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Showing posts from August, 2010

Mark Parent Announces Playoff Rotation and More

The South Atlantic League playoffs begin next Wednesday for the Lakewood BlueClaws. I had the opportunity to speak with manager Mark Parent about various team matters as the post-season approaches. Parent has already begun preparations, as he's reassigned one of his starters to the bullpen and announced his pitching rotation for the first round of the playoffs. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview. ______________________________________________ Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE .

Series Preview: Phillies at Dodgers, 8/30-9/1

The Phillies (73-57) seem back in control after recovering from a poor 4-game effort against the Astros by sweeping the team with the best record in the league in San Diego over the weekend. Philadelphia will visit Los Angeles for a 3-game series against the Dodgers (67-64) beginning Monday night. Roy Halladay looks to take over the lead in all three pitching triple crown categories (Halladay already leads the National League in strike outs and ERA), as he needs a win to tie Ubaldo Jimenez and Adam Wainwright for the league's top spot with 17 W's. LA will counter with Japanese born hurler Hiroki Kuroda, who was an excellent history against the Phillies, posting a 1-0 record and a 0.95 ERA against them in 3 starts. The two teams have met the last two season in the playoffs, with the Phillies coming out on top both times. Philadelphia currently leads the Wild card race, by 1 1/2 games over San Francisco and sits 2 games behind the Eastern division leading Atlanta Braves. The

Mike Sweetie Embraces Philadelphia

Mike Sweeney is the new guy. A part time player. He's been a Phillie for just a few weeks, but with his steadily jovial outlook, his appreciation of the sport, and his seemingly instant devotion to the City of Brotherly Love, Sweeney has already won over more phans than Tad Iguchi did when he was acquired to fill a void in 2007 and helped the Phillies advance to their first post-season in 14 years. Sweeney is also on the fast track to being the next Matt Stairs, who hit a landmark homerun in team history in the 2008 playoffs against the Dodgers and helped the Phils lock down just their second World Championship ever, in relation to approval of the Phillies phaithful. The newest Phillie respects the uniform, plays hard and he is affectionate. What more could a phan ask for? On Sunday, Sweeney slugged his first homer as a Phillie, helping to lock down a series sweep against the Padres in San Diego. Those who caught the game telecast witnessed Sweeney celebrating afterward by dishi

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 74

Bob Boone was a catcher with the Phillies from 1972-1981. Known for his superb defense, Boone was the field general for the Philadelphia team that made the post-season 4 times in 5 seasons, from 1976-1980. Born in San Diego, Boone attended Stanford University, where he played third base. Boone was converted to a catcher after being drafted by the Phillies. Boone made his Major League debut as a late season call up in 1972, before taking over as the Phillies' everyday catcher the following season. His strong offensive output (.261 avg., 10 HR, 61 RBI) and his efforts behind the plate earned Boone a 3rd-place finish for Rookie of the Year honors in 1973. Boone was a 2nd generation Major Leaguer, as his father, Ray, was a third baseman with the Tigers and Indians, among other teams. Bob Boone parented a third generation of Major Leaguers. His sons Bret and Aaron both played ball at the highest level. All four Boone men were All-stars in their careers. The Boones were the first 3-g

Experts Rank Phillies Top 20 Prospects

This week I took part in a media survey, conducted by The Reading Eagle's Mike Drago, that was designed to rank the top 20 prospects in the Phillies system. Twelve individuals who are very close to the Phillies minor league system were asked to rank their own personal top 20, which Drago tabulated and averaged to determine the list of 20. Normally, these sorts of lists are done by one source, who is not necessarily close to a solitary organization (IE- a national outlet that has correspondents who occasionally view the analyzed players). In this instance, surveying a dozen analysts, who have seen these players on a regular basis, makes this catalog of Philadelphia prospects the most accurate and reliable one available. Here are the rankings, including brief reviews for the top half: Jonathan Singleton 1. Jonathan Singleton : Just 18 and in his first full professional season, the eighth-round pick out of Long Beach, Calif., got off to a sizzling start with Lakewood, hitting o

Series Preview: Phillies at Padres, 8/27-8/29

Fresh off being swept in 4 games by the Houston Astros, the Phillies (70-57) travel to San Diego to face the NL West's first place Padres (76-50), who have the best record in the league. The struggling Phillies scored just 7 runs in the 4 games against Houston. Philadelphia has lost 9 games this month. Setting aside one of those losses (a 15-9 defeat by the Dodgers), the Phillies have totaled just 10 runs in their other 8 August losses. San Diego will send its young righty ace Mat Latos to the mound in game 1, hoping to further extend Philly's rough stretch. Latos has allowed 2 or fewer runs in a franchise record 12 consecutive games. The Phils will counter with Roy Oswalt, who has a 1.90 ERA in 8 career outings in San Diego. Read ahead for loads of information on the pitching match ups and plenty more analysis on this series. Friday, 10:05pm. Roy Oswalt (9-13, 3.22 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (13-5, 2.33 ERA). In 5 starts as a Phillie, Oswalt is 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA. In 17 career

Embarrassing Sweep

Ed Wade's Houston Astros swept the Phillies in Philadelphia this week. The defending National League champions did not look like contenders as they struggled to score runs and let a team that was 15 games under .500 run all over them. Former Phillies Brett Myers, Michael Bourn, "Jay" Happ and Jason Michaels all performed well to help Houston sweep the Phillies. It was the first time since 2002 that the Phillies were swept at home in a 4-game series. In game 1 of the series, Brett Myers earned the win, holding the Phillies to just 2 runs over 7 innings while striking out 9 batters. Mike Bourn had 8 hits in the series. He gets up against his former team and is a career .337 hitter against the Phillies (and just a .260 overall in his career). Bourn and Jason Michaels combined for 5 runs scored in the series, while the entire Phillies team scored just 7 runs. Last season's Sporting News Rookie of the Year, "Jay" Happ, who was recently sent to Houston in a p

Mintken Back With Lakewood, Anticipating Repeat

LAKEWOOD, NJ- It's been a long season for Korby Mintken. The 24-year-old prospect, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of South Dakota State University, struggled through four months in Class High A Clearwater this year, posting a .203 batting average that earned him sparse playing time. Last week, the Phillies demoted Mintken to Lakewood, where the organization felt he could be a contributor for the remainder of the season. A versatile fielder, Mintken has played 2nd base, shortstop, 3rd base and the outfield at the professional level. Mintken spent last season with Lakewood, helping the BlueClaws lock down a South Atlantic League Championship, the second in team history. Now that he's back, and Lakewood is returning to the playoffs, after clinching the berth with the first half division title, Mintken is excited for the opportunity to repeat as champion. "(I'm) excited to be a part of this team and maybe get another ring," Mintken told PhoulBallz.

One For the Books...

It was surely a wild one that thousands of phans will remember for years and will still be talking about when Tuesday night's losing pitcher David Herndon's full head of dark hair resembles former Phillies reliever Larry Andersen's less than full head of greying locks. Another solid start by Cole Hamels (7 innings, 2 ER, 8 K, 1 BB) set the stage for some 9th inning heroics, when Jimmy Rollins slugged a solo homerun to deep right field that tied the game at 2 and sent things to extra innings. The bullpens battled it out, keeping the game locked well past midnight. Ryan Howard capped off the worst game of his career in the bottom of the 14th inning when, with the Phillies having used all their bench players and down to their last relief pitcher, Howard got ejected after he was rung up for his 5th strike out of the night by fill-in umpire Scott Barry. Howard had already stood with his hands on his hips after a check swing was called a strike by the third base ump, Barry, e

Keoni Ruth Speaks With PhoulBallz.com

Keoni Ruth is currently an infielder with the Phillies' Class A affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws. Singed as a free agent this month, while playing independent ball in Maui, the 25 year old Hawaiian is a versatile fielder who can play multiple positions. Ruth, a righty batter, was drafted by San Diego in the 21st round of the 2007 amateur draft. He played 3 seasons in the Padres system before finding himself as a free agent this year. Ruth is a friend and off-season training partner of another Hawaii native Keoni DeRenne, who has had three stints with Lakewood this season. In 18 games thus far with the BlueClaws, Ruth has posted a .224 batting average, laced 6 doubles and driven in 10 runs. In 109 games at 2 minor leagues levels last year, Ruth batted .284 with a .670 OPS. I had the opportunity to speak with Keoni recently about his transition back into affiliated baseball, his time with the Padres organization and plenty more. Check out the media player below to listen to the

Series Preview: Astros vs. Phillies, 8/23-8/26

Former Philadelphia general manager Ed Wade's collection of former Phillies, and their Houston teammates, visit Philadelphia to begin a 4-game series on Monday night. The Astros (54-69) are in 4th place in the NL Central and hope to disrupt the Phillies' (70-53) efforts to win their 4th straight NL East title, by sending Brett Myers to the mound to face his former team for the first time. Myers was a 1st round draft pick of the Phillies in 1999 and played 8 seasons with Philadelphia. The Phillies will counter with right-hander Joe Blanton After a rash of injuries, the Phillies hope to have their 8 positional opening day starters in the lineup for the first time in 3 months. Phillies players Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley and most recently Ryan Howard have all missed significant time with injuries this season. The Phillies and Astros split four games played at Citizens Bank Park last season. Continue reading for details on the pit

Ryan Howard Press Conference Excerpts

Here are some clips from Ryan Howard's post game press conference from his rehab outing in Lakewood on Friday, August 20th. The Phillies' Class A affiliate retired Howard's jersey in a pregame ceremony. Howard played with the team during the 2002 season and rehabbed a different injury with the Lakewood in 2007. Check out the media player below. ________________________________________ Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE . Share on Facebook

Howard Returns to Minor League Roots

LAKEWOOD, NJ- On a night when the BlueClaws retired Ryan Howard's jersey and Howard set the franchise RBI record, the visiting Greensboro Grasshoppers weren't very accommodating. Howard was there to test his recovering sprained left ankle and knock off any rust. Greensboro lefty pitcher Chad James wasn't budging, as he walked Howard in his first plate appearance. The Grasshoppers them employed a fielding shift for the slugger in his second at bat, forcing Howard to ground to the second baseman, positioned in shallow right field. The 19-year-old James held the BlueClaws hitless through 5 1/3 innings, when Howard took his third turn at the plate, following a Leandro Castro walk. Howard broke up the no-hit bid by James with a double that one-hopped the wall in left-center and scored Castro. Howard also made an error in the field, when he wasn't able to handle a throw from shortstop Alan Schoenberger. The Phillies were reportedly targeting Monday as a return date for H

Josh Zeid & Jon Singleton Talk About Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard spent time with the Phillies' Class A affiliate the Lakewood BlueClaws on Friday, on a rehab assignment. Howard has been on the disabled list since August 2nd, with a sprained ankle. Lakewood trainer Mickey Kozack described Howard's assignment as an opportunity to knock some rust off and stated that Howard was not feeling soreness in his heavily wrapped ankle prior to batting practice. After spending time ripping line drives onto the berm at FirstEnergy Park during batting practice, Howard took to the field to shag some balls, where he spent a considerable amount of time chatting with pitching prospect Josh Zeid and first baseman Jon Singleton. I asked Zeid and Singleton about their time spent chatting with Howard. Check out the media player below to listen to those full interviews. _______________________________________________ For more interviews with Jon Singleton click here and here . Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE .

Series Preview: Nationals vs. Phillies, 8/20-8/22

The last place Nationals (52-69) travel to Philadelphia where the Wild Card leading Phillies (68-52) will play host for the 3-game series. The Phillies have won 5 of 9 in the season series thus far against Washington. The Nats will send Jason Marquis to the mound to try and even things up in game 1 on Friday evening. Marquis threw one inning of scoreless relief against the Phils in last year's divisional playoff round for the Rockies. Philadelphia will counter with Roy Halladay, who has 5 straight wins with a 1.82 ERA against the Nationals franchise dating back to their days in Montreal. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Lakewood on Friday night. There will be a jersey retirement ceremony prior to the game, as Howard was a member of the BlueClaws during the 2002 season. Read on for more on the pitching match ups and additional information on this series. Friday, 7:05pm. Jason Marquis (0-5, 14.33 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (15-

Stephen Batts Talks With PhoulBallz.com

Stephen Batts, a 19th round draft selection in 2009, is currently playing with the Class A level Lakewood BlueClaws. A versatile fielder, Batts can play all over the diamond and often slips into the lineup as a designated hitter. In high school, Batts was an all-state soccer goalie in North Carolina. He later attended East Carolina University to play both soccer and baseball. With Lakewood this season, Batts has posted a .281 batting average, 5 homers and 30 RBI in 71 games, becoming a key contributor for Mark Parent's BlueClaws team. Batts recently strung together a 12 game hitting streak for the playoff bound BlueClaws. Last week I spoke with Stephen about his offensive production, his choice between soccer and baseball, looking forward to the post-season and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview. __________________________________________________ Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE . Share on Facebook

Phillies Notebook, 8/19/10

Plenty of noteworthy happenings are going on all around the Phillies organization. The Phillies are the leaders for the National League wild card after defeating the Giants in the first two games of their series in Philadelphia. Something I've pondered regarding this...should the Phillies enter the playoffs for the first time in team history as the league's wild card entrant and advance no further, would they fly a flag to honor it like they do for their other post-season achievements and, if so, what color would it be? The Phillies currently fly red flags for World Championships, blue flags for League Pennants and white flags for division titles. Expect "Bet your sweet ass" to be this season's quote of the year, a la " Get me to the plate, boys !" If you missed Jayson Werth's remarks about what Charlie Manuel had to say recently about Jimmy Rollins' ability to hit, check out the media player below. Ryan Howard (sprained ankle) is targeting

Phils Prospect Trevor May Speaks With PhoulBallz

Since returning to Lakewood, Trevor May has straightened out a season that nearly seemed lost. May began the season with a 5-5 record and a 5.01 ERA through 16 outings at high A level Clearwater after after posting a 4-1 record and a 2.56 ERA at short season Williamsport and low A level Lakewood last season. May, who seemed to develop control issues this season, walking 61 batters in 70 innings for Clearwater, was demoted back to Lakewood in July and has shined there, walking just 18 batters in 48 innings overall and posting a 2.44 ERA in 8 starts. A fourth round pick of the Phillies in 2008, May spent that season pitching in the Gulf Coast League, after signing with Philadelphia, where the Phillies' squad won the league championship. May was also a part of the Lakewood team that won the South Atlantic League title in 2009. This week, I spoke with Trevor about his improvements, getting passed over for a return to Clearwater and his upcoming quest for a third minor league champion

PhoulBallz Interviews Phillies Prospect Michael Dabbs

Mike Dabbs, who was promoted to the Phillies class A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws, from short season Williamsport in July, has hit safely in 19 of the 21 games he has played as a BlueClaw. Dabbs was a 17th round draft selection by the Phillies in the June 2009 amateur draft, out of Oklahoma State University. Currently riding a 10 game hitting streak, the 23-year-old Dabbs is making it difficult for Lakewood manager Mark Parent to not list his name in the daily lineup. I recently spoke with Dabbs, a lefty hitting outfielder, about his hitting streak, his teammates and plenty more. Check out the media player below to listen to that full piece. ____________________________________________ Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE .

Series Preview: Giants at Phillies, 8/17-8/19

In a series with playoff implications, the teams tied for the Wild Card lead will face off for three games as the Giants (67-52) visit the Phillies (66-51) starting Tuesday night. Chase Utley, fresh off a rehab assignment in Clearwater, Florida, is expected to be activated from the disabled list for this series. Utley was recovering from a fractured thumb. Ryan Howard (sprained ankle), who is also eligible to be activated from the disabled list is likely to play a rehab game or two prior to returning to the Phillies' lineup. Colorado won just 1 of 3 regular season games in Philadelphia last year, before the Phillies defeated the Rockies 3-1 in the National League Division Series. Since August 3rd, Giants starters are 0-7 with a 5.88 ERA in 12 games. Barry Zito will try to right the ship as he takes the mound in the series opener. Philadelphia will counter with Roy Oswalt, who will be making his second home start as a Phillie. Read on for details on the pitching match ups and l

BlueClaws Updates With Mark Parent

Over the weekend, I spoke with Lakewood BlueClaws manager Mark Parent about a few different matters related to the team, such as Trevor May's progress, the possibility of Eric Pettis being added to the roster, FirstEnergy Park being pitcher friendly and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the audio of the interview. Parent also spoke about catching prospect Sebastian Valle having an up and down road trip recently. Parent said of Valle, "His periods between good and bad are starting to get shorter." Parent and hitting coach Greg Legg have worked with Valle on his machanics, and have him focusing on keeping his front shoulder down and keeping his head on the pitch. In 12 August games, Valle is batting .261 with 4 homers, 14 RBI and a .957 OPS. ___________________________________________ Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE .

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 73

Danny Ozark was the Phillies' manager from 1973-1979. During his tenure as the team's general, Ozark led Philadelphia to three straight division titles. In his playing days, Ozark was a first baseman, who was a career minor leaguer in the Dodgers system. When Ozark took over the team in 1973, the Phillies were fresh off 5 consecutive losing seasons and 3 straight last place finishes. During his first season in charge, the Phillies would again finish in last place, 20 games under .500, but as his core of young talent, like Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa, developed, the Phillies' win totals rose. Within 2 years, the Phillies were above .500 and in the playoff hunt until late in the season and the most successful era of Phillies history was about to begin. By 1976, the Phillies were headed to the post-season for the first time since 1950. The Phils would enjoy a 10-game lead over their nearest division rival at the midway point of the season. Despite a lul, which saw their lea

Former Phils Top Draft Pick Hewitt Struggling

The Mendoza Line is typically used as a method by which to critique or ridicule struggling batters. The informal expression referring to a .200 batting average and is named after former Pirate, Ranger and Mariner Mario Mendoza, who was a strong fielder but didn't perform so well at the plate. Around Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park, however, fans, broadcasters and media alike may begin associating a new name to indicate a .200 average. That name...former Phillies first round draft pick Anthony Hewitt. With an 0-for-4 outing in Thursday's game against the Delmarva Shorebirds, Hewitt's season average dropped to .199. Hewitt, a right-handed hitting outfielder was originally drafted as an infielder out of Salisbury High School in Connecticut. In 38 games since the South Atlantic League All-star break, Hewitt has posted a .138 batting average and has smacked just 1 homerun. Prior to the break, Hewitt hit .236 with 7 homeruns in 61 games. Overall this season, Hewitt has struck

Broxton Can't Handle the Chooch

Once again, the Dodgers used Jonathan Broxton to try to lock down a game against the Phillies and once again, the Phillies were the ones actually closing things down. After Carlos Ruiz smashed the double that scored Jayson Werth and Ben Francisco to lock down another dramatic comeback win, he seemed to have a more difficult time surviving the celebratory barrage delivered by his teammates than he did catching up with the pitch from Broxton that Ruiz drove high off the left-centerfield wall. Ruiz was chased down by Phils players between first and second base, after the winning run crossed homeplate, to congratulate him. Broxton, who has struggled in the second half, has a 10.13 ERA in 8 outings since the All-star break. Philadelphians have no intentions of hiding their growing love for Broxton, whose reputation as a Phillies punching bag gets larger each time he faces them. The implosion marked the third straight season that the Dodgers experienced a memorable collapse to the Phillie

BlueClaws Fall in Close Contest

Another solid outing by starting pitcher Brody Colvin was not enough to lock down a victory as the BlueClaws began a homestand against the Orioles' Class A affiliate Delmarva in Lakewood on Thursday night. In his last start before his 20th birthday, Colvin cruised through the Shorebirds' lineup allowing just 2 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6, in 5 innings in front of 6,149 fans at FirstEnergy Park. Colvin would allow an unearned run in the first inning, after right fielder Brian Conley doubled and first baseman Mike Flacco grounded a ball that Lakewood third baseman Stephen Batts couldn't handle. The ball was kicked away and Conley scored. Colvin's shine didn't dim after the defensive blunder, however, as he shut down 11 of the next 12 batters, allowing just 1 walk during that stretch. The BlueClaws had a tough time clapping back in the early going. To start the game, 7 of the first 10 Lakewood batters reached base, including two singles from lead-off man Ji

PhoulBallz Talks With Les Savy Fav's Seth Jabour

Normally, when I interview people for the site, it's a player or a coach. That makes the following Q&A session extra special. A brand new phriend of PhoulBallz has emerged. Seth Jabour, of the exceptional indie rock band Les Savy Fav, took time to chat with PhoulBallz.com this week about fame, the troubles of leaked music, Phillies baseball and more. Currently on Frechkiss Records, the band also consists of Tim Harrington, Syd Butler, Harrison Haynes and Andrew Reuland. The group pumps out creative content, has a considerably large fan base and loves to perform. No questions asked, Les Savy Fav needs to be on your musical radar. Hoping to reach some news phans, Seth agreed to answer some questions, so check out what he had to say below. Seth, you're lead guitarist for Les Savy Fav. What's the best thing about being a rock star? That all depends on what you mean by 'rock star.' I don't drive an Italian sports car or trash hotel rooms. I guess that arche

The Chico Outlaws' Girl Pitcher Gimmick

Sprinkled with former big leaguers and career minor leaguers striving to be recognized by a Major League organization, the attention of fans and media, regarding the Golden Baseball League, seems to be focused on the league's 18-year-old female pitcher. Eri Yoshida's knuckleball got her recognized at age 16 and allowed her to become the first female drafted by a Japanese professional baseball team. Just a couple years later, Yoshida is a professional pitcher in North America. Plenty of hype surrounded the teenager, after she pitched in 11 games last year for the Kobe Cruise 9 and later earned a victory for Yuma in the Arizona Winter League. Yoshida signed with Chico, of the Golden Baseball League, in April this year and made her debut as an Outlaw in May. Since then, batters in the independent league have figured out Yoshida's deceptive style. In 3 outings from July 23rd-August 1st, Yoshida allowed no fewer than 6 earned runs each time out. Making her first road start for

Community Happenings

Remember those various "Phanatic Around Town" statues that were placed all throughout Philadelphia as part of a public art project, led by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and the Phillies, that features twenty, life-sized Phillie Phanatic statues located at local attractions? Well, the Phanatic statues will soon leave their posts and an online auction for the many uniquely painted Phanatics will begin on Friday, August 27th, to benefit Phillies Charities Inc. Former Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams, along with RadioShack, is calling on all area residents to join him in the LIVESTRONG Challenge 5K walk/run that’s taking place in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 21. As a co-captain of “Team RadioShack”, Mitch is looking to participate in the 5k with as many athletes, cancer fighters and survivors, baseball fans, and everyday folks that the Philadelphia region can get. If you are interested in participating, you can sign up to participate along side &q