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Showing posts from September, 2011

Mixed Feelings: De Fratus Expresses Himself

It was a wild and frenzied finish for several teams as the regular season wound down. While some clubs faltered, seeing their seasons come to an end, others triumphed and advanced to the playoffs. Whether it was a collapse or a significant comeback, countless states of mind resulted from the memorable final weeks of the season. Exhilaration, disappointment, confusion, hysteria and disgust could all be used to detail how players and fans all around baseball felt. For one young player, that list of feelings varies a bit but is likely just as long when describing his big league debut and the subsequent two weeks. EXCITEMENT Rookie hurler Justin De Fratus , who just two years ago was a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws South Atlantic League championship team, pitched a scoreless 12th inning to not only notch his very first big league victory, but to put his name in the history books, as the Phillies won their franchise record 102nd game. De Fratus found himself the pitcher

Early LDS Game Times Announced

The eight teams in the 2011 Major League Baseball playoffs are officially set and start times for early League Division Series games were announced today, including some preferable slots for the Phillies, who have home field advantage throughout the postseason. Games are set to be broadcast on TBS, unless otherwise specified. TIGERS vs. YANKEES: Game 1- DET @ NYY Friday, 9/30 8:37 EST Game 2- DET @ NYY Saturday, 10/1 8:37 EST Game 3- NYY @ DET Monday, 10/3 8:37 EST Game 4- NYY @ DET Tuesday, 10/4 To be determined Game 5- DET @ NYY Thursday, 10/6 TBD RAYS vs. RANGERS: Game 1- TB @ TEX Friday, 9/30 5:07 EST Game 2- TB @ TEX Saturday, 10/1 7:07 EST (on TNT) Game 3- TEX @ TB Monday, 10/3 5:07 EST Game 4- TEX @ TB Tuesday, 10/4 TBD Game 5- TB @ TEX Thursday, 10/6 TBD PHILLIES vs. CARDINALS: Game 1-STL @ PHI Saturday, 10/1 5:07 EST Game 2- STL @ PHI Sunday, 10/2 8:07 EST Game 3- PHI @ STL Tuesday, 10/4 TBD Game 4- PHI @ STL Wednesday, 10/5 TBD Game 5- STL @ PHI Friday

Phils Win, Make History

With the Phillies' 7-1 victory over the Braves on Tuesday night, milestones were reached. Not only did the Phillies tie their single season wins record by matching the 1976 and 1977 teams that had 101 wins, the win also tied Charlie Manuel with Gene Mauch on the all-time managerial wins list in team history with 645. Manuel began managing the Phillies in 2005 and has helped the franchise take command of a division that had previously been dominated by Atlanta and New York. Manuel reached the landmark win total in two fewer seasons than Mauch needed. Mauch's tenure as skipper of the Phillies lasted from 1960-1968. Additional highlights from Tuesday's win were the solid outings from righty starter Roy Oswalt and left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo. The 6 IP/0 run outing by the veteran Oswalt completed a foursome of excellent showings by the projected Phillies playoff rotation in their final starts of the regular season. As pointed out by Phillies.com's Todd Zolec

Denoting Your Baseball Fandom

If you’re the kind of baseball fan who likes to let everyone else know just how huge of a baseball nerd you are, you’re probably always looking for new ways to solidify your fandom. That way, no matter what competitor comes along knocking, challenging you to show your stuff and your support for America’s pastime, you’ll be prepared for him. The following are suggestions to keep your dominance as the super fan of baseball intact, so that you can show off your love for baseball without anyone else even coming close to your obsession with this great sport. Pull up those socks Real baseball fans know that it’s all about going old school, and nothing screams old school baseball quite the way high socks do. If you’re out there on the field playing a pick-up game, be sure to roll up those pants and hike up those socks all the way to your knees, just the way the legends did, and just the way superstars like Alex Rodriguez do now. If you want to take it to the next level, consider putt

Changes Leading to Bright Future For Hollands

Lefty pitcher Mario Hollands had a roller coaster of a season in 2011 with the Phillies Class A affiliate the Lakewood BlueClaws. Hollands, who had a strong showing in spring training to earn the spot as the 'Claws' opening day starter in April, was removed from the pitching rotation after a rough 7 start stretch in which the 6-foot-5-inch 210-pounder posted a 6.95 ERA. Once he was moved to the bullpen the 23-year-old improved greatly for Lakewood. Having posted a 4-4 record with a 4.64 ERA in 15 starts, Hollands looked much stronger in relief, going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 13 outings. In addition, Hollands' batting average against was over 100 points better in relief (.205) than it was as a starter (.306). Hollands, who was a 10th round pick by the Phillies in the 2010 amateur draft, expressed a preference for working out of the bullpen following the success he had appearing in relief. "I don't mind doing either one, but since I made the move, I kind of enj

Series Preview: Phillies at Braves, 9/26-9/28

For the final series of the regular season, the Phillies (99-60) will travel to Atlanta to face the Braves (89-70), who are battling to clinch the National League wild card for the second straight season. Heading into action on Monday, Atlanta leads St. Louis by 1 games in the wild card race. Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other key info for this series. Monday, 7:10 PM. Cliff Lee (16-8, 2.38 ERA) vs. Randall Delgado (1-1, 2.70 ERA). Lee has posted a 0-1 record with a 1.57 ERA in his last 3 starts. In 13 road games this year, Lee is 5-5 with a 3.03 ERA. Lee has a 1-1 record with a 5.65 ERA in 3 career starts at Turner Field. Delgado posted a 7-7 record with a 3.88 ERA in 25 minor league starts this season. In 4 home starts with the Braves, the rookie Delgado is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA. Tuesday, 7:10 PM. Roy Oswalt (8-10, 3.86 ERA) vs. Derek Lowe (9-16, 4.92 ERA). In two starts this season against the Braves, Oswalt is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a .200 batt

Phillies Rookie Hazing- 2011 Edition

Obviously, this was a bit easier to do after the Phillies defeated the Metropolitans by a score of 9-4 on Sunday to end their 8-game losing streak. As the Phillies traveled from New York to Atlanta, for the final series of the regular season, the annual rookie hazing costumes returned. The image was brought to the world via the glorious Twitter account of Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence. Pictured from left to right- team massage therapist Ichiro Kitano, catcher Erik Kratz, Justin De Fratus (kneeling), Joe Savery, Vance Worley, Michael Martinez, Michael Schwimer, Mike Stutes and Domonic Brown. ________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz on Twitter by clicking HERE . Also connect with PhoulBallz on Facebook by clicking HERE

Barnes Undergoes Successful Surgery

Jeremy Barnes , who split his 2011 season between the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws and the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, underwent surgery last week to repair an abdominal tear and a tear in his left groin. Barnes is projected to have a quick recovery and will be ready for baseball action in time for the start of spring training next year. In 122 combined games this year, Barnes, a multi-positional infielder, posted a .260 batting average with 28 doubles, 10 homers and 55 RBI. The 24-year-old Barnes, who was selected in the 11th round of the 2009 draft out of University Notre Dame, spent the majority of last off-season in the Philadelphia area training locally at Power Train Sports Institute, with Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez . Barnes, who had his surgery in Philadelphia, plans to do the same thing this winter. While at Notre Dame, the right-handed hitting Barnes, who stands 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds, wore the same jersey number, 20, that Phillies re

PN Round Table: Brown on Postseason Roster?

Today over at PhilliesNation.com, their team of writers took part in a round table discussion, answering the question of whether or not rookie outfielder Domonic Brown should be included on the Phillies' postseason roster. Various points of view were expressed, however my answer to the inquiry was left out of the published piece. Below are the thoughts that I submitted on the matter. No, Domonic Brown should not be included on the Phillies' postseason roster unless manager Charlie Manuel begins using Brown a considerable amount over the final week of the regular season. As things stand now, the 24-year-old Brown has been the odd man out, as at bats that could be suited for Brown are going to John Bowker and others. Even before rejoining the Phillies last week, Brown slumped so much down the stretch, for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, that he was benched for two of the team's seven playoff games. Additionally, in the recent action that Brown did see

Series Preview: Phillies at Metropolitans, 9/23-9/25

The Phillies, losers of 6 straight games, travel to Citi Field this weekend to take on the division rival New York Metropolitans in a three-game series. During the Phillies' recent skid, the five-time National League East division champions have been without two big time contributors to their offense, as Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence have missed time with injuries. Howard has been resting his ailing left ankle this week, while Pence has been out since straining the patellar tendon in his left knee on Tuesday. Both stars are expected to play this weekend. In the series opener, the Phils will send lefty Cole Hamels, who hasn't been very successful against the Metropolitans throughout his career, to the mound, while New York counters with right-hander R.A. Dickey, who is typically strong against the Phillies. Philadelphia has won 10 of 15 meetings with the Metropolitans this season. Read ahead for more details on the pitching match ups and other key notes from this series.

Phillies Nation TV Episode 3

For those that don't know, I am a contributor at PhilliesNation.com . The site features several great writers and provides fans with insider content and unique opinions on a daily basis year round. Recently, the staff at PhilliesNation has begun putting together weekly video talk segments known as Phillies Nation TV. The web show features 97.3 ESPN's Pat Gallen and BrotherlyGlove's Corey Seidman . Along with the usual outstanding statistical analysis that Pat and Corey deliver, this week's edition of PNTV includes content from yours truly wrapping up the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs' postseason run. Check out the clip in the media player below and be sure to head on over to PhilliesNation.com for outstanding content from the entire PN team.

Twitter Serving as Platform for Athletes

It is not often that a player will reach out publicly to fans and take the full burden for his team's loss. Many times, players will deliver an overly used athlete quote like, "Gotta let that go and get 'em tomorrow," which isn't bad, but it gets quite routine after hearing it dozens upon dozens of times over the years. Considering that, in the past, quotes from team personnel would normally be delivered to the masses via sports reporters, who could edit out any expletives that might have been uttered, hearing genuine, unedited thoughts from a sports figure is rather uncommon. These days, however, things are considerably different. With the current state of technology, players are able to bypass the middle man and connect with thousands of people almost instantly. For instance, during Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins' recent trip to the disabled list, the veteran ballplayer was able to scoop reporters by delivering updates on his status directly to the pu

Florida Instructional League Gets Underway

On Monday, the annual Florida Instructional League got underway for Phillies minor leaguers at the team's spring training home in Clearwater. Instructs, as they are commonly known, is a month-long off-season league, generally consisting of recently drafted players, those that missed time due to injury, or those that participated in a short-season league, allowing those individuals to refine their skills or add innings/at bats to their season. It also serves as an opportunity for a greater number developmental coaches and managers to see newly signed players in action. Below is a full roster of Phillies minor league players and coaches in attendance for the instructional league. Pitchers: Gabriel Arias , Jesse Biddle , James Birmingham , Lisalberto Bonilla (pictured), Ranfi Casimiro , Lendy Castillo , Brody Colvin , Jesen Dygestile-Therrien, Perci Garner , Kenneth Giles , Steven Inch , Ulises Joaquin, Jay Johnson , Colin Kleven , Ervis Manzanillo , Lino Mart

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

The Phillies (98-54), who have clinched the National League East division title and having locked down home field advantage throughout the playoffs, sit just 2 wins away from the century mark and 4 wins away from an all-time franchise record for wins in a season. With the division rival Nationals (72-79) coming in for a 4-game series, both marks are within reach before the Phils complete their regular season home schedule on Thursday. Right-hander Kyle Kendrick will get things started in the series opener, as the teams will play a twin bill on Tuesday. The Nationals will counter with left-hander Ross Detwiler, who has struggled in his career against the Phillies. In the night cap, Cy Young Award contender Cliff Lee will take the mound for Philadelphia, while Washington is slated to go with rookie Tommy Milone. The Phillies have won 8 of 14 meetings against the Nationals to date this season. Read ahead for more details on the pitching match ups as well as other key details from th

Phillies Clinch Fifth Consecutive Division Title

Behind 7 dominant innings from starting pitcher Roy Oswalt, the Phillies defeated the Cardinals, by a score of 9-2 on Saturday, to clinch their fifth National League East division championship in five years. In front of 45,470 fans at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, the righty veteran Oswalt earned his 8th win of the season and looked dominant, while allowing no runs and striking out 7 batters. Thanks to the strong effort from Oswalt, the Phillies took a 3-0 lead into the 8th inning. Mike Stutes came on in relief and, after getting the first two outs of the inning on 7 pitches, gave up hits to four straight batters, allowing the Cardinals to cut the Phils' lead down to one run, before Brad Lidge came on to squash the visitors' rally. The Phillies, determined to lock down the division crown in the franchise-best 150th game of the season, put an exclamation point on the clincher. Batting around, the Phillies plated 6 runners, including a grand slam by Raul Ibanez to c

IronPigs Fall in Finals, New Life For Six

Facing elimination in the Triple-A International League Governor's Cup Finals at Allentown's Coca Cola Park, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs were hoping to get some offensive production after scoring just three total runs in their losses in games 2 and 3 against the defending league champions, the Columbus Clippers (Indians affiliate). Also needed was a solid outing from starting right-hander Ryan Edell , who had been a strong contributor all season long. At two levels of the Phillies' system this season, the left-handed Edell posted a 10-6 record with a 3.38 ERA. Unfortunately for Lehigh Valley, the offensive improvements never came and the Clippers' pitcher proved better than Edell on this night. Right-hander Paolo Espino , Cleveland's 10th round pick from the 2006 draft, allowed just 4 hits and 1 run over 7 innings while striking out 5 batters and walking only 1 to earn the win. The 4-1 defeat ended the IronPigs' season and locked down a repeat as champion

Series Preview: Cardinals at Phillies, 9/16-9/19

With the Phillies' magic number to clinch a fifth consecutive National League East Division championship, they'll begin a four-game series with the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. Not only are the playoffs ahead, but the Phils, who currently possess the best record in baseball at 97-51, also have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and an all-time franchise single season record for wins in sight. The current Phillies record for wins, 101, was set in 1976, then tied in 1977. The Cardinals, who are 5 1/2 games back in the Central division, will send lefty Jaime Garcia, who has held Philadelphia to a .171 batting average in 5 career appearances, to the mound for the series opener. The Phillies will counter with rookie right-hander Vance Worley, who took a loss for the first time in 15 starts his last time out against the Brewers. St. Louis has won three of five meetings with Philadelphia this season. Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups as well as more ke

IronPigs Drop Another, Near Elimination

The Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs have dropped two straight games in the Governor's Cup Finals after taking control with a victory in the series opener. In game 3 on Thursday night, the 'Pigs faced New Jersey native Joe Martinez , who was outstanding, striking out a career high 13 batters, allowing 1 run and 3 hits, while leading the Columbus Clippers (Indians affiliate) to a 6-2 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. The tone for the night was set early on, as the right-handed Martinez struck out the side in each of the first two innings. Martinez's battery mate Luke Carlin drove in 3 runs, including a 2-run homerun off of IronPigs starting pitcher Dave Bush in the 2nd inning, to pace the Columbus offense. Third baseman Kevin Frandsen got Lehigh Valley on the board in the 3rd inning, when a sacrifice fly brought home shortstop Freddy Galvis . The score stayed 2-1 until the 7th when IronPigs reliever Ryan Feierabend surrendered an RBI infield sin

Double Header Preview: Marlins at Phillies, 9/15

Here's a brief statistical preview for Thursday's double header between the Phillies and Marlins, to be played at Citizens Bank Park. Tuesday, 2:35 PM. Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 3.64 ERA) vs Kyle Kendrick (7-6, 3.29 ERA). In 15 starts in the road this year, Sanchez has a 5-4 record with a 3.47 ERA. Sanchez is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA over his last 4 starts. In 4 starts against the Phillies this year, Sanchez has no decisions and a 3.52 ERA. Kendrick has a 3-2 record with a 2.85 ERA in 8 games since the All-Star break. In 15 home games this year, Kendrick has a 2-5 record with a 3.45 ERA. Gaby Sanchez is 8-for-16 (.500 avg) with a double and a HR against Kendrick in his career. Tuesday, 7:35 PM. Alex Sanabia (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.44 ERA). The righty Sanabia will be making his second big league appearance this season. In 15 games with the Marlins last year, Sanabia went 5-3 with a 3.73 ERA. In his last 8 starts, Cliff Lee is 7-0 with a 0.99 ERA. In 4 career

Clippers Down IronPigs, Tie Series

Heading into game 2 of the Triple-A level International League championship series, Lehigh Valley was on a remarkable roll, winning 8 straight games and appearing unstoppable. However, it was the Columbus Clippers (Indians affiliate) who rallied late to notch a 4-1 victory over the IronPigs before a home crowd of 5,308 at Huntington Park. Bump was cruising along with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a solo blast by first baseman Tagg Bozied in the 5th inning. Having allowed just 3 runners to reach base through the opening 7 frames of the contest, IronPigs starter Nate Bump 's success ran out in the 8th as the Clippers broke out for 4 runs and held the lead to tie the best-of-five series at 1 game apiece. After looking dominant through much of the game, the wheels came off for the Penn State product, Bump, in the 8th inning. He served up a lead-off single to Columbus shortstop Juan Diaz , but bounced back to strike out catcher Luke Carlin . Second baseman Argenis Reyes then stroke

Mark Parent Interview Excerpts

The Reading Phillies' season ended on Sunday night, when they lost their best-of-five playoff series in four games to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Prior to the game, I spoke with R-Phils manager Mark Parent about various topics. Excerpts from that discussion can be heard by checking out the media player below. ___________________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz on Twitter by clicking HERE . You can also connect with PhoulBallz on Facebook by clicking HERE

IronPigs Win IL Championship Series Opener

A three-run homerun by Brandon Moss in the opening frame was more than enough offense for the IronPigs pitching staff, as four pitchers combined to hold the Columbus Clippers to 2 runs on 7 hits earning Lehigh Valley a victory in game 1 of the Triple-A International League Championship Series. The long ball by Moss, his 3rd of the postseason, came off of Columbus All-Star Zach McAllister , who spent some time with the parent club, Cleveland, this year. The right-handed McAllister lasted 8 innings, but took the loss. The lefty batting Moss, who has seen Major League action as a member of the Red Sox, had the table set for his big blast in the top of the 1st inning by 1-out singles from Scott Podsednik and Kevin Frandsen . Moss, the IronPigs' clean up hitter who turns 28-years-old later this week, then mashed a deep drive to straight away center that put Lehigh Valley ahead for good. Lehigh Valley added another run an inning later. An RBI ground out by the left fielder Po

RHP Prospect Hyatt Develops His Game

For right-handed hurler Austin Hyatt , the 2011 season was packed with success. As the virtual ace of the Double-A Reading Phillies' pitching staff, the 25-year-old Hyatt proved to be one of the most reliable pitching prospects in the Philadelphia developmental system. During a season in which he was named as an Eastern League All-Star, Hyatt posted tremendous numbers in the second half, to help his team reach the post-season. In 10 starts after the All-Star break, Hyatt posted a 5-1 record with a 2.78 ERA and a .221 batting average against. Overall with Reading, the 6-foot-2-inch 180-pound Hyatt averaged more than a strike out per inning pitched (171 K's in 154 1/3 innings), which is impressive at any level. According to Reading pitching coach Bob Milacki, who previously coached with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Hyatt's pitching repertoire has come along quite well since Milacki first saw the Georgia native when Hyatt joined the 'Claws for their postseason run