Tagged: Total Bases

Philadelphia Phillies – Year 5: Finishing in 2nd place for the first time.

In 1887, in the fourth year of Harry Wright’s tenure as the Phillies/Quakers’ managers, the team would finish in second place for the first time in the team’s long existance.

The 1887 season would see some more changes within the National League. First, the Kansas City Cowboys, after finishing in seventh place in 1886, would not be offered another chance by the league. Their place would be taken up by the American Association Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pirates) who had finished the 1886 AA season in second place. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Maroons would transfer their assets to Indianapolis, becoming the Indianapolis Hoosiers, leaving St. Louis once again without an entry in the NL (the city’s previous representative, the St. Louis Brown Stockings, were dropped after being in the league for the 1876-1877 seasons.). The rest of the Phillies’ opponents for 1887 would be the Beaneaters, the Giants, the Nationals, the Wolverines and the White Stockings. The Phillies would play their games in their new home, the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds, later known as Baker Bowl, which was located between North Broad Street, West Huntingdon Street, North 15th Street and West Lehigh Street in North Philadelphia.

The Phillies would begin the season in late April, facing their eastern rival, the New York Giants, for three games, the first two to be played in New York, and the third in the Phillies’ new home, the Philadelphia Base Ball Ground. The Phils would lose both games played in New York, by close scores of 4-3 and 7-4, before winning the first game to be played in their new park, by the score of 15-9, giving them a record of 1-2 for the month of April. They would then start May at home, facing the Beaneaters for three games. They would lose the first two games, then win the away game by the score of 12-0, ending their short home stand with a 2-2 record. The Phillies would next go on the road for three games against the Nationals, and then three more in Boston. The Phils would start the road trip with a 5-5 tie with the Nationals, before winning the next two games against them, and then winning the first game in their three-games series with the Beaneaters. They would then split the next two games with Boston, winning the series, 2-1, and ending the road trip with a 4-1-1 record. The Phillies would then start a second three-games series with the Giants, this time playing the first two games in Philadelphia and then the final one in New York. The Phils would split the series at home, before winning the final game in New York by the lopsided score of 17-2 for a 2-1 record in the series. The Phillies would then come home for a long home stand with three of the western teams, playing first four games against Detroit, then four against Chicago and finally three against Indianapolis. They would be swept by the Wolverines, then lose their first game with their western rival, the White Stockings. After ending their five-games slide by defeating Chicago, they would split the next two games with them, for a 2-2 record in their series, before winning all three games against the Hoosiers, ending the home stand with a respectable record of 5-6. The Phillies would then end the month of June by playing the Alleghenys in Pittsburgh for the first time for three games, including a doubleheader on June 30. The Phillies would split the doubleheader with their cross-state rival, winning the first game by 2-1 and then losing the ‘nightcap’ by a score of 6-4. They would then win the final game of their short road trip, giving them a record of 2-1, a 14-11-1 record for the month of May and an overall record of 15-13-1.

The Phillies would begin June with a short home stand against their eastern rivals, with three games against the Beaneaters, and then three more with the Giants. The Phils would lose their series with the Beaneaters, going 1-2, before tying the first game against the Giants, 6-6. They would then split the last two games with the Giants to end the series with an 1-1-1 record, and to end the short home stand with an overall record of 2-3-1. They would then go on the road to face these two teams again for two more three-games series. The road trip would end up being an 1-5 fiasco, with their only victory coming in their first game in New York, 5-4, with their worst defeat being a 29-1 shalacking by the Giants in the last game of their three-games series. The Phils would then come home for a short three-games home stand against the Nationals, which the Phillies would win 2-1. The Phillies would then go west for an eleven-games road trip against the White Stockings (3), the Hoosiers (4) and the Wolverines (4), to end June and start July. The Phillies would lose the first two games of their series with Chicago, before tying the final game at 7-7. They would then go to Indianapolos, losing the first game, and then winning the next three with the Hoosiers, including a 24-0 thumping on June 28, before going on to Detroit, where they would split the final two games of the month of June, ending the month with a record of 9-13-2 and an overall record of 24-26-3.

They would begin the month of July by losing their final two games with the Wolverines, ending the series with a record of 1-3, and the road trip with a record of 4-6-1. They would then go home for a fifteen-games home stand, to face the Alleghenys for three games, including the second doubleheader between the two teams, this one to be played on July 4, followed by three games with Chicago, three with the Hoosiers, three with Detroit and then the final three games with the Alleghenys. The Phillies would split the doubleheader with Pittsburgh, winning the first game, 9-5, then losing the ‘nightcap’ by 8-5. They would then win the last game of the series, to give them a series win at 2-1. Then would then get swept by the White Stockings, before going on an eight-games winning streak, sweeping first the Hoosiers and then the Wolverines and then winning the first two games of their second home series against the Alleghenys, before losing the last games in the series, by 4-3, winning the home stand as they went 10-5. The Phils would then go on a long road trip for the rest of July and the beginning of August to face the Nationals (3), the Alleghenys (3), the Wolverines (3), the White Stockings (1), the Hoosiers (2) and the White Stockings (3) again for 15 games. The Phillies would begin their long trip by losing their series with the Nationals, 1-2, before going on to Pittsburgh to win their series with the Alleghenys, 2-1, ending July with a record of 13-10 and with an overall record of 37-36-3, and poised to make a pennant run, as Harry Wright prepares to turn his best starter, Charlie Ferguson, into an everyday player, as well as his pitching ace, because of Ferguson’s .300 batting average.

The Phillies would start August in Detroit, winning the first game of the series, before ending it with an 1-2 record, as they would lose the next two games. They would then win the next four games, winning their one-game series in Chicago, then sweeping the Hoosiers, before going back to Chicago and winning the first game of their three-games series with their western rival. They would then split the next two games to win the series, 2-1, and go back home with a winning record of 9-6. They would go home for a long seventeen-games home stand for the rest of August and the start of September, facing the Nationals for three, the Giants for four, the Hoosiers for three, the Wolverines for two, the Alleghenys for three and the White Stockings for two. The Phils would start their long home stand by sweeping the Nationals, and then winning the first two games of their series with the Giants before having their winning streak snapped at six games with a 10-8 lost. The next game with the Giants would end up in a 5-5 tie, ending the series with a 2-1-1 series win. The Phils would then sweep the Hoosiers, before spliting their two-games series with Detroit. They would then lost their three-games series with Pittsburgh, ending August with a 16-7-1 record and an overall record of 53-43-4.

The Phillies would start off the month of September by splitting their two-games series with the White Stockings, ending the home stand with a record of 11-5-1. They would then go on an equally long road trip for most of September, facing the Beaneaters for three games, the Nationals for three, the White Stockings for three, the Hoosiers for three, the Wolverines for two and the Alleghenys for three. On the eastern half of the trip, after losing the first game with the Beaneaters, they would win the next five games, including a three-games sweep of the Nationals. They are then swept in Chicago by the White Stockings, before beginning what would become a seventeen-games no-lost streak, as they would first sweep the Hoosiers in three straight, then the Wolverines for three and finally end the trip by sweeping the Alleghenys, ending their long road trip with a record of 13-4. They would then end the month of September with two games at home against the Nationals, which they would also sweep, giving them a record for the month of 16-5, and an overall record of 69-48-4.

They would continue the home stand in October with three games against Boston, sweeping the Beaneaters with ease. They would then end their season the same way they had started it, with a series against the Giants, this time facing them for two games in New York, a one-game series in Philadelphia and then one final game in New York. The Phillies would sweep the short two-games series in New York, tied their final home game in Philadelphia, going 5-5, and then winning their final game of the year, 6-3, ending October with a 6-0-1 record and the season with a record of 75-48-5, with a winning percentage of .610, their best record to date in their short existance. This would put them in second place, three games ahead of the third place White Stockings and six and a half games behind the 1887 National League Champions, the Detroit Wolverines (This would be the Wolverines only title.).

In 128 games played, the Phillies would have a home/road record of 38-23-3 at home and 37-25-2 on the road. The Phillies would have good records against all but three teams, with their best record being against the Hoosiers (17-1), followed by the Nationals (13-3-1), with their worst record being against their nemesis the White Stockings (6-12-1). They were 7-2 in shut outs, 17-11 in 1-run games and 37-13 in blowouts. The Phillies would play before 253,671 fans in their brand new park.

The Phillies’ offense and pitching would be among the league leaders in 1887. In batting, they would end up being first in doubles (213), second in at-bats (4630), runs scored (901), hits (1269) and walks (385), fourth in batting average (.274), on-base percentage (.330), slugging percentage (.389) and stolen bases (355) and fifth in triples (89), home runs (47) and strikeouts (346), while also knocking in 702 RBIs, while being hit by the pitch 52 times. The pitchers, meanwhile, would lead the league in innings pitched (1132), shut outs (7) and runs allowed (702), be second in ERA (3.47), saves (1) and strikeouts (435), third in walks (305), fourth in hits allowed (1173) and home runs allowed (48) and sixth in complete games (119), while also finishing nine games, giving up 436 earned runs, throwing 56 wild pitches, no balks and hitting 34 batters.

Individual offensive leaders for the Phillies in 1887 would be Ed Andrews in batting (.325), hits (151) and singles (121), Jim Forgarty in on-base percentage (.376), games (126), at-bats (495), total plate appearances (587), doubles (26), walks (82) and stolen bases (102), while being tied with Sid Farrar in the number of times HBP (10), George Wood in slugging percentage (.497), runs scored (118), total bases (244), triples (19), home runs (14), strikeouts (51), and extra-base hits (55), and Charlie Ferguson in RBIs (85). Ferguson would also lead the pitching staff in winning percentage (.688), saves (1) and games finished (4), while going 22-10. Dan Casey would lead the staff in ERA (2.86), wins (28), games pitched (45), games started (also 45), complete games (43), shut outs (4), hits allowed (377), walks allowed (115), hit batters (14) and batters faced (1660), while Charlie Buffinton would lead in strikeouts (160), home runs allowed (16), losses (17), earned runs allowed (135) and wild pitches (25). On the staff, there would be three twenty games winners, as Buffinton would win 21 games, to go along with Ferguson’s 22 and Casey’s 28. Fogarty would also be the league leader in total plate appearances and walks among the batters, while Casey would be the league’s ERA and shut outs leader, while Ferguson would be tied for the league’s lead in saves among pitchers.

As the Phillies would spent the off-season preparing to hopefully win their first pennant, the Detroit Wolverines would face the American Association’s pennant winner, the St. Louis Browns, in a fifteen games World Series, which would be won by the Wolverines, 10 games to 5.

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

Philadelphia Phillies – Year 4: Still in the first division, but finishing in 4th place with a better record.

With Harry Wright now entering his third year as the Phillies’ manager, and with two 20 games winners in Charlie Ferguson and Ed Daily (although both pitchers were also 20 games losers), the Phillies would be positioned to improve on their third place finish of 1885.

The National League of 1886 would be a very much different league compared to the league at the end of 1885, as two franchises, the Providence Grays and the Buffalo Bisons, would both collapse during the off-season, leaving the league with only six teams for the ’86 season, including the Phillies: the Beaneaters, the Giants, the Wolverines, the White Stockings and the Maroons being the other five. That situation would be corrected by the league early in 1886 by first admitting into the fold the Washington Nationals (aka Senators, the first NL team to play in the Nation’s Capital) in January, and then in February by allowing the Kansas City Cowboys (the first NL team to play beyond the Mississippi River) into the league for a one-year trial. The Phillies would still play their home games at Recreation Park, although a new ballpark, the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds, later known as Baker Bowl, would be built for them in 1887.

The Phillies’ season would start on April 29, with a three-games series against the new Nationals in Washington. The Phillies would spilt the two games that they would play with the Nationals in April, losing the first game 6-3, then winning the second game on April 30, 12-3, before losing the first game played in May, 9-2, starting May off on a losing note, while going home with a 1-2 record. The Phillies would then play a short four-games home stand, with three games being against the Giants and one game against the Beaneaters. The Phillies would win two of their three games with their rivals from New York, before defeating the Beaneaters, ending their short home stand with a 3-1 record and leaving Philadelphia with an overall record of 4-3, as they would begin a nine-games western road trip against St. Louis, Detroit and Chicago. In St. Louis, after dropping the first game, they would win the next two games with the Maroons, but they would then end the road trip mired in a six games losing streak, being swept first by the Wolverines, than by their nemesis the White Stockings, ending the road trip with a record of 2-7. They would then come home for a fifteen-games home stand for the rest of May and the first days of June, facing the Cowboys for the first time for four games, including a doubleheader on the 29, two games with Chicago, three games with the Maroons, three with the Wolverines and three with the Nationals. The Phillies would begin the home stand by winning three of four games from Kansas City, including a sweep of the twinbill, winning the two games by the scores of 1-0 and 9-3. They would then lose the last game of May to the White Stockings by the score of 4-3, thus ending the month of May with a record of 8-11, with an overall record for the season of 9-12.

The Phillies would then win their first game in June, defeating Chicago 3-0, thus splitting the two games of the series. The Phillies would then proceed to sweep their series with the Maroons, lose their series with the Wolverines, going 1-2, and then sweep their series with the Nationals, ending their fifteen-games home stand with a record of 11-4. The Phillies would then conduct a sixteen-games road trip for the rest of June and the beginning of July, which would see them visit New York City for two, the Beaneaters for three, Detroit for a game, Chicago for three, visit Kansas City for the first time for three games, St. Louis for three, then visit Detroit again for another game, before going back home. The Phils would start the trip off by splitting their two-games series with New York, then sweeping the Beaneaters in Boston. The Phillies would then lose their game in Detroit, then the first two games in Chicago before defeating the White Stockings in the third game of the series, thus ending June with a winning record of 13-6 and an overall season record of 22-18. The Phillies would then begin July with a sweep of their next two series with the Cowboys and the Maroons, including their second doubleheader win of the year, this time over the Maroons on July 5 by the scores of 6-1 and 3-2, before leaving St. Louis with a seven-games winning streak. The streak would be broken in Detroit as they would lose to the Wolverines by the score of 2-0, ending their road trip with an 11-5 record. The Phillies would then return to Philadelphia to face their east coast rivals the Giants and the Beaneaters for a five-games home stand, three games with New York and two with Boston. The Phils would lose the first game of the home stand to New York, before winning the next four games against New York and Boston, ending the home stand with a 4-1 record. They would then conduct a three cities, eight-games, east coast road trip to Washington (3), New York (3) and Boston (2). In Washington, they would increase their winning streak to six games by winning their first two meetings with the Nationals, before losing the final game in the series. They would then go on to New York, where they would lose their first two meetings with the Giants, before winning the going away game. The Phillies would then split their two-games series with the Beaneaters, thus ending their east coast trip with a 4-4 record.

The Phils would then come back home for a twenty-games home stand for the rest of July and the balance of August, facing the Cowboys for three games, the Wolverines for three, St. Louis for three, Chicago for two, the Nationals for three, Boston for three and the Giants for three. The Phillies would start the home stand off by sweeping the Cowboys and then losing the first of three games to Detroit, ending July with a record of 17-7 and with an overall record of 39-25. The Phillies would then begin August on a winning note by sweeping their next two games with the Wolverines. They would then lose their three-games series with the Maroons, 1-2. They would then split their series with the White Stockings before sweeping their series with the Nationals, and then winnings both of their series with the Beaneaters and the Giants, both 2-1, thus ending their twenty-games home stand with a record of 14-6. The Phillies would then go back onto the road for the rest of August and most of September, going to Detroit (3), Chicago (3), Kansas City (4), St. Louis (3), Washington (3), Boston (2) and New York (3) for eighteen games. They would win their series with the Wolverines, winning it by going 2-1, before being swept by the White Stockings, ending August with a record of 13-9 and an overall record of 52-34.

The Phillies would start off September by winning their series in Kansas City, 3-1. They would then lose their series in St. Louis 1-2, thus ending the western half of their road trip with a 6-7 record. They would then start the eastern half of their long road trip by winning the first game of their series with the Nationals, then losing the second game, which would be the debut game of future hall of fame manager Connie Mack, before ending up in a 3-3 tie in the series’ final game. The Phillies would then go on to Boston, where they would split the series, before heading on to New York, where they would end their road trip by losing the series 0-2-1, with the middle game of the series ending up as a 3-3 tie. The Phillies would end the eastern part of their road trip with a 2-4-2 record, ending the entire road trip with a somewhat respectible 10-11-2 record. The Phillies would then come home, where they would end their season with an eighteen-games home stand for the rest of September and October against the Nationals (3), the White Stockings (5), the Maroons (3), the Cowboys (3) and the Wolverines (4). The Phillies would start the home stand off by sweeping the Nationals, before defeating their western nemesis, the White Stockings in four of the five games they would play, with the other game, the third game in the five-games series, ending up as a 3-3 tie. The Phillies would then have their seven-games winning streak snapped by the Maroons in the first games of their three-games series, ending the month of September with a 13-8-3 record and with an overall season record of 65-42-3. The Phillies would then start off the month of October by winning the next two games with St. Louis, winning the series 2-1. They would then win their series with the Cowboys, going 2-0-1, with the final game of the series ending in a 6-6 tie. They would then start off their final series of the season with an 1-1 tie against the Wolverines, before losing the next game, and then ending the season with a two-games winning streak, ending the series with a 2-1-1 record, ending the home stand with a record of 13-1-2, ending October with a 6-1-2 record and ending the season with a combine record of 71-43-5, for a winning percentage of .623, finishing the 1886 season in fourth place, two and a half games behind the third place Giants and fourteen games behind the first place White Stockings.

In 1886, the Phillies would play 119 games, having winning records against all but three of their opponents, with their best record being a record of 14-2-1 against the Cowboys, followed by a record of 13-4-1 with the Nationals and a record of 10-3 against Boston. Their worst records would be against the second place Detroit Wolverines and the league winner Chicago White Stockings, both being records of 7-10-1. During the season, the Phillies would play 18 games apiece against four fellow NL teams (Nationals, Wolverines, White Stockings and Maroons), meet the Cowboys and the Giants for 17 games each and battle the Beaneaters only 13 times. The Phillies record in shut outs would be 10-5, 17-8 in 1-run games and 27-12 in blowouts. The Phillies home record would be 45-14-3, while their road record would be 26-29-2. Home Attendence for 1886 would be 175,623.

The Phillies’ batters would go to bat 4072 times (8th) getting 976 hits (6th) for a team batting average of .240 (5th), a team slugging percentage of .327 (5th) and a team on-base percentage of .289 (5th). The batters would knock in 621 runs (5th) on 424 RBIs, while hitting 145 2Bs (7th), 66 3Bs (4th) and 26 HRs (4th), while receiving 282 walks (3rd) while striking out 516 times (5th). The team would lead the league in stolen bases with 226. The Phillies’ pitchers would lead the league in team ERA with a 2.45 mark, as they would pitch a total of 1045 innings (6th), pitching 110 complete games (1st), while finishing 9 other games, having 10 shut outs (1st) and 2 saves (2nd). The pitchers would give up 498 runs (1st) of which 284 would be earned on 923 hits (1st). They would give up 29 home runs (4th), 264 walks (3rd) and 60 wild pitches, while striking out 540 batters (4th).

Among the team’s batting leaders, Jim Fogarty would lead the team in batting average with a .293 mark, on-base percentage with .385, and 42 walks, while being tied with George Wood for the team lead in slugging percentage with a .407 mark. Wood would also lead the team in at-bats (450), total plate appearances (473), hits (123), total bases (183), triples (15) and strikeouts (75). Sid Farrar would lead the team in games played with 118, as well as in doubles (19) and home runs (5). Ed Andrews would lead in runs scored with 93, singles (88) and stolen bases (56), also being the league leader in that category in 1886. Joe Mulvey would be the team’s RBI leader with 53. Among the pitchers, Charlie Ferguson would lead the team in most pitching categories. He would be the leader in ERA with a 1.98 mark, in wins with 30, becoming the team’s first 30-games winner, win-lost percentage with .769, games pitched with 48, games started with 45, games completed with 43, games saved with 2, while also being the league leader in that category, innings pitched with 395.7, strikeouts with 212, batters faced with 1582 and home runs allowed with 11, while being tied with Dan Casey for the team lead in shut outs with 4. Casey, who would win 24 games that season for the team, would also be the team leader in walks with 104, hits allowed with 326, losses with 18, earned runs allowed with 99 and wild pitches with 25. Ed Daily would lead the team in games finished with 4.

The Phillies, while still in the first division, and having improved on their previous season record, are still looking for their first division title, while watching the American Association’s St. Louis Browns defeat the National League winner, the White Stockings, in a seven-games post season contest, 4 games to 2.

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

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.

The Phillies battle the Braves at Home.

The once again second place Phillies (21-18) begin their six games home stand tonight as they meet the fourth place Atlanta Braves (19-18) for the first time this season. The first game of their three game set will be played at Citizens Bank Park, starting at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will be starting Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 4.93), who is coming off his no-decision start against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix on May 7, in which he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on ten hits, in the Phils’ 5-4 come from behind victory. His previous start, against the Giants on May 2, was also a no decision, as he pitched six innings plus two batters, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, in the Phils’ dramatic 6-5 ten-innings victory. His last win was on April 26 in Pittsburgh, where he pitched seven innings plus two hitters, as he gave four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits, in the Phils’  8-4 win over the Pirates. Kendrick will be going for his third win of the year. While his ERA has slowly gone down during his last few starts, Kendrick has been trying to be a strikeout pitcher, like teammate Cole Hamels. Kendrick would be more effective if he just stick to what he does best, getting the opposing team’s batters to hit the ball on the ground and allowing his fielders to make plays behind him. Although a few balls will obviously get through, the defense should be good enough to handle most of the chances presented to them. His opponent, Jo-Jo Reyes (1-0, 2.25), will be the first of three lefties that the Braves will be throwing at the Phils for this series. Reyes is coming off of a no decision of his own, as he was taken out of his May 8 start against the Padres, after pitching only two and two-thirds inning, because he had developed a blister on the index finger of his right hand. Before he was taken out, he had given up two runs, one of which was earned, on five hits, in the Braves’ 5-4 win. His previous outing was a victory over the Cincinnati Reds on May 3, where he went five and one-third innings, giving up an earned run on four hits, in the Braves’ 9-1 blowout win.

The Braves will be throwing three left handers against the Phils for this three game set, Reyes, Tom Glavine and Chuck James, expecting them to keep the Phils’ batters off-balance. At this moment, the Braves’ thinking appear to be right, as the Phils seem to have a harder time going against left handed pitching then they do against right hander, hitting .235 (13th best) versus lefties, while hitting .253 (9th best) against righties. But looks can be deceiving as they have hit twenty-six of their doubles, one triple and twenty homers off of lefties, while hitting twenty doubles, two triples and eighteen home runs off of right handers. They have gotten almost as many total hits off of lefties as righties (102 vs. 110). They have as many RBIs against left handers as against right handers (56 to 59), as well as score as many runs (59 to 61). They have gotten more TBs off of lefties (190 to 188), as well as receive the same number of walks from both sides of the mound (47 each), but they have unfortunately struck out more often against left handers (97 to 80), something which they will need to cut down on during the season. This would appear to show that despite having a weaker batting average against left handers, the Phils can be dangerous to lefties, and it could be bad news for the Braves, especially as two of their lefties, Glavine and James, don’t seem to be very overpowering to the hitters this year based on their ERAs, especially Glavine, a future hall of fame candidate, who is at the moment still winless after five starts. But, you never know with the Phils’ batters.

The Braves, as they come to Citizens Bank Park, have the worst road record in the National League, being 5-14 after their spilt yesterday against the Pirates in a make-up doubleheader, winning the second game. Meanwhile, the Philles have a home record of 10-8, while winning their last two home series. So, this will be a series to see if the Braves will finally be able to win a series on the road, or if the Phillies will beat up on one of their divisional rivals, in spite of facing three straight lefties, while staying pace with the Marlins.

The Phillies are presently two and a half game behind the Marlins, who have lost the first of their four games set in Cincinnati. They are presently a half game ahead of the third place Mets, who have lost the first of their four games series in Washington, D.C. and are a full game ahead of the Braves who have just finished a series in Pittsburgh, losing three of four, which has cool them off after their six games sweep in Atlanta.