October isn't the same without the Phillies

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October isn't the same without the Phillies

Remember how much fun October baseball was in this city just a few years ago?

Even though I am watching this year’s postseason, it’s just not the same when your hometown team is not involved.

The Phillies had a great run from 2007-2011, but now with them on the outside looking in, you really appreciate the good times. The Atlanta Braves have reached the postseason 17 times since 1991, including this year, and yet they have only one World Series Championship just like the Phillies during that time.

As much as Phillies fans want to see their team make the playoffs, I can’t imagine what this city would be saying if the the club had not won a playoff series in 12 years after qualifying nine times since 2000 like the Braves.

Making the playoffs is a great accomplishment, but every team’s goal is a championship. As we learned from 2008, it is generally a slow process to reach the ultimate prize.

This is such a critical offseason for the Phillies as Ruben Amaro Jr. attempts to add some pieces to a veteran-laden squad. It can be done if you spend wisely.

Look at the Los Angeles Dodgers and how they successfully rebuilt that franchise with some key signings along with homegrown talent. After a dreadful 30-42 start, the Dodgers have won almost 70 percent of their games since -- including the playoffs. The payoff is a trip to the National League Championship series.

What kind of payoff will the Phillies enjoy in 2014? October is a great month to live in Philadelphia with favorable weather and a colorful landscape as the trees begin to change, but nothing beats playoff baseball at Citizens Bank Park. The excitement in the sports complex is never better than in the postseason. Watching games on television right now is one big tease.

Today's lineup: Tommy Joseph returns to lineup for Game 1

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Today's lineup: Tommy Joseph returns to lineup for Game 1

The Phillies' return from the West Coast will also include the return of Tommy Joseph to the lineup in Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Marlins.

Joseph, mired in a 5 for 56 slump, will be in the lineup after sitting the last two games against the Giants. For some strange reason, the right-handed Joseph has struggled mightily against left-handed pitching. He's hitting just .185 against southpaws this season vs. .254 against righties. Joseph will play first and bat fifth.

What will excite Phillies fans tonight is the three and four hitters. Rookies Nick Williams and Rhys Hoskins will bat in the three-hole and cleanup spot, respectively. Williams has struggled a little bit since his torrid start. He has just one extra-base hit in his last 42 at-bats. He'll start in center field while Odubel Herrera continues to nurse a hamstring injury.

Hoskins returns from his native California red hot. After getting just one hit in his first big league series against the Mets, Hoskins did some serious damage out west. The 24-year-old went 8 for 25 (.320) with five homers and eight RBIs during the seven-game swing. He'll get the nod yet again left.

Newcomer Hyun Soo Kim will fill out the outfield, playing right and batting sixth. Kim is just 5 for 33 since coming over from Baltimore in the Jeremy Hellickson trade.

Here is the rest of the lineup for Game 1:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, CF
4. Rhys Hoskins, LF
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Hyun Soo Kim, RF
7. Maikel Franco, 3B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Aaron Nola, P

And here's how the Marlins will line up against Nola:
1. Dee Gordon, 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
3. Christian Yelich, CF
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. J.T. Realmuto, C
6. Derek Dietrich, 3B
7. Tomas Telis, 1B
8. Miguel Rojas, SS
9. Dan Straily, P

Phillies place Vince Velasquez on 60-day DL; call up reliever Yacksel Rios

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AP Images

Phillies place Vince Velasquez on 60-day DL; call up reliever Yacksel Rios

The Phillies have made a flurry of moves ahead of Tuesday's doubleheader vs. the Marlins.

Vince Velasquez (finger) is heading to the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his season. He'll have surgery to repair a vascular issue with his right middle finger, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

Velasquez left his last start after just one inning on August 10 while surrendering three runs.

In 15 starts, Velasquez compiled a 5.13 ERA, while continuing to struggle with his command. The 25-year-old struck out 68 batters while walking 34 and averaged just 4.8 innings per start. 

In a corresponding move, the Phillies have called up RHP Yacksel Rios from Triple A to replace Velasquez on the 40-man roster. The 24-year-old has a combined 1.92 ERA in 37 games while splitting time between Reading and Lehigh Valley. 

Nick Pivetta was officially recalled from the minors to start Game 2 of today's doubleheader, while Zach Eflin (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday.