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Showing posts from June, 2009

Mike Zagurski Talks With PhoulBallz

Mike Zagurski, a lefty reliever with the Phillies in 2007, had Tommy John surgery last year, missing the entire season. He is now on his way back up through the minors as he builds arm strength and gets back to form. Mike is currently pitching with the double A Reading Phillies. I spoke with Mike during Reading's visit to Trenton recently. Here's how that went down. Mike, can you tell me what it was like the first time you were called up to the big club? It was nice. It was something that, everyone that plays this game, the ultimate goal is to get there. So it was nice, a good experience. Now I'm just trying to get back. Talk about the rehab process and how tough that has been for you. It's been okay. It's better now that I'm finally on a team and playing a little bit. It had its moments in Florida where days got pretty monotonous, ya know, days were it got kind of frustrating where you wouldn't want to do your rehab part of it. But it's all part

The Scoop?

Phillies president Dave Montgomery visited the Reading Phillies clubhouse today in Trenton. Montgomery and Reading manager Steve Roadcap would not confirm the nature of the visit, but with the recent promotion of Yohan Flande to Reading from Clearwater, in addition to the ML Phillies having room due to the injury to Antonio Bastardo, that could make it possible for Reading to be promoting a pitcher. Pitcher Tyson Brummett was used today in relief, after starting 14 games. It is possible that the Brummett move makes room for Flande in the Reading rotation, but would the team president visit the double A affiliate's locker room, with a hush-hush vibe, and not have a reason? I asked Reading manager Steve Roadcap, from the camera deck during the game, where Kyle Drabek, who did not dress today, might be headed. He looked around sheepishly, either acting as though he didn't hear me exactly or checking for who else might be listening, and would only tell me that Kyle was still ther

Michael Taylor Q&A

Michael Taylor is currently leading the Reading Phillies' offense and is near the top of the Eastern League in most stat categories (3rd in batting avg- .342, 3rd in HR- 14, tied for second in RBI- 55, 2nd in OPS.- .994, tied for 1st in runs scored- 49, tied for 1st in hits...). The 23 year old Taylor is 6 feet 6 inches tall and has quickly grabbed the attention of phans and media alike as a top prospect to watch. I spoke with Mike Taylor over the weekend, and here is that interview. With all the big stats and being among the league leaders in so many categories, do you think you're ready for the next step? It's kind of a difficult question. Do you have anything left to prove here? There's always something to prove. There's stuff to prove every game. I mean that's one thing that's very interesting about this game. It's such a numbers oriented game. You're only as good as your last "whatever statistical category that someone's valuing&

Sunday School: History Lesson 21

Dave Bancroft, a Hall of Famer, played shortstop for the Phillies from 1915-1920. Veteran Phils shortstop Mickey Doolan had left to play in the Federal League in 1914, and the team was without a suitable replacement, so they summoned Bancroft from Portland of the Pacific Coast League. Critics asserted that he wouldn't be able to handle big league pitching, but Phillies manager Pat Moran felt, foremost, that he needed a solid defender. Not a big offensive threat, Bancroft's best season at the plate for the Phillies came in 1917, when he hit .243 with 4 homers and 43 RBI. Bancroft had great range and soft hands, however, which was just what Moran wanted. Bancroft led all National League shortstops in total chances for 3 straight seasons. In 1919, after four good seasons anchoring the middle of the Phillies infield, Bancroft was sent a contract to sign, calling for a pay decrease. This did not sit well, and he instead asked for a trade to another team. He got that wish a year la

Q&A with Kyle Drabek

Kyle Drabek, former top draft pick of the Phillies in 2006, is currently pitching with the team's double A affiliate in Reading. The Reading Phillies' ace is currently 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA in 5 starts at the double A level this season. Combined with his single A level stats from Clearwater, Kyle is 8-1 with a 2.46 ERA overall in 2009. Kyle's father is former Pirates pitcher Doug Drabek. Kyle took some time last night to answer some questions for PhoulBallz.com. Here is a look at how that went down... Kyle, can I get you to talk about being invited to play in the MLB Futures Game and how excited you are for that? Really excited. It's an honor to be selected for something like that. The past players that have been there, I mean, to be going to the game is just amazing. Were there some advantages growing up with a Major League pitcher for your father? I'd have to say there's a few. Being able to learn from him every day, whenever I wanted. Just growing up wi

Joe Savery Q&A

Joe Savery, former top draft pick of the Phillies out of Rice University, reigning Eastern League pitcher of the week and current star pitcher for the Reading Phillies, started the rain stopped game in Trenton last night. Savery, who had a 9-1 record and a 3.24 ERA heading into last night's start, was displeased with the umpires' decision to start the game at all, and especially took issue with the umpiring crew's attempt to start the bottom of the 2nd inning, with intense amounts of rain coming down. Moments later, the game was suspended and will be resumed today at 5:05, prior to tonight's regularly scheduled contest. As Savery's encounter with the umpire was ending, Savery threw a baseball over the screen behind the back stop and into the stands. The following are some of Joe's comments about the incident... It probably wasn't the brightest idea in the world to do what I did. I shouldn't have done it, but...ya know, you don't get many outings in

Sleep in Bed, Not on the Field

Pedro Feliz fell asleep on the bases last night...again. During a potential Phillies rally in the 6th inning, a mental lapse by Feliz prevented the Phillies from scoring on a fly out to centerfield by Eric Bruntlett. Feliz, was on first base, while Matt Stairs was on third base, forgot there was only one out, got too far off first and was doubled off, on a throw by BJ Upton, before Stairs could score on a sacrfice fly. Did you notice the part earlier when I mentioned "again"? Yeah, well Feliz pulled this same pile of horse crap in the first game of a double header with the wild card leading Brewers last September. The Phillies won that game, and swept the series, so Feliz's mental slacking never made the impact it would have if it had killed a rally or cost the team a run, like last night. The game on September 14th was a similar enough situation, with Feliz on first base, in the midst of a rally. A routine fly out to Milwaukee right fielder Cory Hart turned into an emb

Another Series or Whatever....

That first place team that is struggling through every series lately plays in Toronto this weekend. Here is some information about the series if you can stand to read about them.... Friday 7:07pm. Cole Hamels (4-3, 4.24 ERA) vs. Ricky Romero (4-3, 3.59 ERA). Hamels' start was moved up one day, switched with "Jay" Happ. The move will project Hamels to make one more start prior to the 3 day all star break. It will also split up the rookie lefties Bastardo and Happ in the rotation. Cole has a 2.57 ERA in 4 starts this month. In 5 road starts this season, Hamels is 2-1 with a 4.85 ERA. Romero, the Blue Jays' first round draft pick in the 2005 amateur draft, has a 2.86 ERA in 4 starts this month. These pitchers faced each other in the June 16th game at Citizens Bank Park, but neither pitcher figured in the decision. Saturday, 1:07pm. "Jay" Happ (4-0, 3.47 ERA) vs. Brad Mills (0-0, 9.82 ERA). Happ is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA and a .192 batting avg. against in 8

Letter to White Sox Fans

Dear hopeful homerun handlers, As we've discussed here on PhoulBallz.com before , closing your eyes when trying to catch homerun balls in flight is not the best way to have success. Two Chicago White Sox fans got in the way of some long balls during Wednesday night's game. Guy in the above picture,who appears to be Vito from the Sopranos...based on your televised experiences with Johnny Cakes, I truly thought you'd be more comfortable and better composed when balls are flying toward your head. I feel sorry for you, center guy in white shirt. I am sure that once you fully displayed your scaredy-cat-like homerun volleying, that plus-sized Stone Cold Steve Austin, behind you, laid you out with a Stone Cold Stunner for shaming his section. Best of luck in your futures, blind ballin' Chicagoans. Tell Jim Thome we send a holler. Love, PhoulBallz.com PS- Stay awesome.

Sell the Ball Park...Phillies Need to Stay on the Road!

After an awful home stand where the Phillies went 1-8, the defending champs bounced back on Tuesday night with a 10-1 victory against the Rays. The win for the Phillies improves their road record to a Major League best 24-9 (.727 winning percentage), while their home record is second worst in the majors (13-22). I'm pretty sure most phans would be in favor of the Phillies relocating some of their home games, going forward. Despite Jimmy Rollins' 0-5 effort out of the lead off spot, in game 1 of the series in Tampa, he scored a run. Since the Phillies won the game, that improves the team's record to 28-7 (.800 winning percentage) in games that Rollins plays and scores at least one run. In games that Rollins plays and does not score a run, the Phillies are 8-23 (.258 winning percentage). That's surely proof that Rollins is key for the Phillies as a table setter and a leader. J-Roll's struggles reflect the Phillies' issues at home. His batting average is 44 poi

It's the Rematch

The Phillies continue interleague play tonight when they visit the Rays for the first time since the 2008 World Series. Tampa has won 10 of 15 games all time in this interleague rivalry. Take a look below for pitching match ups and other key notes. Tuesday, 7:08pm. Jamie Moyer (4-6, 6.35 ERA) vs. David Price (1-1, 3.46 ERA). In his career against the Rays, Moyer is 8-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 15 starts. Moyer has thrown 6 innings, or better, in 7 consecutive starts. His ERA in those 7 games is 4.62. Carlos Pena is 10-for-20 in his career against Moyer with 2 homers and 6 RBI. Price was the 1st overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft. Price closed out Tampa's game 2 win over the Phillies, in the World Series last year. Price, at 23 years old, is half of Jamie Moyer's age. Wednesday, 7:08pm. Joe Blanton (4-3, 5.28 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (4-5, 3.83 ERA). Blanton has a 2-3 record and 6.05 ERA in 8 career starts against the Rays. Blanton is 3-0 with a 4.04 ERA in his last 7 starts. Jas

Trivia Ticket Tuesday!

Folks, PhoulBallz.com would like to invite you to answer the following trivia question and get entered in a drawing to win 2 tickets to see the Reading Phillies visit the Trenton Thunder. Aside from any current Phillies, who was the last Phillie to have at least 200 hits in a single season? Send your answers to PhoulBallz@verizon.net , and please include your name. Feel free to submit your answer to prove your skills and be considered for a yet to be determined runner up prize, even if you can't make the game. The game is on Monday, June 29th with a scheduled start time of 12:05pm. Two winners will be selected at random from eligible correct replies. The tickets, brought to you by Millennium Radio and PhoulBallz.com, will be available for pick up at will call. The Reading Phillies start a four game series in Trenton this Friday, with 7:05pm games Friday and Saturday, a 6:05pm start time on Sunday, then the 12:05pm start time for the get away game on Monday. Click here for ti

Sunday School: History Lesson 20

Roy Allen Thomas was a left handed hitting outfielder for our Phillies from 1899-1908 and again from 1910-1911. Thomas was an exceptionally talented contact hitter, who batted .325 in his rookie season and drew an amazing 115 walks. In his second season, Roy hit .316 and led the National League in runs scored with 134. Roy, over time, had perfected his ability to foul off pitch after pitch in an effort to draw walks. Some news accounts from his playing days report that he once fouled off 27 consecutive pitches, although, records show 22 as the more accurate total. In 1901, National League President William Hulbert grew so tired of watching Thomas frustrate pitchers with fouls, that he convinced the rules committee to institute a new two-strike rule, as related to foul balls. Prior to that time, fouls did not count as strikes unless the catcher caught the ball. The new rule, however, did very little to keep Roy Thomas off base. He went on to lead the NL in walks in 6 of the following 7

Phillies Farm Teams Among Best Selling Jerseys

MLB released a list of 2009's ten best selling Minor League Baseball jerseys this week. Information is as of mid-May, teams listed alphabetically, exact sales figures were unavailable... Corpus Christi Hooks Durham Bulls Lakewood BlueClaws Lansing Lugnuts Lehigh Valley IronPigs Midland Rockhounds Pawtucket Red Sox Round Rock Express Toledo Mudhens Trenton Thunder

Home Stank Home

The Phillies are in the midst a big interleague homestand. Three series featuring the AL Eastern division. So far on the homestand, the World Champions are 1-6, with two games left to play against the Orioles. The Phillies have won only 5 of their last 20 games at home that weren't against the Nationals. The Phils have only won back to back games against non-Nationals opponents ONE TIME (April 19th against the Padres and April 21st against the Brewers). The Phillies' lead off batter, Jimmy Rollins, who nearly reached 90 straight plate appearances without a walk recently, is batting just .201 at home. This home field disadvantage really just hurts my brain. I don't wanna talk about it anymore.

Pitchers Speak on Moyer

This week's edition of The Sporting News has a feature where Bill Eichenberger asks various Phillies pitchers about Jamie Moyer and any lessons he may have taught them. Here are some excerpts. Joe Blanton on focus: "...He's taught me about the mental part of the game. He's spectacular at that, the best I've ever been around. He has a plan, but at the same time he is smart enough to adjust when he needs to adjust." Mmm-hmm. Moyer adjusts. It's pretty evident by his 6.35 ERA that, once the runs start, Moyer is able to change his approach and shut the opposition down. Ryan Madson on longevity: "I've watched after he pitches how he takes care of his arm and his body. Just from a maintenance standpoint, I know from watching him how important that is to keep me in the game." Yeah, Mad dog...plus, you gotta keep that arm in shape for carrying those heavy purses of yours. "Jay" Happ on composure: "Just his mound presence is

This Kid Rules!!!

It's true. I want to adopt him, or be his best friend or something.

My Neighbors Still Be Talkin'

Phillies links for you today... Rauuuul Ibanez placed on the DL....Mayberry Jr. recalled. Read about it here and here . PhilliesFlow takes a look at some differences between how the team performs at home versus how they perform on the road. The Shibe Times has a look at the new Harry Kalas book by Rich Wolfe. We Should Be GM's has a comparison between Jamie Moyer and Adam Eaton. Homeside News has a couple recent pictures of BlueClaws bubble gum pranks . Long Drive: A Phillies Blog is not fond of Canada right now. The Lakewood BlueClaws are hosting a blood drive on July 11th. Click here for details. Lastly, check out my virtual lemonade stand and help raise money for ovarian cancer research by purchasing a virtual glass of lemonade or by opening your own stand. Thanks!

I Ain't Hatin', I'm Just Statin'

As names from the supposedly confidential 2003 MLB drug tests continue to leak out , players continue to test positive and get suspended , and even huge stars in major markets are made examples of, maybe all the hype last week over how bust-out players will be inevitably suspected of cheating was misdirected. MLB's drug policies are in place and are being properly enforced. While fans, writers and people in between mostly seem to feel like the sport became tainted in the steroid era and, as a result, become suspicious of players who excel, perhaps it's time to trust. Trust the players who have not been exposed as cheaters...and trust the sport, that you love, to prevent cheaters from wrecking the game. Instead of speculating about the guys on top of their games these days, while Major League Baseball is enforcing their anti-drug policies, perhaps we should be taking a look at guys who have fallen off since MLB has been testing strictly in recent years. How about former Am

This is News...

In our very first edition of This is News , PhoulBallz brings you an update on suspended slugger Manny Ramirez's health. Check it out, and pass it along to all your friends. Thanks, Associated Press, for letting the world know that a cheating ball player, who isn't allowed to play right now, has a cold. Praise you for getting important information to the public.

Series Preview: Blue Jays at Phillies

Interleague play continues this week in Philadelphia, as the Toronto Blue Jays come to town, to visit the first place Phillies. The slipping Blue Jays are 0-6 in interleague play so far this season. Toronto began the season with the American League's best record at 27-14 on May 18th, but since then, their record is the worst in the league at 7-17. The Phillies have 15 more runs scored than the Blue Jays this season, despite having 71 less hits. Below, check out the pitching match ups and more notes about this 3 game series. Tuesday, 7:05pm. Ricky Romero (3-3, 3.71 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (4-2, 4.62 ERA). Romero, the Blue Jays' first round draft pick in 2005, on the road this season is 0-2 with a 3.66 ERA. Cole has not lost a decision since April 28th. Cole against American League teams in 2008, including the post season, was 3-1 with a 3.44 ERA in 5 starts. Wednesday, 7:05pm. Scott Richmond (4-3, 3.90 ERA) vs. Jamie Moyer (4-5, 6.11 ERA). In 7 games since May 3rd, Richmond is

Who's Next?

With a steady mix of new pitchers rotating through the Phillies' club house recently, one can only wonder, "who is next?" Pitchers like Sergio Escalona, Tyler Walker, Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo and Andrew Carpenter have all made visits to the big league roster this season as call ups and fill-ins. One name that most phans are familiar with and likely expected to see in a Phillies uniform sooner than later is Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco, however, has been a considerable disappointment at the triple A level, going 1-7 with a 5.56 ERA, over 12 starts this season for Lehigh Valley. A name that could soon surpass Carrasco on the Phils' prospect list is lefty Joe Savery. Savery, a former top draft pick of the Phillies out of Rice University, is quickly mowing through double A opposition. He won his 8th game today for the Reading Phillies and lowered his ERA to 3.47. Savery has lost just one game in his 13 starts. Phillies phans who don't live close enough to make t

Sunday School: History Lesson 19

Granville "Granny" Hamner was an all star short stop who played for the Phillies from 1944-1959. Granny was signed by the Phillies when he was 17 years old to play second base. His strong arm and solid range later got him moved to short stop. The following season, Granny's brother Garvin signed with the Phillies, and they began the 1945 season as the team's double play combination. Early on, Granny did not prove a match for Major League pitching. He hit just .171 in 14 games as an 18 year old before he was sent down to the minors to gain more experience. By age 21, in 1948, Granny was back with the big league club to stay. That season, brother Garvin batted .198 in 32 games and was sent down. He never returned to the majors again. During Granny's career he displayed above average power for a middle infielder. He had four seasons with more than 30 doubles and hit a career high 21 homeruns in 1953. He was also a proficient clutch hitter and had four seasons with

Dusty Wathan Q&A Part 2

PhoulBallz.com spoke with Lakewood BlueClaws manager Dusty Wathan once again this week. Dusty, South Atlantic League All Stars were announced this week, and you'll be the manager of your division's team. Can I get some comments from you on how excited you are to be managing the team and maybe what it took to make some of the roster selections (Lakewood has 6 players on the team)? Well, for me personally to be picked by the other managers, coaches and front office people is a nice honor to have. It's all about the players though, and being in first place and them winning games. So, it's because of them that I'm going. We got six in and it's well deserved by all of them. Was there anyone who got snubbed from the team that you were reluctant about? Well, I mean there's always somebody. You only have so many spots whether it's the big leagues or A ball. There's always somebody that's gonna get missed or overlooked. And I think (Jim) Murphy was

Rays' Revenge?

Well, the Phillies beat them in the World Series. They fired back in the off-season by signing our free agent left fielder Pat Burrell. Pat has not performed well offensively for Tampa, due to an injury. Next step for the Rays to get back at the champs?...Act on a rarely used clause, in an agreement between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, that allows a Major League club to prohibit promotions by a minor league team within 60 miles of their home. Friday's bobble head give away by Phillies single A affiliate in Clearwater, FL was slated to be the third in a series of figures from the World Championship lineup of the 2008 Phillies. The Rays have nixed tonight's Burrell bobble, as well as any future World Champs bobble figure promotions. PhuturePhillies.com has the full low down. The Clearwater Threshers are forced to apologize to their fans. Some Tampa paper has an article about it and apparently the Rays employ someone named Rick Vaughn . Rest easy, Phils

Weekend Series Preview: Boston at Philadelphia

Interleague play returns in a meeting of the current Eastern Division leaders from both leagues and the last two World Series champs. The Red Sox are coming to Philadelphia. Pitching match ups and more notes follow... Friday, 7:05pm. Jon Lester (5-5, 5.09 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (4-3, 5.46 ERA). Lester on the road this season- 6 starts, 2-3 record, 6.14 ERA. Pedro Feliz, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez are a combined 7-for-12 (.583 avg.) in their careers against Lester. Blanton is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last 3 starts, after going 2-3 with a 7.11 ERA over his first 8 starts this season. Blanton, in his career, is 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 8 starts against Boston. Saturday, 7:05pm. Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-4, 7.33 ERA) vs. Antonio Bastardo (2-0, 2.45 ERA). "Dice-K" has not pitched more than 5 2/3 innings in any outing this season. Matsuzaka has never faced the Phillies in the regular season. Raul Ibanez is 2-for-11 (.182 avg) with 3 RBI in his career against Matsuzaka. Matt Stairs