Tag Archives: Chad Durbin

The Flyin’ Hawaiian returns to the Philadelphia Phillies

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Shane Victorino will help out the Phillies at 2019 spring training

Six and a half years have passed since the last time ‘The Flyin’ Hawaiian’ pulled on the uniform of the Philadelphia Phillies on July 29, 2012 at Turner Field in Atlanta.

The aging Phillies dropped a 6-2 decision to their NL East Division rivals that afternoon. The defeat left them 12.5 games behind the second-place Braves and 16.5 off the pace being set by the first-place Washington Nationals.
The late Roy Halladay had taken the mound for the start that day. He would strikeout seven and walk just one over six innings and leave with the Phillies trailing by just 3-2 before the bullpen surrendered three in the 7th inning to break the game open.
The first five batters in the Phillies lineup that day were familiar to fans: Jimmy Rollins, Victorino, Chase UtleyRyan Howard and Carlos Ruiz. But all were between 31-33 years of age, beginning to push past their glorious prime years together.
Two days later, Victorino was one of the first to go in what would become a major rebuilding program that would last for more than a half-decade. He was dealt on July 31 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitchers Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin, as well as a player-to-be-named who turned out to be in infield prospect named Stefan Jarrin.
On that same day, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr dealt away another starting outfielder, Hunter Pence, signalling a surrender of his team for the season. The club would actually heat up, pulling within three games of the second NL Wildcard with 11 to play. But that was as close as they would get.

Victorino became the left fielder for the Dodgers, stealing 15 bases over the final third of the season for a club that finished in second place in the NL West, two games off that final Wildcard pace and just five ahead of the 81-81 Phillies.
That off-season, Victorino became a free agent for the first time. He signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Boston Red Sox that would turn into three seasons when the Beantowners picked up his $13 million option for 2015.
In his first season with Boston, Victorino played right field. He would win his fourth career Gold Glove Award at age 33 and receive AL MVP votes as the Red Sox captured the World Series championship.
In the clinching 6-1 victory in Game 6 over the Saint Louis Cardinals, Victorino knocked in four of the runs with two hits, including a two-out, bases-clearing double to open the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd inning.
The following 2014 season was injury-riddled, with Victorino playing in just 30 games before succumbing to back surgery on August 5th. He returned in 2015 and again lost time due to a late-April hamstring injury. On July 27, 2015 the Red Sox dealt him to the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Josh Rutledge.
Victorino signed with the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2016 season and went to spring training with them. He was released at the end of spring training, but signed a minor league deal to remain with the team. He was then released by the Cubs on May 23, 2016 and that was the end of his playing career.
Last July 3rd, Victorino formally announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. On August 3rd he signed a one-day contract with the Phillies in order to retire with the team for whom he had enjoyed his greatest successes.

Victorino was originally a 6th round draft pick of the Dodgers back in 1999 out of St. Anthony High School in Wailuki, Hawaii. Three years later he was left exposed in the Rule 5 Draft and was selected by the San Diego Padres. He broke into the big-leagues with San Diego for a 36-game cup of coffee at the start of the 2003 season.
On May 23, 2003 the Padres returned him to the Dodgers, realizing that they couldn’t carry him on their big-league roster all season. The Dodgers again exposed Victorino to the Rule 5 Draft in the next off-season, and on December 13, 2004 the Phillies pounced on him.
He would make his name in Philadelphia. In 2006, Victorino split his time between all three outfield positions. Then in 2007 he became the everyday right fielder as the Phillies won the first of what would become five consecutive NL East crowns.
When Aaron Rowand left in free agency, Victorino took over in center field. He would be the starter there for the Phillies for most of the next five years, until his 2012 trade to the Dodgers. He won three straight NL Gold Glove Awards from 2008-10, and was an NL All-Star in both 2009 and 2011. He received NL MVP votes in each of the latter two seasons.

And, of course, he was leaping on top of a pile of teammates as the Phillies won the second World Series championship in franchise history on October 29, 2008. Earlier in the month his grand slam home run off Milwaukee Brewers ace C.C. Sabathia had been one of the key hits in that entire postseason.
Victorino continues to call his native Hawaii as home for much of the year. His father, Mike Victorino, was elected as the Mayor of Maui last November. Back in November, Robert Collias at The Maui News asked Victorino what has become his focus in retirement:
Watching my children grow up, getting that opportunity as a father, to not have to worry about that 9-to-5 grind every day, but to have an opportunity to help be a part of their lives and their upbringing, basically be there for moral support.
Shane Victorino joined the Phillies today as a guest instructor. This is his first time in uniform since he left the Phillies in 2012.

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And now, for the first time since he pulled his uniform off on that late-July day nearly six years ago, Victorino will don a full Phillies uniform and take the field. He joins a long list of former Phillies players who have helped the team prepare this season including former 2008 World Series-winning teammates Jimmy Rollins and Chad Durbin.

When it was first announced back in mid-February that Victorino would be helping out at spring training this year, Tim Klepac at 12up described well what the Phillies hope to get from him: “Victorino’s relaxing demeanor is infectious and the front office hopes that will carry into their clubhouse in March.”
Originally published at Phillies Nation as Shane Victorino back in a Phillies uniform

Phillies Fall Classics X: 2008 World Series Game Three

After the Philadelphia Phillies had gotten off to a good start by taking the opener of the 2008 World Series against the host Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in a tight 3-2 decision, the host Rays evened things up, holding off the Phils for a 4-2 win in Game Two.
With their backs to the wall in that 2nd game, Tampa had scratched out four early runs off Phillies’ starter Brett Myers
Holding a 4-0 lead, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon turned to rookie lefty David Price with two outs in the top of the 7th.
Just a year earlier, Tampa had made Price the top overall pick in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. He quickly rose to become the best pitching prospect in the game, and made his big league debut that year on September 14th, pitching in five games down the stretch as Tampa held off the Boston Red Sox to win their first AL East crown by two games.
In the ALCS, Price had pitched in three games. He got the win in Game Two with a clutch 11th inning performance as Tampa tied that series with the Red Sox. 
Then in the decisive 7th game, Price pitched 1.1 innings to get the Save in a dramatic 3-1 win that moved the 1998 expansion franchise into their first-ever World Series appearance.
The Phils would get to the talented rookie with a two-out solo home run by Eric Bruntlett to cut the lead to 4-1, and then put two of the first three runners on in the 9th, scoring another run on a Tampa error to make it 4-2. 
But Price had toughened up, striking out Chase Utley swinging and getting Ryan Howard on an easy grounder to 2nd to tie up the World Series at a game apiece.

This was the setup to the pivotal Game Three as the 2008 World Series headed north from the indoor climate-controlled dome of the Trop in sunny Florida to the late October cold of Citizens Bank Park.
For Game Three, Maddon would send out 24-year old righthander Matt Garza. Considered one of the game’s better up-n-coming pitchers, Garza had appeared in the two previous seasons with his original team, the Minnesota Twins.
In late November of 2007, Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett had been dealt to Tampa as part of a 6-player deal, with Delmon Young highlighting the package back to the Twins. In his first full season, Garza had gone 11-9 over 30 starts with the Rays.
At the polar opposite end of the age spectrum, Phillies’ skipper Charlie Manuel was opting for his 45-year old lefty, the apparently ageless Jamie Moyer
A local product who had played his college ball at Saint Joseph’s University in Philly during the 1980’s, Moyer was in his 23rd MLB season, his 3rd with the Phils after coming in a late-season 2006 trade with the Seattle Mariners.
In 2008, Moyer had really seemed to discover the Fountain of Youth. That year he fashioned a 16-7 record over 33 starts in which he tossed 196.1 innings with a solid 3.71 ERA. He was the definition of a grizzled veteran.
Jimmy Rollins got the rally towel-waving crowd whipped up into an early frenzy with a leadoff single in the bottom of the 1st. 
That frenzied crowd let out a roar when Jayson Werth followed with a walk, and then a Garza wild pitch allowed the runners to move up to 2nd and 3rd as the heart of the Phillies’ order was due up.
Garza settled down admirably in the madhouse. Rollins scored when Utley grounded out to 1st base as Werth moved to 3rd base. 
But then Garza struck Howard out swinging and retired Pat Burrell on a fly to center. The Phillies had a 1-0 lead, but Garza and the Rays had dodged a major bullet.
Tampa would even it up right away in the top of the 2nd inning. Carl Crawford led off with a double, then stole 3rd base with one out, and scored when right fielder Gabe Gross followed with a sacrifice fly to center.
Garza quickly retired the first two Phillies’ batters in the bottom of the 2nd, but then catcher Carlos Ruiz ripped a solo homer to put the Phils back on top by 2-1. 
That would remain the score as the veteran Moyer and the young Garza battled into the bottom of the 6th inning.
In that home 6th, the crowd would get not just one, but two opportunities to roar again. Both Utley and Howard, the Phillies’ #3 and 4 hitters in their batting order, slammed solo homers to start the inning, pushing the lead up to 4-1.
Moyer wouldn’t be able to hold that lead fully. In the top of the 7th, the Rays immediately began a rally that would drive him from the game. 
Crawford got it started again, this time with a perfectly placed drag-bunt single between the pitcher’s mound and 1st base. 
Tampa catcher Dioner Navarro then doubled to left field, and Gross followed with an RBI ground out to cut the Phillies lead down to 4-2.
That was all for Moyer, who threw 96 pitches over his 6.1 innings, striking out five and walking one while allowing just five hits. 
Chad Durbin came on in relief. He got Bartlett to ground out to shortstop, but Navarro came in to score on the play, cutting the lead down to a slim 4-3 margin.
With both teams into their bullpens into the top of the 8th, Manuel went to his setup man, righthander Ryan Madson, who allowed a leadoff single to the speedy B.J. Upton. 
The Rays’ 23-year old center fielder, who is now known as ‘Melvin Upton’, had stolen 44 bases during the regular season. With one out, Upton stole 2nd base, then 3rd base, and scored the tying run when Ruiz threw the ball away on the latter.
The Phillies’ late-inning lefty, J.C. Romero, retired Tampa in order in the top of the 9th, and the two teams moved into the bottom of the 9th with the game knotted at 4-4 and the World Series tied at a game apiece.
Maddon had brought in reliever J.P. Howell in the 8th, and the tough righty had struck out two batters surrounding a big pick-off of Werth to keep the Phillies off the board after the Rays had evened the score. 
Still in the game to start the 9th, Howell hit Bruntlett on a 2-1 pitch to put the potential winning run aboard.
That prompted Maddon to make the move to his fiery Australian reliever Grant Balfour
After getting ahead of Shane Victorino with a first strike, Balfour uncorked a wild pitch. Bruntlett took off for 2nd base, and Navarro retrieved and threw to try to nail him. Instead, the throw went wild, allowing Bruntlett to advance all the way to 3rd base.
Now the Phillies had that potential game-winner just 90 feet away with nobody out. Maddon chose to make the strategic decision to intentionally walk Victorino. 
When Manuel sent up lefty Greg Dobbs to pinch-hit for Pedro Feliz, Maddon had him intentionally walked as well to load the bases.
The plan, of course, was to set up a force out at any base, including home plate, as the slow-footed Ruiz came to the plate. Balfour and ‘Chooch’ battled to a 2-2 count. 
Then with the crowd on its feet and roaring with every pitch, Ruiz topped a slow roller towards 3rd baseman Evan Longoria.
The Rays’ star raced in to field the ball as Bruntlett broke well from 3rd base and got a great jump towards the plate. Longoria fielded and threw home as Bruntlett slid in, but the throw went high.
The throw wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Bruntlett’s great jump and the slow speed of the ball off the bat combined to give the Phillies’ baserunner an advantage that the Rays’ 3rd baseman could not overcome. 
As Bruntlett slid in safe with the game-winning run, teammates mobbed both he and Ruiz, and the Phillies had not only a 5-4 walkoff win, but more importantly had pushed ahead by two games to one in the World Series.
The two teams would have to quickly recover from the emotionally draining game, as the next installment in this Fall Classics series would come the following night. That Sunday night in South Philly would contain none of the drama of this one.