Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 17

Gerry Nugent was the owner of the Phillies from 1932-1942. In actuality, the majority of stock in the team was owned by Nugent's wife, Mae. Gerry Nugent married the secretary of team owner William F. Baker. Gerry was so helpful with suggestions about the team that Baker hired him to work in the front office as his own assistant in 1926. Years later, Baker died and left substantial ownership of the team to Mae. Gerry became acting owner and team president.

Gerry Nugent was a shrewd judge of talent. He excelled at scouring the minors for unknown players. It was Nugent's idea to have the Phillies purchase Chuck Klein for $7500 in 1928. He acquired loads more players from the minor leagues, who would later become Major Leaguers, like Claude Passeau, Don Hurst and Pinky Whitney. Nugent's ability to spot and develop talent was only exceeded by his inability to hold on to it.

Without question Nugent was at the mercy of factors not under his control, as money was not easy to come by in the depression era. Hardship struck the team just as it struck most Americans. During Nugent's decade in charge, the Phillies drew over 250,000 fans in just one season.

In an effort to increase attendance, Nugent got the ban on Sunday baseball lifted in 1934. Among his other promotions were ladies days, and a knothole gang (multi-game passes) for school children. With little other revenue other than ticket sales, the team rarely met its operating costs, which were reportedly $350,000 annually. The shortfall would be made up each year with player contract sales to wealthier ball clubs.

In 1942, the National League's board of directors chose to force the sale of the Phillies. Nugent was quickly bought out as the league searched for a new owner with a larger bank account. Nugent was later named president of the Class B Inter-state League, which featured the Reading Chicks, Wilmington Blue Rocks, Allentown Wings and the Trenton Senators.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Feeling Right at Home

It may not be as bad for the Phillies at home as we all think it is. While the Phillies' record at home (10-14) is not very great, and the results on the current homestand have been just 2-2, some individuals on the team have excelled in Philadelphia this season.



Pedro Feliz at home in 24 games- .321 avg, .904 OPS, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 15 RBI.

Carlos Ruiz at home in 12 games- .333 avg, 1.136 OPS, 7 doubles, 1 HR, 4 RBI.

Raul Ibanez at home in 24 games- .357 avg, 1.172 OPS, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 8 HR, 23 RBI.

Chase Utley at home in 24 games- .256 avg, .943 OPS, 3 doubles, 8 HR, 17 RBI.

Clay Condrey in 13 home games- 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 13 K's, 2 walks in 15 IP.

Cole Hamels in 5 home games- 1-1, 3.38 ERA, 30 K's, 6 walks in 26 2/3 IP.

In addition, Shane Victorino on this home stand, so far, is batting .563 (9-for-16) with 2 walks, 1 steal, 2 doubles and 2 runs scored through 4 games.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Travis D'Arnaud Q&A

Phillies catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud was selected as a supplemental first round pick in 2007, with the 37th overall pick, out of high school in California. He currently is the starting catcher for the Lakewood BlueClaws and leads the team with 25 RBI. Baseball America ranked Travis as the 7th best prospect in the Phillies organization prior to this season. Fresh off his various dancing performances around FirstEnergy Park in recent days, Travis made time for some questions from PhoulBallz.com.


First, I asked Travis about playing against his brother, West Virginia Power short stop Chase D'Arnaud, at the professional level-

It's an incredible feeling. A feeling I want everyone to feel....being able to play in the same profession. Especially something as hard as baseball. I love it every day. Every second he's out there, I love it. It's kind of like being home away from home, ya know what I mean? And my dad's here too (father Lance attended last week's series between the team in West Virginia and this week's series in New Jersey), so...I feel like I'm at home right now.


I then asked Travis about defending against steals when his brother is on the bases (Chase stole two against Travis on Wednesday), and if Chase is out more often than he's safe-

I think we're evened up now actually. Between this year and last year.


Who were your favorite players growing up?-

I was a Dodger fan. My brother was an Angel fan, I think. I was a Mike Piazza guy.


What kind of help have manager Dusty Wathan and coach Tim Gradoville (two former catchers) been so far this year?

I feel like my defensive game has come along really well. Having two former catchers, who both made the major leagues, here helping (me) with everything is tremendous. When we do drills and stuff, we do it high intensity, so it slows me down, gets me relaxed during the game.


Aside from the coaches who are here, have you met anybody in the system that has helped you a considerable amount?-

When I was in spring training, I hung out with Lou Marson. I hung out with him a lot. He just talked to me about game situations...a lot of stuff. And Tuffy Gosewich, Joel Naughton, and all the former catchers have tought me a lot.


You've been leading the team in RBI for the entire season, but your batting average has suffered. Are you working on anything specifically to improve that?

With the average, I mean, I think I'm just trying to hit the ball too far instead of just staying within myself and getting hits, instead of trying to hit a homerun every time. I need to just relax. I keep telling myself that, but for some reason during the games, it hasn't clicked yet.


When I've spoken with different starting pitchers on the team, they've given you loads of credit when they perform well. How does that make you feel?-

It's one of the best feelings in the world. I would love it for a pitcher to want to throw to me. Some catchers just, ya know, they catch 'cause they can hit, no defensive thing. But, I think catching is more of a defensive position than offensive. But when the whole pitching staff enjoys throwing to you, they feel comfortable, they probably throw better.


Where do you think you might be opening day 2011?-

Where do I want to be? Philly. Two years...I'll probably be in either Lehigh or Reading.


What's your favorite TV show?-

Right now, it's The Hills.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

20 Years Since 20 Played

Twenty years ago tomorrow, Mike Schmidt delivered a touching speach, announcing his retirement from baseball. That's twenty years since a Hall of Famer has played for the Phillies.

As a salute to Schmitty, I'll be waking up quite early in the morning and at 5:48 AM, I will blow my car horn 20 times as a salute to Michael Jack Schmidt. If 20 and 548 don't ring a bell, that's Schmidt's jersey number and how many homers Schmidt hit in his legendary career. Please join PhoulBallz.com and toot your own horn, along with us.

*DISCLAIMER* PhoulBallz is not responsible if you wake up your neighbors and they beat you with a Louisville Slugger as though they were Michael Jack and you were a Rick Reuschel curveball.





"I could ask the Phillies to keep me on to add to my statistics, but my love for
the game won't let me do that."
-Mike Schmidt

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

JC Romero Talks With Phoul Ballz

JC Romero was nice enough to take some time today to answer some questions after his "rehab" appearance in Lakewood. Romero threw 2 perfect innings against the West Virginia Power, the Pirates' single A affiliate. Here are JC's comments...

JC on today's appearance-

I felt pretty good. I had a good sinker working today. I felt a little sluggish. Ya know, I think it was a little early (11:05am game). I'm not accustomed to throwing early. I felt good, but I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be. Even though my sinker was moving, I was disappointed with my breaking pitches.


On whether he had a pitch count today-

Not really, just two innings. Just trying to get the feel for the game.
It was a good outing overall.


On his pitching schedule between now and June 3rd, when he is eligible to return-

Twice. I'm going to Lehigh Valley- Saturday, Sunday...and, going back to back days. But today was the only day that I'll have actually pitched two innings.


On if he's ready to pitch with the Phillies-

I've been ready since the World (Baseball) Classic. You don't understand, I've been ready...I was hoping that something would have happened with my suspension where I could be reinstated a lot quicker. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.


On what he's missed most during the suspension-

(Laughs) Honestly, just being- on a serious note, being on a team...with my teammates and stuff like that. On a joking matter- my paycheck!
Overall, just being there. Being there and doing what I know. Ya know, doing what I love to do, which is play baseball.


On the suspension and his ability to teach the minor leaguers he's been playing with from his own mistakes-

It's a very tough situation, and I keep saying over and over, it's very hard to look in from the outside and point fingers at us. But it's very hard being here and walking in my shoes. It was a terrible situation. But I think that this will make me stronger, and definitely educate me a little more. And I'll be able to educate the youngsters. And, at least, from my work ethic stand point, I'll let them know how I go about my business. So, I mean, everything happens for a reason in life. And I, really, for the longest time, I couldn't find out why this was happening to me. But now, when I come over here, I see the guys and I see them paying attention to everything I do, at least I'm...turning something that can be very, very frustrating into something positive (by educating them and setting a proper example).
They have to understand that what is normal for everybody else, sometimes can be a problem for us. Ya know, everybody else can walk into GNC, with no problem, buy a supplement to better themselves, but if we do and we come up with the wrong supplement, we could look as cheaters.


On whether he's gotten any apologies from the players' association, the physician he consulted, or even GNC...his outlook, then more about what he's trying to teach his rehab assignment teammates-

Nah. We're still in a battle, man. We got a couple law suits going out there. The whole thing has been a mess from the day that it happened. And the sad thing is that, knowing that everybody knows my case is totally different to what is happening with a good friend of mine, Manny, what happened with A-Rod, and all that. But, ya know, life is not fair. Sometimes things happen in life, and you can't even explain it, you can't expect it, I mean things happen, so this is just a bump in the road. You have to keep your head up and keep on battling. Like I say many times, and I stick with it- in the end, you gotta really protect your career. And that's the message that I'm trying to tell these kids (the minor leaguers)...there's no union, there's no MLB representative, commissioner...nobody's going to protect your career. You gotta do it yourself. 'Cause when everything's said and done, you get suspended and you're just by yourself. I learned that the hard way, and now I'm just moving forward.


On his most memorable pre-professional baseball moment-

Oh, my gosh...I'll say back in college, my junior year, when I didn't know what was gonna happen- if I was going to pitch or if I was going to hit. I was playing outfield and I hit a ball over the lights, at the University of West Florida, and I stood up at home plate thinking that I was Ken Griffey Jr. And I got drilled the next three at bats.
So that's the most memorable thing that happened to me. Now I look back and I joke about it.


On who his favorite pitcher was, growing up-

I have to say Nolan Ryan, man. The swagger, what he brought to the game, was great. I love it.


On his favorite city to visit on the road-

Chicago. My wife loves it too...they have good restaurants.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cha Cha Now, Y'all

Yes, I linked to it yesterday, but after watching it again, it would be a disservice to not post the actual video.

Above, you see BlueClaws players, Travis D'Arnaud, Moose Mattair, Jeremy Hamilton, Zach Collier, Jacob Diekman, Jon Velasquez and Ryan Ariall performing a little Cha Cha Slide during Sunday's rain delay.
Turn it out!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day


It's a great day for links...

Phan Amanda and IronPig Pen talk about John Mayberry Jr.'s impact.

BlueClaws Blog has fun stuff detailing Sunday's rain delay dance party...here and here.

Phillies Nation has a review of the Phils' state on Memorial Day.

And lastly, to review what I said last week and still feel applies to Brad Lidge, read here and here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 16

Sherwood "Sherry" Magee was an outfielder for our Phillies from 1904-1914. Long regarded as one of the all-time best Phillies, Magee made a name for himself with his bat, his arm, his speed and his temper.

During his time with the Phillies, Magee led the National League in RBI three times, won a batting title and stole 387 bases, which still stands as third best all-time in team history. Sherry was also the most outstanding run producer on the team for over a decade.

In 1906, Magee swiped 55 bases, which stood as a single season Phils record, until Juan Samuel broke it in 1984. His finest offensive year came in 1910, when he led the National League in RBI, runs scored, total bases, slugging percentage and batting average. Had the MVP award existed then, Magee surely would have been awarded the honor. Magee's RBI total in 1910 was 123...the next highest total in the NL- 88.

Despite that remarkable season, Magee made the most headlines 1911, when his volatile temper got the best of him, and an umpire. In a game against St. Louis in July, when Magee was called out on strikes by umpire Bill Finneran, Magee tossed his bat up in the air and headed back toward the dugout. Finneran didn't appreciate the display, and threw Magee out of the game. When Magee realized he had been ejected, he charged back toward home plate and struck Finneran, knocking him unconscious and drawing blood. The initial punishment for Sherry was to be suspended for the remainder of the season, but this was later shortened to a 36 game ban.

The loss of Magee hurt the Phillies that season, as they were only 1 game out of first place when the incident occurred. They would go on a 13-16 skid, without Magee, over the next month to fall out of the pennant race. They would finish the season in 4th place.

Magee would continue to excel for the Phillies over the next few seasons. In 1914, he would lead the league in RBI once again, but it would mark his final season with the team. That off-season, Sherry was dealt to the Boston Braves, who had just won the World Series. The irony of the deal, of course, was that after spending more than a decade with the lowly Phillies, Magee left and the Phils would go on to win their first pennant in 1915, while the Braves came in second.

Magee finally made it to the World Series with the Cincinnati Reds in 1919, his final season playing in the Majors. Magee played and coached in the minors for the next 6 years. In 1927, more irony- he began umpiring in the New York/Penn League. In 1928, he was hired to umpire in the National League. He worked a single season before dying of pneumonia in 1929 at age 44.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rollins Rebounding on the Road

Jimmy Rollins is enjoying the Phillies' current road trip. His excellent offense has definitely contributed to the teams' success lately. Our Phils are 7-1 so far on this road trip with two games left against the Yankees. In those 8 games, Rollins is batting .389 (14-for-36) with 1 double, 1 triple, 1 HR, 4 SB, 4 walks, 9 runs scored, and 5 RBI. Rollins' batting average has gone up 41 points during this road trip, from .199 to .240. Furthermore his OPS (on base % + slugging percentage) has gone up over 100 points, from .534 to .635.

Rollins hit his franchise leading 29th career lead-off homerun Friday, off Yankees starter AJ Burnett. It was his first this season. Also, J-Roll has hit safely and scored in 10 of the Phillies's last 11 games.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Weekend Preview: Phillies at Yankees

The Phillies (22-17) head up to New York to take on the Yankees (24-17) in their new digs this weekend. It should be a fun Memorial Day weekend at the new Yankee Stadium. A record 75 homeruns have been hit at Yankee Stadium in the first 20 games there. The Phils haven't visited the Bronx since 2000. Read on for pitching match ups, game times, and plenty more notes.



Friday, 7:05pm. Brett Myers (3-2, 4.50 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (2-1, 5.02 ERA). Myers has had one career start against the Yankees. He won that game, in June 2006, by throwing 6 2/3 innings, striking out 11 and giving up just 2 earned runs. Myers is 3-0 on the road this season. Burnett has a 5-7 record in 16 career games against the Phils with a 4.57 ERA and 2 complete games. Burnett at home this season has no record in 4 starts, with a 4.15 ERA. Greg Dobbs is 4-for-6 in his career against Burnett with a double and 2 RBI. Matt Stairs is 2-for-8 off Burnett...both hits are homeruns.


Saturday, 4:10pm. "Jay" Happ (2-0, 2.49 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (4-1, 4.18 ERA). Happ has a 3.77 ERA in 21 career games. This game will be Happ's first start this season. Batters are hitting .184 against Happ this year. Pettitte has faced the Phillies 6 times in his career. His record in those games is 2-2 and his ERA is 3.38. In 4 Interleague starts last year, Pettitte's ERA was 1.80. Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard, Matt Stairs and Chase Utley are a combined 2-for-29 (.069 avg) off of Pettitte, with 1 HR and 2 RBI (the homer and RBI's belong to Werth).


Sunday, 1:05pm. Cole Hamels (2-2, 4.95 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.43 ERA). Hamels has only faced the Yankees once. He took the loss in that June 2006 game, giving up just 2 runs in 7 innings pitched. Mark Teixeira against Cole Hamels is 3-for-14 with a homerun. Sabathia in the regular season is 1-1 in 2 career starts. In 4 May starts, Sabathia is 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. When considering which righty batter to call up from triple A, the Phillies may give some thought to Pablo Ozuna, who is a career .412 hitter (14-for-34) against Sabathia.


Jimmy Rollins is a career .154 hitter (4-for-26) in 6 career games against the Yankees.
Pedro Feliz is hitting .435 (10-for-23) over the past week, with 4 RBI.

Mark Teixeira has a career .236 avg. (21-for-89) in 23 career games against the Phillies. Teixeira is batting .462 (12-for-26) over the past week, with 4 HR and 14 RBI.

The Yankees have won 9 straight games and are 13-7 at home.
The Phillies are 6-1 on their current road trip and are 14-5 on the road, which is best in MLB.

Phillies team runs scored- 224
Yankees team runs scores- 232

Phillies team ERA- 5.33
Yankees team ERA- 5.15

Picture of the Day

Josh Willingham and Pat Listach celebrating with each other.
Perhaps these two would like to hang out with Ryan Madson and friends at Bourbon Blue next weekend, when the Nationals are in town.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dear A's, Can the Phillies Have Josh Outman Back?

Josh Outman was dealt to Oakland last July in the trade that brought Joe Blanton to town. At the time of the trade, Outman had a 3.20 ERA in 33 games for double A Reading. Outman went on to make his Major League debut for the A's last September, and posted a 4.56 ERA in 6 appearances for Oakland in 2008. This season in the Majors, Outman has thrown in 8 games, 6 of which have been starts, and has a 3.31 ERA (excluding his worst single outing, his ERA would be 2.82). Over his last four games, all starts, Outman's ERA is 2.42 with a strike out to walk ratio of 20:7.

By comparison, in Joe Blanton's last four starts, his ERA is 6.56 (that is actually better than Joe's season ERA, which is 6.86) and he has a strike out to walk ratio of 17:12. Things like these Outman/Blanton differences jump out at me...especially when Phillies starting pitchers have a combined 6.24 ERA.

What other starters have the Phillies let get away that would be an improvement over the average ERA by their rotation?

Randy Wolf- 9 starts, 2.72 ERA (2.37 if you exclude his single worst start)
Kevin Millwood- 8 starts, 2.93 ERA (2.45 if you exclude his single worst start)
Kyle Lohse- 8 starts, 4.66 ERA (3.79 if you exclude his single worst start)
Vicente Padilla- 8 starts, 4.71 ERA (3.69 if you exclude his single worst start)



If it's any consolation, Adam Eaton and Gavin Floyd have a combined 7.81 ERA this season, and Freddy Garcia is unemployed.

Let Me Tell You What's Happening

Phillies management finally decided to make adjustments with the pitching staff after Chan Ho Park's latest outing, where he allowed 5 earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. Statistically, that was the worst start by a Phillie this year. On Tuesday, manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee decided that it was time for "Jay" Happ and Chan Ho Park to switch places. Park will fill a role in the bullpen, while Happ will enter the starting rotation, and start against Andy Pettitte at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Park's season ERA stands at 7.08 in 34 1/3 innings pitched while his opponents batting avg. is .304. Happ's ERA is 2.49 in 21 2/3 innings pitched and his opponents batting avg. is .184.

Here's to Happ. And as a tribute, Cheech Marin says "Waass HAPPeneen?"



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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Series Preview: Phils visit Cincinnati

The Phillies (20-16) begin a 3 game series in Cincinnati tonight against the Reds (20-17). Read on for pitching match ups and plenty of additional notes.

Tuesday, 7:10pm. Cole Hamels (1-2, 5.04 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (4-1, 1.93 ERA). Cole was moved up a day ahead of Jamie Moyer, which will allow Hamels to face the Yankees this coming Sunday. In his career against the Reds, Cole is 3-0 in 4 games, with a 0.60 ERA and a .139 batting avg. against. Cole's ERA in his last 4 starts is 2.18. Reds players Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips and Alex Gonzalez combine for a 0.48 batting avg (1 for 21) against Colbert. Cueto has never faced the Phillies in his short career. At home this season, Cueto is 1-1 in 3 starts, with a 2.70 ERA. Cueto is third in the NL in ERA.

Wednesday, 7:10pm. Jamie Moyer (3-3, 8.15 ERA) vs. Micah Owings (3-4, 3.95 ERA). Moyer, in 7 career appearances against the Reds, is 1-3, in 28 innings pitched, with a 5.46 ERA. Owings has a career 2-0 record and 2.57 ERA in 4 games. Owings has a 5.61 career ERA in 3 appearances at Great American Ballpark. Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley are a combined 9-for-24 (.375 avg) against Owings...while Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins are a combined 2-for-16 (.125 avg) off of him.

Thursday, 12:35pm. Joe Blanton (1-3, 6.86 ERA) vs. Aaron Harang (3-4, 3.44 ERA). Blanton has 1 career start against Cincy...8 innings pitched, 1 earned run, 5 k's, 0 walks. In 3 starts this month, Blanton has a 5.21 ERA. Harang at home, in 4 starts, is 2-2 with a 2.77 ERA. Harang has 8 career appearances against the Phillies...his record is 1-2, with a 6.15 ERA. Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz combine for a .119 batting avg (5-for-42) against Harang. Greg Dobbs, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have a combined .409 avg. (18 for 44) against Harang.


The Phillies on the road- 12 wins, 4 losses.
The Reds at home- 7 wins, 9 losses.

Phillies team ERA- 5.39.
Reds team ERA- 3.96.

Jayson Werth is a career .071 hitter against the Reds in 8 games.

Matt Stairs is a career .325 hitter against the Reds in 53 games with a 1.090 OPS.

In 16 career games at Great American Ballpark, Chase Utley is a .309 hitter, with 6 homers and a 1.142 OPS. In 8 games last year, Chase hit .367 against the Reds.

Thome Ties Schmidt


Jim Thome smashed a homerun on Monday night off Jesse Carlson of the Blue Jays to tie Mike Schmidt for 13th most all time in MLB. Both sluggers have 548 homeruns.

A tip of the hat to big Jim, from PhoulBallz.com, on this milestone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Raul is Cool and Off Day Links

The Phillies swept the Nationals in 4 games, over the weekend. In the series, the Phils' offense shined, led by Raul Ibanez, who won NL player of the week honors. Ibanez hit .481 (13 for 27) during the week, and had a 1.539 OPS.


The Washington series was a good time for the entire offense. As a team, the Phillies batted .327 (49 for 150) in the four games. Jimmy Rollins raised his batting average 22 points, hitting safely in all 4 games, including 3 straight with multiple hits.

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Here we go with some links for today...


Fox Network and MLB are planning to start post season games at earlier times.

Pat Burrell was placed the disabled list with a neck strain by the Tampa Rays.

Rays Manager Maddon makes lineup error, loses DH, wins game.

Stairs Way to Heaven has Matt Stairs' presidential duties lined up.

TheGoodPhight has a finalist in Baseball Prospectus Idol!

Superfan John, of HomeSide News, will have reports from Lehigh on JC Romero's "rehab" appearance.

And lastly, I was going to post this picture, but Long Drive: a Phillies Blog did a better job with it already.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 15

Charles "Chick" Fraser was a right handed starting pitcher for the Phillies from 1899-1900, then again from 1902-1904. He made his major league debut in 1896 for the Louisville Colonels.

Fraser struggled in his playing days, prior to the Phillies, posting a 36-66 overall record. Following the 1898 season, the Phillies purchased Chick Fraser from the Cleveland Spiders for the price of $1,000. That contract purchase would prove to be a great steal for the Phillies when the generally wild Fraser, who led the NL in walks in 1896, won 21 games in 1899 with four shutouts. In 1900, Chick won 16 games and led the team in ERA.

Fraser left the Phillies to play for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901. Fraser would then lead the American League in walks, but won 22 games for the A's. Chick Fraser is the only pitcher to win 20 games for both the Phillies and the Athletics. A successful legal challenge by the Phillies, over Fraser's departure, would return Fraser, who left for a larger paycheck, to his first Philadelphia team.

Chick Fraser would not produce another winning season for the Phils over his next three seasons with the team. However, Fraser would make his mark in team history. Fraser threw the first no hitter of the 20th century for our Phillies. On September 18th, 1903, Chick threw a no hitter against the Cubs in a 10-0 rout, where he walked 5.

A 14-24 record in 1904 marked the end of Fraser's playing time for Philadelphia. He went on to lead the NL in walks the following season for Boston, while losing 21 games. With Cincinnati in 1906, he lost 20 more games, then managed to stick around with the Cubs, for their World Championship seasons in 1907 and 1908, before his playing days were done.

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Read more Sunday School and History Lesson entries by clicking the links below.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Here is the deal...


I don't want to see Brad Lidge (back row, directly behind President Obama) with a smile on his stupid face until he gets his sh*t together. Plain and simple.

I also think the next time I hear someone argue, "Well they just won it all, and he saved over 40 games. Cut him some slack", or, "He was perfect last year!" I am going to stab a chest or two.

Being great in the past and performing superbly on previous occasions will only get you so far. If a fire fighter showed up to a big apartment complex blaze and aimed the hose toward the other side of the street, where everything was fine, and allowed the fire to burn out of control while he had his back to it...would we argue, "Aw, don't worry- that's the fire fighter who saved that family of 6, their dog, and 2 cats last October"? No!!! So shut your mouth, softy. Brad Lidge sucks right now and should not be trusted to save games. Good bye.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bad Lidge

So far this season, Brad Lidge has been scored on in 8 of his 15 appearances, including his last 5. Last season it took Lidge until Joe Blanton's first Phillies start on July 22nd, to be scored upon 8 times. In fact, through May 14th last year, Lidge had only been scored on once (his first run allowed was on May 13th). All of Lidge's runs this season are earned. It was August 3rd last season before Lidge let up earned runs for the 8th time.

There have been rare occasions where Lidge struggled this badly. To start his career with Houston in 2002, Lidge was scored on in his first three appearances. In August 2006, Lidge let up runs in three straight appearances for the second time in his career. The following month, Lidge was scored on in 6 out of 8 appearances. Lidge's 2006 season ERA was 5.28. Other than that single rough year, Lidge's highest season ERA came in his first full season in the Majors, 2003, at 3.60. There have been no times in Lidge's career that he was scored upon in more than 3 consecutive outings, before now.

His current ERA, through 15 appearances, is 8.59. In Lidge's difficult 16 game stretch from mid-August 2006 when he was scored on in three straight, to when he was scored on in 6 of 8 in September, his ERA was 5.39. So, the reality of all this is that his start to the 2009 season is the worst stretch of games in Brad Lidge's career.

What exactly is wrong with Lidge? I don't know. The Phillies may not know. Brad Lidge may not even know. A role reversal may be in order. Ryan Madson, known to some as "The Bridge to Lidge", may be the more reliable guy to trust when a game is on the line. Madson has thrown 9 straight scoreless outings, and batters are hitting .211 off of him. We know the streak that Lidge has going, and opponents are batting .317 off of him. Maybe a DL stint is in order. Maybe that will be put off, by the Phils, till JC Romero is closer to returning (his suspension is up, barring rain outs, on June 3rd). Maybe pitching coach Rich Dubee will do his job and fix the problem. Maybe Lidge will get back to being Mr. Perfect. Maybe I am having a bad dream. Pinch me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Moyer Might Need to Consider Hanging Up His Spikes

I've read some sour reports and opinions online today about Jamie Moyer. Most are, more or less, leaning toward Moyer being replaced in the rotation. I'm not for that. The WSBGM guys consider Moyer going the route of Geoff Jenkins and Adam Eaton, as guys who were signed to considerable contracts, and were later cut and owed the full amount. Scott Lauber mentioned it, but simply touched on the idea of Moyer being bumped from the rotation in place of "Jay" Happ. Others are not pushing the emergency button yet and simply discussing Moyer's struggles. I'm not that relaxed either. Todd Zolecki quotes Moyer as not being worried, and Charlie Manuel saying "Our pitching is what it is. We signed those pitchers to pitch. Will I stay with them? Of course I'll stay with them."


In just a couple of weeks, the whole Phillies world will reminisce, when on Friday May, 29th, we look back two decades and remember Mike Schmidt's retirement. Schmidt retired in early 1989, when it became clear to him that he no longer was at the top of his game, and he didn't wish to continue playing if he could no longer play at a high level and give his team and his fans what he felt they deserved. The time may be fast approaching for Jamie Moyer to feel similarly to how Schmidt felt.


Moyer's trouble did not worry me through his first several starts this season. I stated this publicly on an appearance I made on The Shore Sports Report on Fox Sports 1310. On May 1st, headed into the first big series of the season against the Metropolitans, Moyer was 3-1 and had a 5.09 ERA. I stated on that day's show that Moyer was a veteran who knew what he had to do to improve, whether it was to adjust his own mechanics, adjust to the home plate umpire of the night, or set his own mind straight. I spoke of how he was like an extra coach, and how he was the least of my own worries in the Phillies rotation. Boy, has that outlook changed. Since then, in 3 starts, Moyer's ERA is 13.87. That has raised his season ERA to 8.15. Moyer has quickly gone from "guy I was most confident would rectify his high ERA" to "guy most likely to make me scream profanity during a game".


In 1989, it took Mike Schmidt less than 2 months to realize that he no longer had it. With a semi-milestone (550 homers) just ahead of Mike Schmidt, when he left the game, Schmidt said, "I could ask the Phillies to keep me on to add to my statistics, but my love for the game won't let me do that." Moyer may seem to be chasing the carrot that is his 250th win. Moyer is sitting on 249 wins for his career right now. At what point might Jamie's love for the game prevail and force him to realize he may no longer offer Major League skills to the Phillies?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jay-Dubya Stole Our Hearts and Bases Too

Last night, Jayson Werth led the Phillies to victory, by stealing 4 bases against his former team, the Dodgers....3 of which were in the 7th inning. It's a rare feat to steal your way around the bases, including home. It's only been done by 49 players in MLB history. If you still don't understand how big of a deal this is, just check out the screen capture below. Werth topped American Idol as the top news story on Yahoo this afternoon. For something to bump down weak-sauce competition program results on Yahoo's featured stories, it's got to be huge.

The fine people over on TheFightins.com have all the footage of Jayson Werth's steal of home. Check it out, if you missed it, or wish to see it again.

"Oh, Manny!"



Jimmy Kimmel Live's parking lot security guard Guillermo has been broken up since his favorite slugger got suspended last week. Here, he sings a tribute to Manny.

Q&A with Tim Gradoville

Tim Gradoville is a career minor league catcher, who once, as a September call up, was up with the big club for the proverbial cup of coffee. Slated to be the Phillies bullpen catcher, at a later date, Gradoville is currently assigned as a special instructor with the Lakewood BlueClaws. I had the opportunity to speak with Tim and here's how that went down...


What's the atmosphere with the BlueClaws like so far this season?

Well, I think we have a good mix of players. We have some veteran guys, and some young guys too, so it makes for an interesting mix. I think the guys like to have a good time, and they're pretty loose and that translates into winning games. They have a good time. With a young team, you never know what you're gonna get, sometimes, but they seem to gel pretty well together, so that helps to build team unity, helps guys get along. They're having fun, they're enjoying baseball. This game can be a grind sometimes, if you're not having fun.


What's your situation as a coach with the team? How long will you be with Lakewood?

That's really up to the organization. I'm just trying to get myself basically better as far as batting practice goes, and working with the younger catching prospects too. So, hopefully once I get that batting practice figured out, hopefully I'll be back (with the big club).


What are the advantages for a guy like (prospect) Travis D'Arnaud having you and Dusty Wathan (two former catchers) as coaches?

He's a young guy, and a lot of times high school guys don't have a lot of catching help in high school. A lot of people don't know how to teach catching. Obviously, with Dusty as manager, and me being here, we can get a lot of work done with him, pass on some of the knowledge that we have. It's really up to him to get the work done and work hard on his own too.


Are there any players on the Lakewood team that you think might resemble a current Major League Phillie with aspects of his game?

Well, we've got a lot of speed on the team, which is a good asset to have. (18 yr old OF, Anthony) Gose runs the bases really well. Obviously, speed with Gose- maybe (he compares to) a guy like Victorino, ya know, something like that, as far as his base running ability. He's got a lot of things to learn as far as how to steal bases, but he goes on raw speed right now.


Do you have a most memorable moment from your time as a player in the Phillies system?

I'd have to say getting called up in '06 was the big moment for me....at the end of the year. It was pretty unexpected, but obviously a highlight of my life. Also, playing with a lot of good team mates, and learning a lot from guys who have been there before. I miss the comradery of being on that team. Just playing with those guys, and the atmosphere that I had to play with, was always the highlight of my career.


What is Dusty like to work with?

He's great. He kind of lets people do their thing, as far as lets Bob (Milacki) work with his pitchers, lets (Greg) Legg work with the hitters, lets me work with the catchers. I mean, he helps out, and does a lot of extra work with guys. But he's really relaxed, he's fair, and knows when to get on guys and when not to. I think all the players respect who he is, and what he stands for. He's a great manager for being in his second year. Obviously, he has a dad (John Wathan) who managed in the big leagues, which helps, but he's starting off his (managing) career pretty well. He seems like a players' manager....a guy who you want to play for, and play hard for. That's all he demands, ya know- hard work and repsect. That's all these guys need to do to make him happy is go out there and play hard every day.


What was your favorite team and who was your favorite player growing up?

St. Louis Cardinals and Ozzie Smith.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dodgers and Phillies Series Preview

It's a rematch of last year's National League Championship Series! The Phillies won the series and all the games in Philadelphia. This season, the Dodgers are 8-8 on the road and the Phillies are 7-10 at home. Pitching match ups for the 3 game series are listed below with other notes.

Tuesday, 7:05pm. Clayton Kershaw (1-2, 4.91 ERA) vs. Chan Ho Park (0-1, 6.67 ERA). Kershaw in 2 starts against the Phils is 0-1, with am 8.10 ERA in 10 innings pitched. Kershaw on the road this season has 10.29 ERA in 3 starts. Park has 5 career appearances against the Dodgers. In those games he is 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA. Also, for his career, May is Park's best month in batting average against at .236 and WHIP at 1.33. Juan Pierre is a .480 career hitter against Park (12-for-25). Also, the game is a sell out- Dollar Dog Night.

Wednesday, 7:05pm. Randy Wolf (1-1, 2.95 ERA) vs. Jamie Moyer (3-2, 7.26 ERA). In 26 career starts at Citizens Bank Park, Wolfy is 8-7 with a 4.41 ERA. This will be Wolf's 2nd career appearance against the Phillies. In Wolf's last start, he gave up 1 earned run in 6 innings against the Nationals. In Moyer's last start he allowed 7 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Metropolitans. In 10 career starts against the Dodgers, Moyer is 3-4 with a 4.80 ERA.

Thursday, 1:05pm. Chad Billingsley (5-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (1-2, 6.17 ERA). Billingsley has a 1-1 record and 4.00 ERA in 3 career regular season starts against our Phillies. In three road starts this year, Billingsley has a 2-0 record and 1.74 ERA. Cole is 1-0 in 2 regular season starts against the Dodgers with a 2.57 ERA. Russell Martin is the only active Dodger to homer off of Hamels. Martin is 1-for-6 off of him in regular season play.

Chase Utley is a .339 hitter and has a 1.028 OPS against the Dodgers in his career. In 29 games, Utley is 38-for-112 with 7 homers against LA.

Raul Ibanez is batting .371 at home this season with a 1.251 OPS. In 17 home games, Raul is 23-for-62 and has 7 homers and 17 RBI.

Some Phils hitters who struggle against LA: Pedro Feliz- career .218 hitter in 99 career games...Ryan Howard- .214 career hitter against LA in 27 games...Jimmy Rollins- career .239 hitter in 53 games.

Scott Eyre has a career 1.11 ERA in 42 games against the Dodgers. Eyre has a 3-0 record and has struck out 29 in 32 1/3 innings pitched in those games.

Caption This....

Jayson Werth was hit by a pitch thrown by Jeff Bennett on Friday. This picture shows where the ball made contact with Werth.
Drop YOUR caption in the comments area.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Meet Ryan Bergh


Ryan Bergh is a righty reliever for the single A BlueClaws. Bergh, a side-armed hurler, was a 26th round selection in the 2008 amateur draft out of Old Dominion University. He spent last season with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. In 20 games in the GCL, Bergh led the team with 9 saves and had a 0.64 ERA. Through 10 games this season, Bergh is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 4 saves.

Here's how my Q&A with Bergh went...

Can I get your thoughts on your successful first 5 weeks of the season?
I've just been fortunate, ya know. I've been locating my pitches, and getting guys out. Ran into a little trouble a couple outings back, not locating but, for the most part I'm able to keep the ball down in the zone and get guys out.


Does your arm angle (side arm) help you out? Is that an advantage for you?

I think so. I've been throwing like this since high school, so it's not really that strange for me, but obviously the hitters- it's a little bit different angle. Yeah, I think it gives me an advantage. Definitely.


And something like that would be more successful in relief, right?...so batters don't see you times through the order and become familiar?

Yeah, I think stereotypically a lot of guys with the lower arm angle are used more as relievers. You don't see if as much, so it's more effective. You're not that familiar with it. But as long as you've got good pitches and you're locating stuff, I think it's...not easy, but it's a good way to get guys out regardless of the arm slot.


What is your pitch repertoire like?

Fastball, slider and change up. A lot of two seams.


What do you think of New Jersey so far?

Well, tonight was a beautiful night, but we've had a little cold, a little wet weather. But I'm looking forward to when it warms up.


What's your routine like a day after you pitch, or on a daily basis?

Really, because I'm a reliever it's pretty much the same thing every day. We get running in before the game (and) long toss. Just treat every day pretty much the same. Most days, if I go out there and throw 2 innings, I know I'm probably not going to pitch the next day. But even still, I'll just approach the same way and get ready, 'cause you never know- you might go 16 innings, and I might have to throw so...just try to do the same thing every day.


What was your favorite team and favorite player growing up?

It's tough. Being from Florida, back when the Marlins won it was exciting. Fred McGriff was one of my favorite hitters back in the day.


What Major League Park would you most like to pitch in some day?

Of course, Philly! Being affiliated...that's my first immediate goal.


What advice might you give to teen aged players who hope to continue playing baseball past high school?

I think a big thing at that young age is listening to your coaches. I know from myself going through it...maybe it's just the age, you don't want to listen to your coaches necessarily...but, in most cases they know better than the player does. So just working on the drills, the fundamentals, stuff like that, and working on the little things.


What's your favorite music or favorite musical artists?

I'm a big fan of Linkin Park and OAR. I listen to a lot of R&B and rap stuff too.


That's all for now. Check out the Q & A link below for more interviews.

Stats to Ponder: Jimmy Rollins Edition

J-Roll has batted under .200 for a calendar month twice in his career. In April 2004, Rollins went 13-for-71, for a .183 average. The following month, Rollins went 30-for-107, which is a .280 average. And in August 2005, Rollins went 22-for-117, for a .188 average. The month that followed saw Rollins go 49-for-122 for a .402 average. Rollins is batting .171 so far in May 2009. Improvement is not far away for Jimmy.


The Phillies are 10-2 in games this year which Rollins scores at least 1 run.
The Phillies are 4-12 in games which Rollins does not score.


Jimmy Rollins in 6 games against the Braves this year is batting .071 (2-for-28).
In 2008 Rollins batted .284 against the Braves in 18 games.
In 2007 Rollins batted .347 against the Braves in 18 games.
In 2006 Rollins batted .367 against the Braves in 18 games.

Jimmy Milestone Watch:

  • 6 more RBI and Rollins will tie Scott Rolen for 25th all time in Phillies RBI leaders.
  • 7 more triples and Rollins will tie Richie Ashburn for 4th all time in Phillies triples leaders.
  • 15 more runs scored and Rollins will tie Billy Hamilton for 10th all time in Phillies runs leaders.
  • 26 more hits and Rollins will tie Tony Taylor for 10th all time in Phillies hits leaders.
  • 27 more games played and Rollins will tie Pat Burrell for 16th most games played as a Phillie.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 14

Curt Simmons made his Major League debut for the Phillies at age 18 and, over time, became one of the team's most dependable starting pitchers.


The lefty signed with the team in 1947 for $65,000 following an exhibition game set up by team owner Bob Carpenter. Much to everyone's surprise, Curt Simmons struck out eleven Phils in the game, which ended in a 4-4 tie. Upon signing, Simmons was assigned to Wilmington, in the minor leagues. After striking out 197 batters in 147 minor league innings, Simmons was promoted to the Major League club for the final week of the 1947 season. In Simmons debut, he beat the Giants at Shibe Park 3-1, giving up just 5 hits and striking out 9.


The following season, Simmons had a rough go of it, and started off slowly. In his first start of the season, he struggled to find the strike zone, as he walked 7 of the 14 batters he faced. Over his first two full seasons with the Phillies, Simmons' control hurt him. He was a combined 11-23 in 1948 and 1949.


That magical Whiz Kids season of 1950 was when it all really came together for Simmons, who was still just 21 years old at the time. His record was 17-8 with a 3.40 ERA when he was summoned to military duty in early September. His disappearance from the starting rotation nearly cost our Phillies the pennant. Simmons was valuable to the squad and they missed his skills, but ended up clinching the pennant on the final day of the season.


Simmons of course would miss the World Series in 1950, and missed the entire following season serving his duties to the United States in the Korean War. He returned for the 1952 season and did not seem to miss a step. He went 14-8 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. His 6 shut outs would lead the National League in '52.


In 1953, Curt Simmons came within a single hit of pitching a perfect game. On May 16th, Simmons surrendered a single to lead-off hitter, Bill Bruton, then retired the next 27 batters, in order, to win the game 3-0.


Simmons pitched for the Phillies all the way through the '50's until he was released after struggling in 4 appearances in 1960. He was later signed as a free agent by St. Louis, and exceeded 195 innings pitched in a season for the Cardinals 4 times, and he helped St. Louis reach the World Series in 1964, with an 18-9 record. His career record with Philadelphia was 115-110, with a 3.66 ERA.


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Read more about the Whiz Kids by clicking the "1950" link below and read more Sunday School entries by checking out the "Sunday School" link below.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Meet Tyler Cloyd

Tyler Cloyd is a 21 year old (22 next Saturday) right handed starting pitcher for the Low A ball Lakewood BlueClaws. Over six starts this season, Cloyd is 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in 38 innings pitched. His strike out to walk ratio (38:6) certainly stands out and exemplifies his control. He's fresh off an 8 shut out inning performance against Kannapolis on Thursday, in which he struck out 8 and walked none. Cloyd was an 18th round 2008 draft selection by our Phillies. He began his pro career with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in June and did not allow a run in his first two starts, earning wins in each. He was then transferred to Williamsport, where he pitched for current Lakewood manager Dusty Wathan. At Williamsport he went 5-4 in 65 innings over 12 starts, with a 4.57 ERA.

I had a chance to speak with Tyler, and here's how that went down.


What thoughts do you have on your early success thus far? Any secrets to you success?

There are no secrets really. It's just going out there and doing what I know I can....staying within my abilities. And that's, ya know, locate my fastball, that's one of the things that I can do well, if I stay within myself. If I try to overpower, and fly open, my mechanics break down. My off-speed stuff, it's good enough to where I can slow it down or I can throw breaking balls for strikes. It's not really secrets, it's just doing what I can do, and what I'm able to do.


What's your pitch repertoire like?

Fastball, change up, slider.


How much support do catcher Travis D'Arnaud and pitching coach Bob Milacki give you? How much credit might go to them for your performance so far?

They get a lot of credit. I mean, I always say you can't do it without a catcher, and being on the same page with the catcher is huge. I want to be at a fast tempo, and with Travis, he learns well what pitchers want to throw in what situations, to what batters and everything. It's nice to have a catcher like that as far as that (goes). And as far as Bob, you got a guy that knows what he's talking about and knows what he does. He watches and helps us out when we fly open, or we're doing something bad mechanically that we can't tell and he can...he'll just take us off to the side and he let's us know about it and after the games, we'll talk about it and the next day we'll talk about it. And during the week when we throw our bullpen (sessions) we work on what we can do better. So a lot of the credit goes to both men for them helping me out, staying calm, and helping me get to the point where I can be, to start going up levels.


What are your goals going forward in 2009?

Just staying healthy, number 1. Keeping my body healthy and keeping my arm healthy, so I can go out there every five days and throw. As far as other goals, ya know, just keep the team in every game. That should be every pitcher's goal. Just pitch my best every night and just see what happens as long as the season goes.


What do you think about New Jersey so far?

It's pretty nice. A little weird driving around, but the people are all nice and all the fans- they're great. So, it's pretty nice right now.


Does it help you out, at all, having a little history with Dusty last year?

You know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from you. Having him two years in a row, it's great. You don't have to get used to a different manager or anything like that. Already knowing the guy, and what he expects out of you, it's kind of nice to be able to keep that into a second year.


What major league ballpark would you most like to pitch in someday?

Fenway, by far. Boston's been my favorite team since I can remember.


You grew up in New England?

No, I grew up in Nebraska. Don't ask me how it happened, Boston being my favorite team. Me and my brother both, we've loved Boston forever. So, just to go there and play would be awesome.


What advice might you give to teenagers who hope to play baseball beyond high school?

Just, not letting people tell you (negative things) like, you can't play this position, you can't play baseball, or you're not good enough. You can be as good as you want to be, as long as you're 100% into it. And if you get one person or two people saying you're not good enough, that should just push you farther, and push you more to get better and go after it.

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Other Lakewood notes....

The BlueClaws lost on Friday night, 8-1 to the Kannapolis Intimidators, a White Sox affiliate. Hot prospect Jason Knapp started the game for Lakewood, and escaped a threat in the first inning on some luck when an apparent 2-run homer was called a ground rule double. Knapp's luck did not extend past the first, however, when Kannapolis scored 4 runs in the second inning and 2 more in the third. Knapp was then lifted for reliever Jacob Diekman, who threw 5 innings of 2 hit ball, surrendering only 1 run, while striking out 5 and walking none. Knapp's season ERA inflated to 4.13 (from 2.73), and his ERA in his last 2 starts is 10.80.

The BlueClaws are 13-6 in night games, after Friday's loss.

BlueClaws second baseman Harold Garcia's 13 game hitting streak ended, as he was 0-for-4 Friday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Jeopardy 3


For $500 in the category of ex-Phillies starters who have been demoted to the minors, the answer is: The stud muffin pitcher who is holding it down at triple A with a 2.61 ERA through 6 starts, trying to earn a promotion back to the Major Leagues, while blowing sweet little kisses our way...


Question: Who is Kyle Rodney Kendrick?

Correct!

Braves and Phillies Weekend Preview

Fresh off being swept in two games by the Metropolitans, our Phillies head home to begin a three game weekend series with the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies are 6-8 at home. The Braves are 8-6 on the road. Check out the pitching match ups and notes that follow.


Friday, 7:05 pm. Jo-Jo Reyes (0-1, 5.00 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.27 ERA). Reyes has 5 career appearances against the Phillies and has not done well. His record against the Phils is 0-2 and his ERA is 6.94. Jimmy Rollins is 0-for-13 off Reyes, while Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz combine for a .340 batting avg. (17-for-50). In 11 career starts against the Braves, Hamels is 6-3 with a 3.45 ERA with 73 innings pitched. Brain McCann is a .381 career hitter (8-for-21) off Hamels. McCann has been on the disabled list since April 25th, and is eligible to be activated on Friday.


Saturday, 3:40 pm. Javier Vazquez (2-3, 4.19 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (1-2, 6.84 ERA). Vazquez is 10-7 with a 4.55 ERA in his career against the Phils. Jimmy Rollins is a career .170 hitter (8-for-47) against Vazquez. In 2 career starts against Atlanta, Blanton has thrown 6 innings and allowed 9 earned runs (13.50 ERA). In 3 home starts this season, Blanton has allowed 16 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings pitched (10.05 ERA). Brain McCann is the only Braves hitter with a homerun off Blanton...McCann is 3-for-3 off of him.


Sunday, 12:35 pm. Kenshin Kawakami (1-4, 6-41) vs. Brett Myers (2-2, 5.35 ERA). Kawakami has not faced the Phillies before. He has lost his last 4 starts, and has a 10.13 ERA in two day starts this season. In 27 games against the Braves, Myers is 4-9, with 4 saves and a 4.66 ERA. Brian McCann and Chipper Jones combine for a career .365 avg. against Myers (23-for-63) with 5 homers and 15 RBI. Both of Myers' losses have occurred at home this season, although his ERA is more than a full run better at home (home- 4.82, road-5.89).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Phils Legend Passes, and other news

We've lost another one. Danny Ozark, manager of the great 1976 and 1977 Eastern Division Champion Phillies, passed away today at age 85.

Manny Ramirez is the latest big name baseball star to test positive for banned substances. He has been suspended for 50 games.

Chase Utley's famed "WFC" speech drawing fines for broadcasters.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee speaks on Brett Myers' early season issues.

The Inquirer has a story on Chan Ho Park and adjustments he has made.


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Update-


Click here for CoedMagazine.com's list of 50 Ways Manny Ramirez Could've Better Blown $7.7 Million.

Click here to be reminded about how Jose Canseco is the most honest man in the universe.

Click here to read about Manny's testosterone and erectile dysfunction.

Click here to purchase some fresh PEDodgers shirts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Phillies Take First Trip to Bail Out Field

I've spent over an hour this afternoon trying to think of something worth posting that wasn't Chan Ho Park vs. Johan Santana related. I couldn't do it. There's really not anyone around the baseball world that thinks the Phillies will win the first of a two game series in NYC tonight, when the Phillies' worst possible option faces the best pitcher in the National League. Park, who is 0-1 with an 8.57 ERA, will start for our Phillies and will face off against Johan Santana, who was just named NL pitcher of the month for April.

Johan Santana has never suffered a loss to the Phillies. Santana's career stats against Philadelphia- 6 starts, 2-0, 2.85 ERA, .201 batting average against. Some Phillies struggle against Johan (Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz and Chase Utley combine for a .121 career avg. against him...8-for-66), while others are not very troubled by the ace starter (Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth combine for a .359 avg. against him...23-for-64).

Park faced the Metropolitans last Friday night and got roughed up. He walked 6 and gave up 7 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched. In 5 games thus far in 2009, opposing batters are hitting .333 against Park. This could potentially be Chan Ho's last turn in the Phils' rotation, as "Jay" Happ continues to perform well in relief, and Kyle Kendrick holds a low ERA at triple A Lehigh Valley.

On the flip side, however, imagine how broken the Metropolitans would be, if they lost this series opener. The Mets are already so fragile that the team has banned local newspapers from the club house, so players won't be subject to the local media critiquing them. If the Phillies can come out victorious on Wednesday night, you can count out the Mets early this year. Your regularly scheduled September choke date four months early!

I still feel as though failing to making adjustments to the rotation and allowing this match up to take place is a mistake by the Phillies coaching staff. All games count the same in the standings. For Cole Hamels to throw his bullpen session and practice fielding & covering first base yesterday, follow it up by saying he "feels fine", but then stick with the delay of his next start, till Friday, is the worst news in this whole scenario. Why doesn't the #1 starter and World Series MVP want to start closer to "on time" (his last start was Tuesday, 4/28, when he sprained his ankle) so he can face his team's arch rival?

Hamels is the Phillies pitcher that gives the team the best chance of beating Johan Santana while he's on a roll. Cole stating that he "feels fine" but then resting for the next two days does not sit well. Surely, we all understand pitchers have routines. If Colbert's routine is to rest two days after his bullpen session, between starts, that's fine. We know he's shot down questions about pitching on short rest before. We remember that he once scoffed at potentially returning from an injury unless the team was fighting for a playoff spot. The problem with that is...again, the games count as much now as they do in September. Less rest now, when he "feels fine", means more starts by the Phillies' ace in the long run.

I want to root for players that are driven by competition and winning, not guys who are steadily focused on a routine. I am not exactly hating on Hamels, but I will fully admit that it would be plenty more difficult to like how he operates if he wasn't the NLCS and World Series Most Valuable Player.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Letter to This Guy

Dear Cardinals fan,
When a homerun ball is hit in your direction, do not close your eyes and raise both hands far above your head, leaving your face/chest/neck/head defenseless. Jayson Werth long balls to the cranium are probably not very comfortable. Next time, let the guy in the pajama pants behind you take a crack at it. He may not know how to dress well, but he keeps his eyes open in the face of killer shots from World Champion outfielders.

Love,

PhoulBallz.com

PS- Stay hot.




Happy 5th of May!

Here's a collection of Phillies related notes for you and all of your loved ones on this glorious drinking holiday-

Ryan Howard in St. Louis is a serious beast! In the city where he was born, Howard is 23-for-60 in his career (.383 avg.), with 7 homers and 28 RBI. Howard has played just 16 games in St. Louis. Howard's grand slam in the 5th inning of Monday night's game was the 7th of his career. That ties him for the all time Phillies franchise lead in grand slams with Mike Schmidt. Each slugger has 7.

Shane Victorino has a 13 game hitting streak. Shane has walked or hit safely in all but 3 of the Phillies' 23 games this season.

Raul Ibanez went 0-for-4 in Monday's game at St. Louis. This was just the third game in which he did not walk or hit safely this season for our Phils.

Lefty reliever Mike Zagurski continues his journey back to the major leagues. Zagurski, or Zagz if you will, completed his third scoreless appearance for double-A Reading on Monday. So far, in 3 appearances with Clearwater and 3 appearances with Reading, Mike has thrown 6 innings, striking out 3, walking only 1 and surrendering 4 hits.

Lots of national TV exposure coming up for the Phillies...Wednesday night's game at New York is on ESPN, Thursday's game in New York will by carried by MLB Network, Saturday's home game against the Braves will be on Fox, and Sunday's game with the Braves is on TBS. Remember the TBS broadcast schedule forced a game time change to 12:35pm. Also, the following Wednesday night game, at home versus the Dodgers, is slated to be shown on ESPN.

Former Phillies prospect Gio Gonzalez was promoted to the Majors by Oakland over the weekend. Potentially, he is a threat to another former Phils prospect's spot in Oakland's rotation. If Josh Outman struggles, Gonzalez could take the starting role. Outman has a 4.41 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP through 5 games (3 starts). Gonzalez's ERA at triple A Sacramento was 2.12 over 4 starts.

Here is your John Mayberry Jr. vs. Greg Golson update. The former top draft picks, who were traded for each other this past offseason, are having successful seasons thus far. Golson, who was promoted to the Major League roster by Texas on Monday, was hitting .286, with a homer, 9 RBI, 4 steals and a .738 OPS with Texas' triple A club in Oklahoma City. Golson had played in 20 games with Oklahoma City. Mayberry Jr., through 21 games at triple A Lehigh Valley, is batting .284 with 6 homers, 19 RBI, 1 steal and a .958 OPS. A call up for Mayberry Jr. may not be too far away. Especially if extra righty bat Miguel Cairo continues to be terrible for the ML Phillies, off the bench.

JC Romero, who is pitching in extended spring training games, while serving his 50 game suspension, after testing positive for banned substances, faced Alex Rodriguez in Monday's extended spring game. Romero walked A-Rod, but retired the other 3 batters he faced. Rodriguez is there rehabbing from his hip surgery.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Say Hello To the Phillies' Best Pitcher

Four full weeks into the Major League Baseball season, the Phillies have a surprise star on the mound. While Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge and Jamie Moyer all have ERA's ranging from 5.65 to 8.41. And while Chan Ho Park, Brett Myers, Hamels and Blanton have all combined for just 1 win, righty reliever Clay Condrey has 3 wins, and a 1.26 ERA in 14 appearances. Clay's 0.77 WHIP and .167 batting average against also put him far ahead of his team mates. Condrey has undoubtedly become the most reliable pitcher on the staff. His excellent performance so far in 2009 may not be surprising to some. Condrey's statistics after the all star break last season were quite solid as well. During the 2nd half of the Phils' 2008 campaign, Condrey had a 2.73 ERA in 26 appearances.

Not convinced that Clay is worthy of real praise? Still thinking, "Eh, he just looks better 'cause everyone else is off to a poor start"? Check out Condrey's combined numbers against division rivals Washington, Atlanta, Florida and New York in 2008- 35 1/3 innings pitched in 29 games with a 2.29 ERA. And on top of that, in his career against the arch rival Metropolitans, Condrey has appeared in 14 games, pitched 20 innings, and has a 1.80 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.

So, phans, while Clayton Lee Condrey continues to hold it down in the Phillies' bullpen, be sure to give the man his due.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 13

Jim Konstanty was a pitcher with the Phillies from 1948-1954. Early on, Konstanty, was assumed to have little shot at a real career in the Major Leagues. His scholarly appearance and small repertoire of pitches did little to instill confidence in the clubs he pitched for.

Konstanty, whose real first name was Casimir, was a 4-sport athlete at Syracuse University. He did not begin pitching till he had completed college. Konstanty pitched briefly for the Reds in 1944 but Navy service interrupted his progress and the next few seasons in the minors weren't great. Eddie Sawyer took over as manager of the Phillies' triple A team, Toronto, in 1948. Sawyer moved Konstanty to the bullpen, and when Sawyer got promoted up to manage the Phillies, he brought Konstanty up along with him.

In 1949, Konstanty had a break through season for the Phillies and went 9-5 with a 3.25 ERA. 1950, however, was the year that put Jim Konstanty in the history books. That season, the Phillies won their first National League pennant in 35 years, and Konstanty won the National League Most Valuable Player award. In 74 games, all relief appearances, Konstanty had 22 saves and a 16-7 record with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He pitched 152 innings that season.

Konstanty relied almost solely on two pitches. A slider and a change up was all he needed to baffle opposing batters. And unlike closers of today, Konstanty was frequently called upon to pitch an extended number of innings. In the second game of a double header on September 16th, 1950, the Phils trailed the Reds 5-0 in the 7th inning, prior to eventually tying the game in the 9th inning. Jim had entered the game in the 8th inning, and went on to pitch 9 scoreless innings before the Phillies won the game in the bottom of the 18th inning. That same season he also pitched 9 innings of relief against the Pirates. His 74 pitching appearances that season was the ML record, at the time.

By the end of his career in 11 seasons with 5 different clubs, Konstanty had posted a 66-48 record with 74 saves and a 3.46 ERA in 433 games.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Park's Struggles Continue

Long before my idea of a Chan Ho's Banjos fan group could take the region by storm, like I once thought it might, Chan Ho Park guy continues to struggle. Park allowed 7 earned runs and walked 6 batters, in 4 2/3 innings pitched on Friday in game 1 against the Metropolitans. Park's season ERA stands at 8.57, over 5 starts.

Park seems to be pitching himself out of the Phillies' rotation. But, who might be the answer to fill his spot? Prospect Carlos Carrasco is still winless at triple A Lehigh Valley, and has had rough times in his last two outings. He has a 4.50 ERA and 31 strike outs and a 1.23 WHIP in 26 innings, over 5 starts. Reliever "Jay" Happ has a 3.52 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 9 appearances this season. Kyle Kendrick is earning himself consideration with a 2-1 record and a 2.77 ERA over 5 starts for Lehigh Valley. Time will tell what the team will do with the 5th spot in the rotation.

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Links from around my bloggerhood-

Swing and a Long Drive's got some reviews on thier page about Phillies' minor leaguers of interest with some analysis from me.

Homeside News has your full May Day report.

Chris at Long Drive is having a caption contest for a Charlie Manuel bobble head.

BlueClaws Blog has a tip on who to root for in the Kentucky Derby.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Metropolitans and Phillies Weekend Preview

The New York Metro's are in town for a three game weekend series. Let's take a look at the match ups.

Friday, 7:05pm...Mike Pelfrey (2-0, 6.32 ERA) vs. Chan Ho Park (0-0, 7.16 ERA). Pelfrey in his career is 1-2 against the Phillies in 4 starts, with a 4.09 ERA. He has gone exactly 5 innings in all 3 of his starts this season. In 2 career starts at CBP, Pelfrey is 0-1, with a 5.40 ERA. Gregg Dobbs is 4-for-8 in his career vs. Pelfrey with a homer and 3 RBI. In 15 career games against the Mets, Park has a 2.44 ERA and a 5-3 record in 73 2/3 innings pitched. In May 2008, Park appeared in 8 games (1 start) and had a 1-1 record with a 1.93 ERA in 18 2/3 innings. David Wright, Fernando Tatis and Carlos Delgado are a combined 10-for-20 off Park in their careers. Tatis' success against Park was detailed on this site just last week.

Saturday, 3:40pm...Oliver Perez (1-2, 9.31 ERA) vs. Jamie Moyer (3-1, 5.09 ERA). In 12 career starts vs. the Phils, Perez is 2-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 81 K's in 68 2/3 innings pitched. Perez is 2-1 in 4 career starts at CBP with a 1.42 ERA. Sources have reported that this may be Perez's last shot to solidify his role in the Mets' rotation. Ryan Howard has a career .091 avg. against Perez (2-for-22, with 14 k's). Pedro Feliz has an .059 avg. against Perez (1-for-17). Moyer is 7-4 against the Mets in 17 career starts. Last season, Moyer was 2-1 in 6 starts against NY with a 3.53 ERA. Carlos Delgado is a career .383 hitter against Moyer (31-for-81). Gary Sheffield is a career .481 hitter against Moyer (13-for-27).

Sunday, 1:35pm...John Maine (1-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (0-2, 8.41 ERA). Maine is undefeated in his career against the Phillies...5-0, 2.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP in 9 starts. In 2008, Maine's ERA was more than a full run better on the road than it was at home (3.69- away, 4.76- home). Jimmy Rollins is a career .160 hitter vs. Maine (4-for-25). Blanton has shined in his career against the Mets with a 2.14 ERA and a win in 3 starts. In 10 career regular season starts at CBP, Blanton is 2-1 with a 5.33 ERA. Luis Castillo is 7-for-14 in his career against Blanton.

Based on these numbers, it may not look too good for our Phillies. I hate the Metropolitans, however, so I surely won't be basing any predictions on numbers. I'll base them on my gut. Right now, the Phillies are 5-7 at home. I'll call for a sweep, by the good guys, and the home team will get that home record above .500. All predictions aside, this rivalry is large, this rivalry is interesting and this rivalry is fun for phans on both sides. I enjoy having a "feud" that we can all be passionate about. Cheers to you, New York Mess fans...may you cry in your beers with much health this weekend.

And just in case the series doesn't go great for the Phillies...hey, New York fans- Jimmy Rollins has something to show you!

Heroes- Fight of the Century




VS.



It's a big day for your boy, Jay Ballz. No work, X-Men Origins: Wolverine premieres, our Phillies face the Metropolitans for the first time this season and tailgating for BOTH doesn't sound all that absurd to me.

Anyway, I surveyed some qualified phans and got several opinions on how exactly a fight might go down if the mutant hero Wolverine faced off against Phillies hero Matt Stairs.

Well known blogger, Chris, of I've Made a Huge Tiny Mistake, kept it real and said the following- "Wolverine has adamantium (indestructible metal substance) claws, so that's a great advantage. Stairs' Wonder Bat is neutralized there. See, the problem becomes Wolverine's ability to recover (he has a regenerative power) faster. Stairs is merely human. Sure, he has a goatee, and goatees are great, but they're great for saving sauce, not for defeating mutants. I think Wolverine takes it in a fight to the death in about 15 minutes because Stairs simply doesn't get enough practice." Matt Stairs merely human? That's news to me.

My lady, Mrs. Ballz (AKA- Nikki) claimed, "Matt Stairs could keep hitting balls at Wolverine and Wolverine could just shred them, with his claws, as they come at him flying like 200 mph. Then, Stairs would put DOLLAR DOGS on Wolverine’s claws so he can’t use them…ha ha ha ha. Cheap defensive weapons!" I think that's a prediction in favor of Stairs.

Mike Olshin, former Phillies reporter for The Times of Trenton, had this to say regarding our phantasy hero match up- "I am guessing that Matt Stairs would take his baseball bat into the fight and probably get some good shots in at Wolverine to start. Because I'm a wrestling fan, both sides have to have some offense -- this wouldn't be a squash by any means. Stairs gets some good blows to Wolverine, who feels them all, but can certainly regain his strength and powers in record time. For fun Wolverine starts throwing balls at Stairs with his superhuman strength, but cannot throw them by our Canadian Superhero, who hits them further and further as Wolverine throws them up to speeds of over 150 mph. Finally, a 160mph fastball comes in and Stairs hits a line drive that strikes Wolverine in the head ... which makes him mad, causes him to go berserk, and snap off Stairs' arms before killing him. And then we are subjected to 9th inning Miguel Cairo at bats, causing Phillies fans to suffer for ages." Hilarious! Nice work, Olsh.

Tony Graham of the Asbury Park Press kept it simple by stating, "Heck...I'll take Matt (if he can use his bat!)"

Phriend of Phoul Ballz, C-Mac, laid it out like this- "Matt Stairs would totally win he's more bad-ass with his grey(ing) goatee, Wolverine got those wimpy talons that couldn't satisfy a back scratch. Oh, and Wolverine didn't hit a home run to give the Phillies the lead in game 4 of the NLCS." Other phriends of PhoulBallz, the newly engaged to be married couple, Jax & Jamie, were sure that Wolverine would come out victorious. Jamie sited sex appeal as a factor in choosing her winner. "I'm sure Stairs could do some damage swinging that bat, but I've got to take Wolverine in this fight. Those knives are pretty crazy. Plus Hugh Jackman is hot." That's controversial! Stairs is a damn perfect 10 stud! Conversely, one last friend took Stairs' side. Charlie said- "Wolverine may have unbreakable bones, or whatever, but Stairs is so powerful he can hit home runs like a billionaire makes money."

Amanda of Swing and a Long Drive gave this quick over view- "Who would win? Matt Stairs. Stairs clips off Wolverine's nails (claws?) and uses them as baseball bats.. and still hits home runs."

The votes seem rather even. Fittingly, Mike Krenik of The Shore Sports Report gave the most perfect answer of all. Mike K. claims, "(The fight) would rage on for hours, as both men are indestructible forces. Eventually, both tired and worn-out, they would return to their Canadian roots, share a Labatt Blue, and egg David Wright's house."

With Krenik's answer in my head, I simply can't imagine any other ending for this dream match. PhoulBallz.com Hero Match Up Result- DRAW, David Wright's house egged.