Gameday 126: Phillies vs Mariners

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Tue, August 19, 2014 06:05 PM Comments: 20


1305Philadelphia Phillies (55-70) vs Seattle Mariners (67-57)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: A.J. Burnett (6-13, 4.35 ERA)
SEA: Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 2.72 ERA)

Time: 7:05 ET, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: 66, Partly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today: Tonight is Ryan Howard Bobblehead night at Citizens Bank Park. With the loss yesterday, the Mariners are now 0-1 at The Bank. Darin Ruf, who has been swinging a hot bat lately–will sit.

Lineup: Revere CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Byrd RF, Brown LF, Ruiz C, Asche 3B, Burnett RHP


Gameday 125: Phillies vs Mariners

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, August 18, 2014 06:05 PM Comments: 33


1305Philadelphia Phillies (54-70) vs Seattle Mariners (67-56)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Jerome Williams (0-0, 3.38 ERA)
SEA: Roenis Elias (9-9, 4.14 ERA)

Time: 7:05 ET, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: 66, Partly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today: Interleague play! Tonight will mark the first time the Mariners will have played at Citizens Bank Park. The last time they visited Philadelphia was in 2003–when they swept the Phils in a three game set.

Lineup: Revere CF / Ruiz C / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Byrd RF / Ruf LF / Asche 3B / Blanco SS / Williams P


PN Interview: Top Phils Draft Pick Aaron Nola

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, August 18, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 2

Aaron Nola, image- Tug Haines

The Phillies’ top pick from this year’s draft, righty hurler Aaron Nola, has looked very good in the early stages of his pro career. In nine games combined in the minors, the 21-year-old LSU product sports a 3-3 record with a 3.35 ERA while striking out 36 batters and walking seven in 40 1/3 innings.

Over the weekend, I spoke with Nola, who was recently promoted to Double-A Reading, about his draft experience, the possibility of being shut down before season’s end, the transition from college to the pro’s, looking up to his brother Austin and more. Read ahead for that full interview.

-What was your draft experience like? How did you celebrate?

We had a party over at LSU in our lounge and it was a bunch of family and some friends over there. We had about 100 people actually, so it was pretty big. It was fun. It was a fun time and it’s definitely something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. The draft and getting picked early by the Phillies.

-How do you think pitching at LSU prepared you for your transition to the minor leagues?

It prepared me, man. I’m glad I went to LSU. I matured more. I matured on the field. Also my physical and mental ability rose up in college, you know, you see a lot of older guys that I’m playing against right now, 23 to 26 year old guys, and I feel like a lot of the guys I played against in college are in high A. I haven’t seen too many in Double-A, but I saw a lot of guys down in Clearwater that I played against one, two or three years in college. Continue reading PN Interview: Top Phils Draft Pick Aaron Nola


Byrd On Pace For (Slightly) Historic Season

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, August 18, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 15

Marlon+Byrd+Philadelphia+Phillies+v+Texas+Gey0d7AmFRKlIn this forgettable string of baseball games that we are calling the 2014 Phillies season, there is not a single thing we could look at and say “yeah, I’m going to remember this for years and years”. However, things aren’t all bad. The bullpen has been surprisingly strong, and a few hitters have been swinging the bat well–particularly the gentlemen that patrols right field for the Phils.

Marlon Byrd has been one of the most consistent offensive players on the Phillies in 2014, and he’s 36 years old.

Let’s go back to last November. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. signed Byrd to a 2-year contract, and, at the time received a load of criticism. The Phillies needed outfield help, and there were guys like Nelson Cruz still available.

He leads the team in home runs and slugging, and is 2nd on the team in OPS, doubles, and RBI.

He has missed just two(!) of 124 games this season. He’s slashing–at the time of writing this post–.270/.320/.473, has hit 22 home runs, and has 70 RBIs. By the end of the year, he’ll likely have somewhere around 28 home runs and 90 RBI.  A season with those numbers, at his age, would be among the best seasons all time for the Phillies.

The last time we saw something like this was in 2009 when Raul Ibanez had a monster season offensively. He hit 34 home runs and collected 93 RBI that year, when he was 37. Prior to that, we haven’t seen anything like this since Hall-Of-Famer Mike Schmidt had back-to-back years of 35+ home runs and 113+ RBI in 1986 and 1987. Beyond Ibanez and Schmidt, the only other player in Phils history to reach 28 home runs and 90 RBI at age 36 or older was Cy Williams in 1927.

That’s three players, one of which is an all-time great. If Byrd can manage to tally 6 more home runs and 20 more RBI in the final month and a half of the season, which should be easily attainable at his current pace, he’ll join them.  And if he does (or even if he doesn’t), it’ll go down as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreadful season for the Phillies.



Phillies Acquire Valentin, Release Reyes

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, August 17, 2014 12:32 AM Comments: 11

The first player to be named later from the August 7 Roberto Hernandez trade has been selected. Second baseman Jesmuel Valentin will be headed to the Philadelphia Phillies. Valetin, who turned 20 on May 12, was a supplemental first-round selection of the Dodgers in 2012 at 51st overall. Valentin is hitting .282/.352/.433 for the Single-A Great Lakes Loons. Each one of Valetin’s triple-slash numbers are well above Midwest League average (.252/.323/.370) and is the Midwest League’s most productive second baseman according to wRC, wRC+, wRAA, and wOBA.

In an unrelated move, the Phillies released starting pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes. Reyes, 29, was 1-3 with a 10.45 ERA for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in five starts.

Analysis: The Hernandez trade has the potential to be a solid one for the Phillies. I did not anticipate Hernandez, who was exactly replacement-level for the Phillies, to be traded for much but the first piece of this deal is promising. Valentin is currently the best second baseman in the Midwest League and has a fine combination of speed and power. It will be interesting to see how aggressive the Phils get with Valentin’s initial placement for the final few weeks of the season. As is, Valentin is likely better than both Angelo Mora and Anthony Phillips, the two second baseman on the 41-82 2014 Clearwater Threshers and that may warrant a promotion.


Gameday 123: Phillies at Giants

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, August 16, 2014 03:20 PM Comments: 11

phillies Giants

Philadelphia Phillies (54-68) at San Francisco Giants (63-58)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.88 ERA)
SFG: Tim Hudson (8-9, 2.81 ERA)

Time: 4:05 ET, AT&T Park
Weather: 66, Partly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today: 

Here are some pitcher-batter splits for today.

Chase Utley is 5-for-his-last-8 with a home run against Giants starter Tim Hudson. As we know Ryan Howard is a Hudson-killer. He has faced the righty more than anyone else in his career (80 PAs) and sports a .328 average and 1.112 OPS against him. Hudson is responsible for 7 of Howard’s 329 career homers, only Chris Volstad has allowed more (8).

Buster Posey is 4-for-7 lifetime versus Kyle Kendrick while Brandon Crawford is 3 for 6 over the past three years against KK.

Lineup:  Revere CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Byrd RF / Brown LF / Nieves C / Asche 3B / Kendrick P


Fightins Quotables: Manager Wathan talks Reading players

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, August 16, 2014 12:05 PM Comments: 0

I spoke with Double-A Reading Fightins skipper Dusty Wathan prior to Friday’s home contest against the Binghamton Mets.  Topics of discussion included top draft pick Aaron Nola‘s pitching restrictions, outfielder Kelly Dugan‘s progress, Severino Gonzalez‘s season and plenty more.  Read ahead for those exclusive comments from Wathan.

Kelly Dugan, image- Jay Floyd

-Speaking about Kelly Dugan, who entered action on Friday sporting a .330/.423/.481 line in 32 games since the All-Star break…

Kelly’s been very good.  I think he’s done a nice job with his swing, he’s flattened it out a little bit.  He’s driving balls the other way better than I’ve ever seen him.  You know, I think he’s really learning his swing, becoming a better hitter.  I think his power numbers are a little down and some people have voice their concerns about that, not inside the organization, but media.  But, to me that’s no big deal.  To me, he’s a better hitter than I saw last year.  And the power will come.  I’m not worried about that.  he’s driving balls all over the ballpark and having really good at bats every night, so it’s really good for Kelly. He’s had a long stretch where he’s felt good and it’s nice to see for him and the organization.

-I asked Dusty if he thought OF Aaron Altherr‘s brief stints with the Phillies this year could benefit him in the long run…

Yeah, I think so.  I think everybody wants to get to the big leagues and play in the big leagues and sometimes once you get a taste of it, it makes you want to be there even more.  I think he went from the Ritz-Carlton to the Super 8 one time, so if that’s any incentive to get back there and to work on what he needs to work on to get there, that’s the prime example right there.

-Speaking about veteran corner infielder/DH Jake Fox, who is Reading’s top offensive performer at 32-years-old, and his impact on younger teammates…

He’s been outstanding.  To have a veteran to do what he’s done in his career, plaed all over the place, played in tbe big leagues, multiple leagues all over the world and the attitude that he has, the leadership that he has, to be able to use that experience that he has to give to give to other players.  He’s willing to do that.  Hes a good mentor to a lot of these guys.  He likes to talk hitting.  I think sometimes, as coaches, we can talk till we’re blue in the face about things, but when it comes from a peer and a guy that has done it before and is doing it right now, sometimes it really clicks for some guys. Continue reading Fightins Quotables: Manager Wathan talks Reading players


Biddle slated to make Reading return on Saturday

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, August 16, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 2


Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

After a miserable stretch of starts in June, lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle was placed on Double-A Reading’s temporary inactive list. On Saturday, he’ll make his long awaited return to the FirstEnergy Stadium mound when he starts the first game of the Fightins’ scheduled double header against Binghamton.

The 22-year-old posted a 0-4 record with a 12.64 ERA in four June starts. It was clear that there was something quite wrong with Biddle, who had missed a start in late May after being pelted with hail and suffering a concussion.

A mixture of feelings including confusion and discontent were firmly settling in while Biddle’s efforts on the mound were not.

The Phils saw a need for the Philadelphia native and Germantown Friends School product to take a break. Exams discovered lasting impact on Biddle stemming from the concussion and time off was required.

“For me it was an important time not only to take a mental break and to go down to Florida and fall back in love with the game of baseball, but it was also important for me to see a doctor, go to physical therapy and get my mind right because I definitely was experiencing some symptoms and whether or not they were affecting me on the field, they just affected my day to day life and I can realize that not that I feel 100-percent better,” Biddle explained in the Reading clubhouse on Friday night. Continue reading Biddle slated to make Reading return on Saturday


Gameday 122: Phillies at Giants

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, August 15, 2014 09:23 PM Comments: 13

phillies Giants

Philadelphia Phillies (53-68) at San Francisco Giants (63-57)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.37 ERA)
SFG: Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 3.22 ERA)

Time: 10:15 ET, AT&T Park
Weather: 72, Partly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today: 

The Phillies could use a win and Cole Hamels is certainly their best chance.  He’s been impressive lately with a 3-1 record and a 0.73 ERA in his last five games.   In each of those games, he’s gone seven innings and hasn’t allowed more than one run.  On the flip side, Madison Bumgarner has been less than stellar at home recently.  He’s looking to improve upon a 1-3 record and 6.99 ERA in his last five starts at home.

Lineup:  Revere CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Byrd RF / Ruiz C / Ruf LF / Asche 3B / Hamels P


BlueClaws Quotables: Walding and Cozens talks about second half success

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, August 14, 2014 12:50 PM Comments: 0

This week I spoke with a pair of solid Class A hitters that have increased their offensive numbers considerably in the second half of the season.

Lakewood third baseman Mitch Walding and outfielder Dylan Cozens have improved quite a bit since the South Atlantic League All-Star break with Walding sporting an OPS that’s 255 points higher in his last 49 games than it was in his first 46 games this year, while Cozens has posted an OPS mark 85 points higher than he did before the break.

I asked both players about the uptick in production and more.  Read ahead for those exclusive quotes.

Mitch Walding, image- Jay Floyd

-Walding, the Phillies’ 5th round pick in 2011, spoke about what he attributes to his recent success…

You know, at first I was doing some things and I was exactly feeling too comfortable at the plate.  I was kind of struggling really hard with getting pitches and doing some things and I talked with our hitting coordinator (Andy) Tracy and my hitting coach Lino Connell.  We changed some things with my hands, um, changed my approach at the plate and going to get pitches that I wanted to get instead of, kind of- what I was doing was I was being indecisive, waiting to see the pitch and making my decision when the ball was half way and by the time I was making my decision, I was too late, so I was striking out a lot and wasn’t hitting the ball the way I should be.  And now I’m attacking pitches and doing things that I want to do at the plate.  Things have turned around a lot. 

-Walding, who has tallied a .239 average with six home runs and 51 RBI through 95 games with Lakewood this year, specified what mechanical changes he made in the batters box…

Moving (my hands) down a little bit.  Kind of getting them in a good slot, right above my shoulder.  Just having loose hands, kind of being able to feel my hands work a lot more, ’cause I might drop them if they’re too high.  Just kind of moved them down a little bit and staying relaxed with my hands.  Continue reading BlueClaws Quotables: Walding and Cozens talks about second half success

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