Friday, September 28, 2012

Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins, Sept. 28-30

Fresh off their first back-to-back series losses since the All-Star break, the Phillies (78-78) travel south to take on the division rival Marlins (66-90) in a three-game series.

Both teams have had disappointing seasons, as the Phillies are set to miss the postseason for the first time since 2006 and the Marlins, who increased their team payroll by near $54 million this year, are in last place in the National League East division.

The Phillies have won 8 of 15 meetings with the Marlins this season.

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


Friday, 7:10 PM.  Cliff Lee (6-8, 3.18 ERA) vs. Mark Buehrle (13-13, 3.84 ERA).  In 14 road starts this season, Lee has a 4-2 record with a 2.84 ERA.  Lee has a 5-3 record with a 2.41 ERA in 14 starts since the All-Star break.  Carlos Lee is 11-for-27 (.407 avg) with 3 HR in his career against Lee.  In 7 career starts against the Phillies, Buehrle has a 5-2 record with a 4.44 ERA.  Buehrle has an 8-5 record with a 3.29 ERA in 15 home starts this season.  Ty Wigginton is 9-for-30 (.300 avg) with 2 doubles and 3 HR in his career against Buehrle.

Saturday, 7:10 PM.  Roy Halladay (10-8, 4.40 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (12-12, 4.35 ERA).
  Halladay, who recently dealt with shoulder spasms, struggled in his latest outing, serving up 7 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings on Saturday against the Braves.  In 12 road starts this year, Halladay is 4-4 with a 4.24 ERA.  Greg Dobbs is 8-for-15 (.533 avg) with 2 doubles and a HR in his career against Halladay.  In 17 career games against the Phillies, Nolasco has a 8-4 with a 3.59 ERA.  In his past 5 starts, Nolasco has a 3-0 record with a 1.46 ERA and 2 complete games.  Carlos Ruiz is 3-for-20 (.150 avg) in his career against Nolasco.

Sunday, 1:10 PM.  Cole Hamels (16-6, 3.11 ERA) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (4-12, 4.29 ERA).  In his past 9 starts, Hamels has posted a 5-0 record with a 2.72 ERA.  In 4 starts against the Marlins this year, Hamels is 1-3 with a 3.54 ERA.  Jose Reyes is 20-for-53 (.377 avg) with 5 doubles in his career against Hamels.  The right-hander Eovaldi is 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in 3 career starts against the Phillies.  In 9 home starts this year, Eovaldi has a 1-6 record with a 3.19 ERA.  Juan Pierre is 6-for-8 (.750 avg) with a double and a triple against Eovaldi.


Lefty hitting Domonic Brown is batting .156 against left-handed pitchers this season.  In 17 career games against the Marlins, Brown is a .271 hitter with 3 HR and 9 RBI.

 In 75 road games this season, Jimmy Rollins has posted a .230 average with 12 homers and 30 RBI.  Rollins is batting .270 with runners in scoring position this year.

Juan Pierre is batting .391 with 17 steals in 51 road games this season.  In 50 career games against his former team the Marlins, Pierre has a .314 batting average.

Giancarlo Stanton is a .247 hitter with 9 HR and 18 RBI in 42 career games against the Phillies.  Stanton is batting .237 in 15 September games.

Marlins closer Steve Cishek has 1 save and a 0.93 ERA in 11 career games against the Phils.  In 9 games this month, Cischek has posted an 8.59 ERA.

In 70 games since the All-Star break, Jose Reyes has a .312 average with 8 homers and 34 RBI.  Additionally, Reyes' OPS is 143 points higher since the mid-summer classic than it was prior to the All-Star game.

Phillies team ERA in September- 3.23 ERA (6th in MLB)
Marlins team ERA in September- 4.08 (16th in MLB)

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Newburger Transitions From College Baseball to Professional Poker


NCAA baseball provides many youth throughout our nation the chance to extend their baseball careers while earning a college degree.  Often, many of these players go on to live successful lives outside of the sports world.  A select few are fortunate enough to make it into minor league baseball and fewer still go on to play in the Major Leagues.  Jason Newburger, formerly of the Bradley University Braves, did something even rarer after his college career and turned his competitive spirit into a successful professional poker career

Jason Newburger was destined for a college sports career in high school after lettering in three sports.  He was also an all-state quarterback for his football team and even led them to the Illinois state playoffs in 2001.  However, it was baseball where he truly excelled.  In his senior year, Newburger hit an amazing .515 with eight homers and 45 RBI to become the Daily Herald Athlete of the Year.

Newburger transferred to Bradley University in 2003 from the University of Iowa and began a four year career that saw him play three of those as a reserve utility fielder.  His final year, Newburger played third base and won the Jewish Sports Review All-American award at the position as well as the A.J. Robertson Award for Most Valuable Player on the team.

In 2005, Newburger began to take up professional poker and by the time he completed his career with the Bradley Braves, he was playing the game for a living.  He saw success quickly as he made the final table of event in both 2006 and 2007 at the World Series of Poker.  In 2007, he finished 2nd in an event and took home an impressive $165,707. 

Newburger has one pro poker title to his claim as he won a WSOP Circuit title in 2009 in the game of Pot-Limit Omaha.  So far in his poker career, Newburger has an impressive 16 WSOP cashes as well as just over $441,000 in prize money earned.  Outside of poker, Newburger is still very active in baseball and has even served as a student coach for the Bradley Braves.  He also plays golf in his spare time.

It is rare that you see Division 1 athletes switch career paths the way that Newburger chose to with poker.  Much like baseball, the game of poker requires a lot of dedication and focus.  It's not surprising that someone like Newburger chose poker to channel his energies after his baseball career.  So far, it has proven to be a smart decision and only time will tell just how far this multi-talented athlete will excel in the game.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Zeid Exudes Jewish Pride with Israel in WBC Qualifiers

A failed attempt by Team Israel to qualify for next year’s World Baseball Classic was disappointing for former Phillies prospect Josh Zeid, but the experience is one that he is proud of and the Tulane University product is confident that the sport is headed in the right direction for the country that has limited experiences with America’s national pastime.

The righty hurler, Zeid, described his time representing Israel as a true highlight, not only in his career but in his life as a whole. Additionally, he stressed his level of enjoyment playing along side players with such similar backgrounds.

“Playing with 27 teammates, who all are very similar to myself, religiously and socially, was a tremendous and very unique experience," Zeid said.  "I’ve had Jewish teammates before, but to have a whole team of Jewish men, really brought a cohesiveness that I’ve never quite felt in the locker room before. It was as if we had been teammates for a whole year or years. It was the most fun I’ve had on the mound in a long time and it was also the hardest loss I’ve ever had to deal with in my career."

Zied, who was part of a package of prospects dealt by the Phillies to Houston for All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence last season, was a stud on the mound for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws team that won the South Atlantic League championship in 2010.  With the 'Claws that year, Zeid posted an 8-4 record with eight saves and a 2.93 ERA.  He tossed a four-inning save, during which he allowed no baserunners, in Lakewood's title clinching win over Greenville in September that year.

Managed by former major leaguer Brad Ausmus, who spent 10 seasons with Houston, Team Israel won its first two contests to advance to the final game for their bracket, allowing them to face Spain, a team that had already fallen to Israel two days earlier.

Zeid, who had made scoreless appearances in each of Israel’s previous contests, took the loss in the deciding match up this past Sunday in Jupiter, FL, as he surrendered a two-run single to Spanish shortstop Yunesky Sanchez in the top of the 10th inning. Spain was victorious by a score of 9-7.

Citing immense pressure in representing the nation’s first foray into World Baseball Classic action, the 25-year-old Zeid expressed a great deal disappointment in the loss..

“The whole Israeli Baseball Federation spent months putting together this team of Jewish American (and Israeli) baseball players, to try and get us into the real WBC in March,” Zeid stated. “And to lose collectively, it felt like we let them down. But we left everything on that baseball field every day of that tournament.  We really wanted to win this for them, but you can’t build a kingdom overnight."

The World Baseball Classic is, of course, a tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Association which features 16 countries competing against one another, once every four years, to be crowned as the world champion. Teams' rosters can consist of players that are residents or citizens of the country as well as players that have heritage from that country.

Israel's roster, should the nation have advanced to participate in next Spring's big tournament might have included several well-known players such as Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis.  Invitations to join the Israel team in the 2013 WBC were reportedly extended to every big league player of Jewish descent. 

The WBC qualifying round was not the first instance that Israel has fielded a national team. They have also participated in tournaments in Europe as well as the United States. Popularity of baseball is increasing in Israel, thanks to plenty of American immigrants’ love of the sport, although a professional league lasted just one season as recently as 2007.

Developing Israeli children into fans and players will be a key to the future of baseball in Israel.  Zeid and the entire Israel roster are prepared to do their part for the country they represented briefly and are anxious to get another opportunity to help the sport grow.

"For Israeli baseball to flourish, it’ll take time and I can’t wait to, hopefully, get another chance to play for them or watch them compete four years from now.”
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Series Preview: Nationals at Phillies, Sept. 25-27


Primed to lock down their first division title, the Nationals (93-60) travel to Philadelphia to begin a three-game series against the five-time defending National League East division champion Phillies (77-76) on Tuesday night. 

With just over a week left in the regular season, the Nats' magic number to clinch is 5, while the Phillies are 5 1/2 games out of the second NL Wild Card spot and are at risk of missing the postseason for the first time since 2006.

Read ahead to check out details on the pitching match ups and other key statistical notes from this series.


Tuesday, 7:05 PM.  Ross Detwiler (10-6, 3.10 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (15-6, 3.05 ERA).  Detwiler has posted a 3-0 record with a 2.43 ERA over his past 5 starts.  In 14 road games this year, the lefty Detwiler is 2-4 with a 3.78 ERA.  Jimmy Rollins is 6-for-18 (.333 avg) with 3 doubles against Detwiler.  In his last 8 starts, Hamels has a 4-0 record with a 2.50 ERA.  In 3 starts against the Nationals this season, Hamels is 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA.  Adam LaRoche is 7-for-22 (.318 avg) with a double and 4 HR in his career against Hamels.

Wednesday, 7:05PM.  John Lannan  (3-0, 4.43 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (10-11, 3.89 ERA).  In 17 career starts against the Phillies, the lefty Lannan is 2-12 with a 5.79 ERA.  Chase Utley is 12-for-35 (.343 avg) with 2 HR in his career against Lannan.  In 17 home games this year, Kendrick has a 6-6 record with a 4.09 ERA.  Kendrick is 2-2 with a 3.28 ERA in his last 4 starts.  Jayson Werth is 0-for-10 in his career against Kendrick.

Thursday, 7:05 PM.  Gio Gonzalez (20-8, 2.84 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (10-8, 4.40 ERA).  In 17 road starts this season, Gonzalez has an 11-4 record with a 3.24 ERA.  Gonzalez is 4-1 with a 0.79 ERA in his last 5 starts.  In 3 career starts against the Phillies, his former organization, the left-handed Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA.  Halladay, who recently dealt with shoulder spasms, struggled in his latest outing, serving up 7 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings on Saturday against the Braves. Halladay is 12-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 18 career games against the Nats.


In 13 career games against the Phillies, Nats closer Drew Storen has a 2-1 record with 4 saves, 1 blown save and a 4.76 ERA.  Storen has a 3.09 ERA in 17 road games this year.

In 45 games since returning from a broken wrist, Jayson Werth has posted a .319 average with 2 HR and 15 RBI.  Werth is batting .397 against left-handed pitchers this season, while he sports a .270 mark against righties.

Bryce Harper is batting .234 in 66 games since the All-Star break.  The Phils are the only division rival that Harper has not homered against.

Carlos Ruiz has posted a .268 batting average with 2 homers and 16 RBI in 28 games played since the All-Star break.

In 21 September games, Chase Utley has a .293 average with 2 HR and 15 RBI.

Lefty reliever Jake Diekman has a 1-0 record, a 0.56 ERA and a .109 batting average against in 16 home games this season.  Diekman was the Phillies' 30th round draft pick in 2007.

Nationals team OPS in September- .749 (8th in MLB)
Phillies team OPS in September- .718 (17th in MLB)
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Series Preview: Braves at Phillies, Sept 21-23


With an opportunity to lock down a postseason spot, the Braves (86-64) head to Philadelphia to begin a three-game series against the Phillies (76-74).  Despite a recent hot streak, during which the Phils have posted a 13-5 record this month and climbed to within 4 games of the National League's second Wild Card spot, the defending five-time NL East division champions are at risk of missing the playoffs, with three teams ahead of them for the a postseason berth and less than two weeks left in the regular season.

Prior to the series opener, the Phillies will honor future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, as the switch-hitter continues his fair well tour around the league.

Read ahead to check out details on the pitching match ups and other key statistical notes from this series. 


Friday, 7:05 PM.  Tommy Hanson (12-8, 4.33 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (9-11, 3.95 ERA).  Hanson has a 2-2 record with a 3.06 ERA in 9 career starts against the Phillies.  In 15 road starts this year, Hanson is 8-4 with a 4.09 ERA.  Hanson is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA over his past 6 starts.  In 18 career games against Atlanta, Kendrick has a 6-1 record with a 2.87 ERA.  Kendrick has posted a 4.21 ERA in 16 home outings this year.  Michael Bourn is 7-for-14 (.500 avg) with 2 HR in his career against Kendrick. 

Saturday, 4:05 PM.  Mike Minor (9-10, 4.31 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (10-7, 4.03 ERA).  The lefty Minor is 3-6 with a 5.31 ERA in 13 road starts this season.  Minor, Atlanta's 1st round draft pick in 2009, has a 2.28 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break.  Ryan Howard is 5-for-12 (.417 avg) with 2 HR in his career against Minor.  Halladay is 6-3 with a 3.82 ERA in 11 home starts this season.  Halladay has recorded wins in each his past 5 home starts.  Chipper Jones is 10-for-20 (.500 avg) with 3 doubles and 3 HR in his career against Halladay.

Sunday, 1:35 PM.  Tim Hudson (15-6, 3.77 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (6-7, 3.27 ERA).  In 26 career starts against the Phils, the righty Hudson has a 9-9 record with a 3.92 ERA.  Hudson is 7-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 12 road starts this season.  Hudson has a 4.41 ERA in 8 career starts at Citizens Bank Park.  Ryan Howard is 22-for-62 (.355 avg) with 7 HR in his career against Hudson.  Lee is 4-0 with a 1.63 ERA over his last 7 starts.  Lee is 2-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 13 home starts this year.  Michael Bourn is 0-for-15 in his career against Lee.


In 15 games against the Phillies this season, Freddie Freeman has posted a .320 batting average with 1 homer and 9 RBI.  The righty hitting Freeman is 0-for-8 in his career against Phils left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo.

Dan Uggla is a .221 career hitter in 58 games at Citizens Bank Park. Uggla is batting .283 in 17 September games.

Jason Heyward is a .211 career hitter in 43 games against the Phillies.

In 18 September games, Jimmy Rollins is batting .338 with 7 HR and 15 RBI.  Rollins has posted a .281 batting average in 72 home games this season.

Ryan Howard is batting .230 in 33 home games this year.  In 131 career games against the Braves, Howard is a .301 hitter with 40 HR and 117 RBI.

Ty Wigginton is batting .188 in 38 games since the All-Star break.  Wigginton is batting .154 wth no extra-base hits in 12 games against the Braves this season.

Braves ERA in September- 2.69 ERA (2nd in MLB)
Phillies ERA in September- 2.74 ERA (3rd in MLB)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Justin Friend

Righty hurler Justin Friend stood out as the top reliever in the Phillies' development ranks this year. The Oklahoma State University product was acquired by the Phils in the minor league portion of the 2010 Rule 5 Draft.

This season, in 38 games with the Double-A Reading Phillies, the 26-year-old Friend posted a 2-0 record with a 0.23 ERA while successfully converting all 24 of his save opportunities. From late June through the month of July, Friend pitched with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. As a member of the 'Pigs' bullpen, Friend went 2-1 with a 4.40 ERA and 1 save in 12 games.

In each of his two seasons in the Phillies system, Friend has been named an All-Star, first in the Class A Advanced Florida State League in 2011, then in the Double-A Eastern League this year.

This month, during the EL playoffs, I spoke with Justin about his All-Star season, Phillies fans, his pitch repertoire and plenty more. Check out the media player below to hear the full interview.



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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Former Phillies Prospect Carrasco Bouncing Back From Surgery

After some serious bumps in the road Carlos Carrasco, is headed back to full health and is focused on a successful future in the big leagues.

As a highly rated prospect in the Phillies organization, Carrasco once battled for an opening day roster spot with the Phils. During spring training 2009, the right-hander appeared in six games, posting a 2-2 record with a 5.95 ERA. The statistics weren't overly impressive, but "the stuff" was there, just as it had been six months prior when he posted a 1.72 ERA over six starts as a 21-year-old in Triple-A. Phils brass as well as scouts throughout baseball saw great potential in the Venezuelan hurler and he became a sought after commodity.

By mid-season that year, Carrasco would become the key prospect dealt in a package that allowed the Phillies to acquire Cleveland ace Cliff Lee. By the end of that season, at age 22, Carrasco had made his big league debut for the Indians, while Lee led a charge to the World Series for the Phils.

Since his entrance to the majors, Carrasco experienced some rough stretches, as he posted a 10-15 record with a 4.93 ERA in 33 starts. Last year, his season was ended short after it was determined that he would require Tommy John surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his right elbow.

After nearly a year of recovery, Carrasco officially began facing batters this month, as he joined the Double-A Akron Aeros for their playoff run, throwing a few rehab outings. In a single inning of work in Akron's division series opener and another frame in the series clinching game against Bowie, Carrasco twice retired all three batters he faced, striking out three combined hitters.

In his next outing, Carrasco took to the mound on the one-year anniversary of his procedure, against Trenton in game 3 of the Eastern League championship series, on Friday. That effort did not go as smoothly as his previous ones. One win away from a league title, Carrasco let up four 1st inning runs, as the opposing Trenton offense started the contest with four straight hits, capped off with a home run by right fielder Zoilo Almonte. Akron dropped that game to Trenton and was not able to lock down a sweep.

Despite that troubling appearance, there were still some positives that could be taken from the outing for Carrasco, as he was steadily hitting 97 MPH with his fastball, plus he retired the six batters that followed Almonte's smash.

The velocity is an improvement for Carrasco, who is still very young at 25 years old. However, he has not changed anything mechanically or with his pitch repertoire, which includes a curve ball, a change up and a slider. Also citing improved command, Carrasco is pleased with his progress following a lengthy period on the shelf.

"The biggest difference I see is velocity," Carrasco stated. "Before the surgery I threw 94 to 95, but now, this time, I am throwing 96 to 98. So, it's something good coming from the surgery. I spent this whole year in Arizona and worked hard. I feel excited. Everything's coming good and every pitch is good, my secondary pitches are really good. I just feel great.

"But the fastball command is what I see a big difference in now than before. And in my change up too."

Still dealing with some soreness the day following his appearances, as he conditions what he refers to as his new arm, and not feeling one-hundred percent on the mound, Carrasco believes that the mental preparation for what was ahead was tougher to deal with, at times, than the physical work he had to accomplish this year.

The six-foot-three-inch 225-pounder credits Indians pitching coach Scott Radinsky with being considerably helpful throughout his recovery process, as the veteran pitcher and coach, who was fired by Cleveland in August, prepared the young hurler for the long road of downtime ahead. Carrasco felt comforted by his coach, who missed time during his own playing days due to complications from Hodgkin's Disease, a type of cancer that originates in the blood, and also went through his own Tommy John Surgery during the latter portion of his career. Radinsky, who pitched with the White Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals and Indians during his playing days, offered guidance which helped Carrasco prepare mentally for his season on the sidelines.

"(Coach Radinsky) told me I had to do everything they asked me to do, as far as exercising and everything. He told me, 'Okay, it's going to be one year out, so put that in your mind, so you're going to be strong for next year. But the most important thing is to keep doing what you're doing right now and don't let it go.' He supported me and made sure I had the right mindset and knew what to expect," Carrasco said.

Despite the focus on staying mentally tough, there were still instances when Carrasco would feel down.

"The worst part was missing the team," Carrasco said. "But, every time from the first game till (now) I followed the team and everything, so it's a little bit sad for me to see my friends play and know I can't be there and help the team."

As the 2012 season drew to a close, Carrasco did get the perk of some team unity with the Aeros, as the team won the best-of-five championship series in four games on Saturday in Trenton. Carrasco was extremely happy to be a part of the group that would lock down the club's seventh EL title.

Carrasco will focus his off-season on getting back to full health and spending time with his family, although he stated there was some indication that the Indians organization wished for him to pitch in a winter league, which he does not wish to do.

A three-time MLB All-Star Futures Game selection, while in the Phillies organization, Carrasco admits that he does not stay in touch with anyone from the Phils aside from a pair of guys who were dealt along with him to the Indians, Lou Marson and Jason Donald. Although, during the opening round of the playoffs, Carrasco hoped that Trenton would lose to Reading, so he could face his former team.

"Yeah, last week when we played at home and everything, I followed the two teams (in the other EL division series). And I wondered, 'What team is it going to be?' and I thought it was Reading that would win. I pitched for Reading in 2007 and 2008, so that's the team I wanted to face," Carrasco said.

Having earned an Eastern League championship ring with his current organization, Carrasco now hopes to do add to his jewelry collection with Cleveland in the future, as he expects to be a key contributor with the Indians for years to come.


Other notes-

Donald, the Phillies' 3rd round draft selection in 2006, has been used as a utility infielder this year for the Indians, but spent a portion of the season with Triple-A Columbus, where the 28-year-old sported a .277 average with six home runs and 31 RBI in 65 games. With the big league team, through action on Saturday, Donald tallied a .191 average with two homers and nine RBI in 39 games.

Marson is batting .227 with no home runs and 12 RBI in 63 games as the Indians' back up catcher this season. The 26-year-old was the Phillies' 4th round draft pick in 2004.

Jason Knapp, another key player in the 2009 Phillies-Indians trade, was released by Cleveland last month, following three years of health issues and failure to bounce back from two shoulder surgeries. Prior to the swap, Knapp, who was the Phils' 2nd round draft choice in 2008, pitched just 40 innings in the Indians' system. At the time of the deal, Knapp was 18-years-old and had been heating up the Class A South Atlantic League with his 98 MPH fastball.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Series Preview: Phillies at Metropolitans, Sept. 17-19

Fresh off an embarrassing weekend in which the playoff hopeful Phillies lost 3 of 4 contests against the team with the worst record in Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros, the Phillies (73-74) will head to New York to take on the division rival Metropolitans (66-80).

The troubling weekend knocked the Phillies, winners of five consecutive National League East division titles, four games back of St. Louis for the inaugural second Wild Card spot in the NL. Phillies pitching allowed an average of 6 runs per game to an Astros club that had plated just 2.91 runs each time out in the second half, prior to the series.

New York has lost 8 of its past 9 contests, averaging 2.44 runs per game during that stretch. The Mets, however, have downed the Phillies in 10 of 15 meetings this season.

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


Monday, 7:10 PM. Cliff Lee (5-7, 3.36 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (18-5, 2.68 ERA). In 7 career starts against the Mets, Lee has a 3-1 record with 2.25 ERA and a .233 batting average against. Lee is 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA in his last 4 starts. Ronny Cedeno and Ike Davis are a combined 2-for-21 (.095 avg) against Lee. In 15 home appearances this season, Dickey has an 8-2 record with a 2.55 ERA. Dickey has a 3-3 record with a 2.94 ERA in 8 career starts against the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins is 6-for-20 (.300 avg) with 3 doubles and a triple against Dickey in his career.

Tuesday, 7:10 PM. Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.95 ERA) vs. Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.92 ERA). The rookie Cloyd struggled in his last outing against Houston, allowing 3 earned runs in 3 innings of work on Thursday. Opponents are batting .293 against Cloyd in his 4 big league starts. Harvey is 0-2 with a 2.12 ERA and a .172 batting average against in 3 home starts. The righty rookie Harvey was the Mets' 1st round draft pick in 2010.

Wednesday, 7:10 PM. Cole Hamels (15-6, 3.06 ERA) vs. Jonathon Niese (11-9, 3.46 ERA). In 15 road starts this season, Hamels has a 9-3 record with a 3.24 ERA. Hamels is 5-10 with a 4.39 ERA in 20 career starts against the Mets. Scott Hairston is 11-for-28 (.393 avg) with 4 doubles and 5 HR in his career against Hamels. The lefty Niese has a 5-5 record with a 3.70 ERA in 14 home starts this season. Niese has a 3.07 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break. Ryan Howard is 1-for-15 (.067 avg) in his career against Niese. In 5 starts against the Phillies this year, Niese is 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA.


Scott Hairston is a .308 career hitter with 12 homers and 25 RBI in 43 games against the Phils. Hairston is batting .215 in 60 home games this season.

In 14 games against the Phillies this season, David Wright has a .344 average with 3 HR and 18 HR. Wright, who posted a .351 batting average prior to the All-Star break, has sported a .256 average since the mid-summer classic.

Ike Davis' 27 HR and 82 RBI lead the Mets' offense. Davis is batting .214 in 14 September games this year.

In 10 career outings against the Mets, Jonathan Papelbon has a 0-3 record with 2 saves, 2 blown saves and a 7.00 ERA. Papelbon has a 1.48 ERA in 29 games since the All-Star break.

Jimmy Rollins is batting .349 with a home run, 9 RBI and 3 SB in 15 games against the Mets this season. Rollins is a career .322 hitter in 27 games at Citi Field.

Ryan Howard has posted a .193 batting average while driving in 12 runs in 15 September games. Howard is batting .165 against lefty pitchers this season.

Phillies OPS since the All-Star break- .718 (18th in MLB)
Metropolitans OPS since the All-Star break- .670 (26th in MLB)
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Friday, September 14, 2012

R-Phils Coaches Speak on 2012 Season

Following the Reading Phillies' loss in the Eastern League playoffs earlier this week, I spoke with the team's coaching staff about their successful season and some of the team's top performers. Quotes from pitching coach Bob Milacki and hitting coach Frank Cacciatore lie ahead...


Milacki on the season, as a whole, for various members of the R-Phils' pitching staff-

Trevor May, who started out like gangbusters and then had his ups and downs, finished strong. I thought he really finished strong and (Adam) Morgan pitched outstanding since he was here. And our trade with the Dodgers, getting (Ethan) Martin, Martin was outstanding almost every start out, except one when he was a little under the weather, but you couldn't ask for more out of him.

Through the whole year, with a
ll the guys that came up and the guys that left here, there's a lot of promise going through the organization. The arms that we have and the talent that we have, from (Tyler) Knigge and Morgan and May, Martin on down the line. And (Jonathan) Pettibone up at Triple-A and (Tyler) Cloyd's up in the big leagues. I mean, you couldn't ask for more than the progress these guys made and it was just a fun year.


Cacciatore spoke of his club's offense-

I can't say enough about what we did. With (Darin) Ruf's year was just tremendous, especially the month of August. From the get-go, all the guys that started here, the way they went about their work...I think a lot of it had to do with their dedication and their work ethic and the way they came to work every day and the way they maintained their swings. There were guys that we sent up...sending up (Sebastian) Valle and Cesar Hernandez and then the guys we had take their places came in and got their opportunities and they made the most of it. You know, I'm pleased as punch. I just hoped a couple of those balls hit hard (in this series) might have fallen, but we had a great year.


Also, I asked coach Frank about the season that 22-year-old third baseman Cody Asche had in his first full year as a pro, after being drafted in the 4th round by the Phillies last year out of University of Nebraska. Asche batted .324 with 12 HR and 72 RBI in 130 regular season games this year, combined at Class A Advanced Clearwater and Reading.-

I had the opportunity to be with (Asche) last year in instructional league after he had a tough season, coming into pro ball. He had to make some big adjustments and he got together with (Phillies minor league hitting coordinator) Steve Henderson in instructional league and I was there to see what they were doing. It was very impressive to see a guy like that pick up on things so quickly and I think that's going to carry him a long ways because he's a pretty smart kid, he's pretty intelligent and he likes the game, first of all, and he likes to hit, but he knows what to do and is able to make adjustments. So, all those put together with his natural talents, I think he's going to be pretty successful and gosh, he's shown it, as he's caught fire in the past month and a half of the season. He really helped us down the stretch, so I see nothing but good upside on him and it's going to be fun to watch him continue to develop next year and get even better.


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Phillies Nation TV: Talking Ruf & Young Relievers

On the latest episode of Phillies Nation TV, I joined Pat and Corey to discuss the potential contributions of Darin Ruf following his addition to the big league roster as well as the Phils' exciting young bullpen contributors like Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman, B.J. Rosenberg and Justin De Fratus.

Additionally, the guys also discuss the Phillies' postseason chances and field some viewer questions. Check out the full episode, as seen on Service Electric 2 Sports, in the media player below.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

PN Round Table: Replay in Baseball?

From time to time the writers at PhilliesNation.com collectively take on a pressing baseball matter and kick around their individual opinions. In the latest edition, the subject matter was the possibility of expanded video replay in Major League Baseball. Check out my input on the topic below and click this link to read the other writers' feedback and to join the discussion.


The technology is there and it's helpful in ensuring the proper calls are made in others sports and in certain aspects of baseball, so let's get the appropriate changes in motion to give professional baseball the right results all of the time.

The basis of arguments against replay in baseball is often that it subverts the legacy of the sport or undermines the umpires that are, for some reason, held so sacred, despite constantly being proven unworthy of support for having exceptional judgement.

I don't know what the best methods for expansion of video replay in baseball should be, but with the ability to get every call right, why not use it? Preserving history and officials' feelings aren't strong enough reasons to deny players, team personnel and fans a 100% accurate and legitimate outcome.
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Series Preview: Phillies at Astros, September 13-16

A late-season hot streak has the Phillies (72-71) right in the thick of the playoff race, following three quarters of the season in which the five-time defending National League East division champions seemed to be out of the mix for a sixth consecutive post-season appearance. The Phils have won 7 straight games to climb the standings and sit within 3 games of a Wild Card spot.

The Astros (45-98), however, are stuck in last place in the NL Central and possess the worst record in the majors. Houston has a 12-45 record since the All-Star break.

As PhilliesNation.com's Eric Seidman points out, the Astros have performed extremely well late in the season against the Phillies. From 2009-2011, Houston won 12 of 15 contests against the Phils from August onward.

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

Thursday, 8:05 PM. Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.24 ERA) vs. Lucas Harrell (10-9, 3.83 ERA).
Cloyd, the Phillies' 18th round draft pick from 2008, will be starting his 4th big league game. In his lone road start, Cloyd allowed 1 earned run over 7 innings while earning a win against the Reds. Cloyd posted a 15-1 record with 2.26 ERA in 26 minor league starts this season. In 11 home starts this year, Harrell is 6-2 with a 2.06 ERA. In his last 4 starts, Harrell is 0-1 with a 3.96 ERA.

Friday, 8:05 PM. Cole Hamels (14-6, 3.03 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (5-12, 4.93 ERA).
Hamels has a 3-0 record with a 2.27 ERA in his last 6 starts. In 14 road starts this season, Hamels has posted an 8-3 record with a 3.19 ERA. The right-hander Norris has gone without a win in his last 17 starts. In 5 career starts against the Phils, Norris has a 1-3 record with a 4.21 ERA. Carlos Ruiz is 1-for-11 (.091 avg) in his career against Norris.

Saturday, 7:05 PM. Kyle Kendrick (9-10, 3.83 ERA) vs. Edgar Gonzalez (2-0, 1.74 ERA).
The righty Gonzalez will be making his third big league start of the season. In 43 career games, opponents have his .300 against Gonzalez. In his last 6 starts, Kendrick is 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA. Kendrick is 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA in 5 career games against Houston.

Sunday, 2:05 PM. Roy Halladay (10-7, 4.01 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-7, 5.35 ERA).
In 4 career starts against Houston, Halladay has a 2-1 record with 1.16 ERA. Halladay has a 4-0 record with a 4.73 ERA in his last 5 starts. Jordan Shafer is 1-for-10 (.100 avg) in his career against Halladay. The lefty Keuchel has not won in his last 11 starts. In 8 home starts this season, Keuchel has a 1-3 record and a 3.51 ERA.


Jed Lowrie, who just returned from an ankle injury this week, has 14 HR and 36 RBI this season. Lowrie is hitless in 2 career games against the Phils.

In 4 career games against the Phillies, J.D. Martinez is 7-for-16 (.438 avg). In 30 games since the All-Star break, Martinez has a .232 batting average.

Former Cardinals 1st round draft pick Tyler Greene is batting .242 in 29 games since joining the Astros. In 12 career games against the Phillies, Greene has a .226 average with 3 doubles.

Jimmy Rollins is 15-for-46 (.326 avg) with 4 HR and 9 RBI in 11 September games. In 71 career games against the Astros, Rollins has a .305 average with 10 HR and 28 RBI.

After posting a .232 batting average prior to the All-Star break, John Mayberry Jr. has tallied a .284 batting average since the mid-summer classic. Mayberry has a .238 average with runners on base this season.

Erik Kratz is 4-for-28 (.143 avg) with a double and a HR in 8 September games. Kratz is batting .233 on the road this season.

Phillies team ERA in September- 2.21 (2nd in MLB)
Astros team ERA in September- 3.09 (7th in MLB)
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

PhoulBallz Interview: LHP Adam Morgan

Left-handed starting pitcher Adam Morgan was among a group of Phillies prospects that had breakout seasons in 2012. The team's 3rd round draft pick last year has been on the fast track upward in the developmental ranks since he turned pro less than 15 months ago.

After posting a 3-3 record with a 2.01 ERA in 11 starts last season for the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, the University of Alabama product skipped full season A level Lakewood and began this season in the Florida State League. There, he tallied a 4-10 record with a 3.29 ERA and was named a mid-season All-Star.

With Clearwater, Morgan posted a 1.29 ERA in five July starts and was named as the Phillies' minor league pitcher of the month. Soon after, the 22-year-old found himself promoted to Double-A Reading, where he helped the club lock down a playoff spot in the Eastern League.

Last week I spoke with Adam about his father Wiley, who was a big inspiration in his life, his pitch repertoire, his tremendous first full season as a pro and plenty more. Check out the media player below to hear the full interview and just beyond the media player is the full text of this interview.




Adam, you had an amazing July with the Threshers, then got promoted up to the Eastern League. You're kind of on the fast track right now. Thoughts on the speedy pace of your rise here...?

It's been great. I never thought that I would get this high, so fast, in the organization. So, I'm just taking it day by day and just improving every day and trying to learn something new every day.



You were drafted in the 3rd round last year out of the University of Alabama and I just wanted to get your thoughts on the draft process last year. How did you learn you were drafted, how did you track the draft and how did you celebrate?

I had a commitment to the University of Alabama and we were still playing and we had a chance to win, so at first I was just worried about that and let my agent handle the rest. And we got beat out and I headed home the next day and that was the second day of the draft. I just let my agent take care of it. I had a couple phone calls and I was like, "I'm not going to sign for this", because I already had a set amount...and my agent was like, "You just got taken in the 3rd round by the Phillies and I was like, "That's awesome!"


Really, there wasn't much celebrating. I celebrated with my family when I got home. But through the whole draft process, I just kind of let my agent take care of it.



Okay, so you said you got to celebrate with family once you got home. How much time had past when you actually did get a chance to celebrate?

Probably till I got back from short-season. It's really when I got to celebrate with all my friends and, you know, we just kind of kept it low key and went and had fun.



So, you played in the SEC...how did that conference prepare you for pro ball, do you think?

It helped me out a lot. You know, like I always say, the hitters will know, will tell you when you're doing something wrong. That was a good conference to be in 'cause you learn a lot of things quick. So, it kind of helped me out heading into pro ball against more disciplined hitters.



You did pretty well last year with Williamsport after signing your first pro deal, then you skipped Lakewood this year and come out doing great things with Clearwater. Can I get some thoughts on skipping the level and then having success down there at Class A Advanced?

Our pitching coordinator called five of us in, all the five starters and said, it was about the last week in spring training, and said, "This is gonna be the starting rotation for Clearwater." I was ecstatic. But I talked to Lance Carter, my pitching coach in Williamsport, and he said, "You're good enough to play in that league. Just go out and don't do anything too special." And that's exactly what I did. Didn't try to help out, didn't try to do too much. Just did what I do and stayed myself.


Taking a look at your stats, you always post really solid strike out numbers, always averaging more than a K per inning. What's your pitch repertoire like and what do you consider your out pitch?

I just throw a fastball, slider, curve ball and a change up. In Clearwater, it was more the slider. But, I credit a lot to my change up this year. It's been helping me out a bunch. So, with that being said, the change up's a great pitch. I've had a few swings and misses on that, but probably my slider has been my strike out pitch.



Checking out your bio info, you can see that your dad was a pitcher...just want to see what kind of influence your dad has been. Talk about him a little bit and his impact on your baseball career.

My dad's been my hero and my coach ever since I was a little kid. He never put too much pressure on me, but I just always wanted to be like him. I always wanted to go to Alabama. I remember in 5th grade they said, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I said I wanted to be an Alabama pitcher and when I got the chance to commit there, I did, and he was proud of me and that's what makes everything worthwhile, is when my family's proud of me.



That's really cool.  And clearly you looked up to your dad a lot. As far as other players you looked to as a youngster, who would those be?

When I was real young, I mean, I'm still a Braves fan, but it was probably Tom Glavine, 'cause just going out there and not blowing anything by anybody, just pitching and all the movement he had on his ball, he was just cutting guys up, it was fun to watch.



It seems like so many pitchers in the Phils system grew up liking the Braves. Austin Hyatt's from down there, David Buchanan's from down there and there are others...when you become a Phillie, when you get drafted by a division rival, how does that weigh on the family and friends and their abilities to root for you?

Not much. Everybody was just ecstatic for me and happy for me, so just getting the opportunity to play professional baseball is beyond words. It's just amazing, so when you get the opportunity, you've just gotta take it and run with it, no matter who it's with. And now that I'm with the Phillies organization, it's a great organization and they've been nothing but good to me.



And if the family and friends can roll with you, that's cake too, right?

Oh, yeah. You gotta get them to sway on your side and that's been easy to do.



As we mentioned you were a draft pick last year and so a lot of folks still would need to get to know you, so if you were going to select your favorite baseball movie, what would that be and why?

The Sandlot! I grew up watching that. It's just how me and my buddies used to play. We used to play in the cul de sac, so we'd always be like Benny the Jet and we always had a dog. There was a dog down the street- I forget his name- but he was a big huge rottweiler and any time we hit the ball over the fence, we would have to stop playing. So, that was a great movie and it's always been my favorite movie.



And the last thing for you...do you have any gameday rituals or superstitions?

I've got too many. Too many that I can't reveal. I think one them...I like cleaning my cleats. Up here, when you get up here, they'll clean them for you, but I like cleaning my cleats on gameday just to show respect to the game and the game will respect you.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Series Preview: Marlins at Phillies, Sept.10-12

A recent surge by the Phillies (69-71) has many people beginning to entertain how possible a wild card entry to the 2012 postseason could be for the team that has been below .500 for the majority of the season. Fresh off a weekend sweep of the Colorado Rockies and after having been victorious in 15 of their past 21 outings, the Phils have drawn within six games of a the second wild card lead.

This week, the Phillies host the division rival Marlins (63-78) in a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park. Miami is well out of playoff contention, holding down last place in the National league East division.

The two teams have split the six games played in Philadelphia so far this year.

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


Monday, 7:05 PM. Wade LeBlanc (2-3, 2.72 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (8-10, 3.96 ERA).
In 2 career starts against the Phillies, LeBlanc has a 1-1 record with a 1.80 ERA. In 9 games on the road this season, the lefty LeBlanc has posted a 2-1 record with a 3.14 ERA. Kendrick has a 4-1 record with a 1.53 ERA in his last 5 starts. In 15 games at home this season, Kendrick has a 4-6 record with a 4.50 ERA.

Tuesday, 7:05 PM. Nathan Eovaldi (4-11, 4.44 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (9-7, 3.87 ERA).
In 2 career starts against the Phillies, Eovaldi has a 0-2 record with a 4.50 ERA and a .326 batting average against. Eovaldi has a 2-2 record with a 7.02 ERA in his last 4 road starts. Juan Pierre is 3-for-5 with a triple against Eovaldi. In his last 4 starts, Halladay is 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA. Halladay is 5-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 10 home starts this season. Jose Reyes is 13-for-35 (.371 avg) in his career against Halladay.

Wednesday, 4:05 PM. Josh Johnson (8-11, 3.81 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (4-7, 3.50 ERA).
In 12 road starts this year, Johnson is 2-6 with a 5.22 ERA. In 7 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Johnson has a 4-1 record with a 3.13 ERA. Pete Orr is 6-for-15 (.400 avg) in his career against Johnson. In 12 home starts this season, Lee has a 1-5 record with a 4.04 ERA. Lee is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA over his last 5 starts. Lee allowed 6 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in his previous start this year against Miami, a loss back in June.


In 7 games against the Phillies this season, Greg Dobbs is batting .389 with with a HR and 2 RBI. In 239 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Dobbs has a .276 average with 13 HR.

Giancarlo Stanton is batting .243 in 9 September games. Stanton is a .234 hitter with 3 HR in 20 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

Marlins closer Steve Cishek has a 0.93 ERA in 11 career games against the Phillies. Carlos Ruiz is 1-for-7 (.143 avg) against Cishek.

Phils reliever Antonio Bastardo has a 6.57 ERA in 31 home games this year, compared to a 2.29 ERA in 24 road contests. Bastardo has a 7.71 ERA in 11 career games against the Marlins.

Ryan Howard is batting .191 against left-handed pitchers this year. Howard is hitless in 8 at bats against the Marlins this season. Howard batted .300 with 5 HR in 18 games against the Marlins last season.

Domonic Brown is batting .261 at home, compared to his .217 average on the road this season. Brown is batting just .179 against lefty pitchers.

Marlins runs scored since the All-Star break- 213 (25th in MLB)

Phillies runs scored since the All-Star break- 216 (23rd in MLB)
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