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Posts Tagged ‘Fastball’

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

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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.

OFFENSE IMPATIENT AGAINST WALTERS

- 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

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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.

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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.

 

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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

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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.

HAMELS RETURNS TO FORM

- 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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Phillies win on back-to-back walk-off; Howard and Ruiz MRIs

Posted by Brian Michael, Sun, May 19, 2013 05:56 PM Comments: 20

walkoff2
The Phillies took an otherwise boring game and brought some excitement to those who remained in Citizens Bank Park on this dreary Sunday. With the team trailing 2-1, just having snapped their 16-inning scoreless streak, the Phils were staring down the barrel of Aroldis Chapman. Undeterred, Erik Kratz tied the game with a homer and Freddy Galvis won it with a line-drive shot that just cleared the left field wall.

The Ninth Inning

Delmon Young led off the ninth and promptly drew a four pitch walk from the flame-throwing Chapman. As we all know, D. Young is not the fleetest-of-foot; but still the choice to pinch-run with Cliff Lee is always a questionable one. Lee got caught in a rundown after Chapman attempted a pick-off. It was a poor baserunning move and Cliff knew it. He was visibly frustrated in the dugout as Erik Kratz stepped to the plate. After Chapman threw a few of his signature high-90s fastballs, Kratz zeroed in on one and delivered it to the left field seats. The crowd celebrated, but Lee’s pickoff was still fresh in their minds. Lee’s reaction said it all after the Kratz homer – he knew that would have been the win. Continue reading Phillies win on back-to-back walk-off; Howard and Ruiz MRIs

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Tempering Expectations on Pettibone

Posted by Alex Lee, Thu, May 16, 2013 03:06 PM Comments: 10

Jonathan Pettibone has been a revelation for the Phils.  How long can it continue? (AP Photo).

Jonathan Pettibone has been a revelation for the Phils. But how long can it continue? (AP Photo).

As I wrote in my recap on Tuesday night, Jonathan Pettibone deserves a lot of credit.  He has started five games so far this year and the Phillies have won four.  He has shown a veteran’s ability to battle through jams.  He has displayed a pretty good fastball, which at least through his first three starts, he routinely threw for strikes and forced opposing batters to put the ball in play.  But before we all get carried away, it’s important to note that Pettibone is not the first marginal Phillies pitching prospect in recent years to enjoy immediate success upon his big league promotion.

Consider the statistics for the following Phillies starters, past and present, compared to Pettibone through five starts:

Jonathan Pettibone:  3-0, 3.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 5.3 K/9 in 29 IP

Vance Worley:         2-2, 2.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 in 27 IP

J.A. Happ:                1-1, 3.57 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 6.5 K/9 in 27.2 IP

Kyle Kendrick:        3-0, 4.40 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 2.9 K/9 in 30.2 IP

While the numbers are different, each former farmhand was able to have a certain level of success right away.  Pettibone’s rookie predecessors were also able to sustain their effectiveness beyond their first start.  Worley was a huge part of a playoff team in 2011.  Ditto for Happ in 2009 and Kendrick in 2007.

Continue reading Tempering Expectations on Pettibone

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The Colbert Hamels Report: Not Good in Loss to Indians

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, May 15, 2013 04:09 PM Comments: 13

After a disastrous trip to Cleveland two weeks ago, the Phillies could have exacted revenge with a quick two-game sweep. Instead, they were blown out on Wednesday afternoon, losing 10-4 to the Indians. Starter Cole Hamels was rocked and the bullpen followed suit.

BAD COLE’d:

-After six consecutive starts throwing six innings or more and allowing three runs or less, Hamels was rocked by the Indians in the series finale. He allowed five runs on six hits in five innings and labored from the start. His record is now 1-6.

-His pitch count was an issue from the get-go, reaching 51 pitches through just two innings. His fastball is also a problem. Going into Wednesday’s game with Cleveland, Hamels’ 4-seam fastball had been getting tagged at a .330 clip. The Indians hit several hard hit fastballs off him in this start, including Mike Aviles’ home run and Jason Kipnis’ double. Mark Reynolds doubled on a cutter that scored two runs and Nick Swisher hit a two-run shot in the fifth on it, something Hamels has shied away from more recently. However, his change up and occasional curveball are still fooling hitters as much as ever.

-With the fastball, the location is certainly lacking. Hamels is walking guys at a ridiculous rate, so clearly something is up. Matt Gelb tweeted some speculation that perhaps the shoulder ailment he had over the winter is affecting him. Of course, no one from the Phillies, Hamels included, has mentioned it. But keep that one nearby.

-The bullpen struggled again today. Chad Durbin has to be on a short leash. He got the first two men out, then walked the pitcher Cory Kluber and gave up a single to the next batter Drew Stubbs. Durbin then gave way to Jeremy Horst, who allowed two runs to score on a hard-hit single up the middle. Horst can’t seem to string good games together, either.

-Phillippe Aumont got through his inning with a double-play, but Raul Valdes got tagged for three runs in his inning of work. Just when you think the pen is turning a corner they allow the game to get out of reach.

PHILS STRUGGLE WITH KLUBER

-Just call him Kluber Lang. Corey Kluber is a pitcher the Phillies have never seen before. He also entered play Wednesday with a 5.64 ERA. And yet he’s another middling pitcher who skates by. You’d think that because the Phillies have not seen him, they’d allow themselves to take some pitches and see what the guys has. Not so. Again they swing away instead of making the pitcher work. Kluber went six innings, allowing three runs and striking out five.

-Jimmy Rollins kept it close with a two-run double in the fifth inning, scoring John Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Ruiz. Rollins has been struggling to stay near .250 recently, but he smashed a rope down the line and finished the day 2-for-3 with three RBI.

-The middle of the order was a big problem today. Utley, Young, Howard, Young, and Brown combined to go 2-for-19, with both hits going to Delmon.

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Minor League Notes: the Hot, the Cold, the Injured and the Departed

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, May 12, 2013 09:45 AM Comments: 0

In the latest rundown of developmental notes, we’ll take a glance at some top performers, several guys who aren’t doing too well, a couple sidelined prospects and a group of former Phillies minor leaguers…

The Hot List- 

Lakewood pitcher Nic Hanson

Lakewood righty Nic Hanson has not been scored upon in two outings (11 total innings) since moving from the BlueClaws’ bullpen to their starting rotation. A 16th round pick in last year’s draft out of Golden West College, Hanson, 21, has a 1-0 record with a save and a 3.38 ERA in eight games.

Class A Advanced Clearwater outfielder Cameron Perkins has been performing extremely well this month.  In 10 games, the 22-year-old has posted a .385 average with six doubles, a triple, a homer and six RBI.  Perkins was selected in the 6th round of the 2012 draft out of Purdue University.

Dominican hurler Gabriel Arias has looked great for the Clearwater Threshers, going 4-1 with a 1.25 ERA through nine outings (four starts).  The 23-year-old has regularly had his fastball clocked at 95 MPH over the past year.

Double-A Reading catcher Cameron Rupp, whose batting average had been as low as .211 this past week, decided to shave his goatee for a change of luck.  Since going bald faced, the 24-year-old has gone 5-for-12 with three home runs and five RBI in three contests.  Rupp was drafted out of the University of Texas in the 3rd round in 2010. Continue reading Minor League Notes: the Hot, the Cold, the Injured and the Departed

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