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Archive for September, 2011

Halladay, Manuel Ready for the Cardinals

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, September 30, 2011 01:41 PM Comments: 21

—From Citizens Bank Park

UPDATE, 3:30 pm: Reports have Joe Blanton on the NLDS roster instead of David Herndon. He appeared in five games since returning from the DL late in the season, mostly out of the bullpen. The Phillies are likely to take 11 pitchers, according to Charlie Manuel.

UPDATE, 3:10 pm: Tony LaRussa has decided to pitch Chris Carpenter on three days rest; he will now start Game 2 of the series instead of Game 3. Jaime Garcia has been moved up as well, and there has not been a starter announced for Game 4.

When asked how anxious the team was to get things going, Roy Halladay said matter-of-factly, “We were anxious in Spring Training really.” That short quote speaks volumes about what the Phillies think of themselves. Clearly, they think quite highly of their abilities and have since the last pitch they saw in the 2010 NLCS. The hunger hasn’t subsided, the drive is still constant, and was even through an eight-game losing streak.

St. Louis beat the Phillies in three out of four in September and six of nine overall, but Halladay mentioned that there was really no rhyme or reason for it. “Sometimes you just lose games…I don’t necessarily see the scaled being titled one way or the other. I don’t think there’s necessarily one thing that led to it.”

Halladay was also very frank when it came down to hoisting a World Series trophy. “We want to win. We all want to win, and believe me, we want to win bad. But if it doesn’t happen, we know how to handle it. But we sure hope it does.”

He also quoted Shakespeare when it came down to giving the Cardinals respect. “I heard a quote a long time ago, ‘I came to bury Caesar, not praise him.’ I think it’s true. We’re all well aware of how good the [Cardinals] team is. We obviously have a respect for what they’ve done and how they’ve played, but you have you be confident going in that you’re going to be able to beat them.”

Continue reading Halladay, Manuel Ready for the Cardinals

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Mixed Feelings: De Fratus Expresses Himself

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, September 30, 2011 11:00 AM Comments: 4

It was a wild and frenzied finish for several teams as the regular season wound down. While some clubs faltered, seeing their seasons come to an end, others triumphed and advanced to the playoffs. Whether it was a collapse or a significant comeback, countless states of mind resulted from the memorable final weeks of the season. Exhilaration, disappointment, confusion, hysteria and disgust could all be used to detail how players and fans all around baseball felt.

For one young player, that list of feelings varies a bit but is likely just as long when describing his big league debut and the subsequent two weeks.

EXCITEMENT

Rookie hurler Justin De Fratus, who just two years ago was a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws South Atlantic League championship team, pitched a scoreless 12th inning to not only notch his very first big league victory, but to put his name in the history books, as the Phillies won their franchise record 102nd game.

De Fratus found himself the pitcher of record and an inevitable trivia answer on Wednesday night, thanks in part to some good luck. According to the 6-foot-4-inch 220-pounder, the achievement was something that he long hoped to accomplish, but he can hardly comprehend it now that it has occurred.

“The timing of everything that’s happened for me, it’s been unbelievable,” De Fratus said. “Especially, my first day in the big leagues we clinched the NL East and then my first win happens to be this historic win. I just can’t believe the timing of everything that’s happened to me. It’s just crazy. I feel lucky.” Continue reading Mixed Feelings: De Fratus Expresses Himself

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Dr. Strangeglove: On Getting Everything You Want

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, September 30, 2011 07:00 AM Comments: 24

We all have expectations as sports fans, and as Phillies fans, I think our expectations were, by and large, rather similar going into 2011: don’t give up many runs, win the division, and go into the playoffs positioned to win another title.

As I said the other day, I don’t think we could have expected much more from La Furia Roja this season. And that leaves me in a curious emotional place going into the playoffs. For the first time I can remember, I’m nervous about the upcoming postseason.

I grew up in a time, as I’m sure many of you did, when the Phillies were awful. Really, unless you lived out ages 8-18 between 1975 and 1984, or between 2002 and 2011, the Phillies were most likely awful when you were growing up too. The idea that they’d win five straight division titles, or reel off 10 winning seasons and an 80-81 season in 11 years, or become the de facto Yankees of the National League–to say nothing of a certain World Series title–was up there with the ability to teleport on the list of things I’d love to see but had written off as impossible.

***

In a way, I loved the Phillies because they were miserable. It set me apart, I thought, from the kids for whom football season started in August and not the morning after the last game of the World Series, as it did for me. Baseball was this mythical thing to me, an arcane, pastoral, boring, game that I loved so much that I’d rather watch the team I loved play it badly rather than submit to the all-glowing, modern, and otherwise cool rule of the Eagles. I had fallen in love with the depth of the statistics and the magic (because there’s no more accurate word) of the mythology, history, and narrative of the game so much that I loved its biggest moments, even when they involved the Indians and Marlins.

Being a voracious reader and an avid baseball fan at age ten is like living in a C.S. Lewis novel. There’s always more to explore, more to learn. More history, more strategy, more mythology. And when that history–so often dominated by a handful of teams–intersected with the Phillies, I felt a special sense of pride. Ken Burns’ iconic Baseball documentary ran during the strike when I was seven years old, and my dad taped it and saved it. I could not tell you how many times I watched those tapes, and I can still recite certain lines from memory, but I always looked forward to the moment when they mentioned, for all of 15 seconds, that Pete Rose signed as a free agent with the Phillies and helped them to their only World Series title. It was the only time in the entire 18 1/2 hours that the Phillies were mentioned, by name, in a positive light. When the Phillies got on national TV, or were mentioned in the national media, I cherished the moment similarly. I still remember a Baseball Weekly cover in 2001, when the Phillies got hot out of the gate, that featured Travis Lee and Omar Daal.

Well, since 2005 or so, those rare moments have become commonplace. National media outlets discuss the Phillies repeatedly, and in glowing terms. My Lenny Dykstra shirsey isn’t the only piece of Phillies apparel you can see on the street anymore. There’s a new, expensive stadium, populated by cheering fans and some of the best ballplayers money can buy. And most importantly, I don’t have to pick a team, more or less at random, to root for in the postseason, the way I did once. My surrogate Orioles/Red Sox fandom is over. We are a part of baseball history every day, Ken Burns-style, and if you had told a certain thirteen-year-old boy who had watched his team lose 97 games and fire Terry Francona that all of this would come to pass, he would scarcely have believed you. From a baseball perspective, I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted.

*** Continue reading Dr. Strangeglove: On Getting Everything You Want

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Phillies Game 1 and Game 2 Start Times Announced

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, September 29, 2011 03:04 PM Comments: 9

The Phillies were given some favorable start times in the opening round of the MLB Playoffs. I guess 102 wins will do that for you. Here is the schedule for the first few days of the playoffs: (All games are on TBS)

PHILLIES vs. CARDINALS:
Game 1: STL @ PHI, Saturday 5:07 est
Game 2: STL @ PHI, Sunday 8:07 est

DIAMONDBACKS vs. BREWERS
Game 1: ARZ @ MIL, Saturday 2:07 est
Game 2: ARZ @ MIL, Sunday 4:37 est

TIGERS vs. YANKEES:
Game 1: DET @ NYY, Friday 8:37 est
Game 2: DET @ NYY, Saturday 8:37 est
Game 3: NYY @DET, Monday 8:37 est

RAYS vs. RANGERS:
Game 1: TB @ TEX, Friday 5:07 est
Game 2: TB @ TEX, Saturday 7:07 est (on TNT)
Game 3 TEX @ TB, Monday 5:07 est

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Phillies 2011 Regular Season Review

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, September 29, 2011 12:05 PM Comments: 14

Mayberry was the man in '11.

1. Most surprising Phillie?

Don M.: I would have to say Antonio Bastardo. For a long stretch this season he was nearly unhittable. For a team that lost Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Madson to various injuries this season, Bastardo was outstanding for the Phillies at a time when they desperately needed bullpen help.

Jon Nisula: I have to go with Antonio Bastardo. He, along with the rest of the bullpen was overlooked going into the season. But he opened everyone’s eyes with a 0.99 ERA and .109 AVG against in his first 39 appearances.

Amanda Orr: Kyle Kendrick.  He really bounced back this season, and was fairly impressive.

Kieran Carobine: You have to love the way Vance Worley is pitching this year.  I liked the idea of bringing him up and giving him a shot but never thought he would do so well.  And unlike JA Happ and Kyle Kendrick, I think Worley will have continued success at the back end of the rotation for the Phillies.

Corey Seidman: I’ll take Mayberry. This was a make-or-break year for him and he successfully shed the 4A-label that Brandon Moss and John Bowker are perfect examples of. Mayberry can do it all and is now an extremely valuable, cheap fourth outfielder.

Continue reading Phillies 2011 Regular Season Review

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Who are the St. Louis Cardinals?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, September 29, 2011 08:26 AM Comments: 38

He's not a machine, he's just Albert.

Just who are the St. Louis Cardinals? Well, they’re looking like one of those teams of destiny after an amazing comeback in the NL Wild Card chase. The Phillies had their hand in that, losing 3 of 4 to STL earlier in September, then sweeping the Braves to finish the season out on Wednesday night (which by the way, was the most exciting, improbable, intense night of baseball I’ve ever witnessed).

The Cardinals had a rough start to the 2011 season losing their Ace, Adam Wainwright, to Tommy John Surgery on his right arm. Had he not missed the year, the Cardinals would have given the Milwaukee Brewers a run for their money in the Central Divsion; thats how good Wainwright is.

On September 5, they fell 10.5 games behind the Brewers in the Central and sat 8.5 games out in the Wild Card behind the Braves. It seemed like a mere formality that Atlanta would get in as the fourth team, just because that lead had been so big. But a 17-8 month, coupled with an epic collapse by the Braves, sent St. Louis to the postseason and to a match up with the best team in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies. It was shades of the 1964 Phillies meltdown that we’re all well aware of. St. Louis completed the regular season with a record of 89-72.

As you know from seeing the Cardinals nine times (or so) every season, their manager is Tony LaRussa, pitching coach Dave Duncan has been a mastermind of the revolution of so many pitchers, and the face of the franchise is Albert Pujols. Let’s dig into this Cardinals team a little bit deeper so you can get to know them before Game 1 of the NLDS on Saturday.

Continue reading Who are the St. Louis Cardinals?

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Phillies Chop Braves From Playoffs with 102nd Win

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, September 28, 2011 11:51 PM Comments: 38

Richie Ashburn Award: Chase Utley

This might be, without exaggeration, the single most dramatic day of regular-season baseball I’ve ever seen. I’d just like to put that out there and express how glad I was that the Phillies took part in the drama.

The Phillies get a franchise-record 102nd win. Charlie Manuel becomes the Phillies’ all-time winningest manager. Justin De Fratus gets his first major league win, and David Herndon grabs his first major league save. But most importantly, Atlanta completes a collapse so improbable it could propel the spaceship Heart of Gold. The Phillies sent the Braves to a 4-3 loss in 13 innings that, combined with the Cardinals’ win in Houston, will end the season for a certain collection of foam rubber tomahawk enthusiasts from Georgia. Continue reading Phillies Chop Braves From Playoffs with 102nd Win

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Gameday: Phillies (101-60) vs. Braves (89-72)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 28, 2011 05:57 PM Comments: 27

Philadelphia Phillies (101-60) at Atlanta Braves (89-72)

Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.03) vs Tim Hudson (16-10, 3.23)

Time: 7:10, Turner Field
TV:Comcast SportsNet
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 77
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Could we witness history tonight? The Phillies can set their franchise record with 102 wins in a sweep over the Braves. At the same time, they could severely injure Atlanta’s chances of making the postseason.

On the Phillies side, they’ll go with the full lineup tonight, except for Shane Victorino who has a stiff back, but it’s very mild. He could have played tonight, but Charlie Manuel wants to get John Mayberry some at-bats before the playoffs begin.

Over on the Braves side, things have to be TENSE. And that might be an understatement. You know what it means tonight; a win and a Cardinals loss and they’re in. A loss and a Cardinals win, they’re out. Both win or lose, they play a one game playoff in St. Louis. I’d expect Atlanta to come out guns blazing. They have a lot to lose tonight.

Continue reading Gameday: Phillies (101-60) vs. Braves (89-72)

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More Phillies Pet Photos

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, September 28, 2011 01:07 PM Comments: 0

Upload a Photo of Your Phillies Fan Pet

Check out our second batch of submissions in the Phillies Nation Pet Photo Contest:

Send in a photo of your pet decked out in its favorite Phillies attire by Thursday at 5pm and you’ll be entered to win a free Phillies pet gift!

Thanks for your interest but this free promotion has expired. Please check back soon for more free giveaways.

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Keeping Sandberg a Must for Phillies Organization

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 28, 2011 12:05 PM Comments: 14

PHOTO: Iron Pigs

Maybe now is not the time to think about the end of this season, especially with the way things are going right now in South Philly. The playoffs are a certainty, another NL East title has been locked up by the Phillies, and another World Series title is well within reach.

It may not even be the time to think about next season, when Ryan Madson and Jimmy Rollins become free agents. So, why should we care about the end of 2013?

For one, Charlie Manuel’s contract extension expires. And secondly, the Phillies could lose out on a possible successor because of that.

Ryne Sandberg, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs manager, and now a part of the coaching staff of the Phillies until their run ends, is likely to become a coveted managerial candidate this offseason. And if not this winter, then likely in the very near future beyond that. It’s a problem because he would slide nicely onto Manuel’s stool in the dugout if Manuel were to decide to step away from the game after 2013. At age 71, it might be time for Uncle Cholly to hang ‘em up. At that point – especially if they win a title or two in the next couple of seasons – he’ll have nothing left to prove.

Continue reading Keeping Sandberg a Must for Phillies Organization

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