Friday, May 31, 2013

Series Preview: Brewers at Phillies May 31-June 2

Here's a quick rundown on the pitching match ups and some stats from the upcoming three-game series that begins on Friday between the Milwaukee Brewers (19-33) and the Phillies (26-28) at Citizens Bank Park.. 

In seven meetings between these two teams last year, the Phils were victorious five times.

Friday, 7:05 PM.  Yovani Gallardo (3-5, 4.79 ERA) vs. Cole Hamel (1-8, 4.43 ERA).  In three career starts against the Phillies, Gallardo is 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA and a .153 batting average against.  In four road starts this season, Gallardo has a 1-3 record with a 5.32 ERA.  Ryan Howard is 3-for-8 (.375 avg) with a double and a homer in his career against the righty Gallardo.  In five home starts this year, Hamels has a 0-4 record along with a 5.35 ERA.  Hamels is 6-2 with a 3.42 ERA in 10 career regular season games against the Brewers in his career.  Ryan Braun is 7-for-25 (.280 avg) with a double and three homers in his career against Hamels. 

Saturday, 4:05 PM.  Mike Fiers (1-3, 5.66 ERA) vs. Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 5.74 ERA).  The right-handed Fiers was a 22nd round draft pick by Milwaukee in 2009.  In five road games this season, Fiers is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA.  This will be Cloyd's first home start this year, after posting a 7.80 ERA in three home starts last season.  Opponents have posted a .275 batting average against Cloyd in nine big league outings.

Sunday, 1:35 PM.  Willy Peralta (3-6, 6.35 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (6-2, 2.34 ERA).  Peralta, a 24-year-old right-hander, is 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA in four road games this year.  Peralta is 0-3 with a 10.03 ERA over his last three starts.  In five career starts against Milwaukee, Lee has a 0-1 record along with a 5.08 ERA.  In his last five starts, Lee has posted a 4-0 record with a 1.15 ERA.  Rickie Weeks is 1-for-10 (.100 avg) in his career against Lee.


23-year-old shortstop Jean Segura is leading the National League in hitting with a .358 mark.  The Dominican native was acquired as part of last summer's Zack Greinke trade with the Angels.

In 22 career games against the Phillies, Carlos Gomez has a .212 average with two homers and six RBI.

Ryan Braun is a career .388 hitter with 14 home runs and 28 RBI against the Phillies in 38 regular season games. 

In five career games against the Brewers, Domonic Brown is 5-for-17 (.294 avg) with a double and four RBI.  Brown is batting .256 with seven homers and 14 RBI in 24 home games this season.

Ben Revere is batting .324 with five stolen bases in 25 games this month.  Revere is a .294 hitter in 12 career games against Milwaukee.

In 72 career regular season games against the Brewers, Jimmy Rollins has a .224 average with five home runs and 20 RBI.

Brewers team ERA- 4.55 (27th in MLB)
Phillies team ERA- 4.24 (20th in MLB)

RHP Kevin Walter Class A Debut Footage

With this week's promotion to the Lakewood BlueClaws from extended spring training, righty pitcher Kevin Walter made his Class A debut after long last, following considerable down time rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery.  The Phillies' 20th round draft selection out of Legacy High School in Colorado, in 2010, had pitched in just seven official pro games with the Phils' Gulf Coast League team over three years prior to his first start with Lakewood on Wednesday at FirstEnergy Park.

Armed with a fastball that peaks in the low 90's, a change up that he controls very well and a solid curve ball that features nice movement, the 21-year-old Walter, who stands six-foot-five and weighs about 215 pounds, held the Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles affiliate) to an earned run while striking out two and walking two over four innings on Wednesday.

Check out the media player below for bullpen footage of Kevin as well as clips of his first two batters faced, Lucas Herbst and Roderick Bernadina


Thursday, May 30, 2013

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 28

On the 28th edition of the program, Jay and Tug are joined by Phillies relief pitcher Justin De Fratus who talks about seeking guidance from Phils closer Jonathan Papelbon, having a place in team history, his weight lifting prowess and much more. The guys also discuss Domonic Brown's hot month, Michael Martinez's lack of big league impact, Cesar Hernandez's call up and plenty more from the bottom to the top of the Phillies organization.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.

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

PhoulBallz Interview: Gorm Heimueller Talks Phils Pitching Prospects


I spent some time this week chatting with the Phillies minor league pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller, who offered his thoughts on several talented young hurlers in the Phils' system.

Heimueller, who has been the Phils' minor league pitching coordinator since 2002, pitched 14 seasons as a pro, including parts of two with the Athletics. Prior to his current position, Heimueller was a pitching coach at the Double-A and Triple-A level for the Phillies.

Gorm shared his opinions on several prospects including Brody Colvin, Austin Wright, Shane Watson, Jake Diekman and he even danced around a question about when Phils fans might expect to see Phillippe Aumont back with the big club after his recent demotion to Triple-A.  Read ahead for the full interview.


- Austin Wright's been a guy that missed some time with an injury and has allowed a lot of runs in his two starts (0-2, 22.22 ERA) with Reading since being activated.  Is there much concern with him after those difficult outings?

Actually, he started spring training in great shape, throwing the ball really good.  Then he complained of a little shoulder tightness and he went up to Reading, and I think it was bothering him a little more, so we brought him down to Clearwater.  He's healthy now.  He's gonna get back to where he was the last couple years.  He was looking forward to a really good year in Reading, which, there's still a lot of time and the bottom line now is he's healthy, so we'll get him back to where he was.


- I wanted to ask you about Brody Colvin.  I know last year he was switched to the bullpen for a short stretch, just to work on some things or straighten things out mentally, then returned to the rotation.  This year, he's back to relieving.  What is the future for Brody?

Well, Brody is by far, I mean he's much improved over last year...his command of all three of his pitches.  He came into camp in great shape and was throwing the ball real well.  And I think it was his groin or hamstring that he strained and missed some time and we wanted to get him back pitching.  At the time, there was no room to start then, but he pitched four innings the other day and we know he's there to start and it's a long season, but we wanted to get him back up there to Double-A and start pitching at that level and contributing and he's pitched real well since he's come back.


- Is there a time frame to get Colvin back starting games then?

It depends on what our needs are and right now the bottom line for us was to get him back up pitching at that level.  There were some guys there that were throwing well and hopefully, and I've talked to Brody, the bottom line is to pitch.  If he can show he can pitch out of the bullpen, we know he can start, that just increases his value.


- Do you have any updates on Clearwater reliever Kenny Giles' progress from his most recent oblique strain?

I saw him last week.  He's playing catch.  The ball's coming out of his hand well.  He doesn't have any pain.  He's working on some mechanical things, since he's got time for it.  We're, after the second (time this happened), we're just being patient.  I think, realistically, the second half of the season is what we're shooting for and what's he's shooting for.  But, the ball's coming out good, but yeah, he wants to start pitching yesterday.  I tell you what...he's learned that he can't.  He's got to trust the trainers and the strength guys to get him in a position to get back out on the mound to compete because that's no problem once he starts doing that.


- Lefty pitcher Nick Hernandez is a guy that has missed considerable time with shoulder surgeries and things, but he's been pretty good for Clearwater, putting up some really strong outings (3-1, 4.37 ERA, 10.46  K/9 in nine games) and had a couple poor ones.  Is there any surprise in the output he has put forth with the strike outs and everything?

When you saw him here, in Lakewood, for the (time he was healthy), he was the most consistent pitcher we had here at that time.  I wouldn't say he had the best stuff of those guys, but a guy that knows how to pitch.  He commanded his fastball, had a very good change up and a good slider and he's picked up from that (this year).  The thing right now, with Nick, is that's behind him and he's pitching.  He's having fun being on the mound.  I got to see him down there and, in the games, the type of pitcher he is he's not usually going to beat himself, but he gives up some hits some times because he misses over the plate, but he studies the game, so he's good for some of the younger pitchers down there.  I mean, he's still young, but he's missed two years and I think missing those two years and watching more games...he's always been a student of the game, but I think it's even made him more aware of what he can do and what his ability is and he's going out there and executing the pitches.



- Shane Watson's (3-4, 5.44 ERA, 10 games) with Lakewood this year after being a 1st round draft pick last year and, with his stats, hasn't had a lot of success.  What are your thoughts on Shane's season?

I guess the definition of success is different from just stats wise.  I am pretty pleased with what Shane is doing in his first full year.  I was just kidding him in the dugout saying, "A year ago at this time, you were probably getting ready for prom!"  Now he's in his first year of pro ball.  He's got a good fastball, he's learning the change up.  He's taking the ball every five days.  He's had some rough spots, like everybody does.  If you look at Jesse Biddle and Brody Colvin and those guys, they struggled early.  And he's had some good games.  He's had a couple games that were tough, but he's...I'm not too concerned with Shane.  He'll be fine.


- Kyle Simon (0-1, 4.15 ERA, six saves) has had limited success in the role of closer for Reading.  He's had his role in the bullpen adjusted there at times.  What will Kyle be working on to improve and succeed going forward?

With Kyle, I think, last year was a tremendous year for him (with the trade and then how he helped Reading).  (This year) he went to big league camp in his second full year, good experience for him.  And he went to Reading and he had a couple outings where things didn't work out the way we wanted them to, or he wanted them to.  So, we put him in a role now, where it's not that closing role.  He's starting to get more consistent.  The whole key for him is his sinker and being consistent throwing strikes with that and then working on his slider and other pitches, but it all comes off that sinker.  The last few games, it's been an improvement and I really don't like defining that guy as a closer...but he will get his opportunities.  We just want him to be consistent throwing the ball over the plate.


- Jake Diekman (1-0, 6.45 ERA, seven saves, 22 K's, 22 BB in 22 games) has walked a lot of guys this year out of the bullpen at Triple-A.  What does he need to work on or improve to get himself right and can he still help the big team?

Oh, no question he can help the big club.  His stuff is outstanding and to answer your question, don't walk so many guys.  It sounds simple.  He's on a pretty good...about four or five of the last six games he's thrown the ball well.  He's been attacking the strike zone.  I think he's got six or seven saves now and his confidence is growing.  But he's got stuff and there's no doubt that he can help the big league club.


- Phillippe Aumont takes a demotion recently.  What will he be working on and what's the time frame to get him back on the big league roster?

Well, the time frame depends on need, success.  We don't try to worry about that, we try to worry about that moment, working on one thing.  With him, it's staying on line, keeping his head on line, so it can allow him to be more consistent with balls in the strike zone.  His problem was getting hit, walked too many guys.  His stuff is off the chart.  He's got tremendous stuff.  Everybody knows that.  The only thing he needs to worry about, when he's on the mound, is execute that pitch, and when he's done with that, execute that (next) pitch, and at the end of that game, hopefully, he has good results and then get onto the next game, regardless of where it is.  He doesn't need to worry about, "Where am I going to be?  When am I going to be there?"  That we try to take out of it.  It's just worry about the moment. 


- Severino Gonzalez (1-0, 0.00 ERA through five games), a righty from Panama, is a guy that we're starting to see in box scores, doing some good things for Clearwater with no runs allowed and 15 strike outs in 12 2/3 innings thus far.  What can you tell me about him?

He's done a great job.  We sent him over there, because we had a couple of injuries and we had a guy go up and we needed somebody there to fill in for a while.  He came to his first spring training this year.  Strike thrower...he throws the ball over the plate.  Breaking ball's gotten better in the past month or so.  And he's somebody that's just taken advantage of an opportunity.  He's gonna get the ball somewhere.  Right now, he's taking it there, but he's just ready to pitch and it's a great story.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Solid Effort For Zambrano in Phils Minors Debut

Carlos Zambrano, photo- @BaseballBetsy
Carlos Zambrano continues to try to reestablish himself as an impact pitcher and made his first official minor league appearance for the Phillies on Tuesday.  In 4 1/3 innings, Zambrano threw 81 pitches while allowing no runs on three hits for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers.  The former Cubs and Marlins pitcher also struck out two and walked two en route to a no decision.

Zambrano did not exhibit any of the traits that have made him one of Major League Baseball's most notorious characters (examples here and here).  In fact, according the Threshers catcher Logan Moore, who spoke exclusively with PhoulBallz.com following the team's 3-0 win over Brevard County on Tuesday, Zambrano was a pleasure to deal with.

"It was a real cool experience," Moore stated.  "He basically told me to call whatever (pitches) I wanted because I knew the hitters and he just threw what I called."

Moore, the Phillies' 9th round pick in 2011 out of Northeastern Junior College in Colorado, declared that pitching to Zambrano wasn't a great variance from his normal efforts as battery mate to young prospects, and added that the three-time big league All-Star put him at ease.

"I wouldn't say it's much different than a normal game catching a guy like that. He made me feel comfortable working with him, so it made it pretty easy on me. He was easy to be on the same page with and that's how it should be with our starters and him," Moore said.

Prior to his outing on Tuesday, Zambrano, who signed a minor league contact with the Phillies on May 15th, had appeared in two games with the club's extended spring training team.

In an effort to build stamina, the Phils are hoping to keep Zambrano on a starter's schedule, throwing every five days.  With the next turn coming on Sunday, the Phillies have plenty of options for their newest rotation hopeful's weekend.  The Threshers play in nearby Dunedin on Sunday, while the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Double-A Reading Fightins and the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs all have home contests that day.

Zambrano's contract reportedly includes an out for the veteran, who could request his release from the organization if he isn't in the majors by July 1st.

The Venezuela native, who will celebrate his 32nd birthday on Saturday, has a career 132-91 record and 3.66 ERA in 12 big league seasons, although he has a 16-17 record with a 4.66 ERA over the past two seasons.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Series Preview: Phillies at Red Sox, May 27-28

The Phillies (24-26) are set to begin a four game stretch in which they will face the American League’s Boston Red Sox (31-20). Two of the contests will take place in Boston’s Fenway Park, while the two teams will then head south to play another two games at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.

Boston has won nine of their past 12 games and are tied for the division lead in the AL East with the Yankees, while the Phillies failed in an attempt to tie the Washington Nationals for second place in the National League East division on Sunday, when they fell by a score of 6-1.

The Red Sox have dominated the Phillies at Fenway, winning eight of the last 10 meetings between the clubs there.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups for the two games in Boston and other key stats from this series.

Monday, 7:10 PM. Tyler Cloyd (1-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Alfredo Aceves (1-1, 8.20 ERA). The 26-year-old Cloyd has a 3-2 record with a 4.27 ERA in eight big league starts. Both of Cloyd’s starts this season have come on the road. Batters are hitting .217 against the righty Cloyd this year. Aceves has appeared in six games this season, three of those were starts. Aceves has thrown 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies in his career. Aceves, a righty, has a 4.88 ERA in 73 career regular season games at Fenway Park. Michael Young is 3-for-5 in his career against Aceves.

Tuesday, 7:10 PM. Cliff Lee (5-2, 2.48 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (2-5, 4.69 ERA). In 12 career starts against Boston, Lee has a 3-5 record along with a 3.81 ERA. On the road this year, Lee is 4-1 with a 1.60 ERA in six starts. Jacoby Elsbury is 1-for-12 (.083 avg) in his career against Lee. In 24 career appearances against the Phils, Dempster has a 5-5 record with a 5.27 ERA. The righty Dempster is 0-3 with a 7.78 ERA in his last four outings. Laynce Nix is 0-for-6 in his career against Dempster.

Left-hander Antonio Bastardo has a 7.20 ERA in five career games against Boston. Bastardo has a 2.00 ERA and a .167 batting average against in 11 road outings this season.

Reliever Mike Adams has thrown six scoreless appearances against Boston is his career. Adams was activated from the disable list on Sunday, after missing time due to a back strain.

Ryan Howard is 4-for-24 (.167 avg) with three doubles in six career games at Fenway Park in his career. Howard is batting .224 with two homers and 15 RBI in 26 road games this year.

In 31 career games against Boston, Jimmy Rollins has a .273 batting average with five home run, 22 RBI and eight stolen bases. Rollins is a .310 hitter with six doubles, a triple and a homer along with 10 RBI in nine career games at Fenway Park.

Boston closer Andrew Bailey has a 1-0 record with four saves and a 1.80 ERA in 10 home games this year and a 1.88 ERA over in 15 games this year. Bailey has one scoreless appearance against the Phils in his career.

Mike Napoli leads the Red Sox in RBI with 37. Napoli is 1-for-9 in his career against the Phillies.

Dustin Pedroia is batting .388 in 27 home games this season. The 29-year-old has a .237 career batting average with two homers and five RBI in 17 games against the Phillies.

Phillies team runs scored- 175 (27 th in MLB) Red Sox team runs scored- 252 (3 rd in MLB)

Phillies team ERA in May- 3.77 (11 th in MLB) Red Sox team ERA in May- 4.12 (19 th in MLB)

Minor League Notebook: Hernandez, Collier, Biddle & More

It's another round of our weekly minor league notes, featuring key performers from each full season level. 

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs-

In 23 contests this month, second base prospect Cesar Hernandez is sporting a .241 batting average, after he posted a .375 mark in 24 April games.  The switch-hitting Venezuelan turned 23 years old last week.

OF Steve Susdorf is batting .346 with five doubles and seven RBI in 18 May games.  The 27-year-old lefty hitter was a 19th round draft pick by the Phillies in 2008.

OF Darin Ruf has been out of action since Thursday, sidelined with a jammed thumb.  The slugger batted .195 in his previous 10 games prior to the ailment.


Double-A Reading Fightin' Phillies-

Top prospect Jesse Biddle had a weak outing (4 IP, 6R/5ER) on the mound against Harrisburg for the Fightins on Sunday, but his two hits raised his season batting average to .556.  The 21-year-old left-hander saw his season ERA go from 2.50 up to 3.15 with that performance.  Biddle's 66 strikeouts lead the Eastern League, while he ranks just 12th in the league with 54 1/3 innings pitched.

Right-handed hurler Brody Colvin has been manning the bullpen for the Fightins, since his latest disable list stint.  The 22-year-old has allowed three earned runs in six innings as a reliever.

Prior to his 0-for-4 performance in Sunday's contest, outfielder Zach Collier had strung together an
eight-game hitting streak.  During that stretch, the Phils' 1st round draft choice from 2008 was 13-for-29 (.448 avg).  Collier, 22, is batting .215 in 43 games this season.


Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers-

Righty closer Luis Garcia has tallied a 0.63 ERA in nine May outings.  The 26-year-old Dominican previously pitched in the Dodgers and Nationals organizations.

Outfielder Cameron Perkins is leading the Class A Advanced Florida State League in batting with a .353 mark.  The Purdue product was the Phils' 6th round draft choice last season. 

Aaron Altherr, another Threshers outfielder, ranks 5th in the FSL in batting with a .317 mark.  The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 9th round draft selection in 2009.


Class A Lakewood BlueClaws-

Catcher Justin Dalles is batting .429 with three doubles, a home run and six RBI through six games with the BlueClaws thus far this year.  The former Orioles prospect is a 24-year-old righty batter.

Shortstop Roman Quinn is batting .325 with six stolen bases in his last 10 games.  The switch-hitting 20-year-old was the Phillies' 2nd round draft pick n 2011.

Friday, May 24, 2013

PhoulBallz Roundtable: Phils' Most Likely Trade Candidate

Could Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. trade Cliff Lee again?
Occasionally, here on the site, we feature guests tackling a topic related to the Phillies.  This time around, I surveyed some of my favorite sports commentators and fans on the subject of which Phils player is most likely to find himself traded by the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline.

The participants in this roundtable are my PhoulBallz Podcast cohost and TheFightins.com front man Tug Haines, WFAN radio host and sports writer Joe Giglio, the biggest female baseball fan I know Casey Landman, PhilliesNation.com writer Kieran Carobine, Wall St. Journal Radio's Tyrone A. Johnson as well as yours truly.  Here's what the group had to say on this subject.


Tug Haines-

With Ruben Amaro Jr. at the helm, Chase Utley, Freddy Galvis, and Jesse Biddle will be traded for seven Dominican outfielders, (all 5'10" and 180 lbs.), and three 6'5" first basemen.


Joe Giglio-

Cliff Lee: With the Phillies hanging around the NL East and Wild Card races, I'm sure most fans don't want to hear about rebuilding or re-tooling, but it's likely something that Ruben Amaro Jr. will have to truly consider in July. At this point, only three teams in the sport -- Houston, Toronto, Miami -- have a worse run differential than Philadelphia's -38.

Considering that Amaro tried to move Lee last year, they could conceivably wait until August because his salary wouldn't likely be claimed to ruin a deal, and that the lefty would represent the missing piece for many contenders, it has a real shot at happening. Furthermore, the Phillies could have their pick - barter with a big market team willing to eat salary or eat salary themselves in return for a difference making prospect.


Casey Landman-

Before Chase Utley got hurt, I was thinking he would be the one to get traded if the Phillies were not "in the race", by trade deadline. Someone could use his veteran presence on a playoff bound club and the Phils don't have him tied up in contracts after this year. But, now that Utley's future is uncertain, I think Cliff Lee goes. The Phils have kids from the minors pitching well (starters that is) and if the Phillies are totally out of it the last two months, it would give the organization a good chance to see more young guys to try and figure out the pitching situation for 2014. Ruben's traded Lee before, I can totally see him trading Lee again. 


Kieran Carobine-

Consider it a stretch, but if the Phillies find themselves way down in the NL East basement, look for Amaro trying to dump Ryan Howard on someone.  Yes, I know, this seems impossible but we have all been shocked before.  If this happens, consider it the white flag waving the Phillies on to rebuilding.  However, the current Phillies team has players that could fill the void if Howard is traded.  Michael Young could play first base, giving Freddy Galvis steady time in the infield at third waiting for his time to take over for the not-so-robotic Chase Utley.

Another option would be Cliff Lee.  The Phillies system has some good young arms and this season already shows they have confidence in them and are comfortable moving forward with them.  With that being said, the Phillies are quietly hovering around Wild Card status and could be looking to buy come the trade deadline.  I would much rather being having that conversation right now.


Tyrone A. Johnson-

While conventional wisdom says Cliff Lee is the Phillies player to be dealt, I think that two other candidates fit better. I never want to trade an ace level pitcher and Lee is proving once again that he is one. I would say that Carlos Ruiz or Chase Utley make a lot more sense. Both guys have movable contracts and that may be the biggest factor. They may be the two most popular Phillies but Utley is physically past his prime while "Chooch" may have been a product of PED's. Also both guys could help any contending team short term.


Jay Floyd-

I see the guy parting ways with the Phillies by July 31st being shortstop Jimmy Rollins.  The Phils' longest tenured star is on the way out, forced by the improving offense of infield wizard Freddy Galvis.  Rollins' bothersome approach to the game of baseball, in which he goes hard strictly in a selective fashion, will no longer be a worrisome trait for Philadelphia fans to have to deal with.  Rollins can be someone else's spark on occasion.  Galvis and second base prospect Cesar Hernandez, who has posted a Triple-A slash line of .312/.378/.445 this season with Lehigh Valley, could very well form the Phillies' double play combination before summer is through, if Rollins leaves and Chase Utley continues to deal with health concerns.

Series Preview: Phillies at Nationals, May 24-26

The Phillies (23-24) continue their road trip and visit division rival Washington (24-23) to begin a three-game series on Friday evening. 

Righty starter Jordan Zimmermann, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Thursday, will try to become the National League's first eight-game winner as he takes the mound in the series opener for the Nats.  The Phils will counter with right-hander Kyle Kendrick, who will try to get the Phillies back to .500 for the first time since they were 6-6 this season.

The two teams split 18 games against one another last season.

Read ahead for full reviews of the pitching match ups and other key statistics from this series.

Friday, 7:05 PM.  Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 2.82 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (7-2, 1.62 ERA).  Kendrick has a 2-0 record along with a 1.20 ERA in four road games this season.  In 19 career outings against the Nats, Kendrick has a 4-5 record with a 4.68 ERA.  Bryce Harper is 6-for-12 (.500 avg) with three doubles and a HR against Kendrick in his career.  In six career starts against the Phillies, Zimmermann has a 1-4 record with a 5.06 ERA.  Zimmermann has a 4-0 record with a 1.24 ERA in four home starts this season.  Ryan Howard is 2-for-9 (.222 avg) with a homer against Zimmermann.

Saturday, 7:15 PM.  Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (4-5, 5.54 ERA).  Pettibone has a 5.06 ERA in two road starts.  Pettibone has held opponents to a .175 average with runners on base.  Haren is 0-3 with a 6.14 ERA in four career starts against the Phillies.  In four home starts this season, Haren has a 3-1 record with a 4.91 ERA and a .337 batting average against.  Michael Young is 19-for-58 (.328 avg) in his career against Haren.

Sunday, 1:35 PM.  Cole Hamels (1-7, 4.45 ERA) vs. Ross Detwiler (2-4, 2.76 ERA).  Hamels is 13-5 with a 2.57 ERA in 24 career starts against the Nationals.  In six career starts at National Park, Hamels is 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA.  Adam LaRoche is 8-for-25 with a double and four home runs and eight RBI in his career against Hamels.  In four home starts this season, Detwiler is 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA.  Detwiler is 2-4 with a 4.24 ERA in eight career games against the Phils.  Domonic Brown is 0-for-7 in his career against Detwiler.


In 15 road games this year, Freddy Galvis has a .324 batting average with two homers and four RBI.  Galvis is a .222 hitter in six games against the Nats.

Ryan Howard is a .265 hitter with 36 home runs and 110 RBI in 128 games against the Nationals in his career.  Howard is batting .236 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 23 road games this season.

Domonic Brown is a .203 hitter with two home runs in 23 career games against the Nats.

Phils second baseman Chase Utley was placed on the disabled list with an oblique strain.  Michael Martinez was recalled to fill his void on the roster.

Bryce Harper is a career .313 hitter with two homers and eight RBI in 18 games against the Phillies.  Harper is batting .174 in 15 May games.

Denard Span is 9-for-25 (.360 avg) with two homers and four RBI in six career games against the Phils.  Span is batting .300 in 21 home games this season.

In 11 career games against the Phillies, Kurt Suzuki has a .314 average with a home run and three RBI.

Phillies team OPS- .690 (26th in MLB)
Nationals team OPS- .653 (29th in MLB)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 27

The PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast is back with its 27th episode.  On this edition of the show, Phillies outfield prospect Kelly Dugan calls in to chat with the guys.  Additionally, Jay and Tug discuss shortstop Roman Quinn's recent offensive improvements leading the way for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws as well as righty pitcher Perci Garner's success with Class A Advanced Clearwater.  Some breaking TheFightins.com news is announced and discussions also include Brian Gump, Bill Rice and some local independent league clubs.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.

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


Aumont Demoted, Real Problems Remain on Roster

Following Wednesday's 3-0 victory over the Miami Marlins, the Phillies announced that reliever Phillippe Aumont had been demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, with a corresponding move to follow prior to the team's next game on Friday.

For a club that entered that evening's contest with a bullpen ERA that ranked 4th worst in all of Major League Baseball, surely some adjustments were in order.  However, Aumont was not the problem.  As recently as Sunday, the 24-year-old righty's season ERA was 2.92 and sat at 2.25 last Friday. After coughing up two earned runs in 2/3 of an inning on Monday, Aumont's season ERA rose to an unlucky 4.15 in 16 games.

Surely Aumont, who gave up runs in each of his two most recent appearances and who sported the worst WHIP (2.08) on the pitching staff, hadn't been sparkling as of late, but he had an ERA better than the Phils' stud 8th inning guy Mike Adams just last weekend.

And even with his recent efforts, or lack there of, Aumont's 4.15 ERA and K-per-9 rate of 10.38 ERA were considerably better than the numbers posted by Jeremy Horst (5.09 ERA and 5.60 K/9), Chad Durbin (8.10 ERA and 9.45 K/9) and anything B.J. Rosenberg can do for the Phils.

Triple-A hurler Mike Stutes, who has been blazing hot out of the IronPigs bullpen lately, as he's tallied a 0.59 ERA over his last 11 games with 14 strike outs and three walks during that stretch, is deserving of consideration for a promotion and could be the guy that fills the void left by Aumont.

In 63 career big league contests, the 26-year-old Stutes has a 6-2 record along with 3.86 ERA.  Stutes missed much of last season after requiring shoulder surgery in June.

Again, there's no question that some revamping was needed in order to improve the Phillies' relief corps, but there are multiple pitchers hurting the team worse than Aumont had been.  Here's hoping the move is temporary and the 6-foot-7 260-pounder gets the chance to work on his command and the silver lining of a potential Stutes return sees his success continue.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

PhoulBallz Interview: Former Phillies RHP Tyson Brummett

Over last off-season, righty hurler Tyson Brummett parted ways with the Phillies following six season in their developmental ranks and after making his big league debut late last season with the Phils.  Brummett was picked up off waivers by Toronto in October. The 28-year-old was then optioned shortly afterward. After being outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo, Brummett landed on the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats roster in April.

Through nine games with NH thus far this season, Brummett is without a win and sports a 5.91 ERA, but tossed six shutout innings against his former club, Reading, early this month.

Recently, I spoke with Tyson about the differences between the Phils and Blue Jays organizations, his time playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, facing top Phils prospect Jesse Biddle and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.


- What would you say are the key differences between the Phillies and Blue Jays organizations?

There's always a lot of differences. I was in that organization for a long time. I grew up with a lot of those guys, you know, roommates and people like that, coming up through the ranks. This is my first time in a different organization, obviously there are new people, new faces. At the end of the day, it's still baseball. You've gotta go out there and perform and do all those fun things on the field.


- I saw you earlier this month out in Reading, competing against your old organization and matching a great performance by their top prospect, Jesse Biddle. Do you get up when facing the Phillies and does it make a difference facing the guy that's their top prospect?

I mean it's always...you get up to face your old organization. I know there's guys that jump around and have played for three or four different organizations. I think there's that kind of connection there. They know you and you know them and things like that, but you always want to go out and put on a show for the team that you used to be with and obviously the team that you're with against your old team. Kind of like giving a message like, "Hey, I can still help a team win."

As for Biddle, that kid's got a great future ahead of him. He's definitely on his way to a very good career.


- I spoke with your teammate Kevin Pillar and he admitted to me that, after that outing against Biddle in Reading when he threw six scoreless innings and struck out 10, Pillar had the date circled on his calendar for another shot at him. Did you get the vibe from a lot of the Fisher Cats players that they all felt the same way?

Oh, yeah! Definitely, with how things started over there (in Reading), both times we've faced him, he's gotten into a little bit of trouble early. He got lucky over there. The one up there in Manchester, he wasn't lucky. He walked a couple guys, hit a pitch count and stuff like that. I think that's how we all are, competitors. If I pitch bad against a team, I want to go back at them and get them again. I'm sure with hitters, for anyone that's a top prospect that gets the best of you, or with anyone that kind of makes them look stupid, so they want to circle the date or wonder, "When's the next time we get to take a crack at him?"


- In recent years you've gotten to pitch in the winter leagues, when you've completed in Venezuela. What can you tell me about enjoying success down there?

Winters leagues are fun. I've been down there the past two years. My first year down there I had what anyone would call my better winter league experience. I mean, I came kind of toward the end of November. Pitched there, started real hot, made the playoffs, went to the Caribbean World Series. So, I kind of got the whole caboodle all in one take. My first year down there I was kind of amazed. I have a special spot in my heart for that stuff. It's good competition. The guys that are there are former big league players, or guys from that country that are on their way to the big leagues. Just a good competition. The fans love it. I mean, they're, I think, I've never been to a European soccer game, but I imagine they're comparable. They save up all week to go to one game. It's a riot.


- I spoke to Darin Ruf last year after he got back from playing in Venezuela and he talked about how welcoming the native players are because they know that you're foreign. He said it kind pays forward because you all do the same for those guys that come to play here. Did you get that same vibe?

Oh, yeah. Whenever they come up here, obviously we have our little quirks and the crazy things that we do, but when you go down there, it's they're world and you have to appreciate their things and you're kind of like the Lone Ranger. Most of the people down there in the Latin communities, they're welcoming because they know that you went out of your comfort zone to go down there. So, if you put on a good performance and you're a good player, then they'll like you that much more. It's a fun experience.


- And just back on the topic of your team here for the regular season, I know you mentioned you were with the Triple-A team for a short stretch and now, of course, with New Hampshire. Who has been the biggest help to you thus far in the Blue Jays system?

I mean, honestly, there's a lot of veteran guys both here, in Double-A and at Triple-A. I think I probably learned the most, it was my first big league (spring training) this year, I had a lot of guys that I played with and Northwoods League and collegiate leagues. Once you've played this game and you move around, it's hard to not run into somebody you've played and vice versa. It's just really good communication over here. Lots of friends. They went out this year and picked up a lot of veteran guys, so it's a lot of guys that have been all over the place, so you feel like you have an instant connection with them, 'cause they're kind of in the same boat you are. I think overall it's pretty welcoming.


- Have you been up north of the border, to Toronto, since the team acquired you?

I haven't been up to Toronto yet. Just been up to Buffalo for a week, but I'm looking forward to a shot at it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins, May 20-22

The Phillies (21-23) hit the road this week, beginning a three-game series against the Marlins (12-23) in Miami on Monday night
.

Looking to get back on the positive side of .500, the Phillies will kick off the series with two of their main stars ailing, as Ryan Howard is sidelined with right knee soreness and Carlos Ruiz left Sunday's contest against the Reds with a right hamstring issue.

The Phils have won four of seven meetings with Miami thus far this season. 

Read ahead for full details on the pitching match ups from this series and plenty more key stats from this series.


Monday, 7:10 PM.  Cole Hamels (1-6, 4.61 ERA) vs. Alex Sanabia (2-6, 5.00 ERA).  In four road starts this year, Hamels is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA.  In 26 career starts against the Marlins, Hamels is 8-11 with a 3.24 ERA.  In two career starts against the Phils, Sanabia is 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA.  Sanabia is 1-3 with a 5.70 ERA in four home starts this season.  Jimmy Rollins is 0-for-6 against the right-handed Sanabia.

Tuesday, 7:10 PM.  Tyler Cloyd (0-0, 2.84 ERA) vs. Jose Fernandez (2-2, 3.48 ERA).  Cloyd gave up just two hits and two earned runs in his lone MLB start this season against Arizona on May 10th. Cloyd was 1-4 with a 6.57 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year.  In two starts against the Phillies this season, the rookie Fernandez is 1-0 with no runs allowed in 13 innings pitched.  Fernandez has a 2.12 ERA with a .169 batting average against in three home starts this season.  Fernandez, a righty, was the Marlins' 1st round draft pick in 2011.

Wednesday, 7:10 PM.  Cliff Lee (4-2, 2.83 ERA) vs. Kevin Slowey (1-4, 3.44 ERA).  Lee is 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in five road starts this season.  In his past three starts, Lee is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA.  In three career starts against the Phils, the right-handed Slowey is 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA.  Slowey held the Phillies scoreless over seven innings on May 5th, to lock down a win.  Ryan Howard is 3-for-7 (.429 avg) with a double and a home run in his career against Slowey.


In 12 road games this year, Freddy Galvis is batting .400 with two homers and three RBI.  Galvis is a .294 career hitter in 10 games against the Marlins.

Michael Young is batting .211 in 16 games this month.  In 21 games against the Marlins in his career, Young is a .289 hitter with five doubles and nine RBI. 

Chase Utley is batting .308 with four home runs and 15 RBI in 21 road games this season.

Placido Polanco has a career .287 average with three doubles and four RBI in 28 games against the Phillies.  Polanco is batting .239 in 20 home games this season.

Heading into action on Sunday, righty hitting opponents were batting .115 against Marlins closer Steve Cishek while lefties had tallied a .316 average.

Rookie outfielder Marcell Ozuna is 8-for-16 with four doubles a homer and eight RBI in four career games against the Phillies.  Ozuna is batting .286 in eight home games.

PNTV Interview: Australian Pitching Prospect Josh Warner

Australian pitcher Josh Warner began the 2013 season as a member of the starting rotation for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Through six starts, the 20-year-old right-hander posted a 1-3 record along with a 7.50 ERA. Phillies brass decided to reassign Warner to extended spring training so he could make some adjustments to his delivery aimed at enhancing his deception toward hitters.

The Queensland native, who pitches for the Brisbane Bandits in the Australian Baseball League during the off-season, was signed by the Phils as an amateur free agent in 2010. Combined over the past two seasons, since making his affiliated pro debut, Warner has split his time with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, the Williamsport Crosscutters and Lakewood, posting a combined 7-13 record along with a 5.28 ERA.

Early this season I spoke with Josh for Phillies Nation TV, but the segment went unused on the television program. During the interview, Josh spoke about the growth of baseball down under, his time in the ABL and more. Check out the interview in the media player below and tune into Phillies Nation TV every Tuesday at 6 PM on The Comcast Network.



Additionally, if you missed last week's edition of PNTV, which featured my recent interview with top Phillies pitching prospect Jesse Biddle, check it out below.  Clearly, you'll wish to view the entire episode, but if you would like to see my interview first, it comes on at about the 20 minute mark.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Minors Notes: Who's Hot, Who's Cold & Venezuelan Summer League Begins

It's time for the weekly rundown of minor league notes, taking a look at who is hot and who is not, from each team.  Stats and standing accurate through game action played on Saturday.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs (18-24, 4th place, North Division International League)-

Hot list...

Cody Asche with Reading in 2012
Third baseman Cody Asche has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 contests.  In his last 10 games, Asche is batting .326 with two doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI.  The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 4th round pick in 2011 out of the University of Nebraska.

Cold list...

Joe Savery has allowed nine earned runs in one total inning over his last two appearances with the IronPigs.  Savery, whose season ERA in the International League sits at 5.87, sported a 0.63 mark this season prior to his most recent two appearances.

Lefty starter Adam Morgan has a 0-4 record along with an 8.33 ERA over his last five games.  The University of Alabama product was the Phillies' 3rd round draft pick in 2011.  Morgan, a Georgia native, is 23-years-old.


Double-A Reading Fightin Phils (15-25, last place, East Division Eastern League)- 

Hot list...

Reading OF Tyson Gillies
OF Tyson Gillies went 9-for-23 (.391 avg) with six RBI over a stretch of six starts this week.  Overall through 13 games with Reading, Gillies has a .244 average with three doubles and a stolen base.

First baseman Jim Murphy is 13-for-30 (.433 avg) with four doubles, a triple, three homers and nine nine RBI over his previous nine games.  Murphy, 27, leads the Eastern League in total bases with 88.

Cold list...

Right-handed starter Seth Rosin is 0-1 with a 5.51 ERA in three starts this month.  The 23-year-old, who was acquired in the Hunter Pence trade with the Giants last year, is 1-3 with a 3.95 ERA in eight starts this season. 


Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers (21-20, 3rd place, North Division Florida State League)-


Hot list...

Maikel Franco with Lakewood in 2012
Third baseman Maikel Franco is 8-for-25 (.320 avg) with a double, a triple and two homers over his last six games.   Franco, a Dominican native, is 20-years-old.

Righty reliever Chris Nichols, who was added to the Threshers' roster this week out of extended spring training, has made three scoreless appearances since joining the active roster.  The 22-year-old University of Sioux Falls product was a 31st round draft choice by the Phillies last year. 

Outfielder Cameron Perkins leads the FSL in hits with 56 and ranks second in the league in average with a .354 mark. The 22-year-old was the Phils' 6th round draft selection last year out of Purdue University.

Cold list...

Shortstop Jose Mojica has gone 3-for-26 (.115 avg) over his last seven games.  Prior to his recent slow stretch, the 24-year-old Mojica was among the Florida State League's top hitters with a .354 average.

Following a four-game stretch in which he went 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA, lefty starter Hoby Milner has thrown back to back outings with no decisions while allowing six earned runs in 11 innings (4.91 ERA).  Milner was a 7th round draft pick out of the University of Texas last year.


Class A Lakewood BlueClaws (17-24, 6th place, North Division in South Atlantic League)- 

Hot list...

Lakewood OF Larry Greene Jr.
Larry Greene Jr. posted a seven-game hitting streak that ended on Saturday.  During the streak, Greene was 10-for-23 (.435 average).  Overall in 23 games, Greene, the Phils' 1st round draft choice in 2011, is batting .227 with four doubles and eight RBI.

Outfielder Zach Taylor is 11-for-25 (.440 avg) with four doubles, two home runs and six RBI in his last seven games.  Taylor, who is batting .306 in 22 games, was selected in the 12th round of the 2012 draft by the Phillies.

Cold list...

Infielder Angelo Mora is 1-for-19 (.053 avg) in his last six games.  The 20-year-old Dominican is batting .109 in 13 games this month. 


Venezuelan Summer League Phillies (4-0 record, 1st place)-

Hot list...

Catcher/first baseman Wilson Garcia is 9-for-17 (.529 avg) with a double, a homer and eight RBI thus far.  The switch-hitting 19-year-old is in his third season in the VSL.

Gregori Rivero, a 17-year-old, is 7-for-17 (.412 avg) with a double and a triple.  Rivero, a catcher, was signed by the Phillies last July.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Series Preview: Reds at Phillies, May 17-19

The Phillies (19-22) continue their home stand as the Reds (25-16) come to town to begin a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night. 

Winners of six straight games, the Reds are in second place in the National League central division, 1 1/2 games back of first place St. Louis.  The Phillies, fresh off a two-game split with Cleveland, are in third place in the NL East, 3 1/2 games behind first place Atlanta and three games back of second place Washington.

In the series opener, the Reds will send rookie Tony Cingrani to the mound.  Cingrani, who is a Rice University product, lasted just four innings in his last outing against Milwaukee, but did not factor in the decision.  The Phils will counter with ace Cliff Lee, is undefeated with a 1.83 ERA in his previous five starts against Cincinnati.

The Reds swept the Phillies in three games in Cincinnati last month. 

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

Friday, 7:05 PM.  Tony Cingrani (2-0, 2.89 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (4-2, 2.86 ERA).
  In two road starts this season, the lefty Cingrani is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and a .122 batting average against.  Cingrani was the Reds' 3rd round draft choice in 2011.  In 12 career starts against the Reds, Lee has a 6-2 record with a 3.79 ERA.  Joey Votto is 7-for-16 (.438 avg) with a home run against Lee in his career.  Lee has a 4.35 ERA in three home starts this season.

Saturday, 4:05 PM.  Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 3.76 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (4-1, 2.47 ERA).  In 12 career outings against the Phils, Arroyo has a 3-7 record with a 6.00 ERA.  Arroyo is 1-2 with a 9.60 ERA in three career starts at Citizens Bank Park.  Domonic Brown is 4-for-8 with two doubles and a homer against Arroyo in his career.  In eight career games against Cincinnati, Kendrick has a 3-2 record with a 4.19 ERA.  Kendrick has a 4.01 ERA in four home starts this season.  Kendrick has a 1.84 ERA in his last seven starts.  Jay Bruce is 5-for-14 (.357 avg) with two homers in his career against his Kendrick.

Sunday, 1:35 PM.  Homer Bailey (2-3, 3.51 ERA) vs. Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.41 ERA).  In seven career regular season starts against the Phillies, the righty Bailey is 0-3 with a 4.24 ERA.  Bailey has a 1-3 record with a 4.78 ERA in four road starts this season.  Ben Revere is 3-for-6 in his career against Bailey.  Pettibone is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three home starts this season.   Opponents are batting .266 against Pettibone in five big league starts.


In 36 career regular season games against the Phillies, Jay Bruce has a .308 average with 10 homers and 28 RBI.  Bruce is batting .316 with runners on base this season.

Brandon Phillips is batting .324 with five HR and 20 RBI in 17 road games this year.  Phillips is a .262 hitter in 52 career regular season games against the Phils and is a .224 hitter in 26 regular season games at Citizens Bank Park.

Aroldis Chapman has not allowed a run in six career appearances against the Phillies.  Chapman has a 4.76 ERA on the road this season.

Jonathan Papelbon has allowed three earned runs in four career innings pitched against the Reds.  Papelbon has not allowed a run in seven home outings this season.

In 19 home games this season, Domonic Brown is batting .242 with five home runs and seven RBI.

Ryan Howard is batting .302 with four homers and 10 RBI in 18 home games this season.  Howard is a .263 hitter in 60 career regular season games against the Reds.

Reds team OPS- .782 (11th in MLB)
Phillies team OPS- .682 (26th in MLB)

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 26

It's the 26th episode of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast. On this edition of the show, Tug and Jay talk about baseball coming second for many minor league teams, Lakewood's upcoming South Atlantic League All-Star events, the Phillies' bullpen and Tug's annoyance level related to happenings with TheFightins.com. Jay also serves up an exclusive interview with prospect Zach Collier.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.

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


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Prospect Nic Hanson

Right-handed hurler Nicholas Hanson was selected by the Phillies in the 16th round of last year's draft.  The Golden West College product had a tough pro debut with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters, where he sported a 2-3 record with a 7.00 ERA while averaging 5.8 K/9.  This year is a completely different story, however.  In nine outings, Hanson, 21, has tallied a 1-0 record along with a 2.94 ERA and a 7.48 K/9 mark.  Additionally, in his three starts since moving from the bullpen, the 6-foot-7, 210 pounder has allowed just one run.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Nic and he spoke about his success, his best friend who is also a player, his offerings on the mound and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.


- You're on a hot streak now and doing very well as a starter after relieving to start the season.  What can you tell me about your early success this season?

I'm just kind of getting used to my new stuff.  I started throwing that sinker now and (pitching coach Aaron Fultz) has really been helping me and we're watching video a little bit and I'm kind of getting used to my stuff.  That's basically it, just going out there and learning every time.


- What's your full pitching repertoire right now?

Right now, four-seam fastball, sinker, slider, change up. 


- You mentioned the new addition of a sinker.  Who initiated that?  How did that come about?

I used to throw it as a little kid.  It was the only way I knew how to throw a fastball, I'd kind of throw it differently than a regular two-seamer.  And I felt like I needed another pitch other than a four-season fastball.  My dad told me, toward the end of spring training, "Why don't you throw that pitch?"  So, I threw it the last start of spring training and it worked well.  So, I figured I might as well stick with it and I've been throwing it out here.  It's been getting better every time, so I'm happy with it.


- If I were to ask you to scout yourself, what would you say?

I would say 6-foot-7, strike thrower, good plane when he gets on top, good sinker, slider is the our pitch and the change up's getting there.  It's developing, but it can be good at times. 


- We talked about you changing roles a bit.  Do you have a preference for where you pitch?

I mean, I think most people like to start, but as long as I'm playing baseball, I have fun.  Bullpen, starting, whatever, I have fun.  I'd like to keep going as a starter.  I like knowing when I am going to pitch and getting an opportunity to pitch an extended amount of innings, get in a groove and get the feel for it.


- The draft last year...what was that experience like for you?

It was a little bit of a stressful day for a lot of people.  I didn't go where I thought I was gonna go, but went (as) the Phillies' first pick on the third day.  It was a happy time.  Family was stoked, friends were stoked.  I got an opportunity and wanted to go with it. 


- You spent last season with Williamsport after being drafted.  How do you feel your time in Williamsport went and how was your first exposure to pro ball?

It was a learning experience, definitely.  I didn't really know what to expect, coming from junior college, you know.  It was kind of different facing these guys that you see on ESPNU and all these big time prospects and stuff.  But, it was just a big learning experience getting used to the pro baseball way, how to compete and just confidence and all that.


- I know you're a California guy.  Who did you look up to as a player before turning pro?

I was a, well, pitcher- Jered Weaver.  I was a big Jered Weaver fan. Position player...I was a big Garrett Anderson fan. I grew up an Angels fan.


- As a pro now, if you had the opportunity to speak to young players that were hoping to play baseball being high school, whether it's college or professionally, what advice would you give?

Stick with it.  Never give up.  I didn't play baseball my junior year, I was out of the game.  Just kind of didn't know what I was going to do and I got back in the game.  I would just tell them never give up.  Always keep going.  Work hard and stay positive.  


- It seems you've got a connection in the pro ranks that may have had some impact on bringing you back to the game in those high school years.  You know, a close friend named Henry Owens, who is a Red Sox prospect.  Just talk about that a little bit.

Yeah, I grew up with Henry.  Actually, he lives in my neighborhood, right behind me.  We grew up together, playing baseball together, always been good friends.  And once he got drafted, in 2011 and I got drafted last draft, so we lived together in the off-season.  We just worked out together, talked the game together and he had a full season ahead of me and he kind of gave me some pointers and let me know what to expect and stuff and it's been beneficial, definitely.


- I know you're on Twitter (@Nic_Hanson75).  How do you view Twitter?  Some guys might look at it as a way to build their own brand, some guys use it to bond with fans, some guys keep track of friends in other levels.  How do you view it?

I guess, well, right now, being in Single A, it's kind of just communicating with the teammates in the off-season and seeing how other guys are doing.  I guess down the road, being in the big leagues and stuff it can help you be a fan favorite. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Series Preview: Indians at Phillies, May 14-15

Interleague play returns to Citizens Bank Park as the Indians (21-16) come to town for a quick two-game set against the Phillies (18-21).

Having won seven of their last 10 contests, the Indians look to continue their success against the Phils, who were pounded by a total score of 20-2 over two games, both losses, in Cleveland a couple weeks back.

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


Tuesday, 7:05 PM. Scott Kazmir (2-1, 4.87 ERA) vs. Jonathan Pettibone (2-0, 3.63 ERA). The lefty Kazmir has a 2.65 ERA over his last three starts. Kazmir won his lone career start against the Phillies back in 2006. In two home starts, the rookie right-hander Pettibone is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA. Opponents are hitting .154 with runners in scoring position against Pettibone.

Wednesday, 1:05 PM. Corey Kluber (2-2, 5.64 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (1-5, 4.18 ERA). The righty Kluber has a 5.77 ERA in nine career road games. Delmon Young is 3-for-6 with a double in his career against Kluber. Hamels is 0-1 with six runs allowed in five innings pitched in his lone career start against Cleveland. In four home starts this season, Hamels is 0-3 with a 4.71 ERA. Mark Reynolds is 2-for-10 with two home runs in his career against Hamels.


Indians closer Chris Perez has a 5.06 ERA in five career games against the Phillies.

Mark Reynolds is batting .322 in 17 road games this season. In 27 games against the Phils, Reynolds is a .260 hitter with eight home runs and 20 RBI. Reynold is tied for the American League lead in HR with 11.

In 12 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Jason Giambi has a .348 average with five homers and 10 RBI. Giambi is batting .158 in six road games this season.

In 34 career games against the Indians, Ben Revere is a .294 hitter with 13 steals.

Carlos Ruiz is 1-for-16 (.063 avg) in four career games against Cleveland. Ruiz is a career .267 hitter in 365 games at Citizens Bank Park.

Ryan Howard has a .355 average with two homers in eight games against the Indians. In 16 home games this year, Howard is batting .321 four home runs and 10 RBI.

Indians team runs scored- 178 (6th in MLB)
Phillies team runs scored- 138 (25th in MLB)

Indians team bullpen ERA- 2.77 (4th in MLB)
Phillies team bullpen ERA- 4.00 (22nd in MLB)