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Showing posts from April, 2010

Series Preview: Metropolitans at Phillies, 4/30-5/2

For the first time in a long while, the NL East rivalry between the Metropolitans (13-9) and Phillies (12-9) is exciting. Unsure if they are contenders or pretenders, New York, riding a 7 game win streak, will visit the defending National League champs as the leader in the division. The Phillies have spent most of the first month of the season on the road, having played just 6 home games, in which they are 3-3. The Metropolitans have spent much of the season at home, to this point, and have played just 6 games on the road, in which they are 2-4. Read ahead for pitching match ups, key stats and other information on this series. Friday, 7:05pm. Jonathan Niese (0-1, 3.68 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 7.71 ERA). Niese, in 12 career games, has a .307 batting average against. In 3 career road games, Niese has a 6.60 ERA. In 5 career games against the Metropolitans, Kendrick is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA. David Wright is just 2-for-13 (.154 avg) against Kendrick. In 33 games at Citizens Bank Par

Drabek Preparing For Next Step

The transition has been easy for Kyle Drabek. In December, he was part of a package of young prospects that was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for ace pitcher Roy Halladay. Now, as though nothing has changed, he's right back where he was last season...the star prospect on the pitching staff of a team in the Double A Eastern League. Drabek has often stated that he wanted to stay in the Philadelphia organization, who drafted him in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft. The 22-year-old thought after the midseason trade rumors, that surrounded him possibly going to Toronto last year, passed with no action that all the turmoil was over and that he could simply relax and focus on getting to the big leagues with the Phillies. That wasn't the case, as the deal eventually came to fruition over the off-season. In the Blue Jays system this season, Drabek doesn't have to worry about being dealt. He only has to concern himself with opposing batters and working on his secondary p

Polanco Still Ailing?

Placido Polanco is struggling lately after being hit in the elbow by a pitch from the Braves' Tim Hudson last Wednesday in Atlanta. Polanco left that game early, after going 0-for-2 in that contest, and sat out of the lineup the following day, to rest and recover from the injury. Polanco also sat out of Sunday's starting lineup before he pinch hit in the match up with the Diamondbacks. Since the errant pitch, Polanco has seen his batting average fall 76 points. In the period since the injury, Polanco has gone 2-for-20 (.100 avg) with just 1 RBI and no runs scored. Polanco, speaking to the media on Monday, talked about his injured elbow, "It's getting there. I'd say it's about 80 percent." In recent games, Polanco has been wearing a protective guard on his elbow, while batting, to avoid further injury. While the strife Polanco has been dealing with is a concern, this type of slump is bound to happen to a player during a season. If Polanco was batting

Howard Central

Phans, Ryan Howard's contract extension is an occasion worth celebrating. So, jam with me. Haters are not welcome. And while you're still all about Ryan Howard, I'll make this your one stop shop for all the worthwhile posts relating to "The Big Piece" from around the bloggerhood. TheFightins.com reviews all the crazy hater talk out there from baseball writers. Check it out by clicking here . Joe Giglio's Shore Sports Scoop says that Howard is worth every cent. Click this link to read that article. If you understand stat geek jargon, Bill Baer's Crashburn Alley should be your next stop. Have a look at his Howard value drop-off break down by clicking here . In Ruben We Trust has a butt load of solid ideas about what Ryan Howard could spend his big bucks on. Check that out by clicking here . One of the gals at Chicks Dig the Long Ball has some mixed feelings about the extension, as it relates to other players. Read that post by clicking here .

Phillies Sign Howard to 5-year Extension

No Phillie has ever signed a contract this large. Today, the Phillies announced that they've extended all-star slugger and former NL Most Valuable Player Ryan Howard with a 5-year $125 million guarantee. The deal could be worth as much as $138 million if the team exercises their option for a 6th year, in 2017. The deal breaks down like this... 2012- $20 million 2013- $20 million 2014- $25 million 2015- $25 million 2016- $25 million 2017 option year- $23 million, with a $10 million buy out. Based on those annual salaries, and with Howard making $19 million this season and slated to make $20 million in 2011, according to Yahoo!, Howard will not receive a significant increase to his base salary until the 2014 season. The deal also includes a limited no-trade clause as well as some incentive and awards bonuses. Last season, Howard became just the fourth player in Major League history to have four straight 40 homer/130 RBI seasons, joining Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa and Babe Ruth.

Series Preview: Phillies @ Giants, 4/26-4/28

The Phillies' (11-7) road trip continues as they head to San Francisco for 3 games against the Giants (10-8). The Giants have won 5 of the last 6 match ups against the Phillies in San Francisco. In 2009, the Giants won 4 of 7 meetings with the Phillies. Read on for pitching match ups and other key statistics from this series. Monday, 10:15pm. Roy Halladay (4-0, 0.82 ERA) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 1.82 ERA). In 2 career starts against the Giants, Halladay is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA. He allowed 5 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched in his only outing at AT&T Park. Mark DeRosa is 1-for-9 (.111 avg) in his career against Halladay. In 7 career games against the Phillies, Sanchez has a 1-1 record with a 3.74 ERA and a .207 batting average against. Sanchez has a 10-11 record and a 4.49 ERA in 63 career games at AT&T Park. Jayson Werth is 0-for-7 against Sanchez. Chase Utley is 3-for-8 with 4 walks, a double and a homer against Sanchez. Tuesday, 10:15pm. Jamie Moyer (2-1, 5.00

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 60

William "Kitty" Bransfield was a first baseman with the Phillies from 1905-1911. A slick fielder, Bransfield developed a reputation for his solid defense when he established himself as a starter with the Pirates prior to landing in Philadelphia. With Pittsburgh, Bransfield won 3 straight NL Pennants from 1901-1903. Following the 1904 season, Pittsburgh traded Bransfield to the Phillies, along with Otto Krueger and Moose McCormick for Del Howard. Pittsburgh would regret the trade, as they would struggle to find a suitable replacement for over a decade. The press and fans dubbed the deal "the Bransfield Curse". Bransfield was known to play a considerably deep first base, positioning himself out near the edge of the outfield grass. He felt it gave him an advantage at fielding ground balls in the hole. However, it meant that if a ball was hit to any other infielder, Bransfield would need to drop his head and run hard to the first base bag, in hopes of arriving at the

PhoulBallz Interviews Phils Prospect Nick Hernandez

Nick Hernandez is a left-handed starting pitcher for the Phillies single A affiliate, the 2009 south Atlantic League Champion Lakewood BlueClaws. The 21-year-old prospect was drafted in the 12th round of the 2009 amateur draft out of the University of Tennessee. Through 3 starts this season, Hernandez has a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA and 20 strike outs and just 1 walk in 21 innings. Nick's father, also named Nick was a catcher in the Brewers system in the late 70's and early 80's. His uncle, Angel Hernandez, is a MLB umpire. I had the opportunity to speak with the younger Nick this week. That interview lies ahead. Nick, you've had some great success early this season. What can you tell me about your hot start? It's kind of tying everything in that we learned in spring training and going out and pitching the way I have so far, just putting things together, working with the coaches, working with the coordinators. They teach you a lot of things in spring training

Series Preview: Phillies @ D-Backs 4/23-4/25

The Phillies' (10-5) road trip continues, as they travel to Arizona for 3 games against the DiamondBacks (6-9). Arizona is struggling, as they won just one game over their last seven outings. Their relievers have a 12.42 ERA in that span. The first place Phillies will face two familiar pitchers, Kris Benson and Rodrigo Lopez, who have both been in the Phils' system in recent years, as well as a manager who is familiar, AJ Hinch, who once caught for the Phillies. The Phillies hope to build on recent strong starting pitching that has posted a 0.58 ERA in the past 4 games. Read ahead for information on pitching matchups and more. Friday, 9:40pm. Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. Kris Benson (0-1, 3.00). Hamels is 2-0 in 3 starts against Arizona with a 1.74 ERA. In 13 2/3 innings pitched at Chase Field, Arizona batters have a .146 batting avg. against Colbert. Mark Reynolds is 0-for-6 in his career against Hamels. Benson is 5-0 with a 3.22 ERA in 9 career starts against Philadel

Happ to Disabled List, Figueroa to Start, JC Activated

After a brief bullpen session today, in which "Jay" Happ threw only 20 pitches, the decision was made by team officials, coaches and manager Charlie Manuel to place Happ on the disabled list. Happ already had his turn in the rotation skipped and he would have pitched this coming Saturday in Arizona, if his forearm strain improved enough. However, Happ is still experiencing discomfort and the team would rather allow more time for recovery than choose to push the lefty pitcher too much too soon. Unsure of what option they'd choose to fill the void on Saturday, if Happ was unable to pitch, the Phillies pulled Drew Carpenter from his start for triple A Lehigh Valey tonight. That would have allowed Carpenter to be rested and ready if the big league club needed him. JC Romero is with the team in Atlanta, and has been activated from the disabled list after being examined by the Phillies' medical staff. Romero will fill Happ's roster spot and fill the bullpen spot vacat

PhoulBallz Q&A with Phils Prospect Jarred Cosart

Jarred Cosart is a 19-year-old right-handed starting pitcher with the Phillies' single A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws. A 2008 draft pick, Jarred is currently ranked 8th in the system by Baseball America. Cosart was committed to play college ball at Missouri before he made the decision to sign a pro contract with the Phillies at the deadline in 2008. The team gave Cosart $550,000 in the deal, which is generally big money for a 38th round draft pick. In 3 starts thus far with the BlueClaws, Cosart has a 3-0 record with a 2.65 ERA and has struck out 24 batters in 17 innings. His electric fastball (that regularly touches 96 mph and upward) puts Cosart on a list of key young Phils pitching prospects that made the organization comfortable enough to trade top prospect Kyle Drabek over the off-season. I had the opportunity to speak with Cosart this week and that interview lies ahead. Can I get some thoughts from you regarding your hot start here in the 2010 season? I just came out of s

Blanton Speaks to the World

After Joe Blanton's rehab appearance with the Phillies single A club, the Lakewood BlueClaws, on Tuesday evening, he spoke to the media. Here's a run down of some things the injured pitcher had to say... On the outing (2 innings, 2 strike outs, 13 pitches, 11 for strikes)... I went out, good long toss, good bullpen. No pain with either one. If I had normal 5 days rest I probably would have thrown more pitches. I threw a lot in the bullpen and had a good long toss, so I'll just take that into my next rehab start. On if he wanted to pitch another inning, as he undercut his expected pitch limit of 30 by shutting down the Hagerstown team on 13 pitches over 2 innings... That was the plan, to go that far. I think I have an outing in a couple days, so... On if he feels like he is ahead of schedule for a return to the big league club... I think (the estimate for down time) was 3-6 weeks and I think the whole time we were shooting for the 3. Be optimistic....I've nev

Blanton Sharp in Rehab Outing With Lakewood

Phillies starting pitcher Joe Blanton appeared with the single A Lakewood BlueClaws in his first rehab outing on Tuesday night, as he attempts to recover from an injured oblique muscle. Blanton, the Phillies 3rd starter, has been resting and recovering on the disabled list, since March 31st, when he injured his oblique during a bullpen session. The injury was not something Blanton saw coming at all. "I threw a pitch in the bullpen, thought I felt something. I didn't know if I just kinda pinched my side, or something grabbed, or what. Then I threw another pitch and it felt like somebody stabbed me in my side," Blanton said when discribing how he experienced the strained muscle. While warming up prior to the game in Lakewood, Blanton expressed frustration, as he wasn't displaying the type of control he expected of himself, early on. A few of his warm up pitches went wide and in the dirt, but none of that translated into the game action, as Blanton displayed excellent

Fox News Covers Phillies Vomit Mishap

I'm sure nobody missed the story last week about Matthew Clemens, AKA- Vomit Boy , the man who was acting abusive at a Phillies game then had a dispute with off-duty polce captain, Michael Vangelo. Reportedly, Clemens and a friend were drunk while using foul language and spitting, when Vangelo initially complained to security. The friend was ejected, but Clemens stayed behind and proceeded to force himself to vomit onto Vangelo and his 11-year-old daughter. Nearby fans then subdued Clemens until he was removed from the park. Clemens was arrested and charged with assault, reckless endangerment and related charges. On a recent episode of Fox News Channel's nightly comedic round table program Red Eye , panelists discussed the mishap at Citizens Bank Park. Have a look at that clip. Highlights of the segment include the go-to mention of Santa Claus being pelted with snow balls decades ago, the host, Greg Gutfeld, referring to Clemens as an "A-hole" and a "fat piec

Series Preview: Phillies at Braves, 4/20-4/22

The Phillies hit the road and will begin a 3-game series in Atlanta on Tuesday night. The 3-time defending National League East Division Champions from Philadelphia will get their first regular season look at the rookie with all the hype, Jason Heyward, who is batting .302 through his first 12 Major League games. Following a 7-1 start, the Phillies have lost three of their last four games, including their first series loss of the season, as they dropped 2 of 3 to the Marlins over the weekend. The Braves have a 7-5 record and are hoping to knock the champs down. Read on for details on the pitching match ups for this series and other key notes. Tuesday, 7:10pm. Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 17.47 ERA) vs. Tommy Hanson (1-1, 2.38 ERA). Kendrick's time in the Phillies' starting rotation could be in jeopardy as the man he is filling in for, Joe Blanton, work his way back from an oblique injury. Kendrick has pitched just 5 2/3 inning in two starts this season. In 7 career games against Atl

PhoulBallz Q&A with Brody Colvin

Brody Colvin is a 19-year-old starting pitcher for the Class A level Lakewood BlueClaws. Colvin was drafted by the Phillies in the 7th round of last June's amateur draft. After committing to attend LSU, Colvin signed with the Phils on the last possible day last year. Colvin made headlines during the off-season after getting arrested in his hometown in Louisiana and charged with battery and resisting an officer. The 6'3" right-hander has an ERA of 8.00 after 2 starts this month, but that is no reason for alarm, as Colvin is still working on his pitches. I spoke with Brody after his first home start this past weekend. Here is that interview... Your fastball was hitting 93mph on the radar gun for your outing on Friday night in the BlueClaws home opener. Do you consider yourself a power pitcher? Yeah, for the most part, right now, definitely. I like working in and out with my fastball a lot and trying to work in a change up every now and again, but definitely a pow

Leandro Castro is a Dancing Machine

Many of you might recall last year, when the Lakewood BlueClaws' rain delay dance troop made their internet debut. If not, you can refresh your memory by clicking here . During a rain delay last May, many Phillies prospects including Jon Velasquez, Travis D'Arnaud, Moose Mattair, Jacob Diekman and Zach Collier took the field, to entertain the fans who were in attendance, and performed the Cha Cha Slide. This event, as well as other similar occurrences, have given the BlueClaws a reputation for being fun-loving and for caring about their fans. This past Friday's opening night saw familiar rain delay action as BlueClaws left fielder Leandro Castro took to getting things poppin', somewhat, and entertained his teammates in the dugout during the down time. Sebastian Valle and Domingo Santana can be seen cheering Castro on from the bench. Through 11 games this season, the 20-year-old Castro is hitting .317 with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 7 RBI and 3 steals. Castro has 4 multi-h

PhoulBallz Q&A with Jiwan James

Jiwan James is the starting center fielder for the Phillies single A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws. The switch hitting 21-year-old is a converted pitcher, who was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2007 amateur draft. He is ranked as the 11th best prospect in the Phillies minor league system by Baseball America and has been called the best athlete in the system. Thus far through 11 games this season, Jiwan is batting .245 with a homer, 10 RBI and 7 runs scored. I had the opportunity to speak with him this weekend. Here is that interview... How was the home opener on Friday night...the ballpark, the vibe here in Lakewood? You can just feel the energy in the stadium. Playing on the road, we didn't have as many fans as we did tonight. We were just waiting for the day to get here, to see the stadium, and then, once we did, it was all about the fans. What are some specific goals you have for the 2010 season? Just to have a good year. Please the fans and that's about it really.

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 59

Dick Bartell was a shortstop with the Phillies from 1931-1934. Nicknamed "Rowdy Richard", for his hustling nature and aggressiveness toward the opposing team, Bartell debuted with the Pirates at age 19 in 1927. With Pittsburgh, Bartell became a regular, splitting time between second base and shortstop, and hit over .300 three straight seasons. After the 1930 season, Bartell was traded to Philadelphia for infielder Tommy Thevenow and pitcher Claude Willoughby. Bartell would continue his solid batting, as he hit over .300 while scoring over 100 runs twice (in 1932 & 1934) and made an all-star team (in 1933) in 4 seasons with the Phillies. Bartell was likely best known for his efforts and his style of play around the second base bag. During an era when players regularly went hard into opposing infielders with their spikes upward, to get an advantage, Bartell was a master of that sort of cleat action. He was once identified as, "probably the most-hated gent in the Nat

Happ Experiencing Forearm Discomfort

Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet reported Saturday night that "Jay" Happ is dealing with some discomfort in his left forearm and could potentially miss his next start, Tuesday or Wednesday in Atlanta. Phils manager Charlie Manuel said they'd know more in the next couple of days. This news could be serious trouble for the Phillies, who have enough question marks on their pitching staff already. Joe Blanton has been working his way back from an injured oblique. Kyle Kendrick has occupied Blanton's spot in the rotation and has posted a 17.47 ERA over his first two starts this season. JC Romero and Brad Lidge are also attempting to bounce back from injuries while recent tough outings by relievers David Herndon and Danys Baez have left each man with an ERA over 7. The reserves at the triple A level are not anything to ease the concern. Drew Carpenter is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 2 starts. Ryan Vogelsong is 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 2 starts, but he has walked 9 batters in 9

PhoulBallz Interviews Lakewood Manager Mark Parent

Mark Parent is the new manager of the reigning South Atlantic League Champions, the Lakewood BlueClaws. Parent, a former Major League catcher, played for the Padres, Orioles and Phillies among other teams during his 13-year playing career. Parent has managed in the Mariners' system and spent some time as the skipper of the Chico Outlaws in the independent Golden League. Hired back in December to lead the BlueClaws, Parent now plans to target a repeat as league champions. I spoke with Mark on Friday, and here is how that went down. What would you say the team's biggest strengths and/or biggest weaknesses are in the early going thus far? Well, in the early going, that one inning. Pitching-wise, the weakness we've had is the one inning that we kind of lose focus, or try to get a little cute, or you know, like a guy's throwing 95 and we decide to throw an inning of change ups and breaking balls...we get behind hitters, then throw the fastball and they can catch up to it,

BlueClaws Drop Ninth Straight Home Opener

The pregame festivities were tussled a bit by the poor weather. But the crowd of 6,794 still witnessed the 2009 South Atlantic League Championship banner raised by season ticket holder Ed Rausch after a delay. They also got to see a flyover, that was planned to coincide with the national anthem, but happened out of sync, as the 108th Air Refueling Wing plane was running low and fuel and had to return to McGuire Air Force base prior to additional bad weather hitting the area. And as the opening day proceedings didn't go the way the home town folks would have liked, neither did the result of the game. On a night delayed by rain, the momentous season opener at the home park ended as Lakewood has grown accustomed...with a loss. The BlueClaws have lost each of their last 9 home openers. Lakewood starter Brody Colvin took the loss against the Marlins affiliate Greensboro Grasshoppers. A 7th round pick in last year's amateur draft, Colvin walked 3 batters in the 3rd inning, two o

Series Preview: Marlins @ Phillies 4/16-4/18

This weekend, the second place Marlins make their first visit of the season to Philadelphia for a three-game series. Highlights of the weekend include Roy Halladay's first start at Citizens Bank Park on Friday and the presentation of 2009 Gold Glove Awards to Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco on Saturday. Read on for details on the pitching matchups and other key notes for this series. Friday, 7:05pm. Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 6.00 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (2-0, 0.56 ERA). Sanchez is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in 7 career starts against the Phillies. Last season, Sanchez was 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in 2 starts against Philadelphia. Ryan Howard is 5-for-14 (.357 avg.) with 2 doubles, 2 homers and 5 walks against Sanchez. Jayson Werth is 1-for-10 (.100 avg) with 7 strike outs against Sanchez in his career. The reigning NL player of the week, Halladay, has made 2 starts against the Marlins in his career...in those games he has a 0-1 record and a 5.00 ERA. No active Marlin has homere

NL Champions Receive Their Rings

Today, as all of baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson and the end of racial segregation in Major League Baseball, the 2009 National League Champion Phillies received their championship rings in a ceremony prior to the game at Citizens Bank Park. For those of you wondering what the rings looked like, check out the images below. Raul Ibanez's ring shows that the Phillies won their league 2 straight years. Opposite side of the ring, showing the result of the National League Championship Series...Phillies 4, Dodgers 1. A happy group of starting Phils with their rings. Robinson's number 42 is retired all throughout MLB and will be worn by players on all teams, as a tribute, on April 15th each year, the anniversary of the day Robinson broke the color barrier with the Dodgers. -------------------------------------- Screen caps ripped straight from that great website Phillies.com You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE . Share on Facebook

Shane at the Top- Good or Bad?

With some serious concern over how the Phillies' lineup might perform with Jimmy Rollins out due to injury, the team exploded after getting behind by 3 runs early Wednesday, in their first game since Rollins injured his calf at the home opener on Monday. Shane Victorino, the man assigned to take over the lead-off spot in the batting order for the absent Rollins, had a tremendous night at the plate. Victorino came within a double of being the second player in Citizens Bank Park history to hit for the cycle. Victorino went 4-for-5 with 5 RBI and 3 runs scored. The initial concern was probably in direct correlation with Victorino's career numbers batting in that lead-off spot. Prior to last night's contest, Shane's stats batting 1st in the lineup looked like this- 44 games, .227 batting avg., 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 31 runs, 14 RBI, with an on-base % below .300. In 15 games batting in the lead-off spot last season, Shane batted .200, had a .264 on-base % & had