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Yo, League, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
You got it, sports fans – it’s that bunch of bearded, bellied, no longer beleaguered, ballplayers from Broad Street in South Philadelphia. General Manager Lee Thomas had mined the Major League scrap heap for a few more pieces, and put together a team that could fly. And did they fly – 17-5 in April, 34-15 by the end of May, outdistancing second-place Montreal by 10 games through June, July, and August.The Expos put on a late season charge but it was too late, and in the end, the Phillies won the NL East by three games.
It was another expansion year; the Florida Marlins were added to the NL Eastern Division, and the Colorado Rockies to the West. The Phillies were 19-7 against the new teams.
Tommy Greene and Curt Schilling led the early season surge, going a combined 13-1 in April and May. For the year, Schilling was 16-7, Greene, 16-4. Manager Fregosi got double digit wins from five pitchers; newcomer lefty Danny Jackson, 12-11; Terry Mulholland, 12-9; Ben Rivera, 13-9. Mitch Williams saved 43 games, and batted 1.000 (1-1), as did reliever Larry Andersen (3-2, 2.92)
The team was a scoring machine – a Major League high 877 runs scored, 145 more than second-place Montreal in the NL East. Special mention here to hitting coach Denis “be patient, guys,” Menke - Daulton (117), Kruk (111), and Dykstra (league leading 129), all walked over 100 times. Kruk (100), Hollins (104), and Dykstra (league-leading 148) scored 100 or more runs. With all those guys on base and scoring, it’s surprising that only Daulton (105) drove in more than 100 runs.
Fregosi was masterful at platooning his outfielders; Pete Incaviglia, in 116 games drove in 89 runs and hit 24 home runs to tie with Daulton for the team lead. Jim Eisenreich hit .316. Mariano Duncan and Mickey Morandini shared time at second base.
It has been written that the arrival of shortstop Kevin Stocker in July, stabilized the infield, and was an important factor in the ultimate team success, but the team was 56-29 before Stocker, and 41-36 with Stocker; he hit .324, but made 14 errors.
Stocker’s first game was a microcosm for the season; it came on July 7 at Veterans Stadium against the Dodgers. The Phillies led 5-3 going into the ninth when Mitch Williams came on to save it for Terry Mulholland. Mitch faced four batters – walk, single, walk, walk, see you later. Larry Andersen to the rescue. LA, as he came to be called, was cool, he had his slider didn’t he? Eric Karros nubbed an infield hit to tie the score and leave the bases loaded with nobody out for strongman Mike Piazza. Andersen got Piazza to hit a ground ball to Stocker, who threw home for the force out; he fanned Eric Davis and retired Dave Hansen on a liner to right that sent the game into extra innings, tied at five. Ten innings later it was still tied at five. A young Pedro Martinez, in relief of his brother Ramon, pitched a scoreless 11th and 12th for the Dodgers. The Phillies Mike Williams, in long relief, held the fort for six innings but gave up a run in the 20th. Dykstra doubled with the bases loaded to win it 7-6.
The League Championship Series with NL West winner Atlanta went six games. The underdog Phillies, facing Atlanta’s three future Hall of Fame pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, won games one, four, five, and six to advance to the World’s Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, where they lost the sixth and final game on Joe Carter’s three-run ninth-inning homer off Mitch Williams.
November 2 – Traded Ruben Amaro, Jr. to Cleveland for righthanded pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb.
December 2 – Traded Mitch Williams to Houston for righthanded pitchers Doug Jones and Jeff Juden.
Attendance exceeded three million for the first time in franchise history.By max blue