Monday, May 31, 2010

Series Preview: Phillies @ Braves, 5/31-6/2


This Memorial Day, the Phillies (28-21) head to Atlanta to battle over first place in the National League East division, against the Braves (28-22).

Philadelphia's recent offensive struggles and 6 losses in their last 8 games, have left a door open for the Braves, who have won 5 straight and 10 of their past 12 games, to creep upward in the standings. Two weeks ago, the Braves sat in last place, 6 1/2 games behind the Phillies. Now, the Braves are in second place just 1/2 game in back of the Phils. The Phillies have been in first place since May 2nd.

The Braves will be lead by starting pitcher Tommy Hanson in the series opener, on Monday afternoon, while the Phillies will counter with Joe Blanton.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups as well as plenty more stats and info.



Monday, 1:05pm. Joe Blanton (1-3, 5.63 ERA) vs. Tommy Hanson (4-3, 4.06 ERA). In 7 career games against Atlanta, Blanton is 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA. In two road starts this season, Blanton is 1-1 with a 7.30 ERA. Brian McCann is 7-for-17 (.412 avg) with 2 homeruns against Blanton. In 3 career starts against the Phillies, Hanson is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA and a .319 batting average against. Hanson's home ERA in 5 starts this year is 6.41, compared to his road ERA in 5 games, which is 2.03. In his lone day start this year, Hanson allowed 8 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Reds on May 20th.

Tuesday, 7:10pm. Cole Hamels (5-3, 3.82 ERA) vs. Tim Hudson, (5-1, 2.24 ERA). In 5 road starts this season, Hamels has posted a 2-2 record with 4.80 ERA. In 5 May starts, Hamels is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA. Yunel Escobar is 1-for-16 (.063 ERA) in his career against Colbert. In 16 career starts against the Phillies, Hudson has posted a 4-7 record with a 3.75 ERA. In 3 home starts this year, Hudson is 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA. In 6 May starts, Hudson is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA and .199 batting average against.

Wednesday, 1:05pm. Kyle Kendrick (3-2, 5.04 ERA) vs. Derek Lowe (7-4, 4.86 ERA). In 8 career games vs. Atlanta, Kendrick is 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA. Kendrick has a 3.13 ERA over his last 5 starts. Kendrick pitched 8 shut out innings against the Braves on April 20th. In 16 games against the Phillies in his career, Lowe has a 6-3 record with a 3.47 ERA. Lowe took the loss when he surrendered 4 earned runs in 5 innings on April 22nd against the Phillies. Lowe has a 2.88 ERA over his last 4 starts. Chase Utley is 12-for-27 (.444 avg) with 3 doubles and 2 homers against Lowe in his career.


Chase Utley is 4-for-30 (.133 avg) with just 1 run scored and 1 RBI in his last 8 games. Utley is hitting just .240 in 26 road games this season.

Shane Victorino is 11-for-53 (.208 avg) combined against Hanson, Hudson and Lowe in his career. Victorino, the Phillies' lead-off batter has scored 1 total run in his last 12 games played.
Brad Lidge has been activated from the disabled list. Nelson Figueroa has been designated for assignment to make room on the 25-man Major League roster.

Brian McCann has hit more homeruns (12) against the Phillies than he has against any other team. McCann is a lifetime .301 hitter in 77 games against Philadelphia.

Martin Prado is 13-for-29 (.448 avg) in his last 6 games. In 43 games against the Phillies, Prado is a 3.28 hitter.

Phillies team batting average- .261
Braves team batting average- .255

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Roy Halladay is Perfect


On Saturday night in Florida, Roy Halladay completed the 54th game of his career, but this was one that would surely stand out above all those others. Halladay, a former Cy Young Award winner and multi-time all-star, made history with the ultimate performance of his career.

Retiring all of the 27 batters he faced, Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB history and just the 2nd in Phillies history. Jim Bunning threw a perfect game for the Phillies on Fathers Day, June 21, 1964 against the Metropolitans in New York.

Everyone, from the Phillies broadcast team to Roy Halladay, gave credit to catcher Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz for being a big difference in the game. "We felt like we got in a groove early," Halladay said after the game, referring to Ruiz's efforts calling pitches behind the plate. "About the 5th or 6th I was just following Chooch. I can't enough about the job he did. For me, it was a no-brainer. Once we got to the 5th or 6th, I just followed him."

Halladay, generally a very composed individual, showed emotion after the final out was recorded, smiling big, for all to see. With 2 outs in the 9th inning, Halladay induced a grounder to third baseman Juan Castro, who ranged left, spun around and quickly threw out former Phillie Ronny Paulino, at first base, to lock up the landmark game in the lore of Philadelphia baseball.

Roy Halladay is now Mr. Perfect.
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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Familiar Names Among FSL All-stars

Justin De Fratus

Florida State League all-stars were announced on Friday and there were plenty of familiar names for regular PhoulBallz.com readers. Close friends Justin De Fratus and Travis D'Arnaud will reunite as members of the FSL North division squad. De Fratus and D'Arnaud were key members of the 2009 South Atlantic League champion Lakewood BlueClaws last season. De Fratus posted a 5-6 record with a 3.19 ERA in 36 games (12 starts) for Lakewood in 2009. His battery mate, Travis D'Arnaud, was sent to Toronto by the Phillies in December as part of the Roy Halladay trade, after hitting .256 with 13 homers and 71 RBI for the BlueClaws in 2009. This season with the High-A level Clearwater Threshers, De Fratus, a 22-year-old right hander, has posted a 1-0 record with 8 saves and a 1.64 ERA in 16 games. With Dunedin in 2010, D'Arnaud is hitting .309 with 5 homers and 22 RBI, despite missing over 3 weeks with an injury.

Travis D'Arnaud

In addition to the reunion with D'Arnaud, De Fratus is excited to be teamed up with another pal, Brewers prospect Erik Komatsu, who was once a high school rival of De Fratus in California. Komatsu (.316 avg. in 46 games) has been named to the Northern all-star team as well.

Also chosen to represent the Northern division, in the June 12th all-star exhibition to be played in Viera, Florida, were Clearwater players Austin Hyatt, Trevor May and Cody Overbeck.

Hyatt, a 24-year-old righty pitcher, was the set-up man for Lakewood in the playoffs last year but is now starting for the Threshers. Hyatt has struggled greatly in his most recent three starts, losing 2 games and posting a 15.68 ERA. Prior to that, Hyatt had a 6-1 record and a 1.90 ERA.

Trevor May, a 4th round draft pick in 2008, is a 20-year-old right handed hurler. In 10 games this season, he has posted a 3-4 record with a 4.98 ERA. Also, May has struck out an astounding 65 batters in 43 1/3 innings pitched this year.

Overbeck is a 23-year-old third baseman, who was drafted in the 9th round in 2008. In 48 games this season, Overbeck is batting .326 with a 1.003 OPS.

De Fratus, May, Hyatt, Overbeck and the rest of the Threshers are currently in 3rd place in the FSL Northern Division, 3 games behind D'Arnaud and the first place Dunedin Blue Jays.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

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Series Preview: Phillies @ Marlins 5/28-5/30


Slump doesn't even begin to describe the rut that the Phillies have been in recently. In their last 47 innings, the Phillies have scored in just one of them. The Phillies (26-20) head to Florida, hoping to snap a 5-game losing streak against the Marlins (24-24).

Despite the tough week, the Phillies still sit atop the National League East standings, which currently has 5 teams within 3 games of one another.

The Phillies, who have identical home and road records at 13-10, will attempt to recover from their struggles against Marlins starter Chris Volstad, while the Phillies counter with fill-in starter Kyle Kendrick, in the series opener.

The Phillies won 7 of 9 games in Florida against the Marlins last season.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups for this series as well as loads of other stats.


Friday, 7:10pm. Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 5.66 ERA) vs. Chris Volstad (3-5, 4.31 ERA). Kendrick has no decisions with a 5.48 ERA in 4 road starts this season. In 9 career games against the Marlins, Kendrick is 2-2 with a 6.46 ERA. Jorge Cantu is 5-for-9 (.556 avg) with 2 homers and 5 RBI against Kendrick. In 4 home starts this season, Volstad has posted a 2-2 record with a 2.67 ERA and a .214 batting avg. against. Volstad was 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA in 3 starts against the Phillies last season. Ryan Howard is 6-for-15 (.400 avg) against Volstad with 4 homeruns and 5 RBI. Jayson Werth is 1-for-14 (.071 avg) against Volstad with 7 strike outs.

Saturday, 7:10pm. Roy Halladay (6-3, 2.22 ERA) vs. Josh Johnson (5-1, 2.43 ERA). In 3 games against Florida, Halladay is 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA. In 5 road starts this season, Halladay is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA. Dan Uggla is 4-for-7 (.571 avg) with a triple and a homer against Halladay. In his last 3 starts, Johnson's ERA is 0.43. In 11 career games against the Phillies Johnson is 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA. Greg Dobbs is 4-for-8 (.500 avg) with a double and a homer against Johnson.

Sunday, 1:10pm. Jamie Moyer (5-4, 4.55 ERA) vs. Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 3.23 ERA). In 18 career starts against the Marlins, Moyer is 13-5 with a 3.18 ERA. Moyer posted a 2.90 ERA in 5 starts against the Marlins last season. Ronny Paulino is 9-for-21 (.429 avg) with a double, a homer and 6 RBI against Moyer. In 8 career starts against the Phils, Sanchez is 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA. Sanchez has won 3 straight starts...in those games his combined ERA is 1.77. Sanchez allowed 5 earned runs in 6 innings against the Phillies on April 16th, and took the loss. Chase Utley is 8-for-20 (.400 avg) with 3 doubles and a triple against Sanchez in his career.


Jayson Werth's home batting average/OPS- .355/1.187
Jayson Werth's road batting average/OPS- .273/.833

In 79 games against the Marlins, Shane Victorino is a .247 hitter. Shane, the Phillies' lead off hitter in Jimmy Rollins' absence, has not scored a run in the past 9 games.

Placido Polanco is hitting .352 in 22 road games this season with an .854 OPS.

In 25 career games against Philadelphia, the former Phillie Ronny Paulino is a .310 hitter with 2 homeruns and 11 RBI.

Dan Uggla is a career .238 hitter in 73 games against the Phillies.

In 10 home games this season, Marlins closer Leo Nunez 3 saves, 1 blown saves and a 4.50 ERA. After posting a 0.00 ERA in April, Nunez's ERA in May is 4.35.


Phillies team ERA- 3.81

Marlins team ERA- 4.00



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Thursday, May 27, 2010

PhoulBallz Q&A With Josh Zeid

Josh Zeid is currently a pitcher for the Phillies single-A affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws. A 10th round draft selection in June 2009, Zeid was a starter for Williamsport of the NY-Pennn League and posted an 8-1 record with a 2.70 ERA there last season. Zeid transferred to Tulane University after his sophomore season at Vanderbilt. After a great start to his 2010 campaign and looking razor sharp in his role as the BlueClaws closer, Zeid has hit a rough patch, forcing manager Mark Parent to explore other options in the closer role.

Josh took some time to chat with PhoulBallz.com, and that interview lies ahead.


You were named the Phillies Minor League pitcher of the month for April when you had a 2-0 record with 2 saves and a 0.00 ERA in 9 appearances. How did that sort of recognition effect your outlook moving forward?

It's a great honor, but the second I got recognized, I didn't stop working out, I didn't skip any beats. I just jumped right into it once again and it went really well. Right now, I'm in a little rut, so I just need to keep working hard to bounce back out there.


What was your draft experience like last year?

It was an honor to get drafted and an honor to play professional baseball. After a couple years of college, I didn't know if professional baseball was the route that I was going to end up doing, but I had a good senior year and it all fell into place. During the draft...I watched it online and hung out with my friends.


What does your pitch repertoire consist of and what are you working on improving?

I throw a fastball, a slider and a split-change, it's called a fosh. With my recent struggles, my slider's not been so good, so that's something that I really have to focus on and improve.


How has the transition from starter to reliever gone? Do you have a preference for either one?

I really enjoy relieving, 'cause you get to come to the field everyday with the possibility of throwing (in a game). But, in those situations you can win or lose a game a lot quicker than if you're starting, so it's a lot to handle, but I really do enjoy it.


How big of a help has pitching coach Steve Schrenk been for you this season?

He's a wealth of knowledge. He's had a long, long career and having him gone (took time off with an illness) for about 8-10 days- that hurt us a little bit, but I'm glad he's back and I'm looking forward to working with him.


Who was your favorite player growing up?

My favorite player of all time was Frank Thomas and I've always been a fan of Sandy Koufax.

What advice would you give to teenage players hoping to play baseball beyond high school, whether it's college or pro?

You have to work hard. And you have success, and times without success, and you've got learn how to come back from not doing well and that is key...how you recover after you fail.


The BlueClaws hosted a celebrity waiter/bartender event to benefit ALS, where the team players and coaches served event goers. Can I get your thoughts on helping such a good cause that is close to the heart of the Phillies organization?

I hope we bring in more money than we ever did before. I think ALS is a great cause. I hope they get all the money they need to find a cure.


Which player in MLB today would you be most willing to pay money to watch?

I would pay to watch David Price any day. I went to Vanderbilt with him, so I'd pay to watch him play any day.


What is your favorite baseball movie?

Field of Dreams. It's a perfect baseball movie.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Walk-off Win For Lakewood

Wednesday in Lakewood, in a game where neither starting pitcher made in through the fourth inning, the Lakewood BlueClaws and the Hagerstown Suns battled it out in a rollercoaster of a contest.

The BlueClaws started the day trailing Hagerstown by one game for second place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division, and were scheduled to use a substitute starting pitcher in Jonathan Pettibone's (disabled list, shoulder) place in the rotation.


The substitute, Julio Rodriguez, an 8th round draft selection in 2008, seemed to be cruising right along and even struck out the side in both the 2nd and 3rd innings, but he failed to complete the 4th inning, as did his Hagerstown counterpart, Paul Demny.

Lakewood got the scoring started in the 2nd inning, as a lead off double from Jeremy Barnes was followed by back to back RBI hits by Stephen Batts and Adam Buschini. The BlueClaws took their 2-0 advantage into the 4th inning, when Rodriguez would hit a wall. RBI hits from Hagerstown first baseman Brett Newsome and catcher Sandy Leon tied the game at 2. Ebelin Lugo relieved Rodriguez to end the threat. In the bottom of the frame, BlueClaws failed to score, despite getting 3 runners aboard, as Kyle Morrison relieved Demny to thwart the danger from the home team.

The Suns took the lead in the top of the 6th inning when Francisco Soriano hit into a fielders choice that drove home Newsome. Lakewood clapped right back in the bottom of the inning, when they sent 12 batters to the plate and scored 6 runs. The innings started with 5 straight batters reaching base and the big blow was a 2-run single by Jiwan James, who redeemed himself after getting doubled off second base in the 5th inning, on a fly out to right field by Alan Schoenberger.

Riding an 8-3 lead into the 8th inning, the BlueClaws struggled to lock down the victory late in the game once again, as closer Josh Zeid came into to take over for Siulman Lebron, only to surrender a 3-run homer to Suns third baseman Steve Souza on an 0-2 pitch. Hagerstown added a run in the top of the 9th inning on a run scoring double by Leon, to put the Suns ahead by a score of 10-8.

Down to the last 3 outs, the 'Claws got things started quickly, when lead off batter Buschini walked and scored when Kyle Lafrenz drove him in with a double. After a Domingo Santana ground out, Jiwan James was hit by a pitch from Wanel Vasquez, who was promptly relieved by Dean Weaver. Still clinging to a 1-run lead with one out, Weaver induced a dead double ball from Alan Schoenberger that was botched by Hagerstown second baseman Jeff Kobernus, and pinch runner Anthony Hewitt scored the tying run, while James hustled around to third base. Leandro Castro then followed that up with a ground ball right back to a drawn in Kobernus, who fired home too late to catch the speeding James, who slid home for the game winning score. Those remaining from the crowd of 5,859 witnessed the oh-so-rare walk-off fielders choice victory for the home club.

Speaking after the game about his up-and-down day, of being on the hook and then off the hook and ending up the winning pitcher, Zeid stated, "I got ahead and made a bad pitch. I left it right down the middle, it was supposed to be down in the dirt and (Souza) did what a good hitter does, and that's hit it over the fence."

"The team did a great job coming back in the 9th inning. I didn't deserve to win the game. The team, all 24 guys, deserve to win that game. I let them down and they picked me back up."

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Slump It Up!


The Phillies' offense has been struggling. Dealt another knuckle sandwich in their series opener against the Metropolitans, the defending National League champs have now gone scoreless in 28 of their last 29 innings.

New York threw R.A. Dickey on Tuesday, while Boston used Tim Wakefield on Sunday. The two pitchers, known for their knuckle balls, combined for 14 shut out innings against the Phillies, who have scored just 15 runs in their past 7 games, dating back to Roy Halladay's 2-1 loss at the hands of Zach Duke and the Pirates last Tuesday.

Dickey spoke with Wakefield on the telephone prior to Tuesday's game, and the Red Sox veteran had some words of advice for the Metropolitans' interim starter. "His advice to me was that they were a free-swinging team, and I found that to be the case," Dickey told reporters following New York's 8-0 win over the Phillies. Wakefield also shared some tips on fastball locations to certain Philadelphia batters that induced some fly ball outs, according to Dickey.

Some players, like Carlos Ruiz, are hurting the team more than others. Ruiz, who hit into a 1-2-3 double play with no outs and the bases loaded on Tuesday night, is 1-for-17 (.059 avg) in his past 6 games. Greg Dobbs has been another culprit, but not just during this week-long stretch. Dobbs, who is batting .150 on the season, is just 1-for-18 (.055 avg) as a pinch hitter this season. Dobbs set the Phillies franchise record for pinch hits in a season just two years ago, when he had 22 pinch hits and posted a .355 batting average as a pinch hitter.

Also worthy of note- Lead off man Shane Victorino has not scored a run during this 7-game stretch.

The Phillies will try to turn their own fortunes around Wednesday night, when they face Japanese hurler Hisanori Takahashi.

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It's PhoulBallz Phillies Wednesday! Check out The Shore Sports Report today around 3:20pm to hear me talking Phillies baseball with Mike & Joe. In New Jersey, tune in on WOBM AM 1160 and Fox Sports 1310 AM, or listen live online by clicking this link.


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PhoulBallz Q&A With Colby Shreve

Colby Shreve is a right-handed pitcher with the Phillies Class A affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws. A 6th round draft selection in 2008, Shreve injured his pitching arm about a month and a half prior to the amateur draft and missed all of 2008 and 2009 while recovering from surgery. Through 8 games this season, after making his pro debut about a month ago, the 22-year-old Shreve is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA for Lakewood.

I had the opportunity to speak with Colby over the weekend and that interview lies ahead.


Can I get some comments from you about this hot start to your professional career?

I've just been working, since I came back from my surgery, just getting all my mechanics to where they were pre-surgery and it's helped out a lot as far as locating the ball and getting a good downward angle. I think that's led to a lot of my success.


You had Tommy John surgery, which delayed your professional career. What was the recovery process like for you?

It was long, very long. In college, it was about half way through the season that I had to have Tommy John surgery. It was tough and then I almost got all the way back (11 1/2 months of rehab) and it still didn't feel right of the mound, so I went back to (Dr. James) Andrews...had an MRI and an x-ray and they saw a little bone spur and they took it out, and it's been great ever since.


With your injury status where it was, at the time of the draft, and the Phillies still going ahead and drafting you...did that have a positive effect on your recovery, that someone was still so confident in your abilities to draft you as early as they did?

Yeah, definitely. I think Nick Adenhart, who unfortunately passed away last year, he pretty much paved the way for guys. While he was a guy who had the surgery or was going to have the surgery, the Angels still took him pretty high. I think the surgery is so successful nowadays that teams aren't going to shy away from a guy with Tommy John, or even a shoulder (issue) now, 'cause you're going to come back. And usually with Tommy John, come back stronger.


Who was most supportive to you during your recovery process, whether inside baseball or outside baseball?

My parents were very supportive. Also, Brian Cammarota, the rehab coordinator of the minor leagues was awesome. He was there with me everyday, through the ups and downs, trying to keep me level headed, and keep my eyes on the prize. He did a great job.


What is your pitching repertoire like?

Just a 4-seam fastball, change up and curve. I think, by far, my change up is my best pitch. My curve ball is coming around too. I'm going to keep on working on it.


How big of a help has Lakewood pitching coach Steve Shrenk been for you thus far, since you started with the BlueClaws?

A tremendous help. He and Lance Carter and Chuck Hernandez, who I was down with in extended spring training, they all had a specific plan for me going into spring training. They all helped me with that in spring training and while I was in extended (spring training).


Who was your favorite pitcher, before becoming a pro?

Verlander. Yeah, Verlander's the man! He throws hard and he's got a nasty curve ball.


What do you think of the park and fans in Lakewood thus far?

Oh, it's awesome. They're awesome. It's definitely a change, coming from spring training, and extended, where there's 10 people at the game. It's just electric when you step into the stadium and there's 7,000 people watching you and screaming when something good happens, so it's amazing.


What is your favorite baseball movie?

Probably Bull Durham. It's just hilarious. I think it realistically paints a good picture of what the minor leagues are. A lot of people have kind of a jaded view of what we do, as far as the bus trips and all the time sitting around, but they just did a great job of illustrating that.


What sort of advice might you give to young players who hope to continue playing baseball beyond high school, whether it's in college or professionally?

I would tell them to listen to your coaches. They're not there to mess with your head or anything, because they want to help somebody they're close to. They are there for your benefit. Another thing I would say, from an injury standpoint, you've gotta take time off. I remember those days when I was 10-15 and we were playing year round it was great, it helped me develop, but at the same time, it may have contributed to my injury. So, just take time off.


Do you think there is anyone on the BlueClaws team that might be a bit underrated?

I think our whole bullpen is awesome. I've switched back and forth from starter and reliever, and they just come in and they're prepared, they know what's going on, and they just come in and dominate.

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Series Preview: Phillies at Metropolitans 5/25-5/27


The Phillies (26-17) begin a 9 game road trip on Tuesday night, when they head to New York to face the Metropolitans (22-23), who are in last place in the National League East division, 5 games behind the Phillies.

On Sunday, against Red Sox knuckle baller Tim Wakefield, the Phillies could not muster a run over 8 innings. The Mets will follow up with their own knuckle ball pitcher, R.A. Dickey, in the series opener, while the Phillies will counter with Jamie Moyer.

The Phillies won 5 of 9 meetings between the two clubs at Citi Field last season. Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and loads more stats from this series.


Tuesday, 7:10pm. Jamie Moyer (5-3, 4.30 ERA) vs. RA Dickey (0-0, 3.00). Moyer earned a win against the Mets on May 2nd, when he allowed 5 earned runs over 6 innings pitched. In 23 career starts against the Metropolitans, Moyer has a 9-5 record with a 3.86 ERA. David Wright is 21-for-50 (.420 avg) with 4 homers in his career against Moyer. Dickey, who will be appearing in his second game of the season, is in the New York rotation in place of injured starter John Maine. Raul Ibanez is 1-for-8 against Dickey with a homerun.

Wednesday, 7:10pm. Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.06 ERA) vs. Hisanori Takahashi (3-1, 2.53 ERA). In 4 career starts against the Metropolitans, Blanton is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA. Jose Reyes is 0-for-9 off of Blanton in his career. Takahashi will be making just his second start for New York. The 35-year-old Takahashi was signed as a free agent after playing all of his professional career in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants.

Thursday, 7:10pm. Cole Hamels (5-2, 3.92 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (6-1, 2.86 ERA). In 9 career starts against the Metropolitans, Hamels has posted a 2-4 record with a 4.12 ERA. In 4 road starts this season, Colbert is 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA. In 4 May starts this year, Hamels is 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA. Jose Reyes is 3-for-18 (.167 avg) against Hamels. In 6 home starts this year, Pelfrey is 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA. Pelfrey faced the Phillies on May 1st and was torched for 6 earned runs in 4 innings, earning the loss. In 10 career starts against the Phils, Pelfrey has a 4-3 record with a 5.43 ERA. Ryan Howard is 11-for-25 (.440 avg) with a double and a homerun against Pelfrey in his career. Greg Dobbs is 7-for-13 (.538 avg) with a double and a homer against Pelfrey.


Carlos Ruiz is a career .206 hitter in 47 games against the Metropolitans. In 13 games against the Mets in 2009, Ruiz was 3-for-34 (.088 avg). Ruiz is batting .304 in 14 road games this season.

Chase Utley has hit more homeruns against the Metropolitans (24) than he has against any other team. Just 2 of Utley's 10 homers this season have come on the road. Utley is hitting .354 with a 1.341 OPS against lefty pitchers in 2010.

Jose Reyes is a career .289 hitter in 97 games against the Phils. Reyes is batting .222 with a .550 OPS overall this season.

David Wright is 7-for-41 (.171 avg) over his last 11 games.

In his last 4 games, Jason Bay is 10-for-15 (.667 avg) with 8 runs scored.

Phillies team ERA- 3.69.
Metropolitans team ERA- 3.86.

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Meet Up With PhoulBallz and Dan Baker

Phans, this Thursday, you can come on out to Chickie's & Pete's in Bordentown, NJ and experience a fun night of baseball, even though the Phillies will be on the road.

With the Phils away for a series in New York, Citizens Bank Park public address announcer Dan Baker will be in the house at Chickie's & Pete's to make the calls, just as though he was working at the ball park. The event will of course feature the divisional rivalry of the Phillies & Metropolitans and Dan Baker, as well as Dan's Phillies trivia and prizes between innings. But, that's not all....

Come on out and join the PhoulBallz.com party and meet yours truly as well as some other special Phillies blogger guests. The nearly famous Tug Haines from TheFightins.com will be in the house. Plus, Chris, the man in charge at Long Drive will be present. The mysterious men (Shep & Gil) of The701Level are expected to make their first public appearances. And some of your favorite Philly sports Twitter heads, like occasional blog contributor BigStevie, will be there too. So, phriends, come on out to meet Dan Baker, play some trivia, root-root-root for the Phillies, give Chickie's & Pete's of Bordentown's resident Mets fan bar tender a hard time and TWEET UP with your favorite Philadelphia sports bloggers.

Happy hour is from 5-7 and features discounted nachos, crab fries and pizza as well as $1 domestic beers. Also, Bud & Bud Light beer specials stay in effect during the game.

We'll see you there!!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

PhoulBallz Q&A With Jonathan Singleton


Jonathan Singleton was selected by the Phillies in the 8th round of the 2009 amateur free agent draft out of Millikan High School in Long Beach, California. Assigned to the Single-A level Lakewood BlueClaws earlier this month, out of extended spring training, after first baseman Darin Ruf was promoted to Clearwater, Singleton homered in his second at bat with the BlueClaws and has been on a tear since then. Singleton, an 18-year-old lefty batter, has hit successfully in 10 of 11 games played since joining the BlueClaws. Thus far with Lakewood, he's batting .378 with 3 doubles, 3 homers and 10 RBI.

PhoulBallz.com had a chance to speak with Jonathan over the weekend and that interviews lies ahead...


Talk a bit about your quick success since your recent assignment to Lakewood.

I'm glad to be here, ya' know. It's a lot more fun that the (Gulf Coast League) and extended spring training, so I'm just glad to be here.


What was your experience like turning pro last year?

It was a lot to take in. First, after signing, I went to the GCL and it was hot. I thought baseball was going to be like that for the rest of my pro career, but I'm glad it's not.


How did the draft experience last year compare to getting the call, this month, saying you were being assigned to Lakewood?

They were about the same. I was pretty excited for both of them, I'd say.


At this young age, you are already ranked pretty high in the Phillies system as the 20th best prospect by Baseball America. How does that sort of recognition effect your outlook?

I try not to let it effect me at all. I try to go out there and play my game. It's still a very, very big honor to get that type of recognition though.


What aspects of your game are you working most on improving?

Everything...the defense, the hitting, base running. Everything.


What would you say your strengths are?

I'd say my strengths are my hitting...and my weaknesses are defense.


Watching the game from a fan perspective before you signed a professional contract, who were some players that you looked up to?

I liked Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez because they are big time hitters.


Who in the Phillies system has had the biggest impact on you since you signed with the organization?

I'd say Zach Collier and (Domonic) Brown. Zach, he's been a friend since before we got drafted and since I was drafted, I've become a lot closer to him. But, D-Brown, I see the way he goes about things and the way he does things and it just inspires me and motivates me to do better.


Which ballpark would you most like to play in some day?

I'd say Dodgers Stadium and Angels Stadium, 'cause they are closest to where I am from.


Of course, Citizens Bank Park too, right?

Ha, of course! Right!


Who is your favorite non-baseball athlete?

LeBron James. He's a real athlete. He goes about his business and he does very well.


What is up with FirstEnergy Park's daily Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese race? And is it fixed?

I have no idea what's up with it. I think it is fixed.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 64

Stan Lopata was a catcher with the Phillies from 1948-1958. A back-up catcher through most of his career, a change in Lopata's batting stance well into his career increased his power and his playing time.

A Michigan native, Lopata, debuted with the Phillies in 1948, playing in 6 games. Over the next six seasons, he served as the understudy to backstops like Andy Semenick and "Smoky" Burgess.

Lopata played a key role in one of the best known defensive plays in Phillies history. In the final game of the 1950 season, with the Phillies and Dodgers playing one another and tied for the National League lead, the teams were knotted in a 1-1 tie in Brooklyn entering the bottom of the 9th inning. With Robin Roberts on the mound, the Dodgers quickly got runners on 1st and 2nd, with no outs. Duke Snider lined a single to centerfield. Richie Ashburn fielded the ball on one hop, while Dodgers third base coach, and former Phillie, Milt Stock waived Cal Abrams home. Abrams was a relatively slow runner, and was surely no match for Ashburn's arm. Richie fired home and Abrams was out by several feet, tagged by Stan Lopata. Ashburn's throw prevented the pennant winning run from scoring, and kept the Phillies alive. The game stayed tied into the 10th inning when Dick Sisler slammed a 3-run homerun that clinched the National League pennant for the Phillies and sent "The Whiz Kids" group into the history books.

In mid-1954 Lopata received a piece of advice from Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, who said Lopata wasn't getting a good look at incoming pitches and needed to focus on getting a piece of the ball each time he swung the bat. The next day, Lopata began crouching at the plate. Lopata, who never had more than 8 homers in a season, had 14 by the end of the year. The following season, 1955, Lopata had 22 homeruns and even better times were still to come.

With more power came more playing time and more chances to mash opposing pitchers. At age 30, the right-handed hitting Lopata played a career high 146 games in 1956, hitting 32 homeruns and driving in 95 runs, while making the National League all-star team for the second straight season.

In the coming seasons injuries would limit Lopata's playing time. Following a couple years of dwindled production, Lopata was traded to the Milwaukee Braves in a six player deal. In 32 games over parts of two seasons with the Braves, Lopata struggled and batted .107. He was released by Milwaukee following the 1960 season.

Lopata is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the National Polish-American Hall of Fame. A veteran of the second World War, the 84-year-old Lopata now resides in Arizona.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Singleton & Cosart Lead Lakewood To Win

If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up some tickets to see the Phillies' single A affiliate, Lakewood BlueClaws. The pitching staff continues to excel and a brand new masher has taken over first base. It's time to get out to FirstEnergy Park and see what all the fuss is about.

Friday night's convincing win over the West Virginia Power provided loads of examples for phans in attendance of why they should be excited about the young talent on their team by the shore. With a barrage of hits and some exceptional pitching, the BlueClaws downed the Pirates affiliate West Virginia Power by a score of 8-1.

Lakewood began the scoring in the second inning when Sebatian Valle drove home Anthony Hewitt, who led off the inning with a single, moved up on a fielders choice and stole third, with a single. The Power responded quickly, tying the game up in the third inning on an RBI single by first baseman Aaron Baker. The 'Claws clapped back in the bottom of the frame, taking the lead once again by plating a leadoff base runner, Jonathan Villar, who singled, stole second and moved to third on catcher Ramon Cabrera's throwing error. Villar scored on Jiwan James' sacrifice fly.

The runs kept rolling as Lakewood would score in 5 straight innings. BlueClaws hitters got four consecutive hits to start the 4th inning, which chased Power starting pitcher Jason Erickson. The 'Claws new first baseman and cleanup hitter Jonathan Singleton smashed a double to start the inning, and again the leadoff runner would score. Anthony Hewitt quickly followed with another double to drive in Singleton. Sebastian Valle knocked in another run with a safety to put the BlueClaws ahead by a 4-1 score. In the 5th inning, Singleton was at it again, as he went deep for the third time in 9 games with Lakewood, with two runners on. Everyone in attendance, including Singleton, knew the ball was gone right off the bat, as Jonathan destroyed the pitch from Power reliever Ryan Kelly. The BlueClaws capped the scoring in the 6th inning as Jiwan James became the 8th Lakewood batter to successfully get a hit in the game when he doubled home Domingo Santana.

Singleton, who through nine A-level games is 12-for-30 (.400 avg) with 2 doubles, 3 homers and 9 RBI, joined the BlueClaws last week out of extended spring training after Lakewood's opening day first baseman, Darin Ruf, was promoted to Clearwater. Singleton, an 8th round draft pick in 2009, batted .290 in 31 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies after signing with the Phillies last year.

Already ranked as the 20th best prospect in the Phillies system by Baseball America, the 18-year-old Singleton credits another big time Phils prospect with helping him along since he joined the Phillies organization. "(Domonic) Brown...I see the way he goes about things, and the way he does things and it inspires me and motivates me to do better," Singleton said after Friday's contest.

On the other side of things, another star of the game for the BlueClaws was starting pitcher Jarred Cosart. The Texas native, who spoke with PhoulBallz recently, hit 97 mph with his fastball early and he used it to mow down West Virginia batters all night, including retiring 12 Power batters in a row in one stretch. Cosart struck out 9 batters over 7 innings, scattering 3 hits and walking just 2. Speaking about his command, Cosart stated, "I didn't have my best curveball tonight. But my change up was the best it's been all year."

Cosart now boasts a 5-1 record and a 3.12 ERA. He has struck out 52 batters in 40 1/3 innings pitched this season. As Cosart continues to shine, more and more phans have begun to notice and a buzz has started to grow about the 19-year-old 28th round draft selection from 2008. Asked about the Cosart Watch by Phillies phans that are excited about his progress, Jarred told me, "I really try to avoid all that. It's nice to hear though. I'm always trying to prove (myself) and show what I've got. So, the longer it goes, the better it is."

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Two Lakewood starting pitchers are ailing. Lefty Nick Hernandez was placed on the disabled list on Friday and should miss two starts. Hernandez is slated to meet with Phillies doctors on Monday or Tuesday. Jonathan Pettibone, who left his most recent outing on Thursday with shoulder stiffness, will also miss his next scheduled start, in order to rest the injury.


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Friday, May 21, 2010

Series Preview: Red Sox at Phillies, 5/21-5/23


Beginning Friday, Boston visits Philadelphia for a 3-game series to ring in 2010 interleague play for both clubs. The Red Sox (22-20) are in 4th place in the AL East, 8 1/2 games behind the division leading Rays. The Phillies (25-15) sport the best record in the National League and lead the NL East by 4 games over the second place Marlins.

The Phillies enter the weekend with a 12-8 home record as the Red Sox start interleague play with an 8-9 road record.

Dating back to 2004, the Red Sox have won 14 of 18 games against the Phillies. The Phillies lost 2 of 3 games against Boston in Philadelphia in 2009.

Read ahead for info on the pitching match ups and other key details from this series.


Friday, 7:05pm...Nationally televised on MLB Network. John Lackey (4-2, 4.86 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (4-2, 4.29 ERA). In one career appearance against the Phillies, Lackey allowed 1 earned run in 6 1/3 innings pitched. In 3 road starts this season, Lackey is 1-1 with a 3.92 ERA, compared to his 5.52 ERA in 5 home starts. Lackey has a 3.27 ERA in 5 night starts this season, compared to his 7.94 ERA during the day. Hamels allowed 2 earned runs in 7 innings in his only career start against Boston in 2008. In 4 home starts this season, Hamels is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Jeremy Hermida is 4-for-19 (.211 avg) against Hamels in his career with a homerun. Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-4 against Hamels with a double and a homer.

Saturday, 7:10pm...Nationally televised primetime game on FOX. Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-1, 7.89 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (2-1, 5.24 ERA). Batters are hitting .282 against Matsuzaka through 4 starts this season, who allowed 4 earned runs in 4 innings pitched the only time he faced the Phillies. Raul Ibanez is 3-for-13 (.231 avg) with a homer and 4 RBI against Matsuzaka. In 4 home starts, Kendrick is 2-1 with a 4.98 ERA. Kendrick has allowed 9 earned runs in 5 innings pitched against Boston in his career. Kendrick has a 2-0 record and a 2.57 ERA in 3 May starts this season.

Sunday, 1:35pm...Nationally televised on TBS. Tim Wakefield (0-2, 5.31 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (6-2, 1.64 ERA). Wakefield has faced the Phillies 9 times...in those games he has posted a 3-1 record with a 3.12 ERA. In 4 road games this season, Wakefield has a 6.35 ERA. Placido Polanco is 1-for-15 (.067 avg) against Wakefield in his career. In 41 career games against Boston, Halladay has a 14-14 record and a 4.28 ERA. Halladay is 3-1 with a 1.36 ERA in 4 home starts this season. David Ortiz is 27-for-99 (.273 avg) with 6 homeruns against Halladay.


Dustin Pedroia has the all-time best batting average in interleague play (min. 150 at bats) at .356. In 16 road games this year, Pedroia has posted a .343 batting avg. and a 1.016 OPS.

In 52 career games against the Phillies, JD Drew has a .302 avg. with 9 homeruns. Drew was once a first round draft choice by the Phillies, but he chose not to sign with Philadelphia. In 17 games at Citizens Bank Park, Drew has hit 5 doubles, a triple, 5 homers and has 15 RBI.

Chase Utley at home this season, has posted a .339 avg with a 1.294 OPS in 18 games. Against Red Sox releiver Scott Schoeneweis, Utley is 5-for-10 with a double and a homerun.

In 20 home games this year, Jayson Werth is batting .354 avg with a 1.186 OPS.

Jose Contreras has an 8.54 ERA (50 earned runs in 52 2/3 innings) in 12 career games against the Red Sox. Opponents are batting .095 against Contreras in 7 games at Citizens Bank Park this year.

Placido Polanco against right-handers in 2010- .325 avg, 4 HR, .844 OPS.
Placido Polanco against left-handers in 2010- .273 avg, 1 HR, .691 OPS.

Both the Phillies and the Red Sox have scored 219 runs this season. The Phillies have done so on 379 hits, while the Sox have laced 396 hits thus far in 2010.

Phillies team ERA- 3.67.
Red Sox team ERA- 4.78.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

MLB Jeopardy...Part 9


For $1,000 in the category of MLB Man-love, the answer is: The two Giants teammates who live up to their city's best known stereotype.






Question: Who are Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum?

Correct!

During Wednesday night's 13-1 loss in Arizona, Giants infielder Pablo Sandoval found time to flirt with his Cy Young Award winning teammate Tim Lincecum, by playing with his hair. Sandoval had 2 hits in 4 at bats, and Lincecum did not pitch in the contest.

San Francisco residents must be pleased that their hometown baseball players can reinforce the city's reputation for being gay friendly. Starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez (center), however, looks a bit concerned over Sandoval's approach to the Giants' ace pitcher.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs at Phillies, 5/19-5/20


The first place Phillies (24-14) will host the Cubs (18-22) for a brief two-game series, starting Wednesday night. The Cubs sit in third place in the NL Central, 5 1/2 games behind the first place Reds. Last season, the Phillies won 5 of 6 meetings between the two clubs, and 2 of 3 in Philadelphia.

Jamie Moyer, who began his Major League career as a Cub, will take the mound for the Phillies in game one, looking for his 264th career win. Moyer is just 4 homeruns allowed away from tying Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who passed away recently, for the all-time lead with 505.

The Cubs arrive in Philadelphia riding a 3 game win streak and will counter with left-hander Tom Gorzelanny in game 1.

Check out all the details on the pitching match ups and other key notes from this series below.


Wednesday, 7:05pm. Tom Gorzelanny (1-4, 3.60 ERA) vs. Jamie Moyer (5-2, 4.57 ERA). In one appearance against the Phillies, Gorzelanny has allowed 5 earned runs in 5 innings pitched. In 3 road starts this season, Gorzelanny is 0-2 with a 2.50 ERA. Moyer has won 4 of his last 5 starts...in those games his ERA is 3.51. In 7 career games against the Cubs, Moyer is 3-1 with a 4.58 ERA. Alfonso Soriano is 12-for-53 (.226 avg) with 4 homers and 9 RBI in his career against Moyer. Derrek Lee is 5-for-11 (.455 avg) with 3 doubles against Moyer.

Thursday, 1:05pm. Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.49 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.49 ERA). Dempster has lost 4 straight starts and has a 4.34 ERA in those games. In 21 career games against the Phillies, Dempster is 4-4 with a 4.99 ERA and 1 complete game. Placido Polanco is 7-for-17 (.412 avg) against Dempster in his career. In 2 career starts against the Cubs, has no decisions and a 2.13 ERA. Blanton is 0-2 at home this year...Blanton was 7-4 at home last season. Ryan Theriot, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd and Mike Fontenot are a combined 4-for-27 (.148 avg) against Blanton. In 8 day starts last year, Blanton posted a 4-1 record with a 5.47 ERA.


Alfonso Soriano is a .257 career hitter in 42 games against the Phillies with 9 homers, 16 RBI and 12 steals. In 17 games on the road, Soriano is hitting .274 with a .313 on base percentage. Conversely, at home Soriano is hitting .365 and has a .429 on base percentage.

Derrek Lee is batting .200 (14-for-70) in 19 road games this season. Lee is batting .229 on the season.

In 14 career games against the Phillies, Mike Fontenot is 3-for-24 (.125 avg) with a double, a homer, and 4 RBI.

Jimmy Rollins is a career .232 hitter in 58 games against the Cubs, with 6 homeruns.

In 23 career games against the Cubs, Jayson Werth is 23-for-77 (.299 avg) with a 1.032 OPS. In 18 home games this year, Werth is hitting .383 with a 1.280 OPS.

Ryan Howard is 13-for-28 (.464 avg) with 2 homers and 8 RBI over the past week.

Chase Utley, who has missed the past 2 Phils games with flu-like symptoms, may be a game time decision for game 1 of this series.

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This week's PhoulBallz Phillies segment on The Shore Sports Report has been pushed back to 5:05pm, due to Lakewood BlueClaws double header action today on WOBM AM 1160 and Fox Sports 1310 AM. You can listen to live online by clicking this link.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The PhoulBallz Promotional Wish List

It's Roy Halladay bobblehead figurine day at Citizens Bank Park. Poor weather in the forecast aside, phans all over the area are excited that this giveaway and the Phillies' starting rotation worked out to coincide with each other, as Halladay is scheduled to pitch tonight for the defending National League champs against the Pirates.

Halladay, who is often regarded as one of baseball's best pitchers, will be honored with his first Phillies bobblehead after just 8 regular season appearances with Philadelphia.

This sort of rush service to bestow Halladay souvenirs on the public got me wondering what other souvenirs the Phillies could rush to the public. Here's my list of desired new promotions that should make their way to Citizens Bank Park.


#5 "The Phield" Philadelphia blogger first pitch night. Ceremonial first pitches will start at 2:30 pm for a 7:05 pm game as all Phillies bloggers will be allowed to toss a first pitch to a rotating series of irrelevant former Phillies like Travis Lee, Steve Searcy, Rick White, Antonio Alfonseca and Wilson Valdez. National Anthem could be sung by the Tastykake Choir...which includes PhoulBallz blogger and occasional radio analyst Jay Ballz, as well as Chicks Dig the Long Balls' very own Ryan & Kerri (Ryan more often provides content for Long Drive), who all appear nightly on Phillies broadcasts in all the new Tastykake advertisements.

#4 Large brimmed "Vomit Shield" farmer style hats for all FOP members and their families. Treat your local law enforcement well by ensuring they stay clean, dry and protected from mishaps in the ballpark. This could also coincide with Peco taser night, as all FOP members could receive tasers to control seat neighbors who get out of hand.

#3 Ryan Madson autographed cast night. On the disabled list with limited mobility, Madson has plenty of time to sit around and sign immitation casts for all kids 14-and-under. This could also coincide with padded chair leg night, for safety reasons, of course.

#2 Ben Francisco Stuck to the Bench Figurine. This item does NOT bobble, as Benny Fresh does not move from a seated position often enough to warrant the sponsor to include this type of action in this item.

#1 Mick Billmeyer Bobble Spy. This figurine will be equipped with binoculars and a radio transmission device that the Spy can use to communicate with receivers inside batters' helmets.


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Got your own fresh giveaway ideas for the Phillies?...add it in the comments section.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Series Preview: Pirates at Phillies 5/16-5/17


The first place Phillies (23-13) return home this week to host the Pirates (16-21), who are in third place in the NL Central, five games behind the division leading Reds. The two teams will meet in a brief two game series.

Jimmy Rollins has been activated from the disabled list and Wilson Valdez, who is out of options, has been designated for assignment to make room on the roster. Rollins will see his first action at home this year. He injured calf during warm ups prior to the Phillies' home opener on April 12th. Rollins will bat third in the lineup.

The Phillies are 9-1 against the central division thus far this season. Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other key details from this series.

Monday, 7:05pm. Charlie Morton (1-6, 9.19 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 5.89 ERA). Morton has a 4.00 ERA over his last three starts. In 2 career games against the Phils, Morton has allowed 7 earned runs in 8 innings pitched. Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-5 against Morton, with a double. Kendrick also has a 4.00 ERA over his last three starts. Kendrick is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts against the Pirates. Ryan Church is 5-9 (.511 avg) with a homer and 4 walks against Kendrick.

Tuesday, 7:05pm. Zach Duke (2-4, 5.56 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.59 ERA). In 4 starts against the Phillies in his career, Duke is 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA. Duke won his first two starts of the season and has not won since then. Jayson Werth is 3-for-6 with a double a homer and 4 RBI against Duke. In 3 home starts this season, Halladay has posted a 3-0 record with a 1.13 ERA and a .207 batting avg. against. In 3 May starts, Halladay has a 1.21 ERA.

Andrew McCutchen is fourth in the National League with a .340 batting average. McCutchen's 5 homeruns lead the Pirates. He is batting .432 in May.

Pittsburgh closer Octavio Dotel has 7 saves and a 7.04 ERA this season. In 16 career games against the Phils, Dotel is 3-1 with a save and a 1.95 ERA.

Shane Victorino is batting .333 this month with a 1.097 OPS compared to a .226 avg. and a .650 OPS in April. Victorino, a switch hitter, is batting .357 against lefties, while posting a .237 avg. against right-handers.

In 30 games against the Pirates, Ryan Howard is a .160 hitter (16-for-100) with 3 homers and 15 RBI.

Chase Utley is expected to miss the series opener, out with flu-like symptoms.

In 52 career games against the Pirates, Jimmy Rollins is 72-for-210 (.343. avg) with 7 homers and 28 RBI. Rollins batted .259 in 79 home games last season.
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 63

Russ Meyer was a pitcher with the Phillies from 1949-1952. Meyer, an Illinois native, came up with the Cubs and pitched parts of three seasons for Chicago, mainly as a reliever. Following the 1948 season, the Phillies, who were in need of pitching help, purchased Meyer's contract from the Cubs for $20,000.

Meyer would become a starter with the Phillies in 1949. His first season playing for Philadelphia was his best as a pro. In 37 games, 28 of which were starts, he posted a 17-8 record with 14 complete games, 2 shut outs, a 3.08 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. His ERA was lowest in the National League among right-handers.

The following year, Meyer suffered an arm injury following spring training, which limited him to 25 starts. However, when the Phillies needed him most, Meyer surely came through. As the season wound down and the 1950 pennant chase heated up, the Phils held a slim lead in the standings over Brooklyn, after losing 3 straight games to Brooklyn in early September. In the 4th game of that series, Meyer stepped up to earn the 4-3 win and stop the bleeding. The Phillies held on to win the NL Pennant over the Dodgers in the final week of the season.

Over the two seasons that followed, Meyer went 21-23 with a 3.28 ERA and 21 complete games for Philadelphia.

After the 1952 season, Meyer was dealt in a blockbuster 4-team trade that sent him to his former arch rival, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The tables completely turned, as Meyer helped his new club advance to the World Series. Meyer posted a 15-5 record in 34 starts and completed 10 games while helping Brooklyn clinch the pennant. The Dodgers would lose to the Yankees in the '53 World Series, but Meyer and his teammates would get their revenge two years later when the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the 1955 Fall Classic.

Despite pitching in three different World Series, Meyer made the most headlines in May 1953 because of his actions during a start at Philadelphia. Objecting to calls by home plate umpire Augie Donatelli, Meyer stormed toward home plate cursing and needed to restrained by his own catcher, Roy Campanella. Meyer was ejected, but before he retired to the visitors' locker room, he heaved a rosin bag 30 feet into the air, threw his mit, and made an obscene gesture toward Donatelli. All of those antics were captured by television cameras. The incident earned Meyer a lot of attention as well as a fine and suspension.

Also, with the Dodgers, Meyer became one of two pitchers in Major League history to go at least 23 straight road starts without a loss, when he spanned 24 consecutive starts without a loss over the 1953 & 1954 seasons.

Meyer continued pitching in the Majors through the 1959 season, spending time back with the Cubs as well as making stops with Kansas City and Boston before his career was over.

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A Letter to Charlie: Free Ben Francisco!


Dear Charlie Manuel,

What has the man they love to call "Benny Fresh" done to draw your ire? Last season after Benny was acquired in July, along with that Cliff Lee guy, he rarely went more than a couple days without an at bat. However, this season, Mr. Francisco just can't seem to get any playing time. Since April 27th, Ben has gotten just 1 at bat.

In 2009 with your Phillies, Ben didn't go a calendar week without 6 at bats and had at least 10 at bats per week down the stretch, as your Phils approached the postseason.

Are you still upset over that little thing where Ben went 0-for-11 in the postseason last year? Forgiveness is a gift that you can give to yourself, Charlie.

I know he's batting .211 with just 1 RBI this season, and yes, and he is struggling mightily compared to last season, but what do you expect from a guy with just 19 at bats since spring training?

If Benny suspiciously used binoculars and caused a national controversy, might he gain your support?

If Louis Ben Francisco made an all-star team and then proceeded to bat .235 over the next 105 games, would you have his back and write his name in the line up every day?


If The Ben Francisco Treat grounded into double plays every possible chance and tried to catch balls with his eyes closed, could he get some more at bats?


If His Royal Freshness rocked a psychopathic stare that made him resemble a villain from a 1990's action film, could he regularly appear in a pinch hit role?


Don't forget that Ben played for the same college that Chase Utley did, which means that southern California talent is "Bruin" within our Fresh Prince of Santa Ana. You should also recognize that Ben had an .843 OPS in 37 regular season games for your team last year, which is 188 points higher than the OPS produced by Greg Dobbs over his final 37 games that same season. And I know I don't have to remind you that Benny is like your favorite coffee brand...always guaranteed FRESH.

Come on, uncle Cholly. Hook a brotha named Benny up. Get our boy some playing time!

Sincerely,
Jay Ballz and the Get Fresh Crew


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