Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Series Preview: Phillies at Indians, April 30-May 1

Interleague play is back, as the Phillies (12-14) head to Cleveland to take on the Indians (10-13) in a two-game series at Progressive Field.

In the series opener, the Phils will send veteran righty Roy Halladay to the mound. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has a 2-0 record with a 1.71 ERA in his last three starts after beginning the season 0-2 with a 14.73 ERA in his first two starts of 2013. The Indians will counter with 25-year-old Zach McAllister, who has never faced the Phils in his career.

The last time these two teams faced one another was in June of 2010, when the Phillies swept the three-game set.

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


Tuesday, 7:10 PM.  Roy Halladay (2-2, 5.08 ERA) vs. Zach McAllister (1-3, 3.52 ERA).  In 13 career outings against the Indians, Halladay has a 6-2 record with a 3.52 ERA and two complete games.  Halladay is 2-1 with a 3.45 ERA in five career starts at Progressive Field.On the road this season, Halladay is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA.  McAllister is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in two home starts this season.  Michael Young is 3-for-6 in his career against McAllister.  The righty McAllister has a 4.98 ERA in 18 career starts at Progressive Field. 


Wednesday, 7:05 PM.  Cliff Lee (2-1, 3.03 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (0-1, 5.40 ERA).  Lee has never faced his former team the Indians.  In 87 career appearances at Progressive Field, Lee has a 40-25 record along with a 3.80 ERA.  Michael Bourn, who is eligible to return from the disabled list for this series, is 0-for-15 in his career against Lee.  Bauer, a former first round draft pick (3rd overall) by Arizona in 2011, was acquired by Cleveland over last off-season in a three-team deal with Cincinatti and the D-Backs.  The right-handed Bauer has a 5.91 ERA in five career big league starts.


In 32 career games against Cleveland, Ben Revere has a .299 batting average with 12 steals and 24 runs scored.  Revere is batting .184 in nine road games this season.

Ryan Howard is 10-for-23 (.435 avg) with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBI in six career games against the Indians.  Howard currently has a ten-game hitting streak.

Jonathan Papelbon has a 3-0 record with 11 saves and a 1.69 ERA in 16 career games against the Indians.

Delmon Young has been activated from the disabled list by the Phils, after being sidelined with an ankle injury. Young batted .367 with two doubles in seven minor league rehab games.

In 25 career games against the Phillies, Mark Reynolds has a .253 average with five doubles, seven home runs and 18 RBI.  Reynolds has posted a .735 OPS at home this year, compared to his 1.122 mark on the road.

Indians closer Chris Perez has a career 5.06 ERA in five games against the Phillies.  In 122 career games at Progressive Field, Perez has a 6-8 record with 49 saves and a 2.34 ERA.

Drew Stubbs is a .218 career hitter against the Phils.  Stubbs is 5-for-11 (.455 avg) in his career against Lee.

Phillies team bullpen ERA- 4.16 (24th in MLB)
Indians team bullpen ERA- 2.89 (tie, 8th in MLB)

PhoulBallz Interview: Dusty Wathan talks 2013 Fightin Phillies

In his second year with the team, former pro catcher Dusty Wathan has led the Double-A Reading Fightin Phillies to a 12-10 record thus far in the early going.

After his 14-year playing career, Wathan began the next leg of his career, managing, with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters in the Phillies organization in 2008. Since then, the son of former Royals manager John Wathan has climbed up the Philadelphia developmental ranks, making stops with Class A Lakewood, Class A Advanced Clearwater and, of course, Reading.

As a player, Wathan was signed by Seattle in 1994 and went on to compete in the Florida, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Kansas City and Philadelphia organizations. With the Royals, Wathan appeared in three big league games in 2002.

This week, I sat down with Dusty to discuss the collection of well-regarded talent on his roster including top prospect Jesse Biddle, catcher Sebastian Valle, outfielders Anthony Hewitt and Zach Collier, plus plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.


- Jesse Biddle is a guy that drives great interest from the fans at this point. Clearly, he's always been very well touted, but the dominance he has shown with the strike outs and the batting average against, is that surprising at all to you?

Well, I don't know about batting average against, but I know what his batting average is...he can swing the bat too! He's been outstanding. He works as hard, if not harder, than any other starting pitcher I've ever seen. I mean, I tell these guys, you reap what you sow. And I'll tell you what, he's getting the rewards for it right now. He goes after it as hard as anybody and everything he gets is well deserved. He's got the ability to go with the hard work. A lot of guys don't have the ability that he has and he's got the ability to throw four pitches and be a good major leaguer.


- In the time I have covered this system, the only guy I can recall being on this team and a lot of people wondered this about was Kyle Drabek...when there's chat about a jump to the majors...if that call came, do you think he's ready? Do you think Jesse would think he's ready?

I think Jesse would think he's ready. I don't think he's ready. He's got more stuff to work on. Any player- he better say he's ready, because they better think they're ready. But, we, as player development and front office and stuff, we know when they're ready. You know, with the guys that are ahead of him, the guys that are in Lehigh Valley, there's still things Jesse needs to work on. He's a young guy. There's no need to rush him. He's gonna have a long career in the big leagues and I think where he is right now is the perfect place for him.


- Impressions of shortstop Edgar Duran, who started the season pretty hot?

He's done a great job. He's a guy that, you know, we knew that he could play defense. He had a pretty good year with the bat, last year, and earned his way up here. He started off well. Maybe struggling a bit the last couple days, but he's been solid for us up the middle. Both guys have been, really, so I'm really happy with how things are going with Edgar right now.


- In an effort to get him in the lineup, Sebastian Valle played a game in the outfield, when your club faced a National League affiliate and didn't have the designated hitter. Not a big change, as he's played some outfield in the Mexican Winter League to save his knees, but is that something that could potentially become a more regular or permanent switch for him?

No, I don't think it'll be a permanent switch. The catching position is too important, it's too valuable to be a catcher. And I think it's just way to get his bat- when we play National League games, to get at bats. It gives us a little versatility to get his bat in the lineup, so he's not sitting two or three days in a row. I'm trying not to. Sometimes, it's gonna happen with two catchers, but it's just a way to get him some more at bats, I think.


- Zach Collier and Anthony Hewitt are a couple of guys who were high draft picks and are now in the lineup for this club. Hewitt started out real hot and cooled off, while Collier started slow and has picked it up. What are your thoughts on those guys?

I think Hewitt's a guy we've talked about a lot. He's a guy that has all the ability in the world and we just have to get him to put it together on the field and hopefully, this year, it clicks. For some guys, it takes a little longer. You know, he can hit a ball as far as anyone else and run as fast, if not faster, than anyone else. He's a very special athlete and sometimes it takes a while for an athlete to turn that into baseball and right now I see him doing that.

And Collier, he had a tremendous Fall League with me and I see him really starting to come on here. He struggled early, but the great thing about Zach is he's been through a lot of things, not only in his baseball career, but in his life. He's handling this very well. I mean, he's- the thing a look for is a guy that feels sorry for himself and he doesn't feel sorry for himself. He's starting to hit and he's not having the best luck right now. He's hitting balls hard. So, I'm not worried about him at all. I think, sometimes, struggles are the best thing to happen to a young player because it's easy to do everything the right way when things are going well, when you're having a difficult time, that's when the spotlight gets put on you and he's handling it great.


- Jim Murphy's a guy that produces at every level. People speculate what his ceiling is and some say maybe his future is as a coach. What are your thoughts on Jim being a performer at every level and with you here at Reading?

I think, you know, he's a guy that wasn't signed as a prospect and you don't read about his name everywhere, but he's a guy that is very important to this organization, to this team. He hits in the middle of the lineup everywhere he is. He drives in runs somehow. He's a tremendous leader and guys like to follow his lead and he works hard. The sky's the limit. You never know what's gonna happen. Last year, Darin Ruf- no one would have said he'd be playing in the big leagues, when we sat here at the beginning of the year, last year. Anything can happen. These guys' destiny is in their hands and he has the opportunity to do something. Whether that's making it to the big leagues or that's to be a coach, I don't know. But, right now, he's doing a tremendous job in the middle of our lineup. And his window isn't as big as a guy who is a quote-unquote big prospect, but there's definitely a window there every time you have a uniform on.


- Have there been any pleasant surprises for you on the roster, performance wise, here in April?

There's been...a lot of guys have done well. (Albert) Cartwright has done well this month. You know, after missing a full year, two years ago, trying to come back from his Achilles injury, I think last year, he might tell you he was 100%, but I think it takes quite a while to come back from that injury, not physically, but mentally to trust it. That's a shocking injury when all of a sudden that thing pops. He's done a really nice job playing second base and he's hitting well too, but I really like the way he's played second base. And Tyler Henson's been a nice pick up for us over the off-season. He's only 25-years-old. He plays a bunch of positions and he's done a nice job at third base for us here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Minor League Notebook: 4/29/13

Tops on the Phillies' developmental hot list is Double-A Reading Ace Jesse Biddle, who, in his last two outings, has thrown 13 scoreless innings, while allowing just two total hits and striking out 26 batters.  Overall this season, Biddle, who was the Phils' 1st round draft selection in 2010, has a 2-1 record with a 1.74 ERA and a .114 batting average against.

Last week, Biddle locked down a win against Harrisburg, when he struck out 16 and allowed only one hit and no runs over seven innings.

On Sunday, in Reading's 2-1 win over New Hampshire, the left-handed 21-year-old fanned 10 New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto affiliate).  The video clip below features Biddle striking out the side in the 5th inning and speaking to the media following his second consecutive tremendous effort. 



Also performing extremely well lately is Class A Advanced Clearwater third baseman Maikel Franco, who notched a two homer/seven RBI game on Friday and smacked another home run on Sunday.  In 23 games this season, Franco has posted a .296 average with 11 doubles, five homers and 25 RBI.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley slugger Darin Ruf collected four hits in five at bats on Sunday, including two doubles and two home runs while driving in five runs.  The big effort raised Ruf's batting average 39 points to .244 on the season.  It was a nice turnaround for the 26-year-old, who had gone hitless in his previous four games. 


Who's cold-

Clearwater reliever Colby Shreve let up five earned runs in 2/3 of an inning on Sunday.  In six outings this season, the 25-year-old right-hander has a 0-1 record with a 6.19 ERA while walking 12 and striking out 12 in 16 innings pitched.  Shreve was the Phillies 6th round draft choice in 2008.

Reading shortstop Edgar Duran is 0-for-25 in his last six games. This weak stretch has lowered the 22-year-old's batting average by 127 points. Duran, a native of Venezuela, was signed by the Phillies as an international free agent in 2007 at the age of 16.


Injury notes-

RHP Brody Colvin, is slated to return from the disabled list on Tuesday, when he'll return to the mound for Reading.  The 22-year-old has been sidelined since April 14th with a groin strain.  Through two starts this season, Colvin, who was the Phils' 7th round draft choice in 2009, posted a 1-0 record with a 3.97 ERA.

Reading left-hander Austin Wright began a throwing program on Thursday in Clearwater, after being sidelined with shoulder discomfort.  Wright, the Phillies' 8th round pick in 2011 out of the University of Mississippi, was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts this year.  There is no precise time frame for a return, but the goal is to build Wright's pitch count up and make sure his shoulder is pain free before he faces hitters again.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

PhoulBallz Interview: Catching Prospect Chace Numata

One of the more consistent bats in the Class A Lakewood lineup in the early going this season has been that of catcher Chace Numata.  The 20-year-old sported a .280 batting average entering the weekend through 14 games for the BlueClaws.

A 14th round draft pick in 2010 out of Pearl City High School in Hawaii, Numata sported a .224 batting average with two home runs and 30 RBI through 84 professional games entering the 2013 season.  Now, the 6-foot 175-pounder is leading a pitching staff that includes last year's top Phils draft pick Shane Watson and trying to help solidify an offense that is tied for the least amount of runs scored in the South Atlantic League.

Last week, I spoke with Chace about his transition from playing infield and pitching in high school, the hamate fracture that forced him to miss a great majority of the 2011 season, his progress in the minor leagues and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.


- Chace, you seem to be producing pretty steadily on offense this year.  What is your comfort level like at the dish?

It's not bad.  I feel like, I think a lot, so this entire season I've been trying to not think so much and let the game come to me and slow things down.


- On the defensive side, you're not as consistent.  People would notice passed balls (seven this year) and things like that.  I know you've changed positions.  What can you tell me about how you're adjusting there?

You know, I'm still kind of learning, going from, in high school, just playing shortstop and pitching, to my first year in 2010 playing catcher.  I'm still learning.  There's still a lot of errors and things, passed balls, and I just feel like, when the coaches come in, my catching coach, he always knows how to fix it.  And I just need to kind of just stay with it.


- We're still in a new season here, so I imagine there are guys you're catching that are new to you. Are there certain guys you find more difficult to catch?

There are a few guys that are hard.  But they're all kind of the same in certain ways.  Velocity, yeah, certain pitchers are harder.  I have a harder time getting to balls, but other than that, they stay in the zone, so it's not too hard for me.  And they're starting off a little slow.  You know, it's a long season and we're all making our adjustments.


- You mentioned the coaches providing guidance and helping you out.  Which guys have been the most help to you?

Yeah, Ernie (Whitt) has been doing a great job keeping me calm, because, like I said earlier, I think a lot.  So, the little errors, the passed balls, I start thinking a lot about, "Maybe I should have got it!" When, sometimes, it was just a really bad pitch.  It's all these little tweaks that I just need to do and those little tweaks improve my game by a lot and I just need to be more consistent.


- How was the switch of position brought to you?  Was that something that was completely the idea of the Phillies, that it was best for you?

I had a couple teams look at me as a catcher, but the majority was pitching.  But, anything to be here.  I'll take it. 


- I know a hamate injury kept you out of action for a pretty big stretch.  Just talk about that and perhaps how that has impacted where you are today.

The injury, I don't think it impacted where I am.  I feel like knowledge wise, toward baseball and stuff, I still have a lot more to learn.  A simple injury like that isn't gonna hold me back from being in Double-A or things like that.  I thought it was good for me, because I got to rehab with a couple big leaguers and learn.  Just watching the game and learning more, just watching, instead of constantly playing, I got to watch people make their adjustments and they make mistakes and I don't want to do the same.  So, I feel like I learn a lot better and get better by just watching tapes and watching my teammates play. 


- And, of course, you're a Hawaiian guy.  I wanted to ask who you looked up to, as players, prior to turning pro?

A lot of guys.  I looked up to Shane Victorino, he was a Phillie before.  And Benny Agbayani, he played with the Mets.  Just a lot of these guys, like Troy Hanzawa, I watched him play in high school, you know, and I played against his brother too.  I've seen them all make it to the pro level and I figured, "Why not me?"


- Do you have any superstitions or game day routines that your stick by everyday?

I do, actually.  When I show up to the field.  I gotta have my lunch- peanut butter and jelly.  I listen to some reggae and right before the game I listen some house/techno/dub step, whatever it is.  And, I'll talk to my pitchers about what the game plan is and just kind of get them loose for the game.


- And lastly, what's your favorite baseball movie and why?

Man, I just saw 42, the Jackie Robinson movie, and I feel like a lot of baseball fans and baseball players should watch it.  It's a big impact.  If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here. 


- Did you watch that with some teammates?

I watched it with a few teammates, in fact.  I watched it with a couple of my roommates, Mitch Walding, Shane Watson...and  it inspired me.  It changed my whole look upon the game, you know, just the mental side of the game, how he took everything.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Local Product Rice Released by White Sox, Conlin's Take

Rice with Lakewood in 2011
On Thursday, Sewell, NJ's Bill Rice was released by the Chicago White Sox.  Rice, a Washington Township High School product who played at Gloucester County College prior to transferring to the University of South Carolina-Aiken, was signed previously by the Phillies out of a tryout camp at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park in 2010. The Phils decided to part ways with Rice during spring training last year.  The 5-foot-11 185-pounder quickly signed with the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League and was later inked by the White Sox and assigned to their Class A Kannapolis club.  This year, Rice made the leap to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and hadn't produced to the best of his abilities.  Through 12 contests, Rice posted a .171 average along with three doubles, one triple and four steals. 

According to the 24-year-old Rice his weekend plans were ruined by the release, as his Winston-Salem Dash were set to begin a series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals affiliate) in Delaware.  Friends and family galore were set to pack Frawley Stadium and cheer on Rice all weekend long, but now he's again looking for a team that wants him.

According to Rice, who was quite disappointed by not having the opportunity to play in front of his loved ones, the hiatus between teams shouldn't be long.

"I got a few calls into a couple guys I know, so, hopefully, it'll just be a short hiatus again," Rice who is in the area working out with former Phillies minor league organization mate Chris Duffy, stated.

Duffy has been playing recently with the Camden Riversharks, after being released by the Phillies during spring training this year.  That could possibly be telling of a potential landing spot for Rice, but as Camden's season has just begun and they have a full roster, timing could be an issue.  Regardless, Rice, a focused and positive individual, is ready for whatever comes next and doesn't intend to stop playing and expects to return to affiliated baseball.

"I'm going to play with whoever tells me they want me, until an affiliate calls again," said Rice, who admits that Camden is an ideal destination right now.  "We'll see what happens."


On the matter of Rice's release and the manner in which the White Sox handled him and other outfield prospects at their Class A Advanced level, long time Philadelphia sports columnist Bill Conlin, who follows Rice's career closely, had the following to say...

Keenyn Walker (1st round pick, 2011), Trayce Thompson (2nd round pick, 2009), Courtney Hawkins (1st round pick, 2012) and Joey DeMichele (3rd round pick, 2012) are all hitting under .200. Hawkins is overmatched in High A. He was moved so fast last year nobody had time to get a book on him. They sat him down for two games this week to clear his head, etc., etc. Was back Wednesday and shared a Hat Trick with Rice, but wrapped his chapeau around a monster home run. Thursday night he only struck out two times.    

While minor league strikeout stats are sketchy, the all-time single season record is 220 by Wes Kent, at High A San Jose in 1984. With 39 strike outs in 59 at bats, Kourtney is on pace for 321, based on a 140 game season. That would break all strikeout records known to man, beast, fish or fowl. With a termination average of .171, Rice fell in the middle of the above high draft picks. Rice got a $75 discount plane ticket from the Phillies and nothing from the White Sox. However, the Sox had to pay the Atlantic League purchase price of $5000 to sign him. Bummer.
If you are into Supply Side economics, Rice's 67 strikeouts in 144 career games have an intrinsic debit of 47 cents divided into $75 for a total valuation of $35.25.  Kourtney's 95 strikeouts in 76 games have an intrinsic value of $1.25 divided into his bonus of $2.475 million for a total Sox debit of $1.98 million. So Billy Rice came $1,979,964.75 cheaper than Courtney Hawkins. Rice takes a .269 batting average with him into unemployment for his 75 game extended cup of coffee at Class A Kannapolis and High A Winston-Salem. What the hell did they expect for $35.25, Mike Trout?

But the penny-pinching White Sox might be looking for a better return than Hawkins' adjusted $1,979,964.75 cost basis. At 19, time is on his side, of course. Ironically, thanks to his good numbers during whistle stops at Bristol, Kannapolis and Winston-Salem last season, Hawkins' career average is now .270, just a point better than released Rice's White Six average of .269. (I don't have any reference materials in front of me, but I wonder if any minor leaguer who hit for the cycle -Rice hit for the cycle last July for Kannapolis against Greensboro- was released less than 100 games later. Just sayin')

Of course, Rice gets that point back -and then some- when it comes to sheer speed. Hawkins runs well for a big man. Rice runs fast for ANY man. He has been clocked to first on a bouncer to short as low as 3.70 seconds. Hawkins, who takes a huge swing and runs from the right-handers side hits 4.2 at best. Rice has been clocked as low as 11.0 running out a triple with a slide and averages 11.4 easing up. Rice has 31 stolen bases in 144 minor league games and was leading the Dash with a 4-for-4 when he was told, after just 12 games and 41 at bats, that his game sucks and to get lost.

At least the Phillies had some people who felt Rice was unfairly released last spring and helped him catch on with both the Riversharks and the White Sox. These Chicago clowns assigned him to the major league spring training roster for a week and then signed off on him being kicked in the nuts and dumped onto I-85..

Thursday, April 25, 2013

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Epsiode 23

On this week's edition, Jay and Tug talk about Tug's purchase of TheFightins.com and its relaunch.  Additionally, the guys discuss the Phils' struggles and how the returns of Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young could impact the offense. Also, an injury update on lefty pitching prospect Austin Wright is featured and the guys stall, waiting for Jesse Biddle to phone in plus much more great content.

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

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PhoulBallz Interview: First Base Prospect Art Charles

Acquired by the Phillies during spring training in a trade with Toronto, first baseman Art Charles welcomed the change and is happy to be a part of the Phils organization.  The six-foot-six 225 pounder was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the 20th round in 2010 out of Bakersfield College.  Now, the 22-year-old bats cleanup for Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.

Through 19 games this season, Charles is batting .275 with five doubles, two homers and 12 RBI.

Charles was named the Phillies minor league player of the week for April 15th through the 21st, as he batted .423 with a home run and six RBI in seven games played.

I recently spoke with Art about the trade, his work to improve his hitting approach and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.


- During spring training, of course, your were swapped by the Blue Jays for reliever Michael Schwimer.  How were you notified of the deal and what was your reaction?

I had talked to the Blue Jays prior and they had scheduled me for a doctors appointment, I think it was a check up, they have us do our physicals and what not, this is on Saturday.  And I was like, "Alright, sounds good.  I'll be able to get a ride over to the doctors appointment and what not."  And then later on, maybe like three, four hours later, I got called and notified of the trade, so I was a little shocked.  Like, "Oh, I just talked to you guys..."  So, it was kind of shocking.  And didn't know all the details about the trade and they kind of told me a little about it and after a while I realized that this was a good thing.  This is a good thing for me and my career and it's just one of those experiences you go through that's kind of a shocker at first, then as it sinks in, you start thinking about it and it kind of mellows out a little bit. 


It must have been an easy transition for you to go from Dunedin to nearby Clearwater, though, right?

Yeah, it wasn't too far away.  I think it's like ten minutes.  It wasn't like I was going three hours away.  I knew the area still and I remembered seeing some of the Phillies guys walking around and stuff.  It wasn't a bad transition at all and they made me feel at home.


- Did you notice any key differences between the two organizations?

Really, it's kind of the same, you know.  The Phillies have really good facilities.  Our training facilities are state of the art.  They've got really good facilities out there in spring training.  A lot of the staff make you comfortable.  So, like I said, it was an easy transition and they made me feel at home.


- What were some of your best memories from your time with the Blue Jays?

Obviously, being drafted and just going into that professional atmosphere.  My first spring training was one of my memories that will stick with me for all times, you know.  Winning...I had a walk-off home run that was a big win, it was one of the highlights of my career, and we actually won the Northwest League championship last year, so that was the best baseball moment and the best three baseball games I've probably ever been a part of.  That was with the Vancouver Canadians.


- A lot of folks haven't seen you play yet, so if I was to ask you to scout yourself, for the fans, what would you say?

I mean, I have pretty good power.  I'm pretty much a power hitter, left handed guy, I bring some pop into the lineup.  I can spray the ball to all fields pretty well, for power.  And defensively, I'm pretty good as well.  I mean, I worked on it a lot.  I wasn't always good on defense right away.  Same thing as hitting.  It all came over time and hard work is paying off. 


- Looking at your stats over your career, you're a guy that strikes out more often (29.8 K% in  2011, 27.9 K% in 2012) than might be ideal.  What are you working on to improve that?

I worked pretty hard this off-season, you know, as far as shortening up my stride and my load, and everything.  When I got in spring training with the Phillies, we talked about being softer on my front foot, when I land.  So, all those things that they've kind of worked with me as well, as far as getting my load, and the kind of things they've worked on with me and the Blue Jays worked on with me, I'm kind of meshing them all together, you know what I mean?  And it became really good.  Obviously, I'm going to have my strike outs, being a power guy, but definitely limiting those would help me become more consistent.


- Who were some players you looked up to as a youngster, before turning pro?

I always watched Big Papi, you know what I mean? And Barry Bonds...I loved watching him play.  I also, when I was drafted actually, I was watching Ryan Howard a lot.  I really like Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez and some other first baseman and left handed power hitting guys. 


- Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?

Lately, I always listen to music before the games to kind of get in my zone and visualize my at bats or visualize what I'm going to do in the game.  Nothing really specific (on the playlists), just however I'm feeling.  Today I might just mellow out and maybe have some reggae today.  Just kind of get the good vibes.  I also listen to this guy, Eric Thomas, he's one of those really inspirational speakers.  So, I've been listening to his tapes and the things he says to get the stuff that he has and it's really good.  It gets me in that warrior mindset that lets me know, "Don't worry about what happened yesterday or the day before.  It's all about what's going on today and nothing can stop you."  That's kind of my mindset.

PhoulBallz Podcast Landmark Episode Advisory

This week is slated to be a monumental edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, as Jay and Tug are set to make an announcement that will shake up the internet all throughout the Philadelphia region and beyond. Not only will the 23rd episode of the show feature the blogosphere's most anticipated news of the year, but Phillies top prospect and Double-A Reading FIGHTINS ace Jesse Biddle will be phoning in to join the guys and talk about his much raved about 16 strike out performance against Harrisburg on Monday.

You seriously won't want to miss the live webcast of the show at a special time of 10 AM Eastern this Thursday, on mixlr by clicking HERE. As always, the show will be available for On Demand streaming and download later. You can also subscribe on iTunes.

In case you missed it, check out the media player for a view of Biddle's amazing performance, from Monday, during which he threw seven scoreless innings and notched two doubles at the plate as well.



Shout out to Tug Haines, of the PhoulBallz Podcast, for the video.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Series Preview: Pirates at Phillies, April 22-25

Behind a rookie hurler, the Phillies (8-11) are set to open a four-game series against the Pirates (10-8) at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park on Monday night. Read ahead for full details on the pitching match ups as well as other key stats for this series.

Jon Pettibone in action with Reading in 2012
Monday, 7:05 PM.  A.J. Burnett (1-2, 2.63 ERA) vs. Jonathan Pettibone (first MLB start).  In 19 career regular season games against the Phillies, Burnett has a 6-9 record along with a 5.09 ERA.  Ryan Howard is 3-for-14 (all three hits are home runs) in his career against Burnett.  The 36-year-old righty has a 4.86 ERA in seven career games at Citizens Bank Park.  The 22-year-old Pettibone was PhilliesNation.com's #6 ranked prospect prior to the season.  In two starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, Pettibone had a 0-1 record and a 9.64 ERA. Pettibone, who was the Phillies' 3rd round draft pick in 2008, is filling in for the injured John Lannan.

Tuesday, 7:05 PM.  Jeff Locke (1-1, 5.17 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (0-2, 6.46 ERA).  Locke, a 25-year-old lefty, has a 0-5 record and an 8.65 ERA in six career road starts.  Locke has never faced the Phillies before.  Hamels has a 7.82 ERA in two home starts this season.  Clint Barmes is 4-for-5 with two doubles and a homer in his career against Hamels.

Wednesday, 7:05 PM.  Wandy Rodriguez (2-0, 0.56 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (2-2, 6.04 ERA).  In six career outings against the Phils, the lefty Rodriguez has a 2-2 record along with a 5.11 ERA.  Rodriguez has a 7.11 ERA in four career outings at Citizens Bank Park.  Jimmy Rollins is 6-for-15 (.400 avg) with a home run in his career against Rodriguez.  In six career starts against the Pirates, Halladay has a 4-1 record and a 0.98 ERA.  Andrew McCutchen is 1-for-10 (.100 avg) in his career against Halladay.

Thursday, 1:05 PM.  James McDonald (2-2, 4.12 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (2-1, 2.83 ERA).  In six career games against the Phillies, McDonald has a 1-2 record with a 5.73 ERA and a .274 batting average against.  Chase Utley is 4-for-6 (.667 avg) with a homer against the right-handed McDonald.  Lee has a 1-0 record with a 3.05 ERA and a .192 batting average against in this career games against the Pirates.  Andrew McCutchen is 1-for-9 (.111 avg) against Lee in his career.


Shortstop Clint Barmes is batting .130 through 16 games this season and knocked in his first two runs of the year in Pittsburgh's 4-2 win over the Braves on Sunday.  Barmes is a .231 hitter in 35 career games against the Phils.

Pirates closer Jason Grilli has a 6.23 ERA in eight outings against the Phillies.  Grilli has not given up a run in nine appearances this season.

Garrett Jones is a .208 hitter with four home runs and 12 RBI in 23 career games against the Phils.  Jones is batted .333 in six road games this season.

In 42 games against the Pirates, Ryan Howard has a .228 average along with five homers and 33 RBI.

Michael Young, who is batting .333 this season, has hit safely in 12 straight games.  In 12 career games against the Pirates, Young has a .391 average with three homers and 11 RBI.

Antonio Bastardo has a 0.00 ERA in seven outings this year.  Bastardo has not given up a run in nine career appearances against the Pirates.

The Phillies won three of seven games against Pittsburgh last season.

Batting Practice Footage: Tocci, Charles, Numata

Here are a few batting practice videos I shot in Lakewood for the Class A BlueClaws this past week.


17-year-old OF Carlos Tocci-




22-year-old first baseman Art Charles-




20-year-old catcher Chace Numata-


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Reading's Murphy Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Jim Murphy with Lakewood in 2011, image- Jay Floyd
Goals are something every baseball player has. Climbing the developmental ladder and striving for that next level is tops on every guy’s list. Reading Fightin Phils first baseman Jim Murphy is not unlike all those other players in that regard. What does set him apart, though, is the path he took to arrive in the Double-A Eastern League and the determination he has to never quit.

After five seasons in the Phillies organization, during which he bounced back and forth between Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater, Murphy, who was selected by the Phillies in the 17th round of the 2008 MLB amateur draft out of Washington State University, has, at long last, landed in Reading and does not intend to fall back downward again.

The 27-year-old credits a focused approach every time up to bat for his success in the minors and for being ready to play at the Double-A level this season.

“I try to go out and compete every day, not necessarily worried about stats,” Murphy stated. “I just try to have a quality at bat every time up. If I’m focused on a quality process, the results will be there.

“If I do that and get my work in during practice and in the weight room I feel like I will have a shot at the next level.”

Murphy broke into the professional ranks as a member of the Gulf Coast League Phillies and would play with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters as well as the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers that year. The following year, he spent the full season with Class A Lakewood, where he was an offensive force (.279 avg, 12 HR, 67 RBI) for a team that won the first of two consecutive South Atlantic League titles.

In 2010, Murphy was back in Clearwater, this time for the full season, but his numbers (.239 avg, six HR, 43 RBI) weren’t as strong as they had been with Lakewood. The next season, it was another full year back with the BlueClaws, where he posted improved stats over his first tour of the SAL (.268 avg, 22 HR, 77 RBI) and became an All-Star. Another run in the Florida State League with Clearwater was on tap for 2012 and there was no trouble at the plate this time around (.274 avg, 17 HR, 85 RBI).

Then comes 2013 and an assignment to play at the Double-A level, where Murphy has long felt he was ready to compete.  So far this season, the Seattle native has posted a .345 average with three homers, 13 RBI and a .983 OPS through 15 games with the Fightin' Phillies.

According to Murphy, the long road to reach Reading isn’t satisfying enough. He wants more.

(“Playing for Reading) is an accomplishment of a goal I’ve had, but it’s also just another step. My end goal is to have a big league career, so now I'm one step closer. It's exciting to get the opportunity to play at a higher level and I'm thankful for that,” Murphy said.

Such achievements of reaching the majors by players that are considered old, by athlete standards, aren’t unheard of, especially in a Phillies system that saw catcher Chris Coste debut at the highest level of the sport as a 33-year-old in 2006.

Despite hearing chatter for years that his end game on the baseball diamond may be as a coach, Murphy isn’t close to being ready to swap roles and doesn't intend to give up on his dream..

“I want to play until someone takes the playing jersey away from me,” Murphy asserted. “When that time comes, I will evaluate where I'm at and pursue any opportunities, after playing, that come my way.”

Look for Murphy to continue striving for bigger and better things all season long at Reading's FirstEnergy Stadium.


Other notes-

RHP Colin Kleven, an All-Star in Lakewood last year, was placed on the disabled list for the Clearwater Threshers, citing a lower back issue.  He'll visit with a Phillies team physician early this week to determine the nature and the severity of the problem.  The British Columbia native had posted a 0-3 record with a 14.29 ERA through three starts this season.

Clearwater third baseman Maikel Franco is tied for the organizational lead with 21 hits.  The 20-year-old is batting .318 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 16 games this year.  Franco, a Dominican native, was ranked as the Phils' 4th best prospect prior to this season.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

PhoulBallz Interview: Top 2011 Draft Pick Larry Green Jr.

Larry Greene Jr., image- Jay Floyd
Left fielder Larry Greene Jr. was selected by the Phillies in the supplementary round of the 2011 draft (39th overall) out of Berrien County High School (GA).  The 6-foot 235-pounder signed late that season and spent some time with the Florida Instructional League team.  He made his official regular season debut last year with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters, where he batted .272 with 22 doubles, two homers and 26 RBI in 70 games.

This season, citing concern over Greene's weight, the Phillies kept him in extended spring training to open the season.  However, the 20-year-old was added to the Class A Lakewood roster this week, as his fitness is clearly headed in the right direction.

I spoke with Larry, who is 0-for-5 with five strike outs and two walks through his first two games with the BlueClaws, on Friday about his draft process, his weight, his family and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.


-So, you got the call this week to join this BlueClaws club.  What do you think of the facilities in Lakewood and the town here thus far?

I like it.  It's beautiful here. I mean, the whole team welcomed me with open arms.  It's a lot of my buddies and it feels good to join them.


-There's a level of excitement this week upon news coming out that you were joining this roster from extended spring training, after this team got off to a poor start with a 3-11 record.  How does it make you feel to know that there's a fan base that's so ready for you to join this team and add some pop to the lineup?

It feels good.  It makes me feel right at home, but I mean the only thing we can do is go out there and play.  And hits are gonna happen.  You just gotta work every day and tomorrow's another day. 


-You were the Phils' top draft pick a couple years ago and I think a lot of people got to see you on there, all smiles, and became instant fans of you, as one of the only players to actually go to a draft.  How was that experience for you?

That was life changing.  I mean, especially being the only one there and getting to meet all the hall of famers and all the ex-players and managers, all that.  And Joe Torre was nice.  It was good.  It was just life changing, man. And now, I am living my dream.


-You mentioned ex-players being there, Mickey Morandini was there that night, representing the Phillies.  He's now your manager, here with Lakewood.  What are your thoughts on Mickey as a coach?

Mickey's great.  I love Mickey to death.  He just tells me every day, do your work and work hard every day and you'll improve and catch up.  He's a good skip and I love Mickey to death.



-Last year you made your pro debut as a member of the Williamsport Crosscutters and put up solid numbers there.  And their park has a reputation for being a tough park to hit in (for power).  What do you think you took out of your time in Williamsport?

I mean, just playing the game.  How you have to go out there every day and play every day and just staying on the grind every day.   But, it was good playing in Williamsport.  It was nice there.  I loved it.  But, now I'm here and I'm gonna keep progressing.


-I mentioned people being excited to hear that you were promoted here this week.  In relation, people were also rather disappointed to learn you weren't on the last workout group list for the team that was slated to become the opening day BlueClaws roster.  Reasons for that, according to the team, were fitness related.  Mickey told me (the Phillies) kept you in Florida so you could get more fit.  How disappointed were you by that?

I mean, I wasn't disappointed in the team, I was disappointed by myself, because I know I didn't play this off-season as well as I should have.  I had some trouble with weight and all that.  But, now I'm good and I'm gonna keep going.

I gained ten pounds in the off-season.  It's getting better now and it just varies, but (my weight) is getting down and I'll just work hard to keep it down.


-You mentioned your off-season there and I recall hearing that your winter was pretty remarkable in that you became a dad.  You mentioned the draft being life changing.  I know being a dad is life changing too.  How has fatherhood impacted you?

It has impacted me a lot.  Now I got my family to feed, I got my little son to feed.  It changed my life, I'll tell you that much.  It was fun.  I'm glad to have him here and my wife will be here.  It's good.  She's coming up here, but she's not here yet.  


-That sounds great.  Now, a lot of folks haven't gotten to see you play yet, so, if you were to scout yourself, what could you tell us?

I play the game hard, that's the only way I know how to play it.  But, I run the bases hard and if you hit, you hit, if you don't you don't.  I think you just gotta play the game hard and that's what I'm gonna do.

Friday, April 19, 2013

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 22

On the latest edition of the program the guys continue to tease Tug's massive announcement and chat with pro pitcher Brian Gump.  They also discuss the Phillies' offensive struggles, Lakewood's newest additions, Lehigh Valley's promising performers and plenty more.

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

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



Thursday, April 18, 2013

Series Preview: Cardinals at Phillies, April 18-21

Here's a review of the pitching match ups and other key stats from the upcoming four-game series between the Cardinals and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Thursday, 7:05 PM.  Adam Wainwright (2-1, 2.05 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.56 ERA).  The righty Wainwright is 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA in nine career regular season outings against the Phils.  Wainwright has a 0.56 ERA in three career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park.  Jimmy Rollins is 7-for-20 (.350 avg) in his career against Wainwright.  In nine career regular season games against the Cardinals, Hamels has a 2-3 record with a 3.27 ERA.  Former Phillie Ty Wigginton is 5-for-9 (.556 avg) in his career against Hamels.

Friday, 7:05 PM.  Jaime Garcia (1-0, 1.86 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (1-2, 7.63 ERA).  In seven career outings against the Phillies, Garcia has a 2-2 record and a 2.00 ERA.  Jimmy Rollins is 1-for-14 (.071 avg) in his career against Garcia.  In six regular season starts against St. Louis, Halladay has posted a 3-2 record with a 2.70 ERA.  Matt Holliday is 2-for-10 (.200 avg) in regular season action against Hamels.

Saturday, 7:05 PM.  Lance Lynn (2-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (2-0, 1.52 ERA).  Lynn, a righty, allowed four earned runs in five innings during his lone start against the Phils last season.  Ryan Howard is 2-for-3 against Lynn with a home run.  Lee is 3-2 with a 2.44 ERA in six career starts against the Cards.  Carlos Beltran is 3-for-19 (.158 avg) in his regular season career against Lee.

Sunday, 8:05 PM.  Jake Westbrook (1-1, 0.00 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 5.40 ERA).  In five career regular season starts against the Phillies, Westbrook has a 2-1 record with a 4.39 ERA.  Westbrook has a 1-1 record with a 3.38 ERA in three career regular season starts at Citizens Bank Park.  Michael Young is 11-for-27 (.407 avg) with two doubles and a home run in his career against Westbrook.  In eight career appearances against St. Louis, Kendrick is 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA.  Matt Holliday is 2-for-18 (.111 avg) in his career against Kendrick.


David Freese is a .206 hitter in 10 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park.  Freese is hitless in two road games this year.

Matt Holliday is 6-for-30 (.200 avg) in seven road contests this season.  Holliday has a .302 average with five homers in 24 regular season games at Citizens Bank Park. 

Pete Kozma is batting .321 with a homer and five RBI in seven road games this season. 

Ben Revere is batting .194 in 15 games this season.  In his career, Revere's batting average is 50 points higher when he bats second in the order (.307) than when he bats first in the order (.257).

In 53 regular season games against the Cards, Chase Utley is a .321 hitter with seven home runs and 36 RBI.  Utley is batting .273 in six home games this year.

In six career regular season games against St. Louis, Dominic Brown is 2-for-20 (.100 avg) with one RBI.  Brown is batting .182 with two homers in six home games this year.  The 25-year-old is set to have his back examined after feeling a pop during Wednesday's game.

Phillies lefty hurler John Lannan was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a knee issue.

Cardinals team runs scored- 79 (5th in MLB)
Phillies team runs scored- 52 (23rd in MLB)

PNTV Interview: SS Prospect Roman Quinn


Recently, I had to opportunity to film some interviews for Phillies Nation TV at the open pratice and media day for the Phillies Class A affiliate in Lakewood, NJ. Included among those segments was a conversation with 2011 second round draft pick Roman Quinn. The switch-hitting shortstop is off to a solid start with Lakewood, sporting a .250 average with three doubles, a homer, five RBI and six stolen bases through 13 contests this month. The 19-year-old Quinn was ranked as the 8th best prospect in the Phils' system prior to the season.

In this uncut version on the interview, which includes a small misstep thanks to some background noise, Roman chats about his draft experience, playing for BlueClaws manager Mickey Morandini and plenty more.  See the video in the media player below and click HERE to watch this week's entire episode of Phillies Nation TV.




Additionally, to see my previous PNTV interview with Morandini from last week, click HERE

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weekly Minor League Wrap Up, 4/17/13

It's time, once again, for our weekly glance around the Phillies' developmental ranks, taking a look a some exceptional performers and those that have raised some eyebrows for different reasons.

Class A Lakewood
hot list-

Art Charles
First baseman Art Charles, who was acquired from Toronto this spring in the Michael Schwimer trade, has hit in six straight games, going 9-for-22 (.409 avg) with two doubles, two homers and seven RBI in that stretch. Overall, the lefty batting 22-year-old is hitting .239 in 13 games this season.

Righty reliever Nic Hanson, who celebrated his 21st birthday this week, has struck out 10 batters while walking two in eight innings of work through three appearances. Additionally, he has a save and a 3.38 ERA during that time as well. The six-foot-seven 210-pounder was drafted by the Phils in the 16th round last year out of Golden West College.

Lakewood red flags-

OF Brian Pointer is batting .174 this season, despite a current three-game hitting streak. The lefty batting 21-year-old was the Phillies' 28th round draft pick in 2010.

17-year-old outfielder Carlos Tocci, the youngest player in the South Atlantic League, has posted a .186 batting average with one extra-base hit (a double) in 12 contests this season. The right-handed hitting Venezuelan batted .278 with two doubles in 38 games last season with the Gulf Coast League Phillies.


Class A Advanced Clearwater hot list-

LHP Nick Hernandez has posted a 1-0 record along with a 2.45 ERA while striking out 12 and walking five in two starts after missing 2 1/2 years with recurring shoulder injuries. The 24-year-old was a 12th round draft pick by the Phillies in 2009.

3B Maikel Franco is 14-for-33 (.424 avg) with five doubles and two home runs in his last eight games. Additionally, the 20-year-old Dominican native is batting .333 overall in 12 games this season.

Aaron Altherr
OF Aaron Altherr is 14-for-32 (.438) in his last eight games. In 12 contests, the Phils' 9th round draft pick from 2009, has a .362 average with six doubles, a home run and three stolen bases.

Clearwater red flags-

Righty Colin Kleven, who turned 22-years-old this week, let up nine earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in his most recent outing. Through two starts, Kleven sports a 0-2 record along with an 18.90 ERA. The Canadian was Lakewood's lone All-Star representative last season.

Left-hander Hoby Milner, the Phils' 7th round draft choice last year, has had a rough go of it early this season, posting a 0-2 record and a 13.97 ERA through three starts. The University of Texas product posted a 7-3 record and a 2.50 ERA in 14 games with short-season Williamsport and Lakewood last year.

OF Kyrell Hudson is batting .139 with no extra-base hits in 10 games thus far in 2013. The 22-year-old was this Phillies' 3rd round draft choice in 2009 and missed the final two months of last season after requiring finger surgery on his right hand.


Double-A Reading
top performers-

1B Jim Murphy wrapped up a nine-game hitting streak on Monday and is batting .340 with five doubles, two homers and 11 RBI in 12 games this year. The 27-year-old was originally a 17th round draft choice by the Phillies in 2008 out of Washington State University.

Righty hurler Seth Rosin, who was acquired from the Giants in the Hunter Pence deal last season, is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts. Additionally, the 23-year-old who was originally a 4th round draft pick in 2010, has struck out 11 and walked three in 10 innings of work.

Left-hander Mauricio Robles has a 1-0 record with a 2.16 ERA in five relief outings. With 11 strike outs and just one walk in 8 1/3 innings, the Phils' 40-man roster member is looking very worthy of that spot.

Reading red flags-

Former Phils supplementary 1st round draft choice (2008) Zach Collier has posted a .122 average with a double and two steals in 11 games thus far. Collier, a 22-year-old lefty batting outfielder, is on the Phillies' 40-man roster.


Triple-A Lehigh Valley top performers-

Cesar Hernandez
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez, 22, has performed great, sporting a .370 batting average with three doubles, a triple, three RBI and a stolen base in 11 games. The switch-hitting Venezuelan was an All-Star with Reading in the Eastern League last season.

Lefty pitcher Adam Morgan is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and a .191 batting average against in two starts. The University of Alabama product was the Phils' 3rd round draft selection in 2011.

Left-hander Joe Savery has held opponents to a .091 average while recording a 1-0 record, notching a save and striking out nine batters and walking none in 6 2/3 innings. Savery was the Phillies' 1st round draft pick in 2007.

Josh Fields, who has big league experience with the White Sox and Royals, is batting .455 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and eight RBI in eight games. The 30-year-old was signed as a free agent last November.

Lehigh Valley red flags-

22-year-old righty pitcher Jonathan Pettibone is 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA in two starts. Pettibone, who was selected between the 3rd and 4th round in the 2008 draft, posted a 2.55 ERA in seven Triple-A starts last year.

OF Tyson Gillies is batting .111 with a triple and two steals in nine games. The 24-year-old, who has been plagued by injuries since he was acquired from Seattle in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade, batted .299 in 75 games, mostly with Reading, last season.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Series Preview: Phillies at Reds, April 15-17

Losers of five straight contests, the Reds (5-7) will host the Phillies (6-6) for a three-game set at Great American Ballpark beginning on Monday night. 

In the series opener, the Reds will go with right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who has posted an 8.50 ERA over his last seven regular season starts against the Phils, who will counter with lefty Cliff Lee, who has not walked a batter in his first two starts this season.

The Phillies were victorious in four of seven meetings with Cincinnati last year, including two of three at Great American Ballpark.  Dating back to the 2010 National League playoffs, the Phils have won seven of the last eight games in Cincinnati.

Read ahead for full details on the pitching match ups and loads more for this upcoming series.


Monday, 7:10 PM.  Cliff Lee (2-0, 1.08 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (1-1, 5.25 ERA).  In 11 career starts against the Reds, Lee has a 6-2 record along with a 3.91 ERA.  Joey Votto is 5-for-13 (.385 avg) with a double and a home run in his career against Lee.  In six career starts at Great American Ballpark, Lee has a 3.79 ERA. Arroyo has a 2-7 record with 6.55 ERA in 11 career appearances against the Phillies.  Arroyo has a 3.95 ERA in 116 career starts at Great American Ballpark.  Domonic Brown is 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run in his career against Arroyo.

Tuesday, 7:10 PM.  Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Homer Bailey (1-1, 5.73 ERA).  In seven career appearances against the Reds, Kendrick has a 3-2 record with a 5.00 ERA and a .269 batting average against.  Jay Bruce is 5-for-11 (.455 avg) with a double and two homers in his career against Kendrick.  In six career starts against the Phillies, Bailey has a 0-3 record with 5.29 ERA.  In 61 career starts at Great American Ballpark, Bailey is 19-19 with a 5.04 ERA.

Wednesday, 7:10 PM.  John Lannan (0-0, 2.77 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (0-0, 6.75 ERA).  Lannan has a 1-0 record with a 3.86 ERA in four games against the Reds.  Brandon Phillips is 4-for-8 (.500 avg) in his career against the lefty Lannan.  In five career starts against the Phillies, Leake, the Reds' 1st round draft pick from 2009, has a 0-3 record with a 9.33 ERA. Ryan Howard is 6-for-12 (.500 avg) with two home runs against the right-handed Leake.


In 57 career regular season games against the Reds, Ryan Howard has a .272 average with 19 home runs and 40 RBI.  Howard is 1-for-14 (.071 avg) against left-handed pitchers this season.

Michael Young has a .333 average with two homers and 10 RBI in nine career games against the Reds.

In 56 regular season contests against the Reds, Chase Utley has a .286 average with 16 homers and 42 RBI.  Utley batted .233 with a home run and four RBI in seven games against the Reds last year.

Reliever Aroldis Chapman has not been scored upon in four career appearances (four innings) against the Phillies.  Chapman has a 2.45 ERA and a .148 batting average against in 71 career regular season games at Great American Ballpark.

Jay Bruce is a .295 hitter with 10 home runs and 25 RBI in 33 career regular season games against the Phils.  Bruce is batting .241 in six home games this season.

In seven games against the Phillies last season, Brandon Phillips posted a .231 average with a double.  Phillips is 2-for-3 with a triple and a home run in his career against Chad Durbin.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

RHP Kevin Brady Video Footage

Last season's 10th round draft choice by the Phillies, Kevin Brady, had a much improved outing his last time out after a troublesome season debut with the Lakewood BlueClaws on Friday. On the road, against the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins affiliate), the right-handed Clemson University product held the opposition to just one unearned run on three hits over six innings for a no decision. Brady, a six-foot-three 220-pounder, allowed six earned runs on eight hits in his first start when he faced the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox affiliate) last Sunday.

After signing his first pro contract last year, Brady put together a great season, posting a 2-3 record along with a 1.90 ERA and an 11.39 K/9 mark in 12 combined outings (10 starts), with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.

In what I hope will be the first in a steady stream of video samples of players this year, here's a clip of Brady warming up prior to his start against Kannapolis.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

PNTV Interview: Lakewood Manager Mickey Morandini

This past week I had the opportunity to film some interviews for Phillies Nation TV at the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws' open practice and media day. Among those that I spoke with were former Phillies All-Star Mickey Morandini, who currently serves as Lakewood's manager.

As a player, Morandini helped lead the Phillies to the 1993 World Series and is now in charge of guiding the Phils of the future to the pinnacle of their sport.

In this uncut version of the interview, Morandini chats about Lakewood's young roster, what led him to coaching in the professional ranks, legendary Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas and more. See the full video in the media player below. To view this week's full episode of Phillies Nation TV, click HERE.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins, April 12-14

On Friday, the Marlins will attempt to turn around their troublesome start to the 2013 season, as they host the division rival Phillies for a three-game set at Miami's Marlins Park.  Through three series, the Marlins have won only once and they've gone scoreless in four of nine contests.

The Phillies lost each of their first two series this season, but locked down two wins against the Mets this week to notch their first winning set of the year.

In the series opener, lefty John Lannan will make his second start for the Phillies after he allowed three earned runs over seven innings in his season debut against the Royals for a no decision.  Miami will counter with Ricky Nolasco, who has posted a 5.40 ERA in his last four outings against the Phils.

Last season, the Phillies won 10 of 18 meetings with the Marlins, including six of nine in Miami.  Read ahead for full details on the pitching match ups and more for this series.


Friday, 7:10 PM.  John Lannan (0-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.97 ERA).  In 11 starts against the Marlins, Lannan has a 3-5 record along with a 5.04 ERA.  Placido Polanco is 7-for-17 (.412 avg) in his career against Lannan.  Nolasco is 8-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 18 career games (15 starts) against the Phillies.  Chase Utley is 11-for-35 (.314 avg) with a homer and six RBI in his career against he righty Nolasco.

Jose Fernandez with Greensboro in 2012
Saturday, 7:10 PM. Cole Hamels (0-2, 10.97 ERA) vs. Jose Fernandez (0-0, 1.80 ERA).  In 24 career starts against the Marlins, Hamels has an 8-10 record along with a 3.36 ERA and a .234 batting average against.  Chris Coghlan is 7-for-21 (.333 avg) with two home runs in his carer against Hamels.  The rookie right-hander Fernandez was the Marlins' 1st round draft selection in 2011.  The 20-year-old began last season with Greensboro and became an All-Star in the Class A South Atlantic League.

Sunday, 1:10 PM.  Roy Halladay (0-2, 14.73 ERA) vs. Kevin Slowey (0-2, 2.19 ERA).  In 14 career starts against the Marlins, Halladay has a 7-4 record with a 3.09 ERA.  Halladay posted a 4.62 ERA in four starts against the Marlins last season.  Greg Dobbs is 8-for-18 (.444 avg) with a homer in his career against Halladay.  Slowey, a right-hander, allowed seven earned run in 1 2/3 innings in his lone career appearance against the Phils in 2010.  Slowey, a former 2nd round draft pick of the Twins (2005) has a 4.61 ERA  in his career.


Michael Young's .375 batting average is tops on the Phillies.  After starting the season 1-for-9, Young is 11-for-23 (.478 avg).  Young has a .294 batting average in 15 career games against Miami.

In 10 career outings against the Marlins, Jonathan Papelbon has seven saves and a 0.82 ERA.

Jimmy Rollins is a career .292 hitter with 23 HR, 111 RBI and 49 steals in 202 games against the Marlins.  In 78 road games last season, Rollins posted a .235 batting average.

In 98 career games against the Phillies, Juan Pierre has a .310 average and 40 stolen bases.  Pierre is 7-for-35 (.200 avg) thus far in 2013.

Marlins reliever Steve Cishek has a 1-0 record with one save and a 0.84 ERA in 12 career outings against the Phils.  The right-hander was a 5th round pick by the Marlins in 2007.

Through nine games, All-Star Giancarlo Stanton is batting .167.  Stanton is a .266 hitter with 11 home runs and 22 RBI in 45 games against the Phillies.

Phillies runs scored this season- 42 (16th in MLB)
Marlins runs scored this season- 16 (last in MLB)

Phillies team ERA this season- 6.04 (last in MLB)
Marlins team ERA this season- 4.36 (19th in MLB)