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Archive for May, 2006

Phillies Nation Goes To Washington

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, May 10, 2006 04:16 PM Comments: 0

After getting feedback from people, looking at dates and schedules we have decided to head up a bus trip. A bus trip you say???? Yes a bus trip…

…To Washington D.C. to see our Fightin Phils take on the Washington Nationals on Saturday, June 10th at 1:05 P.M.

Why should I go?RFK

June 10th is a Saturday during the summer, the perfect time to catch a baseball game. You will be joined by 50 Phillies fans taking over an entire stadium to cheer in the nation’s capital your team to victory. Yes, just 50 fans can take over R.F.K. Stadium.

How much does this cost?

The total cost will be 40 DOLLARS per person.

40 dollars?!? That’s crazy! I can just drive there and spend less!

Unfortunately, in the times we live in that is not the case. So, you drive a mid 90s to 2000 import: That’s a $45-$50 fill up.

You’re driving an SUV or Pick up??? Forgetabout it… you know how much that costs.

For 40 dollars you are sitting in a luxury casino style bus, with air conditioning being driven 2 and 1/2 hours into one of the busiest traffic areas in our nation. Why bother sitting in hours of traffic in the hellish heat of June when you can just cop a ride on the Phillies Nation bus?

Ok, you got a point. Gas is expensive and I hate traffic? So what does my 40 dollars REALLY get me?

40 Dollars covers the following:

  • 1 comfy seat on the bus
  • 1 ticket for admission to the game sitting in the Phillies Nation Group Section
  • Taxes, tolls, tip and parking
  • A cameo on RFK’s version of "Phan-A-Vision"
  • 10% off at the Nationals Group store
  • A chance to Win Bus Prizes from Phillies Nation 
  • When would we leave?

    An ideal time to leave is 8:30am from the P-parking lot at Citizens Bank Park. Why 8:30? Arriving around 10:30-11:00am will provide sufficient time for us to situate the group and direct people on what their options are once arriving.Cherry Blossoms

    Some people may want to go in early and check out the stadium. The stadium will remind a lot of people of the Vet. Some people may want to pre-game with beer, grilling, games and meeting the DC division of Phillies Nation. Some people may just want to chill out until game time. Some people may want to do a little sightseeing around the District. It’s all up to you.

    Where are our seats going to be?

    They will be somewhere in between Sections 625-507 This may seem super high but it isn’t. It is equivalent to the upper 500 or lower 600 level on a Veterans Stadium scale. These seats provide protection from the afternoon sun or any downpour that may occur.

    How do we pay?

    • Cash (Rob will be nice to pick it up)
    • Our PayPal account which is: philliesblog@gmail.com
    • Credit Cards can be used via PayPal
    • If you wish to use Checks or Money Orders please contact us first.

    How can I reserve my spot?

    RFK

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    Looking for Hamels Friday? Try Cincinnati

    Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, May 10, 2006 06:04 AM Comments: 0

    From The Inquirer:

    Team officials met yesterday to discuss the future of pitcher Cole Hamels, and there were strong indications they have decided that the prized lefthander will make his next start in the major leagues.

    "We’re close," assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle said. "It’s not going to be much longer, but there are a few moving pieces we have to figure out and people we would have to talk to."

    Initial reports suggest that Hamels could pitch as early as Friday in Cincinnati.  This would coincide with his next scheduled start for Scranton and would imply that Ryan Madson would be bumped from the rotation.  Despite a 3-1 record, Madson has struggled with a 6.82 ERA and a .371 AVG-against in just 30.3 innings.  The Phillies would certainly bolster the bullpen if they moved him back into the setup role in which he excelled at for first 3/4 of the past two seasons.

    As we all have undoubtedly heard, Cole Hamels is tearing up the AAA International League.  Here are his overall numbers thus far this year:

    Team From To W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
    Clearwater Threshers 04/06- 04/25 1 1 1.77 4 4 0 0 0 20.1 16 8 4 0 9 29
    S-WB Red Barons 04/25- 05/08 2 0 0.39 3 3 1 1 0 23.0 10 1 1 0 1 36

    Check out that ERA, and of course those strikeouts!  The lefty would reestablish a dimension to the Phillies rotation left void by Randy Wolf’s injury.  Be warned though, nothing about this callup is definite yet; and since the Phillies are riding a nine-game winning streak, it’s not as if they’re dying for an injection of new blood.  But for that same reason, the Phillies management may feel that this is the opportune time to give Hamels a tryout in the majors.

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    An Awesome Win for the Phils

    Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, May 09, 2006 09:50 PM Comments: 0

    I’m supposed to wake up in less than a handful of hours but there’s no way I’m sleeping after that game.  I feel like walking out to Cottman and Frankford and climbing on a car.  After the Phillies and Brett Myers dominated the Mets for seven innings, they were forced to steal the game back with a walk-off dribbler by Bobby Abreu.  All game Scott Graham and LA noted the playoff-like atmosphere at CBP and I could feel the intensity all the way across the Atlantic.  It was a well played and fun to watch game to say the least.

    Tom Gordon blew his first save of the season in devastating fashion, meaning the Phillies lineup was forced to battle through the bottom of the ninth.  Although David Bell and Carlos Ruiz were useless, Dellucci tripled, Rollins was hit by a pitch, and Utley walked setting the stage for Bobby Abreu – in all his clutchness.  Abreu probably should’ve let the third pitch of the at bat hit him (ala Roger Dorn); but instead he nubbed the next one back to Mets pitcher Aaron Heilman who was unable to nail Abreu who was hustling down the line (in fact, he threw it away but it appeared Abreu beat the throw anyway). 

    It might be overlooked after the nail-biting finish, but a crucial play also came in the bottom of the eighth.  Shane Victorino, playing his normal position of Pat Burell’s personal late-inning baserunner, scored from first on a double by Ryan Howard.  Not only did he score, he completely steamrolled Paul LoDuca thus could not handle the relay.  The Phils really punched the Mets on the chin with that play, but to their credit the Amazins’ fought back.  Luckily the Phils finished the job with a weak but fatal kick in the groin. 

    Now with a nine-game winning steak the Phils will have to go out tomorrow and do it all over again.  Go Phils!

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    Myers v. Pedro

    Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, May 09, 2006 08:30 AM Comments: 0

    What a difference a week makes! Before last week the Phillies Nation poll showed a majority of you though the Phillies had little to no chance to be in the playoff hunt come September. But as polls closed, the optimist camp surged ahead with 53% of the vote while the nay-sayers could garner only 30%. Yes, the Marlins-Braves-Giants troika was good to the Phillies, but now it’s time to get down to business as the Mets bring their NL-best record and 4 game division lead into town. It seems a fitting epilogue to the Billy Wagner saga of this winter that he returns amidst more controversy than he left.  But hopefully he will never make it out of the thunderdome of insults known as the visitor’s bullpen. Therefore today I wanted to concentrate on two pitchers that will definitely see the rubber tonight.

    The Phillies and Mets open this intense and important series with a huge pitching matchup between Brett Myers and Pedro Martinez.  As Jim noted a few days ago, Myers always seems to step his game up when he faces the opponent’s ace.  But will that be enough?  Pedro, this year and throughout his career, has been one of – if not the – most dominant pitchers in the game.  Coming into tonight’s game, he has allowed two runs or less in four of his last five starts and allowed just nine hits and four walks in his last 20 innings.   A few weeks ago Jayson Stark took to the task of determining just how great Pedro is.  Of all pitchers in the live-ball era who won 150 games or more here’s how Pedro ranks in the following categories:

    • Baserunners/9 IP — 1st
    • ERA –  1st
    • Strikeout/Walk Ratio — 2nd
    • Winning Percentage –  1st
    • Strikeouts/9 IP — 2nd
    • Hits/9 IP — 3rd

    Pretty impressive I must agree.  Now Brett Myers is only in his fifth year in the majors and has 44 wins to show for it.  Comparisons between Brett and Pedro using Fan Graphs technology easily show that Pedro is ahead in all major categories.  Only in recent LOB% does Myers top Pedro and that’s just because he allows more baserunners.  Myers is 6-5 all time against the Mets and will face four or five lefties in the current Mets lineup tonight.  Although left-handed hitters have a higher average and OPS against Myers, they have yet to score a run, and have less homers and RBIs.  They do however have a significantly higher percentage of walks, so keep an eye out on how aggressive Myers pitches to Cliff Floyd, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, and Carlos Beltran.  Looking at the last sentence again, that’s a rather dangerous lineup on paper as we all know; fortunately though, Cliff Floyd is in a huge slump this year (.186 AVG).  The fact that Myers throws first pitch fastballs 73% of the time should help him to stay ahead of Mets hitters - as long as those balls all stay in the park, that is.

    Suffice it to say, fans should be in for a treat tonight with this pitching matchup on the docket.  Although an eight game winning streak was essentially necessary to salvage this early part of this season, in my opinion, a win tonight would be just as crucial.

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    Chase Utley Named Player of the Week

    Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, May 08, 2006 07:04 PM Comments: 0

    This just in:  Chase Utley has just been named NL player of the week.  His credentials pretty much speak for themselves.  Last week he went 14 for 29 with 3 HR, 8 RBIs, a .483 AVG and a .862 SLG.  On the season, he ranks second in the majors with a .581 slugging percentage and among second basemen he is second in both hits (38) and RBIs (24).  It no wonder the Phils are riding an eight game winning streak since among the other nominees for the award included Rheal Cormier (five games, 2-0, 0.00 ERA), Tom Gordon (0.00 ERA, six strikeouts, four saves), Ryan Howard (.304 average, three homers, nine RBIs) and Aaron Rowand (.333 average, three homers, nine RBIs).  Needless to say it was a perfect week for the Phillies.

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    Bonds and Phillies Deliver Sunday Night

    Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, May 08, 2006 09:05 AM Comments: 0

    How many of you saw the game last night on ESPN?  What a mockery of a telecast.  It was worse than the normal pull-your-ear-drums-out banter between Jon Miller and Joe Morgan because all they talked about was Bonds.  The camera showed shots of him just standing in left field and all the sideline reports from Peter Gammons and Sam Ryan were about Bonds, except for one by Gammons on Aaron Rowand which seemed to come out of nowhere.  The ridiculousness hit its zenith in the final innings as they continued the Bonds chatter and swing analysis long after he was pulled from the game and assumingly already left the building.  Barely a word was said about the Phillies’ 7 – now 8 - game hitting streak, the team’s slow start, the new catcher roster, or anything having to do with the Phillies.  Even though Jon Miller is the Giants’ regular announcer, it went far beyond that.  Did the nationwide audience mostly tune in to see Bonds? Yes.  But this was not an episode of "Bonds on Bonds," this was a baseball game involving 50 players and Jon, Joe and the entire ESPN crew failed miserably to realize that.  But ESPN is not the only villain here.  Everyone is to blame for fuelling the Bonds media mayhem this weekend.  You know things are blown out of proportion whenever the Inquirer commissions articles by writers outside their beat (Ashley Fox on the Phillies, Jim Salisbury on the Eagles, Steven A. on anything).   I understand why he is receiving all the attention, I just don’t like it. 

    To his credit, Bonds did hit a moonshot to tally his 713th career homerun.  Philly fans were able to witness a little piece of history in the most comfortable of circumstances – an 8-2 Phillies lead.  Behind Burrell and Rowand homers and a bit of small ball, the Phils were able to cruise to victory and secure Jon Lieber his second win of the season.  So in the setting of an 8 game winning streak, one major subplot leaves town as another prepares to arrive.  The Mets with a 21-10 record are never far from hot themselves, despite a 13-3 whooping by the Braves yesterday.  Phillies fans have a day off today to rest their lungs as they will no doubt be used to vilify Wagner, perhaps even more so than Bonds.  Billy-boy’s latest comments only fueled the fact that – unlike Bonds – with Wagner, it’s personal.  I hope that fans turn out in similar numbers to verbally abuse Wagner and build off their clever reputation of this weekend.  So break out the bed sheets and magic markers everyone, because hell hath no fury like a Philly fan scorned.

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    The City Line

    Posted by Jim Amato, Sat, May 06, 2006 12:31 PM Comments: 1

    OK a quick one today ladies and gentleman because I am headed down for a mean tailgate.  I will post some thoughts about tonight’s Giants vs. Phillies game (at least what I can remember) and a preview of Sunday night baseball (what am I going to watch, The Sopranos or the Phillies?) tomorrow. 

    What good timing by the Phillies!  They go on a six game winning streak as the Sabers embarrass the Flyers in game six, the Sixers have been long gone, and the Eagles and the NFL Draft has just been completed.  Those facts and Bonds and the Mets as part of the homestand should really bolster attendance.  Are the Phillies ready for the spotlight?  Well they better be, because they have just been thrust into it!

    Speaking of Bonds, what would you do if you caught the ball that tied or passed the Babe?  Post your ideas. 

    Tuesday night, Pedro vs. Brett.  That should be a good one.  I am picturing a performance from Myers a la his and Mark Prior’s duel when both were rookies in Wrigley Field.  Myers seems to always step up his game when he is pitching against the opposing team’s staff ace. 

    For those of you who wanted Ruiz to catch, you got your wish.  Thanks to Lieberthal being placed on the 15 day DL he will be starting tonight to catch Ryan Madson.  Speaking of Madson, I still believe he is a starter, but let’s move him to the bullpen (he has said he would be willing to do it if that is what would help the team win).  That would immediately bolster our bullpen from average to very nice and it would allow for Cole Hamels to be called up.  I do not buy into Pat Gillick’s theory that the Phillies need to see how he handles being hit around.  He has given up 3 total HRs in the minor leagues and two of them were when his back was ailing him.  The manager of the AAA Richmond Braves said watching Cole was like watching Steve Carlton.  Let’s see what he can do then we can move Madson to the bullpen (or maybe he can be the closer of the future if we groom him correctly) next year.

    Anyway I will be in lot U as of 2:30 or 3:00 pm.  Stop by and say hi if you are down there.  I will have my Phillies hat on and a beer in my hand! 

    That’s the Story from the City Line for now

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    Lieberthal on 15-Day DL

    Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, May 06, 2006 09:16 AM Comments: 0

    On Friday, it appears many people had a wish granted – Carlos Ruiz was called up from Scranton/WilkesBarre.  Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Mike Lieberthal’s left knee which has a bone contusion (deep bruise) after being plunked Thursday by Braves starter John Thomson.  Phillies team doctor Michael Ciccotti said the injury could take a week to seven days to heal - though last time I checked, a week is exactly seven days.  Nonetheless, this comes at a bad time as Lieberthal is batting .297 and staving off the criticism of past years.

    Sal Fasano started last night and will likely get the majority of starts in Lieberthal’s absence, but if we have any more repeat performances of Tuesday night, Carlos Ruiz will likely get the nod.  In the words of Charlie Manuel, "I’ll catch him some; he could even catch [tonight]."  Ruiz, who bats right-handed like Fasano, has been tearing it up at Scranton with a .385/.448/.637 line, 6 homers, 18 RBIs, and just 12 strikeouts in 25 games.  Although Ruiz will probably be sent back down when Lieberthal returns this chance could go a long way in determining when he gets called up for good.  It may even force Pat Gillick and Charlie Manuel to make some personnel decisions before the end of the year.

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    I Love Beating the Braves

    Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, May 05, 2006 10:36 AM Comments: 0

    Although the Mets may be the Phillies official rivals, it always feels good beating the Braves.  Whether it’s the regular season and the Phils just took a 4-1 season lead or the 1993 NLCS, it always helps to know you can beat a good team.  Granted the Braves have not been on top form recently, the Phils did propel themselves into second place and solidified an encouraging fivebraves.JPG game winning streak.  There were some sloppy plays by the Phils last night (Burrell’s base running gaffe, Liebs dropped popup) but the Braves – like the Marlins before them – seemed unable to take advantages of such opportunities.

    The best part of this mini-series sweep was that it took place in Philly.  The Braves, led by Wednesday’s starter John Smoltz, are always complaining about Citizen’s Bank Park.  Even Bobby Cox subtly jabbed the place when commenting on starter John Thomson’s performance last night.  "For this ballpark, it was a fair outing," he said.  It just irks me when losers look for excuses to justify the loss.  I guess though when you’ve had the success of the Braves, it can’t all be your fault…

    …just something that was on my mind this morning.  Check back later today for the latest edition of The City Line.

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    Phillies News and Notes

    Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, May 04, 2006 08:29 AM Comments: 0

    How about that game last night - exciting, huh?  It looks like the Phillies motivation is coming not from their manger as hoped, but newcomer Aaron Rowand.  Everyone in Chicago said they would miss his positive attitude in the clubhouse, so it should come as no surprise he’s filled the leadership void here in Philly.  He leads both by example and by inspiration – something the Phillies desperately need if they intend to continue this turnaround – a four game winning streak with the last three being come-from-behind victories.

    One negative note though from last night’s game was another disappointing play in the field by Ryan Howard.  He failed to dig out a ball that hit off the heel of his glove in the fifth inning.  The error was charged to Nunez, but should have been Howard’s league leading fifth error of the season.  Even Larry Andersen lobbied vociferously on the radio to get the error charged to Ryan.  But alas, the Phils won so I don’t want to complain too much.

    Today we have a grab bag of topics to mull over.

    To follow up on the breaking news of yesterday’s post, the MLB has made its final recommendation to league owners to sell the Washington Nationals to the Lerner clan for $450 million.  This means that before taxes each of the Major League clubs are scheduled to make $11.38 million off the deal (the owners bought the team for $120 million in 2002).  It begs the question, what will David Montgomery do with his share?  Will he increase payroll?  Lower ticket prices?  Pay for everyone’s parking for a week? Dole out a nice dividend to team owners? Or simply add it to his silo of money so he can swim around in like Uncle Scrooge from Duck Tales?   

    Now that April has ended, it means that the MLB All-Star season is upon us.  You can vote here early and often for your favorite Phillies.  On that same note, Comcast and 610 WIP are teaming up for contest in which you can win tickets to 6 Phillies games and sit in the Comcast SportsNet suite.  All you have to do is guess which Phillies will make the All-Star team.

    Tonight is the final college night at the ballpark.  This time Penn and its Ivy league champion basketball team will be honored.  It will also be a good chance to catch a glimpse their new head coach, Glen Miller.  Hurrah for the red and the blue!  Go Phils!

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