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Showing posts from September, 2010

PhoulBallz Interview w/ Musician Mark Evans

Mark Evans is a musical artist and life-long Phillies phan that grew up in South Jersey, but currently lives in enemy territory, New York City. A former actor, Mark has gotten back to his first love, creating music, in recent years. An accomplished song writer, Mark's music and lyrics can be heard in film, on the radio and on TV. Also an avid Philadelphia baseball fanatic, Mark can be found each home Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark about his 2010 album release, "Rain on the Roses", his baseball phandom, and more. Check out the interview below and be sure to go to Mark's web site, MarkEvansMusic.com and sample his music. 1. Mark, you’ve been a Phillies Fan and a musician both for a long time. Describe the differences in your love of baseball and your love of music. Tough call. I guess the most obvious difference is that I can play music professionally, and with baseball, I’m like Mario Cuomo, I can’t hit the curve

Braves' Glavine Would Choose Halladay to Lead Post-season Rotation

Tom Glavine, who currently works as a special assistant to Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz and pitched 17 seasons with Atlanta during his playing career, recently spoke with Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio. Bowden asked the future Hall of Famer Glavine, "Game 1 of the World Series starts tonight. Tom Glavine is the general manager, he gets to pick any pitcher in baseball to pitch Game 1 tonight. Who is starting for you?" Glavine replied, "Boy, it’d be hard to go away from (Phillies ace) Roy Halladay right now. He’s been as solid as anybody all year long and as solid as anybody for the last five years in baseball. I know there are other guys that may be a little bit more electrifying right now or maybe have a little bit better stuff than him but, I’ll tell you what, I can count on one hand, I think, the number of times it seems that he’s gone out there and not given his team a chance to win. And that’s what it’s about in the postseason." You see, even t

Back to Back to Back to Back...

With their 8-0 defeat of the Nationals on Monday night, the Phillies clinched their team record 4th straight National League East division title. Roy Halladay led the way in the series opener with Washington, throwing a complete game 2-hit shut out. The precipitation that fell through out the night did not effect Halladay, as he hurled his 9th complete game of the year, which is more than every other team total in the league. Jayson Werth contributed on the offensive side, lacing 3 hits, including a double and a homerun, while driving in 4 runs. Werth has been hot down the stretch for the Phillies, having driven in 20 runs in 24 games this month. His 8 homeruns in September are a career high for any single calendar month. The ultimate goal is obviously a few steps further, but the team celebrated well, in the visitors clubhouse at Nationals Park. Phillies players made it a point to allow Halladay, Brian Schneider and Mike Sweeney to pop the initial bottles of champagne, because th

Series Preview: Phillies at Nationals, 9/27-9/29

Already locked into a guaranteed playoff spot, the Phillies (93-63) stand just one win, or one Braves loss, away from clinching a team record 4th straight division title. Some have pointed out that it would be fitting to do it in game 1 of this week's series in Washington, as it would be the exact way the Phillies began the 2010 campaign, with Roy Halladay on the mound against the Nationals (67-89). Washington will counter with lefty John Lannan, who has a 7.27 ERA in 2 home starts this season against Philadelphia. Jimmy Rollins is expected to start at short stop for the Phillies for the first time since September 8th. Rollins has been sidelined in recent weeks with a hamstring issue. Rollins returned to action on Sunday, going 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter and playing the field. The Phillies have won 10 of the 15 meetings with Washington to date this season. Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and tons more information. Monday, 7:05pm. Roy Haladay (20-10, 2.53 ERA)

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 77

Al Demaree was a right-handed pitcher with the Phillies from 1915-1916. His time with the Phillies was brief, but he helped snag the club's very first National League pennant. Demaree debuted as a rookie with the New York Giants in 1912 and played two more full seasons with the Giants, posting a 24-21 record in that time. Following the 1914 season, Phils manager Pat Moran vowed to make changes and Demaree was among a group of three players that Philadelphia acquired for third baseman Hans Lobert . Demaree made a fast impact in 1915 when he shut out his former team 3-0 in his Phillies debut. However, Demaree left people doubting the trade when he strung together 6 losses in his next 6 starts. The poor stretch resulted in Demaree being pulled from the starting rotation. By early July, he got another shot at starting and again shut down the Giants, this time 1-0. Demaree won 5 of his next 6 starts. In mid-August, he would throw his 3rd shutout of the season against Boston. Demaree

2010 BlueClaws Already Playing Phillies Baseball

This piece I wrote was previously seen on Chicks Dig the Long Ball earlier this week. If you paid close attention to certain national analysts this season, you probably heard them talk or write about how deep the Phillies low minor league teams are with great prospects. The Phillies’ Class A affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws, won the club’s second straight South Atlantic League title and became the first club since Savannah in 1994 to repeat as league champions. They also became the very first team in league history to win their division in the first and second halves and then go on to win the league championship. Lakewood was loaded with prospects this season. One, short stop Jonathan Villar, was held in high enough regard that he was part of the collection of players that was sent to Houston in a trade for Roy Oswalt in July. The Phillies had plenty of home grown talent come through their system in the 2000s. Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Cole Hamels are all current Phillies sta

Series Preview: Metropolitans at Phillies, 9/24-9/26

With their magic number to clinch a team record 4th straight division title sitting at 4, the Phillies (92-61) enter the weekend needing some help from the Nationals, who are playing the Braves, to clinch at home. The Phils will be facing the Metropolitans (74-78), who visit Citizens Bank Park for a 3-games series starting Friday night. New York will send right-hander R.A. Dickey to the mound in game 1 of the series. Dickey threw a one-hitter against the Phillies last month at Citi Field. The Phillies will counter with Joe Blanton, who has notched 8 strike outs in each of his last 2 outings. Injured short stop Jimmy Rollins, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury in recent weeks, faced live pitching in a simulated game on Thursday and could return to action this weekend. The Phillies have won 8 of 15 meetings with the Metropolitans this season. Read ahead for detail on the pitching match ups for this series and loads more information. Friday, 7:05pm. RA Dickey (11-7, 2.92 ERA

MLB Jeopardy...Part 11

For $1,000 in the category of douche bag teams that are mistakenly regarded as the class of Major League Baseball, the answer is: The idiot franchise that let a rapper diss them lyrically on their own field prior to a World Series game and later rewarded him with a championship ring. Question: Who are the New York Yankees? Correct! The Yankees invited Jay-Z and Alicia Keys to perform their single "Empire State of Mind" prior to game 2 of the World Series last year at Yankee Stadium. The track contains the lyric, "I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can." Yankees fans in attendance cheered. Firstly, the phrase is not true. Also, the Yankees should not have let that happen. If the front office wasn't aware of the lyric before the concert was booked, why didn't the players take exception at some point? The team should be embarrassed for giving Jay-Z a World Championship ring after he clearly took credit for people buying their merchandis

Recognize Ruiz

Carlos Ruiz has been hot for the Phillies In seasons past, the role of the catcher on the Phillies club has been to guide the pitching staff, lead the team on the defensive side of things and simply contribute a bit on offense. The same does not apply this season. In 2008, Phillies catchers posted a .243 batting average. In 2009, Phillies catchers combined for a .252 batting average while driving in 57 runs. This season, Phillies catchers have stepped up their production at the plate and become key contributors to the offense. In 2010, Phillies catchers have combined for recent season highs in all of the following categories...a .276 batting average, 44 doubles, 15 homeruns and have driven in 75 runs. Some of the increased production could be attributed to the injuries the team has suffered this year, which has resulted in Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider batting 7th in the batting order instead of 8th, where the catcher regularly batted in recent years. Other credit can simply go t

Trevor May's BlueClaws Boogie

The Lakewood BlueClaws built a reputation for being dancing machines well before they locked down a second consecutive South Atlantic League title. Last season, the 'Claws started a tradition of passing the time during rain delays by performing dance routines . Early this season, they kept it going . Trevor May, a pitching prospect who turns 21-years-old this week, managed to keep his love of the dance a secret until Lakewood defeated the Greenville Drive (Boston affiliate) in the SAL finals for the second straight year. During the BlueClaws' celebration following the game 4 victory that gave May his third league championship in three seasons in the minors (May won the Gulf Coast League championship with the Phillies in 2008 and was a member of last season's BlueClaws team), May joined the ranks of Lakewood's rhythmic expression elite. Check out the media player below to witness May's masterful moves. Trevor May was a 4th round draft pick by the Phillies in 20

Series Preview: Braves at Phillies, 9/20-9/22

The Philadelphia Phillies (89-61) and Atlanta Braves (86-64) will meet 6 more times over the final 12 games of the season to potentially decide the winner of the National League East. The Phils sport a 3 game lead over Atlanta, and could lock in their strangle hold on the division as a 3-game series starts in Philadelphia on Monday night. Atlanta has won 5 of the last 6 meetings with Philadelphia, but the Phillies have gone 18-4 since being swept at home by the Astros last month. A key of the Phils' strong run is their trio of ace starting pitchers. Since the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt from Houston July 29th, Oswalt, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels have posted a combined 16-6 record. The three hurlers have also combined for a 2.27 ERA in August and September. The Braves, who have dropped 9 of 18 games this month, will send Jair Jurrjens to the mound to change the team's fortunes. The Phillies will counter with left-hander Cole Hamels, who has a 6.39 ERA in 3 starts against th

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 76

In 1973 Dick Ruthven was drafted first overall in MLB's secondary amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. The secondary draft would only feature players who were previously drafted, but did not sign. Ruthven had previously been picked by the Orioles and Twins. After being selected by the Phillies out of Fresno State, Ruthven signed with Philadelphia and skipped the minor leagues all together. He made his Major League debut on April 17th, 1973. In his second big league start, Ruthven was matched up against eventual Hall of Famer Bob Gibson and held St. Louis to just 1 run in 7-plus innings, helping the Phils win, 2-1. His next time out, Ruthven faced the defending league champs, the Cincinnati Reds and held them to just one hit over 7 innings, leading the Phillies to a 1-0 victory. In July, when Ruthven faced Gibson and the Cardinals again. he shined, beating the Cardinals with a 2-hit complete game shut out. In 25 games as a rookie, Ruthven posted a 6-9 record and a 4.21 ERA.

Historic Title Victory For Lakewood

LAKEWOOD, NJ- It was a historic day for the BlueClaws as they defeated the Greenville Drive in game 4 of the South Atlantic League Championship Series to lock down their second consecutive championship. After winning the Northern Division title in the first and second halves of the season, Lakewood became the very first team in league history to win both halves and clinch the championship. The current format began with the 2000 season. It was a clutch homerun by catcher Sebastian Valle in the 5th inning and masterful pitching from right-handed reliever Josh Zeid that led the way for the BlueClaws' victory. Valle's 3-run bomb off of Drive reliever Kendal Volz gave Lakewood a lead they would not relinquish thanks to 4 perfect innings of relief from Zeid. "I owed it to my team. I struggled earlier in the year and I finished strong and the team battled all year, so I just really wanted to finish it for them," Zeid stated following the game. Josh Zeid with the SA

BlueClaws One Win From Repeat

LAKEWOOD, NJ- In a game pushed back one day due to rain, it took until the very last at bat to decide who would have the advantage heading into the final day of the South Atlantic League Postseason, as the Phillies affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws, played host to the Red Sox affiliate, the Greenville Drive. The team affectionately known around the region as "The Cardiac 'Claws" locked down their 14th walk-off win of the season when mid-season All-star Jeremy Barnes singled to drive home the go ahead run that gave Lakewood a 2-1 win. In the home half of the 9th, Jiwan James led off with a single and was moved over the 2nd on a Michael Dabbs sacrifice bunt. Slugger Jonathan Singleton was intentionally walked, to set up a force play with one out. Lakewood catcher Sebastian Valle then flied out, setting the stage for Barnes' shining moment against Greenville reliever Dennis Neuman. "To have a walk-off hit in a game like this is huge. This is the highlight of my s

Exclusive Interview with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is in the house at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood for game 3 of the South Atlantic League Championship. I had the opportunity to speak with Amaro Jr. about several subjects including the importance of the BlueClaws' run at a SAL title repeat, prospects that came in return for Cliff Lee, prospects who have shot up the Phillies' ranks this year, and plenty more minor league related matters. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview. **This interview was featured on 97.3 ESPN's The Weekend Sports Guide with Tyrone Johnson. Listen to The Weekend Sports Guide every Saturday at noon on WENJ 97.3 in Millville, NJ.** ______________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE .

Billy McMillon Speaks with PhoulBallz.com

Phillies phans will remember him best as being the player acquired in the deal that sent Darren Daulton to Florida in 1997. Currently, Billy McMillon is the manager of the Greenville (SC) Drive, Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. In his first season as a manager, McMillon has led the Drive to the South Atlantic League Championship Series against the Phillies' affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws, who are trying to become the first club to repeat as league champs since 1994, when Savannah won their second straight title. A South Carolina native, McMillon played collegiate ball at Clemson University, where he still holds the best lifetime batting average, at .382. I spoke with Billy prior the postponement of game 3 of the SAL championship series. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview. _______________________________________________________________ Be sure to follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE .

SAL Championship Postponed, Suspensions & Zeid Speaks

Poor weather washed out the return of the South Atlantic League Championship Series to Lakewood. With more precipitation on the way, game 3 was postponed Thursday night when heavy rains left the FirstEnergy Park field too wet to play on. The best-of-five series between the Phillies' Class A affiliate the Lakewood BlueClaws and the Red Sox affiliate Greenville Drive is tied at 1 game apiece. Last season Lakewood defeated Greenville in 4 games to win the SAL championship. The rescheduled time for game 3 is Friday at 7:05pm, with game 4, which was originally slated for Friday evening, being pushed back to Saturday at 4:05pm. A deciding game 5, if necessary, will be played 30 minutes following the finish of game 4. Normally, minor league double header games are regulated to 7 innings. However, with the league championship on the line, both games on Saturday will be scheduled for 9 innings. Game 3 will feature Lakewood starting pitcher Brody Colvin (6-8, 3.39 ERA in the regular seas

BlueClaws...10 Years in 10 Minutes

This week I spoke with Scott Nap, who was formerly a videographer for the Phillies Single A affiliate the Lakewood BlueClaws. Scott began working with the team as a press box assistant with at the age of 16 in the team's inaugural season in 2001. In his 6 years with the team, Scott progressed upward, working closely with others to learn as much as he could and loved filming all the fun around Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park. In 2007, Scott left the club to pursue a film teaching position, but he continues to have a close relationship with those around the team. Currently employed as a video producer with the MSG Varsity Network, Scott now has upgraded his own equipment and took it upon himself to put together a 10 year tribute video. I posed some questions to Scott, who is also the writer-director for the web series " Issues ", about his relationship with the BlueClaws organization and the video honoring a decade of baseball in Lakewood. Check out what he had to say as

The Hunt for the Other Triple Crown

Much has been made of the triple crown chase in the National League this season. Such a feat means a batter would lead his league in batting average, HR and RBI in the same year. No National League player has accomplished this since 1937. While Carlos Gonzalez, Joey Votto and Albert Pujols chasing such an accomplishment is surely an intriguing story, the offensive triple crown is not the only rare tri-fold achievement. How about the other one? Roy Halladay is chasing the pitching triple crown in the National League, which would include leading the Senior Circuit in wins, ERA and strike outs. Currently tied for the league lead in wins with Colorado's Ubaldo Jimanez and St. Louis' Adam Wainwright, at 18, Halladay ranks third in ERA and second in strike outs. Halladay's 2.44 ERA places him behind just the Padres' Mat Latos' 2.43 and the Marlins' Josh Johnson's 2.30. Florida's ace, Johnson, has been shut down for the season after he experienced recurring

Phillies Prospect Nick Hernandez Talks Injury & Rehab

Nick Hernandez, a 22-year-old pitching prospect, has had an injury plagued 2010 season. In 8 starts with the Phillies Class A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws, Hernandez posted a 3-1 record with a 1.61 ERA and a .197 batting average against. A 12th round draft pick out of the University of Tennessee in the 2009 amateur draft, Hernandez was sidelined in May with a shoulder injury. Despite that, Nick was selected to represent Lakewood in the mid-season South Atlantic League All-star game. Nick had a pair of brief stints with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in July and August, while he rehabbed his shoulder, but experienced a set back and wasn't able to display the same dominance in Florida as he did with Lakewood earlier in the year. Recently, I spoke with Nick about the status of his shoulder, his rehab work, his outlook for next season and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview. To read my previous interview with Nick, click here . ___

Ryan Howard on the Season Finale of Entourage

If you missed it, here is the season finale of Entourage that featured Phillies All-star Ryan Howard. In the episode, Howard sits poolside with his twin brother Corey and speaks on the phone with Jerry Ferrara's character Turtle, who hits Howard up for some money to fund his upstart tequila venture. Howard's cameo comes up at about the 5 minute mark of the episode featured in high quality video. ___________________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE .

Jarred Cosart Speaks About the Status of His Elbow

Jarred Cosart has been sidelined with an elbow injury since he left a late June start after pitching just 2/3 of an inning. Eventually diagnosed as a mere strain that would heal with physical therapy, the Phillies organization shut down Cosart for the season to avoid a strenuous work load and allow the 20-year-old right-hander the opportunity to heal fully and avoid further aggravation of the ligaments in his elbow. As his baseball activities wrapped up in Clearwater, Florida this month, where Cosart had been doing his therapy and throwing sessions, Cosart was assigned to return to the Lakewood BlueClaws and join his teammates for their playoff push, as they attempt to repeat as South Atlantic League champions. With the BlueClaws this season, Cosart went 7-3 with a 3.79 ERA and 77 strike outs in 71 1/3 innings pitched. Cosart's sick fastball (often measured at 97 MPH) and exceptional command got him recognized recently as the #2 prospect in the entire Phillies minor league system

Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins, 9/13-9/15

With Jimmy Rollins still out of the lineup, the Phillies will need to continue battling division rivals, with a playoff berth on the line, minus their former league MVP and multi-time All-star. Rollins traveled back to Philadelphia to visit team doctors for his injured right hamstring, while the Phillies (83-61) travel south to begin a 3-game series against the Marlins (73-69). Initially, Rollins was expected to return to the lineup after resting a few games, but when the injury did not subside, Rollins was scheduled to have his leg examined. Philadelphia has posted a 13-4 record since being swept by Houston at home last month. The Phillies will try to continue their hot streak by sending Joe Blanton to the mound for game 1 of the series. Blanton, who missed the opening month of 2010, has improved lately (3-1 record, 3.67 ERA in 11 second half starts), after a poor start to his season (3-5 record, 6.41 ERA in 13 first half starts). Florida will counter with lefty Andrew Miller, who w

BlueClaws Advance to SAL Finals

LAKEWOOD, NJ- On Saturday night in game 3 of the Northern Division playoffs, Lakewood starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone took charge early and led his team back to the South Atlantic League Championship. From the start, Pettibone's command was on point and his fastball was a notch faster than normal, coming in at 94 MPH on the FirstEnergy Park radar gun. Pettibone's battery mate Sebastian Valle fed off the energy from his pitcher and slammed a 2-run homerun in the bottom of the 1st inning that scored Michael Dabbs, who singled. Jeremy Barnes also drove in a run in the 1st, when he slapped a single that plated Leandro Castro. Pettibone held opposing batters to just 1 hit while striking out a career high 9 batters over 7 innings, leading the defending league champs to a 6-0 victory and clinching a return to the finals. "The early run support definitely helped my confidence," Pettibone said after the game. "I just tried to go out there and pitch the best I coul

Jiwan James Speaks with PhoulBallz.com

The Lakewood BlueClaws are in the midst of the South Atlantic League playoffs. One of their offensive leaders all season has been outfield prospect Jiwan James. In 133 regular season games this season, James posted a .270 batting average, hit 5 homeruns, drove in 64 runs, scored 85 runs and set a BlueClaws franchise record 24-game hitting streak. James, a 21-year-old, is a converted pitcher and is often described as the best athlete in the Phillies minor league system. In a recent poll of minor league experts, conducted by the Reading Eagle , James was ranked as the 9th best prospect in the Phillies' system. I spoke with Jiwan about the BlueClaws' confidence level in the post-season, slumping and plenty more. Check out the media player below, to listen to the full interview. ______________________________________________________ Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE .

Rollins & Lidge Ailments Not Serious

A pair of key Phillies contributors were sidelined this week, as both Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge were inactive with new ailments. Rollins, who has already spent two stints on the disabled list this season with a calf injury, strained his right hamstring while running out a double on Wednesday against the Marlins. He was removed from the game and sat out Friday's contest in New York, following a day off. Rollins is expected to sit out Saturday's afternoon contest against the Metropolitans and quite possibly Sunday's series finale as well. No additional rest should be required, provided Rollins does not experience a set back. Lidge hyperextended his elbow last weekend, and the condition worsened as he continued to throw after feeling discomfort. The decision was made to give Lidge a few days off, and after throwing a side session without a set back on Thursday, Lidge is expected to throw for the Phillies this weekend in New York. Early reports that Lidge would be avail

Lakewood Falls Short, Deciding Game Saturday

LAKEWOOD, NJ- With a chance to clinch a spot in the South Atlantic League finals, the Lakewood BlueClaws couldn't muster the offense it was going to take to get themselves an extra day off before travelling to the host city for the next round's opening game. Struggling to put the ball in play when it counted against the Rangers affiliate Hickory Crawdads, the BlueClaws stranded 4 runners in scoring position, with the game tied in the 7th and 9th innings. Lakewood fell short again when they came to the plate trailing in the 10th inning and lined themselves out of a chance to tie the game or walk off with a victory. A lead off walk for Leandro Castro and a double by Jeremy Barnes, that began the 7th inning, were wasted when Hickory reliever Miguel De Los Santos refocused and struck out the next 3 batters. This occurred in the midst of a stretch where 13 of 14 outs made by BlueClaws batters were on strike outs. In the 9th inning Castro led off again drawing a walk. Barnes bunt