Results tagged ‘ injuries ’

Home Runs Propel Phillies Past D-Backs

It has been a while since Phillies fans have been treated to a home run barrage.  Tonight, the Phillies embraced the long ball, knocking three 2-run homers out of the ballpark; once each in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings.  Jayson Werth got the first one, which had to be a big relief for him.  Werth has not hit a homer in over a month, since June 23rd.  Ryan Howard and Cody Ransom collected the other two bombs.

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Cole Hamels had a bit of a rough outing, so the homers were a welcome sight.  In the 1st inning with two outs, Hamels allowed a single, hit a batter and walked two more, which walked a run home.  In 5 innings, Hamels walked 4 batters, hit two batters and allowed 3 runs.  So while he was not at his best, he did still keep the team in the game.

David Herndon pitched one inning in relief and had some trouble as well.  With one run already across, it looked like Herndon had a ground ball double play to end the inning.  Placido Polanco fielded the ball, tagged the runner and tossed to first.  But the runner going to second was called safe, despite insistence from both Polanco and manager Charlie Manuel that he did indeed tag the runner.  The ump did not see it and another run scored.

But the home runs kept coming and the Phillies took the lead right back.  Then in the 7th, Shane Victorino caught what appeared to be a routine fly ball but was wincing in pain before the ball even arrived.  He called the trainer over and was taken out of the game.  The report is that Victorino has a left oblique strain.  Oblique strains are tricky so if he lands on the DL, it would not be shocking. 

What is shocking is that the Phillies cannot seem to catch a break with all the injuries.  Yesterday, Jimmy Rollins got hurt when he fouled a ball off his foot.  He seems to be feeling better, but may still miss another game or two.   Now Victorino; plus Chase Utley is still recovering from his thumb injury and at one point, the Phils had seven players on the DL all at once. 

The injuries are getting old; but the current win streak, despite the injuries, is certainly not getting old.  After sweeping the Rockies in 4 games, they beat the D-Backs tonight by a score of 9-5 for their 6th straight win.  The rookie Herndon picked up his first major league win.  In addition, the Braves lost tonight so the Phillies gain a game on them.  The Phils are now 3.5 games out of first.

There are two more games with the D-Backs left before the Phillies hit the road again.  As for Victorino, we should know more tomorrow.  If he lands on the DL, the Phils will probably call up either Domonic Brown or John Mayberry to take his spot.  I know everyone will be rooting for Brown, but Mayberry may get the nod because he has already been in the majors and they may not want to start the clock on Brown’s options just yet.  But my vote is that Victorino is okay…here’s hoping.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

A Turning Point

Not many would have guessed at the beginning of the season that a 4-game series against the worst team in the National League and 2nd worst in all of baseball would be such a huge turning point for the Phillies.  But this series with the Pirates has become just that.  With 7 players and major contributors on the DL, a banged-up back-up catcher and 2 losses to the Bucos already behind them, the Phillies next two games could make or break their season.

The Phillies are five games behind the Braves after last night’s 0-2 shut-out loss to the Pirates.  They do have a series with the Braves next, but if they lose 3 or even 4 games in this Pirates series, they will not have much left to bring to the Braves series.  Getting whipped by a last place team will mean that they have allowed the injuries to win.

Plus, last night this team looked like it was sleep-walking.  Like the energy and confidence has been sucked right out of them.  The only player who still looked determined was Jamie Moyer, who pitched six solid innings and allowed only one earned run.  Moyer has been rock solid in his last several starts.  The rest of the team looks like runny oatmeal.


P6274820 Valdez.jpgOddly enough, the only position player showing some life is back-up Wilson Valdez.  Even Jimmy Rollins said after the game about Valdez, “My man right here, he’s got some swag.”  Last night was the 3rd multi-hit game for Valdez in his last 4 games.  He has also hit 2 home runs in those games.  While it is great to see a bench guy step-up like this, where is the rest of the team?

Charlie Manuel said yesterday that he moved Raul Ibanez to the 2-spot in the lineup because “he is a high on-base percentage guy.”  Really?  Because every starter on the team has a higher OBP than Ibanez who is in 11th place at .322.  Not to mention, Ibanez had only 5 hits in 96 at-bats in the month of June.  What part of this screams 2-hole hitter?

It is moves like this that make people wonder.  It appears that Manuel is grasping at straws trying to get his team back into action.  What the Phillies really need is a bucket of ice down the pants to wake them up.

The team did get a small bit of good news.  Back-up catcher Brian Schneider has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb; yes, the exact same injury Chase Utley was said to have.  Except, Utley wound up with a torn ligament where Schneider says he just needs a few days to rest and can play in an emergency.  Schneider is one of the tough guys; you have to love that.

So it boils down to these next few games.  Will the Phillies fold under the pressure or come out swinging?  They have overcome a lot in years past so there is no reason to think they cannot do it.  But this time, if they cannot get back on track fast, it may be too big a hill to climb later.  Game time tonight is 7:05pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

No Offense For The Phillies…Again

As more players continue to drop like flies, manager Charlie Manuel was also forced to miss today’s game against the Pirates due to a suspension.  On Thursday night, Manuel bill-butted the umpire with the brim of his hat as he argued a call.  Manuel has been ejected 3 times in just over a week, obviously frustrated with how this season is going.  This suspension was just one more blow to this already limping Phillies team.

The Phillies went down against the Pirates today with their anemic offense again giving no run support to the pitcher.  The final score was 2-3 and the Phils had only 8 hits.  Wilson Valdez hit a solo homer and the 2nd run was unearned due to a Pirates throwing error.  Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez both went hitless. 

Ibanez has had one hit in his last 8 games and 34 at-bats.  The Phillies need to put Ben Francisco in left and be done with it already.  Ibanez has not contributed in any significant way in a long time.  In fact, in the month of June, Ibanez had 5 hits…total.  That is the entire month.  Francisco had 11 hits in 37 at-bats compared to 5 hits in 96 at-bats for Ibanez.  This is a NO brainer.

So another good pitching performance was wasted by the Phils offense.  Cole Hamels allowed 3 runs in 7 innings and deserved a win.  Instead, he gets another loss and to a last-place team no less.  But sadly, that was not the only drama tonight. 

Just when you thought, after having 7 players on the DL and Chase Utley going in for surgery today, things could not get worse…they did.  Back-up catcher Brian Schneider got hit in the hand with a pitch and has a hyper-extended left thumb and had to leave the game.  No word yet on how serious it is, but if he goes on the DL too, the Phillies will be left with a 3rd string catcher and have to call up a 4th from the minors.  My head hurts.

And by the way, Utley’s recovery time has been changed from the original 6 weeks reported to 8 weeks.  By tomorrow, who knows?  They may go with 3 months.  But realistically, this kind of surgery can have widely varying recovery times based on the extent of the damage and how the surgery went.

As for Placido Polanco, he has 3-4 weeks before he can return due to bone chips in his elbow.  And catcher Carlos Ruiz was examined in Pittsburgh today and the tests for his concussion apparently did not go well.  That means he may be out even longer than 15 days.  The Phils may as well open their own ER at this rate.

Phils ER.jpg

Will GM Ruben Amaro Jr. find a quality infielder to help out?  This will be interesting.  We already know Amaro screwed up when he traded Cliff Lee and probably every team in the league wants to get Lee now.  I have heard many fans say they think we can get him back to Philly.  Stop right there.  Here is the one reason that will never happen: to bring Lee back would mean Amaro would be admitting he made a mistake by trading him in the first place. 

Some men admit when they are wrong, like umpire Jim Joyce admitted he blew the call that cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game.  And when Andy Pettitte admitted he did steroids and was obviously ashamed.  But Amaro?  It will never happen.  Put it out of your minds and move on.

And now the infield is a bigger concern than the pitching.  The Phillies will have at least a month without their 2 All-Star infielders and then an additional month without Utley.  They need help and Amaro has to go make something happen.  Right now, I really don’t want his job.

 

Player photos and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Utley To Have Surgery Today

The aching cries of Phillies fans everywhere were heard in a collective scream today of “Nooooooo!!!!” as the news broke about Chase Utley.  While this is not a huge shock after the injury to his thumb earlier this week, the news still hurts. 
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Utley will have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb today.  The Phillies first said it was a sprain but after visits to 3 different doctors, it is a tear that needs to be fixed.

The recovery time is said to be about 6 weeks, which sounds like a very conservative estimate to me.  But Utley has healed quickly in the past after other procedures, like his hip surgery, and everyone knows he will dedicate himself fully to getting well as soon as humanly possible.  Whatever happens, the Phillies are now without their number one player until at least mid-August.

I am going to sit in a corner for a while and cry, maybe eat some Ben & Jerry’s and then watch the movie Titanic for the 50th time or so.  But after that, we should all pick ourselves up, dust off and start preparing for a very interesting season.  Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to need to get help…fast.  This will be the true test of Amaro’s ability to manage a team.  We are all waiting to see what he does.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Halladay Loses To The Reds

The Phillies squandered an opportunity for a series win today, losing to the Reds by a score of 3-4.  Roy Halladay has now lost 6 of his last 9 games, even though he has pitched at a 3.19 ERA during those 9 games.  He did not have his best stuff today, allowing 2 big homers and 13 hits in an 8-inning complete game.  But as has been the case all year, the offense did little to help him out.

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It looked like the back-up players might carry the team for the second day in a row when 3rd string catcher Dane Sardinha hit a 3-run homer in the 4th inning.  Wilson Valdez had 2 hits again and Greg Dobbs had a hit and a walk.  But with both Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez going 0 for 4, no Chase Utley or Placido Polanco, the offense did not get anything else done.

Games like these are when the Phillies are going to feel the full effect of having 7 players on the DL.  The injuries are out of control and as a result, this is going to be a very rough ride for the rest of the season. 

Yesterday, Brad Lidge said that the Phillies players were going to have to “step-up” during this trying time.  I found that comical after Lidge became the only player yesterday who did not step-up.  However, he has a point.  The question remains though, can these bench guys get the job done?

Once the team has a better idea of how long Utley and Polanco will be out, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have some very serious decisions to make.  Can they go out and get a descent infielder while still adding to the pitching depth?  All Phillies fans can do right now is hang in there and hope that this team can weather the storm.

The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh now for a 4-game series.  The first game is Thursday night at 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

The Phillies Are Down, But Not Out

Despite having two of their best players sent to the DL today in Chase Utley and Placido Polanco, the Phillies still came out swinging against the Reds.  More importantly, it was the back-up players who made the biggest impact on the game.  This gives Phillies fans hope that even with 7 players on the DL, they can still produce.

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At the very bottom of the line-up, both Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez hit 3-run homers in the 9-6 win over the Reds.  Schneider went above and beyond, with three hits in the game and scored on the Valdez homer.  The homer by Valdez was his 3rd of the year and only his 4th since 2004.

Joe Blanton kept the Phillies in the game, allowing just one run until the dreaded 6th inning.  That has been his Achilles heel all year long.  With 2 outs in the 6th, Blanton gave up a single, a walk and then a 2-run double.  He did finish with 7 2/3 innings allowing just those 3 runs, so this is progress for Blanton. 

But leave it Brad Lidge to try and throw away all that hard work and momentum for the Phils.  With two outs in the 9th and a 3-run lead, Lidge gave up a walk, a single and then a 3-run homer to Joey Votto to tie the game and send it to extra innings.  It was his 2nd blown save of the year in 7 opportunities.

So the depleted Phillies offense would have to rally yet again, and they did.  In the 10th they faced Arthur Rhodes, a former Phillie, who had not allowed a run in 33 consecutive innings this year.  Ryan Howard doubled, Jayson Werth walked and then Raul Ibanez stepped to the plate. 

The home plate ump had a moving strike zone all night long and when a low 0-1 pitch was called a strike on Ibanez, manager Charlie Manuel finally lost his mind.  He jumped out of the dugout and ripped CB Bucknor a new one, getting him tossed out of the game.  But the managerial fireworks sparked the Phils in a big way.  Ibanez took the very next pitch to center for an RBI double.  Ben Francisco, another bench player, hit a single to score Werth and then Valdez struck again with a bunt that scored Ibanez.

And just like that, the 3-run lead that Lidge blew was back with a 9-6 score.  JC Romero was called on for the second save attempt and got the job done without issue.  Thank goodness for JC!  You are my hero :O)  Please tell Lidge that he owes you, big time.

The Phillies will play the Reds again tomorrow with a quick turnaround at 12:35pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch and try to sneak the Phils out of town with a series win.

More Injury News

To replace Utley and Polanco, Greg Dobbs was brought back and is clearly still having issues.  He had only 2 hits in 17 at-bats during his short time in AAA and went hitless tonight in 3 attempts.  Brian Bocock was also added to the roster.  At AAA this year, Bocock hit only .177 in 209 at-bats so I cannot imagine he brings much to the table either.  But at this point, beggars cannot be choosers.  The options are limited.

The Phillies are going to have to rely on their bench players if they are going to contend.  They did it in 2007 as Tadahito Iguchi and others filled in admirably for players who went down, like Utley who got hit with a pitch, breaking his hand.  Can they do it again in 2010?  We shall see.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

Phillies Injuries Reach Critical Mass

With the announcement today that both Chase Utley and Placido Polanco have been placed on the DL, panic has ensued in Philadelphia.  Much has been said about the Phils being “bitten by the injury bug” this year. 
knife death.jpg
I will take that a step further and say that the Phils have been stabbed mercilessly and repeatedly by the “injury knife of death.”  Bugs can be ignored and swatted away.  But the “injury knife of death” seems a tad more menacing, with just the right amount of violence and desperation mixed in.

I saw a TV show today about a battered wife who stabbed her husband 193 times and then buried him the backyard in a hole he had dug himself for a home improvement project.  It seems both painful and unnecessary.  Sound familiar?  It should, because that is the general tone and feel of the Phillies season thus far.  Just to recap, here are the major injuries by player with the dates and positions:

2B

Chase Utley

DL

6/29 – now

Starter

3B

Placido Polanco

DL

6/26 – now

Starter

C

Carlos Ruiz

DL

6/22 – now

Starter

P

Chad Durbin

DL

6/2 – now

Relief pitcher

P

Antonio Bastardo

DL

6/17 – now

Relief pitcher

C

Brian Schneider

DL

5/9-5/24

Back-up

P

Ryan Madson

DL

4/29 – now

Relief pitcher

P

JA Happ

DL

4/16 – now

Starter

SS

Jimmy Rollins

DL

4/13-4/17, 5/22-6/22

Starter

P

Joe Blanton

DL

3/26-5/3

Starter

P 

Brad Lidge

DL

3/26-4/30, 5/10-5/31

Closer

P

JC Romero

DL

3/26-4/22

Relief pitcher

 

The entire infield, except Ryan Howard, has spent time on the DL, including both catchers and 2 starting pitchers.  Sprinkle in 3 relief pitchers plus the closer and we have here the makings of a disappointing season.

Utley hurt his thumb getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double yesterday against the Reds.  After the MRI, he has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb.  Basically, his thumb is going to fall off.  Ok, not so much, but it is really, really bad news. 

Right now they are saying it is a “sprain,” but if the ligament is torn, this usually requires surgery and the recovery time is about 4 months.  Are you counting on your fingers right now?  No need…that brings us to the end of October which means the season would be officially over for Utley.  Utley says he will see several more doctors for additional opinions so we will know more after that.  Hopefully, it is just a sprain but either way, this is not good.

As for Polanco, he has bone spurs in his elbow.  He can try to play through the pain and keep getting cortisone shots, but the shots alone will put him out for 2-3 days at a time.  Off-season surgery is probably already being planned.

So with 7 players still on the DL, Happ not doing well in his rehab, Durbin possibly being lost for the season and the uncertainty surrounding Utley and Polanco, can this team succeed this year?  Get out the defibrillation paddles; if the team flat lines, they are going to need to be resuscitated…fast.  And preferably before the “injury knife of death” strikes again.  Ugh.

Rollins Announces His Return With A Walk-Off Homer

Jimmy Rollins officially announced his return to the Phillies tonight with a 2-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th against the Indians. 
J-Roll says hi cr.jpg
It was J-Roll’s only hit in two games since coming off the DL.  Things looked grim going into that inning as Rollins was just 0 for 4 before that homer, but he hit it when it counted the most and gave his team a 7-6 victory.  Welcome back, Jimmy!

Prior to that, the Phillies offense did score some runs, but they still seem to be butting heads with the usual problems; leaving men on base, hitting into double plays and swinging at bad pitches.  Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit into double plays, the worst of which was by Ibanez in the 6th inning.  With two runners on and no outs, Ibanez tapped one back to the mound and they did not score that inning.

But Howard had 2 hits on the night and Jayson Werth had 3, including a homer. Brian Schneider hit his first homer of the year in the 7th and there were a couple extra base hits in the game as well.  The Phillies went only 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but with J-Roll playing the hero, it was enough to win the game.

The pitching was also interesting as the magical see-saw adventures of Kyle Kendrick continued tonight. 
Kendrick see saw.jpg
When Kendrick steps to the mound, you just never know what tricks he might pull out of his hat next.  This evening’s tricks included allowing two 2-run homers to Shin-Soo Choo.  Kendrick lasted just 4 innings with 5 runs allowed, although 1 run was unearned after a Chase Utley error.

With Kendrick, the only thing that has been consistent is his inconsistency.  And with rumors floating that the Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, it appears they are growing impatient with not only Kendrick, but JA Happ as well.  Happ has not been progressing as quickly with his rehab as the Phillies would like.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Courier Press, “”It’s the first time he’s ever had this time off, and (he needs to) come back and cut it loose and get back to that old form. He’s going to have to get to that point or he can’t perform here.”  Those are strong words from an obviously frustrated GM.

Another player was injured tonight as well; Chad Durbin came up with a right hamstring strain at the beginning of the 9th inning.  According to Charlie Manuel after the game, the injury is “pretty serious.”  Not good news; all we can do is hope he will be okay.

In other news, Greg Dobbs did clear waivers and has been sent to AAA to work on his swing.  Hopefully, Dobbs can get back into shape and help out later in the year.  I know a lot of people have been complaining about Dobbs, and not without cause, but I am rooting for him to return to his 2008 form when he was probably the best pinch hitter in the league.  I have been fortunate to speak with Greg on a number of occasions and he is as nice a guy as you could ever hope to meet.  He is great with the fans, unselfish when giving his time and has a good heart.  For all those reasons, I wish him well and hope we might see him again soon.

Do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:

Chase Utley    Ryan Howard    Raul Ibanez    Placido Polanco

Carlos Ruiz    Jayson Werth    Shane Victorino    Jimmy Rollins

Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Lopes Spills The Beans About Utley

In an interview with Davey Lopes, the Phillies first base coach, published today by Baseball Prospectus, Lopes let it slip that Chase Utley is hurt.  When talking about the team’s lack of stealing bases, Lopes had several comments including this one:
Thumbnail image for P4190966 Utley.jpg “Chase [Utley] has been hampered by a little bit of a knee injury. That’s more than likely why our numbers are down, but it’s still confusing to me as to why they haven’t been as aggressive in attempting to steal.”

According to Lopes, this seems like a minor issue.  However, Utley has not been productive for a long time now.  In the entire month of June, Utley has just 9 hits in 49 at-bats with 2 RBI, no homers and only 2 extra-base hits, both doubles.  These numbers are not typical of a healthy Utley, but he constantly insists that he is healthy when questioned.

Hiding an injury is not new for Utley; his hip problem in 2008 which required off-season surgery was also not disclosed until then GM Pat Gillick let the cat out of the bag during an interview.  The same has happened again, only with Lopes as the loose-lipped culprit.

This begs the question, is Utley’s issue more serious than anyone knows and is he hurting the team by continuing to play?  If some time-off will help, he should take the time off and get himself straight.  While Utley’s tough-guy, play at all costs mentality is admirable, it is also not helping his team.  And the cloak and dagger technique used trying to hide the issue does nothing but prompt more questions and speculation.

According to CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “Davey Lopes is not a doctor,” and was quite upset about the comment.  Although, Amaro did admit to Utley having “soreness” in the knee, but not a full-fledged injury.  Yes, ball players get “sore” throughout the season.  So again, why all the cloak and dagger when this is a common occurrence among ball players? 

I am not a doctor either, but I am fairly certain that if a bear stops eating, something is wrong.  Bears like to eat; Utley likes to hit.  Right now, it is just not happening.

What are your thoughts on the subject?  Feel free to chime in below in the comments section.

 

Utley photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

Stars Align For Halladay Bobblehead Day

With the rainout on Wednesday night, the pitching rotation is now set-up so that Roy Halladay will actually pitch on the same day his Bobblehead figurine will be handed out to fans at Citizens Bank Park.  On Tuesday, May 18th, we will get a double treat; the bobblehead and some great pitching :O) 

 

So while Halladay’s Denver homecoming was spoiled by a loss to the Rockies during Wednesday’s day game, maybe the baseball Gods have decided to make up for it.  This could be a really fun game.  Remember in 2008 when Shane Victorino hit a walk-off home run on his bobblehead day?  While I don’t think Halladay will hit any homers, the crowd should be really excited and create some positive energy.

 

In the spirit of bobblehead day miracles, I have re-outfitted Halladay’s figurine a few different ways.  First, we have the Victorino-inspired look, HulaHalladay followed by Super-Halladay and HalladAngel:


Halladay bobbles.jpg 

So while we have Halladay to look forward to on Tuesday, we also have Brad Lidge to stress-out about, maybe for the rest of the year.  Lidge had an MRI on his sore elbow and it did not show any structural damage, but did reveal inflammation in the lining of his elbow joint.  The area where he had the surgery appears to be healing just fine.  That is the extent of what the Phillies have said about it.

 

On the surface, this seems like good news.  What I can tell you from own experience is that this condition is called “synovitis.”  The most common cause is some form of arthritis.  Treatment usually consists of anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections and sometimes surgery to remove the inflamed lining.  The problem with this type of issue is that it is usually persistent and generally only gets better with rest and treatment.

 

He may feel better in a few days, pitch again, and have the exact same issue come right back.  It can be managed, but in my opinion, this may be a sign that Lidge will not be very effective in 2010, if at all.  Keep in mind, the Phillies are not saying this, I am.  And because I am not a doctor, I could be way off base here.  But based on my experience with the exact same issue, I know how painful it can be.

 

So should Phillies fans be in full-scale panic mode?  Maybe not; but Ruben Amaro Jr. had better be weighing his options and looking for bullpen help.

 

Photoshopping by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

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