Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Prospects added to 40 man roster ahead of Rule 5 draft

With the deadline for 40 man roster additions set for Tuesday, the Phillies made moves to add some promising names to their list of protected players.

The Phillies announced the additions of shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa along with right-handed pitchers Adonis Medina and Edgar Garcia are the players added to the Phillies roster.

Arquimedes Gamboa, image- Jay Floyd
Gamboa, a native of Venezuela, is a talented defender who played in the Arizona Fall League over the past month, sprinkling in some time at third base there, though his bat doesn't feature enough pop to think he will be an impact guy at that position.  Gamboa, a 21-year-old switch hitter, posted a .214/.304/.279 slash line with Class A Advanced Clearwater this year.

Medina, a 21-year-old Dominican, is one of the Phils' top prospects and is always a name that pops up when fans and media discuss big trade proposals.  With Clearwater this year, Medina tallied a 10-4 record, a 4.12 ERA and a 9.9 K/9 in 22 games (21 starts). 

Garcia, a Dominican Republic native, turned 22 years old this off-season.  He stood out as an All-Star reliever for Double-A Reading last year, sporting a 3.32 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 mark over 47 appearances there before earning a promotion to Triple-A.  Garcia features a fastball-slider combination that the Phillies like out of the bullpen.

Some players left unprotected that are among those that could draw interest from other teams...

OF Jose Pujols- Powerful slugger, strikes out a lot.  The 23-year-old righty batter had a great 2018 campaign, posting a .295 average with 22 homers and 76 RBI in 121 combined games at Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading.

Catcher Deivi Grullon- Double-A Eastern League All-Star home run derby winner this year.  The 22-year-old went without a hit in eight games for the Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League and is no longer active there. 

RHP Luke Leftwich- The 24-year-old showed promise this year at Double-A, posting a 3.73 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 in 44 appearances.  Leftwich did not allow a run in eight appearances in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. 

Second baseman Daniel Brito- An outstanding defender,the 20-year-old split time at Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year.  He's likely too far from a finished product for the Phillies to feel he'll be taken by another team.

LHP Tyler Gilbert- The guy I thought was among those that would be protected.  Lefties are always a hot commodity, so I thought Gilbert, 24, stood a good shot at earning a spot and being protected.  Gilbert had a solid campaign this year, splitting time with Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  

Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft when they are not on their major league organization's 40 man roster and 1) were signed to a contract at age 19 or older and have been in that organization for four years, OR 2) were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in that organization for five years.

Once a player is chosen, that player is automatically assigned to his new organization's 40-man roster.

A Rule 5 player must remain on the selecting team's 25-man big league roster for the entire next season, or be offered back to his original team.

The Phils' 40-man roster sits at 38 players currently, so they'll have room to add some individuals in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Phillies Off-season League Notes, 11/19/18

Throughout the off-season, I'll offer a roundup of how some Phillies prospects and players are performing around the world in fall/winter leagues.

Here are the latest noteworthy details.

Colombian League-

Jorge Alfaro, image- Jay Floyd
Catcher Jorge Alfaro is batting .271 with a pair of home runs in 13 games for the Toros.  Alfaro, 25, posted a .262 average with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 108 games with the Phillies this year. 

Arizona Fall League-

With the AFL wrapping up play last week, the following stats are final for the month-long campaign with each of the players having competed for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

First baseman Darick Hall batted .238 with four homers and 12 RBI in 18 games.  Hall, 23, was the 14th round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Dallas Baptist.  Hall blasted 26 homers and drove in 87 runs in 128 combined games with Clearwater and Reading this year.

Outfielder/first baseman Austin Listi batted .250 and OPS'd .624 in 22 games.  The 24-year-old was a college teammate of Hall and was drafted in the 17th round last year.  Listi won the Phillies' Paul Owens Award this year, as he posted a .312/.412/.502 slash line in 123 combined games with Clearwater and Reading.

Third baseman/shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa batted .186 with two doubles, three RBI and two stolen bases in 20 games.   The 21-year-old sported a .214 average with two homers, 37 RBI and two steals in 114 games with Clearwater this year.  The switch-hitting Gamboa is a native of Venezuela.

Outfielder Luke Williams was 3-for-31 (.097 avg) in nine games for the Scorpions.  The 22-year-old was a 3rd round draft choice in 2015.  With Clearwater this year, Williams tallied a .245/.319/.353 slash line over 110 games.

Right-handed hurler Luke Leftwich posted gleaming numbers, with eight scoreless outings.  The 24-year-old struck out 12 and walked three in 10 1/3 total innings.  Leftwich tallied a 3.73 ERA in 44 appearances for Double-A Reading this year.  The Wofford College product was a 7th round draft choice of the Phils in 2015.

Lefty hurler Jonathan Hennigan had a 1-0 record with a save and a 1.29 ERA in eight appearances for Scottsdale. He notched a 2.39 ERA in 37 combined games for Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year. Hennigan was a 21st round draft choice by the Phillies in 2016. The Texas State product is 24 years old.

Tyler Viza started six games, posting a 1-1 record, a 3.47 ERA and a .264 batting average against.  Viza struck out 20 and walked seven in 23 1/3 innings.  The 24-year-old right-hander was a 32nd round pick of the Phils in 2013.  He spent time with both Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2018.

Right-handed pitcher Seth McGarry had a 1-1 record with a 2.25 ERA in seven games (one start). He struck out 15 and walked nine batters in 12 innings. The 24-year-old was an 8th round pick by Pittsburgh in 2015 and was traded to the Phillies last year for Joaquin Benoit.

Dominican League-

In 13 games with the Toros, shortstop Malquin Canelo sports a .229 average with a double, two RBI and four stolen bases.  The 24-year-old righty hitter posted a .251/.306/.366 line at Double-A Reading this year.

Through 20 games with the Leones catcher Austin Bossart is batting .135 with three doubles and two RBI.  The righty batting 25-year-old was a 14th round selection in the 2015 draft. Bossart, a U Penn product, tallied a .273 average with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 54 Double-A games this year.

Tyler Gilbert, image- Jay Floyd
Lefty reliever Tyler Gilbert has a 2.45 ERA and a .214 batting average against in 13 appearances for the Tigres.  The 24-year-old was a 6th round pick of the Phils in 2015.  Gilbert has struck out nine and walked three in 7 1/3 innings.  He tallied a 3.25 ERA over 48 combined appearances with Reading and Lehigh Valley this year.

Jeff Singer and Deivi Grullon both spent short stints playing in the Dominican Republic this off-season, but are no longer active.

Venezuelan League-

Lefty Aris Abdallah pitched 1/3 inning last week for the Tigres. The 22-year-old posted a 2-5 record with a 4.28 ERA and a .283 batting average against for the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters this year.

For the Tiburones, right-hander Gustavo Armas has notched a 0-2 record with a 4.09 ERA in six outings (four starts).  He has struck out 11 and walked five in 22 innings.  The 22-year-old posted a 4-4 record, a 3.07 ERA and an 8.2 K/9 mark in 12 combined starts for Williamsport and Class A Lakewood this year.

In four appearances for the Navegantes, right-hander Luis Carrasco sports a 1.29 ERA.  In 30 appearances for the BlueClaws this year, the 24-year-old sported a 3.11 ERA and notched four saves.

Right-hander Luis Cedeno is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 relief appearances for the Aguilas. The 24-year-old appeared in 16 games with Lakewood this year.

Righty Ranfi Casimiro has a 2.57 ERA and a .154 BAA in five contests for the Aguilas. Casimiro, 26, tallied a combined 3.67 ERA and a 7.8 K/9 mark in 34 games at three levels of the Phillies' system.

Righty Alejandro Requena, who turns 22 later this month, sports a 0-3 record with an 11.42 ERA in four appearances (three starts) with the Tigres.  Requena went 4-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 starts for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year.  Requena was acquired from Colorado in the Pat Neshek trade in the summer of 2017.

Standing out with the Tigres is reliever Josh Tols.  In 14 appearances, the 29-year-old has a 1-0 record and a 1.80 ERA. The Australian lefty notched a 2.74 ERA in 27 combined appearances with Clearwater and Reading this year.  

Alexis Rivero, a righty that pitched at three level of the Phils system this year, sports a 17.36 ERA in five appearances for the Cardenales.

Australian Baseball League (opened season last week)-

Lefty Nick Fanti made his first ABL start with the Blue Sox over the weekend, allowing an unearned run in 3 1/3 innings.  The 21-year-old struck out three and walked four while giving up three hits.  Fanti missed time this year with an injury.  In six starts for Clearwater the Long Island native posted a 3-3 record with a 7.22 ERA.

Righty reliever Tyler Fallwell has appeared in two games for the Aces.  In 3 1/3 innings the 23-year-old has struck out three while surrendering no runs.  Fallwell posted a 6.75 ERA in 12 regular season appearances for Lakewood this year.

Kyle Glogoski, a 19-year-old New Zealand native, tossed five scoreless and hitless frames in a start for the Tuatara.  Glogoski had a great campaign this year for the Phils' Gulf Coast League West team, sporting a 4-0 record, a 2.31 ERA and a 10.8 K/9 mark in 10 games (eight starts).

Rixon Taylor-Wingrove is 0-for-2 with the Blue Sox.  The 18-year-old first baseman sported a .241/.310/.342 slash line in 23 games with the GCL West team this year.

Catcher Mitchell Edwards is batting .250 with a double, a home run and two RBI in four games with the Bite.  The 19-year-old switch hitter slashed .250/.308/.417 in 16 games with the GCL East team this year.

Roberto Clemente League/Puerto Rico-

Lefty Bailey Falter tossed two scoreless frames for the Indios over the weekend, as the season in PR just got underway last weekend.  In 17 starts with Clearwater last year, the 21-year-old had an 8-4 record with a 2.69 ERA and a .247 batting average against.  Falter was a 5th round draft pick by the Phils in 2015.

Righty Trevor Bettencourt has struck out four and allowed a hit over 2 1/3 scoreless innings in two appearances for the Indios.  Despite missing time with a shoulder concern this year, he posted a combined 1.85 ERA over 21 appearances for Double-A Reading and Class A Advanced Clearwater.  The 24-year-old was the Phils' 25th round draft selection in 2016.

Corner infielder Damek Tomscha is 3-for-10 with three walks in four games with the Cangrejeros.  The 27-year-old righty hitter split his time this year with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Jan Hernandez is 2-for-13 (.154 avg) in four games with the Cangrejeros.  The 23-year-old was a Double-A All-Star this year, posting a .263 average with 14 homers and 53 RBI in 104 games with Reading.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Listi named to AFL Fall Stars Roster

Austin Listi, image- Jay Floyd
As the big leagues' Fall Classic wrapped up on Sunday with another championship for Boston, the baseball community's attention can shift toward off-season leagues.  The lone domestic offering that fans can gravitate toward is the Arizona Fall League, which announced the rosters for its annual Fall Stars Game on Monday.

Outfielder Austin Listi will represent the Phillies, as he was named to the East division roster.  The righty batting outfielder was honored as the Phils' top offensive minor leaguer this year, when he was named as the recipient of the Paul Owens Award.

In the regular season Listi split time with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading.  In 123 games in 2018, the Dallas Baptist product tallied a .312 average with 18 home runs and 84 RBI.

The six-foot 218-pounder has displayed light hitting to date in the AFL, posting a .175 average with a double and three RBI in 12 contests with Scottsdale.

Much like at the top level of the sport with the All-Star Game, the AFL is promoting a "final vote", where fans can cast their ballot to add each roster's final player.  Phillies infield prospect Arquimedes Gamboa (12g, .235 avg, two double, three RBI, two stolen bases) is a candidate worthy of your consideration.  CLICK HERE to vote.

Also set to appear in the exhibition is baseball's top overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero of the Blue Jays organization.  

The game with air live on MLB Network this Saturday, November 3rd, at 8PM Eastern. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Phils find new farm director

As the organization continues to move toward a revitalization, the Phillies have named their new director of player development, plucking a rising leader from the one of the major leagues' newest forces, the Houston Astros.

Per TheAthletic.com and other outlets, former professional player and manager Josh Bonifay has locked down the position of the "general manager" of the Phils' farm system. 

Bonifay's father, Cam Bonifay, was general manager of the Pirates from 1993 to 2001.  While in charge of the Pittsburgh club, Cam drafted Josh twice (in 1996 out of high school, when Josh chose not to sign, and in 1999 as a junior out of UNC Wilmington).

The younger Bonifay played eight seasons in the minors, posting a .284 batting average and an .842 OPS, reaching as high as the Double-A level.  The year he signed, Bonifay played with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, which has since changed from a Pittsburgh affiliate to a Phillies affiliate.  

In recent seasons, Bonifay was a coach in the lower levels of the minors for the Astros.  He also spent time as field coordinator for the Texas Rangers in 2017 and filled that same role for the Astros' minor league levels this year.

Bonifay replaces Joe Jordan, who resigned from his position toward the end of the 2018 minor league season.  Jordan had filled the role for roughly seven years.

There are reportedly still key vacancies to fill throughout the Phillies' developmental ranks including the role of field coordinator.  Doug Mansolino, who was considered, more-or-less, the "second in command" of the Phils' farm for the better part of a decade was relieved of his duties following the regular season.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Phillies Fall/Winter League Updates

I'll be posting rundowns throughout the off-season to shine a light on Phillies prospects making an impact in various leagues around the world.  This is the first of my regular updates throughout the colder months touching on action in the Arizona Fall League, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and other places.  Statistics are current through games on Saturday.

Arizona Fall League (all Phillies representatives here play for the Scottsdale Scorpions)-

Luke Leftwich, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Luke Leftwich has not allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings over four appearances.  He has notched eight strike outs and surrendered two walks.  Leftwich, 24, posted a 3.73 ERA in 44 appearances for Double-A Reading this year.  The Wofford College product was a 7th round draft choice of the Phils in 2015.

Lefty hurler Jonathan Hennigan has allowed two hits and an earned run in three innings of work.  He tallied a 2.39 ERA in 37 combined games for Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year.  Hennigan was a 21st round draft choice by the Phillies in 2016.  The Texas State product is 24 years old.

Right-handed reliever Seth McGarry has tossed 5 1/3 scoreless frames in the AFL.  He posted a 3.99 ERA in 45 contests at the Double-A level this year.  The 24-year-old was an 8th round pick by Pittsburgh in 2015 and was traded to the Phillies last year for Joaquin Benoit.

Tyler Viza has pitched seven scoreless innings over two starts.  The righty, who turned 24 years old on Sunday, was a 32nd round pick of the Phils in 2013.  He spent time with both Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2018.

Outfielder Luke Williams is 1-for-7 in two games for the Scorpions.  The 22-year-old was a 3rd round draft choice in 2015.  With Clearwater this year, Williams tallied a .245/.319/.353 slash line over 110 games.

First baseman Darick Hall is batting .292 with a pair of homers and seven RBI in six games.  Hall, 23, was the 14th round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Dallas Baptist.  Hall blasted 26 homers and drove in 87 runs in 128 combined games with Clearwater and Reading this year.

Outfielder/first baseman Austin Listi is batting .261 with an RBI in seven games in the AFL.  The 24-year-old was a college teammate of Hall and was drafted in the 17th round last year.  Listi won the Paul Owens Award this year, as he posted a .312/.412/.502 slash line in 123 combined games with Clearwater and Reading.

Third baseman/shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa is batting .208 with a home run and seven RBI in eight games with the Scorpions.  The 21-year-old sported a .214 average with two homers, 37 RBI and two steals in 114 games with Clearwater this year.  Gamboa, a native of Venezuela, is a switch-hitter.

Dominican League-

Austin Bossart, image- Jay Floyd
Catcher Austin Bossart is 2-for-6 with a double and an RBI in two games for the Leones.  The righty batting 25-year-old was a 14th round selection in the 2015 draft. Bossart, a U Penn product, tallied a .273 average with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 54 Double-A games this year.

Also with the Leones is 2018 IronPigs closed Pedro Beato.  The 31-year-old righty has allowed two earned runs in three innings over three games.  This year he notched 35 saves with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Lefty reliever Tyler Gilbert has surrendered two runs (one earned) in 1 1/3 innings for the Tigres, though he has not allowed a hit while walking two.  The 24-year-old was a 6th round pick in 2015.  He tallied a 3.25 ERA over 48 combined appearances with Reading and Lehigh Valley this year.

Ranfi Casimiro allowed and earned run without recording an out in his loan appearance thus far with the Aguilas.  The 26-year-old right-hander split most of his time with Reading and Lehigh Valley this year.

Catcher Logan Moore is hitless in six at bats in two games with the Aguilas.  The 28-year-old lefty batter was a 9th round selection of the Phils in 2011.

In six games with the Aguilas, catcher Deivi Grullon is 0-for-15 with a walk.  Grullon, 22, was an Eastern League All-Star with Reading this year. 

In five games with the Toros, shortstop Malquin Canelo is batting .250 with a pair of RBI and three steals.  In 2018 the 24-year-old batted .251 with nine homers and 32 RBI and 24 steals in 128 games for Reading.

Venezuelan League-

Infielder Raul Rivas pinch ran and scored a run in his only appearance for the Bravos.  The switch-hitter, who turns 22-years-old next week, batted .242 with three homers in 104 games with Clearwater this year.

Gustavo Armas, a 22-year-old righty that appeared in 12 total games with Class A short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood this year, threw two scoreless innings in one game for the Tiburones.

Left-hander Josh Tols has pitched three scoreless frames in three appearances with the Tigres.  The 29-year-old Australian pitched with both Clearwater and Reading out of the bullpen this year.

Right-hander Luis Carrasco, a key member of this year's Lakewood bullpen, struck out four and walked one in 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the Navegantes.  In 30 appearances for the BlueClaws, the 24-year-old sported a 3.11 ERA and notched four saves.

Leonel Aponte is a right-hander that competed with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies (4.40 ERA in 12g) this year.  As a member of the Cardenales, the 19-year-old has tossed two scoreless innings in one appearance.

Luis Cedeno, a 24-year-old righty, has allowed an earned run in 3 2/3 innings for the Aguilas in one appearance.  Originally from the Yankees system, Cedeno was signed as a free agent this June by the Phillies and pitched with Lakewood.

Mexican League-

OF/1B Joey Meneses in four games with the Tomateros, is 5-for-12 with a home run and six RBI.  Meneses was the International League's Most Valuable Player as a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs this year.  

Sunday, September 30, 2018

2018 Exit Interview: First baseman Madison Stokes

Madison Stokes, image- Jay Floyd
Selected in the 10th round of this year's MLB amateur draft, corner infielder Madison Stokes was quick to make an impact in his pro career, helping the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws reach the postseason.

The 22-year-old righty hitter enjoyed a swift ascent, playing six games in the rookie level Gulf Coast League before earning a promotion to Class A short-season Williamsport.  As a member of the Crosscutters, Stokes sported a .338/.452/.506 slash line in 22 games.

Promoted again to Lakewood in early August, the South Carolina native would posted a .260 average with a homer and 11 RBI in 27 contests.

Prior to the end of the season, I chatted with Stokes, a University of South Carolina product, about his transition to the minor leagues, his draft experience and more.  Read ahead for that interview.


-What experiences did you have prior to the draft that prepared you most for playing pro ball?

I think playing in the ACC in that conference for sure has prepared me for the pitching and the pace of the game.  The coaches there they prepared us for this level of pro ball.  I give props to them.  But I think playing in the best conference in college baseball has for sure prepared me for it, as far as the pitchers, the hitters and the pace of the game.

-How big of an adjustment was it or what was the transition like from college to the minor leagues?

Yeah, it's not much different.  You're just meeting new guys, trying to learn names.  Especially with coordinators and managers.  So, trying to learn all the names, get acclimated moving up to different teams, and I started out in the GCL and the pace of that game compared to here is different.  So, just try to acclimate yourself to the level of pace of that game the level of competition, as it obviously gets better as you move up.  Just try to make in-game adjustments, as far as everyone out there competing and meeting new guys and learning how to play with them.

-What did you know about the Phillies organization before you signed with them?

Not a whole lot.  Not a whole lot, no.  I found out on Twitter that I got drafted by the Phillies and I was really excited.  I had a teammate a couple years back that got drafted by the Phillies, Kyle Martin.  So, I didn't know a whole lot about them.

-What's your relationship with Kyle?  He's a guy that's played in the system for a few years and he's been through here with the BlueClaws.

We were good buddies when we were in school.   I haven't talked to him lately.  I know he's over there in Clearwater.  I haven't had communication with him.  But he's one of my good buddies.

-Finding out about getting drafted on Twitter seems pretty unique.  I think most guys would gets a heads up ahead of time.  How did that go?

I was with my girlfriend on the couch, after we were cleaning her house, just waiting (for any news) and she saw my phone light up, found out on Twitter that my name got called.  She freaked out and ran outside.  I looked at my phone and it said I got drafted by the Phillies.  Then, my scout called me.  So, it was a really exciting time.  It was a humbling and cool moment.

-How did you celebrate?

We had a little leaving party before I left to get started with my pro career.  I guess it was kind of a celebration to have some family and friends and old coaches, people that have meant a lot to my life and people that have helped me get to where I am today.  So that was really neat to have them there for me that day.

-Was there a team or a player that you grew up as a fan of?

I didn't watch a lot of baseball growing up.  Just because we were out in the country in a small town and we didn't watch a lot of television.  I guess maybe a little bit of the Braves, if any team at all.  I liked Derek Jeter and I enjoyed watching a bunch of those guys.  I never really had a favorite team.  I guess Derek Jeter would be my favorite player.

-Was it that you were busy playing the game as opposed to watching others play it?

Well, now I watch as much baseball as I can.  Before, we were out in the country, we were always outside just doing whatever.  We weren't really allowed to stay inside and play video games and sit in front of  the TV screen.  But the more I got older, the more I played the game, the more I loved the game and the more I watched it.  Now, I watch as much as I can.

-Is there a guy that stands out more than others as a guy you would watch more and maybe want to emulate?

I really enjoy watching Mike Trout just because he has so much fun playing the game and he's the best player, I personally think.  But I'll pick out things from every single player that I can.  I watch every player that comes on hoping to see what could work out for me that I could pick out from them.  But I enjoy watching Mike play.  I enjoy watching Alex Bregman play, Carlos Correa.  They just play the game really hard and you tell they have a lot of passion for the game.

-Are you looking forward to instructs?

For sure!  It's exciting.  There'll be a bunch of coordinators there and I can continue to build relationships with them, get to know them, allow them to get to know me as a person and a player.  And I think it's great opportunity for me and a couple guys to go down there and go to instructs.

Monday, September 24, 2018

2018 Exit Interview: OF Matt Vierling

Matt Vierling, image- Jay Floyd
Outfielder Matt Vierling was a key mid-season addition to the Lakewood BlueClaws lineup that made it to the Class A South Atlantic League finals.  In 50 games, the 22-year-old posted a .293 batting average with 15 doubles, six homers and 25 RBI.

A 5th round draft selection this year by the Phillies out of Notre Dame, Vierling posted a .420/.453/.580 slash line in 12 games with short-season Class A Williamsport prior to joining the BlueClaws.

Earlier this month, I talked with Vierling, a Missouri native, about his transition from college ball to the minors, heading the the fall instructional league, experiencing New Jersey for the first time and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview. 


-What experiences did you have prior to the draft that prepared you for pro baseball?

Well, going through college at Notre Dame, there's a lot of things in college with the academics and everything and the baseball, playing in a tough conference in the ACC, and, you know, the school part taught me how to manage my time, but baseball wise I developed in college and learned a lot of valuable lessons there and met a lot of special people.  I continue to talk with a lot of people from Notre Dame, some people that I'm close with that have been in pro ball, about how they went about their first seasons and what was best for them, what worked for them and I've kind of done what they did, as far as mental game stuff and just go about every day and it has really helped me a lot this first season, so it's been going pretty well so far.

-The guys you're able to keep in touch with, are those guys closer to your class or are there guys that are long removed from Notre Dame that are still available to learn from? 

It does go back further.  Obviously, I still talk with some of my best friends in my class but there are some people there that have played pro ball before and they've been through it and those are the best people to talk to.  You can learn about what they would have done differently, or what lessons they learned and maybe I can use some of those and put it into my business here.  There are just certain things they did at the beginning of their pro careers that have helped me here.

-Well, what is on my mind when you mention the school name is a couple guys specifically.  Phillies fans would know one big Notre Dame name, Brad Lidge.  And BlueClaws fans might recall a guy that went to the postseason with this team eight or nine years ago named Jeremy Barnes that is now coaching in the minors with Houston.  Have you ever had a chance to talk with those guys?

I actually haven't touched base with any of those guys.  Trey Mancini's one of the guys.  He's with the Orioles right now.  I haven't talked to him that much, but we have a couple guys that were around the baseball team a lot there.  One of those guys is Steve Sollmann.  He was around the team a lot.  He helped me a lot with how he went about his business in his first pro year.  And the stuff he implemented has helped me a lot.

As far as Brad Lidge, I know his cousin Ryan Lidge.  He's with the Yankees.  He's a good friend of mine.  They're cousins.  Other than that, there's other guys that are in pro ball that have helped me out too.  It's good to have those connections there.

-Just speaking of the transition to turning professional and joining a new organization, how did the transition go for you?  Was it as you expected?

You know, traveling around a bunch, right after college, it wasn't overwhelming, but it was a lot.  But once I got comfortable, especially being here and I knew I was going to be here for a while just getting to know the guys-- it's just like going to play summer ball and you get to know the guys and they become your best friends for that period of time and it means even more now, going to the playoffs.  And being in this organization, being around them all the time, especially for the future as well.  It's definitely cool to make those relationships.  It was definitely a lot at first, but getting to know the guys-- they're all awesome dudes and it's fun to be a part of.

-Is there anybody in the Phillies system that you knew or competed against before coming and signing here?

So, competing...I played against Colby Fitch and Quincy Nieporte.  Quincy went to Florida State and Colby went to Louisville.  They're in our division of the ACC, so we play them every year.  So, I definitely competed against those guys, but I didn't know anybody coming here.  I didn't know anybody in the organization personally.

-You've posted some great numbers and have been an excellent contributor toward the team.  But you're still early in your career and many fans may not know you yet.  So, if you were going to educate people about your game, what are some of your strengths?  What would you say that you pride yourself on?

One thing I really try to do above all else is give all the effort I can possibly give every single at bat and play.  Just go as hard as I can, every single pitch.  But, you know, I love playing defense.  I love running around the outfield.  I love running around the bases.  And hitting wise- a contact hitter who can hit for some power here and there and just try to do everything really well, just try to do everything the best I can and do everything I can to help the team.

-I think barring a rare exception, guys in their draft year are always lined up to go to fall instructs following the season.  Is that something you're looking forward to?

Yeah, so I'm going to instructs and yeah, I'm excited about it.  Hearing from all the guys here and a lot of the guys have been through it once, some of them even twice.  They say that every coordinator and all the coaches will be there, which will be great to get around them and talk to them about what helped them and all their experiences. It's just going to be a good month of baseball where I can focus on developing and possibly trying to learn things that might help me.  Yeah, it'll be fun.  I'm looking forward it.

-What are your impressions or thoughts on New Jersey since coming here?

It's been awesome.  At Notre Dame, there were a couple guys on my team that live 15 or 20 minutes from the stadium, so I've been staying with them and they've been showing me around here in New Jersey and it's beautiful.  I mean the beaches are awesome and the weather as of late has been pretty nice, so I'm liking it a lot.

-Did you know much about New Jersey before coming here to play?

I really didn't.  I really didn't know much other than the show Jersey Shore.  I watched that, but I think for the most part I didn't know much more about New Jersey.

-Do you see a lot of those types, from the show, when you are out here?

Not many around here.  I guess that's a good thing.  But for the most part, yeah, I didn't really know much, but it's been cool.  There people are awesome around here.  The stadium is beautiful and the fans are great.

-How about the Phillies organization?  Did you have much knowledge about the team before they drafted you?

I didn't know much, but one definitely I knew about was Brad Lidge, because of Ryan.  But one big one was Ryan Howard.  He's from St. Louis where I'm from.  He went to high school out there and went to Missouri State, so I knew a lot about him.  He's a legend around here and has his number retired, out in center field.  I know they're an awesome organization and I'm pretty grateful to be drafted by them.  I'm happy I'm where I'm at.

Friday, September 21, 2018

2018 Exit Interview: RHP Seth McGarry

Seth McGarry, image- Jay Floyd
Righty reliever Seth McGarry joined the Phillies last year as part of a trade that sent pitcher Joaquin Beniot to the Pirates.  Since joining the Phillies organization, the 24-year-old has been a contributor on the field and behind the scenes.

McGarry, who was an 8th round draft selection in 2015 out of Florida Atlantic, had a solid 2018 campaign with the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils.  In 45 appearances the six-foot 180-pounder posted a 2-4 record with four saves, a 3.99 ERA, a .238 batting average against and an 8.6 K/9 mark.

Prior to the end of the regular season, I talked to McGarry about his pitch repertoire, his upcoming assignment to the prestigious Arizona Fall League, helping teammates in the Phils organization improve their offerings and plenty more.  Read ahead for my full interview with Seth.


-I hear good things about you.  That you're a helper and an educator and you share grips and pitches with other guys to help them improve their own repertoires.  These are gleaming reviews.  If you can, share some thoughts with me on helping out guys like Tyler Gilbert and Aaron Brown.

I mean, we learn a lot from our pitching coaches, but I feel like we learn the most, probably, from each other.  Everyone's different and you can kind of ask guys around for what they think about different pitches or different grips and kind of trying to understand different concepts for pitches.  So, with Tyler Gilbert, we had a guy on our team, Trevor Bettencourt, who threw cutters, but he throws his kind of different and we were just messing around, because I was trying to throw a cutter too and I was explaining to Gilbert the concepts of how I was trying to throw it and he just picked it up in about two days and it became one of his better pitches.  And then we kind of went over the concept of how it's more of a weak contact pitch and he freakin' just took off with it.

-How do you feel about being able to help another guy and contribute to his success?  Because I can ask a coach and they'll tell me everything, every step someone takes is rewarding and I don't know how much reward players can feel beyond their own successes, so is that rewarding for you to be able to see other guys taking strides with your help?

Oh, yeah!  Especially, when it's-- I'm new to the Phillies over the past year, but he was one of the first guys that I met and just seeing him start to soar and excel, especially with something I helped him with,  makes me feel good, but it's really cool to see him doing well.

-Arizona Fall League rosters came out recently and you're headed to pitch there.  Congratulations on that, it's always an honor to go play there.  What are your thoughts on that news?

Thanks.  It was pretty exciting to hear.  It's been kind of a bumpy season.  Had some ups and downs, but things have been clicking a little bit lately and when I got news that I was going there, it was pretty exciting 'cause I get a chance to continue what I've been building off lately.  

-Something that could be surprising to some is that going out there to play is a true assignment.  There's no, "Who's available in October and November?"  Is there a hint of disappointment that you might miss something you planned or does the honor of playing out there override all of that?

It's really exciting when it comes to baseball, but, for me, I had a couple things planned, but this overtakes that.  It's a great opportunity.  It's not something you want to pass up.

-Does it make it easier to be going with several guys from your organization?

Yeah, it definitely makes it a lot easier.  It's tough going somewhere new where you don't know anyone.  I've done that already, so it's nice to be going with some teammates and friends.

-Speak on that a little bit, because last year you switch organizations as part of a trade, coming over from the Pirates.  Is that also exciting to know this other organization scouted you and wants you to join their team?

Yeah, it was pretty cool.  It was a little different.  Kind of like getting drafted all over again.  New coaches, coordinators, new teammates, it was nice.  The Clearwater bullpen was kind of stacked, so I had already talked to a bunch of the bullpen guys previously in the season before I went over there, so I wasn't completely the new guy.  I already had some acquaintances and I've played against those guys for several years, so it was nice to actually meet the guys and become a Phillie.  

-I talked to guys on the Phillies side and I'll ask the questions about if there's a rivalry between the Phillies teams and the Yankees teams.  But I have had guys like Rhys Hoskins tell me that the rivalry is more with the Pirates.  Do you notice that from that side at all?  Is it 'cause the teams play each other at every level?


It's a little bit of that.  On the other side in the minor leagues with the Pirates, they're really big on pitching inside, so a lot of guys get hit, so a lot of teams don't like them.  You kind of feel the rivalry different places you go, some teams like each other and you kind of build rivalries with individual guys that you play against through years and years in the minors.

-Is that somebody that's getting the best of you and you feel like you need to triumph and get your turn?

Yeah, something like that.

-Is there somebody at this level that you have a rivalry with?

Not really right now, but it's been there before.

-What's the full pitch repertoire for you right now and what are your strengths?

Sinker, four seam, those are the two that I like to use together.  I throw a slider off the sinker and usually a 12-6 curve ball off the four seam, especially later in the count.

-Is there something that you see the most success with?

It had been the sinker with just the mentality of it of just trying to force contact and get the ball on the ground. 

-Before pro ball was there a moment in youth ball or amateur ball that was a standout moment for you of when you knew this was your path or that playing professionally could be a possibility for you?

I'd probably just say high school summer ball, after playing on a team where a bunch of guys got drafted, it gave me hope that it could work out for me.

-Player wise, was there anybody that, as a kid, you admired a lot or maybe wanted to emulate?

Not really any individual players.  

-Was there a team you grew up as a fan of?

Kind of the Rays, because it was the closest to home for me.

-Were you more interested in others sports?

I iked playing basketball, but more so I just like playing sports rather than watching them.  So, I kind of was more into a game or a practice and focused on those.

-Is there anybody else that you've played with that's achieving big things in the pro's?

Probably my best friend that I was in the Pirates organization with (Daniel Zamora) he was also traded this past year to the Mets and he got called up to the big leagues, so seeing him pitch on TV has been really cool.

-Is that somebody that you just played with in the pro's or something prior?

Just in the pro's, but we pretty much were attached at the hip.  Pretty much everything- throwing routine, stretch, lift, even just driving to the field together.

-So you're excited about him.  Is he still tuned in to what you're doing?

Oh, yeah!  He still keeps an eye on me.  He's a really good guy.  

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Lakewood falls as Lexington takes Sally League title

Spencer Howard, image- Jay Floyd
LAKEWOOD, NJ- Only one team can with the last game and unfortunately it wasn't the home club at FirstEnergy Park on Friday night as the Lexington Legends (Royals affiliate) nabbed a 2-1 victory and, in the process, their second Class A South Altantic League championship.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, the Lakewood BlueClaws failed to plate a run and fell in the best-of-five series, three games to one.

Lakewood's lone run came in the 6th inning on a Jhailyn Ortiz RBI single.  Manager Marty Malloy waved another runner home that was gunned down at the plate.

Lexington took the lead back in the top of the 9th on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Cristian Perez, who doubled in the Legend's first run in the 5th.  The sac fly brought home left fielder Brewer Hicklen, who beat a close play at the plate.

"We had two plays at the plate, one was our guy being out and the other was their guy being safe and that was the difference in the game," said Lakewood manager Marty Malloy.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard, who threw a no-hitter on this same field one week prior, to clinch the BlueClaws' trip to the finals, lasted just five innings in the championship round.  According to Malloy, the talented right-hander tweaked his back and his removal from the game was a precautionary measure.  The 22-year-old is not expected to have any lasting symptoms.

Disappointment sat heavy with the team following the loss, but Malloy was already reflecting on all the positivity that was the 2018 BlueClaws season.

"I feel for that group 'cause I know what they've given every day.  They didn't just give it one day.  They gave for 145, so you know, nobody's every satisfied finishing in second place," Malloy said.  "A lot of people didn't think we'd have the opportunity to play for the championship, but that whole group out in the locker room, they believed in each other since day one.  I'm proud of them.  I'm proud of every one of them.  I'm proud of my staff.  What a good season.  It stinks that it had to come down to a loss, especially being here at this ballpark with these fans that supported us the way they have.  What a year."

Indeed.

Bonus notes: 

Malloy, who is wrapping up his second season with Lakewood, said he is contractually committed to returning to the Phillies organization next year.  Though, he does not know where that assignment will be yet.

Lakewood standout Jake Scheiner, who led the team in batting average with a .296 and played third base, first base and left field this season, will add another position to his repertoire.  The 23-year-old righty batting All-Star will head to the Phillies' fall instructional league and dabble behind the plate to see how it goes.  The enhanced versatility can only help the youngster.

James McArthur threw three scoreless frames in relief for Lakewood in game four.  His tally of consecutive scoreless innings dating back to his time with short-season Class A Williamsport is at 33 2/3.  The 21-year-old righty was this year's 12th round Phillies draft selection. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Lakewood dropped by Lexington, trails in championship series

LAKEWOOD, NJ- The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws fell behind early and could not mount a comeback as they fell in game three by a score of 6-3.  The 'Claws not trail the South Atlantic League Championship Series two games to one in the best of five series and will need wins in the next two games of the series or Lexington will prevail as the league champions.

On a night when a steady mist kept the grass and the baseballs damp, the BlueClaws struggled in the field.  Five Lakewood errors helped Lexington amass their run total.

The 'Claws added a balk, two wild pitches and a passed ball to its collection of miscues on the losing effort.

BlueClaws skipper Marty Malloy expressed frustration with his team following the defeat.

"Obviously, we're not happy with the way we played.  It was a sloppy game," Malloy said in his office after a meeting with the team's coaching staff.  "It's not something that we've done very often this year.  It was very minimal.  We didn't play good enough to win."

Lakewood starting pitcher Andrew Brown was touched for five runs (three earned) on nine hits while striking out three and walking three.  The 20-year-old right-hander, who was the Phillies' 13th round draft selection in 2016, took the loss.

Jake Scheiner, image- Jay Floyd
A bright spot for the Lakewood offense that left seven runners in scoring position in the game's first eight frames was first baseman Jake Scheiner, who notched four hits in the contest.  Tasked with starting a rally when he lead off the ninth, Scheiner struck out against Legends closer Tad Ratliff, who retired the BlueClaws offense in order.

Righty reliever Luis Carrasco tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for Lakewood, striking out four batters.

"At the end of the day we've got to come back tomorrow and be ready to go.  You know, there is no (next day) if we don't come ready to play tomorrow," Malloy stated.

Trailing in the series, the BlueClaws will need to win on Friday and Saturday nights or they'll see the visiting Legends celebrate a championship on their field.

Taking the mound for Lakewood in the must-win game four on Friday will be righty Spencer Howard, who recorded a historic no-hitter in his last start that clinched the division championship and a trip to the championship series just seven days prior.  Malloy says the team

"After that last start, obviously, we all feel good that (Howard)'s gonna be in there tomorrow.  Hopefully, he replicates what he did last time," Malloy said.  "I mean he'll be excited, we'll all be excited tomorrow to have him on the mound tomorrow and get us to a game five."

Thursday, September 13, 2018

2018 Exit Interview: LHP Aaron Brown

Aaron Brown, image- Jay Floyd
Aaron Brown was a two-way player at Pepperdine, standing out both as an outfielder as well as a pitcher.  The Phillies' 3rd round draft selection in 2014 was slated to play exclusively on the offensive side after signing that year.  After reaching the Double-A level and seeing his batting average come in under .225, he was switched back to the pitching role last year.

During the final week of the 2018 season, I talked with the 26-year-old left-hander about the transition and his first full year pitching in the professional ranks.

Read ahead for my exclusive interview with Aaron.


-It’s been more than a year since your transition from outfielder to pitcher took place. Talk about the past year with the move that you made.

Honestly, it was a big opportunity for me to make that transition at the time and I just took full advantage of it. It was towards the end of the year last year. I started my pitching program June 2nd, I believe, when I came down from Double-A to Florida. I finished the year in High A there, once I got the arm into shape and threw a couple games in the (Gulf Coast League). But this year, was my first full year pitching and I’ve had some success thus far with staying healthy, so there’s a lot of positives for this year. And the main thing is just to make sure I’m staying locked in with my mechanics, just not trying to do too much and find those mechanics, keep them sound and work on location with the fastball and work on secondary pitches that I had from college. It’s just change up, slider right now. But I’m working on developing some other pitches and just it’s been a fun ride. It’s been a pretty smooth transition. It’s been a lot of fun.

I basically work off my fastball. My slider’s my second best pitch with the fastball, so if I can get ahead with the fastball and just stay ahead and out pitch with the slider—that was my repertoire in college and so I’m trying to stay with that and work with the catchers on how to approach the hitters up here. Obviously, they’re a better caliber than what I faced down in Florida. So, for me, making this transition so quickly it’s important for me to work with them and figure out how to pitch instead of just throw. So, that’s been a huge thing for me this year.

-What’s the velocity been like for you and was there a build-up time for you to get back to or exceed where you had been in college?

Yeah, I mean the velocity has been good pretty much all season. It was good in college, but now that I haven’t thrown in a while, it’s even better this year. I don’t know exactly where I’ve been on average but I know down in Florida I was up to 97. You know, here I’ve been up to 95, 96. So, that’s huge for me to know the arm strength is there and to know I can get up to there when I need it. Staying healthy is the key. Staying on my arm program and the care, you know, they’ve got a great program here, so we’re going to just follow that and work with the pitching coach and it’s all been really good.

-Where does it compare to college velo?

In college I would sit anywhere from 91, 92 up to 94. But I was only throwing once a week in college. I was starting on Sundays, so now that I’m in the bullpen, not throwing too many innings each outing, I can go out there and light it up sometimes here and there and that’s when I found out I can get back up there 95, 96, 97, so I saw it the other night too. So, that was a good sign at the end of the season that I can keep the arm strength up and know that it’s still there.

-Is there any pitchers’ batting practice for you to take at this level to get back and enjoy that other side of the game from time to time?

You know, we did that down in Florida in High A. We did about once a month. It was fun. And then I came up here and there wasn’t too much of that going on. But, recently we had some guys go down, so obviously me having my background in the outfield I was able to take some batting practice in case another guy went down, I was going to be the fourth outfielder. Especially for the National League series. So, it was fun being able to swing the bat a little bit, getting out there, being able to feel it again. You know, it’s something I’ll always love to do. It was my first position and my first love in the game, so it was definitely fun to get out there and take some swings and be ready to go, in case of emergencies. It was good to know I still had it.

-Is there anyone on the Threshers pitching staff or the Reading pitching staff that helped you adapt to the bullpen and the know level or excel in the new role.

Yeah, starting down in Florida it was really encouraging, ‘cause all the guys down there are more experienced and have more years pitching professionally, so just to pick their brains and to work with them on things was good. And then coming up here, these guys have been battling in Double-A, it’s a much higher level and getting to pick their brains as well and just work with them and my throwing partner Seth McGarry has been helpful with some different grips and he’s worked with me every single day, making sure my arm slot stays the same angle and that kind of stuff. Everybody out here in the bullpen has been a huge help. With their experience at this level it has been huge for me to watch them and how they go about things. And then also working with the pitching coach, (Steve Schrenk) and even the starters come around once in a while and I can ask them questions too. It’s just helped a lot.

-You mentioned a couple times, I think, consistency and mechanics and I know Schrenky’s big on that- repetition and making sure guys can stick with that sort of thing. If you can speak to that, maybe what advice or paths Shrenk or Fultz suggest to help out with that.

Yeah, definitely. They definitely stress that we get our “dry work” in, sort of shadow work (throwing without a ball, sometimes holding a towel for resistance) if you want to call it that. But I try to get out there after we stretch and throw, hop on the mound and do anywhere from 15 to 20 reps out of the stretch and out of the wind up, just work on my mechanics, feel my stride, feel the arm coming through and just repeat that delivery over and over. And that helps a lot, over the course of a season, making sure you don’t fall out of your sound mechanics and get into any bad habits. You know I have done that here and there, but I work hard to get back into it each time I start to feel something go wrong, I just get back on the mound, do more reps and hopefully find it again.

-When the concept of switching to pitching was brought to the table last year, is that something you welcomed? Were you excited? Did your heart sink for a second before you can get excited? How did you react?

You know, it was tough at first. Obviously, I fully believed in myself that I would be able to figure it out at the plate and knew I could play the outfield at the big league level and they knew that as well. But it was a little streaky with the bat, so when they sat me down I had a feeling it was going to be this opportunity because they knew that I pitched in college and threw well. So, for me it was exciting and kind of a bummer all in one. 

But I went home that night, thought about it, called my parents, talked to all my family back at home, agents, talked to my girlfriend, made the decision that this is a good opportunity for me. Left-handed pitcher in the Phillies organization is a great opportunity. In any organization. But, knowing that I had the background in pitching, it was just really exciting and wanted to make sure that I took full advantage of the opportunity. And I believe that I have.

-When it’s brought to you, was it an inquiry or an approach to feel you out, or was it an assertion like, “Hey this is what we want to do with you”?

No, not at all. They sat me down and just asked me if it was something that I would like to do. So, it was definitely an option for me. So, like I said, they gave me the option. I wasn’t an assertion. It wasn’t anything like that. They presented me with the opportunity and in my head, I’m like, “Hey this is amazing that they’re giving me the opportunity to continue my career and continuing my dream of playing in Major League Baseball. Like I said, I went home, thought about it and the next day I was like, “I’m all for it. Let’s do this!” And I was all in from that day till today.

-The year you were drafted, how was the decision made to choose if you would be an offensive guy or pitch?

Before the draft, they had asked me what I like to do more and I told them I like to play every day. The game’s meant to be played every single day. I like to play the game hard. I like to play every day. And playing in the outfield is second nature to me and I know in my heart that I love that. And they know that too. So, they—I think in the war room they were split 50-50. But I know the upper guys wanted to see me play the outfield and watch me hit and see me play the game. And I’m very thankful that they let me do that for a while. And there were definitely flashes of being able to make it as an outfielder. But now that the opportunity came up to start pitching, it’s been a fun ride and it’s been a huge blessing to me.

-Deivi Grullon is passing by while we chat, an all-star standout and a young but tenured pro catcher. Has he been a big help to you?

Huge help. And both catchers we have here have been awesome, but Deivi and Austin behind the dish. I can throw to them with ease, knowing they’re going to call a good game. And if I just do my job and try to locate my pitches and make good pitches in big counts and situations, then we’re gonna be alright because they know the game well, they know the hitters well and the read swings very well.  So for me it makes my job easy.  I get the sign and I just throw it in there.  They're working hard back there.  They're brick walls back there, so I'm thankful for both of them working with me and all our pitchers do.

-Any off-season ball plans for you this off-season?

No.  I think they're protecting my arm.  They've got an innings limit on me this year and I'm pretty close to it.  So, I will not be playing any winter ball or fall ball or anything like that.  I'll just be working on my mechanics and training and getting stronger and healthy for next season. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

BlueClaws fall in Lexington, championship seres knotted at a game apiece

The Comeback 'Claws were not able to match their tremendous resilience of one night prior when they fell to Lexington in game two of the South Atlantic League finals.

It was familiar territory as the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws trailed their opponent by a score of 5-0 in the late innings.  Much like Monday's affair that saw Lakewood pound three straight ninth inning homers to climb back into that contest, they got their scoring started on Tuesday with a Rodolfo Duran roundtripper.

That blast came in the 8th inning in game two, but those were the only runs that crossed the plate for the visitors and they fell to the Legends by a final of 5-2. 

BlueClaws starting pitcher Kyle Young tossed four innings, allowing a pair of earned runs while striking out two and issuing two walks to take the loss.  Reliever Julian Garcia was tagged for three earned runs over 2 2/3 innings.  James McArthur, this year's 12th round draft pick by the Phillies, went 1 1/3 innings without allowing any further damage.

The Lakewood offense was paced by right fielder Jhailyn Ortiz, who collected two hits including a double.

Duran has homered in three of four of the BlueClaws' postseason games.  The 20-year-old right batter led the team with 18 home runs this season.  

The series, tied at a game apiece, will return to Lakewood for the remainder of the best-of-five series for games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (if necessary).