Remember a few years ago when the Philadelphia Phillies were being accused of stealing signs? You remember bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer using binoculars and being accused of using them to steal signs against their opponents. Well, if you dig through the history of the franchise you will know that being accused of stealing signs is certainly nothing new for the Phillies, who were accused of this violation of the baseball code by the Cincinnati Reds on this date in 1900.no comments
Go ahead and start your road trip planning now. The Phillies have joined the rest of Major League Baseball in unveiling their 2013 schedule, which will commence in Atlanta on April 1, 2013. As previsouly reported, the Phillies will open their home schedule at Citizens Bank Park against the Kansas City Royals on April 5. This year's schedule will feature one inter-league series being played every day of the season thanks to MLB's brilliant idea to create leagues with an odd-number of teams.
April is loaded with NL East games against Atlanta (3), the Mets (6) and Marlins (3) and will end with another inter-league match-up on the road at Cleveland.
In May the Phillies make their first west coast road trip with three games in San Francisco (chilly) and Arizona before returning home for two more games against the Indians. The end of May will be highlighted by a split four game series with the Boston Red Sox, with two games in Boston followed by two games in Philadelphia. This schedule is just a joke and we haven't even hit June.
The Phillies will have a ten game road trip in June, starting in Milwaukee and moving to Minnesota and Colorado. Later in the month the Phillies return to the west coast with three games in San Diego and four more in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The road trip wraps up with three games in Pittsburgh after a day off in July. The Phillies end the first half of the season with a ten-game home stand against Atlanta, Washington and the Chicago... White Sox. That's right, the Phillies will play four inter-league series before playing the Chicago Cubs. This is what inter-league has done to baseball people.
After the All-Star Game (hosted by the Mets), the Phillies hit the road for ten games (again) with games at the Mets, St. Louis and the Detroit Tigers. The month of August features 16 home games against San Francisco, Atlanta, the Chicago Cubs, the Dodgers, Colorado and Arizona. Road games will also be played in Washington, Atlanta, the Mets and the Cubs.
Then we get to September, which appears to be very favorable to the Phillies. Between September 2 and September 22 the Phillies will play 15 home games against the Nationals, Braves, Padres and Marlins. The Phillies end the season with road games at Miami and Atlanta but that September schedule looks to play in favor of the Phillies during what could be a postseason push.
You can check out the full 2013 schedule here.
The Phillies hung on for an ugly but huge win last night against the Miami Marlins, assuring themselves they would not lose any ground in the hunt for the final National League Wild Card spot. Catching the Atlanta Braves is probably asking too much so it is all about the last possible playoff spot this September, and things continue to go the way the Phillies have needed.
Last night out on the west coast the Los Angeles Dodgers were shutout by the Arizona Diamondbacks (themselves now five games out of the last wild card spot) 1-0, an the St. Louis Cardinalls were dropped for a second straight day by the San Diego Padres, 6-4. That puts the Phillies, now the hottest team in the National League playoff hunt just four games back.
It is still a lot to ask but with over half of September remaining this has become far from impossible, and if the Phillies can manage to pull off the sweep of Miami Wednesday afternoon this team should feel very good about what they are doing. They are due for a loss though, but if they can find a way to be three or four games back by this time next week, this should be very interesting.no comments
The acts that took place on September 11, 2001 rocked our nation and reshaped the way we look at our country, family, friends and more. The nation took time to pause from our every lives to reflect and pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks. The sporting world took a step back to allow the grieving and healing processes take place. Of course, sports were no small party in the eventual healing process.
How many people remember the fact that the Phillies were actually in a playoff chase at the time, with a pivotal series with the Atlanta Braves getting ready to start up in Atlanta. Of course, that series was rescheduled as Major League Baseball postponed a full week's worth of games, but baseball would come back, and the it would return in the city in which this nation's independence was born on that first night back.
Who better to offer the appropriate monologue for Philadelphia than Harry Kalas, in one of his finest moments that will forever be ethced in my memory bank.
The Phillies will pay tribute to the 1990s tonight at Citizens Bank Park, complete with the old maroon pinstripes and hats with that lovable baseball "P." For a franchise that has so many bad baseball seasons, the 1990s certainly had its fair share of forgettable seasons. But that does not mean the 1990s were completely worth forgetting. After all, there were some key moments in Phillies history to take place during the decade.
The 1990s was the decade the franchise decided to return to their traditional look after decades in maroon pinstripes. It was the decade that saw a strike nearly kill the sport. It was a decade full of losses but plenty of happy moments to ensure that a generation of new baseball fans would have something to look back on fondly.
Here are ten worth remembering for happy and sad times, in no particular order.
1. Curt Schilling strikes out 319
Before Curt Schilling went on to win a couple of World Series rings with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, he started to become an elite pitcher while in Philadelphia. He opened the eyes of the baseball world in 1993 with his performance on the mound and for his towel in the face moments in the postseason, but his 1997 season remains one of the best in franchise history. His 319 strikeouts remains a franchise record for right-handed pitchers and it was not a fluke. The following season Schilling became the fifth major league pitcher to strike out 300+ batters in consecutive seasons.
2. Richie Ashburn dies
In early September 1997 the Phillies family lost one of the true faces of the organization when Richie Ashburn passed away soon after broadcasting a game in New York. Much like his longtime partner Harry Kalas, it seemed as though he died while doing what he loved to do, which was watching and talking about the Phillies. Ashburn of course was a former Phillies, and we'll touch more on that aspect in a moment, and his broadcasting commentary had become so familiar to fans watching on television and listening on the radio. Also like Kalas, there simply was no replacing Ashburn.
3. Steve Carlton inducted to Hall of Fame
The greatest Phillies pitcher of all-time, Steve Carlton, was inducted in to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the summer of 1994. The crowd was flooded with Phillies fans, but it would be more dominant the following summer...
Let's give the Phillies some credit. Despite being out of the playoff hunt, they have become a team that can be fun to watch. With a little over a month to go in the season we know that the Phillies will miss out on October baseball for the first time since 2006, which means that we will get plenty of time to watch some guys get some playing time in hopes of staying on the roster for next year. With any luck the team will develop a team chemistry that will serve as the basis for the 2013 season, which I do believe will be a big rebound season for the team.
|Kevin Frandsen and Eric Kratz could be decent bench players in 2013.
Kevin Frandsen and Eric Kratz have played well lately and are starting to make some serious cases for being strongly considered for a roster spot next season if their play continues. Frandsen is not going to be a starter at third base for the Phillies but he is showing enough grit to be considered for a backup role for a few infield positions and is capable of backing up Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins if needed, although that could change depending on what the status of Freddy Galvis is next season. It is important not to get too carried away after 20 games. Frandsen has played just one season with more than 54 games played, and that was back in 2007. He is a decent infielder who can do a good job filling in when needed and capable of filling a hole for a 15-day disabled list stint by a regular. He likely is not going to be an every day solution for the Phillies, so finding a third baseman with a good bat in the off-season should remain one of the top priorities.
Kratz is 32 years old, so he is not exactly a young stalwart behind the plate, but could be just fine in a back-up role behind Carlos Ruiz. Brian Schneider's contract is up after this season and this figures to be his final year, at least with the Phillies, at the age of 35. As much as you ask from a backup catcher, Kratz seems to be able to handle it. Why not give the Lansdale native a chance to stay on board. Again, a small sample size at the major league level, but it would be more cost effective to keep him on the roster as a back-up in 2013 than to bring in an older veteran. The Phillies have other needs to send their money in the off-season.
Throw in the continuing review of outfielders Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. and perhaps some other relievers and you can try to get a sense of what the future will be for this team. Games like last night can be exciting regardless of a lack of postseason implications. You want to see the team compete, especially when the younger players play a vital role. Domonic Brown came through with a big hit Monday night and on Tuesday he raced around the bases to score the tying run in the eighth inning off of a Frandsen triple. I know the team is out of the race, but I admit that play actually had me up in my living room clapping and cheering. I want to see this team play well. I want to see these upcoming players have an impact. It is still baseball and it is moments like that which will enjoying the rest of the season.
But for as much growth that can happen between now and the end of the season, the veteran players still need to do their job that they are expected to be able to handle. Last night was not that case.
It is always bound to happen to some team every year or so. A player you thought was going to be a fixture on your roster winds up being traded at the trade deadline as the season continues to spiral out of control. But what do you do with the 40,000+ mass-produced bobble heads you are on the hook for in honor of that particular player?
For the Phillies the answer was simple. Give them away.
Tonight the Phillies are continuing to give away their Hunter Pence bobble heads, despite the fact that the team traded Pence to the San Francisco Giants on the final day Major League Baseball allowed teams to trade players. The bobble head games are always well attended because fans like these souvenirs. Tonight fans will get a chance to add one more unique item to their collections and although Pence is not around to see them in person, he made sure to reach out to the fans who will be taking his bobble likeness home with him.
Ryan Lawrence, now of the Philadelphia Daily News, shared a photo of Pence's message to the fans that will come with his bobble head.
Phillippe Aumont, one of the prospects received in the 2009 trade of Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners, has been called up by the Philadelphia Phillies to replace Jeremy Horst. Horst has been placed on the paternity leave list. As irony would have it, Aumont will be activated for tonight' game, which will be started by Lee.
I am not sure how many times this has happened in the course of Major League Baseball history but I would be willing to bet that it has not happened often. A starting pitcher who was traded to obtain a minor league pitcher will start a game that could end up being that minor leaguer's major league debut, and they will pitch for the same team. Obviously this means Lee would have to be pulled from the game at some point, but given the way Lee's season has gone that is not exactly a stretch to imagine. So with history to root for, here's hoping Aumont can make an appearance tonight against the Cincinnati Reds.
Somebody call Jayson Stark and have him dig up the historical background on this type of event.
As for Aumont, he has been pitching well for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. As Phillies.com notes, Aumont is 3-1 with a 4.26 ERA in 41 games for Lehigh Valley but his command has been dependable with 59 strikeouts, despite having walked 34 batters. Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com points out Aumont has a 2.08 ERA in 15 appearances since his trip to the triple A all-star game.
In 41 games for the IronPigs this season, Aumont was 3-1 with a 4.26 ERA. Likely the biggest reason he was in Triple-A was a lack of consistency with his command, as he's recorded 59 strikeouts, but also 34 walks.
I do not know that I totally get what Jabbawockeez is all about, but I cannot deny their entertainment value. The champions of the inaugural season of reality dance show America's Best Dance Crew (yes, I just typed that phrase out in full) have become somewhat known in recent years. You might remember when they appeared at the NBA All-Star Game and Shaquille O'Neal joined the group and held his own during player introductions. They may look like mannequins dressed in dance gear, but they certainly do not stand still like the dummies in department stores.
I also can not speak highly enough of the entertainment value of the Phillie Phanatic. So when these two forces combined last night as the Phillies were enjoying hittin' season against the Cincinnati Reds, winning 12-5 against the NL Central leaders (you're welcome Pittsburgh), you can imagine just how fun this might have been.
The folks responsible for MLB.com video clips made sure to share the in-game dance and you can view it after the jump.