Friday, August 31, 2012

Series Preview: Phillies at Braves, August 31-September 2

A pair of division rivals face off this weekend as the Phillies (62-69) travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves (74-57) in a 3-game series beginning Friday night at Turner Field.

In the opener, the Phils will send ace right-hander Roy Halladay, who is 0-1 with an 8.74 ERA in 2 starts against the Braves this year, to the mound. Atlanta will counter with 2009 1st round draft selection Mike Minor, who has won just once in his past 5 home starts.

Read ahead for more details on the pitching match ups and loads of key statistics from this series.

Friday, 7:35 PM. Roy Halladay (8-7, 3.88 ERA) vs. Mike Minor (7-10, 4.71 ERA). Halladay has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.75 ERA over his last 5 starts. On the road this season, Halladay is 3-4 with a 4.31 ERA in 9 starts. In 5 career starts at Turner Field, Halladay is 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA and a .259 batting average against. Chipper Jones is 10-for-19 (.526 avg) with 3 doubles and 3 HR in his career against Halladay. Minor, a lefty, has a 1-2 record with a 3.38 ERA in 4 career appearances against the Phillies. In his last 4 starts, Minor has posted a 1-3 record with a 3.37 ERA. Chase Utley is 3-for-8 (.375 avg) with a HR in his career against Minor.

Saturday, 4:05 PM. Cliff Lee (3-7, 3.67 ERA) vs. Tim Hudson (13-4, 3.57 ERA). In 8 career starts against the Braves, Lee has a 3-3 record with a 3.24 ERA. Lee has posted a 2-2 record with a 3.24 ERA in 12 road starts this season. Lee has a 3.22 ERA in 9 games since the All-Star break. The right-handed Hudson is 7-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 12 home starts this season. In 25 career starts against the Phillies, Hudson is 9-8 with a 3.76 ERA. Ryan Howard is 21-for-61 (.344 avg) with 7 HR in his career against Hudson.

Sunday, 5:05 PM. Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (11-9, 3.44 ERA). In his last 4 starts, Hamels has a 3-0 record and a 1.71 ERA. In 14 career games at Turner Field, Hamels is 5-4 with a 4.15 ERA. Jason Heyward is 3-for-18 (.167 avg) with a double in his career against Hamels. In 13 home starts this season, Maholm is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA. Maholm, a lefty, has a 4-2 record with a 4.11 ERA in 8 career starts against the Phillies. Ty Wigginton is 6-for-13 (.462 avg) with 2 doubles and a HR in his career against Maholm.


Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel is 0-1 with 14 saves, 1 blown save and a 1.08 ERA in 25 home games this season. In 18 career appearances against the Phillies, Kimbrel has a 1.10 ERA and a .115 batting average against.

Former Phillie Michael Bourn is a career .302 hitter with 3 HR and 21 steals in 42 career games against the Phils. Bourn’s 9 HR this season are 4 more than his previous career high. Bourn has posted a .147 average over his most recent 10 games played.

In 27 August games, first baseman Freddie Freeman has posted a .227 batting average with 5 HR and 18 RBI.

Dan Uggla is batting .180 in 42 games since the All-Star break. In 63 home games this season, Uggla has a .174 batting average.

In 9 career games against the Braves, Domonic Brown is a .308 hitter.

Ryan Howard is batting .203 with 1 HR and 4 RBI in 18 road games this season. In 63 career games at Turner Field, Howard has a .283 batting average with 17 HR and 59 RBI.

Kevin Frandsen is batting .355 in 29 big league games this season. In 11 career games against the Braves, Frandsen is batting .333.

Jonathan Papelbon is 1-0 with 5 saves, no blown saves and a 1.59 ERA in 11 career games against Atlanta. Papelbon sports a 1.52 ERA and a .159 batting average against in 24 road games this season.

Phillies team OPS for August- .702 (21st in MLB)
Braves team OPS for August- .693 (.22nd in MLB)
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PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 16

We're back with another brand new edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast. On episode 16, Tug and I discuss the unreal seasons of Darin Ruf and Tyler Cloyd along with recent big league promotions for Cloyd, Phillippe Aumont and Steven Lerud. Also, we review the Reading Eagle's recent prospect ranking survey, September call-up possibilities, playoff chances for the Phils' minor league clubs and we play The Twitter Game.

Check out the media player below to hear the full show, or download it by clicking HERE.

You can also check out previous episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dugan Enjoying Success, Focused on Future

Injuries and setbacks have prevented former Phillies top draft choice Kelly Dugan from becoming a highly regarded prospect for the organization in recent years. Dealing with hamstring problems, a severe ankle sprain and a troublesome staph infection has held the 6-foot-3-inch 195-pounder down, somewhat, in his pro career. Moving forward, though, Dugan is focused on taking strides and making an impact at as many levels of baseball as he possibly can.

The 21-year-old has posted remarkable numbers over the second half of this season for Class A Lakewood. Sporting a .324 average with six home runs and 37 RBI in 64 games since the South Atlantic League All-Star break, entering action on Wednesday, has helped the young outfielder and occasional first baseman to finally show why he was regarded so highly three years ago, when the Phillies selected him in the second round of the MLB amateur draft.

Avoiding injury setbacks is key for all players, but Dugan's level of confidence has spiked this year after getting past the ailments that previously kept him from going full bore on the field of play. Kelly, son of Hollywood heavyweight director Dennis Dugan (Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore), has shown considerable improvements this season and the steps in the right direction can be attributed to not needing to hold back physically.

"When I feel healthy, I think things are more consistent, while not having to battle through anything. I know the game's not always played at 100%, but when you are feeling closer to 100%, physically, I think that helps (the mental side). Now, I got my legs under me and I can run, so I think that's helped with the confidence for me, being able to do that and run a little more and feel stronger in my lower body," Dugan said.

Additionally, the physical ailments limited Dugan's defensive range, which left him manning first base instead of chasing down fly balls in the outfield, where he is more comfortable and became an All-Star in the New York-Penn League last season for the short season A level Williamsport Crosscutters. Back in the outfield in recent months, Dugan has been more relaxed and able to focus on hitting.

A refined approach at the plate has delivered some solid results for Dugan as well and it was all his own doing. Faced with the occasional struggles involved with developing an ability to switch-hit, Dugan made the call to discontinue his efforts from the right side and chose to focus solely on being a lefty batter. The results are evident, as his splits (.297/.379/.496 vs. righties, .290/.391/.421 vs. lefties) display a considerably even amount of success.

"I decided that I didn't want to switch hit last year, and I decided I'd give myself an opportunity to just hit left-handed," Dugan explained. "I felt like I could hit left-handed pitching better left-handed, if I gave myself a chance. The (Phillies) wanted me to give switch-hitting an opportunity and I did that and I made the decision (to stop) and I think it was a good decision.

"I know switch-hitting has its advantages, but I feel like if I can keep hitting the way I am hitting from one side, then it's an easier craft to practice...and work on everything from one side."

It's clear that the Encino, California native is now back to where he and the Phillies feel he belongs, among a group of prospects that are on the rise and worthy of being talked about in the future plans of the big league club. Dugan is pleased to have made an impact this year and is excited about what is forthcoming.

"I'm happy with the way things have gone this season. I think things can continue to improve and I'm just glad that the team is playing better in the second half. Overall, it's been a pretty good year and I look definitely forward to what's next."

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Phillies Nation TV: Talking Cloyd, Ruf, Hernandez & More

On the latest episode of Phillies Nation TV, Corey Seidman serves as host and welcome PN writers Eric Seidman, Ian Riccaboni and me, Jay Floyd, to discuss all the latest happenings in the Phillies organization and around baseball.

The program kicks off with discussion about the Phillies' wild card chances and in segment two, Corey and I chat about three young players that have had bust-out 2012 seasons in Darin Ruf, Tyler Cloyd, Cesar Hernandez. Later, the guys also field viewer questions, talk about the big Red Sox-Dodgers trade and plenty more.

Check out the media player below to see the full episode.



Cloyd Gets the Call, Honored Along with Ruf

It took an illness to the team's ace, but Triple-A right-hander Tyler Cloyd has finally gotten the call to the big leagues.

With the news that lefty Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99 ERA) will miss his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Mets, due to a gastrointestinal issue, the Phillies have purchased the contract of Cloyd, the Triple-A Lehigh Valley standout who was named the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher on Tuesday.

Cloyd, the Phillies 18th round draft selection in 2008, had posted a combined 15-1 record with a 2.26 ERA in 26 combined starts at Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley. The 25-year-old Cloyd was named as an IL All-Star this season as well.

Hamels is expected to make his next start during the Phillies' upcoming weekend series in Atlanta.

To read my feature on Cloyd from earlier this season, click this link.

To hear excerpts from my interview with Tyler Cloyd, click this link.

Additionally, Cloyd was recognized, along with Reading slugger Darin Ruf, as the Phillies' Paul Owens Award winners for the 2012 season. Ruf, a 26-year-old Creighton product, slammed his team single-season record tying 37th home run for the R-Phils on Tuesday. Overall, the Phils' 20th round draft selection from 2009 has posted a .317 average, along with 98 RBI and a league leading 1.033 OPS in 133 games this year.

Instituted in 1986, the Paul Owens Award is named after a man who spent 48 years in the Phillies organization as a scout, farm director, general manager, manager and senior advisor. The previous winners of the award include Hamels, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Chase Utley and Scott Rolen.
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Duo of Pitching Prospects Honored

A pair of honors came the way of the Phillies organization on Tuesday with much talked about prospects Austin Wright and Tyler Cloyd each receiving recognition as top performers in their respective leagues.

Wright, a left-handed starter, was named as the Florida State League's pitcher of the year. The 6-foot-3-inch 220-pounder has posted a 10-5 record with a 3.42 ERA while averaging 8.37 strike outs per nine innings in 26 games with the Threshers this season.

Regarding the recognition, the 22-year-old Wright, an 8th round draft pick of the Phillies last year, was excited and appreciative, but has his full focus on continuing his progress upward in professional baseball.

"This season has been a lot of fun. I've learned a lot, but I know I still have a long way to go," Wright stated. "The Florida State League is loaded with talented pitchers and to be named the pitcher of the year is an incredible honor. I know there are many deserving players and I really appreciate the recognition from the coaches throughout the league."

Unwilling to take all the credit, Wright gave his supporting staff a nod for having helped him make an impact on the FSL this year.

"I wouldn't have received this award without a great team and coaching staff behind me, so I'm really appreciative of all the hard work they put in as well," Wright said humbly.

The University of Mississippi product projects to open the season with the Double-A Reading Phillies next season.

Cloyd, the ace of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs' staff, was named as the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher. This season, the 25-year-old righty hurler has posted a 12-1 record and a league best 2.35 ERA in 22 starts for the IronPigs. Additionally, Cloyd went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four April starts with Reading.

The Phillies' 18th round draft selection in 2008 is certainly deserving of a call up in September, once the big league rosters expand.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Series Preview: Metropolitans at Phillies, August 28-30

Winners of four straight games the Phillies (61-67) will host the Metropolitans (59-69) for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils have been performing well lately, sweeping three games from the first place Nationals over the weekend, while the Mets have lost seven of their past 10 contests.

In the series opener, the Phillies will start righty hurler Vance Worley, who has lost both of his starts against New York this season, to the tune of a 9.00 ERA. The visitors will counter with Chris Young, who has a 1.86 ERA against the Phillies, as a member of the Mets.

The Phils have dropped eight of 12 contests against the Mets this season.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and loads more statistical info on this series.


Tuesday, 7:05 PM. Chris Young (3-7, 4.33 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06 ERA).
In 8 career outings against the Phillies, Young is 3-3 with a 3.42 ERA. Young has a 1-5 record with a 5.11 ERA in 8 starts since the All-Star break. Chase Utley is 5-for-16 (.313 avg) with a double and 3 HR in his career against Young. In his last 4 starts, Worley has a 0-3 record with a 6.41 ERA. Worley has a 2-5 record with a 5.00 ERA in 12 home starts this season. Daniel Murphy is 7-for-12 (.583 avg) in his career against Worley.

Wednesday, 7:05 PM. Matt Harvey (2-3, 2.75 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99 ERA).
Harvey, a 23-year-old right-hander, is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 4 road starts. Harvey was the Mets' 1st round pick (7th overall) in 2010 out of the University of North Carolina. Hamels is 5-10 with a 4.39 ERA in 20 career starts against the Mets. In 5 August starts, Hamels has posted a 3-1 record with a 1.86 ERA. Scott Hairston is 11-for-28 (.393 avg) with 4 doubles and 5 HR in his career against Hamels.

Thursday, 1:05 PM. Jonathan Niese (10-7, 3.51 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12 ERA).
In 12 road starts this season, Niese is 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA. The lefty Niese is 3-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 8 starts since the All-Star break. John Mayberry Jr. is 7-for-25 (.280 avg) with a double and 3 homers against Niese. In his last 3 starts, Kendrick is 3-0 with a 0.83 ERA. Kendrick is 3-6 with a 4.76 ERA in 14 games (10 starts) at home this season.


In 45 career games against the Phillies, Daniel Murphy has a .324 batting average with 3 HR and 21 RBI. Murphy is batting .255 in 39 games since the All-Star break.

David Wright has posted a .341 average with 9 homers and 43 RBI in 61 road games this season. After batting .351 prior to the All-Star break, Wright has a .250 average since the midsummer classic.

In 23 August games, Ike Davis has sported a .296 average with 4 HR and 10 RBI. Davis is batting .214 with 2 HR in 11 games against the Phillies this year.

Juan Pierre is a .319 hitter with 45 stolen bases in 112 career games against the Mets. In 57 home games this year, Pierre has posted a .218 batting average, compared to a .380 average in 49 games on the road.

In 41 games since the All-Star break, Jimmy Rollins has posted a .219 average with 7 HR and 18 RBI. Rollins' 15 HR are tops on the team. The last time the Phillies didn't have a 20 HR hitter was in the strike shortened 1995 season.

Kevin Frandsen is batting .388 in 15 home games this season. Frandsen is 2-for-20 (.100 avg) in his career against the Mets.

Chase Utley is batting .312 with runners on base this year. Utley has gone 2-for-10 (.200 avg) with a HR in 3 games against the Mets this season.

Mets runs scored since the All-Star break- 140 (28th in MLB)
Phillies runs scored since the All-Star break- 162 (24th in MLB)

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Biddle Ranked Top Prospect by Reading Eagle Survey

It's certainly been an unusual summer for local baseball fans. In recent years, the Phillies have displayed divisional dominance, and, while doing so, they swap top rated minor leaguers to beef up the big league roster for the impending postseason drive. This year's struggles, during which the Phillies have only recently dug themselves out of last place, have presented an opportunity for the team to not only hang onto their more highly regarded minor league talents, but to deal away some established major league players and add to the organization's collection of promising youngsters.

This month Mike Drago of The Reading Eagle conducted his annual survey of fifteen organizational minor league experts, made up of writers and other media members, designed to rank the top prospects in the Phillies' developmental system. The prospect that was ranked at the top of the list was lefty hurler Jesse Biddle, who has had a strong season for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League.

Flattered by the honor, the 6-foot-4-inch 225-pound Philadelphia native was clear in stating that he isn't fully pleased with such rankings. Biddle has his eyes set on getting better each time out and on the ultimate goal of reaching the major leagues.

"Having seen the talent throughout this system, top to bottom, it is an honor to be considered in the same category as these players," Biddle said. "But, I also understand that being a prospect only gets you so far in the game between the lines, because (the field) is the only place that counts."

Through 25 starts for Clearwater, Biddle has posted a 10-5 record with 3.10 ERA while striking out 146 and walking 53 in 136 2/3 innings.

The Phillies' 1st round draft selection from 2010 feels that there is much room for improvement in his game, despite the solid statistics and the recognition that he has attained.

"I think that my output this year has been up and down. This is mostly attributed to the natural adjustments of moving up a level, but, also, I have spent most of the year working as hard as I can to learn as much as possible. I am not satisfied with all my results," Biddle stated.

More focused on a few lackluster outings than he is on the ones that garner the attention of experts who rate him so highly, Biddle take lessons from poor games and uses them as fuel to develop his mental toughness.

"I think I can pitch a lot better than I did in most of my outings," Biddle said with tenacity. "But as my coaches always say, 'It's a process.' I tried to make the most out of my bad outings and use them to make me a better pitcher in the long run."

Overall, though, Biddle is more than happy to be pitching for the organization he grew up rooting for and never lets things like trade chatter impact his focus.

Not only did the different methodology approaching the trading deadline prevent the likes of Biddle and others from potentially being shopped or dealt away, but the Phillies added two players that are now ranked among their top ten prospects, according to the Reading Eagle's survey results.

The participating individuals in the Reading Eagle's assessment, who are all close to the Phillies minor league system, were asked to rank their personal top 15, which were tabulated to determine the paper's published list of ranked prospects. Those that offered their insight for the ratings included Matt Gelb, Jeff Schuler, Greg Giombarrese, Mitch Rupert, Brian Seltzer, Mike Drago himself and yours truly, Jay Floyd.

Lefty hurler Jake Diekman was left off of all but two submissions, due to his time spent in the big leagues this season. Service time in the bigs also kept infielder Freddy Galvis from being ranked as well. Despite the explosive offensive output of first baseman/ left fielder Darin Ruf this season, several reviewers, including myself did not rank Ruf because of his age, 26, which isn't typically applicable to being a prospect.

Ahead are the listings of the survey's top 20 prospects in the Phillies' system.

1- LHP Jesse Biddle...20 yrs old, Class A Advanced Clearwater

2- Catcher Tommy Joseph...21 yrs old, Double-A Reading (acquired in Hunter Pence trade)

3- RHP Jonathan Pettibone...22 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

4- 2B Cesar Hernandez...22 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

5- Catcher Sebastian Valle...22 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

6 -RHP Trevor May...22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

7- RHP Adam Morgan...22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

8- RHP Lisalverto Bonilla...22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

9- RHP Ethan Martin...23 yrs old, Double-A Reading (acquired in Shane Victorino trade)

10- Third baseman Maikel Franco...20 yrs old, Class A Lakewood

11- Third baseman Cody Asche...22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

12- RHP Justin De Fratus....24 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

13- Shortstop Roman Quinn...19 yrs old, short-season A level Williamsport

14- 1B/OF Darin Ruf...26 yrs old, Double-A Reading

15- RHP Tyler Cloyd...25 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

16- RHP Brody Colvin...22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

17- LHP Austin Wright...22 yrs old, Class A Advanced Clearwater

18- RHP Phillippe Aumont...23 yrs old, MLB Phillies

19- OF Tyson Gillies...23 yrs old, Double-A Reading

20- OF Jiwan James...23 yrs old, Double-A Reading

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

PhoulBallz Interview: Phils Prospect Willie Carmona

Willie Carmona was the Phillies' 11th round draft pick this year. The 5-foot-11-inch 185-pound switch hitter played college ball at Stony Brook University, where he helped the Seawolves reach the College World Series as their third baseman.

Following the draft, the 21-year-old began his pro career with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and tallied a .348 average with 2 HR and 20 RBI in 25 games before he was promoted to Class A Lakewood. Carmona, manning first base for the BlueClaws, got off to a slow start, batting .141 through his first 17 games, but in three games since then, the New York native is 6-for-11 with 2 HR and 5 RBI.

Recently, I spoke with Willie about his draft experience, his positional preference, being a Philadelphia Eagles fan and much more. Check out the media player below to hear that full interview.



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Friday, August 24, 2012

Series Preview: Nationals vs Phillies, August 24-26

In the National League East division standings, a massive gap separates the Phillies (58-67) and the team they host for a three-game set beginning on Friday night, the first place Nationals (77-47). With the Nats ahead of the 3rd place Phillies by 19 1/2 games, heading into the weekend, it was just a year ago that things were nearly the exact opposite and the Phillies led the Nationals by 21 games.

Thus far in 2012, the Nationals have won 5 of 9 meetings with the Phillies.

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


Friday, 7:05 PM. Edwin Jackson (7-8, 3.69 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (6-9, 4.20 ERA). In 3 career starts against the Phillies, the righty Jackson has a 0-3 record with a 5.60 ERA. Jackson has a 4-3 record with a 3.94 ERA in 13 road starts this season. Placido Polanco is 0-for-10 in his career against Jackson. In his past 2 starts, Kendrick is 2-0 while throwing 15 shutout innings. In 13 home outings this season, Kendrick is 2-6 with a 5.01 ERA. Ian Desmond is 8-for-19 (.421 avg) with a homer and 4 RBI in his career against Kendrick.

Saturday, 7:05 PM. Gio Gonzalez (16-6, 3.23 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (7-7, 3.95 ERA). Gonzalez, a lefty, is 10-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 14 road starts this season. In his career against the Phils, Gonzalez, who once pitched in the Philadelphia organization, is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 2 games. Opponents are batting .214 against Gonzalez this year. In 4 August starts, Halladay is 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA. Halladay is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 9 home starts this season.

Sunday, 1:35 PM. Jordan Zimmermann (9-7, 2.54 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.78 ERA). In 13 road starts this season, Zimmermann has posted a 7-4 record with a 1.96 ERA. The right-handed Zimmermann is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 4 August starts. Lee has a 0-5 record and a 4.42 ERA in 10 home starts this season. In 6 career starts against Washington, Lee has a 4-2 record with a 2.44 ERA. Lee's last home win was on September 5, 2011.


Ian Desmond has a .308 average with 2 HR and 9 RBI in 23 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

In 79 career games against the Phillies, Adam LaRoche has a .300 average with 13 HR and 41 RBI. LaRoche is batting .278 with 15 HR and 43 RBI in 62 road games this year.

Jayson Werth is batting .373 with 8 doubles, a triple and 8 RBI in 19 August games. Werth has a .903 OPS in 282 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park.

Domonic Brown has a .306 average with 1 homer and 7 RBI in 13 home games this season. Brown is batting .308 against right-handed pitchers and .211 against left-handed pitchers.

Since joining the Phillies, reliever Josh Lindblom has posted a 7.88 ERA in 9 appearances. Lindblom has not allowed a run in 3 appearances against Washington this season.

Ryan Howard has a .284 batting average with 7 homers and 20 RBI in 21 home games this season. Howard is batting .333 with runners in scoring position this season.

Nationals team ERA in August- 2.90 (3rd in MLB)
Phillies team ERA in August- 3.36 (8th in MLB)
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PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 15

On episode 15 of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, Tug and I run down the depth of third base prospects in the Phillies system and deliver an exclusive interview with young slugger Maikel Franco. Additionally, we review Brody Colvin's struggles, share an update on Freddy Galvis and loads more baseball goodness!

Check out the media player below to hear the full show, or download it by clicking HERE.

Additionally, click HERE to listen to previous episodes of the program. You can also subscribe on iTunes.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ten Reasons Baseball is Better Than Football

As the 2012 baseball season begins to wind down, a brand new football season is about to begin. With the local team out of contention, many sports fans' focus will soon move away from the diamond and on to the gridiron. With that in mind, I'm here to run down a list of ten reasons why baseball is still better than football.

1- Heritage. Baseball has a long history, deeper and more rich than any other sport. The lore of baseball dates back for well more than a century. While football fans generally have memories that focus on their fantasy team highs and lows, baseball fanatics' lives are laden with memories of things like Steve Carlton leading the National League in wins for a last place team in 1972 or Jackie Robinson's groundbreaking rookie season of 1947 or perhaps the historical postseason prowess of certain franchises. Click to read more.

2- Players on the field are more identifiable. Helmets on football players prohibit viewers of televised games, and those viewed in person, from seeing a player's face and emotions. Baseball players are more exposed and this allows fans to better recognize and identify with the individuals that are representing their city and region.

3- The unwritten rules. Players that act like hot dogs and taunt or celebrate in too grand a fashion on the baseball diamond get plunked in retaliation, while show-offs with the pigskin dance around like they're drunk at a prom or strike poses like models and get away with it.

4- Head-to-head focus. Each at bat features one on one competition, not just a particular match up on the field that might have an impact on certain plays. It's batter vs. pitcher each and every time up and that's sort of feature that's not found in any other game.

5- Global impact. Baseball is a world wide game, played in countless countries. American style football is exactly that...American. Baseball is played in Canada, Cuba, Japan, Korea, South America, Australia, all through Latin America and plenty other places worldwide.

6- The minor leagues. Developmental ranks allow fans to watch players become the stars of the future and the parks these guys play in allow fans to view the sport of baseball in a more intimate and highly affordable manner. Fans can go home having experienced an entertaining match up with future or former stars of the game every time out.

7- Spring training. Football training camp is okay, but it's local. Annually, thousands of baseball fans make the exodus during the late winter weeks and travel to the considerably warmer states of Florida and Arizona to see their typically more northern teams get ready for a season full of high hopes. Additional reasons for vacationing are surely welcome.

8- Steady leisurely pace vs. stop and go, stop and go. Certainly, there are folks that criticize baseball for being a slow game, but steady and balanced is superior to a break followed by a timeout followed by a kick followed by another break and so on. Constant game play outweighs the boredom of cheer leading routines and commercials.

9- No penalty hesitations. Regularly in football, fans are faced with instances where celebrating and cheering are delayed while everyone wonders if a flag that was thrown has bearing on the score or defensive stop they've just witnessed. In baseball, no such pauses are necessary and a score or key strike out can be rejoiced over immediately.

10- Safety. You're not going to hear parents scoffing at suggestions for their children to join the local Little League team. However, many of them feel football is too dangerous and of great concern to the health of their children. Baseball is more safe for youngsters looking for a team sport and something to be involved with.

Asche Shines as Reading's Other Star


In the midst of a playoff race, talented first-year pro Cody Asche is shining in the shadow of a dominating figure. If not for the scorching hot bat of first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf, the focus of fans and media members might be fully centered on the Phillies' 4th round draft selection from last summer.

Asche, who typically bats second in the Double-A Reading Phillies' lineup, credits his placement, batting in front of the man that folks have begun to call "Babe Ruf", with providing him chances to see beneficial offerings from opposing hurlers.

"I think I have been getting good pitches to hit, with Ruf doing what he's doing behind me. I've kind of taken the approach that all I need to do is get on base for him and really tried to simplify things at the plate," Asche said.

Ruf, Reading's big-time slugger, has been tremendous in recent weeks. In 21 August games, the 26-year-old Creighton University product has posted a .333 batting average with 14 home runs and 21 RBI.

Both Ruf and Asche have been key contributors for a Reading club that is in contention for a playoff spot in the Eastern League's Eastern division. The team currently possesses a 68-62 record and sits five games behind first place Trenton (Yankees affiliate), tied for second place with New Britain (Twins affiliate).

Asked if the race for that second playoff spot (format has division champs playing their division's second place teams in two series that each advance a winner to the championship round) is something the R-Phils are focusing on at this point, the 6-foot-1-inch 180-pound Asche quickly emphasized that the team's focus is not simply on qualifying for the postseason, but the entire roster is still targeting a division title.

"We're not racing for second. We got a chance to take the division," Asche exclaimed. "But it's all about taking things one game at a time. We're fortunate to have our longest home stand of the year (an game stretch that begins on Thursday) to help with the playoff push."

While the 22-year-old Asche is focused on making the playoffs, he also realizes there is a bigger picture that the Phillies organization cares about as well. The main goal across the board is, of course, individual player development. So, while a team is not likely to make the postseason with players that haven't progressed or performed well, the organization wouldn't care about a championship flag flying in Reading if it meant the players on that club, which the Phils have high expectations for, had not taken strides to improve.

"I'm just trying to finish strong," Asche stated. "The last month is important, not only playoff wise, but for your year as a whole."

Finishing strong is putting it mildly. Dating back to July 20th, the lefty hitting third baseman has gone 49-for-126 (.389 avg) with seven home runs and 30 RBI.

The Missouri native began his pro career last season as a member of the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters, posting a .192 average with 2 homers and 19 RBI in 68 games. Prior to joining Reading this year, Asche was named a Class A Advanced Florida State League All-Star as he tallied a .349 average with 2 home runs and 25 RBI in 62 games.

As he has moved up, a strong belief in his own skills has also seemed to play a role in Asche's string of success. The fast rising prospect says he is minimally surprised with the type of production he has put forth in his first full season in the minors after playing college ball at the University of Nebraska. And whether it's climbing the developmental ladder or striving to reach the postseason, Asche is ready for any challenge presented to him.

"I've always been confident in myself that no matter what's thrown my way, I can handle it," Asche said.

Here's hoping Asche and his teammates continue to excel this year and beyond.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BlueClaws Notes: Morandini Speaks

This week I spoke with Class A Lakewood BlueClaws manager Mickey Morandini regarding several matters related to his club.

Firstly, according to Morandini, six BlueClaws are headed to Fall Instructional League in Florida. "Instructs" last about four weeks, from mid-September to mid-October. The Lakewood players assigned there are pitchers Hoby Milner and Zach Cooper, catchers Josh Ludy and Gabriel Lino as well as third baseman/first baseman Willie Carmona and third baseman Maikel Franco.

Morandini also spoke on the following topics...

21-year-old newcomer and Dominican native Felix Santos, a righty hurler, who has a 0.60 ERA through seven relief appearances with the BlueClaws:

"He's come in here and he's done a great job for us. Live fastball, breaking ball's been above average, he's getting outs. He's come in there and made a statement and pitched well and I think he's turning some heads here."



The very solid offensive second halves from Maikel Franco and outfielder/first baseman Kelly Dugan:

"They both got off to slow starts and it's a tough league for a young kid, with the travel, I think with the age group here...it's 22, 23, 24 and you've got a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old in here, I think it just took some time for them to adjust to the league.

In the second half, I would put their numbers up against anyone's in the league. I think Franco might be leading the (South Atlantic) League in RBI's in the second half. They've come a long way, they've gotten comfortable here, they're doing it both defensively and offensively. They're driving in runs, they're hitting the long ball, they're getting hits. Those two have really carried us the whole second half and, you know, once (Chris) Duffy left, these two have picked it up even more and really, the reason why we're in (the playoff hunt) is because of those two guys."



Chris Duffy's effect on his teammates, before his latest promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater:

"He had a huge impact on this team. I know when Ryan Howard came in, he had an effect on Duffy for a few days, just with preparation and how to take (batting practice) and things like that. And Duffy just put a presence in this lineup and Dugan kind of took off once Duffy got here and Franco got hot and for an older guy to come in here do the things that Duffy did, it was a big influence on some of the young kids and I think it's paying off right now."



This year's 11th round draft pick, Willie Carmona, who sported a .348 avg with 2 HR and 20 RBI in 25 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies prior to joining Lakewood this season and has faltered a bit since jumping two levels:

"He had real good numbers down in the GCL, and he struggled here early. He's starting to come on a little bit now. We're just working with some things with his swing a little bit. He's a little bit flat footed at times and he doesn't get a good load, so to speak, from a hitting stand point, but we're been working on that. And his at bats have been a lot better the last handful of days and, you know, he's got some skills. He's powerful, a big strong kid that can drive the ball and, to boot, he's a switch hitter and that only makes him that much move valuable. So, like I said, he's gotten better and we're gonna need him to drive in some runs and hit some doubles and things like that and kind of protect the Franco's and the Dugan's that are hitting in front of him."



This year's 15th round draft pick Zach Cooper, who has posted a 1-1 record with 4 saves and a 0.53 ERA in 12 games since joining the BlueClaws:

"He has also done a great job here. Real aggressive in the strike zone with a good, live fastball, real good change up. He's kind of settled into the closer's role for us, once some of the other kids left here, especially (Kenny) Giles. He's come in here and made an impact, an impression too. I think he's turned some heads with how he attacks the strike zone and going after the hitters. He's been rewarded by going to the instructional league, so that's a big thing."
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Aumont Promoted as Horst is Deactivated

Following the Phillies' 12-5 romp over the visiting Reds on Monday night, the team announced that lefty reliever Jeremy Horst was placed on paternity leave and that right-hander Phillippe Aumont would be called up to the Phils, in order to fill his void.

The 23-year-old Quebec, Canada native was acquired from Seattle in the December, 2009 Cliff Lee trade, along with RHP J.C. Ramirez and OF Tyson Gillies. Aumont was originally an 11th round pick of the Mariners in the 2007 draft.

Aumont, ranked as the Phillies' #4 prospect by PhilliesNation.com prior to the 2012 season, had posted a 3-1 record with a 4.26 ERA and 14 saves in 41 relief outings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.

Until this week, Aumont had been quite hot, posting a 2.08 ERA with a 1-0 record and five saves in 15 outings since the International League All-Star break. However, in his most recent outing, he surrendered four earned runs in 2/3 of an inning during a loss to Toledo on Sunday.

At six feet seven inches tall and weighing 260 pounds, Aumont is a considerably imposing figure on the mound, sporting a fastball that mostly ranges from 96 to 98 MPH, along with a strong curve ball, a sinker as well as a split. The tools are certainly there, but Aumont still needs to improve his consistency in order to achieve the levels of success that have been expected of him since he pitched in the 2008 MLB Futures Game and struck out the likes of David Wright, Kevin Youkilis and Curtis Granderson, to escape a jam, in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Horst and his wife Maureen will be welcoming their second child. The couple already has a four-year-old daughter. The 26-year-old Horst has a 1-0 record with a 1.06 ERA in 16 outings with the Phillies this season.
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Series Preview: Reds at Phillies, Aug 20-23



The Phillies (56-65) return home to host the National League Central division leading Reds (74-48) in a four-game series beginning on Monday evening at Citizens Bank Park.

Cincinnati is hot of late, winning 8 of their past 10 contests and 12 of their past 16 games on the road. The Phils are also getting it done lately, especially at home, where the team has been victorious in 9 of their last 13 games.

The Reds lost three of four games in Philadelphia last season and were swept by the Phils in a four game series in Cincinnati late in 2011.

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


Monday, 7:05 PM. Mike Leake (5-7, 4.29 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (6-7, 3.80 ERA).
The right-handed Leake has a 3-3 record with a 3.13 ERA in 10 road starts this season. Leake, the Reds' 1st round draft choice from 2009, has a 1-1 record with a 5.16 ERA over his past 4 starts. Brian Schneider is 4-for-9 (.444 avg) with a HR in his career against Leake. Halladay is 2-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 6 career regular season starts against the Reds. Halladay is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in 3 starts this month.

Tuesday, 7:05 PM. Homer Bailey (10-8, 4.16 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.83 ERA).
Bailey, the Reds' 1st round draft pick in 2004, is 1-2 with an 8.24 ERA over his previous 4 starts. In 11 starts on the road this season, Bailey is sporting a 7-2 record with a 2.92 ERA. Chase Utley is 2-for-14 (.167 avg) in his regular season career against Bailey. In 9 home starts this season, Lee is 0-5 with a 4.59 ERA. Scott Rolen is 8-for-17 (.471 avg) with 3 doubles and a HR in his career against Lee.

Wednesday, 7:05 PM. Bronson Arroyo (9-7, 3.96 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (6-8, 4.11 ERA).
In 4 August starts, Arroyo is 3-1 with a 4.91 ERA. In 13 road starts this year, Arroyo has a 6-5 record with a 3.60 ERA. Jimmy Rollins is 6-for-15 (.400 avg) with a double and 2 HR in regular season action against Arroyo. Worley is 2-4 with a 5.20 ERA in 11 home starts this season. In 7 starts since the All-Star break, Worley has a 2-3 record with a 5.35 ERA.

Thursday, 7:05 PM. Johnny Cueto (16-6, 2.44 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.94 ERA).
In 7 games since the All-Star break, Cueto has a 6-1 record with a 2.55 ERA. Cueto is 7-5 with a 2.59 ERA in 14 road games this season. In 10 career starts against Cincinnati, including the postseason, Hamels has an 8-0 record and a 1.26 ERA. Hamels is 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA in his last 3 starts.


In 47 career regular season games against the Phillies, Rolen has a .322 batting average with 4 HR and 31 RBI. Rolen is batting .363 in 25 games since the All-Star break.

Jay Bruce's 25 HR are third best in the National League. In 16 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park, Bruce has a .224 average with 4 homers and 12 RBI.

Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman has a 0.67 ERA in 26 games on the road this season. Overall this season, opponents are batting .132 against Chapman.

Jimmy Rollins is a career .287 hitter in 70 regular season games against the Reds. Rollins is 11-for-66 (.167 avg) in August.

Placido Polanco, who is set to return from the disabled list on Monday, is a .313 hitter in 81 career regular season games against the Reds. Polanco has a .287 average with 2 home runs and 14 RBI in 40 home games this year.

Laynce Nix is batting .174 in 18 home games this year. The lefty hitting Nix has a .136 batting average with no home runs in 33 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

Reds runs scored in August- 88 (8th in MLB)
Phillies runs scored in August- 60 (26th in MLB)
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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Minor League Review, 8/19/12

I'm back with another semi-weekly minor league review, where we take a look at the various developmental levels of the Phillies' organization and some noteworthy players from each club. This time, it's a glance at some top performers of late, as well as those that aren't doing so well.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs…

Who’s hot:

RHP Jonathan Pettibone (pictured, right) has posted a 3-0 record with a 1.80 ERA in three starts this month for the IronPigs. Overall, combined with his time at Double-A Reading this season, Pettibone has tallied a 12-7 record with a 3.10 ERA and 100 strike outs in 142 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 3rd round draft selection in 2008.

Who’s not:

IF Cesar Hernandez is 5-for-31 (.161 avg) in his past eight games. In 16 games since his promotion to Lehigh Valley, the 22-year-old Hernandez has posted a .231 batting average.

Right-handed starting pitcher Scott Elarton has gone 0-3 with a 6.98 ERA in four starts this month. The 36-year-old veteran has not recorded a win since May.

Double-A Reading Phillies…

Who’s hot:

OF D’Arby Myers, 23, posted a .529/.556/.647 line over the past week, headed into action on Saturday. Overall in 42 games with the R-Phils this season, Myers, who is the cousin of NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, is batting .319 with three homers and 10 RBI. Additionally, Myers has stolen five bases in his past 10 contests.

1B/OF/DH Darin Ruf has continued his wildly hot month of August, posting a .333/.403/.841 line in 18 games this month. The 26-year-old, who was the Phils' 20th round draft pick in 2009, leads the Eastern League with a .987 OPS (2nd place individual sports a .868 mark).

Who’s not:

RHP Brody Colvin has gone 0-2 while allowing 15 runs in 8 1/3 innings (16.21 ERA) in his most recent two starts. The 22-year-old, drafted in the 7th round by the Phillies in 2009, was promoted from High-A Clearwater in late July.

IF Jake Opitz, who was signed as a minor league free agent recently, went 2-for-19 (.105 avg) in his first six games with the Double-A Reading Phillies. A 12th round draft pick of the Cubs in 2008, the 26-year-old was born on the same exact day as teammate Darin Ruf. Opitz was released by Chicago in spring training this year.


Class A Advanced Cle
arwater Threshers…

Who’s hot:

LHP Jesse Biddle (pictured, left) is 3-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four August starts. The Phillies' top draft selection (27th overall) in 2010 is 9-5 with a 3.26 ERA and 9.51 K/9 in 26 starts for Clearwater this year. Biddle, a Philadelphia native, is 20-years-old.

OF Peter Lavin, a 24-year-old lefty hitter, is 11-for-28 (.393 avg) in his past seven games. An All-Star with the Threshers in the Florida State League this year, Lavin was the Phils' 20th round draft pick in 2011. Overall the University of San Francisco graduate is sporting a .266/.315/.369 line this season in 104 games.

Who’s not:

First baseman Jim Murphy has posted a .179 batting average over his past 10 games. The 26-year-old was the Phillies' 17th round draft selection in 2006. Overall this season, the Washington state native has tallied a .264 average with 14 homers and 75 RBI for Clearwater.


Class A Lakewood BlueClaws…


Who’s hot:

Catcher Gabriel Lino, acquired from Baltimore in the Jim Thome trade, has posted a .371 average with five doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in 10 games this month. This output is much improved from the .141 average, three doubles, no homers and two RBI that the 19-year-old Lino notched in his first 18 games in the Phils organization.

Brock Stassi (pictured, right) went 8-for-21 (.381 avg) with a double, a homer and 4 RBI over his previous five games entering Sunday. Through 13 August games, the 23-year-old Stassi sported an .839 OPS after recording a .648 mark in 28 July games. Stassi, a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, was chosen in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft.


Who’s not:

SS Tim Carver, a 19th round draft pick in this year’s draft out of the University of Arkansas, went just 4-for-40 (.100 avg) in his past 10 games. The 23-year-old right-handed hitter has a .192/.272/.272 line in 40 games since making his pro debut with Lakewood.

Righty reliever Yari Sosa appeared in two games last week, allowing seven earned runs in 2 1/3 innings (27.04 ERA) and tallying a 1-1 record. The 21-year-old Dominican’s season ERA rose over a run, from 4.72 to 5.91, after his troublesome week.


Class A Short-season Williamsport Crosscutters…


Who’s hot:

Right-handed hurler Steven Inch, a 6th round draft choice in 2009, has posted a 2-0 record with a 2.00 ERA in five relief outings this month. The 21-year-old Canadian sports a 2-1 record with a 4.96 ERA and a .311 batting average against in 17 appearances this season.

Who's not:

Third baseman Mitch Walding was 3-for-35 (.086) in his previous 10 games entering action on Sunday. The Phillies' 5th round draft pick last year was batting .235 with one homer and 25 RBI through 52 games with the Crosscutters. Walding, a lefty hitter, is 19 years old.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 14


On the latest edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, Jay and Tug welcome Eric Floyd on the third mic. The guys discuss Darin Ruf's torrid August output, Jimmy Rollins' hustle concerns, an update on Brian Gump's indy pitching career and their favorite ballpark giveaways. Also, it's Tug and Eric going head-to-head in the Twitter Game.

Check out the media player below to hear the full show, or download it by clicking HERE.

Additionally, click HERE to listen to previous episodes of the program. You can also subscribe on iTunes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Ethan Martin

Ethan Martin, the 23-year-old righty hurler that was acquired along with Josh Lindblom and a player to be named later just prior to the non-waiver trading deadline from the Los Angeles Dodgers, is adapting quickly to his new home, Reading, PA. In three starts since joining the Phillies organization, Martin has posted a 3-0 record with a 2.08 ERA while striking out 13 and walking five in 17 1/3 innings.

Originally selected by Los Angeles in the 1st round (15th overall) in the 2008 amateur draft out of Stephens County High School in Georgia, Martin had not posted great numbers as a pro prior to this season. In his first three years in the minors, Martin sported a 24-29 record with a 5.42 ERA. However, this year, with Double-A Chattanooga, Martin tallied an 8-6 record with a 3.56 ERA en route to becoming a Southern League All-Star.

Prior to the 2012 season, Martin, who stands 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighs around 195 pounds, was rated as the Dodgers' number 17 prospect by Baseball America.

Recently, I spoke with Ethan about being involved in a trade for MLB All-Star Shane Victorino, his own pitch repertoire, Phillies fans and plenty more. For the full Q&A, read ahead or check out the media player below to hear that interview.


Jay Floyd: You joined the Phillies here recently, in the deadline deal for Shane Victorino. I wanted to get your thoughts on that move and what your excitement level was like to be joining the Phillies organization.

Ethan Martin: It was pretty- kind of crazy, you know. I got the phone call early in the morning and from there it was just a hectic day on that day, the Monday or Tuesday or whatever it was. But having a team that wants me like they did and being in that trade it makes me feel good, deep down. So, just coming over here to an organization like the Phillies are and with all the pitching they have, and with all the different things they've done in the past by winning and everything, you know, it's pretty exciting. Good to be a part of that.


JF: I talk to a lot of guys and, whether it's trade rumors or actual trades, they'll describe the disappointment with leaving an organization they may have been drafted by or came up with, that disappointment goes away when they realize there's a team that wants them so badly that a team would trade away an established guy, like an All-Star. So, that's a fully legitimate feeling and fully verified by you?

EM: Oh, yeah. I mean, of course I didn't want to leave- the Dodgers drafted me and that's all I really knew, but that wasn't the big part, you know. The Dodgers...would I love to play for them? Yeah, but I whoever I can make it up to play for, you know. The hardest part of it was leaving some of the guys I spent the last four years with. But, now, coming over here and just meeting these guys, same thing. You meet new friends and get acquainted with new guys and I'm starting to love it now.


JF: And you mentioned time spent in the Dodgers organization and you had a couple rough years and then this year you come back in the Southern League, establishing yourself as an All-Star...was it a big relief to really start to establish yourself as a really good performer there?

EM: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Years prior to this year have kind of been up and down, a little rough for me. And being able to go out, day in and day out, that was a big relief for me.



JF: Through your career, you've always posted big strike out numbers, with a 9.3 K/9 mark. What's your pitch repertoire like and what do you consider your out pitch?

EM: I just consider slider or curve ball as my out pitch. I'll throw a fast ball and try to get ahead with that, there's pretty good life on it, so, you know, using that and then the slider and curve ball.



JF: Where's the velocity for you and what's the drop-off when you throw the off-speed stuff?

EM: Fastball can range from 92 to 97 and I've hit 99 before, but I usually sit between 92 and 94. Then the slider's like 84 to 86. And the curve ball's like 78, so...



JF: So we get the full evaluation of the pitch menu there. Other than that, though, what are some things you might cite if you were asked to scout yourself?

EM: My command. I've got to get that better. The walks are still there. They're coming down a lot, but they're still there, so I've gotta get control of that. I think once I get that, I should be a lot better off.



JF: Fresh after joining the Phillies organization you get to go home there to Reading for a home stand and, obviously, it's the local environment. You get a lot of Phillies fans there. You come out to Trenton and it's a short trip away and there are still a lot of Phillies fans. Just talk about that and maybe being greeted in a different fashion than other teams you've played for or other leagues you've played in where there aren't local big league fans like there are near Philadelphia.

EM: Yeah, especially with Chattanooga. Double-A was in Chattanooga, TN, there's no Dodgers fans there. You might have one here or there, but coming here and just the way the town is in Reading, just they way everybody is- just all about it...it's pretty fun and makes it better to play in too.



JF: Overall, joining the new team, in the thick of the hunt for a playoff spot, how crucial is it, what's the energy like and is this really important to the team right now?

EM: Yeah, absolutely. We all want to go out there and win a championship, so just coming here and joining them, when they're in the hunt, it's been exciting.



JF: You earned a win in your Phillies organization debut and doing a solid job since joining the team. Just your thoughts on your efforts thus far wearing Phillies red...?

EM: I just try to go out there and do the same thing as I would do with any uniform on, just making my pitches and just give the team a chance to win.



(For the previous few questions, R-Phils third baseman Cody Asche had been playfully mocking me and offering his bat as a microphone for Ethan to speak toward as he answered questions)

JF: And we've got Cody Asche here, riding copilot for the interview, fake microphoning it, with a bat. What are your thoughts on Cody Asche thus far?

EM: (Laughter) Everybody's been great. Everybody's been able to accept me and I just really appreciate that.



JF: Sounds good. Before becoming a professional, who were some players you looked up to, growing up?

EM: Being from Georgia, you know, I looked up to Smoltz and Maddux and all them. But my favorite player ever was David Justice. Just watching him play every year, especially when they were pretty fun to watch back in the 90's.



JF: Absolutely. And you clearly grew up as an Atlanta fan. Joining a division rival organization, is the family torn?

EM: No, I mean, my family's been supportive playing with whoever. But, I've had some friends say it's gonna be hard to pull for the Phillies, being in the same division as the Braves, but they're all just giving me a hard time. Everybody back home's real supportive. It's part of it. They understand and they're right there with me.





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Series Preview: Phillies at Brewers, August 16-19


The Phillies (54-63) continue their road trip on Thursday when they head to Milwaukee to begin a four-game series against the Brewers (52-64).

Both teams have struggled this year and find themselves placed distantly back in the standings as the season begins to approach its final month. The Brewers have dropped five of their past six contests, while the Phillies have been victorious in four of their past six games.

In the series opener, the Phillies will send lefty Cliff Lee, who surrendered 6 earned runs in 7 innings of work against Milwaukee in a start on July 24th, to the mound. The Brewers will counter with right-hander Marco Estrada, who hasn't recorded a big league win since August 23rd, 2011.

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


Thursday, 8:10 PM. Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.85 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (0-5, 4.36 ERA).
In 4 career starts against the Brewers, Lee has a 0-1 record with a 5.54 ERA. Lee has a 3.21 ERA in 11 road starts this season. Corey Hart is 4-for-9 (.444 avg) in his career against Lee. In 7 career games against the Phillies, Estrada has a 7.84 ERA. Estrada has a 0-2 record with a 4.11 ERA in 10 home games (8 starts) this season. Chase Utley is 3-for-3 with 3 doubles in his career against Estrada.

Friday, 8:10 PM. Vance Worley (6-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (11-8, 3.78 ERA).
In 9 road starts this season, Worley has a 4-3 record with a 2.59 ERA. Worley has a 2-2 record with a 5.03 ERA in 6 starts since the All-Star break. In 2 career regular season starts against the Phillies, Gallardo has a 2-0 record with a 1.98 ERA. Gallardo is 6-3 with a 3.40 ERA in 13 home starts this season.

Saturday, 7:10 PM. Cole Hamels (13-6, 2.91 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (6-5, 2.63 ERA).
In 12 road starts this season, Hamels has a 7-3 record with a 3.07 ERA. Hamels is 2-1 with a 4.25 ERA in 5 career regular season starts at Miller Park. Nyjer Morgan is 0-for-8 in his career against Hamels. In 9 home outings this season, the righty Fiers has a 4-3 record with a 2.22 ERA. Fiers allowed 8 earned runs in 2 innings of work in his last start against Colorado.

Sunday, 2:10 PM. Kyle Kendrick (5-9, 4.53 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (3-9, 5.65 ERA).
In 6 career regular season outings against Milwaukee, Kendrick has a 0-3 record with a 4.82 ERA and a .315 batting average against. Kendrick is 3-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 15 road games (7 starts) this year. In his last 5 starts, the lefty Wolf is 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA. In 8 career regular season starts against the Phils, Wolf has a 3-2 record with a 3.86 ERA.


Aramis Ramirez is batting .325 with 9 homers and 42 RBI in 55 home games this year. In 29 games since the All-Star break, Ramirez has posted a .348 batting average.

Corey Hart is batting 65 points higher at home than he is on the road this year (.296/.231). Also, Hart's OPS is 293 points higher at home this season (.963/.670).

In 55 home games this year, Rickie Weeks is batting .219 with 5 HR and 24 RBI.

In 55 road games this season, John Mayberry Jr. has posted a .206 batting average with 4 homers and 13 RBI. Mayberry is a .208 hitter in 10 career games against the Brewers.

Ryan Howard has posted a .098 average in 14 road games this season. In 20 regular season games at Miller Park, Howard has a .280 average with 5 HR and 18 RBI.

Erik Kratz has a .133 average with just 1 extra base hit, a double, in 8 road games.

Jimmy Rollins is batting .221 with 7 HR and 20 RBI in 58 road games this season. Rollins is batting .217 in 30 games since the All-Star break.

Phillies team ERA in August- 3.36 (8th in MLB)
Brewers team ERA in August- 5.12 (25th in MLB)

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Serritella and Quinn Shine as NY-Penn League All-Stars


The Williamsport Crosscutters' two representatives in the short-season New York-Penn All-Star festivities made a serious impact on Tuesday evening.

Chris Serritella (pictured), who was selected in the 4th round of this year's amateur draft, started the night by winning the HR Derby, downing Mahoning Valley's Joe Sever in the finals.

Serritella, a 22-year-old first baseman, has posted a .293 batting average with 20 doubles, five home runs and 33 RBI in 52 games thus far this season. Additionally, the Southern Illinois University product went 1-for-2 with a single in the actual All-Star Game. Serritella started the game as the National League affiliate team's designated hitter.

Crosscutters teammate, shortstop Roman Quinn, entered the game in the bottom of the 6th and proceeded to go 2-for-2 with an inside-the-park homer and an RBI single. The round tripper was the first of Quinn's young pro career.

The 19-year-old Quinn was the Phillies' second round pick in the 2011 draft out of Port St. Joe High School in Florida.

Nationals third base prospect Estarlin Martinez was also a key contributor for the NL prospects, as he laced two doubles in four at bats and scored twice.

The National League affiliate team pounded the American League affiliates team 8-1.

The exhibition featuring the league's top performers was held at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio, home of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a Cleveland affiliate.

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Image- MiLB.com

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