Be Patriotic on Memorial Day in Washington DC

If you aren’t heading Down the Shore this weekend for Memorial Day, you might want to consider taking a day trip to Washington to see the Phillies take on the Nats in the first game of their three-game series.

Do you really need incentive to go to a Phillies game?  Of course not, but here is some anyway.

Monday’s 1:05 p.m. game will feature Phillies’ ace Roy Halladay pitching, it’s always easy to get tickets in Washington, and you can get HALF PRICE tickets.

If you order tickets through the Nationals’ web site (for Monday’s game only), type in the promotion code PATRIOTIC (use caps) and you’ll be able to get tickets in multiple locations at Nationals Park for half price.

Hot dogs, beer and Phillies baseball in the nation’s capitol = perfect Memorial Day.


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Easy Road Ahead for Phillies

The Phillies survived.

Over the last 20 games, the Phillies played one of their toughest stretches of the  season.  It included: six games against Atlanta, six games against Florida, a pair against St. Louis and Colorado, three games against the defending AL champion Texas Rangers and a four-game series with Cincinnati.

Now, after going 10-10 in that stretch, the team is healthier (Utley and Contraras are back) and heading into a stretch of 16 games against far inferior competition.

The Phillies will play three against the Mets, Nationals, Pirates and Dodgers before playing four against the Cubs.  The combined winning percentage of the these teams is .449.

This is the first opportunity the Phillies will have to separate themselves from the rest of the NL East with Utley back in the lineup and a stretch of easy games ahead.

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Wilson Valdez, Danys Baez Lead Phillies to 19 inning win

Box Score from


I’m not sure what else can be said.

Two and one third innings from David Herndon who was told it was his last day on the Major League Roster

Five shutout innings and 73 pitches from the much-maligned Danys Baez.

And then there was Wilson Valdez.  As a second baseman, he was 3-6 with a walk, and he was a part of the great pick-off play to get Brandon Phillips at second.

With the win, the Phillies maintained their one game lead over the Florida Marlins in the NL East.

Then, as a pitcher, he got the reigning National League MVP, Joey Votto, and Mr. Clutch this series, Jay Bruce out in the top of the 19th inning to secure a win for the Phillies.

Charlie Manuel had never used a position player as a pitcher in his managerial career, and he hopes to never do it again.  But, Valdez was good.  His fast ball was in the upper 80s, and he even threw a breaking ball that hit Scott Rolen (another way to win over the remaining, raucous crowd at Citizens Bank Park).

The game ended at 1:19 a.m., and today’s matinee is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m.  Clearly, Manuel will need a lot of innings from starter Cliff Lee.  He will also have a fresh arm in the bullpen as Jose Contreras is expected to be activated from the disabled list this morning and replace Herndon.

Wilson Valdez, who has enjoyed a lot of support from the Phillies fans over the last two seasons because of his steady play filling in for Chase Utley, is even enjoying some national attention this morning.  He was on the front page of, and he is even trending on Twitter.

Wilson Valdez will play today even though Chase Utley will be back in the lineup for his third game in four days.  Utley will be taking far more days off this year than he has throughout his career to ensure that he’s healthy in October.  Valdez will be at third base giving Placido Polanco a day off.

Dane Sardinha will start behind the plate, and Michael Martinez will play shortstop for Jimmy Rollins, who will be out of the lineup after playing all 19 innings last night.

The lineup for the second game in less than 12 hours is:

1 – Martinez (SS)

2- Brown (RF)

3- Utley (2B) — His first start hitting in his normal third spot in the lineup

4- Howard (1B)

5- Ibanez (LF) — Thought he might get the day off due to his age, but he’s been hitting well in May.

6- Mayberry (CF)

7- Valdez (3B) — Not pitching today

8- Sardinha (C)

9- Lee (P) — Need a lot of innings from him today.

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Sixers Mock Draft 2.0

Last week The Broad Street Line looked at who the NBA mock draft experts predicted would be taken 16th overall by the 76ers.  Now, some of those draft boards have been revised.  Let’s see who the Sixers may be honing in on for next month’s draft.

Most experts believe the Sixers are determined to draft a big man in the 2011 draft, but Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer analyzes the outside chance the team looks to a guard.

Here are the mock draft 2.0 results:

Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports:  Dontas Motiejunas (A 7-foot center from Italy with a lot of upside yet some questions about his dedication and lack of development) Bismack Biyombo (A big man from Spain who impressed a lot of teams at the recent NBA Nike Hoop Summit)

Matt Moore of CBS Sports: Lucas Riva Nogueria (A power forward from Spain)

Ben Golliver of CBS Sports: Markieff Morris (One of the big Morris twins from Kansas) Kenneth Faried (The center of the Morehead State team that made a splash in this year’s NCAA tournament) Tristan Thomas (A one-and-done big man from Texas)

Kate Fagan also analyzed the NBA pre-draft combine.

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Vance Worley: The Future for The Vanimal

Vance Worley, affectionately referred to as The Vanimal,  will take the mound for the Phillies tonight against the Cincinnati Reds.  He has done a great job filing in for Charlie Manuel in limited opportunities over the last two years, but role with the team is sure to greatly expand in 2012.

If the Phillies have a healthy pitching staff heading into the second half of the year, Worley will be back at AAA Lehigh Valley, but it should be his final pit stop in Allentown before returning to The Show for good.  I have to believe that Vance Worley will be in the starting rotation as of Opening Day next year.

Worley has appeared in 9 games for the Phillies in his career (4 starts) and he has compiled a 3-1 record with a 1.24 ERA.  He is also getting a front-row seat watching Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels pitch almost every night.  That is invaluable experience for a young pitcher trying to break into the Major Leagues.

How will Worley get a shot to be a starter next year?  There are two possibilities.

First, Roy Oswalt has indicated that he may retire at the end of the 2011 season.  It’s not as if Oswalt is old or unproductive, however he refuses to refute that he’s considering an early retirement.  If Oswalt leaves, Worley could step in as a much cheaper alternative.  You would still have Halladay, Lee and Hamels headlining the rotation.

The other scenario, if Oswalt returns, involves trading Joe Blanton.  During the winter, teams looking for a reliable starter would certainly inquire about the Phillies’ oft-forgotten fifth starter.  Blanton is under contract for 2012 for $8 million, and would be a steady pitcher who typically gives his team 200 innings each year.  If Blanton moves on, Worley could step into the back end of the rotation.

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Phillies Trade Talk: Brad Lidge and Hunter Pence

Just came across this.

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Phillies may try to deal Brad Lidge at the trade deadline to increase Ruben Amaro’s financial flexibility to add a corner outfielder.

One name the Phillies have their eye on is Hunter Pence.  Pence is hitting .298 with 36 RBI this year and would be a great right-handed addition to the lineup.

As Rosenthal writes, Pence would be a good fit because he doesn’t have a huge salary and would be under the Phillies control for 2012 to replace Raul Ibanez.

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On the Farm: A Bright Future for the Phillies

Kyle Drabek.  Michael Taylor.  Travis D’Arnaud.  Anthony Gose.  Jonathan Villar.  Carlos Carrasco.  Lou Marson.  Jason Donald.  Jason Knapp.  Josh Outman.  Adrian Cardenas.

These are the prospects the Phillies have traded since July 2008 with the front office’s  “win now” approach.

The idea is nothing new.  Teams in a pennant race with a need on the Major League roster trade prospects each year at the trading deadline to get the piece that will put them over the top to win a World Series.

It worked in 2008 when Joe Blanton came to Philadelphia from Oakland and didn’t lose a game in red pinstripes for the rest of the year.

The Phillies have decimated their farm system by trading a lot of blue-chip prospects like Drabek and Knapp and their catcher of the future, D’Arnaud.

But, somehow the system continues to thrive.  The Phillies were able to hold onto Domonic Brown, John Mayberry, Jr., Michael Stutes and Vance Worley who are helping the Phillies in 2011.  Still, there is great talent on the farm.

Previous posts have detailed the talent in Clearwater, Reading and Lehigh Valley.

Not only do these teams still have enough talent to help the big league club in the future, but the entire organization is winning now.

MLB – Philadelphia Phillies (29-18, first place in NL East, best record in the National League)

AAA – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (27-16, first place in North Division)

AA – Reading Phillies (24-18, third place in Eastern Division)

A – Clearwater Threshers (28-17, second place in North Division)

Low A – Lakewood BlueClaws (22-22, sixth place in Northern Division) *This team won the league last year and sent a treasure trove of talent to Clearwater this season*

Low A – Williamsport Crosscutters (43-33, third place in Pinckney Division)

Rookie Ball – Gulf Coast League Phillies (32-24, first place in North Division)

Phillies Entire Organization Record:  205-148 (.581 winning percentage)

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