Wednesday, September 30, 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 bullpen, perhaps Pedro Martinez could be considered for relief duties, which would allow Happ to start.

Everyone knows the Phillies' top two starting pitchers will be Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, not necessarily in that order. My management thoughts, with Happ's stopper prowess and bullpen health issues in mind, would leave all options open going into a series. If Hamels, Lee and third starter Joe Blanton put together solid efforts and a game four (more likely a scenario for the 2nd and final rounds) is NOT a must win, then maybe Happ could be used in a situational relief spot if needed, or perhaps saved for a later game. On the other hand, if Hamels and/or Lee go out and have a poor outing, and as a result a later contest becomes a must win game, then Happ should be the guy, without question.

Whatever role Happ fills in the Phillies' second season, it has truly been a pleasure to watch him mature as a pitcher in 2009 and to watch him excel as a standout hurler for a defending World Champion.

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*Evening edit* Happ's stats have been corrected.

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Reminder...today is PhoulBallz Phillies Wednesday on The Shore Sports Report. Check me out live today around 3:25 on Fox Sports 1310am and WOBM 1160 in New Jersey, or live online by clicking here. The Shore Sports Report, with Joe & Mike, is on each weekday from 3-6pm.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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 already. As such, the nucleus of the starting offense needs to continue playing on a daily basis, even though they are admittedly and obviously tired. With only two days off and two double headers played in September, the Phillies have played 28 games in the 28 days that have passed this month. By Sunday night, the Phils will have played 34 games in 34 days. Clinching this playoff berth and getting the regulars some rest is key before the Phillies move onto their second season.

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Ryan Howard stole his career high 8th base of the season on Monday night. That is 10 in his career, and Howard is now only 498 steals behind Billy Hamilton for the all time Phillies team lead.

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Phans, don't panic. Comparisons to the 1964 Phillies are premature and unwelcome. For those who are unfamiliar, in '64, the Phillies had a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games left in the season, and failed to clinch a playoff spot.

The Phillies currently lead the Braves by 4 with 6 games remaining. The Braves only trail the wild card leading Rockies by 2 games.

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Another great blog entry from Ump Al- you should check it out!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

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 million.

Fasano, who played with Colorado's triple A team this season, hoped to be brought up to the majors at some point this year in order to extend his family's health coverage. One day on a major league roster in 2009 would have extended Sal Fasano's coverage another full year. The insurance would take care of anything the Fasano family might need, in relation to Santo's health. Young Santo is scheduled soon to have his third, and what the family hopes will be his final, heart surgery.

The Fasano family opted to not front the $20,000 needed to extend their insurance with Cobra coverage, as they could not afford it. Sal took a risk, signing with Colorado and hoping for a Major League promotion at any point during the season. That did not happen.

Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd is fully aware of the Fasanos' serious situation. Yahoo Sports shows the Rockies' roster totalling 38 active players. As most fans are aware, MLB rules allow teams to carry a maximum of 40 active players from September 1st till the end of the regular season. The Rockies have room for Fasano, and Dan O'Dowd could do the right thing by a man who has played baseball hard for a long time, or do right by that man's family.

It is not too late, Colorado Rockies. Sal Fasano can still be a major league player this year. Make the call, Mr. O'Dowd.

Phillies phans, pass this, or the SI.com article, along. Who knows...maybe we can still prove to be valuable pals to our boy Sal.


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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 loss was against the Astros on September 6th.

Tuesday, 7:05pm. Wilton Lopez (0-0, 8.44 ERA) vs. "Jay" Happ (11-4, 2.79 ERA). Lopez, a rookie, has appeared in just 6 relief appearances this season and Houston has lost each of those games. Happ is 4-2 with a 3.98 ERA at Citizens Bank Park this year. Happ's batting average against in 3 September starts is .317. Happ has not faced Houston in his career.

Wednesday, 7:05. Brian Moehler (8-11, 5.21 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (7-3, 3.28 ERA). Moehler is 2-3 with a 6.19 ERA in 12 games against the Phillies. In 5 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Moehler has a 7.06 ERA. Ryan Howard is 10-for-20 against Moehler with 3 homers and 7 RBI. Raul Ibanez is 2-for-13 (.154 avg) against Moehler...both hits are homeruns. Cliff Lee is 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA at CBP since joining the Phillies. Carlos Lee is 6-for-18 with 2 HR against Cliff Lee.

Thursday, 7:05. Felipe Paulino (2-11, 6.51 ERA) vs. Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.32 ERA). Paulino is 1-6 with a 8.37 ERA in 9 road games this year. Paulino has lost his last 5 starts. Pedro has a 0.90 ERA in 4 home starts as a Phillie. There is a possibility that Pedro's start could come sooner than Thursday, as he was scratched from his start on Saturday due to neck pain. In his career vs. Houston, Martinez is 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA through 16 starts.


Mike Bourn is a .318 career hitter with 9 steals in 11 games against the Phillies. Bourn leads the National League in steals with 59.

Chris Coste has not homered yet as an Astro. His OPS is an extremely low .516 with Houston.

In 22 games against the Astros, Jayson Werth has a .191 avg. with 2 homeruns and 5 RBI. Werth is currently in the midst of a 2-for-28 slump (.071 avg).

Carlos Ruiz is still expected to miss at least one more game with a sprained wrist. In 14 career games against the Astros, Ruiz has a .326 batting average.

Team runs scored Astros- 621
Team runs scored Phillies- 786

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BlueClaws Blog has details on a minor league matchup from 2003 when Cole Hamels, then a BlueClaw, faced Marlins prospect Yormin Bazardo. Check that out here.


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

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 throwing a four-hit shutout against the Astros in the first regular season game ever played in the Astrodome. By the all star break, Short had thrown 5 shutouts. In his final outing of the year, Short tossed 15 scoreless innings against the Metropolitans and struck out 18 batters. Short threw 297 1/3 innings that year, his single season high.

Short won 20 games in 1966, but won just 9 games the following year. He bounced back with a 19 win season in 1968. That would be his last great year, as back surgery would cause Short to miss much of the 1969 season and he was never the same. Short would go 20-36 from 1969 to 1973 to close out his career.

Chris Short was released by the Phillies after 1972 and spent the 1973 season with the Brewers, mainly as a reliever, before retiring. Short was inducted as a member of the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1992.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

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 been really exciting every time, especially the one to come to (Reading) 'cause I wasn't really expecting it as much. I had a feeling when I was in Lakewood that there was a possibility, but I didn't expect to be here. And now just to be here, playing with these guys, at this competition level is awesome.


There was a game in Lakewood this season, just after you debuted, where you were hit in the head by a pitch and you got a concussion. How was that, how did you feel when it happened?

I was just fresh off the hip surgery and was really excited to get out to Lakewood and it was my second game and I got hit in the head. It was pretty bad, I was stuck on the ground for a while and I couldn't really move. I've never had a concussion before. That was definitely a little scary.


What was your draft experience like last year?

I was playing with Fresno State and we were in a super regional against Arizona State, and when I found out that the Phillies drafted me I was really excited. I mean, the Phillies are a great organization and I've been blessed to get drafted into this organization. When I heard, although I was excited, I was definitely still trying to focus on the college season at the time.


What would you say that your strengths are as a player?

Probably driving in runs and moving runners. Just generally hitting.


Are there any facets of your game that you are focusing on improving specifically?

Just to keep taking good at bats every day, and not be giving away at bats. And laying off certain pitches and having good 2 strike at bats.


Who do you think helped you excel most in the system this season?

Probably, when I was in Lakewood, the hitting coach there was Greg Legg. And he was great when I was there. He was always there early at the field. Anything we needed, he was always there to hit with us and I definitely have picked up a few hitting concepts from him that have paid off.


What do you most like to do away from the ballpark?

I play a little bit of poker every now and then, for fun. But mostly just hanging out and relaxing. I also play golf, but not during the season.


If you could face any pitcher, who would you most like to face?

Probably...I'd love to face, like a (Justin) Verlander...or someone that has a really good fastball, just to see a fastball in the high 90's. I've never seen that before. I'd love to see a fastball at 100 miles an hour.


What advice might you give to young teenaged players who are hoping to play baseball beyond high school?

Definitely, just that hard work always gets you there. I've been a product of that and in high school I was a little above average and probably a little lucky to go to a Division 1 school and play baseball. And when I was there, I had a great hitting coach there and just worked with him every day. Hard work does pay off and if you never quit, and keep on working hard, you'll find yourself in good situations and good places.


What's your favorite music and what artists do you like?

Definitely country...and favorite artist? Probably Rascal Flatts.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

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 Durbin. If Brett Myers gets himself right and dominates a certain team, use him. Once the playoffs come, and the starting rotation needs become less (4 pitchers instead of 5), then perhaps Martinez or Happ can slide into a spot and can be beneficial in relief.

In a season where the offensive starting lineup is likely more solid than it was in a championship season last year and the starting rotation is pitching better than it did in that same championship season, it would be a complete shame if the bullpen ruined what could potentially be another magical year. It's good that Manuel finally sees the need to make adjustments, but let's hope he does a proper job of deciding what the adjustments should be.

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Fan IQ has a review of the ugliest baseball uniforms. Check it out here.

More Hardball talks about the Phillie Phanatic's Japanese love child. Check that out here.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

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 Parra (10-10, 6.42 ERA). Lee is 4-1 with a 3.08 ERA in 6 road starts as a Phillie. Lee has not faced the Brewers before. Parra is 0-3 with a 17.05 ERA in 3 career appearances against the Phillies.

Saturday, 7:05pm. Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.32 ERA) vs. Braden Looper (13-7, 5.12 ERA). Pedro is 1-0 in 3 career starts against the Brewers with a 5.14 ERA. Jody Gerut is 6-for-14 (.429 avg) with a homer against Martinez in his career. Martinez's home/road ERA splits (4 starts each)- 0.90/5.66. Looper is 4-4 with a 5.02 ERA in 17 home starts this year. Looper is 3-6 with a 5.10 ERA, with 16 saves and 5 blown saves, in 61 career games against the Phillies. Ryan Howard is 4-for-6 (all 4 hit are homeruns) against Looper in his career.

Sunday, 2:05pm. Joe Blanton (11-7, 3.82 ERA) vs. Dave Bush (5-8, 6.22 ERA). Blanton is 4-4 with a 4.15 ERA in 14 road starts this year. Blanton's ERA in his last 6 road starts is 4.06. Mike Cameron is 3-for-7 with 2 HR against Blanton. Bush is undefeated against the Phillies in 7 career starts with a 1-0 record and a 5.01 ERA. Over his last 8 starts this year, Bush's ERA in 9.68. Greg Dobbs is 6-for-14 (.429 avg) with 2 homers against Bush. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Ben Francisco and Pedro Feliz are a combined 10-for-63 (.164 avg) against Bush with 3 homers and 7 RBI (2 of the HR and 5 of the RBI belong to Feliz).


Chase Utley is a .325 career hitter in 34 career games against Milwaukee with 4 homeruns and 21 RBI. Utley is a .447 career hitter with a 1.296 OPS in 11 games at Miller Park.

Ryan Howard is a .300 hitter after the all star break in his career....before the all star break- .255. In 10 career games at Miller Park, Howard is a .171 hitter with a .523 OPS.

Pedro Feliz is the only active Phillie to have homered off of Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman.

Prince Fielder has 3 hits in his past 4 games...all 3 hits are homeruns.

Team ERA Phillies- 4.09
Team ERA Brewers- 4.75

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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 answer was Scott Eyre. Ramirez ended up walking, which led to a Jorge Cantu game tying single, then Ramirez later scored the winning run on Brett Carroll's game ending hit. Eyre would have been the ideal pitcher to face Hanley in that spot, needing just one out. Eyre is a lefty. Ramirez is batting 39 points lower against lefties this year than he is against right handers. He also has hit just ONE of his 23 homers against lefty pitchers this season. Furthermore, Eyre has been exceptional on the road this season, having allowed only 1 earned run in 22 road games. The Phillies stated that Eyre was available for Wednesday night's game, and he should have been used.

Don't confuse the outcome with the decision either...sure, Ramirez was not the batter who got the walk-off hit, but that doesn't change the point that a better match up, with a left hander facing the batter, is more likely to end the game there.

Charlie Manuel has spoken plenty about Brad Lidge getting back on the right track. Okay, even if he was on the track, he's just standing still on it. When that train comes through, it makes an awful mess.

It makes sense to some extent that the Phillies might try to stand by Lidge based on financial details. Brad Lidge is currently the third highest paid player on the team. He is owed a guaranteed $24.5 million dollars, going forward. Sure, there's an investment involved and he costs a lot, but he's costing the team more than money right now. Lidge is costing the Phillies games.

Can Brad Lidge continue looking in the mirror and not see what he has become? It doesn't matter. Can Charlie Manuel continue watching Lidge blow games and not make changes? Hopefully, not.

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PhoulBallz has had plenty of Lidge posts this year. Follow these links to a couple favorites you may have missed.

Lidge Will Prevent a Repeat

Lidge needs to renegotiate his deal with the devil

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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 "Jay" Happ. He lost a complete game at Pittsburgh on 8/27 and lost the Brad Penny debut gem to SF on 9/2. Cole Hamels also lost one of those games, against the Astros, and Jamie Moyer took the 4th loss on Tuesday night in Florida.

The 1-4 team win-loss record in the 5 no decisions simply displays another obstacle the Phillies have been dealing with...their bullpen. They can't hold games close or hold leads. The starters' ERA in the 5 no decisions was 3.54...certainly a solid enough job to keep the team in games.

Phillies phans, your team MVP for the last month has been the starting rotation. If the pitching keeps it up at this pace, we could be looking at another very enjoyable October, in spite of a roller coaster offense and those questionable relievers.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

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 in his career. Moyer is 8-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 8 starts at Land Shark Stadium. Cody Ross is 6-for-11 (.545 avg) this season off of Moyer, but is only 9-for-37 (.243 avg) off of Moyer in his career. Sanchez has only won once since April 16th (11 starts). Ryan Howard is 4-for-8 off of Sanchez with a HR and 5 walks.

Wednesday, 7:10pm. Cole Hamels (10-9, 4.07 ERA) vs. Rick Vandenhurk (2-2, 4.24 ERA). Colbert is 2-5 in 10 career starts against the Marlins with a 4.19 ERA. In his last 5 starts, Hamels is 3-1 with a 1.43 ERA. Cole's record in even numbered months this season- 1-7 (w/ 4.76 ERA). His record in odd numbered months this season is 9-2 (w/ 3.50 ERA). Vandenhurk is 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA over his last 4 starts.


Pedro Feliz is batting .226 since the all star break and is in the midst of a 25-for-132 slump (.189 avg). In 11 games vs. the Marlins this season, Feliz is batting .279 (12-for-43) with a homer and 7 RBI.

Chase Utley has more RBI against the Marlins (76) than he does against any other opponent. In 92 career games against Florida, Utley has a .316 avg (108-for-342) and a .967 OPS.

In 11 games against the Phillies this season, Hanley Ramirez is batting .354 (17-for-48) with no HR. Ramirez hit 6 homers against the Phillies in 2007 (18 games), but has only hit one against them since then (26 games).

Phillies team ERA- 4.08
Marlins team ERA- 4.33
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Monday, September 21, 2009

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".
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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 with a strained neck muscle. That group adds to the list of already ailing Phillies JC Romero (forearm strain) and Scott Eyre (loose body in his elbow). Jack Taschner is also reportedly in Clearwater dealing with a back strain.

We'll have more later, but in the meantime, check out this picture of Ryan Howard Hulking out and a couple links to some Phriends of PhoulBallz.



Superfan's Homeside News follows Lakewood alumni throughout pro baseball. Check out that site.

The Good Phight stays on top of all things Phillies. You should be checking out their site.

And if there's any of you out there interested in WNBA playoff action, my friend Jenn has all the insight at Real Women Play Hoops.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

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 two outs in the 9th inning, Callison batted against Red Sox pitcher Dick Radatz. Johnny Callison won that game for the National League with a walk off homerun and was named MVP of the game.

Aside from the all star game heroism, 1964 was a career year for Callison. He batted .274 with 31 homers and 104 RBI. He finished 2nd in league MVP voting that year.

1965 was another huge year for Callison, with 32 homers and 101 RBI. Both were tops in the NL.

Defense was also a key attribute in Callison's game. He possessed a very accurate throwing arm a had plenty of range. Starting in 1962, Callison led NL right fielders assists for 4 straight seasons.

Following the 1969 season, the Phillies traded Callison to the Cubs. His offensive numbers began to decline, however and Callison was eventually traded to the Yankees in 1972. The Yankees later released him and his playing days were over. In 1997, Callison was named to the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame.


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Saturday, September 19, 2009

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 and took third. Travis D'Arnaud grounded out to drive home Gose and the 'Claws led 1-0. D'Arnaud's RBI ground out was one of three productive run scoring outs in the game for Lakewood.

In the 3rd inning, Troy Hanzawa led off with a walk. Gose singled two batters later. Harold Garcia then drove in Hanzawa on a sacrifice fly. Next up was D'Arnaud, who singled to center. The throw in from the left fielder Mitch Dening was wild in the infield and the speedy Gose scored on the error.

In the 4th inning, Hanzawa drove home Sabastian Valle with an RBI single. And later in the 8th inning, Gose plated Travis Mattair, Lakewood's fifth run, by grounding into a fielders choice.

Lakewood reliever Austin Hyatt, a 15th round draft selection this year, continued the dominance by newly added hurlers. He threw 2 scoreless innings, while striking out three. Hyatt joined the team from Williamsport on September 2nd.



Congratulations to AG, Travis, Troy, Moose, Justin, Trevor, D'Arby, Dusty, Jeremy, Jesus, Ryan, Bob, Jacob, Matthew, Big Jim, Kyle, TJ, Harold, Jacob, Korey, Sabastian, Greg, Geoff and everyone else on and with the team. It has been an amazing season. Thank you all for letting me be a part of it.

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Photos by Dave Schofield.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

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 with a 4.70 ERA. Pedro's home/road ERA splits, since joining the Phillies- 0.90/5.09. Chipper Jones is a .188 career hitter (9-for-48) against Martinez, with 3 homers and 10 RBI. In his career against Philadelphia, Vazquez is 11-8 with a 4.44 ERA in 27 starts. Vazquez is 7-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 starts since the all star break. Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard are a combined 12-for-35 (.343 avg) with 7 homers, 11 RBI and 4 walks against Vazquez in their careers.

Sunday, 1:35pm. Cliff Lee (7-2, 2.67 ERA) vs. Tommy Hanson (10-3, 2.65 ERA). Lee's first loss as a Phillie came against the Braves, when they scored 6 earned runs off of him in 5 innings. It is the only game that Lee has given up more than a single homer as a Phillie. Garrett Anderson is 10-for-20 (.500 avg) with a HR and 8 RBI against Lee in his career. Hanson at home this season is 7-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 9 starts. Hanson's ERA over his last 7 starts is 1.76. Ryan Howard is 1-for-1 off of Hanson, it was a HR. Raul Ibanez is 0-for-1 off of Hanson.


Chipper Jones aggravated his left groin during a pinch hit appearance on Wednesday and is not likely to play on Friday.

Brian McCann vs the Phillies in 2008- 21-for-59 (.356 avg), 3 homers, 17 RBI, 1.150 OPS in 18 games.
Brian McCann vs the Phillies in 2009- 14-for-59 (.237 avg), 4 homers, 13 RBI, .755 OPS in 15 games.

Carlos Ruiz has 5 career homeruns against the Braves in 41 games played. 2 of those are off of Tim Hudson in 14 at bats.

Phillies team runs scored-730
Braves team runs scored- 662

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

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 within a run in the 8th when Travis Mattair drove in Sabastian Valle on an RBI double. 3-2 would be the final score, however, and the Drive won their first game in the series.

Friday night's game 4 will pit BlueClaws lefty Korey Noles (1-0, 1.17 ERA) against left-hander Fabian Williamson (10-5, 2.42 ERA).


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Picture taken by Dave Schofield.

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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 signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 by Boston.


Lakewood hitting coach Greg Legg on his confidence level going to Greenville: "I'd love to win the first one. I know how tough they are. We've already been there. They're a good ball club and we'll have to play really good to beat them."

Legg on if he'd still consider the season a success if things don't go the BlueClaws' way in SC: "You want to win it all. ...So close, you want to win it for these guys (the players). I think we had a great year no matter what happens, but it's always good to win the last game of the year. That's a good feeling, to win the last game of the year. And in this situation that would be a great feeling."

Lakewood manager Dusty Wathan on if there are any players that were on Lakewood's roster this year that he wishes could be with the team right now to experience this run through the post season: "Oh, yeah- (BJ) Rosenberg. He was lights out for us. He was pretty much the reason we have this opportunity right now. And, I mean, (Steve) Susdorf came in, and when we needed somebody to get us over the hump, he came back from his surgery and put us over the hump and let us win the first half by a few games. I think it would have been a lot tighter race coming down to the last few days if it wasn't for Steve in the middle of the lineup."

Phillies player Greg Dobbs on spending time around, and playing with, the BlueClaws players while they are in the midst of a potential championship run: "It's a lot of fun. They're really playing for something...there's some energy, some excitement. You can tell, from when I walked in this clubhouse, these guys have worked hard and they're very proud of what they've accomplished so far and you want to keep up with that."


BlueClaws.com fills you in on tonight's match up in Greenville.

Tony Graham of the Asbury Park Press has quotes from players and Wathan on not losing focus and more.

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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 momentum going. We just have to stay consistent like we are.


How much fun was last Friday night, being able to lock down a trip to the championship series at home?

It was fun, man. This was my second time doing it (referring to clinching their playoff berth with the best record in the 1st half of the season).


With your struggles early in the season, you lost some playing time, but you really rebounded well. What are your thoughts on how you've improved in the second half of the season?

It's a blessing in disguise. It gave me a lot of time to work on things I needed to work on. Once I got a chance to get back in there, things I worked on while I was on the bench observing, they helped me on the field.


The coaching staff here seems very well liked. What can you tell me about the Lakewood coaches?

It's a great coaching staff. I had Dusty (Wathan) last year, and he's a great manager, when I went down to Williamsport. (Greg) Legg as been with me for the past three years, so these guys really know me. Bob (Milacki) is great as well. The whole staff is great, everybody gets along so well. They're very, very good professional coaches that help us.


Do you think anyone on the Lakewood team is underrated?

Not in my eyes...I mean, probably to the media, but in my eyes I know how good we all are. I just sit back and enjoy watching everybody, from 1 through 9. Some guys may not be in the spotlight that should, but as long as we win, that's all that matters.


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

Just know yourself. Never give up. Make sure you have your priorities in order. Go out there and have fun.


If you could face any pitcher in baseball, who would it be and why?

I admire a lot of pitchers. Peavy tops the list. I'd like to face Justin Verlander though. I met him one time up north. He'd be a cool guy to face, since I know him.


What ballpark would you most like to play in one day?

Citizens Bank Park. Definitely.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

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. From what I am told, I am heading back to Philly tomorrow, to talk with them...and probably go over things and see how I feel and they'll assess me and go from there. So other than that I have no idea.


How anxious are you to get back?

Very! This is my first stint on the DL and it's not fun at all. You don't want to be away from your teammates, you don't want to not be showing up the ball park every day and putting your uniform on and helping your team win games. So, it's frustrating, it's been a long time. I'm just praying and knocking on wood here that I can continue to progress with this and get it stronger and better and not have an issue with it in the future.


What did you miss most during your down time with the injury?

First, I missed my family the most. I wasn't able to see them at all, which is tough. And second, being around my teammates. Being in that clubhouse, putting that uniform on. You get in that cycle and get in that rhythm of showing up every day, doing your work...and you forget how precious that time is to put a uniform on. So, it's definitely brought that back to me. Not being able to walk to my locker and put that uniform on everyday has made me realize how special it is.


What did you think of the ballpark here in Lakewood?

I liked it- it's really a nice ballpark. It's a pretty park. The park plays well, it plays fair. The infield played well. They should be very proud of it. Having a low A team in this type of facility says a lot for the organization.


Is there anyone on the big league Phillies roster that might be somewhat underrated in your mind?

Underrated? I think Carlos Ruiz might be a bit underrated. He works tremendously hard, he's great behind the plate, he calls great games, he's smart, he reads hitters throughout the game. I think in the eyes of the phans, he's extremely underrated.


What's your favorite baseball movie?

The Natural. I mean it's just an epic movie about baseball and about life. And how the two run hand in hand and how baseball's a good teacher of life...and life's struggles and life lessons. I think Robert Redford did a tremendous job, not only directing that movie, but acting as well.


What is your favorite road city to visit?

It's gotta be LA. I was born and raised there, so the first time I went back there and set foot on the field in Dodger Stadium was really, really special. I've been to so many games, growing up as a kid, just watching those great teams...Scioscia, Pedro Guerrero, Steve Sax, Steve Garvey, Mike Piazza, I mean we went there a lot! So to be able to step on the field and actually play on that field where I watched all those great players play is really special.

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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 Bobby Abreu trade.

Jesus Sanchez warming up prior to game 2


Sanchez was backed up by Austin Hyatt and Santo Hernandez. Hyatt hurled 2 scoreless innings, while striking out four. Hernandez made it interesting in the 9th inning, trying to lock down the save. After getting the first two Drive batters out, Hernandez gave up a double to Shannon Wilkerson and a single to prized Red Sox prospect Casey Kelly. With runners on the corners, Oscar Tejeda flied out and the 'Claws celebrated.

Drive pitcher Caleb Clay faced the minimum through 4 innings, only allowing a runner on an error that was erased by a caught stealing. Lakewood was still hitless with 2 outs in the 5th inning when they broke through for 3 straight hits to take the lead 1-0 on a Troy Hanzawa double.

Lakewood hitting coach Greg Legg praised Hanzawa as an underrated star performer for the 'Claws, saying, "Hanzawa probably gets no credit for anything he does, and he keeps getting it done. (He had a) key double tonight, and he's done that all year for us."

The BlueClaws plated a pair of additional runs in the 6th on a Harold Garcia RBI single and when Sebastian Valle was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Manager Dusty Wathan asserted that timely hitting has been the key for Lakewood. "I'll take timely hitting over 10 hits a night any day. They no hit us for 4 plus (innings). That guy (Clay) had it going tonight and sometimes the first hit's the hardest one to get. I think when you have a lead in a series and you can score first, after they have that good of a start, I think it takes a little bit out of their sails."

Tuesday also marked the second straight day that Lakewood played host to a rehabbing Major League Phillie. Greg Dobbs started the game at third base and led off for the BlueClaws. He was hitless in two trips to the plate and made two assists on defense.

Dobbs spoke about being excited to play in the post season with the BlueClaws, "These guys have worked hard and they're very proud of what they've accomplished so far, so you want to keep up with that. You want to bring that same energy and intensity into the game."

The series will continue in Greenville on Thursday night at 7:05. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will be Friday and Saturday at the same time.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

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 was a fatigue issue or anything, it was just battling his control a little bit. I think his mechanics were just a hair off and he was burying his change up rather than throwing it down in the zone. He battled through it and gave us a chance to win the game. In a regular season game, we'd probably give him a chance to win the game (let him pitch a full 5 innings, instead of pulling him out earlier than that), but right now it doesn't matter who gets "the W". He did a great job battling through without his best stuff, keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win.


How will Andrew Carpenter be used here with the BlueClaws this week?

We don't know yet. It's totally up to a day to day thing and...


Will that come from above though?

Yes, it will definitely come from above. It will be a day to day thing.


Were there any sort of lower expectations after clinching a post season berth in the first half, then losing some players and having a slower second half leading up to the playoffs, or was your confidence level with this roster always high?

I think you're always worried about a lull, after winning something so early, but you still have to go out. These guys are professionals and they realize it. We told them, "You're not done yet. Your season's not done yet. You're playing for jobs next year, you're playing for your career. So, there's no reason to back off." They did a great job. I commend the players for really pushing themselves. And I think it was neat to see the last 5 or 6 games of the regular season, they kind of kicked it in and said, "You know what? We've got to get ready for this thing. We can't just turn the switch on." And they really played well the last 5 or 6 games.


How impressed have you been with Travis D'Arnaud's rebound in the second half this season?

He's been outstanding for us. He's really pushed himself defensively. He's thrown a lot better the second half of the season. He was challenged by myself and some guys who have seen him throw better, and now he's starting to come around. Tonight, he blocked a ball and threw a guy out in a key situation at third, so defensively he really put his nose to the grind stone and said, "You know what? This is part of me and I've got to do it." And he did. And it's funny how when you're playing good defense, you start swinging the bat. And he got confidence with the bat and swung the bat like I saw him swing it last year.


Is there any chance you'll be asked to join the big club for the remainder of the season, once you guys lock things up here?

I have no idea. That's not up to me, that's up to the higher ups, so I have no idea. I haven't heard anything.

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Greg Dobbs is scheduled to make a rehab appearance in game 2 of the SAL Championship Series for Lakewood tonight.

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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'd like to say, "Yeah", but we'll have to see how the oblique reacts.


What are your thoughts on the troubles with the back end of the Phillies' bullpen right now?

You know, they'll be fine. Every team goes through a little bit of a rough stretch here and there...whether it's hitters or pitchers.


What's your favorite baseball movie?

For Love of the Game.


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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", hinting that Clay was there to focus on getting himself right, not on the SAL postseason. Wathan also said, "I think we saw a healthy Clay Condrey the last three batters he faced. As opposed to the first couple. He started to trust himself...and felt a little more confident."

Condrey said of his outing on Monday, "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."

When asked if he was favoring his injury, Clay said, "I think I am." Condrey and the Phillies' training staff will wait and see how his oblique reacts before they decide if he's ready to return to the big leagues. Condrey has been out since July.

About Carpenter's role with the BlueClaws, Dusty Wathan said, "We don't know yet. It's totally up to a day to day thing. It'll definitely come from above."

The BlueClaws struck early offensively. Anthony Gose began the night with a big fly that left the park and reached the tiki bar in right center field. Greenville took a brief lead with a run each in the 2nd and 3rd innings, off of Lakewood starter Matthew Way, but the 'Claws struck back with a pair of runs in the third inning on an RBI ground double by Garcia and a single by D'Arnaud that drove home Garcia. The 'Claws never gave up that lead.

Lakewood starter Matthew Way

Way struggled a bit through 4 1/3 innings. He walked 4 and gave up 6 hits, but only allowed 2 runs, both earned. Way had walked just 12 batters through 14 professional regular season starts this year. Way was relieved by Luke Wertz, who earned the victory for Lakewood with a scoreless inning of work.

Santo Hernandez closed the game out for the 'Claws, earning the save while striking out two Drive hitters.

The BlueClaws and Drive are back at it on Tuesday night at 7:05pm, when Lakewood righty Jesus Sanchez (10-6, 3.44 ERA) faces righty Caleb Clay (6-7, 4.01 ERA). After game two, the series will move to South Carolina for the remaining games of this best of five series.


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Tim Gradoville has been assigned to catch in the Major League Phillies' bullpen, for the remainder of the regular season, now that the Reading Phillies' season has ended.


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Monday, September 14, 2009

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.

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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, September 13, 2009

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 favorite people chimed in on Jeter's accomplishment this weekend. Here is what they had to say.

Tyrone A. Johnson of Millennium radio: I think it's amazing. To have the most hits for the most famous franchise in sports is huge. Also, to play this well at age 35 shows the hard work he has put in throughout his career.

Former Phillies beat reporter Mike Olshin: I'll say this -- you cannot think of the modern era Yankees without thinking first of Derek Jeter. And for the only team to win four titles in five years during the Free Agent Era, that says an awful lot.

The Shore Sports Report's Joe Giglio: It's a tremendous achievement in Yankee history, and yet another ring up the ladder of greatness for the career of Derek Jeter. Love him or hate him...Derek Jeter is an all-time player. His whole career has been about everything but numbers: professionalism, winning, leadership, being a role model. When a player who isn't defined by numbers starts to accumulate immortal stats, it deserves to be talked about.

Baseball fans, not only does Derek Jeter deserve to be talked about now, but Derek Jeter deserves to be talked about for generations. The list of Yankees legends is quite long, but Derek Jeter officially lengthened that list by one name on Friday night. Go see a Yankees game and tell your grand children that you saw Derek Jeter play.

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