LHP DeNato promoted from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, August 29, 2015 01:11 PM Comments: 4

denatoLAKEWOOD, NJ- Left-handed reliever Joey DeNato has had an exceptional season to date with the Lakewood BlueClaws, but couldn’t seem to earn a promotion despite dominating Class A competition.  Until now.

DeNato, a 19th round draft selection by the Phillies last year out of Indiana University, will jump three levels, as he joins the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Saturday.

Honored as a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star, DeNato sports a 2-3 record with 10 saves and a 1.24 ERA through 43 appearances this season.

The move may be overdue, but DeNato has kept a solid frame of mind, fending off discouragement in favor of determination.

“There is some frustration because I think this is the best I’ve ever pitched.  Then again, I don’t let the frustration get to me,” DeNato stated with a look of empowerment during the BlueClaws’ homestand this week.  “If anything, I can kind of use it as a chip on my shoulder and that’s what I’ve kind of been trying to do.  Not trying to let up, not trying to let frustration get to me or anything like that.”

The 23-year-old sports a 1.49 overall ERA and a 9.02 K/9 mark in 66 pro appearances since signing with the Phillies last summer. Continue reading LHP DeNato promoted from Lakewood to Lehigh Valley


Nation Notes: Padres vs. Phillies

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Fri, August 28, 2015 05:17 PM Comments: 6

San Diego Padres (62-65) at Philadelphia Phillies (50-78)


Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Aaron Nola, RHP (4-1, 3.59)
SD: Ian Kennedy, RHP (8-11, 4.01)

Time: 7:05 EST, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 81 degrees
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today:

Coming off a sweep by the Mets is a major hurt to the Phillies, especially the fans who have had to put up with the unruly opposing travelers the past few days here at CBP.  But in come the San Diego Padres to save the day, or is it.

The Padres have made a push during the second half of the season so far in attempt to make their way into close reigns of the wild card spots.  They swept the Atlanta Braves, and took two from the St. Louis Cardinals before coming back to earth and losing two against the Nationals in their last series.

The Padres will face the new Phillies Ace, Aaron Nola, who has started 7 games and holds a 4-1 record on the mound.  Nola gave up just 3 hits in his last start with no earned runs, over 8.0 innings in a gem we hope to see more of.

Aaron Altherr will get his second start in a row finally after showing off his throwing capabilities in last nights’ game.  Altherr is batting .250 with 24 at bats, while includes 2 home runs and 4 doubles.

Ryan Howard will get the start on first again tonight after sitting out against lefty, Jon Niese.

First pitch at 7:05 EST.


Hernandez 3B, Herrera CF, Altherr RF, Howard 1B, Blanco 3B, Asche LF, Brown RF, Rupp C, Galvis SS, Nola RHP


Injuries lead to roster moves, Ogando & Cozens promoted

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, August 28, 2015 03:45 PM Comments: 0

Necessary roster moves were made on Friday following the placement on the disabled list for two injured players.  Phillies reliever Elvis Araujo will miss time with a groin strain while Reading outfielder Nick Williams is out with a concussion following a collision in the field on Wednesday.

Replacing Araujo on the big league roster is righty Nefi Ogando.  The 26-year-old was acquired near the end of the 2013 season from Boston in a trade for utility guy John McDonald.  Ogando, a native of the Dominican Republic, sports a 4-5 record with a 3.05 ERA, three saves and a 7.8 K/9 mark in 42 games combined at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.

Filling the void with Reading will be outfielder Dylan Cozens.  The 21-year-old was the Phillies’ 2nd round draft choice in 2012.  In 96 games with Class A Advanced Clearwater this season, Cozens sports a .282 average with five home runs, 46 RBI and 18 steals.

Dylan Cozens

Cozens, image- Jay Floyd

The 24-year-old rookie Araujo was signed as a free agent last off-season.  He had been a solid contributor out of the bullpen this season, sporting a 2-1 record, a 3.38 ERA and a .225 batting average against.

Williams, 21, was one of the prized prospects the Phils acquired from Texas in the trade last month for Cole Hamels.   With Reading, Williams tallied a .326 average with four homers and 10 RBI in 21 games. Continue reading Injuries lead to roster moves, Ogando & Cozens promoted


Lakewood’s Viza developing despite lack of success in win column

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, August 28, 2015 02:30 PM Comments: 1

Tyler Viza 2

Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd

LAKEWOOD, NJ- Atlanta’s Shelby Miller has garnered plenty of attention of late for his losing ways. The 25-year-old former first round pick, has not notched a win in his last 18 starts, losing 10 consecutive decisions over that stretch. The lack of success isn’t Miller’s fault though, as he sports a remarkable 2.63 ERA this season and a solid 3.24 mark during this stretch in the big leagues. In the minors, the Phillies have a poor luck loser of their own.

Right-hander Tyler Viza surpassed his win total with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws from last year with his fourth victory on June 1st of this year. The 20-year-old has not recorded a win since that date over a span of 12 appearances.

Like Miller, Viza’s lack of wins certainly isn’t due to poor output. He has tallied a 3.38 ERA this season through 21 games (20 starts).  In his last 9 starts, the six-foot-three 170-pounder has gone 0-7 with a 2.58 ERA.  The BlueClaws, however, are averaging just 2.11 runs per game in those contests.

His pitching coach, former Phillies reliever Aaron Fultz, asserts that he feels frustration for the young hurler.

“This year, I mean, it’s frustrating,” Fultz admitted. “He’s been probably our best starter for two months and he hasn’t had a win since June 1st. Like I tell him, as a pitcher, we don’t control that. We can do everything right and get a no decision. We just have to give our team a chance to win and he does that every time out.”

Viza, though, is not bothered by his own lack of W’s and has his mind firmly focused on the bigger picture.

“I would look at it like I want to get my team a win. I’m trying to do my best for the team and I know they’re trying to do their best. When we come out with a loss, it’s harder to take than a win, but I’ll show up tomorrow and do it all again,” Viza said in the home dugout at FirstEnergy Park this week. Continue reading Lakewood’s Viza developing despite lack of success in win column


Phillies plan to extend protective netting at Citizens Bank Park

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, August 28, 2015 11:09 AM Comments: 10

1501_Seating_Bowl_at_NightThe Phillies are putting fan safety near the top of their priority list.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the organization is vying to become the first team to install extended protective netting at the ballpark, but is currently waiting for MLB to finalize regulations regarding the netting.

Once baseball does reach a conclusion, the Phillies will commence their efforts to keep fans safe from foul balls and flying bats. Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke at Citizens Bank Park Thursday and discussed a possible timetable for the extended netting.

“We are examining all of the relevant information,” Manfred said. “Our goal to is to put the commissioner’s office in a position where we can make a complete recommendation to ownership in November and give people an opportunity to be ready to make changes for next year if, in fact, we decide that changes are necessary.”

Baseball will likely not come to a conclusion by the end of the 2015 season, but extended protective netting could be implemented in ballparks around the league as soon as next season.

According to Rosenthal, MLB must thoroughly examine the laws and codes in the cities and counties where its teams play before deciding on a uniform set of rules.

During Thursday night’s extra-inning loss to the New York Mets, a woman was struck in the forehead by a Freddy Galvis foul ball. She was evaluated by the park’s medical staff, but did not need to be sent to the hospital. Her seat was just to the right of where the netting ends.

There have been numerous incidents with fans suffering injuries from foul balls and airborne bats this season, including a June 5 incident where a woman at Boston’s Fenway Park was struck in the face with a shattered bat and suffered life-threatening injuries.

While there are worries about the extended netting negatively affecting the fan experience, the priority for MLB and the Phillies is to assure fans that they are safe when they take their seat at the ballpark.


Review: Out of the Park Baseball 2016

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, August 28, 2015 06:00 AM Comments: 1

Being a broadcaster with Ring of Honor Wrestling has afforded me the opportunity to travel the United States and Canada throughout 2014 and 2015. Most nights, I have a very specific set of duties that last only a few hours and then I am left with hours before and after the events. On a limited budget, I do my best to sight see without paying anything (yes, I illegally parked, literally ran to the Alamo, poked around, and ran back on Easter Sunday this year prior to my flight), but that still leaves me with copious free time, particularly if my wife isn’t traveling with me. So like most young adults, I turn to video games, in particular sports video games. Sorry, wrestling announcers/baseball writers just don’t party like they used to.

My colleague King Corino is an avid baseball fan, as well, and a huge baseball gamer. One day while lamenting that a PS4 was not possible to travel with to play MLB the Show, King put me on to Out of the Park Baseball for PC. Out of the Park Baseball is a baseball simulation game produced by Out of the Park Developments and originally launched in 1999. I was provided a tester license for the game after talking about with King over Twitter after I mentioned how I had been a huge Baseball Mogul fan in the early and mid 2000s. I’ve had about two weeks with the game for PC and wrote down some thoughts on it.


Just like in real life, the goal in Out of the Park Baseball 2016 for the PC is to win the World Series as much as you can. You take the reigns as the general manager, manager, or both of a team at any point in Major League history from 1871 through present. At the end of each season, you are given a score from 0 to 100 based on how well you met the goals set forth by your owner. Obviously, the better you do, the more points you will score, but you can also earn points by accomplishing specific requests like upgrading a position or signing a player to an extension. You can also lose points that you may have earned by doing the opposite of what your owner has asked. Continue reading Review: Out of the Park Baseball 2016


Catching prospect Alfaro debuts with GCL Phillies

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, August 27, 2015 07:31 PM Comments: 4

milb logoNew Phillies prospect Jorge Alfaro made his Phillies organization debut on Thursday, going 1-for-1 while reaching base twice after being hit with a pitched ball.  Starting at catcher for the Phils’ rookie level Gulf Coast League team, the Colombia native left the game early after three plate appearances.

Reached via text message, Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan said he saw Alfaro play in person and asserted that the 22-year-old is fine after the HBP’s.  Jordan also stated that the youngster will play again with the GCL club on Friday.

Alfaro was a key return from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade just a few weeks ago.  He was previously sidelined following ankle surgery.

Opposing runners went 0-for-1 against Alfaro in his organizational debut, as the young backstop gunned down the only potential base stealer.

Also competing in the game for the GCL team was 28-year-old Cuban Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who tossed four scoreless frames, earning a no decision as the starter.  Through four appearances, the right-hander has not allowed a run in 11 innings pitched.  Gonzalez has struck out 10 batter and walked four thus far. Continue reading Catching prospect Alfaro debuts with GCL Phillies


Nation Notes: Mets vs. Phillies

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Thu, August 27, 2015 05:36 PM Comments: 0

New York Mets (70-56) at Philadelphia Phillies (50-77)


Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Aaron Harang, RHP (5-14, 4.67)
NYM: Jon Niese, LHP (8-9, 3.80)

Time: 7:05 EST, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Cloudy, 79 degrees
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today:

After another loss to the Mets for the third straight game, the ‘best record since the all-star break’ excuse is looking a lot bleaker.  Perhaps it was the loss of the explosive bat of Maikel Franco?  Maybe the departure of our Ace?  Many arrows can be pointing in all directions, but looking forward to the future has it’s upsides.  The Phillies before this series with the Mets were only 2 games from being .500 at Citizens Bank Park, a feat that could be accomplished with some devotion and perseverance.

Maikel Franco making his way back before the end of the season could be a huge plus, but the expansion of the roster is a mere 5 days away and Nick Williams, who has been a huge return in the Cole Hamels deal, is turning heads, as well as Andrew Knapp, Phillies prospect catcher.

Aaron Altherr will make a start in the lineup today versus the Mets, and will bat 5th in the lineup.  Darnell Sweeney will look to come off the bench after going 1 for 4 last night in his first start at CBP.

Aaron Harang will get the start tonight for the Phillies after going 7.0 innings against the Marlins on August 22nd where he gave up 2 earned runs on 2 hits.

Jon Niese will face the Phillies after pitching last in Colorado where he gave up 11 hits and 7 earned runs.

First pitch is at 7:05 EST.


Hernandez 2B, Blanco 3B, Herrera CF, Francouer RF, Altherr LF, Ruf 1B, Ruiz C, Galvis SS,  Harang RHP


PN Interview: RHP Ben Lively talks Reading postseason push

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, August 27, 2015 04:30 PM Comments: 0

B Lively 2

Ben Lively, image- Jay Floyd

Activated on Thursday from the disabled list after dealing with a shoulder strain, right-hander Ben Lively will help the Double-A Reading Fightins push toward the postseason.

In 22 starts this year for Reading, the 23-year-old sports a record of 8-7 with a 4.17 ERA while striking out 96 batters and walking 42 in 127 1/3 innings.

Lively was acquired last off-season from Cincinnati for Marlon Byrd.

Earlier this month, I spoke with Ben about some ups and downs this season, his excitement level to be chasing the Eastern League crown and more. Read ahead for that interview.

-You’ve mostly been consistent this season, but have had some shaky outings. What are your thoughts on your 2015 thus far?

We’ve been working on a lot of stuff this year. I kind of got in a little funk and that got me down, and that’s what kind of got me up and down and I haven’t been consistent. But, this past outing we were watching stuff from last year, kind of nit picked little stuff we needed to work on and it’s been working out. I feel like everything just snapped in and I’ve been working in my bullpens and everything’s been feeling great and hopefully, it turns on the rest of the way.

-You spoke of reviewing film and making adjustments. What can you share about what you worked on?

I mean, just like kind of worked on my front side. Tried to stiffen up my front side, to get more power and stuff. I was spinning off and I was throwing the ball all over the place. I feel like I have to get everything where I want it. Everything felt ten times better (in my last start) with the things we adjusted to. Continue reading PN Interview: RHP Ben Lively talks Reading postseason push


A friendly letter to a Mets fan

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, August 27, 2015 02:00 PM Comments: 43

new-york-mets-alternate-logo-2-primary_display_imageDear Mets Fan,

It was October 19, 2006. My 22nd birthday. I was in Boston, back in my college town to celebrate. While stopping at my old school newspaper office, I watched Adam Wainwright hurl a curveball, outside corner, and Carlos Beltran saw it … saw it … saw it … and buckled.

Called strike three.

Game over.

Mets lose.

What a terrible moment. What a heartbreaker. Especially after that Endy Chavez catch. But I’m sure you remained optimistic in your chances at reaching the postseason again. It was October 2006. You had Wright and Reyes, Beltran, Delgado and Lo Duca. And the pitching! Glavine, Pedro, two young studs in John Maine and Oliver Perez, and a bullpen headlined by Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman and the great Billy Wagner. So much talent on one team! Of course you were coasting into 2007 with eyes on the final prize; you had it in the bag!

But we know what happened in 2007. We don’t have to revisit it.

On second thought, let’s.

You had a six-game lead going into a late-August four-game series in Philadelphia. And what happened? Pounded in game one, a Ryan Howard walk off in game two, a Marlon Anderson miscue in game three, and an epic game four where your boy Wagner left the door wide open. Remember when Wagner spoke ill of the Phillies? Remember Pat Burrell slamming a home run off Wagner in game four? Remember Jayson Werth and Tadahito Iguchi stealing bags off ol’ Billy by practically walking?

Karma is a killer.

And yet you guys started winning again! And the Phils started losing! And just like that on Sept. 13 you had a seven-game lead on the Phillies. Seven! And then a weekend series at Shea.

And again you were swept by the Phils!

I was there on Saturday, Sept. 15. Remember that one? Pedro gave you a 3-1 lead in the seventh, and yet you blew it again. Aaron Rowand homered. Hell, Pete LaForest drew a crucial walk. Then Jimmy Rollins struck a ball over Beltran’s head and plated the winning run. Oh, and one day later Greg Dobbs hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Hilarious, right?

And then that final weekend. And that final cold September day. Within 20 minutes you were down 7-0 to the Marlins … the Marlins! And all we needed was a win. So Jamie Moyer did his thing, and Rollins hit his 20th triple of the year, and Howard homered, and our bullpen locked it down, and we made the playoffs. Not you. We.

And then 2008 happened. And hey, you were still confident, as well you should’ve been. Wright was an all-world stud. Reyes was clearly a star. Young pitching looked great. And despite a cool start, you heated up and reached first place by mid-season. Hell, you had a 3.5-game lead on Sept. 10!

But same old story, huh?

Lest we forget the whole firing Willie Randolph in the middle of a west-coast swing thing, right?

Then you opened 2009 in Citi Field. New stadium! New hopes! New dreams!

Boy did you guys suck.

I mean you guys just tanked that one, right? The Phillies went 12-6 against you. You complained about the stadium’s huge dimensions, and yet Chase Utley hit so many homers to the right corner that your lead TV announcer named that part of the stadium after him.

I repeat, there’s a part of your stadium named after a longtime Phillie.

I guess 2010 was better, but let’s be honest, you stunk that year, too. And 2011, oh what a smack to the head. And you kept hearing it. “Next year,” right? You’d get some big bats, some strong arms. Jason Bay, anyone? Then a new manager, a new general manager. Same ownership though … same toxic ownership with financial issues …

Look, it sucks being the doormat. It sucks being the laughing stock. And sure, there were times in 2007, 2008 and even 2009 when we Phillies fans said a little too much, yelled a little too loud, and acted a little too unruly. That’s how it goes, and frankly, I do apologize for that. We can be better than that. But I gotta say, at some point during that 2009 season, when the Phillies were playing well and you just … well … sucked … we stopped worrying, we stopped caring.

Sure we invaded your sparkling new (and beautiful, I should say) ballpark and rooted for the Phillies. Sure we teased a little here and there. But honestly, we moved past being concerned about the Mets. We were more worried about … well … I guess we just waited until the postseason to really be worried. And sure, we choked in some of those playoff rounds. Sure, we wish we had another title or two in our belts. We could’ve won them, really could’ve. But we knew that when a team was below us, we didn’t need to spend our precious time belittling them.

And here’s the thing: We won one. We took it in 2008. And along the way we beat you in crucial, competitive, all-or-nothing baseball. Yeah. We earned it.

So now you’re sitting pretty atop the National League East, 6.5 games up on the Nationals. Frankly, and I say this personally, I’m happy for you. You have a great team built by young starting pitching, supported by experienced hitters who are simply mashing the ball right now. As I said, your ballpark is gorgeous, and you know, you guys deserve this. You’ve been through too much crap. You’ve been heartbroken too long. And especially if you knock out Washington, it’s a well-earned playoff trip for the Metropolitans. Congratulations on the success so far this season.

Now you’ve come into Citizens Bank Park and practically wiped the floor with the Phillies. As you should, because, as I said, you’re a great team. And the Phillies stink right now. We know this. We’re not fools. We’re hoping to build for a better future, and I’m optimistic about that process. Moreover, you’ve invaded our park, just as we once invaded yours. And you’re vocal, you’re cheering. Good. Go for it.

Sure we had a dust-up in the second game of the series. Double standards aside, the Phillies are still trying to be competitive, and Larry Bowa – while unhinged (and that’s putting it lightly) – is looking out for his players.

What I’m saying, Mets fan, is be very, very careful. Be happy for your success – which, by the way, only recently exploded. Not like you have a long track record here. Celebrate the wins. But watch what you say and how you act, especially regarding your old rivals the Phillies.

Right now you’ll have your way with us, but one day – and that day could be sooner than you think – you may find yourself as sad as the guy at Shea Stadium that cold, cold September afternoon in 2007.

Karma. Remember it.

With love,

A Phillies Fan

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