Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Red Hot Phillies Take A Break From The Heat

GAME RECAP: No Game Yesterday
The Phillies earned their day off yesterday.

  • Phillies infielder Cesar Hernandez enters Tuesday's series opener with a 21-game on-base streak. He's the third Phillies player this season to reach base in 20 more straight games.
  • The series win over the Phillies was the Dodgers' fifth in their last six. Combined with the Giants' recent struggles, Los Angeles has rallied from 6 1/2 games back to within one of the division lead.
  • The Dodgers took two of three from the Phillies when they met in Los Angeles last week, winning the first two before losing to Jeremy Hellickson in the series finale. 

By now, the Phillies and Dodgers should be pretty familiar with each other. At least they're about to be, with a three-game series starting in Philadelphia on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. Only one series separates their three games in Los Angeles and the Dodgers' upcoming visit to Philadelphia. Vince Velasquez doesn't get a break from his hometown team. The Pomona, Calif., native pitched in front of more than 100 friends and family at Dodger Stadium in his start Tuesday. Velasquez didn't exactly put on a show, as he allowed nine runs -- a career-high -- and exited with just one out in the fifth. Tuesday's series opener is a rematch of Velasquez and Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda exactly one week later. In their last matchup, Maeda walked a batter for the first time in three starts. He walked two, giving him just three over his past six. Over that stretch, Maeda is averaging less than a walk per nine innings and has a 35:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The game will also be Chase Utley's first at Citizens Bank Park since the Phillies traded him last August. He recently admitted that his return "might be a bit emotional."


Utley Returns – It is unlikely Chase Utley will shed a tear as he steps into the batter's box Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Expressing his feelings is not his style. In fact, standing and chatting inside the Dodgers' dugout last week at Dodger Stadium, Utley only allowed that his first trip to Philadelphia since the Phillies traded him last August "might be a bit emotional." There should be more than a few standing ovations and a few tips of the cap as the Phillies and Dodgers play a three-game series this week. In preparation for a week of Utley memories, here are eight of Utley's greatest moments with the Phils: 1. Utley's first hit: April 24, 2003: In his first career start in his second career game, Utley hit a grand slam against Colorado's Aaron Cook in the third inning at Veterans Stadium. It was the first of Utley's five grand slams with the Phillies. 2. The Streak: June 23- Aug. 3, 2006: Utley had a 35-game hitting streak, which is tied for the 11th longest in baseball history. 3. The Speech: Oct. 31, 2008: The tightlipped Utley gave one of the most memorable speeches in Philadelphia history following the team's World Series championship parade. He announced to the crowd at Citizens Bank Park that the Phillies were "world champions" -- only he inserted an expletive in the middle to accentuate the exuberance of a fan base that had not enjoyed a championship from one of its professional sports teams in 25 years. Utley still hears the famous line from that famous speech. "I hear it here at this stadium," Utley said at Dodger Stadium. "There are Phillies fans all over the country. I see at last one or two Phillies jerseys every game, to be honest, and occasionally they say that statement. That was a good time back in 2008, for sure." 4. Beat the Mets, beat the Mets: Aug. 30, 2007: Utley tormented the Mets in his career, but this one sticks out because it contributed to the Mets' collapse as the Phillies won their first National League East title since 1993. The Phils trailed the Mets by one run in the ninth, but with the game tied, Utley ripped a single against Mets closer Billy Wagner to right field to score Tadahito Iguchi from second base. It was the fourth of Utley's five walk-off hits with Philadelphia. 5. Game 1 of 2009 World Series: Oct. 28, 2009: Many Phillies fans remember Game 1 of the 2009 World Series for Cliff Lee's excellence, but Utley hit two home runs in the 6-1 victory. Utley hit five home runs in the series, matching Reggie Jackson for the most in a single Fall Classic. 6. Game 1 of 2008 World Series: Oct. 22, 2008: Utley hit a two-run home run in the first inning against Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. It was the perfect start to the series for the Phils, who would win their first World Series title in 28 years. 7. "Chase Utley, you are the man!": Aug. 9, 2006: Utley made plenty of hustle plays in his Phillies career, but this one is immortalized because of Harry Kalas' call. Utley stood on second base when Ryan Howard chopped a ball into the air. Braves pitcher Macay McBride caught the ball and tossed it to first baseman Scott Thorman. Meanwhile, Utley never stopped running and scored from second on a ball that never left the infield. The best part of the play besides Utley's hustle and Kalas' call? Charlie Manuel smiling as he kept looking into the dugout as if to say, "Can you believe he just did that?" 8. Utley outsmarts the Rays: Oct. 29, 2008: In a decisive Game 5, the Phillies and Rays were tied in the seventh inning at 3. Jason Bartlett stood on second base when Akinori Iwamura hit a ground ball up the middle. Utley fielded the ball with his momentum carrying him toward left field. He had no play at first, but he pump-faked a throw there anyway. The fake convinced Rays third-base coach Tom Foley to send Bartlett home. But Utley threw a one-hopper to Carlos Ruiz, who applied the tag for the out to end the inning. It was vintage Utley, always thinking one step ahead of the action on the field.

Today In Phils History – Sherry Magee returned from his 36 game suspension on this day in 1911. Dick Allen didn’t get a chance to swing the bat on this day in 1968 as he was walked in all 5 of his plate appearances setting a team record and tying the NL record. The following season Rick Wise shutout Houston for the 4th consecutive shutout for the Phillies. In 1977, the Phillies won the last of their 13 game winning streak. Tom Hume and Kent Tekulve combined to 1 hit the Pirates on this day in 1986. 10 years ago today, single A Clearwater pitcher Julio De La Cruz threw a no hitter against Sarasota walking only 1 during the contest. Finally, happy birthday to Willie Jones (1925) and Al Holland (1952).  

The Phillies are currently 56-63 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 46-60-1 on this day. I expect the Phillies to finish in the bottom half of the division but not last in the NL East by finishing the season with a 77-85 record.

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