Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Phillies minor leaguer Burch to use health scare as fuel

Tyler Burch, image- MiLB.com

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A missed baseball season wasn't the only challenge facing righty pitcher Tyler Burch this summer.  

With persistent symptoms that began prior to spring training it was ultimately discovered, after the 2020 season was shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic, that the 22-year-old had developed an autoimmune disease.  

As symptoms that included dry mouth and frequent trips to the bathroom worsened, Burch's situation left his doctor puzzled.  And even the physician that conducted his team physical examination at the outset of spring training jokingly referenced diabetes, but did not take the possibility seriously.   

The physical impacts subsided somewhat during spring training, as being more active and adhering to the team diet helped alleviate what he was experiencing.

Once the baseball season was halted, however, Burch returned home and the health concerns would emerge once again. 

"I went home because of COVID, and the symptoms came back," Burch explained.  "I'm thirsty all the time, going to the bathroom, super fatigued-- I thought I was going to the bathroom a lot because I was drinking so much water, so the doctor prescribed me some mouth wash to deal with my dry mouth and that didn't go away."

It took multiple doctor visits to diagnose Burch with type 1 diabetes, an issue where the cells that produce insulin are attacked by the body's immune system.  A blood sugar level under 140 is normal.  One day in June, Burch's levels spiked into the 400's.

A three-night stay in the hospital was the first big step in helping the six-foot-two 190-pound professional hurler get his health on the correct path.

"It was a huge lifestyle change.  I have to think about every meal choice.  I have to count the amount of carbs in it.  And I give myself about four to five shots a day of insulin to regulate my blood sugar," Burch stated.

An undrafted free agent signing out of Lewis-Clark State in Idaho in 2019, Burch made his professional debut last summer as a member of the Phillies' Class A short-season affiliate, the Williamsport Crosscutters.  In 12 appearances (four starts), the Idaho native tallied a 4-1 record with a save, a 1.51 ERA, a .225 batting average against as well as an 8.6 K/9 mark.

Burch credits his parents and his girlfriend for assisting him with adapting to his lifestyle changes.  He feels that being at home while dealing with the health concerns was beneficial to his ability to approach them.  Being away from home while struggling with the physical challenges and mental stress would have made things far more difficult, he feels.

"I'm not saying that I am happy that my season was cancelled, but the fact that I was home made this a little bit less stressful than having a season where I'm playing and losing innings and having to deal with all this without my family." 

"I want to play baseball.  But that fact that I am home has made this process a little bit easier," Burch said. 

As the weeks have gone by since the hospital stay, Burch has gotten better at the work involved with managing his diet.  From needing an hour just to prepare a meal, the knowledge of carbohydrate content, portions and more are becoming second nature to the talented pitcher.  He's now able to more swiftly fuel himself.

Burch proclaims that he's fully healthy now that he's gotten a proper diagnosis and a handle on how to cope with the hurdles.

A college teammate of Phillies rookie reliever Connor Brogdon, Burch is planning to work as a coach for the Lewis-Clark State Warriors while he's on his down time from minor league baseball.  He will have access to the team's facilities and various battery mates in order to get his work in and stay mound-ready.

"It's an amazing program there and I'm so fortunate to be able to have gone through it and to be able to give back," Burch said.  "It's definitely a brotherhood.  We grinded together every single day.  We all want to make it to the big leagues and I have friends from there that didn't make it to pro ball that are still rooting for me." 

Despite the support from teammates, friends and family, some of the battle to recover took place between Burch's ears.

There were times during the dietary and lifestyle transitions when, Burch admits, he felt down and wonder things such as, "Why me?"  But knowing that such a mindset couldn't be helpful, the already mentally tough athlete developed a higher level of resiliency.  

Aware that the challenges of dealing with diabetes could impede his path toward the big leagues, Burch isn't willing to allow a health related hurdle to curtail his journey.

"This can change my career in the sense that it can give me even more of a drive toward the big leagues.  So, I'm using it as a fuel for my fire to continue to work harder.  Because the cards are already stacked against me.  I mean I'm a free agent signing out of college- the odds are already not in my favor.  So, adding this on top of it I've got to work that much harder."

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Phillies at Nationals series preview, 8/25-8/27

The Phillies (10-14) will visit the Nationals (11-15) for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday evening.

Read ahead for a quick rundown of the pitching match ups and some key statistics from this series.

Tuesday, 6:05pm.  Jake Arrieta (1-3, 4.95 ERA) vs. Erick Fedde  (1-1, 2.55 ERA).  Arrieta has gone more than five innings in just one of his four starts this season.  In 16 career starts against the Nats, Arrieta has notched a 1-3 record, a 4.61 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.  Asdrubal Cabrera is 6-for-16 (.375 avg) with two homers and four RBI in his career against Arrieta.  Fedde, a right-hander, was Washington's first round draft pick in 2014.  In five appearances (four starts) against the Phillies, Fedde sports a 2-1 record with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP.  Scott Kingery is 3-for-7 with a double and a home run in his career when facing Fedde. 

Wednesday, 6:05pm.  Aaron Nola (2-2, 3.10 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (2-2, 3.99 ERA).  Nola, in 19 career starts against Washington, sports a 4-6 record with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.  Yan Gomes is 2-for-7 in his career against Nola...both of those hits are homers.  Nola has a 3.70 ERA in nine starts at Nationals Park.  In nine career starts against the Phillies, the left-handed Corbin has a 5-2 record with a 3.18 ERA along with a 1.15 WHIP.  Corbin has a 3.44 ERA in three home starts this year.  Jean Segura is 7-for-19 (.368 avg) with two doubles in his career when facing Corbin.   

Howard w/ AA Reading last year
Thursday, 6:37pm.  Spencer Howard (0-1, 6.17 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.31 ERA).  The rookie right-hander Howard, the Phils' 2nd round draft pick from 2017 is still looking for his first big league win.  Howard tossed 3 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run in a no decision against Toronto in his last start.  Scherzer is without a win in four home starts this season.  In 20 career starts against the Phils, Scherzer has posted an 11-3 record with a 2.62 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.  Jay Bruce is 7-for-22 (.318 avg) with two home runs against Scherzer. 

J.T. Realmuto is batting .310 in eight road games this season but is yet to homer on the road.  In 43 career games at Nationals Park, Realmuto sports a .266 average with four home runs and 21 RBI.

In 482 career games in Washington Bryce Harper has tallied a .285/.396/.519 slash line.  Harper's 1.119 OPS leads the National League.

Rhys Hoskins is a .196 hitter with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in 44 career games against the Nats.  Hoskins is a .151 hitter in 22 games at Nationals Park.  

In eight home games this year, outfielder Juan Soto is batting .269 while in nine road games he's batting .441.  Soto has a .302 average with nine homers and 28 RBI in 31 career games against the Phillies.   

Reliever Daniel Hudson is tied for second in the NL with six saves but sports a 6.30 ERA this season.  In 16 career appearances against the Phils, the righty throwing Hudson has a 3.86 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. 

The Nationals' .264 team batting average ranks third best in the majors while the Phillies' .258 mark ranks as seventh best.   

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Phils make pair of trades, say goodbye to pair of prospects

The Phillies initiated steps to begin a necessary makeover of their troubling bullpen on Friday as the team made two trades to help improve the relief corps that had posted MLB's worst ERA (8.07) heading into action that day.

In a pair of trades, the Phillies acquired right-hander David Hale from the Yankees as well as righties Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree from the Red Sox. 

Originally a 3rd round draft pick out of Princeton University by the Braves in 2009, Hale has posted a 4.23 ERA with a 6.0 K/9 mark and a 1.43 WHIP in 95 career big league appearances.  Hale had been designated for assignment recently by the Yankees.

In 195 big league games dating back to 2013 Workman has notched a 24-16 record with 20 saves, a 3.75 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.

Workman ranked first in MLB last year in opponents' xSLG (.238), which measures exit velocity and launch angle of each batted ball in an effort to remove defense and ballpark factors from the equation.  

Hembree sports a 3.60 ERA, a 9.6 K/9 mark and a 135 WHIP in his eight years in the big leagues.  

All three of the additions have experience pitching in the postseason.  

In the trades, the Phillies sent 25-year-old prospect Addison Russ, a 19th round draft pick in 2017, to the Yankees.  Going to the Red Sox are 24-year-old pitching prospect Connor Seabold and hurler Nick Pivetta.  Reportedly, Boston is also sending cash considerations to the Phillies in that swap.

Last weekend I wrote about both Russ and Seabold as possible options at the Phillies' alternate site that could soon be called upon the help the club's problematic bullpen.  It seems they've both helped, but not in the way I anticipated. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Phillies at Braves series preview: 8/21- 8/23

Another series, another preview.  The Phillies head south to take on their divisional rival Braves in a three-game series beginning Friday night.  

Atlanta at 14-11 sit atop the National League East Division.  Fresh off getting swept in a double header at the Blue Jays on Thursday, the Phillies and their 9-12 record reside at the bottom of the division.  

A brief rundown of the pitching match ups and other key notes from this series are ahead.

Friday, 7:10pm.  Aaron Nola (2-1, 2.05 ERA) vs. Max Fried (3-0, 1.24 ERA).  In 19 career starts against Atlanta, Nola has an 11-5 record with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.  Ronald Acuna Jr. is 7-for-22 (.318 avg) with two home runs and four RBI in his career when facing Nola.  In 2019 Nola had a 4.75 ERA in six starts against the Braves.  Fried allowed two earned runs in his first start this season and in four starts since then he has allowed just two total runs, both earned.  The lefty Fried has a 2-2 record with a 4.55 ERA in 10 career appearances (four starts) against the Phillies.  JT Realmuto is 5-for-15 with a triple, two homers and five RBI against Fried.

Saturday, 7:10pm.  Zack Wheeler (3-0, 2.81 ERA) vs. Robbie Erlin (0-0, 5.14 ERA).  In 14 career starts against Atlanta, Wheeler sports a 6-5 record, a 4.04 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.  Freddie Freeman is 14-for-29 (.483 avg) with three doubles, two homers and seven RBI in his career against Wheeler.  Erlin previously pitched for the Pirates this season, but was claimed off waivers by the Braves.  The left-handed Erlin has a 3.00 ERA in six appearances against the Phils.  Bryce Harper is 6-for-8 (.750 avg) with a double, a triple and six RBI in his career against Erlin.

Sunday, 7:08pm.  Zach Eflin (0-1, 5.14 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (1-0, 2.35 ERA).  Acuna is 4-for-9 (.444 avg) with a homer in his career against Eflin.   In seven starts against Atlanta, Eflin has tallied a 3-3 record with a 3.66 ERA.  In nine career appearances, all in relief, against the Phillies, the righty Tomlin has a 4.00 ERA.  Didi Gregorius is 0-for-8 against Tomlin in his career.  

Rhys Hoskins, image- Jay Floyd
Rhys Hoskins is a .231 hitter with six homers and 22 RBI in 48 career games against the Braves.  Hoskins is batting .190 in 12 night games this season.  

In 82 games against the Braves, JT Realmuto has a .279 average with 15 home runs and 48 RBI.  Realmuto is batting .231 in three road games this year.  

1n 135 games against the Braves in his career, Harper has a .278 average with 33 home runs and 82 RBI.  

Catcher Travis d'Arnaud, a former Phillies prospect, is a .269 hitter with nine homers in 66 career games against the team that drafted him.  d'Arnaud was traded to Toronto in the deal that brought back Roy Halladay.  

Shortstop Dansby Swanson sports a .253 batting average with six homers and 20 RBI in 53 games against the Phillies.  

The Phillies team OPS of .800 ranks second best in the majors.  The Braves' .762 mark ranks 12th in MLB.

The Phillies' 8.07 bullpen ERA is the worst in all of MLB.  Atlanta's 3.51 bullpen ERA is 7th best in the big leagues. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Phillies at Blue Jays double header preview

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the Blue Jays are playing their home games at Buffalo's Sahlen Field, the home of Toronto's Triple-A affiliate, the Bisons.  They'll host the Phillies for a double header on Thursday afternoon.

Here's a quick rundown of the pitching match ups and some other key notes from this pairing.

Game 1, 1:05PM.  Spencer Howard (0-1, 7.88 ERA) vs. Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00 ERA).  Howard, a righty, was the Phils' 2nd round draft selection out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo back in 2017.  In two MLB starts to date, the rookie Howard, who entered the past two seasons as the Phillies' top prospect, has notched six strike outs and three walks over eight innings.  The right-handed Anderson joined the Blue Jays this year after spending the last four seasons with the Brewers.  In six career starts against the Phils, Anderson has a 1-3 record, a 6.75 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.  Jay Bruce is 1-for-18 (.067 avg) in his career against Anderson.  

Game 2.  Vince Velasquez (0-0, 7.88 ERA) vs. Trent Thornton (0-0, 2.25 ERA).  Velasquez allowed two earned runs over five innings during his lone career start against Toronto.  In 67 road outings, Velasquez has a 4.67 ERA.  Thornton, a right-hander, last pitched on July 27th, missing time due to elbow inflammation.  The 26-year-old was a 5th round draft pick of the Astros in 2015.  He was acquired by the Jays in 2018 in a trade for Aledmys Diaz.  Didi Gregorius is 1-for-2 with a home run against Thornton. 

In five career games against the Blue Jays, catcher J.T. Realmuto is a .400 hitter with a home run and two RBI.  

Outfielder Bryce Harper sports a .361 batting average with a homer and three RBI in nine career games against Toronto.  Harper's .349 batting average this year ranks fifth best in the National League.

Toronto slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. posted a .221/.294/.390 slash line through 20 games this season. 

Shortstop Bo Bichette, who ranks second in the American League in batting average with a .361 mark, is out of action, as a knee sprain has landed him on the injured list.  

The Phillies rank second in MLB in team OPS with an .807 mark while the Blue Jays rank 12th at .750.

The Blue Jays rank 6th in MLB with a 3.88 ERA while the Phils' 5.56 mark is 27th in the majors.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Patreon Exclusive: First base prospect Darick Hall Interview

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Darick Hall, image- Jay Floyd
This week I talked with Phillies first base prospect Darick Hall about his down time due to the cancelled minor league season.  

In 132 games with Double-A Reading last year, the lefty batting slugger notched a .235 average with an Eastern League leading 38 doubles, a triple, 20 home runs (2nd in the league) and 67 RBI. 

This year, the 25-year-old spent time with the big league club in spring training where he saw action in 14 Grapefruit League games.

Hall, who was the Phillies' 14th round draft selection 2016, offered his thoughts on being left off of the team's player pool roster, how he's staying in shape, what he's doing with his free time and more.  Read ahead for a sample of that interview.

- I'd have to feel like the team would have had to give some consideration to including you in the taxi squad group. Did you hear anything about that & were you disappointed in not making that cut? 

I know I was in the talks but I was disappointed I was not selected. I was told to stay ready for the duration of the time and be ready for a call. 

- How beneficial was your time around the big club during spring training? Was there anyone you picked up a lot from? 

It was awesome to see the environment and how the veterans go about their business. I really enjoyed watching the work ethic of Neil Walker and Didi Gregorius. They work hard and have a great time doing it. Definitely was something that was fun to watch. 

Head on over to Patreon for the complete version of this interview.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Who's next to help the Phillies' bullpen?

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With several Phillies pitching prospects making their big league debuts recently and the performance of most of the big league 'pen pieces not impressing many, fans are likely to be wondering, "Who's next?"

Some talented young hurlers have earned promotions to join the major league roster thus far in the shortened season.  Names like Ramon Rosso, Connor Brogdon, Spencer Howard and JoJo Romero have gotten the call.  

Rosso, who tallied a 2.80 ERA and a 10.1 K/9 mark in 62 career minor league outings, primarily as a starter, has been underwhelming for the Phils, but shows potential of figuring things out.  In four relief appearances, the 24-year-old has allowed three earned runs with four strike outs and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.

Brogdon, 25, made his major league debut last week, allowing three earned runs in 1 1/3 frames.  Brogdon, a 10th round draft selection in 2017, notched a 2.50 ERA and an 11.5 K/9 mark through 98 minor league games (only seven starts).

Howard, the Phillies' top prospect heading into each of the past two seasons, is in the starting rotation.  The 24-year-old sported a 3.28 ERA and a 12.0 K/9 mark through 47 career minor league starts.  

Romero, a 23-year-old lefty, has yet to pitch in a game entering Sunday's action, but joined the big league roster a couple days ago.  The Phils' 4th round pick in 2016 has a 3.69 ERA, a 1.55 WHIP and a 7.4 K/9 mark in his minor league career strictly as a starter. 

Likely candidates to be on the team's radar to take the next steps in their careers include righties Mauricio Llovera, Adonis Medina, Addison Russ and Connor Seabold along with left-hander Damon Jones.

Llovera, also known as "MoYo", has a 3.45 ERA, a .228 batting average against and 9.7 K/9 mark in 89 career minor league appearances (64 starts).  The 24-year-old Venezuelan's repertoire includes a fastball that typically resides in the mid 90's and can get up to 97 MPH. His fastball features some movement that can tail up and in to righty hitters. He also sports a very good slider, a nice change up and a curve ball to keep the opposition guessing. Llovera is generally a strike thrower and has good command.

Medina is a very promising hurler that has been mentioned among the Phillies' top prospects for the past few years.  The 23-year-old Dominican has a 3.60 ERA, a .236 batting average against and an 8.2 K/9 mark in 100 career appearances (87 starts). Praised by organizational staff for being a student of the game and a strong competitor, Medina could use his mid-to-high-90's fastball, his strong change up and solid slider, to help the Phillies whenever the need arises.  

Russ, a reliable reliever that isn't often regarded as one of the Phillies' top prospects, has a 2.48 ERA, a .215 batting average against and an 11.8 K/9 mark through 126 career minor league relief appearances.  The 25-year-old sports a 95 MPH fastball, a two-seamer, a solid split and a slider.  Russ, a 19th round pick in 2017, appeared in six spring training games this year, recording a 1.59 ERA in the process.  A closer at multiple levels, the man known as "Rad Add", who has 50 professional saves under his belt, is comfortable in high pressure situations.

Connor Seabold, image- Jay Floyd
Seabold, 24, the Phils' 3rd round selection from the 2017 draft, is another pitcher that's primarily been a starter to date in his career.  In three seasons, he's notched a 3.52 ERA, a .222 batting average against and a 10.8 K/9 mark over 40 games (34 starts).  Seabold has a great feel for pitching and mixes his offerings (low-90's fastball, excellent change up and a good breaking pitch) very well in order to keep the opposition guessing.   A big command guy, Seabold is known to fill up the strike zone and is as consistent as they come.

Jones was the youngster that seemed to be on the fast track last year, moving through three levels in a matter of a couple months.  The 25-year-old was a 17th round pick in 2017 by the Phillies.  Command is the quality for Jones that impresses his coaches the most.  In 59 career minor league appearances (45 starts), Jones has tallied a 3.34 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP as well as an 11.1 K/9 mark.  He uses his 96-97 MPH fastball to induce plenty of ground ball outs.  His strong curve ball is the out pitch that garners most of his strike outs.  Jones also offers a slider that has good, horizontal movement and a change up that remains a work in progress, as he works to refine it.  

For a team that has well documented bullpen concerns (their 9.12 combined ERA ranks absolute worst in MLB and is nearly three runs worse than the next best team- Seattle's 6.34), it is possible we could see some of these names added to the list of hurlers making their big league debuts for the Phillies this year.

By comparison, the Phils' starters' ERA of 3.68 ranks 6th best in the National League.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Series Preview: Mets at Phillies, 8/14-8/16

It's still early in the season, right?  

With another opponent on the horizon, the Phillies will attempt to show that they aren't as bad as their 5-9 record would indicate.  Based on winning percentage, there's only one team (Pittsburgh) in the National League that has a worse record than the Phils.

The Mets (9-11) come to town and will open a three-game series beginning on Friday at Citizens Bank Park. 

Friday, 7:05pm.  Jacob deGrom (2-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. Spencer Howard (0-1, 7.71 ERA).  In 15 career starts against the Phillies the right-handed deGrom has a 7-1 record with a 2.23 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.  In seven starts at CBP deGrom has a 3-0 record with two complete games.  Bryce Harper is 10-for-34 (.294 average) with two home runs in his career when facing deGrom.  The righty Howard, the Phillies' top ranked prospect headed into each of the past two seasons, made his big league debut last weekend, giving up four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Braves.  Howard was the Phils' 2nd round draft in 2017. 

Saturday, 6:05pm.  Steven Matz (0-3, 8.20 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (1-1, 2.79 ERA).  In 11 career appearances against the Phillies, Matz sports a 2-4 record, a 5.48 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP.  Matz has a 7.33 ERA in seven career starts at Citizens Bank Park.  Rhys Hoskins is 3-for-19 (.158 avg) against Matz...all three of his hits are homers.  Nola has a 7-1 record with 3.13 ERA in 13 career starts against the Mets.  This will mark Nola's 69th career start at CBP.  

Sunday, 1:05pm.  Rick Porcello (1-2, 5.68 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.89 ERA).  In six career starts against the Phils, the righty Porcello has a 3-2 record with a 4.37 ERA.  Porcello has a 2-1 record with a 3.00 ERA in three starts at CBP.  Bryce Harper is 1-for-11 with a homer in his career when facing Porcello.  Wheeler, a former Met, has never faced the Mets before.  In 10 career starts at CBP, Wheeler sports a 5-1 record with a 3.16 ERA. 

Jay Bruce is a combined 0-for-11 in his career against deGrom and Matz, but is 2-for-8 with a double and a home run against Porcello.  Bruce is a .217 career hitter in 57 games against the Mets.  

Phils closer Hector Neris has a 5.30 ERA in 36 career appearances against the Mets.  

Andrew McCutchen is a .298 hitter with seven homers in 64 games against the Mets.  In 76 games at CBP, Cutch sports a .254 average.  

In eight road games to start the season, Pete Alonso is batting .125.  Alonso has a .308 average with one home run in 10 games at Citizens Bank Park.  

Michael Conforto has 19 career homers, his most against any team, in 67 games facing the Phillies. 

The Phillies' 20 team home runs match the Mets' total of 20, but the Phils have notched their total in six less games played.   

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Orioles at Phillies Series Preview 8/11-8/13

On Tuesday, the Orioles will travel north to open a three-game series against the Phillies.  

The Baltimore club (7-7) will look to improve to a winning record following an off day on Monday and a series win over the weekend against the defending champion Nationals.

The Phillies (5-6) will look to build off of an offensive trouncing in which they pounded five homers in a victory over the Braves.

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

Tuesday, 8/11 7:05pm.  Alex Cobb (1-1, 2.51 ERA) vs Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.08 ERA).  Cobb, a righty, went five innings and allowed just one run but took the loss in his last start against Miami.  The veteran Cobb is averaging more than a strike out per inning this season.  JT Realmuto is 3-for-6 with two homers in his career when facing Cobb.  Wheeler sports a 0.75 ERA in a pair of career starts against the O's.  Opponents are OPS'ing .631 against Wheeler in his two starts this season.

Wednesday, 8/12 7:05pm.  Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 6.91 ERA) vs Zach Eflin (0-0, 0.00 ERA).  In eight career appearances when facing the Phils, the lefty LeBlanc has notched a 2-2 record with a 2.89 ERA.  Bryce Harper is 3-for-10 with a home run in his career when facing LeBlanc.  In 37 career appearances at Citizens Bank Park, Eflin has a 15-13 record with a 4.15 ERA.  Eflin surrendered two unearned runs and struck out five in four innings of work against the Yankees last week.  

Thursday, 8/13 4:05pm.  Tommy Milone (1-1, 3.21 ERA) vs Jake Arrieta (1-1 2.45 ERA).  The lefty Milone scattered three hits over six scoreless frames against the Nats last week.  Realmuto is 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run against Milone in his career.  Arrietta, originally a 5th round draft pick of Baltimore in 2007, is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in two career starts against the Orioles. 

Didi Gregorius is a .309 hitter in 73 career games against the O's.  Gregorius is batting .333 with 2 homers in seven night games this season.  

Bryce Harper is a career .271 hitter with four home runs in 30 games when facing Baltimore.  In 141 career contests at CBP, Harper is a .268 hitter with 37 homers and 103 RBI.  

Backstop Pedro Severino is batting .400 in 11 night games this year.  In 10 career games against the Phillies, Severino is 1-for-23 (.043 average).  

Switch-hitting outfielder Anthony Santander is batting .304 and has 10 RBI in six road games this season. 

Second baseman Hanser Alberto is 3rd among American League batters with a .349 average.   The righty hitter is batting .458 in six road games. 

Through 11 games played, the Phillies' team OPS ranks second best in the majors at .790.  Baltimore ranks 5th at .770 through 15 games.  

The Phils' bullpen ERA is off-the-charts awful and is worst in MLB at 9.87.  Baltimore's relief ERA is a fair 3.99. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Patreon Exclusive: Ben Brown Answers Silly-ass Questions

Recently, I spoke with Phillies pitching prospect Ben Brown about his recovery from Tommy John surgery, how he's using the down time during the pandemic hiatus and more.  When the 20-year-old right-hander spared some time to answer the serious questions, he was also gracious enough to offer his thoughts on the silly-ass ones.  Read ahead for a sample of my bonus interview with Ben.

-Who is your coolest Phillies teammate and why?

Bruce Wang for sure. No explanation needed for that stud.

-I have an "Uncle Chubby" and my son calls his grandmother "Gaga".  Do you have any unique names within your family?  

We call my Uncle Scott "Bigs." He is a big, awesome guy. Very tall.

For the complete version of this piece as well as many additional exclusive interviews head on over to Patreon.com/PhoulBallz and support my work.  

 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Ben Brown talks TJ recovery, O'Hoppe, cancelled season

Image- MiLB.com
Out of action since last May when it was determined he required Tommy John surgery, righty pitching prospect Ben Brown is using the downtime of the pandemic hiatus to continue his physical recovery. 

A 33rd round draft selection of the Phillies back in 2017, Brown made his professional debut that same year, posting a 2.57 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 10 appearances in the rookie level Gulf Coast League. 

The following season, Brown began to make a name for himself in the GCL, striking out 16 batters in one July appearance.  He would post a 3.12 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 10 games (eight starts) before earning a promotion and finishing the season with a pair of outings with Class A short-season Williamsport.

Brown, a Long Island, NY native, opened last year with Class A Lakewood.  In four appearances with the BlueClaws, he struck out 20, walked four and allowed no runs in 13 2/3 innings and looked well on his way to making an impact on betting odds and available promo codes before he was sidelined with the elbow injury.

This week, I talked with the 20-year-old Brown about his rehabilitation progress, missing out on the 2020 season and more.  Read ahead for that complete interview.


-Where are you in terms of recovery and what is the routine for you as of late?

I am about 14 months out of surgery now, still continuing to build back arm strength. Im at the point where I really don’t need much 1 on 1 rehabilitation attention but i’m lucky to have great trainers up here to take care of me when I need it. My days consist of early morning yoga, mid day throwing and post throw pilates or lift depending on the day.

-To get a better idea of your recovery, if a minor league season was taking place, where would you be at this stage?  Rehab games?  Not there yet?  Beyond that?

If there were a season I would be right around the point where I would be returning to games. I’m a little pushed back due to COVID, but I will definitely be ready to go and built up for 2021 or any opportunity that might come before that.

-It seems you had the chance to work with fellow Long Islander Logan O'Hoppe a bit.  Can you give some thoughts on him and how excited the LI crew was for his inclusion in the Phillies' player pool this year?

Logan is the best. We are all so proud of him and, honestly, we are not surprised at all. He works so hard and is always doing things to mentally and physically better himself. I was able to throw with him before he left and it's hard to believe that he is only 20 years old.  He is so advanced behind the plate.

-What was your reaction to the cancellation of the season?

I was really upset. I know that I wouldn’t be back till late this year, but a lot of my teammates and friends were really looking great this spring training and I was looking forward to seeing them succeed.

-What was the hardest part about the injury for you and are there any big lessons you can take from it to help you moving forward?

Hardest part of my injury was definitely the feeling of not having control of whether or not my elbow was gonna recover. There are so many bad days and bad weeks, so I was constantly in a mental and physical battle. Thankfully, I also had a lot of really good days and weeks that would get me through the hard times.

-How much baseball are you watching now that MLB has returned?

I have not stopped watching. I have a pretty good setup with a game playing on the TV and a game playing on my computer every night.

-Do you report on your pitching work to anyone with the Phillies or are you given a program and they trust you to stick to it?

I'm in contact almost every day with the training staff regarding how I am feeling and what my throwing program will be like for the week. They have been awesome and whenever I'm feeling any sort of discomfort they are on the phone with me right away. Very grateful for how I have been treated during the rehab process. Our trainer Alex Plumm is just incredible. As for the baseball side we all have weekly phone calls with pitching coaches and we send in video and things like that.

-Do you have any TV, book or video game recommendations for people still dealing with lockdowns?

Honestly, I haven’t really watched much during this quarantine, besides baseball, and regretfully I have not read anything either.  Lots of pitching lessons and landscaping for my uncle’s company take up a lot of that quarantine free time.