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Showing posts from September, 2009

The Stopper, AKA- Mr. Happ

There may be a very tough decision regarding "Jay" Happ's role on the post season roster. 4th starter? Long man? Situational lefty reliever? Late inning fireballer? It could be any of those. Happ has been the stopper whenever the Phillies needed him. Following his victory over the Astros on Tuesday evening, the rookie is now 7-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 11 starts following a Phillies loss. That's right...undefeated in 11 games after a loss! Happ averages more than 6 2/3 innings in those games. Furthermore, he is now 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA overall. Could the Phillies afford to, more or less, demote a man who has put forth such solid efforts whenever he has been called upon in a starting role? They may need to. If JC Romero or Scott Eyre are not able to pitch, due to injuries, then Happ could surely be needed as a lefty in the bullpen. Other left handed options Jack Taschner and Jamie Moyer are also nursing injuries. However, if there is no need for that lefty arm in the bul

Break 'Em Off

JC Romero made his long awaited return on Monday night, but it wasn't enough to help the Phillies reduce their magic number. Romero threw a scoreless inning, but Cole Hamels still took his 10th loss of the season as the Phillies dropped the series opener to Houston, 8-2. Going into the game, the Phillies appeared to be a lock to beat the Astros with Hamels taking on Yorman Bazardo, but baseball is as great as it is because of games like last night. Games are not won on paper, or because the World Series MVP is facing a player who many would describe as "a no-name". Games are won on the field, and it's quite necessary to play each game on the schedule. Tonight, "Jay" Happ will try to be the stopper for the Phillies in game 2 of the series at Citizens Bank Park. Happ has a 2.47 ERA in his last 9 starts. In a more perfect world, with a more perfect closer (eh-hem, 2008 Brad Lidge!), the Phillies would surely have another NL East division title locked up alrea

Calling All (Sal's) Pals...

Phillies phans should remember Sal Fasano fondly. In 2006, Fasano was the Phillies' back up catcher who hit .243 and slugged 4 homers in 50 games played. Sal's unique mustache and tough guy vibe won over the Philadelphia crowds and a fan group called Sal's Pals was born. Prior to playing with the Phillies, Fasano debuted with the Royals, and made stops in Oakland, Colorado, Anahiem and Baltimore. Fasano was a true journeyman who had no qualms about his reserve role where ever he went. Today, Twitter user and Phillies phan Sara Scott passed along an article that I feel deserves mention here. SI.com's Jeff Pearlman detailed the Fasano family's struggles with health coverage for their 2 year old child, Santo, who suffers from a serious heart condition. The article can be found here . Santo's condition, hypoplastic heart syndrome, requires medical attention to help his underdeveloped heart to mature properly. To this point, Santo's surgeries have cost over $1

Series Preview: Astros at Phillies, 9/28-10/1

Ed Wade's Houston Astros (72-83) come to town to face the Phillies (90-65) for a four game series beginning Monday night. The Phillies' magic number to clinch a third straight division title stands at 3. The Phillies need a combination of their own victories and Braves losses totalling 3 to win the NL East and take the first step toward adding to the team's ring jewelry collection. Read on for additional information and pitching matchups from this series. Monday, 7:05pm. Yorman Bazardo (0-2, 9.55 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (10-9, 4.11 ERA). Bazardo, one of Ed Wade's many former Philadelphia players, has allowed 15 walks in 21 2/3 innings pitched this year. Bazardo was signed by the Phillies last offseason, but was released this spring. Cole's ERA over his last 6 starts is 2.01. At home this season, Hamels is 7-3 with a 3.29 ERA. Carlos Lee is the only active Astro to homer against Colbert. Lee is 3-for-14 (.214 avg) with a HR and 7 RBI vs. Hamels. Colbert's last los

Sunday School: History Lesson 31

Chris Short was a Phillies pitcher from 1959-1972. Short was a big strong left hander who spent two seasons in the Phillies' minor league system before making his debut with the big club. In his early years, Short would work mainly out of the bullpen. Phils manager Gene Mauch did not care for Short much because he was a young pitcher who had a tough time with his control, thus Short only got on occasional starting assignment early in his big league career. Short would later add a curveball to his pitching repertoire, and his career took a turn for the better. In 1964, Short was given a chance to start regularly and he surely made the best of it. For the season, Short would go 17-9 in 42 games (31 starts). Short won 8 of his first 12 starts that year, including 3 shut outs. Short's 2.20 ERA that season was 3rd lowest in the National League...behind only Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax. The next season, Short would go 18-11 with a 2.82 ERA. Short opened the 1965 season by throwi

PhoulBallz Q&A With Steve Susdorf

Steve Susdorf is an outfield prospect for the Phillies, who began the season in extended spring training, rehabbing after hip surgery. He later joined A level Lakewood on Memorial Day before being promoted to advanced A level Clearwater by late June. In early July, Susdorf was named the Phillies minor league player of the month for June. In 40 games with Clearwater, Susdorf batted .371 with a .931 OPS. In early August, Susdorf was promoted to double A Reading, where he finished out the season batting .221 over 21 games. From the lost tapes file...I had the chance to speak with Steve Susdorf a while back, and that interview lies ahead. I asked Steve for his thoughts on moving up 3 levels in the minor leagues this season. Ya know, it's been great so far. I've just been fortunate that everything's worked out and I'm just trying to get quality at bats and just play well. What is your excitement level like when these calls come in to notify you of promotions? It's

Options for the Back End

Charlie Manuel told the Phillies beat reporters last night that he would consider using "Jay" Happ in a key late inning role. Andy Martino , David Murphy and Scott Lauber all talked about it on their web pages. Some members of the media would prefer to see Pedro Martinez in that role over Happ, however. Using Pedro in a one inning relief role may be risky. His ERA from pitches 1-30 in his appearances with the Phillies is 4.05. Pedro's total ERA after his 30th pitch this season is 2.96. We've all seen him give up those first inning lead off homers a few times. The ERA evidence shows that Pedro struggles early and perhaps takes a little time to settle into a game. There is no room for that as a closer. Personally, I've been an advocate for a closer by committee movement. The Phillies should use preferable and situational match ups to their advantage. If Chad Durbin has a better history against a particular batter than Ryan Madson or Brad Lidge does, go with Dur

Series Preview: Phillies at Brewers, 9/24-9/27

The Phillies (88-63), whose magic number stands at 5, are in Milwaukee to begin a four game series against the Brewers (75-77). This time last year these two teams were battling it out over the wild card and were en route to a playoff battle with each other. Now it's just the Phillies looking forward to another October run. The Brew Crew is already out of any playoff contention, but is seeking their third straight winning season for the first time since 1983. Read on for notes on the pitching match ups and other details. Thursday, 8:05pm. "Jay" Happ (10-4, 2.77 ERA) vs. Jeff Suppan (7-10, 4.76 ERA). Happ leads all NL rookies in ERA. In 17 road games this season, Happ is 6-2 with a 1.91 ERA. In his career against the Phillies, Suppan is 3-6, over 12 starts, with a 6.13 ERA. At home this season, Suppan is 3-7 with a 5.92 ERA in 14 starts. Eric Bruntlett is 5-for-11 in his career against Suppan with a double a 2 RBI. Friday, 8:05pm. Cliff Lee (7-2, 2.65 ERA) vs. Manny Par

What the hell else was I going to write about...?

It will be too late for many people's liking, but it's really about time to NEVER USE BRAD LIDGE IN A SAVE SITUATION ON THE ROAD AGAIN. Lidge in 2009 road games- 0-6, 8.10 ERA, 15 saves, 10 blown saves. One of my favorite statistics that I regularly update here on PhoulBallz is the percentage of games that Brad Lidge has allowed earned runs in this season, compared to the 18% he allowed in 2008. This year, Lidge has allowed earned runs in 43% of his outings. And, as a reminder, in 2007 Brett Myers allowed earned runs in just 21% of his relief appearances. Considering Lidge's season-long struggles, what is the solution when Brett Myers is ailing with a back muscle/shoulder injury, when Chan Ho Park has an injured hamstring, when Ryan Madson looks just as inept in the 9th inning as Brad Lidge seems and when JC Romero is still unavailable to pitch due to a forearm injury? Well, on Wednesday night, with Hanley Ramirez batting with two outs and the tying run on 3rd base, your

Pitching Prevails

The Phillies starting pitching has been carrying the team for the better part of a month now. With the offense putting up 4 runs or less in 19 of the past 30 games, the Phillies have needed their starting pitching to hold things down and keep games close, in order to have a change to stay on top of the National League East. In those past 30 games, the Phillies' starting pitchers have performed exceptionally. Over those 30 games, starting pitchers have failed to throw at least 6 innings only 7 times. A few of those were rain shortened outings, and a couple others were injury related. In the 23 games when the starter did throw a minimum of 6 innings, the Phillies won 15 times (a .652 winning percentage). Overall, in those 23 games, Phillies starters are 14-4 with 5 no decisions and their combined ERA is 2.43. In just the 14 wins, the starters' total ERA is 1.50. The only pitcher to lose twice in the most recent 23 games, where the starters have gone at least 6 innings, was &q

Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins, 9/22-9/23

The Phillies (87-61) are in Florida for a three game series with the second place (tied, 80-70) Marlins. The Phillies' magic number stands at 6 with 6 games against the Marlins remaining among their 14 games left in the season. Read on for details on pitching match ups as well as other key notes on this series. Tuesday, 4:10pm. Joe Blanton (10-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Josh Johnson (15-4, 3.01 ERA). Blanton in his career against Florida is 3-1 with a 3.42 ERA in 4 starts. Nick Johnson is 7-for-13 (.538 avg) against Blanton with 1 HR and 3 RBI and 3 walks. Josh Johnson is 4-1 in his career against Philadelphia with a 3.38 ERA in 9 games. At home this season, Josh Johnson is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 15 starts. In 14 starts against NL East opponents this season, Josh Johnson is 7-1 with a 3.11 ERA and 80 K's in 86 2/3 innings pitched. Tuesday, after first game. Jamie Moyer (12-9, 5.05 ERA) vs. Anibal Sanchez (2-7, 4.50 ERA). Moyer is 13-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 16 games against the Marlins

Giants Prospect Aspires to be like Ugueth Urbina

San Francisco Giants minor leaguer Angel Villalona turned himself in to police Sunday following a killing in the Dominican Republic. A 25 year old man was shot to death in a bar and Villalona, 19 years of age, has been charged with his murder. Limited details are available and no motive has been made known. The legal drinking age in the Dominican Republic is 18 years old. Villalona was signed by San Francisco at age 16 and was given a team record signing bonus of $2.1 million. Villalona, a first baseman, played in 74 games with advance A level San Jose this season, but had missed much of the second half of the season due to an injury. His last game played this season was on July 7th. In 2009, Villalona batted .267 with 9 homers and 42 RBI. The Giants have not said much of the situation, only stating they are "disappointed" and "will monitor the situation". ---------------------------- Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE !

Monday, Monday....

This was to be a day when the Phillies began a three game series in Florida against the Marlins. Months ago it was announced that today's scheduled game would be moved and instead be played to open the second half, and shorten the Phillies' all star break by one day, in order to accommodate the NFL and Monday Night Football. Some of you may have long forgotten that, and there may be others who still have their original schedules and think the Phillies have a game today against the Marlins. Well, no...they are off. Instead they will begin a three game series at Florida with a double header on Tuesday. The Phillies' injury problems continue to grow, with Chan Ho Park damaging his hamstring recently, and news popping up over the weekend that Brett Myers has a sore shoulder, then Carlos Ruiz spraining his wrist, and even rookie "Jay" Happ pulled an oblique during his start on Friday. Oh, and Pedro Martinez, who left his latest start early, could miss his next start w

Sunday School: History Lesson 30

Johnny Callison was the Phillies right fielder from 1960-1969. The slugger, who spent a decade with Philadelphia, was originally signed by the White Sox and broke into the Major Leagues at age 19, before big league pitching got the best of him and he was sent back down to continue to mature in the minors. Following the 1959 season, Callison was acquired by the Phillies in a trade for Gene Freese. In his early years with Philadelphia, Callison dealt with some hindering injuries, prior to having a bust out season in 1962, when he hit .300 with 23 homers and 83 RBI. That season, Callison would be named a National League all star for the first of three times in four seasons. Callison's 1962 campaign marked the first time in 30 years that a Phillie ended a season with at least double digits in HR, doubles, triples, and stolen bases. The previous Phillie to do that was Chuck Klein. Callison is often best remembered for his performance in the 1964 all star game at Shea Stadium. With tw

BlueClaws are 2009 South Atlantic League Champions!

On a night when the first pitch was delayed by rain, Lakewood newcomer Korey Noles threw 7 strong innings to earn the victory and lock down the BlueClaws' second ever South Atlantic League Championship. Noles was strong on Friday night. He faced the minimum through 4 innings, and had the Red Sox affiliate Greenville Drive shut out through 6 2/3 before he gave up an RBI double to first baseman Kade Keowen. Noles a 24th round pick out of Columbus State University in 2008, joined the team on September 2nd. Prior to the Championship Series, manager Dusty Wathan said of Noles, "He throws strikes, keeps the ball down, and can get deep in the game. Even though he's only started one game for us, we have no issues moving him right into the start for game four." The BlueClaws took the lead in game 4 on the third batter of the game. After a lead off single by Anthony Gose to start the game, Harold Garcia bunted him over. Gose then stole his first of three bases on the night

Weekend Series Preview: Phillies @ Braves, 9/18-9/20

The first place Phillies (85-60), whose magic number currently sits at 10 to win the division, will visit the second place Braves (78-68) over the weekend, for a three game series. With 17 games remaining, the Phillies have a 7 1/2 game lead over Atlanta in the NL East division. The Braves have won 7 games in a row. Read on for details on the pitching matchups and other notes on this series. Friday, 7:35pm. "Jay" Happ (10-4, 2.77 ERA) vs. Tim Hudson (1-0, 3.63 ERA). In 5 career games against Atlanta, Happ is 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA. On the road this season, Happ is 6-2, through 16 games, with a 1.88 ERA and a .208 batting average against. Hudson is 4-5 with a 3.79 ERA in 14 career starts against the Phillies. Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard combined, are 23-for-69 (.333 avg) against Hudson in their careers, with 4 homers, 11 RBI and 10 walks. Saturday, 7:10pm. Pedro Martinez (5-0, 2.87 ERA) vs. Javier Vazquez (13-9, 3.01 ERA). In 9 career starts at Turner Field, Martinez is 4-5

BlueClaws Drop Game 3 of SAL Finals

Three hits each by Jim Murphy and Anthony Gose as well as five shut out innings from Trevor May were not enough for the BlueClaws, as they lost to the Greenville Drive on Thursday night. Timely hitting, praised earlier in the week by Lakewood manager Dusty Wathan, was absent for the 'Claws on the road against the Drive. From the 2nd to 4th inning, Lakewood left 7 runners on base. They left 12 runners total on base over the entire 9 innings. Lakewood broke a scoreless tie in the 5th inning on back to back doubles by Travis D'Arnaud and Jim Murphy. Up 1-0, Wathan chose to relieve May after the 5th, and used lefty side armer Jacob Diekman , who ran into trouble. Diekman walked two batters, then gave up an RBI double to Mitch Dening and an RBI single to Casey Kelly, before he was pulled. Luke Wertz came on, and stopped the rally with a sacrifice fly by Ty Weeden and then struck out Oscar Tejeda. All 3 runs were charged to Diekman, and it was all the Drive needed. Lakewood got

Wall to Wall BLUECLAWS!

The Lakewood BlueClaws are one win away from winning the South Atlantic League Championship. Game 3 of the best of 5 series is tonight in Greenville, SC at 7:05pm EST. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, would be played Friday and Saturday at 7:05. Ahead are some key quotes from this week, some links to get you ready and some additional notes on the series. The Greenville Drive is Boston's single A affiliate. Catcher Travis D'Arnaud, a supplemental 1st round draft selection in 2007, is in the midst of a 24-for-57 stretch. That's a .421 average. The BlueClaws were 41-25 (.621 winning pct) on the road in 2009. Tonight's starting pitcher for Lakewood is 2008 4th round draft choice Trevor May . The 19 year old has gone 14 straight starts without a loss. BlueClaws pitchers have allowed just 5 runs over the first 4 playoff games...all wins. Greenville's starter is righty Stolmy Pimentel who was 10-7 with a 3.82 ERA in the regular season. Pimentel is 19 years old and was si

PhoulBallz Q&A With D'Arby Myers

D'Arby Myers is a Phillies outfield prospect that currently plays for the Class A Level Lakewood BlueClaws. D'Arby spent much of this season on the bench for the 'Claws. He began the season as the starting left fielder, but lost playing time when Steve Susdorf came through town, as Myers' batting average was suffering. Myers, however, would bounce back and win his starting spot back by season's end. He finished the regular season with a .270 average in 83 games (he batted .296 in 26 games, after July). Still just 20 years old, the 4th round 2006 draft pick still hopes he can rise through the ranks of the Phillies' system. I spoke with D'Arby prior to the BlueClaws leaving for Greenville to try and lock down their second ever SAL Championship tonight. Here's how that went down. Can I get you to talk a bit about how close you guys are to winning the SAL Championship? It's not over yet. I think we're really focused and we have a lot of good mome

PhoulBallz Interview with Greg Dobbs

Greg Dobbs has been a key reserve for the Phillies in recent years. Currently sidelined with a strained right calf, Dobbs is trying to come back from his first ever stint on the disabled list. Dobbs played a rehab game with single A level Lakewood on Tuesday night and I had the chance to speak with him. Here is how that went down. How did the calf feel out there in your first rehab game? It felt good. First rehab back, yeah. It's a work in progress, we gotta go through these stages of just keep on strengthening, getting it stronger, getting into games and working the tolerance of it back up. Were you favoring the leg at all? I think maybe in the first at bat, just not knowing how it was going to react. I was a little ginger on it, but it reacted fine. It felt better as the game went along and I had a lot more confidence in it as the game went along as well. What is the game plan going forward in the coming days to get you back on the big league roster? I don't know. Fr

Lakewood One Win Away From SAL Title

Tuesday night the BlueClaws played their last home game of the season, and it turned out the be the biggest game of 2009. Faced with the next 3 games of the South Atlantic League Championship series on the road in Greenville, South Carolina, it was crucial for Lakewood to take a bigger lead in the series and not allow the Greenville Drive to tie it. Winning 2 of 3 on the road would surely be a much more difficult task than winning just 1 of 3 there. The BlueClaws won game 2 over the Drive by a score of 3-0, and the die hard Lakewood fans left FirstEnergy Park with great confidence that their team will lock down a championship on the road before the week is over. Jesus Sanchez threw an exceptional game, with 6 shut out innings for the BlueClaws. He allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out 5. It was surely the biggest game of his young career. Phillies phans may remember the righty Sanchez, a converted catcher, as a piece that came over from the Yankees in the 2006 Bob

Another PhoulBallz Q&A With Dusty Wathan

The Lakewood BlueClaws manager is former Phillie catcher Dusty Wathan. This season he's been an all star and has been voted best managing prospect in the South Atlantic League by the league's own managers. Now, Wathan sits two wins away from managing the BlueClaws to their second ever championship in his first season at the class A level. I spoke with Dusty after the BlueClaws' SAL Championship game 1 victory. Here is what he had to say. Dusty, can I get some comments on the game 1 win, and how close you guys are to completing the season long goal? One win closer. Still a long way to go, but solid game from the guys tonight. We've been swinging the bat well for the last week or so and they continued to do it tonight. Every run means something, especially adding those 2 in the eighth inning helped us out. Gave us a little breathing room. Was there an issue with Matthew Way's control in the game, or was there a fatigue or stamina issue? I don't think it wa

PhoulBallz Q&A With Clay Condrey

Clay Condrey pitched for the Lakewood BlueClaws in their SAL Championship series on Monday night. Condrey is still trying to work his way back following an injury to his oblique muscle. After his outing, I had the chance to speak with Clay. Here is how that went down. What have you missed most, while rehabbing the injury? Being with the guys. Just being by yourself...you go to the field, I'm done by 12:30/1 o'clock and have 12 hours to kill. Talk about your outing in the playoffs for Lakewood. I guess for me, the way I reacted was a little tender with the oblique, I guess. But, the last three hitters all went aside and instincts kicked in a little bit. So, you're still very conscious of the injury? Maybe trying to save yourself or hold back? I think I am, but the last three hitters I really started to feel like I was getting out in front of the ball and it was sinking. What's next...more rehab, or do you think you're ready to rejoin the Phillies? I

BlueClaws Up 1-0 in SAL Championship

Monday night the BlueClaws hosted game 1 of the South Atlantic League Championship and came out victorious over the Greenville Drive by a score of 6-3. The BlueClaws were led by second baseman Harold Garcia, who had a lead off homer in the 8th inning, and catcher Travis D'Arnaud who had two hits, including a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Garcia, D'Arnaud and the other Lakewood players were joined by two big league Phillies for the series. Clay Condrey pitched a shaky inning in relief, while he continues to rehabilitate his injured oblique. The Phillies also assigned multi-time 2009 call-up Andrew Carpenter to Lakewood for the remainder of the week. Condrey's inning was difficult. He allowed the first three batters to reach base before finding a groove, becoming loose and downing the next three batters. Condrey allowed a run on a walk and two hits. Lakewood manager Dusty Wathan said of Condrey, "It's kind of a tough situation for him to be put in", hi

Pitching Performers

We all saw it on Sunday. I was there...all day. Good times. Great starting pitching. Who would have believed that Kyle Kendrick and Pedro Martinez could sweep the Metropolitans in a double header in September? No me. Here is a selection of various other folks' takes on Sunday's standouts, Kendrick and Martinez. Enjoy. Finger Food talks Pedro's swagger here . Phillies Nation gives props to Pedro and the puckering Kendrick here . David Murphy wrote about Charlie's 8th inning mound visit here . The Good Phight gets down with Kendrick here and Pedro here . And lastly, CrashburnAlley has a look at KK here . ----------------------- I will be "Tweeting" live from the BlueClaws SAL Championship game tonight. Clay Condrey will be pitching there in relief. Check it on in the side bar application on this site, or follow me on Twitter here .

Sunday School: Current Events Lesson 1

On Friday night Derek Jeter broke the all time New York Yankees hits record, previously held by Lou Gehrig for 72 years. A third inning single to right field gave Jeter the record of 2,722 hits, breaking the record of the man whose career was cut short by illness in 1939. Jeter set the Yankees hit record in his 2,120th Major League game. Gehrig played in 2,164 Major League games. The phenomenal Yankees shortstop has more hits in fewer games than the man who many consider the greatest Yankee product ever. Derek Jeter's team milestone is the biggest story in Major League Baseball this year. Other big stories like the Manny Ramirez drug suspension, an unassisted triple play to end a game, Mark Buehrle's perfect game...none of those match up to the historic impact that Jeter's hit record displays. The captain of the Yankees is now more than a leader for the Yankees of the past decade or so. He's the man among the men...a king of kings. Some of PhoulBallz.com's favor