Posts Tagged ‘Fastball’

Gameday: Phillies (49-50) at Cardinals (59-37)

Posted by Amanda Orr, Tue, July 23, 2013 07:26 PM Comments: 35

Philadelphia Phillies (49-50) at St. Louis Cardinals (59-37) 

Jonathan Pettibone (5-3, 3.89) vs. Shelby Miller (9-6, 2.92)

Time: 8:15 PM EST, Busch Stadium
Weather:  Partly Cloudy, 82
TV: PHL 17
Media: Twitter and Facebook

After an off day, the Phillies will try to get back to the .500 mark.  They face a big test in this upcoming series against the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that is well in first place.

Tonight’s matchup will feature two young right-handed pitchers.  Shelby Miller, 22, is doing very well in his first full Major League season.  Miller throws a hard fastball in the mid-to-late 90s, and has a curveball and changeup to go along with it.  Miller’s counterpart, 23-year old Jonathan Pettibone, has struggled on the road, having a 5.65 ERA away from Citizens Bank Park.



Papelbon’s Velocity Cause for Concern

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, July 15, 2013 11:00 AM Comments: 12

Jonathan Papelbon earned his fifth blown save of the season for the Phillies yesterday. After saving 38 of 42 last season, Papelbon has saved 20 of 25 this year. If the Phillies were to become sellers, it was believed that he would be among the first to be moved. Now, with five blown saves in the last 30 days, would anybody want him?

The problem goes a bit further than that: the mechanics of what generated saves for Papelbon, velocity and strikeouts, are in major jeopardy. By tallying a career low 7.91 K/9 IP in 2013, Papelbon ranks 84th among MLB relievers. The strikeouts may be disappearing with his velocity. Click chart below to enlarge.


Papelbon has lost over 2 MPH on his fastball since 2009. Papelbon was a bit in denial in this in an interview with Bob Brookover earlier in the season, stating that he could still thrown 95 MPH if “he needs it”. Brooks Baseball took a look at this topic a few months back and found some interesting results. Papelbon does usually improve as the season goes on, last year averaging 95+ MPH in September and October. However, his velocity to start seasons is lower and his peaks are also lower. And check out that slider: he’s lost 7.3 MPH on it since 2009.

Is this really, really bad? Papelbon’s K/9 IP has dipped below 9 for the first time in his career and hitters are hitting pitches in the zone off of Papelbon at an 86.5% clip according to FanGraphs. After looking at these numbers, Ruben Amaro will have a tough time trading Papelbon for a top-tier prospect – you can earn a save by accident but it is a lot tougher to accidentally regain 2 MPH on all of your pitches.

If there is a silver lining, at least the velocity lost wasn’t lost at the same pace Brad Lidge lost his or else we may be seeing more 2009 Lidge-type results from Papelbon:



Papelbon blows first save but Brown walks Phils off in ninth

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Mon, June 17, 2013 10:51 PM Comments: 3

Richie Ashburn Award: Ryan Howard

When Jonathan Papelbon threw Chad Tracy his third straight fastball inside, you knew he was playing with fire. When Tracy deposited the 0-2 pitch just inside the pole in the right-filed seats, you could hear a “here we go again” groan echo throughout the park.

But luckily, everybody quickly forgot about Papelbon blowing his first save of the season just a few minutes later, when Domonic Brown blooped a base hit into center field to score Ben Revere and giving the Phils a walk-off 5-4 win.

The win provided a much needed spark for the Phillies, who were coming off a 3-7 road trip and trailed the Nationals by a game for second place in the N.L. East entering play today.

Revere sets the table for win, continues torrid pace

Two weeks ago praise might have been hard to come by for Ben Revere. On June 8 he had his lowest batting average (.243) that he had since mid May, his defense was suspect, and he just looked lost at the plate. Oh, how things have changed. In his last eight games, Revere has raised his average 31 points. In mid June. Revere has been exactly what Revere was expected to be before the season started. He has hit safely in each of those eight games, while batting an incredible .432 over that span.

Continue reading Papelbon blows first save but Brown walks Phils off in ninth


Zambrano struggles with command, but has decent outing in Lehigh Valley

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Thu, June 13, 2013 11:08 PM Comments: 1

It was not a bad night for Carlos Zambrano at Lehigh Valley, but it was not exactly a great night either. The righty, who is looking to reinvent himself with the Phillies allowed two runs in five innings while striking out five and walking four in his first start at Triple-A. He threw 101 pitches in the outing, 64 for strikes.

The first two innings were as perfect as could be for Zambrano. He retired the first six batters he faced, and did so on just 23 pitches. Things started to fall apart a little bit for him after that. It took him 27 pitches to get through the third, in which he allowed a hit and a walk, and in the fourth he walked three more batters, allowed a hit and gave up two runs. It took him 31 pitches to get through the fourth inning, which put him at 81 up to that point. He had a fairly clean fifth and final frame, allowing just a single.

Carlos Zambrano allowed two runs in five innings while walking four and striking out five for the IronPigs.

Carlos Zambrano allowed two runs in five innings while walking four and striking out five for the IronPigs.

There were a couple of concerning things about Zambrano’s start, with command being the most concerning. In the fourth inning Zambrano issued one walk after being ahead in the count 0-2, issued another on four straight balls, and the third one came with the bases loaded and allowed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders to take the lead.  Granted, home plate umpire Ian Fazzio had a small strike zone all night (and Zambrano on several occasions stared in after what he thought was a good pitch) but nonetheless his location was not spot on tonight.

The number of walks he has allowed so far in the minor leagues has increased with every stop along the way. In his two starts in Clearwater he allowed two walks in each. In Reading he walked three, and now four in Lehigh Valley.

The other concerning thing, which would not be as concerning had he located better, was his velocity. Zambrano was consistently between 84-87 mph with is fastball, and touched 88 just twice. It may not matter at all, but it was certainly different than the flame-thrower we have seen with the Cubs in the past.

There were also a couple positives in Zambrano’s outing, one of which was that he was able to work out of jams. He had runners on the corners in the third and escaped any trouble, and in the fourth he did not give up a hit after having two runners in scoring position with nobody out, and struck out the final batter of the inning with the bases loaded in what could have been a much worse inning.

His off-speed stuff was also working well. He got quite a few swings and misses from his curveball (which he was throwing anywhere from 65-75 mph with sharp break), and was also able to throw his change-up effectively.

All things said and done, he was not awful at all, but he really did not look ready to pitch in the major leagues yet, like he said he was after his start in Reading last week.

Here is a link to what Zambrano had to say after the game.




PN Interview: RHP Prospect Walter Speaks of Tommy John Recovery

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, June 12, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 1

Right-handed pitcher Kevin Walter recently made his Class A debut after a considerable wait, having dealt with a lengthy recovery from Tommy John Surgery.  A Phillies’ 20th round draft selection out of Legacy High School in Colorado, back in 2010, Walter had been limited to very minimal game action over the three years after signing his first pro contract until he was promoted to Lakewood from extended spring training a couple weeks back.

In two starts since joining the BlueClaws the 21-year-old is 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA while striking out seven and walking five batters in nine innings pitched.

I recently spoke with the six-foot-five 215-pounder about his recovery, his admiration for other players, his pitch repertoire and plenty more.  Read ahead for my full interview with Kevin.

- What was your excitement level to finally get a call for a promotion an join the Class A BlueClaws roster?

It’s both excitement and relief.  It’s kind of getting back into real baseball.  It’s kind of- it wears you down, when you’re down in extended spring and it’s very monotonous.  So, it’s good to play in front of some people and play with a real team and play some real baseball.

- I know you got paired up with catcher Justin Dalles for your first start with Lakewood.  You two seemed to have a good rapport.  Had you two worked together before?

I was very pleased to hear that he’d be catching me here (for my debut).  I mean, Chace (Numata) is solid, but I’ve worked with Justin in extended, so we were on point together, it seems like. Continue reading PN Interview: RHP Prospect Walter Speaks of Tommy John Recovery


Offense Fails Phils, Hamels Yet Again in Minnesota

Posted by Alex Lee, Tue, June 11, 2013 11:12 PM Comments: 54

Hamels was solid, but not good enough on Tuesday behind an anemic offensive effort. (Photo: AP)

Hamels was solid, but not good enough on Tuesday behind an anemic offensive effort. (Photo: AP)

It took the Phillies offense eight innings to get two hits in one frame on Tuesday night.  Ryan Howard’s two-out eighth inning single tied the score at two.  It took their bullpen only five batters to give it right back, as a Justin Morneau single off Antonio Bastardo a half inning later sealed their fate against the Twins.  The 3-2 loss was the fourth straight for the Phils.

At this point, you have to feel Cole Hamels’ pain.  The lefty was nowhere near sharp, but he refused to come unglued and kept his team in the game.  The Phillies have now scored 31 runs for Hamels in his 14 starts.  Yuck.


- All night, the Phillies were swinging early and often at the low-to-mid 80s fastball of P.J. Walters.  I don’t remember the last time I saw a mediocre pitcher have such an easy time with a major league lineup… or at least not one based north of Miami.  The Phillies had seven hits, but they only hit four balls hard by my count, two of which came off the bat of Michael Young.

- As an unexceptional Twins lineup grinded out quality at-bat after quality at-bat against the All-Star caliber Hamels, the Phils hacked at anything soft-tossing and unproven Walters threw towards the plate.  Here are the pitches-per-inning for the two starters through six innings: Hamels: 18, 22, 18, 23, 11, 16 for 108 pitches.  Walters: 13, 12, 8, 14, 17, 14 for 78 pitches.  Wow.

- The Phillies were able to scratch out a second run in the top of the eighth, stringing together three singles, the last coming from Howard.  With runners on, the Twins were unable to play the shift and the not-so-Big Piece ripped a hanging breaking ball through the infield to tie the game at two.  A single from Michael Young in the third accounted for the team’s first run.

Continue reading Offense Fails Phils, Hamels Yet Again in Minnesota


PNTV Interview: RHP Prospect Colby Shreve

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, June 08, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Righty reliever Colby Shreve entered his 2013 campaign with a 19-14 record, six saves and a 3.54 ERA along with a 7.25 K/9 mark and a 3.24 BB/9 mark in 110 games at three levels, but hasn’t been as sharp this season. In 15 games (14 with Class A Advanced Clearwater and one with Double-A Reading), the Las Vegas native has a 0-2 record, a 4.44 ERA and has struck out 19 and walked 16 in 26 1/3 innings pitched.

The 6-foot-5 210-pounder was sidelined with an elbow injury and required Tommy John surgery when he was selected in the 6th round of the 2008 draft by the Phils and did not make his pro debut until 2010.

Shreve, 25, altered his arm angle a bit last year and improved the velocity of his fastball which was clocked at 95 MPH during his time with Reading in 2012.

Last month, I talked with Colby, during his most recent stint with Reading, for Phillies Nation TV. He spoke about working to climb the developmental ladder, getting drafted by the Phillies and his impression of the rebranding in Reading. This segment went unused on the TV program, but I definitely wanted to bring it to the viewers anyway.

Check out the interview in the media player below and be sure to tune into PNTV every Tuesday at 6 PM on The Comcast Network. The program also replays throughout the week on TCN and Comcast Sportsnet, so check your listings.


Brown Homers Again, Hamels Shuts Down Marlins for Sweep

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, June 05, 2013 04:06 PM Comments: 17

On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, the Phillies beat the Marlins, 6-1, finally getting back to the .500 mark with a sweep. They’re back level ground for the first time since they were 6-6. It’s also the first time the Phils have won four straight games.

As my colleague Corey Seidman pointed out via twitter, the Phillies have scored at least six runs in four consecutive games for the first time since late September 2010.

Lucky #7

-In the seventh inning, the Phillies broke it open. They scored five in the frame, busting through with a Jimmy Rollins RBI single to start. Ryan Howard brought home two runs with his first triple since April 22, 2011. The Big Piece needed a big hit, and he got one.

-Not to be outdone was Man of the Year, Domonic Brown. He launched a two-run Dom Bomb into the seats in right for his 18th home run of the season. Brown was in a quick 0-for-8 “slump” just before he exploded for another homer. Wow, what more can you say.

-John Mayberry Jr. got the first hit of the day off of Jacob Turner in the second inning, a smoked single to left field. Erik Kratz continued his hot streak, getting the Phillies on the board one batter later.  With his second inning RBI-double, Kratz now has hits in 9 of the last 10 games.

Hamels Back in Top Form

-Hamels line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP. His ball-to-strike ratio was impressive, throwing 81 of his 108 pitches for strikes. The issue had been, of course, run support. In his first three starts against the Marlins, the Phillies offense provided him with one, zero, and one run. It was slightly better today as the Phillies gave him six just before he left the game.

-It was the 23rd time in his career Hamels struck out 10 or more batters in a game, and the third time this season.

-Hamels allowed a fourth inning home run to Derek Deitrich, which tied the game at 1-1. It was a cutter, a pitch that Hamels has grappled with this season. Going into the game, Hamels had thrown 223 cutters, four of them leaving the yard (make that five with this one).

-Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck left the game in the seventh inning after taking a pitch off his right hand. It was a scary scene as he went down in a heap; Jim Reynolds replaced him.



Aumont’s Struggles Continue at Lehigh Valley

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, June 03, 2013 01:10 PM Comments: 1

Phillippe Aumont, Photo- Jay Floyd

The Phillies saw enough of their dismal middle relief and began making adjustments to that portion of their roster back on May 22nd, sending imposing right-hander Phillippe Aumont down to the minor leagues after a shaky stretch to open the season.  Since the demotion, Aumont has continued to have control issues and has looked troubled through five contests.

Selected in the 1st round by Seattle in the 2007 draft, Aumont was later traded to the Phillies, along with Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez, in the December, 2009 deal for Cliff Lee.  This year, Aumont opened the season on the same roster as Lee, with the Phillies, but while Lee steadily performs like an All-Star, the 6-foot-7, 260-pounder lacked command and the team took notice.

Following his two outings on May 18th against Cincinnati and May 20th against Miami, in which he allowed three earned runs in one total inning, Aumont’s ERA spiked from 2.25 to 4.15 and he lost his spot on the Phils’ big league roster.

On the bright side, the 24-year-old Aumont didn’t walk anyone in those two outings, or the one before them, after issuing 10 free passes in his first 12 innings this season.  However, with more pitches in the strike zone came greater damage from the opposition, as he surrendered five hits to eight batters faced.

“It was a walk an inning and, you know, and that frustrated me a little bit, so I started working on it…and I started throwing more strikes and strikes came along, but then hits came along too,” Aumont explained.  “I wasn’t executing the fastball inside, the curve ball below the zone.  Everything was in the strike zone.  And that’s where I got hurt and they saw that.  They told me I was making progress, but I just didn’t have what it takes, right now, for me to be up there.” Continue reading Aumont’s Struggles Continue at Lehigh Valley


Offense Fails Hamels Again as Phils Fall to Fish

Posted by Alex Lee, Mon, May 20, 2013 10:11 PM Comments: 18

Hamels has been a victim of poor run support all season. (Photo: AP)

Hamels has been a victim of poor run support all season. (Photo: AP)

The Marlins now have 13 wins on the season.  Four have come against the Phillies.  After showing signs of life against some of baseball’s best teams in recent weeks, the Phils offense laid an egg on Monday night in Miami, losing 5-1 to the Marlins and again leaving an effective Cole Hamels out to dry.  Alex Sanabia notched the win for the Marlins and Justin Ruggiano provided two key RBIs.


- Apart from two mistakes, Hamels, now 1-7, was dominant on Monday night.  He walked none and struck out 10 Marlins in only six innings before being removed for a pinch hitter.  Pitch count (89 pitches) and command (67 strikes) were not an issue, unlike recent outings.  Cole has now allowed three earned runs in 20 innings against the Fish, and has received a grand total of one run from his offense.

- With the free-swinging Marcell Ozuna buried in a 1-2 hole in the first inning, Hamels decided to stick with his fastball, which Ozuna stung up the middle, plating the Marlins first run.  Some say that Hamels has shown an overreliance on the cutter this season… this was just the latest example of his pitch selection costing him.

- Hamels appeared to be very angry with himself after allowing an RBI double to Ruggiano in the sixth that put Miami ahead 2-1.  But Cole really did look good – striking out double digits for the first time this year.  He did it three times last year, fanning 10 each time.  At one point, Hamels recorded eight of nine outs via punch out.

Continue reading Offense Fails Hamels Again as Phils Fall to Fish

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