on May 3 and a 20-8 defeat by the Beaneaters on May 7, ending the team’s first home stand winless. After losing two straight games on the road to the White Stockings in Chicago, the Quakers would finally get the first victory in Phillies’ history, a 12-1 victory on May 14 against the White Stockings, thus ending the first losing streak in Phillies’ history at eight games. After winning their second victory over the Wolverines in Detroit, for the club’s first winning streak, the Quakers would lose the next two games in the series, quickly followed by a two-game split with the Blues in Cleveland before they would lose their three games series against the Bisons in Buffalo, including the first game in which the Phillies would be unable to score a single run, losing 4-0 on May 25, before winning the last game in the series on May 28, 3-2, thus ending its first road trip at 4-7. But before their next home stand, the Quakers’ manager, Ferguson, with a record of 4-13, would be fired by the owners, thus becoming the first Phillies manager to be let go. He would be quickly replaced by Blondie Purcell, a player on the Quakers’, thus becoming the team’s first player-manager. Sadly, the change in managers would not improve the team’s fortunes, as they would begin their next home stand, on May 30, losing the team’s first doubleheader, dropping both games to the White Stockings by the lopsided scores of 15-8 and 22-4. The team would then end their first month of existance by losing their third game in a row to the White Stockings by the score of 4-3, with a record for the month of 4-16.

June would begin just as badly for the Quakers as it would finish its first four game series by losing to the White Stockings 10-1. During the rest of the home stand, three more four games series with the Wolverines, Blues, and Bisons, the team would go 4-8, which would include the first game in which the Quakers would score 20 or more runs, a 20-4 drubbings of the Wolverines on June 6, which was also the team’s first home victory, as well as the team’s first shut out victory, a 2-0 win against the Bisons on June 14, ending the home stand at 4-12. The team would then go back on the road for two two-games series with the Beaneaters and the Grays and a single game series with the Gothams. The Quakers’ bad fortune would continue as they would lose the first six games of that road trip, including a 29-4 shlacking by the Beaneaters on June 20, before finally gaining another road victory, the team’s first shut out defeat of an opponent on the road, as they would defeat the Grays 4-0 on June 26, before losing the last two games of the road trip. The team would then come home to face the Gothams, losing the game 8-6, thus ending the month of June with a losing record of 5-18 and an overall record of 9-34, last in the league. Also in June, on the ninth, the NL would allow the Quakers to slash its ticket prices down to .25 cents, so that it would be able to compete with the more popular Philadelphia Athletics baseball club of the rival American Association, as the team’s home attendence would increase because of the decrease in ticket price.

In July, things doesn’t get any better for the ballclub, as the Quakers would lose two more games to the Gothams, the first one at Recreation Park, then the other in New York, before they begin a short four games home stand with the Grays and the Beaneaters. After winning a forfeit with the Grays (the actual score was 9-11 Grays) as the Grays had to leave town so that they could play a game with the Gothams in New York on that same day, the Quakers would get swept once again by the Beaneaters, including a game that they would play after the forfeited game with the Grays (both played on July 4). (The forefited game would also be the first series that the Phillies would win in the club’s history.) The Quakers would then spend the rest of the month on another ‘western’ road trip, which would include a five games series (their first) with the Blues, and three straight four games series against the Bisons, the White Stockings and the Wolverines. By the time they finally limp back home on August 4 to face the Gothams, the road trip would be a complete disaster, as they would only win three games of the seventeen games road trip, thus ending the month of July with a 3-17 record, while their overall season record would now be at 12-51, still in last place.

Back home, the Phillies would lose to the Gothams, before heading to New York to lose the next game. After coming back home to gain a victory over their fellow newcomer, they would go back to New York, where they would be swept in two games there. They would then be swept in two straight three games series by both the Beaneaters and the Grays, the two teams who were at this point fighting for the National League pennant. Among these loses would be a 28-0 drubbing at the hands of the Grays on August 21, the most lopsided shut out in the game’s history. The Quakers would then end the month playing three more games with the Gothams (one of which was played at Recreation Park) and two home games with the Grays, losing all five, thus ending the month of August with a 2-17 record and an overall record of 14-68.

The Quakers would spend the rest of the season playing at home, playing seventeen games with the Beaneaters (1), the Grays (1), the Gothams (2), the Blues (3), the Bisons (3), the Wolverines (4) and the White Stockings (3). The Quakers would go 3-13-1 in those games, which would include their third two-games winning streak, as they would win single games with the Grays, winning their second series, and the Gothams, get no-hit on September 13 by Hugh Daly of the Blues, losing 1-0, and be tied for the first time in the team’s history on September 22 with the Wolverines, as the two teams would play that day to a 6-6 tie. The Quakers would end its first season in the National League in last place with a 17-81-1 record, 23 games behind seventh place Detroit and 46 games behind the league’s champion, the Boston Beaneaters.

Against the rest of the league, the team would only have losing records in 1883: Beaneaters (0-14); Grays (3-11); Gothams (2-12); Bisons (5-9); Blues (2-12); Wolverines (3-11-1) and White Stockings (2-12), with its worst record being against the Beaneaters and its best being against the Bisons. They would be 3-7 in shut outs, 2-12 in 1-run games and 4-42 in blowouts.

In a 99 games season, the team would go to the plate a total of 3576 times (6th) while getting only 859 hits (7th) for a team batting average of .240 (8th), a team on-base percentage of .269 (8th) and a team slugging percentage of .320 (8th). The Quakers would score 437 runs (8th) on 299 RBIs. The team would get 181 2Bs (6th), 48 3Bs (6th) and 3 HRs (8th), while also receiving 141 walks (4th) as they struck out 355 (5th) times. Pitching wise, the Quakers had a Team ERA of 5.34 (8th), and in 99 games played, they had 91 complete games (2nd) with 8 other games finished by another pitcher, only 3 (8th) of which would be shut outs. In 864 innings pitched (5th), the team’s pitchers would give up 1267 hits (8th), allow 887 runs (8th) to score of which 513 were earned, give up 20 HRs (6th) and walk 125 batters (5th) and strike out only 253 (8th).

Individually, the team batting leader was Purcell with a .268 batting average, while Jack Manning would lead the team in slugging percentage with .364 and in on-base percentage with .300. Purcell would also lead the team with 425 at-bats, 70 runs scored, 114 hits and 88 singles, while Manning would also lead the team in total at-bats with about 470, 153 total bases, 31 doubles, and 37 RBIs. Other team batting leaders were: Sid Farrar in games played (99); John Coleman and Farrar in triples (8 each); Purcell, Bil McClellan and Emil Gross in home runs (1 each); Bill Harbridge in walks (24) and Coleman in strikeouts (39). In pitching, Coleman would also be the team leader in ERA (4.87), wins (12), loses (48), games pitched (65), innings pitched (538.3), strikeouts (159), games started (61), complete games (59), and shut outs (3).

After the season, Purcell would be replaced as the team’s manager with Harry Wright, another former professional ballplayer, and former manager of the second place Grays, and before that, the manager of the Beaneaters, leading that franchise to NL pennants in 1877 and 1878. It was hoped by both Reach and Rogers that he would turn the team’s fortune around.

Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com and Baseball-Reference.com

More by the numbers: Phillies’ Offense.

So how did the Phillies do offensively both individually and as a team? First, let take a look at how the Phillies did as a team. (Comment: When I put down worst, flip it over as it really means that they were near the bottom in a particularly bad offensive category. So, for example, eighth worst in total strike outs means that they have as a team actually struck out fewer times then have the seven teams above them.)

In 162 games, the team had a team batting average of .255, 10th best in the NL, which puts them in the middle of the pack. Their team slugging percentage was .438, second best in the league, while their on-base percentage was .322, the league’s seventh best offensive team. The team’s OPS (On-base percentage plus Slugging Percentage) was .770, third best in the league. The team went to the plate officially a total of 5509 times, for 10th best in the NL, while they went to the plate (TPA) a total of 6273 (seventh) times. They crossed home plate a total of 799 times, tied for second best in the league with the New York Mets. They had 1407 hits, once again for 10th place in the NL. Of those hits, 291 of them were doubles (ninth), 36 were triples (fourth) and 214 were home runs (1st) for a total of 541 Extra-Base Hits (2nd) and 2412 total bases (third). They had 762 RBIs (second), of which only 40 came via a sacrifice fly (12th). They had 71 sacrifice hits, which tied them for fourth place with the St. Louis Cardinals. They walked a total of 586 times (fifth) of which 68 were intentional (second). They were also hit by the pitch 67 times (fourth). They would strike out a total of 1117 times, for eighth worst in the league. They stole 136 bases (third), while being caught only 25 times (13th worst), giving them a SB% (Stolen Base Percentage) of 84.5, the best in the NL. They would hit into 108 double plays, for 12th worst in the league. They saw 24,124 pitches (sixth). They made 1516 ground outs (fourth most) and the same number of fly outs (1516, also fourth) for a GO/AO (Ground Out to Fly Out ratio) of 1.14 (11th worst).

Put together, this means that during the regular season, the Phillies was an offensive machine who, although they didn’t get many hits, were very likely to kill you with extra-base hits, mainly home runs and triples, and would score a lot of runs off of their opponents’ pitching. They were also a team that could get on base via the walk, partly because the opposing team would rather not allow themselves to be beaten by their big men. They would also steal a lot of bases and knew when to pick their spots when they did so. Overall, they would strike out very little and would hit into very few double plays. If they had an achillies’ heel, the team did not hit too many sacrifice flies, meaning that they didn’t do much small ball, although they did know how to move the runners over when they needed to. Also, they were an about average team when it came to taking opposing teams’ pitchers deep into counts.

Now individually. Ryan Howard lead the NL in most Home Runs (48) and RBIs (146), while ninth in runs scored (105) and sixth in slugging percentage (.543). Chase Utley was tied for 19th in batting avg. (.292), tied for ninth in home runs (33), eleventh in RBIs (104), tied for fifth in runs scored (113), tenth in hits (177), tenth in doubles (41) and ninth in slugging percentage (.535). Shane Victorino was the Phillies regular with the highest batting avg. (.293) which was 18th in the NL. He was also 13th in runs scored (102), sixth in stolen bases (36), and 5th in triples (8). Pat Burrell was tied for ninth in home runs (33) and tied for 20th in slugging percentage (.507). Jimmy Rollins was third in stolen bases with 47, tied for 18th in doubles (38), and fourth in triples (9).

This means that this is a very dangerous hitting club that should not be taken lightly, while the team’s star players were all, in their own ways, able to did a lot of damage to opposing teams’ pitching when they were given the chance to do so. 

Sarge Jr. comes to Citizens Bank Park: The Phillies face the best in the American League West.

The first place Phillies (42-32) will be facing Gary Matthews, Jr and the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim (43-30, 1st American League West) at Citizens Bank Park for a three games weekend series. The first game of the home stand will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will be sending to the mound Adam Eaton (2-4, 4.57), who is coming off his fifth straight quality start, although losing to the Cardinals on June 14, as he would pitch six and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 3-2 lost. In those five starts, he is 2-1 with a no-decision, which the Phils won, pitching a combined total of thirty-two and a third innings, giving up eleven earned runs on thirty-two hits. Eaton will be trying for his sixth straight quality start while trying to get his third win of the season to help the Phillies to once again put some distance between them and their opponents in the National League East. The Angels will counter with Ervin Santana (8-3, 3.40), who is coming off a lost to the Braves on June 14, where would only go five and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on nine hits, in the Angels’ 9-4 lost. He will once again be looking for his ninth win while trying to dominate the Phils’ bats.

This will be the first time that Sarge’s son will make an appearance at Citizens Bank Park, where he will be watched by his father from the broadcast booth. The Phillies’ offense will be trying to get back on the winning track, hopefully with the batters being a bit more patient at the plate and being a lot more consistant in runs production. Also, Chase Utley will be trying to break out of his present 0-20 slump which has caused his batting average to dip under .300 (.294), twenty-fourth best in the NL. Although he is still leading the league in home runs with twenty-two, he is now third in RBIs with sixty-two, fourth in runs scored with fifty-six, eleventh in hits with eighty-three and sixth in slugging percentage (.606). The Phils will need him to get back to being able to get hits and knock in runs for the offense to get going again.

The Phillies’ lead in the National League East is now at two games as the second place Marlins head to Oakland for a three games series with the Athletics. They are presently leading the now third place Mets by five and a half games as they go to Denver for a three games weekend series with the Rockies. The now fourth place Braves, thanks to their lost to the Angels yesterday afternoon, trail the Phillies by six games as they get ready to play host to the Seattle Mariners for a three game series. The Phillies, as they try to win their first series since their sweep of the Braves, hope that the rest of their division will do poorly against their opponents this weekend.

Back home just in time to welcome the World Champion Red Sox. Phils resumes Interleague Play.

The Phillies (41-30) will start a six games home stand and the resumption of their involvement in Interleague Play tonight by hosting the World Champion Boston Red Sox (44-28, 1st American League East) for three games. The series’ opener will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (6-4, 3.27), who is coming off a no-decision against the Marlins on June 11, where he went eight innings, giving up only two earned runs, both on solo home runs to Jorge Cantu, on three hits, in the Phils’ 6-2 lost. In his previous start against the Reds on June 5, he would pitch a complete game shut out as he gave up only three hits to the Reds, in the Phils’ 5-0 victory. This will be his first time facing the BoSox, so he will be seeing how well he pitches against an elite team of the American League while trying to get his own team back on the winning track after suffering a couple of tough loses over the weekend. His opponent will be Bartolo Colon (4-1, 3.41), who is coming off a win against the Baltimore Orioles on June 11, where he pitched six innings, giving up an earned run on five scattered hits, in the Red Sox’s 6-3 win. In his five starts, Bartolo has given up three earned runs or less in all but one of his starts. Lifetime against the Phillies, he is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in four starts, while this will be his first start at Citizens Bank Park. He will be trying to pitch his team past the Phils so that they can stay ahead of the surprisingly good Tampa Bay Rays.

The Phillies will be looking to regroup after losing their last two series on their recent nine games road trip, especially after yesterday’s lost to the Cardinals thanks to a pair of misconnections between Chase Utley and Tom Gordon with two men out in the bottom of the tenth which allowed the Cardinals to win the extra-inning game. The offense will be trying to once again score a lot of runs like they were doing several weeks earlier. With their upcoming series against the BoSox and the Angels, the Phillies will be seeing if they can compete with a pair of elite teams in the American League, whom they might be playing against if they get into the World Series later this year, as well as to see if any problem that they might have will be exposed now so that they can be plugged up later before the late summer and September stretch run towards the pennant.

Oh, and it seems that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina has only received a concussion from his close encounter with Eric Bruntlett, but he was kept in the hospital for overnight observation, just in case. Thanks goodness. I hate to see a ballplayer get injured, no matter what the cause, or which team they play for.

Going into tonight’s game, Cole Hamels is among the National League leaders in Earned Run Average (10th), Strikeouts (4th-T), Innings Pitched (4th), Complete Games (1st-T) and Shut Outs (1st). He is also tied for 17th in Wins (6) and is tied for 16th in Games Started (14). As mentioned earlier, he will be trying to help his team defeat an elite team of the American League while improving on his stats in each category.

Inspite of the lost, the Phillies have at present the third best record in the National League, trailing only the National League Central leading Chicago Cubs (45-25), and the St. Louis Cardinals (42-29). In fact, they are at present the only National League teams to have won 40 or more games so far this season. Only three other teams in the majors have won over 40 or more games: Boston, the American League Western leading Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (42-28) and the Tampa Bay Rays (40-29). They have the best road record in the National League (20-17) and one of the best record at home (21-13). Only one other team has scored more runs than they have in the NL, the Chicago Cubs (387 (Cubs), 381 (Phils)). They are also the third best team in the NL in giving up the least runs (291), with only the Cubs (279) and the Braves (282) being better. The offense has the fifth best batting average in the NL at .264, while they are among the leaders in Slugging Percentage (1st), On-Base Percentage (4th), Walks (5th), Total Bases (1st), Runs Batted In (2nd), Home Runs (2nd), Doubles (3rd), Hits (4th) and At-Bats (3rd). The Phillies have the fourth best team ERA (3.82) in the NL, while the relief corps still has the best team ERA (2.62).

The Phillies lead the second place Marlins by three games, as they prepare to start a three games series against the Seattle Mariners in Seattle. The third place Braves, after their late lost to the Angels, are still six and a half games behind the Phillies, as they prepare to face the Rockies in Denver for a make up game, before starting a three games series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. The fourth place Mets also trails the Phillies by six and a half games, as they get ready to meet the Angels in Anaheim for a three games series. The Phillies hope to hold their own against the World Champions, to win the series, while trying to once again get some more distance betweeen themselves and the other teams in their division.

Offense helps Eaton win his first game of the season, Phils trails Marlins by 1/2 game.

The Phillies’ offense was only able to get six hits during last night’s game, but they were able to make them all count as they defeated the Rockies, 6-1, giving Adam Eaton his first win of the year. The Phillies would score first when, with the bases loaded, and two outs, Geoff Jenkins would take the walk, scoring Shane Victornio who has gotten on base earlier with a single. The Rockies would tie the game in the top of the third, when Todd Helton hits a RBI single to left, scoring Willy Taveras. But, after Pat Burrell has thrown the ball back into the infield, the Phils would catch Helton overrunning first base, and get him into a run down, Jimmy Rollins to Chase Utley to Ryan Howard, who would then throw the ball home when he sees Seth Smith trying to score on the play. Howard’s perfect throw would nail Smith out at home plate, as Carlos Ruiz puts on the tag, keeping the score tied at one to one. The Phillies would then go to work in the fifth. After Greg Reynolds has walked both Rollins and Victorino, he would give up a three-runs home run to Utley, his seventeenth of the year, scoring both Rollins and Victorino, giving the Phils back the lead, 4-1. Three batters later, with Howard on first, via another walk, and with one out, Reynolds would give up another home run, this time to Jenkins, his fourth of the season, scoring Howard, to make it a 6-1 Phillies’ lead. That would be the ballgame, as the Phillies’ bullpen, after relieving Eaton in the seventh, would keep the now very frustrated Rockies from being able to score during the last three innings.

Adam Eaton gets the win, as he would go six innings of very aggressive pitching, giving up only one earned runs on four scattered hits, while striking out four and walking only one. His record is now 1-3 with a 4.99 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch one and one-third innings of relief, giving up no runs on two hits. J.C. Romero would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Chad Durbin would pitch the ninth, giving up no runs on two hits. Greg Reynolds took the lost, pitching five and two-thirds innings as he gives up six earned runs on five hits, while walking eight Phils, four of whom would later score. He is now 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. Jason Grilli would pitch one and one-third innings, giving up no runs on no hits. Matt Herges would pitch one inning, giving up no runs on one hits.

With the win, the Phillies have completed their second series sweep of the year, with both of them coming at the expense of the Rockies. The Phillies have, in fact, swept their season series with the Rockies and have swept the Rockies for the first time since they have joined the Majors back in 1993.

The Phillies have now won four games in a row for the first time this season, while also being seven wins over .500 for the first time this year. With the six runs that they have scored last night, the Phillies have now scored seventy-three runs in their last eight games, as well as winning seven of their last nine games. During their last four games, Chase Utley has knocked in thirteen RBIs, including his career high six RBIs on Monday night, tying him for first place in RBIs with Lance Berkman of the Astros, while his home run puts him back into first place in home runs with seventeen, over both Berkman and Dan Uggla of the Marlins, both with sixteen home runs. Utley is also among the league leaders in total bases (2nd), runs scored (4th), hits (7th), doubles (8th-T) and slugging percentage (4th), while he is 15th in batting average. Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell are also among the league leaders in several offensive categories. Howard is among the leaders in home runs (5th-T), RBIs (8th-T), runs scored (10th-T) and walks (9th), while Burrell is among the leaders in home runs (7th-T), RBIs (18th-T), doubles (13-T), walks (2nd) and slugging percentage (7th). As a team, the Phillies are right now first in home runs (79), RBIs (284), total bases (874) and slugging percentage (.457), are second in runs scored (293), third in hits (511) and doubles (114), fourth in walks (203) and team on-base percentage (.341) and fifth in team batting average (.267). They are also seventh in stolen bases (38). 

The Phillies presently have the fifth best record in the National League at 31-24 with a .564 winning percentage. Their pitching staff is second overall in innings pitched (490.0), while sixth in team ERA (3.99) and their relief core is still leading the league in ERA (2.81), while it is seventh in saves (14), has given up the third least number of hits (146), the least runs (56), the least earned runs (52), the least home runs given up (10), and is tied with the Padres for the least hit batters (3).

The win puts the Phils a half game behind the now cooling Marlins, who have lost their game with the Mets in extra-innings, 7-6. The Phillies are now two games ahead of the Braves, who have lost their game with the Brewers, 1-0, as their road problems continue. The Phillies are still four games ahead of the fourth place Mets. As the Phillies and Marlins take the day off, the Braves will conclude their series with the Brewers, now in the top of the fifth inning, with the Braves winning, while the Mets will begin a four games series at home with the Dodgers.

The Phillies will start a three games home stand with the Florida Marlins (30-22) tomorrow night. The first game of the series will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils’ starting pitcher will be Brett Myers (2-6, 5.79), who is coming off of his fourth straight lost, this time at the hands of the Astros on May 24, where he pitched six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Phils’ 4-3 lost. Myers will be looking to get back to his winning ways, while hoping that the offense will give him some much needed runs support. The Marlins will be sending to the mound Mark Hendrickson (7-2, 4.14), who is coming off one of his worst starts, in spite of winning the game. He would go five innings against the Giants on May 25, giving up five earned runs on nine hits, in the Marlins’ 8-6 win, in the first game of a makeup doubleheader. He will be going for his eighth win of the season, while hoping that the Phillies’ bat won’t be aiming to up his ERA. The Phillies will be trying to win the weekend series with the Marlins so that they can regain the lead in the National League East, while hoping that the Braves and Mets will lose ground during their series at Cincinnati and against the Dodgers, respectively. 

Edit: The Braves have just won their game against the Brewers, 8-1. So the Phillies are now ahead of third place Atlanta by a game and a half as the Braves head to Cincinnati to play the Reds.

Continuing in Houston.

The Phillies (27-22) continue their trip to Houston with their second of four games against the Astros (27-22, 3rd National League Central) at Minute Maid Park. The game will start at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies will send to the mound Adam Eaton (0-2, 5.59), who is coming off a lost against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 17, where he went only five innings as he gave up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 lost. In his previous start against the Astros back on April 15, he would pitch six innings as he gave up three earned runs on seven hits while receiving a no-decision, in the Phils’ dramatic 4-3 come from behind win. Eaton will be looking for his first win of the year while Phillies fans wonder how much longer he’ll stay in the starting rotation. The Astros will counter with Brandon Backe (3-5, 4.58), who is coming off a win against the Texas Rangers on May 18, where he pitched six and a third innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits, in the Astros’ 5-4 victory. In his previous start against the Phils on April 17, he took the lost as he pitched only three innings as he gave up five earned runs on ten hits, in the Astros’ 10-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to get even for his earlier defeat at the hands of the Phillies’ offense.

Speaking of the offense, after being able to score only one run in the first eighteen innings of their series in Washington against the Nationals, the Phils have since then scored ninteen runs in the last eighteen innings. While some runs have come via the long ball, most of them have come via the use of small ball. Hopefully it’ll continue during the rest of their road trip. Also, Ryan Howard appears to be on a hitting tear, as he has gone six for his last ten at bats, hitting two doubles and three home runs, while knocking in six RBIs and scoring four runs. Howard is now hitting over .200 with a batting average of .207. But Howard appears to be not the only Phils on a tear as Shane Victorino has just raised his batting average to .263 as he has gotten eight hits in his last four starts, including two doubles and a home run. And Pedro Feliz in his last three starts has gone seven for thirteen with a home run, raising his average to .252. Hopefully the bats will continue to strike during their stay in Houston. 

The Phillies are a game and a half behind the Marlins, who will start a three games series in Miami against the Giants. They are technically tied for second with the Braves, trailing them by .002 percentage points, as they begin a four games series at home against the presently reeling Diamonbacks. Both they and the Braves are three games ahead of the Mets, who are continuing their own road trip with a three games series with the Rockies in Denver. After Sunday’s afternoon game with the Astros, the Phils will come home to start a ten games home stand, starting with a three games series with the reigning National League Champion Colorado Rockies. The Phillies will be trying to keep pace with the Marlins and Braves while trying to stay even further ahead of the presently floundering Mets.

Leading by the numbers…

The Phils (18-14) are right now leading the National League East by .5 games over both the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins, as they prepare to meet the Arizona Diamondbacks (21-10), the team with the best record in baseball for a four games series in Phoenix, Arizona.

Let look at the numbers:

Months:

March: 0-1

April:  15-12

May:    3-1

Having a winning April for the first time in several seasons is one of the main reasons why the Phils are leading the National League Eastern division.

Vs. Opponents :

Washington: 1-2

Cincinnati: 2-2

New York: 2-4

Chicago (NL): 2-1

Houston: 2-1

Colorado: 2-0

Milwaukee: 1-1

Pittsburgh: 2-1

San Diego: 2-1

San Francisco: 2-1

At the moment, the Phils have so far lost only three series against their opponents, as one of the things required to have a good season is to win most, if not all, series played against your opponent. They are 1-2 against the Nationals and 2-4 against the Mets, losing both series against the New Yorkers. They have spilt season series with two teams, the Reds and the Brewers. They are leading season series with six other teams, with their best record, so far, being against the 2007 National League Champions Colorado Rockies, 2-0. This means that series wise, the Phils are 6-3-2.

The Phils are 10-8 at home, and 8-6 on the road, which means that they can win games both at home and on the road.

Batting wise, the Phils are leading the National League in home runs with 48, fourth in the league in total bases with 482, fifth in RBIs with 144, at-bats with 1097 and slugging percentage with .439, tied for sixth in walks with 119, seventh in runs scored with 150 and on base percentage with .328. The starting eight should become even more dangerous once the silent bats begin to walk up.

With pitching, the team is overall ranked fifth best in the league in ERA with 3.76, tied for fifth in saves with 8, third in innings pitched with 290.0, tied for sixth best in least runs given up with 137, sixth for least earned runs given up with 121 and least walks given up with 110, tied for eighth for least hits given up with 285, and tied for fourth for least batters hit by a pitch with 7. Their one major problem category is that they have given up too many home runs thus far, giving up 32 total, making them the sixth worst team in that category. The main reason for the success that they have had so far this year has been because of the bullpen. The Phils’ relief corps so far has the second best ERA in the league at 2.66, second best in least hits given up at 79, in least earned runs with 29, and in strike outs with 71, the league best at least runs given up at 32, and is tied for first for least home runs given up with 5 and hit batters with 2. If the bullpen can continue what it is doing now and if the starters can improve during the season, the Phillies will be tough to beat, pitching wise.

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