Archive for August, 2010

Several ‘Claws Headed to Arizona Fall League

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The rosters for the prestigious Arizona Fall League were announced today and feature several BlueClaws (including two current ‘Claws). All will represent the Mesa Solar Sox.

  • Manager Mark Parent: Parent, the BlueClaws first year manager, will serve as the hitting coach for Mesa. Parent spent 13 years in the Major Leagues before retiring after two seasons with the Phillies (1997-1998). He managed Seattle’s California League affiliate in 2000 and led Chico in the independent Chico Outlaws in the Golden League from 2005-2007.
  • RHP Josh Zeid: A current BlueClaw, Zeid is 7-4, 2.99 in a season split between the starting rotation and bullpen. He is the only current BlueClaws player headed to Arizona. Last year, 2009 BlueClaws SS Troy Hanzawa and OF Steve Susdorf played in the AFL. He was a 10th round pick in 2009 (Tulane).
  • RHP Tyson Brummett: He made six starts (3-0, 1.99) with the BlueClaws in 2008 and is currently 1-2, 5.01 with Double-A Reading. He was a 7th round pick in 2007 (UCLA).
  • RHP Justin De Fratus: He spent the 2009 season with Lakewood, going 5-6, 3.19. He opened the season with Clearwater and as their closer went 2-0, 1.79 with 15 saves. He is now 1-0, 2.28 in 19 games with Reading. De Fratus was an 11th round pick in 2007 (Ventura College).
  • RHP Chris Kissock: He spent 2008 with Lakewood, going 4-6, 4.37 and this year went 6-3, 2.17 and is now 1-0, 3.27 in nine games with Reading. He was a 9th round pick in 2007 (Lewis/Clark State).
  • RHP BJ Rosenberg: Rosenberg had 19 saves and a 0.87 ERA with Lakewood last year, including a 28.2 inning scoreless streak. This year he has bounced between the GCL Phillies, Clearwater and Reading and has a 5.24 ERA between the three stops. He was a 13th round pick in 2008 (Louisville).
  • C Tim Kennelly: Kennelly spent part of 2006 and 2007 with Lakewood but played prominently with the BlueClaws in 2008 (.275-1-27)…This year, he is batting .277-4-57 with Clearwater. He was signed as an amateur free agent from Australia in 2003.
  • 1B Matt Rizzotti: A 2008 BlueClaw when he hit .268-10-49, Rizzotti has skyrocketed up the system this year, hitting .344-19-76 between Clearwater, Reading and Lehigh Valley. He was a 6th round pick in 2008 out of Manhattan College.

Here is the full release from MLB on the league, which enters its 19th season and features seven players from all 30 organizations split among six teams.

Game 133: BlueClaws (74-57) vs Augusta (79-53)

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

One night after the 13th walk-off win of the season, the BlueClaws are back in action tonight against Augusta at FirstEnergy Park, with just seven games left in the 2010 regular season.

Game Notes
Listen Live (at 6:50)

LAK: RHP Brody Colvin (6-7, 3.28)
AUG: RHP Andrew Reichard (4-1, 3.50)

Magic Tricks…The BlueClaws magic number to win the second half title is just three.

Record Chasing…BlueClaws CF Jiwan James has 147 hits on the season, just five off Quintin Berry’s single-season franchise record set in 2007…Sebastian Valle, with 89, is three behind Ryan Howard’s franchise RBI record (Valle was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Saturday with a right hamstring strain).

The Beal Deal…BlueClaws RHP Justin Beal has has only allowed one run in his last 10.1 innings pitched, including 4.2 scoreless on the current road trip…Beal joined the BlueClaws on 6/27 from Williamsport…He began pitching during his senior year of college at Missouri Southern State.


Two Former Claws Match Up Tonight

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Very cool tonight in LA as 2004-06 BlueClaw Kyle Kendrick will pitch for the Phillies against 2007 BlueClaw Carlos Monasterios. It is believed to be the second ever pitching match-up in the Major Leagues against two former BlueClaws (Matt Maloney of Cincinnati faced Cole Hamels on July 11th).

Monasterios, the Opening Day starter for the BlueClaws in 2007, has a tough act to follow, as Hiroki Kuroda took a no-hitter into the 8th inning last night for the Dodgers in a series-opening win over the Phillies. He was taken in the Rule-5 draft by the Dodgers from the Phillies in December and has had a very good year, pitching to a 3.54 ERA (2.79 after the All-Star break). All the more impressive, before this year, he had only thrown seven innings above Double-A!

Kendrick, who was with Lakewood between 2004 and 2006, was here again a month ago to throw a bullpen session. He is 8-7, 4.64 and is 1-3 with a 6.23 ERA in his last four starts. The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits over six innings in Thursday’s 5-1 loss to Houston.

We might be a year away from some Carlos Carrasco (Indians) and Gavin Floyd (White Sox) match-ups next year in the American League Central.

A Pair of Transactions

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The BlueClaws made two transactions today:

1. C Sebastian Valle was placed on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain suffered on Friday night in Hickory. The move is retroactive to Saturday and he’s eligible to return on Saturday, with three games left in the regular season.

2. C Jim Klocke (pronounced Clock-ee) was called up from Williamsport. A 31st round pick this year from SE Missouri State. He was batting .274 with one home run with the Crosscutters. A St. Louis native, he was drafted in the 46th round last year by the Cardinals.

Game 132: BlueClaws (78-53) vs Augusta (74-56)

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Welcome back to FirstEnergy Park. After the final day off of the regular season, the BlueClaws are set to kick off an eight-game homestand beginning with four against the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants). The teams haven’t met since 2008 and Lakewood beat Augusta in the 2006 SAL Championship Series.

Game Notes
Listen Live (at 6:50)

LAK: RHP Mike Bolsenbroek (0-1, 3.00)
AUG: LHP Kelvin Marte (1-0, 2.70)

Do You Believe in Magic?…The BlueClaws are trying to become the first team since Capital City in 2004 and just the 3rd (Piedmont, a Phillies affiliate managed by current Lakewood hitting coach Greg Legg, in 2000 and Lake County in 2003) to win both halves…They currently lead Greensboro by 4.5 games in the second half standings with eight games left…The BlueClaws magic number is four over Greensboro and three over Hickory and Kannapolis, meaning any combo of four BlueClaws wins and Grasshoppers losses plus any combo of three BlueClaws wins and Kannapolis/Hickory losses would clinch the half for Lakewood.

Barnes Burning Up…On the strength of a 13-30 week, Jeremy Barnes has raised his average up to .296 …Barnes has not been at .300 since May 31st…He is 31-82 (.375) in August with 10 multi-hit games this month…He hit .346 in April, .268 in May, .176 in June, .247 in July.


Homestand Promo Rundown

Monday, August 30th, 2010

dontmesswithbusterHere is the promotional rundown for this week’s eight-game, regular season concluding homestand. A packed week, should be fun (order tickets here)

  • Monday: Phillie Phanatic appearance and Kids Eat Free (video from the Phanatic’s last visit)
  • Tuesday: Pink tote bag giveaway (click here) for the first 2,000 women 18 & older plus Seniors Eat Free
  • Wednesday: Unused Ticket Night (click here), an appearance by the Famous Chicken and Dollar Dog Wednesday
  • Thursday: Last Thirsty Thursday of the regular season
  • Friday: Post-game fireworks plus a Lady Gaga ticket raffle
  • Saturday: Packed night (click here): Buster bobblehead giveaway, bring your dog to the game, and an appearance by Yo Gabba Gabba’s Brobee and Foofa
  • Sunday: 7:05 start because of the post-game fireworks, Kids Eat Free and Kids Run the Bases after the game
  • Monday: 1:05 start on Labor Day with a post-game photo on the field and a Dollar Blowout of items (click here), meaning each inning we’ll have one thing on sale for one dollar around the park (last year’s items included mini bats, playoff tickets, hot dogs and beers in the WRAT Trap).

Reading Eagle’s Phillies Pharm Survey

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Every year Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle surveys media around the farm system and ranks the prospects in the organization from 1-20. He released his survey results yesterday, and as expected the list had a distinct BlueClaws feel to it.


Skip Checks In

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Before Saturday’s game at Hickory, we sat down for a few minutes with BlueClaws manager Mark Parent, who talks about the series with Hickory, the upcoming postseason series (also possibly against Hickory) and more.

After dropping the first game, how do you think your guys responded over the last two days? They know they need to matchup against this club. Offensively, during BP, they’ve been taking it very serious, not that they haven’t all year but it’s coming down to the end and they’re trying to take care of all the little things.

Do you view it as a chance to “make a statement” against these guys? I don’t know. The standings kind of look like it’s going to be them because it’s hard for Greensboro to jump two teams (they’ve already jumped one). Messages don’t count for much. You still have to go play the game. There are times that we’ve played well and then go to Delmarva and lose a couple. In a three game series, you’re in trouble if you do that.

The first inning has been big for the winning teams in these three games. How significant is that for your pitcher? That’s very important. When James gets on in the first game, we didn’t get him in. But more importantly is when we do score the runs is when you give back one or two. For a catcher, that’s the most important thing. When we score some runs, throw a zero up there.

Jonathan Singleton, do you think he’s finding his groove again? He’s starting to realize he’s not Superman and he has to shorten his swing and know where the head of the bat is. When we’re young, we’re young and stubborn. We think we’re invincible but sometimes it takes awhile for young people to make adjustment and he’s made a few.

How important has the re-emergence of Jeremy Barnes (.400 in August) been to add another bat in the middle of the lineup? Real big. Here’s a guy staying above water but he made a few adjustments that Greg Legg has been trying to get him to do all year and he’s been swinging the bat really well, staying back and using his hands. When those things happen, you want to make sure the other guys see that too. Even when you’re doing well, you can do better.

What do you want to see the last nine days? I’d give all my pennies to see Valle healthy. He’s got a tweaked hamstring right now. But I’d like to see everyone healthy, win or lose, show what they can do and give it their best and enjoy being in a playoff chase.

With a bunch of guys in different roles lately at the back of the bullpen, how important is it to have organized roles or do you want to see as many guys as possible pitching well? We’ve changed guys around like McGuire just to get him innings or we had a need and he was the guy that fit it. But we’re trying to see who’s been in different roles, who’s throwing strikes and making quality pitches. Certain guys are doing that and certain guys aren’t. Those that aren’t won’t get the opportunity. Those that do deserved it.

Game 131: BlueClaws (77-53) at Hickory (70-59)

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Hard to believe but this is the last regular season road game for the BlueClaws as they look to take three of four from Hickory after winning the last two. The winning team has scored multiple runs in the first inning each day and has led throughout.

Game Notes
Listen Live
(at 6:45)

LAK: RHP Julio Rodriguez (3-1, 1.85)
HIC: LHP Miguel de los Santos (2-1, 3.99)

Ten In a Row…The BlueClaws have wrapped up a winning record for the 10th consecutive half and 13th among 20 in franchise history…Lakewood had just three winning halves in their first 10 but this would is their 10th straight (beginning with the first half of 2006).

Here Comes Jiwan…BlueClaws CF Jiwan James has 145 hits on the season, just seven off Quintin Berry’s single-season franchise record set in 2007…He has scored 80 runs, 12 less than Michael Bourn’s total of 92 set in the 2004 season.


Winner, Winner

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

The first five years of BlueClaws baseball included a few stars, like Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Michael Bourn. But not too much winning baseball. In fact, in the team’s first five years, the BlueClaws had a total of three winning halves.

Since then, however, the team has had only winning halves. That started with the first half of 2006 (after an 0-9 start) and has continued all the way through until now.

With last night’s win at Hickory, the BlueClaws clinched a winning half for the 10th straight half. They had a winning record but missed the playoffs in 2007 and again in 2008 (80-60 was the best record in the league). The BlueClaws won the title in 2006 and 2009 and will return to the playoffs in 2010.

The BlueClaws are now 3.5 games up on Hickory and Greensboro, which is their largest lead of the year. They are trying to become the first team since Capital City in 2004 to win both halves. That was a Mets affiliate that featured Lastings Milledge.

Here are today’s game notes.

Game 130: BlueClaws (76-53) at Hickory (70-58)

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Back at LP Frans Stadium here in Hickory where the BlueClaws look to take their second in the first three games against Hickory…Lakewood dropped the series opener 5-3 on Friday and took the second game 7-3 last night. If the playoffs started today, here’s your match-up.

Game Notes
Listen Live (at 6:50)

LAK: RHP Jonathan Pettibone (6-6, 3.57)
HIC: RHP Braden Tullis (6-1, 3.64)

The Pettibone…Pettibone, 20, makes his 23rd appearance and comes off a career long (tying) eight inning outing against Hagerstown on Saturday…The only run he gave up was an 8th inning home run to Sandy Leon…Pettibone has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since he gave up six in 1/3 of an inning against Greensboro on June 6th…Since then he has an ERA of 2.33, lowing his ERA from 5.98… Pettibone has walked just one hitter in his last three starts and four in his last 39.1 innings pitched…He is 3-1 with a 1.83 ERA over his last six starts.


Two Weeks to Go

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Just two weeks left until the BlueClaws first home playoff game of 2010 (Friday, September 10th at FirstEnergy Park).

As of now the opponent would be Hickory (Rangers) but Greensboro is just 2.5 games out of first place with 10 to go. If they come back and beat the BlueClaws, they would be the opponent. If not, then it’s the Crawdads.

Click here for a BlueClaws Playoff Commercial with Jonathan Singleton and Jiwan James.

BlueClaws individual game playoff tickets are on sale, with a reminder that fireworks will in fact follow the first home playoff game on 9/10.

Lakewood opens the first round series on the road on Wednesday, September 8th (opponent TBD).

We will have a lot more coming up about the playoffs, obviously, and we’ve begun work on the 2010 BlueClaws Post-Season Media Guide with some cool facts and info (one of which is the BlueClaws are 10-2 all time in the playoffs and have never faced an elimination game).

Hope to see you at the park for the playoffs!

Checking In With Stephen Batts

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Before Thursday’s game in Hickory we sat down with BlueClaws IF Stephen Batts, who is batting .342 in August and has spent much of the second half learning a new position, third base, which he hadn’t played since his freshman year at East Carolina.

What adjustments have you been working on at the plate over the last few weeks? Just keeping my hands in a good spot and getting more on my back foot…just trying to square up some balls.

Approach in this series with Hickory, knowing that you could well be back here facing them in the playoffs in two weeks? Trying to…just want to be competitive. That was a tough loss last night but they saw us scrap back a bit at the end. We want to compete and show them we have a good team. The teams in the league know we’re good, but to show it against them from a mindset. This game is all about mind. We want to put it in their heads that we can hit. We have some good starters and we have some good guys coming in out of the pen.

From the mental side, is it more important to have a strong mental approach in this year, a 140 game season, than it was last year when you played 76? I think it is, but you can’t start now and be mentally strong. You have to start in spring training and the first month of the year. Our coaching staff has prepared us for the long season, not just for the first month or the first half. It’s a long year and a big grind on your body and your mind. For me, you might not play for a week then play three weeks straight.


Game 129: BlueClaws (75-53) at Hickory (70-57)

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Welcome back to LP Frans Stadium here in Hickory where tonight the BlueClaws try to even up their four-game series with the Crawdads after dropping a 5-3 decision last night.

Game Notes
Listen Live (at 6:50)

Don’t Look Now…But here comes Greensboro…The Grasshoppers have won six of their last eight games and are just 2.5 games in back of Lakewood (and tied with Hickory for second place) in the second half standings…Greensboro can make the playoffs if they win the second half, while Hickory would qualify by winning the second half or if the BlueClaws win and Hickory has the next-best overall record (they lead by eight games with 11 to go).

The Comeback Kids…The BlueClaws have won nine games that they have trailed after eight innings this year…No other team in the league has won more than four.