Saturday, July 31, 2010

Phils to Fill Void with Independent Leaguer

Combine Phillies minor leaguer Keoni DeRenne with Babe Ruth and what do you get? Keoni Ruth, of course!

The Phillies are expected to announce on Friday that they've signed Hawaii native Keoni Ruth and will assign him to Class A Lakewood to fill the void left when the organization traded All-star shortstop Jonathan Villar to Houston, along with two other players, for Roy Oswalt on Thursday.

Ruth, who plays multiple infield positions, was drafted in 2006 by the Padres and played as high as Triple A in their system. In 3 season of minor league ball with the Padres, Ruth posted a .277 batting average in 239 games.

DeRenne and Ruth are close friends, as the two are from the same state and train together in the off-season. The addition of Ruth could very well mark the first time that two Keoni's have played for the same professional team at the same time.

Keoni DeRenne told me, in an exclusive interview, that on Wednesday the director of Phillies minor league operations Steve Noworyta asked him about his pal Ruth, who was staying in shape back home in Hawaii, playing independent ball for Na Koa Ikaika. "Keoni is an outstanding guy, not only as a player, but as a person. You always want to have talented guys, but you also want a guy that's gonna be good for the team in the clubhouse," DeRenne said of Ruth. "I told Steve, I'd vouch for him for anything."

DeRenne, who played the 2009 season with the independent York Revolution can easily relate to Ruth's eagerness to join an affiliated club. "He's excited. I know he's hungry. Just like me before, he didn't know if he'd get another chance, so he's anxious to get here and play."

Ruth will be the second independent leaguer signed by the Phillies and sent directly to Lakewood this month, as 25-year-old righty pitcher Joe Esposito was playing for the Long Island Ducks prior to being picked up by the Phillies a couple weeks back.

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The is a re-post. Initially the article was removed from the site, at the request of the BlueClaws, until the transaction was official.

Click here to see The Scorpion King's brother interview Keoni Ruth for Hawaii TV.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Series Preview: Phillies at Nationals, 7/30-8/1


The defending National League Champions are on a roll, having won 8 straight games and creeping up on the first place Braves to within 2 1/2 games of the division lead. The Phillies (56-46) plan to keep the wins coming as they send their new, prized acquisition, Roy Oswalt, to the mound to start a 3-game series against the Nationals (44-58). Oswalt, a 3-time NL All-star, will face Washington right-hander Craig Stammen in the series opener.

The Phillies won 2 of 3 games when they visited Washington back in April.

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


Friday, 7:05pm. Roy Oswalt (6-12, 3.42 ERA) vs. Craig Stammen (2-4, 5.50 ERA). In 13 career outings vs. the Nationals, Oswalt is 3-2 with a 3.52 ERA. Adam Dunn against Oswalt is 19-for-71 (.268 avg) with 4 homeruns, 11 RBI and 13 walks. In 8 road starts this year, Oswalt has posted a 4-3 record with a 2.61 ERA. In 2 starts against the Phillies, Stammen has allowed 11 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings (15.63 ERA). In 8 home starts this season, Stammen is 1-1 with a 4.94 ERA. Placido Polanco is 4-for-5 in his career against Stammen.

Saturday, 7:05. Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.85 ERA) vs. Ross Detwiler (0-1, 0.00 ERA). In 8 road starts this season, Blanton is 1-4 with a 6.62 ERA. In 4 starts at Nationals Park, Blanton is 0-2 with an 8.69 ERA. Josh Willingham and Ivan Rodriguez are a combined 3-for-20 (.150 avg) against Blanton. Detwiler was the Nats' first round draft pick in 2007 and was promoted from Double A Harrisburg last week to fill in for the injured Luis Atilano. Detwiler, a lefty, was 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 15 Major League games last season.

Sunday, 1:35pm. Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.48 ERA) vs. To Be Determined. Hamels has been excellent lately, posting a 2.79 ERA over his last 10 starts, dating back to June 7th. In 10 road starts this season, Hamels is 3-4 with a 3.62 ERA. In 17 career starts against the Nats, Hamels is 9-3 with a 2.58 ERA and a .222 batting average against.


In July, Ryan Howard has blasted 8 homeruns...as many as he had in April and May combined. In 21 career games at Nationals Park, Howard has a .284 batting average with 9 homers and 25 RBI.

Jayson Werth is 5-for-7 combined against Stamman and Detwiler. In 13 games since the All-star break, Werth has posted a .333 batting avg. and a .991 OPS. Prior to the break his average and OPS were .282 and .881.

At home this season, Adam Dunn is batting .281 in 49 games. Dunn, who leads the team with 24 homeruns has been heavily rumored to be a trade target for many teams this week. MLB's non-waiver trading deadline is Saturday.

Ryan Zimmerman is a combined 22-for-77 (.285 avg) with 6 homeruns and 12 RBI against Oswalt, Blanton and Hamels in his career.

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DeRenne Fills in for Villar, Seals a 'Claws Win

Following a day loaded with trade rumors, the Lakewood BlueClaws had to battle back from a deficit. They did so with the help of the man who filled in for the individual who was ultimately the expendable piece in the parent club's latest trade.

Overnight, names like Jonathan Singleton and Brody Colvin were mentioned most frequently among BlueClaws players who would be included with last season's Rookie of the Year runner up and current Phillies starting pitcher "Jay" Happ. By the time the fuzzy speculation became clear facts, neither of those prospects were involved. It was last season's speedy BlueClaws center fielder and current South Atlantic League All-star shortstop Jonathan Villar who would be part of the package sent to the Astros. A brief rain storm forced the cancellation of batting pracitce and allowed the players some extra time to relax and cope with losing a teammate. It also allowed versatile infielder Keoni DeRenne some time to prepare to start in place of Villar, who was originally in the Lakewood lineup.

The game began as a pitchers' duel. BlueClaws starter Colby Shreve held the visiting West Virginia Power without a hit through the first 3 innings, while his counterpart, Phillip Irwin, sparkled by striking out 9 and allowing just 2 hits over his first 5 innings. A 4th inning miscue, on a play that should have been a routine 1-3 play, began a Power rally when first baseman Jon Singleton briefly bobbled a grounder by Jarek Cunningham and then Shreve missed stepping on the base, once he received the ball from Singleton. It was scored a base hit for Cunningham. Three RBI hits would follow that inning, giving the Power a 3-0 lead. Shreve was not allowed much time to rest after the difficult frame, as Irwin fanned the side in order in Lakewood's half of the 4th.

West Virginia scored another pair of runs in the 5th inning. Leadoff man Evan Chambers walked and Cunningham followed. The 20-year-old second baseman slammed a hanging pitch from Shreve to deep left field onto the paved walk way, above the FirstEnergy Park berm, putting the Pittsburgh Pirates' affiliate up by 5.

Recent free agent acquisition Joe Esposito came on in relief of Shreve and served up a bases loaded walk in the 6th inning. Esposito, a 25-year-old righty, plated designated hitter Jose Hernandez with a free pass to Chambers, but escaped the inning without further damage.

Down 6-0, the first place BlueClaws began to battle back in their half of the 6th inning. Alan Schoenberger made the first and third out in an inning where Lakewood ousted the troublesome Irwin, sent 10 batters to the plate and scored 5 runs. With 1 down, the rally began as center fielder Jiwan James reached on an error. A walk to Keoni DeRenne got Irwin the hook, as the right-handed hurler likely reached a pitch limit. Leandro Castro greeted reliever Marc Baka with a double that scored James. Jonathan Singleton then plated DeRenne and Castro on a 2-RBI single that Singleton was thrown out on, trying to stretch the hit to a double. Sebastian Valle then smashed a triple to deep center and scored on a wild pitch before right fielder Michael Dabbs drove a homerun to right field, allowing the BlueClaws to pull within a run.

The score remained the same until the home half of the 9th inning. Alan Schoenberger led off the inning with a single. Jiwan James again reached on an error when third baseman Elevys Gonzalez botched a throw to second when James bunted. The throw sailed into center field, allowing Schoenberger to move up to third base. A substituting Keoni DeRenne then stepped to the plate and crushed a double down the left field line. Schoenberger scored easily and a speedy Jiwan James came all the way around to score Lakewood's 7th run, locking down the 'Claws' 12th walk-off win in 50 home games this season.

DeRenne, spoke of his team's never-say-die attitude after the game. "There's a lot of fight in these guys. Never say never. From the first at bat, till the last at bat- these guys are giving their all," the Hawaii native DeRenne said after the game. "It starts with the coaching. They instill winning minds and winning attitudes and it carries out onto the field."

Manager Mark Parent also expressed his thoughts on the steady stream of comeback wins his squad has produced this season. "We have a lot of heart. We have a lot of athletic people that are energetic and like to win," Parent stated. "These player have won in college, they've won in high school, or where ever they were, and they like it. And once you get that feeling, it's something that you almost ache for every night and when you get beat, it hurts. These guys just play hard and don't give up and it's worked out well for us."

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BlueClaws React to Trade

On Thursday I spoke with Lakewood BlueClaws manager and former Major Leaguer Mark Parent about Jonathan Villar's inclusion in the Phillies' deal with the Houston Astros for Roy Oswalt. Parent had managed Villar all season to this point and had really come to like Villar's skills and efforts on the field. Parent spoke about Villar's progress, how Villar was notified of the trade, Villar's future, other rumors and more.

Check out the media player below to listen to the complete audio.



Also, click here to listen to Mark Parent speaking plenty more about Villar in another recent exclusive interview.


In addition to that, I also spoke with "The Boss" Jon Singleton about his rumored attachment to this trade. Singleton, who is ripping up South Atlantic League pitching (.313 avg, 12 HR, 59 RBI, .943 OPS in 71 games with Lakewood) at the age of 18, was long rumored to be on Astros general manager Ed Wade's wish list.

Check out the media player below to hear Singleton's remarks.



Click here and here for more exclusive Jon Singleton interviews.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Official- Phillies Acquire Roy Oswalt

With a done deal in the books and the Phillies having acquired the second of two well known All-star pitchers named Roy, let's go over some things.

The Astros are sending an undisclosed amount of cash to the Phillies in the deal along with Roy Oswalt for "Jay" Happ, Jonathan Villar and Anthony Gose.

Physical examinations could still throw a wrench into the trade. Oswalt has struggled with back issues, having missed time as recently as last September because of the ailment and receiving at least two cortisone shots this year to alleviate his back discomfort. Also, lefty pitcher "Jay" Happ, who is being sent to Houston, missed a considerable amount of time this year with a forearm strain. The Astros will likely need to clear Happ's health status before everything is final.

Gose, a speedy left-handed hitting outfielder, led planet Earth in stolen bases last season as a member of the Class A South Atlantic League Champion Lakewood BlueClaws with 76 swiped bags. This season, at High-A Clearwater in the Florida State League, Gose, 19, has posted a .263 average with 4 homers and and 36 steals in 103 games. Click here and here to check out exclusive PhoulBallz.com interviews with Gose.


Jonathan Villar

Villar is a shortstop prospect who was signed as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. The 19 year old was surprised by the move, but not upset. Speaking through a translator, Villar stated that he was looking forward to moving up toward the Majors, and implied that it did not matter which organization he did that for. His focus will stay on improving as a ballplayer. "I don't want it to effect the way I play. I just want to keep working hard," Villar said before saying goodbye to his Lakewood teammates.

Villar, a switch hitter, has impressed folks throughout the Phillies' system, most recently Phillies advisor, and former team general manager, Pat Gillick, who visited with the team this month. In 100 games with Lakewood this season, Villar was batting .272 with 2 homeruns, 36 RBI and 38 steals. A positional switch could be in Villar's future, as he has made 42 errors this season with the Class A BlueClaws.

The trade was held up overnight as Houston awaited confirmation from Oswalt on whether he would waive his no-trade clause and accept the deal to Philadelphia. Jim Salisbury of Comcast Sportsnet reported Thursday morning that Brad Lidge reached out to his former Houston teammate Oswalt via text message, in an effort to convince the Astros righty to approve the deal.

In 5 career starts in Philadelphia, Oswalt has a 4-1 record with a 2.94 ERA. He is 4-0 in 4 starts at Citizens Bank Park. And keep in mind, that's facing the Phillies...not the NL East opponents they see most of the time.

Against the other four teams (Atlanta, Florida, NY Metropolitans and Washington) within the division, Oswalt is a combined 13-14 with a 4.09 ERA in 45 games in his career.


**Update** Reports state that Anthony Gose is being flipped to Toronto for Brett Wallace, who was traded by Oakland last offseason for Michael Taylor, who was included in the Roy Halladay trade.
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Reports: Oswalt Deal Nearly Complete


A late night report from Houston's FOX affiliate's website claimed that the Astros were awaiting the approval of Roy Oswalt on a trade that would send the right-handed starting pitcher to the defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies.

FOX Houston sports director Mark Berman's article stated the following, "MLB sources told FOX 26 the Astros and Phillies have agreed on the amount of money Houston will take back in the deal and the two teams have agreed on the players Philadelphia will be sending."

There are no solid details available yet, but it has been widely rumored that Houston is quite interested in last season's Rookie of the Year runner up, lefty hurler "Jay" Happ. Astros.com, which confirmed that a deal is in place, also mentioned that first base prospect "The Boss" Jonathan Singleton could be included in the deal.

As close as this report claims the deal is to completion, it may actually not be a done deal. Reports over the past week have stated Oswalt may not wish to play in Philadelphia and that he might request that the option year on his contract be picked up. Other reports have asserted opposite details on both of those rumors, however.

This full story could become more clear as phans, team officials and member of the media rise and shine on Thursday morning.

In 20 starts this season with Houston, Oswalt has posted a 6-12 record with a 3.42 ERA. The Phillies are currently 3 1/2 games behind the NL East leading Braves.

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Check out PhoulBallz.com's exclusive interview with Jonathan Singleton...click here.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Victorino to the DL, Brown Promoted

On Tuesday night Shane Victorino tweeked an abdominal muscle on his left side while tracking a routine fly ball in a game against Arizona. The Phillies, already with Jimmy Rollins out for a few days after he fouled a ball off his own foot on Monday, didn't have the luxury of continuing with another active player unable to play. Victorino was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.

Taking Victorino's place on the active 25-man roster will be the Phillies' top prospect Domonic Brown. Through 93 games at 2 minor league levels this season, Brown had posted a .327 average, 20 homeruns, 68 RBI, 17 steals and a .980 OPS. Brown, a lefty hitting 22-year-old,

Early impressions from the team are that Brown will be in the lineup daily, playing right field while Jayson Werth slides over to center field.

To read my interview with Domonic Brown from last season, click here.


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Photo- DelCo Times

Listen to me live on The Shore Sports Report with Mike & Joe today, at 4:05pm today, talking Phillies baseball. Click here for the live web stream.

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Bats Bounce Back Under Gross

The coaching switch has proved successful thus far. Since replacing hitting coach Milt Thompson with Greg Gross last week, the Phillies have gone undefeated in 5 games. The defending National League champions had been struggling to score runs this season, but have averaged 6.8 runs per game since the change. The team averaged 4.49 runs per game through their first 95 contests this season.

Also much improved is the overall team batting average. In the 5 games since Gross took over, the Phillies have posted a .320 batting average. Under the coach stylings of Milt Thompson the Phillies were batting just .254.

Gross, who had more than 700 plate appearances as a pinch hitter in his career and is the Phillies all-time leader in pinch hits, with 117 (more than twice the next closest total), has also helped the team's pinch hitters as well. The Phillies are 4-for-8 (.500 avg) in pinch hit appearances since Gross was brought on as the hitting instructor. Under Thompson, Phillies pinch hitters batted .144.

Certainly, the offensive improvements could all be coincidence. But for those who long hoped for the Phillies to mix up the team personnel, in order to obtain some better results...the team made a small change and the production has picked up. If there's a spot to place credit right now, it's with Gross. And, on the other hand, if the lineup's output recedes at any point, Gross would be first in line for that credit as well.
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Reminder- Today is PhoulBallz Phillies Wednesday. Tune in to The Shore Sports Report around 4:05pm to listen in as I talk Phillies baseball with Joe & Mike. Check it out live on WOBM 1160 AM, Shore Sports 1310 or online with this link.


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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Series Preview: D-Backs at Phillies 7/27-7/29


Riding a 5-game win streak, the Phillies (53-46) will play host to the Diamondbacks (37-62) for a 3-game series beginning Tuesday night.

The highlight of the series will be a pitching match up set to feature pair of pitchers who threw no-hitters this season. Arizona's Edwin Jackson tossed a no-no against the Rays on June 25th. Phillies ace Roy Halladay threw a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29th. The two history makers will face each other in the second game of the series on Wednesday night.

The defending National League champions have swept back-to-back 4-game series at home against the Reds and Rockies. The 8 wins are the Phils' longest home winning streak since 1991, when they won 16 straight in Philadelphia.

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


Tuesday, 7:05pm. Rodrigo Lopez (5-9, 4.58 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.40 ERA). In 9 road starts this season, RoLo is 2-4 with a 4.27 ERA. Brian Schneider is 4-for-7 (.571 avg) with 2 doubles against Lopez in his career. In 4 July starts this season, Lopez is 1-3 with a 5.32 ERA. In 10 home starts in 2010, Hamels is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA. In 4 career starts against Arizona, Hamels has posted a 2-1 record with a 3.38 ERA. In his last 5 starts, Hamels is 1-1 with a 1.47 ERA.

Wednesday, 7:05pm. Edwin Jackson (6-9, 5.01 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (11-8, 2.28 ERA). Jackson has not faced the Phillies in regular season action before. In 9 road starts this year, Jackson is 3-4 with a 4.25 ERA. In 4 July starts, Jackson is 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA. In 2 career starts against Arizona, Halladay is 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA. In his last 6 starts overall, Halladay is 2-2 with a 1.91 ERA. Halladay has posted a 2-2 record with a 1.07 ERA in his past 5 home starts.

Thursday, 7:05pm. Joe Saunders (6-10, 4.62 ERA with the Angels) vs. Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 4.60 ERA). In one career start against Philadelphia, Saunders has a win in which he allowed 2 earned runs in 7 innings. Raul Ibanez is 7-for-20 (.350 avg) with a double and a homer against Saunders. In 3 career starts against Arizona, Kendrick has no decisions with a 6.23 ERA and a .355 batting avg. against. In 9 home starts this season, Kendrick is 3-2 with a 5.14 ERA. Right-handed opponents are hitting .225 against Kendrick, while lefties have posted a .320 batting average against him.


Arizona slugger Mark Reynolds is a .271 hitter with 5 doubles and 6 homeruns in 19 career games against the Phillies.

Justin Upton is a .375 hitter in 10 games against the Phillies. During his current 12-game hitting streak, Upton is 21-for-48 (.438 avg) with 8 doubles and 2 homeruns.

In 10 career games at Citizens Bank Park, D-Backs reliever Chad Qualls is 2-1 with a 7.88 ERA and a .400 batting average against.

In 6 outings since Brad Lidge's last blown save, Lidge has strung together 5 saves and a 3.17 ERA while walking 8 batters and striking out 6.

In 13 games batting 3rd in the Phillies' lineup, Raul Ibanez is 19-for-54 (.352 avg) with 2 homers and 10 RBI. Batting elsewhere in the batting order, Ibanez has posted a .238 avg.

D-Backs team ERA- 5.27
Phillies team ERA- 3.99

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Monday, July 26, 2010

PhoulBallz.com Interviews Dickie Noles

Dickie Noles is best known by Phillies phans for being a member of the 1980 World Championship team. Noles joined the Phillies as a rookie in 1979, and pitched two more full seasons in Philadelphia. He would later play for the Cubs, Rangers, Orioles and Indians as well.

These days, Noles is employed by the Phillies as an employee assistance professional. I caught up with Dickie recently and asked him what his job entails, about his memories of the 1980 team, about his guest appearance on The Food Network's Dinner: Impossible and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 70

Guillermo "Willie" Montanez played with the Phillies from 1970-1975, then again in 1982. Montanez made his Major League debut as an 18-year-old, with the Angels, in 1966. The Angels had selected Montanez as a Rule 5 draft pick out of the St. Louis system, but were forced to return Montanez to the Cardinals when they couldn't keep him on their Major League roster all season.

Four years later, Willie was traded to Philadelphia to complete an earlier deal involving Tim McCarver, Richie Allen and Cookie Rojas, when Curt Flood refused to report to the Phillies. Montanez appeared in 18 games with Philadelphia in 1970, before winning a spot as the everyday centerfielder for the Phillies when he impressed manager Frank Lucchesi with a strong spring training the following year. Montanez was originally a first baseman, but made the switch to the outfield to gain playing time.

In 1971, Montanez finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting, to the Braves' Earl Williams, when Montanez posted a .255 batting average, slugged 30 homers and drove in 99 runs. The following season, Montanez led the National League in doubles with 39.

The Puerto Rico native Montanez was widely considered a hot dog, due to his habit of making stabbing one-handed catches in the field and twirling his bat on the way to the plate.

A year later, with the arrival of Del Unser and the departure of Deron Johnson, Montanez returned to his natural position of first base. That season, Montanez batted over .300 for the first time, leading the Phillies with a .304 average. Montanez also had a 24-game hitting streak in 1974.

In May 1975, the Phillies traded Montanez to San Francisco for a 25-year-old outfielder named Garry Maddox. Montanez finished that split season with a career season high 101 RBI. That wasn't enough to lock himself into a place with the Giants, however, as Montanez would play for 6 more teams (Braves, Mets, Rangers, Padres, Expos and Pirates) in the next 6 seasons. Montanez became an all-star with Atlanta in 1977, when he batted .287, hit 20 homers and knocked in 68 runs.

After being released by the Pirates in 1982, Montanez returned to Philadelphia to finish the season, appearing mostly as a pinch hitter. He retired following the season.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Phanatic Dissed, Buster is a Baller

Wednesday night at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park the Phillie Phanatic made his annual appearance when he visited the Phillies' local A-Level affiliate, the BlueClaws. The Phanatic brought along the Phillies' World Series trophy from 2008 and the National League championship trophy from 2009, but the glitz and shine that comes along with being the mascot for an elite level Major League Baseball club was not enough for the Phanatic to land a phine young lady that caught his eye.

Check out the media player below and see what unfolded and who the blonde beauty actually chose.



That's BlueClaws mascot Buster, to whom the Phanatic was like a big brother. No more mentoring. This could be a new rivalry within the system. Could they have been acting out those Chase Utley/Jayson Werth rumors?! Hmmm.

You can purchase Lakewood BlueClaws tickets online by clicking here.
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Series Preview: Rockies at Phillies 7/23-7/26


The Phillies' offensive struggles have lasted for weeks, but have been more evident in recent days, as the team has fallen 7 games behind the division leading Braves. In the past 3 games, the Phillies have scored just 4 runs. In 19 games in July, the Phillies have scored more than 4 runs in a game just 7 times and have scored 2 runs or less in a game exactly as often. As a result of the recent offensive struggles, the team relieved hitting coach Milt Thompson of his duties on Thursday night.

Taking Thompson's place will be former Phillies bench coach and hitting coach Greg Gross, who has coached at 4 different levels of the Phillies' minor league system since 2005. Gross once played with the Phillies, as well, and reached 2 World Series with the club (1980 & 1983).

This weekend, the low-scoring Phillies (49-46), who have posted a 2-6 record since the All-star break, will host the Rockies (51-44) for a 4-game series. Colorado is 8 games under .500 on the road, while the Phillies are 8 games over .500 at home.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups for this series and plenty more information.


Friday, 7:05pm. Aaron Cook (4-5, 4.56 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (10-8, 2.40 ERA). In 10 career games against the Phillies, Cook is 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA. Over his last 5 starts, Cook is 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA. In 2 starts at Citizens Bank Park, Cook is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA. In 11 starts at home this season, Halladay is 6-4 with a 1.87 ERA. In his last 5 starts, Halladay is 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA. Halladay has allowed 2 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings (1.17 ERA) in 2 career outings against Colorado.

Saturday, 4:10pm. Ubaldo Jimenez (15-1, 2.38 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (5-4, 4.82 ERA). In his last 5 starts, Jimenez has posted a 2-0 record with a 6.39 ERA. In 2 career starts against the Phillies Jimenez is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA. Brian Schneider is 1-for-11 (.091 avg) against Jimenez in his career. In 5 career starts against the Rockies, Kendrick is 1-1 with a 5.93 ERA and a .354 batting avg. against. At home this season, Kendrick is 2-2 with a 5.79 ERA in 8 games. Seth Smith is 6-for-7 (.857 avg.) with 2 doubles and a triple against Kendrick.

Sunday, 1:35pm. Jeff Francis (3-3, 4.63 ERA) vs. "Jay" Happ (1-0, 0.00 ERA). In 4 career starts against the Phillies, Francis is 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA. In his last 4 starts, Francis is 1-1 with a 7.58 ERA. In his lone career start at Citizens Bank Park, Francis allowed 8 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-9 (.556 avg) against Francis in regular season action. This will be Happ's first start at the Major League level since April 15th. Happ has been battling back from a forearm injury since then. In 2 games against Colorado, Happ is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 11 K's in 11 1/3 innings pitched.

Monday, 1:05pm. Jason Hammel (7-5, 4.23 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (3-6, 6.03 ERA). Hammel is 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA in 7 road starts this season. Hammel is 2-2 with a 4.05 ERA in his last 5 games. Raul Ibanez is 4-for-8 (.500 avg) with a double and a HR against Hammel in his career. In 7 home starts this season, Blanton is 2-2 with a 5.36 ERA and a .313 batting average against. In his last 5 starts, Blanton is 0-1 with a 5.13 ERA. Blanton has never faced Colorado in the regular season, but allowed 2 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Rockies in last year's playoffs.


Carlos Gonzalez leads the Rockies in batting avg. (.305), HR (17), RBI (61), runs (58), and steals (13). CarGo seems to recieve help from the team's home park Coors Field, however, as shown by his home/road splits.
Gonzalez at home- 40 games, .359 avg, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 36 runs, 1.052 OPS.
Gonzalez on road- 43 games, .254 avg, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 22 runs, .657 OPS.

Rockies reliever Manny Corpas, who leads the team with 10 saves, has a career 9.35 ERA in 10 regular season games against the Phillies.

Jimmy Rollins is a career .315 hitter in 55 games against Colorado. Rollins is batting .227 on the season and has posted a .183 average since returning from his latest stint on the disabled list.

In 41 career games against Colorado, Placido Polanco has a .350 batting average. In his last 11 home games, Polanco is 20-for-48 (.417 avg) with 11 runs scored.

Rockies team ERA- 4.03
Phillies team ERA- 4.07

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

PhoulBallz.com Interviews Tyson Gillies

Tyson Gillies is best known for being one of the players that the Philadelphia Phillies acquired when they traded Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners last off-season. Gillies, an outfielder, is currently a member of the Double A level Reading Phillies in the Eastern league.

The 21-year-old lefty batter has been sidelined much of this season with a hamstring issue. Through 26 games, Gillies was batting .238 with 2 homers, 6 RBI and 2 steals.

Gillies was born with a hearing impairment (30% hearing in one ear and 60% in another), but he hasn't let that slow down his progress as a baseball player. Tyson, who uses hearing aids, has worked hard and developed himself into a prospect worth watching.

I caught up with Tyson last weekend, and inquired about his time frame for a return to Reading's lineup, growing up as a baseball fan in Canada and more. Check out the media player below to listen.

Loads more recent PhoulBallz interviews, with the likes of this weekend's Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson, Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Singleton, Matt Rizzotti, Trevor May, Mark Parent and Sebastian Valle, can be found by clicking HERE.



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BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Worley Called Up to the Big Club

Vance Worley, who has been scorching hot lately with the Double A Reading Phillies, was recalled by big league Phillies today. The Phillies, who began shuffling their pitching staff almost immediately after Kyle Kendrick's poor outing against the Cardinals in St. Louis on Monday, have made more moves. Kendrick was replaced by Drew Carpenter on Tuesday. Now, Carpenter, who entered Tuesday's game in relief of injured starter Jamie Moyer, has been replaced by Worley.

Speaking after his latest start, a victory against Trenton where he threw 8 innings, allowed 0 runs, let up 1 walk and struck out 3, Worley, a right-hander, said that he would expect his name to pop up in trade rumors as the non-waiver deadline approached. A 20-pitch 8th inning led to substitute pitching coach Gorman Heimueller pulling Worley from the outing, preventing him from attempting to throw consecutive complete game shutouts. Worley realized, however, that there is a bigger picture and had a goal. "It was just important to get this deep (in the game), show that I can do it, and then...when the time comes, the big leagues is more important...," Vance told The Shore Sports Network's PhoulBallz.com in an exclusive interview on Sunday. Now, three days later, he's there.

The 22-year-old Worley, a 3rd round draft pick in 2008, posted a 9-4 record with a 3.20 ERA in 19 games started with Reading this season. Worley's ERA over his past 7 starts was 2.05.

Click here for more on Vance Worley.

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I'll be on The Shore Sports Report today around 5:20pm talking Phillies baseball with Joe & Mike. Listen live, in NJ, on the air- 1160 WOBM or Shore Sports 1310 AM...or listen live on the internet by using this link.

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PhoulBallz.com Interviews Phils Prospect Matt Rizzotti

Matt Rizzotti is a 24-year-old prospect for the Phillies. Rizzotti was taken by Philadelphia in the 6th round of the 2007 amateur draft. In 2009 he spent the season platooning at first base for the High A Level Clearwater Threshers but has since earned his own starting spot with Reading.

Rizzotti's shine has grown brighter as this season has gone on. Currently playing with the Double-A level Reading Phillies, Matt is batting .355 with 15 homers and 56 RBI in 62 games with the R-Phils this season. In May he was named Phillies minor league player of the month. In June, he was named to the Eastern League eastern division All-star team. Rizzotti is steadily increasing his career season-highs in homeruns (16), RBI (66) and hits (117).

Rizzotti's 2010 statistics, topped off with a 1.015 OPS in 93 games at 2 levels this season, could begin to draw interest from trade suitors with the Phillies, as the non-waiver trading deadline draws closer. In the meantime, check out this exclusive interview with Matt in the media player below, as we talk about his increased output, Stephen Strasburg and plenty more.





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Reminder- Today is PhoulBallz Phillies Wednesday on The Shore Sports Report. Tune in, on the air, around 5:20pm to Shore Sports 1310 AM and WOBM 1160 AM...or listen live online by clicking this link, as I join Mike & Joe to talk baseball!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Moves Begin...Kendrick Demoted

Following Kyle Kendrick's poor outing against the Cardinals in St. Louis on Monday evening, the Phillies have optioned the 25-year-old right-hander to Triple A Lehigh Valley. To fill the void in Philadelphia's pitching staff, the Phillies have called up Drew Carpenter to take Kendrick's place.

On Monday, Kendrick served up 3 homeruns to the Cards, leading to 7 earned runs allowed in 5 innings. The rough performance by Kendrick left his season stat line looking like this- 5-4 record, 4.82 ERA, .271 batting avg. against.

Through 17 starts with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the righty Carpenter has posted a 7-6 record with a .341 ERA and a .250 batting average against. Carpenter appeared in 3 games with the Phillies last season, surrendering 7 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings (11.12 ERA).

It is unclear what Carpenter's role will be with the team, but the Phillies' next scheduled day off is August 2nd, so an opportunity to skip a spot in the rotation would not be approaching soon. The promotion of Carpenter may also be telling regarding what the Phillies think of the progress of last season's Sporting News Rookie of the Year "Jay" Happ. The left-hander spent time on the disabled list this season, but was optioned to Lehigh when he failed to display the control and velocity, that helped him make an impact with the Phillies last year, during his rehab work. However, it is likely the Carpenter move is a temporary one, as a refined Happ, who reached 95mph with his fastball in his latest IronPig outing, could be used to take Kendrick's turn Saturday and Carpenter could be used as a relief option until then. If Happ is scratched from his scheduled Tuesday start, the picture will become more clear.

Many analysts have stated in recent weeks that a shake up was needed for the Phillies to change their fortunes. The Phils have been roughly 5 games out of first place in the National League East this entire month and have failed to gain any ground on first place Atlanta in the standings.

Lately, phans have been calling for a promotion from Lehigh, but it hasn't been for Carpenter. It has been for top prospect Domonic Brown, who is batting .360 through 20 games at Triple A and has posted a .328 batting average and a .981 OPS in 85 games at two levels this season.

Expect Carpenter to be a prelude to more moves by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Happ, Brown as well as some completely new names and faces could be in Philadelphia rocking red pinstripes before too long.

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Rollins is Rusty


The man who has become synonymous with spark, as it pertains to the Phillies offense, throughout his career has been anything but that since returning from the the calf injury that sidelined him twice this season. Since his return from a calf strain, Jimmy Rollins is 18-for-97 (.186 avg.) in 24 games. Prior to landing on the disabled list, Rollins was 14-for-41 (.341 avg.) through 12 games.

Rollins has gone hitless in 50% (12 of 24) of his games played since his return. Last season, Rollins went hitless in just 27% (42 of 155) of his games played.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has taken notice of the struggles of the one-time National League Most Valuable Player. Manuel has moved Rollins around the batting order in an attempt to get him back on track. Rollins, generally the Phils' lead-off man, has batted 3rd, 5th and 6th since his reentry to the Phillies lineup. None of those adjustments have proved successful yet, as Rollins has posted a combined .194 batting average (7-for-36) in places other than 1st in Philadelphia's batting order.

Despite his difficult stretch, Rollins has still produced in key spots for the Phillies. His overall batting average with runners in scoring position this season is .360, which is better than teammates Ryan Howard (.280), Placido Polanco (.296), Raul Ibanez (.278), Shane Victorino (.324), Jayson Werth (.163), Carlos Ruiz (.239) and Chase Utley (.300)...making Rollins the team leader in Batting average w/ RISP among everyday players. Whats more...Rollins' average with runners in scoring position and 2 outs is .500, which also leads the team.

So, while Rollins is rusty and has yet to hit his post-injury breakout stride, he still possesses some clutch stats to prop himself up until he prevails as the perennial catalyst for the lineup that currently leads its division in runs scored, homeruns, total bases and extra base hits.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Series Preview, Phillies at Cardinals 7/19-7/22


The Phillies are fresh off losing 3 of 4 against the Central Division's Chicago Cubs. Despite that, the Phillies are still 18-11 against that division as they travel to St. Louis to face the Central's first place squad.

Riding a 5-game winning streak, the Cardinals (51-41) will send 27-year-old righty Blake Hawksworth to the mound to make his 6th Major League start. Philadelphia (48-43) will counter with Kyle Kendrick, who threw 7 shut out innings against the Cardinals for a win on May 5th.

The Phillies won both games between the two clubs in St. Louis last season. Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other information on this series.


Monday, 7:05pm. Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 4.44 ERA) vs. Blake Hawksworth (3-5, 4.72 ERA). Kendrick is 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 road games this season. In 4 career starts against St. Louis, Kendrick is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA. Skip Schumaker is 6-for-12 (.500 avg) with 2 doubles and a homer against Kendrick. In 3 outings against the Phillies, Hawksworth has allowed 4 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings (7.71 ERA). In 12 home games this year, Hawksworth is 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA.

Tuesday, 8:15pm. Jamie Moyer (9-9, 4.88 ERA) vs. Chris Carpenter (10-3, 3.16 ERA). In 12 career games against the Cardinals, Moyer is 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA. In 10 road starts this season, Moyer has a 4-6 record with a 6.08 ERA. Moyer has lost 3 straight starts. Carpenter is 2-2 with a 4.22 ERA over his last 5 starts. In 8 career starts against the Phillies, Carpenter is 4-2 with a 5.73 ERA.

Wednesday, 8:15pm. Joe Blanton (3-5, 6.21 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (8-4, 2.27 ERA). Blanton is 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 4 career starts against St. Louis. In Blanton's last 4 starts he has no decisions and a 5.47 ERA. Albert Pujols is 2-for-12 (.167 avg) against Blanton is his career. In 3 career games against the Phillies, Garcia is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. At home this season, Garcia has posted a 3-1 record with a 1.49 ERA in 8 games.

Thursday, 2:15pm. Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.63 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (14-5, 2.02 ERA). Hamels is 1-2 with a 3.31 ERA over his last 5 starts. On the road this year, Hamels is 3-4 with a 4.18 ERA in 9 starts. Lefties are batting .182 against Hamels this season, while righty hitters are batting .280 against him. In 7 games against the Phillies, Wainwright is 2-1 with a 2.68 ERA. In 10 home starts this season, Wainwright is 10-0 with a 1.31 ERA and a .191 batting average against. Wainwright has a 0.31 ERA over his last 4 starts.


Shane Victorino is a .324 hitter in 32 career games against the Cardinals. In 17 games at Busch Stadium, Victorino has 2 homers and 14 RBI.

In 34 career games against the Cardinals, Ryan Howard is a .367 hitter and has a 1.223 OPS. Howard has 29 RBI in 17 career games at Busch Stadium. Howard was named National League player of the week for the short week following the All-star break, when he batted .400, hit 4 homers and drove in 8 runs.

In 17 games against the Cardinals, Ryan Madson has posted a 1-1 record with 2 saves and a 1.71 ERA. Madson has an 8.10 ERA in 7 road games this season.

Skip Schumaker has a .906 OPS in 28 games. Schumaker's OPS this season is .642.

Albert Pujols' .268 average in 58 games against the Phillies is his lowest average against any team he has faced more than 10 times.

Felipe Lopez against Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick is a combined 10-for-58 (.172 avg). Lopez has not faced Blanton in regular season action.

Phillies team ERA- 4.04
Cardinals team ERA- 3.32
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Vance Worley Interview Excerpts

Following Reading's win over Trenton on Sunday, I spoke with Vance Worley about his effort to lead his team to victory. In the game, Vance threw 8 innings, while striking out 3 batters, and allowing 0 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk. Check out the media player below to hear what Vance had to say about his name popping up in trade rumors and more.



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For more exclusive PhoulBallz.com interviews with Vance Worley click here and here.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

R-Phils Ace Worley Shines Again


It took 99 pitches for Vance Worley to put 8 consecutive zeroes on the Waterfront Park scoreboard next to the Thunder's team name. In the fourth and final game of the series in Trenton, Worley pitched 8 excellent innings, while allowing just 3 hits, 1 walk and striking out 3 batters, in his first start since his appearance in last week's Eastern League All-star Game.

Reading's offense jumped on Trenton starting pitcher DJ Mitchell early. Rich Thompson and Harold Garcia laced singles to start the game, in the top of the 1st inning. Following a Mike Spidale sacrifice bunt, lefty masher Matt Rizzotti drove a deep fly ball to center field that hit off the wall and was initially called a double. The umpiring crew then conferred, as Waterfront Park's advertising collage of an outfield wall presents a difficult task to determine calls at times. Following a brief meeting, the umpires corrected the call, and ruled Rizzotti's drive a 3-run homerun.

Mitchell settled in, following his 4-hit first inning, scattering 3 hits allowed over the next 6 innings, to keep the Thunder within striking distance. However, Worley would not budge.

It was the 8th inning before a Trenton baserunner reached 2nd base. The 20-pitch frame by Worley was his toughest of the day. After retiring the first two batters in the 8th, he gave up a single to Thunder right fielder Edwar Gonzalez. Second baseman Justin Snyder then worked a walk on a borderline call that seemed to irk Worley. Catcher Tuffy Gosewich then called a time out to settle his pitcher down and Worley's focus quickly returned, as he got Saturday's Thunder hero Justin Christian to fly out to center field.

Worley's pitch count of 99 following the 8th inning led substitute pitching coach Gorman Heimueller, filling in for the vacationing Bob Milacki, to pull the plug on Worley's outing. "I told Gorman that I wanted to finish it," Worley said after the game. "(In the 8th) I gave up a base hit and then I walked a guy, and unfortunately that made my pitch count just high enough to where he didn't want to send me back out."

Right-handed reliever Jason Anderson took over to close out the game, pitching a 1-2-3 scoreless 9th inning.

Worley feels as though his success is carrying over from start to start. The 22-year-old right-hander is 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA through his last 10 games, including 17 scoreless innings over his last 2 outings. Worley credits his focus on basic fundamentals as well as improved mechanics for his string of impressive performances. "It's all about getting that first pitch over for a strike and getting guys behind in the count and throwing what I want, when I want to," Worley said while speaking exclusively with PhoulBallz.com after Sunday's contest. "What has helped also is being able to pitch without throwing across my body, driving my hips toward the plate and being able to locate better without forcing it there."

Trenton manager Tony Franklin was impressed by Worley's efforts. "We've seen Worley before. I always thought he had pretty decent stuff...(but) that was the best I've seen him," Franklin said following the game. "He pitched fantastic. We didn't do much. He didn't give us much."

Worley was named Eastern League pitcher of the week after his previous start when he threw a complete game shut out against Harrisburg. Worley helped his own cause in that game by slugging a homerun as well.

Reading's road trip will continue Monday in Erie, where Yohan Flande will take on Duane Below.

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Another Complete Game Loss for Reading

A pregame conference, between starting pitcher Drew Naylor and catcher Kevin Nelson, on how to handle Thunder lead-off man Justin Christian didn't prove as successful as the pair from Reading would have liked. Christian bested the Reading Phillies battery, delivering a 3-run homerun to lead Trenton to their third straight victory over the R-Phils, by a score of 4-3.

Naylor and Nelson were able to force Christian to ground out to shortstop Freddy Galvis in each of his first two at bats, but their game plan didn't stop Christian from pulling a long drive over the left field wall that gave the Thunder the lead for good on Saturday night. Christian drove in Marcos Vechionacci and Jack Rye, who began the Trenton half of the 5th inning with back-to-back singles.

Reading bagan the scoring in the second when Kevin Nelson laced an RBI single that scored Cody Overbeck. Trenton clapped back in their half of the frame when Daniel Brewer singled to drive home Brandon Laird, who led off the inning with a double.

The R-Phils added 2 more runs in the 3rd inning, when lefty slugger Matt Rizzotti hammered a huge blast to the opposite field for a homerun, with center fielder Mike Spidale on base.

Naylor, an Australia native, took his 7th loss of the season, despite a solid effort for Reading. He struck out 5, walked just 1 and allowed 4 earned runs in his 8 innings pitched. It was the second complete game loss by a Reading pitcher in the 3 games the teams have played thus far in the 4-game series. R-Phils manager Steve Roadcap was impressed by Naylor's outing. "It was an outstanding performance. He's a great competitor and he made just one mistake," Roadcap said after the game. "He had command of all his pitches, except one."

Naylor, 24, is now the owner of an 8-7 record and a 4.05 ERA in 18 games.

Roadcap views Naylor as a pitcher who could help the big league club down the road. "He's commanding the bottom of the zone better. He has worked very, very hard at it. His slider has come a long way. He's made tremendous strides and hopefully, we'll see him in the big leagues."

Trenton pitcher Cory Arbiso earned the win for the Thunder, who find themselves in first place in the Eastern League's Eastern Division following a New Hampshire loss to Binghamton on Saturday.

Kevin Whelan pitched a scoreless 9th to notch the save, but it wasn't easy. With 1 out, Rich Thompson reached base on a single. Harold Garcia followed that up with a single of his own that pushed Thompson to 3rd base. With runners on the corners, Spidale chopped a ball that nearly bounced over Whelan, but he reached up, grabbed the ball, and flipped it home just in time for Thunder catcher Austin Romine to tag Thompson out at home. That brought the power threat Rizzotti to the plate with 2 runners on and 2 outs, but Whelan shut him down on 3 strikes to preserve the game for the Thunder.

The loss for Reading (44-48) places them 11 1/2 games out of first place in the Eastern Division standings.

The series concludes on Sunday at 1:05pm, when Yohan Flande (6-6, 4.14 ERA) faces Trenton starter DJ Mitchell (7-3, 4.67 ERA).


More Reading notes...

BJ Rosenberg (right lat strain) threw a bullpen session, in Trenton, on Friday and experienced no soreness afterward. Rosenberg told me he should be ready to face batters in a week or so and expects to do so in Florida.

Tyson Gillies has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain but has been working out daily, even participating in batting practice with the Reading Phillies. His rehab schedule has him beginning a running program on Thursday the 22nd. He hopes to be back and ready to play all of August and September.

R-Phils second baseman Harold Garcia began the Trenton series 1-for-11 before he got hits in his last 2 at bats on Saturday. Roadcap says Garcia is still making some adjustments after his recent promotion to Double A and says Garcia is a hard worker who will improve.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

R-Phils Manager Steve Roadcap Talks Pitching

As a player, Steve Roadcap was a career minor leaguer. He played from 1982-1986 in the Cubs' system. As a manager, Roadcap has also stuck firmly at the minor league level. He began managing for the Cubs' rookie league team in Wytheville, VA in 1988. Roadcap moved up in the Chicago system managing at various levels until 1998. After spending time coaching and managing in the Seattle Mariners system, Roadcap has now managed at three levels in the Philadelphia Phillies' organization, since 2006.

I had the opportunity to speak with Steve this week about his pitching staff with the Phillies' Double A affiliate in Reading, PA. Check out the media player below to listen to that interview.




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Friday, July 16, 2010

Jiwan James Makes BlueClaws History


Thursday night, Jiwan James hit safely for the 22nd straight game, which set a team record for the Phillies A-Level affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws. No doubt, James' conversion from pitcher to every day player has been successful. The milestone was locked in the first inning, when the switch hitting James led off the game against the Kannapolis Intimidators with a single to center field.

James, a 22nd round draft selection by the Phillies in 2007, was ranked as the 11th best prospect in the Phils' system by Baseball America last off-season. James pitched in 9 games with the Phils' Gulf Coast League team in 2007 and reemerged as an outfielder with the short season Williamsport club in 2009, where he batted .264 in 30 games.

According to James, his recent success can be attributed to some adjustments in his approach. "The difference between the first half and now is I shortened up my swing a little bit," James told PhoulBallz.com in an exclusive interview. "I feel like in the first half, I was trying to hit the ball a lot harder than I should have been, instead of letting it come naturally. I've also been laying off (more) pitches and being more patient at the plate."

James' average in June and July (.315) has improved greatly over his efforts from April and May (.230 avg). Since James' turnaround, Lakewood's winning percentage has shot up also (.707 in June & July/.558 in April & May). As James comes into his own, he has begun to be recognized as a catalyst in the defending South Atlantic League champions' lineup. Of his role as leader of the Lakewood offense, James said, "If the lead-off hitter is doing good, then your winning percentage is going to go up. That's baseball period."

Mitch Hilligoss is the owner of the South Atlantic League hitting streak record at 38 games, set in 2007. Phillies minor league second baseman Harold Garcia recently set the Florida State League hit streak record at 37 games, while playing for the Clearwater Threshers. Asked when his hitting streak might become a big deal, James said, "I'm trying not to think about it. I watched Garcia do what he did down in Clearwater. I watched that every day, and now it's my turn."
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PhoulBallz.com Interviews Vance Worley

Vance Worley is currently a starting pitcher for the Double A level Reading Phillies. Last season, along with Mike Stutes, Worley became the first pitcher in the Phillies organization since Randy Wolf to begin the season at Double A the year after he was drafted, completely skipping High A level Clearwater. In his time with Reading, Vance is a two-time Eastern League All-star.

This season, Worley has posted an 8-4 record with a with a 3.44 ERA. This week, Worley was named Eastern League pitcher of the week for hurling a complete game shut out against Harrisburg in his last start. Worley topped off that amazing outing by contributing at the plate with a homerun.

Check out the media player below to listen to my interview with Vance, recorded prior to Reading's game in Trenton on Thursday.




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JC Ramirez Shines in Reading Loss


After the game on Thursday, JC Ramirez stood in the hall way outside the visitors' clubhouse at Waterfront Park, talking to the media in his red toe socks. The only thing cooler than Ramirez's choice of footwear was the manner in which he sailed through the Trenton lineup. Ramirez threw a complete game while striking out 9 Thunder batters, walking none and surrendering just 2 earned runs to earn a loss for the Reading Phillies.

Reading got on the board early. In the first inning, Mike Spidale reached on an error by Thunder shortstop Justin Snyder, then promptly stole second base. First baseman Matt Rizzotti then drove home Spidale when he smashed a double to left-center.

The 21-year-old Ramirez, came out dealing. In each of the first two innings, JC gave up a lead-off single, but each Thunder runner was swiftly erased when the next Thunder batters, each inning, hit into a 4-6-3 double play. In the third inning, Trenton first baseman Marcos Vechionacci led off with a single. Designated hitter Edwar Gonzalez popped out to Rizzotti, then Snyder stepped up and laced an easy grounder to Reading shortstop Freddy Galvis that seemed to eat him up, taking a bad hop, but was scored a hit. It was a ball that should have bailed Ramirez, and the Phillies, out of another inning. Instead, the inning continued, and center fielder Justin Christian drove a ball toward his Reading counterpart, Spidale, that scooted off of Spidale's mitt and allowed Christian to reach second with an RBI double. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Matt Cusick slapped a grounder to first that hit off Rizzotti's glove, allowing two runners to score. Reading defenders settled down and escaped the inning without further damage.

The 3 runs in the 3rd inning were all Trenton needed, as a Reading rally in the 9th inning fell short, only scoring 1 run. Reading lost the game 3-2.

Reading manager Steve Roadcap and substitute pitching coach Gorman Heimeuller didn't need to visit the mound once all night, as Ramirez was in control the whole way. Roadcap was pleased with his pitcher's effort. "JC gave us a chance to win. I like the way he competed," Roadcap said after the game. "He was very aggressive in the zone, especially with his fastball. His slider's vastly improved. That's a hard loss. He deserves a win."

The cool cat, Ramirez, struck out 9 Thunder batters and walked none over 8 innings. Ramirez realized his performance was a fine one and left the game with a positive outlook, despite adding one to the loss column. "Today, I was really focused on my pitches. My slider was working good," Ramirez said following the game. "I used my fastball, two-seam, to get the double plays early. I made adjustments, kept the ball down and had success."

Ramirez, the product of his Nicaraguan mother and Cuban father, is focused on proving his worth, after coming to the Phillies, from Seattle, as part of the Cliff Lee trade last December. He describes his involvement in the Lee trade as a motivator. "(Being involved in that trade) was an inspiration because Cliff Lee is a big name," Ramirez said. He added how he initially felt when he put on a Phillies uniform to start the season. "(I felt like) I had to show the people of Philadelphia that they traded for the guy who could replace Cliff Lee." Now, though, Ramirez realizes that he should simply focus on impressing the coaches and those within the Phillies organization first. "The only thing I have to do is be focused, try to keep the ball down and show the right people that I can pitch."

Thunder right-hander Andrew Brackman earned the win, his first in Double A. The 6'10" NC State grad was the Yankees' first round draft choice in 2007.

The Reading Phillies continue their series in Trenton on Friday, as Phillies' pitcher Mike Cisco will take the mound against Thunder hurler Cory Arbiso, at 7:05pm.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Series Preview: Phillies at Cubs, July 15-18


The Phillies (47-40) hope to continue rolling with their pre-all-star break momentum, as they are fresh off a 4 game sweep of the Central Division leading Cincinnati Reds and possess a 17-8 record against that division as they head to Chicago to face the Central's 4th place Cubs (39-50).

At Wrigley Field in 2009, the Phillies swept the Cubs in a 3 game series that received much publicity when a Chicago fan in the outfield bleachers threw a beer into the face of Philadelphia outfielder Shane Victorino, as he made a catch of a fly ball.

Lefty veteran Jamie Moyer will take the mound in game 1, for the defending National League champion Phillies. Moyer broke into the Majors with the Cubs and made his MLB debut at Wrigley Field against the Phillies in 1986. The Cubs will counter with Ryan Dempster, who has not received much run support at home lately (Cubs have scored 3 or fewer runs in 6 of his last 7 starts at Wrigley).

Read on for details on the pitching match ups as well as loads more information on this series.


Thursday, 8:05pm. Jamie Moyer (9-8, 4.51) vs. Ryan Dempster (7-7, 3.61 ERA). Moyer has posted a 3-2 record with a 3.41 ERA over his past 5 starts. In 8 career starts against the Cubs, Moyer is 3-2 with a 4.27 ERA. Derrek Lee is 5-for-13 (.385 avg) with 3 doubles against Moyer. Dempster has posted a 3-2 record with a 3.27 ERA over his last 5 starts. In 8 home starts this season, Dempster has a 3-4 record with a 3.49 ERA. In 22 career outings vs. the Phillies, Dempster is 4-4 with 2 saves and a 5.05 ERA. Injured Phillies Chase Utley and Placido Polanco are a combined 16-for-31 (.516 avg) against Dempster.

Friday, 2:20pm. Joe Blanton (3-5, 6.41 ERA) vs. Ted Lilly (3-8, 4.08 ERA). In 6 road starts this season, Blanton is 1-3 with a 7.68 ERA. Blanton has no decisions and a 2.75 ERA in 3 starts against the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano is 6-for-16 (.375 avg) with 2 doubles and a triple against Blanton. Lilly is 1-4 with a 6.43 ERA in 5 career starts against the Phillies. Lilly is 2-3 with a 6.91 over his last 5 starts. In 6 days starts this year, Lilly is 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA.

Saturday, 1:05 ERA. Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.78 ERA) vs. Randy Wells (4-7, 4.61 ERA). Hamels has posted a 1-2 record with a 3.86 ERA over his last 5 starts. In 5 career starts vs. the Cubs, Hamels is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA. Alfonso Soriano is 5-for-26 (.192 avg) with 3 homers against Hamels. In 9 home starts this year, Wells is 2-3 with a 4.61 ERA. In his last 9 starts this season, Wells has posted a 1-5 record with a 5.32 ERA.

Sunday, 8:05pm. Roy Halladay (10-7, 2.19 ERA) vs. Tom Gorzelanny (4-5, 3.16 ERA).
In his last 5 starts, Halladay is 2-2 with a 1.76 ERA. In his career against the Cubs, Halladay is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA. Former Phillie Marlon Byrd is 5-for-13 (.385 avg) with 2 doubles and a triple against Halladay in his career. In 8 home games this season, Gorzelanny has a 1-3 record with a 4.24 ERA. Since posting a 4.55 ERA in May, Gorzelanny has a combined 2.02 ERA in June & July.


In 60 career games against the Cubs, Jimmy Rollins is a .234 hitter. Rollins is 16-for-77 (.208 avg) since returning from his most recent DL stint. Rollins hit 3 homeruns in 6 games against the Cubs last season.

Jayson Werth has 2 RBI in his last 16 games. In 14 career games at Wrigley Field, Werth is a .333 hitter with 4 homeruns and 14 RBI.

In 15 career games against the Phillies, Kosuke Fukudome is a .233 hitter with a .675 OPS.

Derrek Lee is 0-for-13 in his career against Phillies closer Brad Lidge.

Phillies team runs scored- 410
Cubs team runs scored- 359
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trevor May Interview Excerpts

I spoke with Phillies pitching prospect Trevor May last weekend. The media player below has excerpts from that interview, including comments on his pitching repertoire, his struggles this season at High-A Level Clearwater, Carlos Ruiz's rehab time in Lakewood and more. Check it out.




To read more about Trevor May, click here.

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Trevor May Steps Back to Move Forward


Baseball America ranked Trevor May as the #5 prospect in the Phillies' system last off-season. As the 2010 season progressed, May struggled to live up to the expectations that accompanied such recognition.

May, a 20-year-old starting pitcher who helped guide Lakewood to a South Atlantic League championship in 2009, began this season in Clearwater, one level above Lakewood. As a member of the Threshers' starting rotation, May posted a 5-5 record with a 5.01 ERA in 16 games. The record and the ERA weren't what drew the most concern though. May, who walked just 43 batters in 77 1/3 innings pitched last year, had trouble locating pitches and began giving out too many free passes to opposing batters. As a Thresher in 2010, May walked 61 batters in 70 innings.

Phillies officials saw the key issues with May, a 4th round draft pick in 2008, were physical and mental maturity. He was demoted early last week and sent back to Lakewood to focus on locating his pitches and building his confidence. BlueClaws manager Mark Parent expressed faith in May's ability to bounce back and continue his development. "Sometimes a change of scenery can do a guy good." Parent said. "He certainly has stuff to go up the ladder (toward the Majors), it's just a matter of confidence."

The news of the move was a disappointment to May, who felt like he was on a fast track toward the Majors during his first stint with Lakewood. "You don't ever want to get sent down. That's not the goal. The goal is to go up and get closer to the bigs," May stated. The 6'5" righty hurler realizes that it's up to him to make that happen. "There are certain things that I need to work on, that the guys higher up weren't seeing much improvement (with). So I came here with the mindset of 'it's time to work' and I'll use this as incentive to get back and improve."

In 2 starts since returning to Lakewood, the Washington state native, May, has gotten some mixed reviews. Statistically, his second start was better than his first, but he earned a win in the earlier outing and took a loss the next time out. In 6 innings against Greensboro on July 6th, May allowed 4 earned runs in 6 innings, while striking out 4, walking 2 and letting up 6 hits. On July 11th, against Delmarva, he gave up 3 earned runs in 5 innings, while striking out 9, walking 3 and serving up 5 hits.

With a focus on keeping his pitches down and inducing more ground balls, May's belief in himself already seems to be on the mend. "I feel like since I've been here- huge strides!," May expressed excitedly. It shouldn't be long before May gets back on the track that got him recognized as a top prospect with the Phillies.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All-stars and Their Kids

Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez

Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez

Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo

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AP Photos

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