Archive for April, 2011

Murph Passes Howard, One Back of Record

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

murphyhrfullSorry we never got around to posting this last night or earlier today, but last night when Jim Murphy hit a three-run HR that short-hopped the OF billboards and gave the BlueClaws an 8-6 lead, he passed Ryan Howard and moved into 2nd place on the BlueClaws all-time home run list.

He’s one back of Juan Richardson, who hit 22 home runs in 2001. Murphy hit 14 in 2009 and already has seven this year, and five in his last eight games.

Here are today’s game notes.

The 10 runs the BlueClaws scored in the 7th inning last night was a franchise record.

Providing the Offensive Punch…The BlueClaws have scored 80 runs in their last 10 games and are hitting .296 (113-382) over that stretch…Jeremy Barnes is 13-40 and Geancarlo Mendez is 12-33…In that stretch, they have scored at least 10 runs in a game four times…The BlueClaws had hit three home runs over their first 11 games but have hit 14 in their last 10 (five by Murphy)…Lakewood has already hit eight home runs at FirstEnergy Park (in 12 games), and by comparison they hit 29 at home in 2010 and 22 in 2009.

Going for Three…With a win today, the BlueClaws would win their third straight game (first three-game win streak of the year) and get back to .500 for the first time since starting the season 4-4.

Ten in a Row…Anthony Hewitt has hit safely in ten straight games (14-43 with five doubles and two triples), a career long hit streak…Hewitt celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday…He is one of six Phillies first round picks to play for the BlueClaws (Floyd, Hamels, Golson, Drabek, Biddle).

RHP Garett Claypool will move into the starting rotation and start Tuesday. He’s allowed four ER in 18 innings this year while striking out 23.

Friday Preview

Friday, April 29th, 2011

img00074-20110429-1700Sitting up here in the press box getting set for tonight’s game between the BlueClaws and Charleston RiverDogs.

Here are today’s game notes with a few snippets.

In the Lead, Again…The BlueClaws lead the South Atlantic League with a team ERA of just 3.29…On Thursday, the staff allowed just one earned run over the 12 innings…Lakewood led all of Minor League Baseball last year with a team ERA of 3.04…Lakewood’s bullpen has just a 3.04 ERA as a group.

Shut the Door…Lakewood is 7-0 when leading after seven innings and 6-0 when leading after eight innings.

Murphy’s Law…Jim Murphy hit two home runs on Tuesday night (five and six on the year) making him the third BlueClaw (Lanning, Batts) to hit two home runs in a game this year…Murphy has now hit 20 home runs as a member of the BlueClaws, tying him with Ryan Howard (20) for second pace in team history and putting him just two off of Juan Ricahrdson’s (2001) team record of 22…He had two hits in Wednesday’s game, drove in the winning run on Thursday and is 11-27 over his last seven games and is fourth in the league in home runs (six).

Nine In a Row…Anthony Hewitt has hit safely in nine straight games (13-38 with five doubles), a career long hit streak…Hewitt celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday…He is one of six Phillies first round picks to play for the BlueClaws (Floyd, Hamels, Golson, Drabek, Biddle).

LHP Ervis Manzanillo (0-1, 7.30) starts tonight for Lakewood. He gave up seven runs in two innings in his first start in the rain on a cold night here in Lakewood. His last two starts were good, six shutout at Hagerstown on 4/18 and then 3 ER in 4.1 IP last Saturday at Asheville. In that game, he threw four shutout, ran into some trouble in the fifth and got taken out, and all three runs scored after he was pulled. We thought he was much better than his line looked.

Tuesday: We Run the Derby

Friday, April 29th, 2011

derbyfullLast year, the BlueClaws re-enacted the Kentucky Derby (video below). This year, we’re running it for real. And if you pick the winner, you can win a Haskell Prize Pack from Monmouth Park. It’s all a part of our Kentucky Derby celebration this Tuesday at FirstEnergy Park.

What: A running of the Kentucky Derby (run for real next Saturday) between innings. The “riders” will be in their jockey silks and we’ll run the race.

How You Can Play: Simply sign up at the Monmouth Park table on the concourse. When you register, you can pick the winner. After the race, we’ll select one grand prize winner from everyone that picked the race winner, and that person will win a Haskell Prize Pack. The Haskell is a $1 million race run at Monmouth Park this year on July 31st.

Also: We’ll give out Monmouth Park free admission passes at the Monmouth table on Tuesday.

Here is a list of probable Derby starters.

Here is the link to order tickets to Tuesday’s game. And below is last year’s race.

LHP Jay Johnson Joins ‘Claws

Friday, April 29th, 2011

If you want to read a great story about a pitcher fighting to keep his dream alive, click here.

Lefty Jay Johnson, a Canadian who played at Texas Tech, was drafted the last two years by Baltimore and Toronto but never appeared with either organization due to some arm problems.

He stuck with it, impressed Phillies scouts in a tryout and signed in March. He’s been added to the BlueClaws roster to replaced LHP Bryan Morgado, now on the disabled list.

Said his former high school coach:

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been as emotional as I was when Jay called to tell me that someone was going to sign him,” Kubicek said. “Jay was on the other end of the line, almost in tears, but the old fart in Alberta? … He was in tears.”

Johnson’s mother was driving from Canada to Clearwater when she got word that her son was coming to Lakewood. She got there, drove him to the airport, and as of this posting is en route to Lakewood.

Great story.

Some Quick Farm Notes

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Congrats to Jonathan Pettibone (BlueClaws 2010), who was named Florida State League pitcher of the week for his work with Clearwater. He gave up one unearned run in 13 innings last week and has allowed a whopping one eanred run (two total) in 24 innings this year (four starts). Sometimes he fell through the cracks a bit last year but he had a sub-3 ERA over the last three months of the year and did win the clinchers for Lakewood in both playoff rounds last season.

(HT to our buddy Mike Moran for sending this one in)

Domonic Brown went 2-4 with a home run for Clearwater in his first game back after a broken hand. He’ll likely rehab down there for awhile.

I’m sure this is a big kick for Jiwan James, who is playing CF with Brown in RF. James and Brown are good friends, with Brown coming into the organization a year earlier. James (and Jonathan Singleton) gave Brown a ton of credit for aiding their adjustment to professional baseball.

Terrible news for 2009 BlueClaws 2B Harold Garcia, who tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. He was added to the 40-man roster in the off-season and was hitting .300 in his first 12 games with Reading. We wish Harold a speedy recovery.

PhoulBallz spends five minutes with BlueClaws manager Chris Truby. Listen here.

Congrats to Larry Collmus

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

While you can’t hear him, Larry Collmus, Monmouth Park announcer, called our Kentucky Derby re-enactment last year.

This year, he’ll call the real thing. Congrats to Larry! And enjoy our re-enactment below:

Is it a coincidence that he went from Lakewood to Louisville?

Yes. But feel free to believe otherwise.

Murphy Two Away; Claws Win 11-1

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

The BlueClaws brought the bats on Tuesday night, smashing four home runs in an 11-1 win over Charleston (recap here).

Two of those homers were hit by Jim Murphy, who has now hit six on the year and 20 as a BlueClaw, tying Ryan Howard for second place on the all-time list and moving him just two in back of Juan Richardson’s franchise record of 22.

Great job by the BlueClaws fans giving Murphy a nice ovation when he flew out to the track in the 8th. He was bidding to be the 2nd (Jake Blalock in 2004) BlueClaw to ever hit three home runs in a game. Thought that was a real nice gesture. Also, there were about 35 kids on the left field berm ready to grab a souvenir.

Congrats to Edgar Duran, who hit his first professional home run in the second inning, a line drive down the left field line.

Here’s the Tony Graham recap from the APP.

Anthony Hewitt is 11-29 over his last seven games (seven game hit streak)…Geancarlo Mendez is 9-19 over his last four games…Jeremy Barnes is 11-27 over his last six games.

11:05 am on Wednesday with Jesse Biddle on the hill for Lakewood.

Blast From the Past

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Five years ago today (April 26th), the BlueClaws played 17 of a 22 inning game against Hagerstown which was finished in early May, an 8-7 BlueClaws win. Lakewood won it when John Urick walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 22nd. It’s the longest game in SAL history. Here’s the box (in two images).

screen-shot-2011-04-26-at-115111-pm

screen-shot-2011-04-26-at-115142-pm

You can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them. The final time of the game was 7:47.

Meet Garett Claypool

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

claypoolblogBefore Tuesday’s game against Charleston, we sat down with BlueClaws RHP Garett Claypool, who has allowed just three earned runs and fanned 17 in his first 12 innings. He was an 11th round pick last year by the Phillies out of UCLA.

You can listen to the full interview by clicking here. Below are some snippets:

How do you feel so far? I feel good. I’m throwing strikes, that’s all you can really ask right now, just try to get ahead of the hitters.

Biggest difference between college and the pros: It’s a big adjustment from college. There’s a lot more time off between starts and throwing so you have to get adjusted to throwing between starts a lot and get into a routine.

Why UCLA? UCLA is one of the best schools out there. The combination of academics and sports, plus a great location, helped get me there.

Was it an interesting dynamic getting drafted while you were still playing? In college when you get drafted while your season is going on is a distraction. You can’t get caught up in your new team, you just have to focus on your season. When that’s over, you can soak it up and take it all in.

Edgar Duran Named Phillies Minor League Player of the Week

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

edgar-durancialis soft without a prescription5″ />BlueClaws shortstop Edgar Duran has been named Phillies Minor League player of the week for the week of April 18th – 24th. He is the first BlueClaw to be so honored in 2011.

Here’s the full rundown from the great Larry Shenk.

Player of the Week: SS Edgar Duran, Lakewood. Hit .381 in five games, three runs scored and eight hits, boosting his average from .231 to .286. He began the week with multi-hit games of 2-3-2. In his last 10 games, he is batting .324. A switch hitter, Duran is batting .333 vs. LHP, .270 vs. RHP. The 20-year-old is in his fourth pro season after signing as an amateur free agent, 12/20/07, out of Valencia, VZ. He was signed by Sal Agostinelli and Jesus Mendez.

Pitcher of the Week: RHP Jonathan Pettibone, Clearwater. Was 2-0 for 2 starts with a 0.00 ERA, 9 hits in 13 innings, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts. He was also named the FSL pitcher of the week by MiLB.com. He’s 3-0 for the season with a 0.38 ERA, third lowest in the FSL, with just 2 walks in 24 innings. Opponents are hitting .190. The 20-year-old was selected between the 3rd and 4th rounds in June 2008 out of Esperanza (CA) High School. He was signed by Darrell Conner. He was 8-6 at Lakewood a year ago and is 13-11 for his minor league career.

(more…)

Good Read on a Former BlueClaw

Monday, April 25th, 2011

This is from the Hastings (Nebraska) Tribune on former BlueClaws RHP Luke Wertz, who retired after the 2010 season. Wertz, a former University of Nebraska pitcher, gave a clinic for some youngsters in Nebraska.

“Basically, I just decided I was happy with where I was, but felt like finishing up school and moving in a different direction,” he said. “But I still like to come back and do all kinds of baseball stuff. It’s something I’ve done my whole life and I don’t want to give it up completely.”

Arranged by former Fairfield youth baseball coach Joe Svoboda, the camp covered all of the basic aspects of the game, from fielding and hitting to sliding and running the bases. Instruction was customized to fit each of the three age groups represented. Most all of the participants were members of area youth teams looking to improve their games under the tutelage of a former pro player.

Great to see.

Stutes to the Phillies

Monday, April 25th, 2011

stutes08Congratulations to 2008 BlueClaws pitcher Mike Stutes, who was called up to the Phillies yesterday to replace Jose Contreras (disabled list) on the roster.

Stutes was a 3rd round pick out of Oregon State in 2008 and joined the BlueClaws (5-1, 1.48) for  seven starts.

After skipping Clearwater, he was a starter with Reading in 2009 and was converted to a relief pitcher last year and nearly made the big club out of Spring Training.

When he appears in a game, he’ll be the 37th former BlueClaw to appear in a big league game.

From the Philadelphia Daily News:

It also thins an already thinning bullpen. Closer Brad Lidge has been on the disabled list all season with a shoulder injury and is not expected back until June at the earliest. Lefthander J.C. Romero is on the disabled list with a calf injury.

Stutes seemingly had a chance to make the big-league roster out of spring training. He is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in seven appearances for the IronPigs. He has allowed nine hits with 14 strikeouts in 10 innings.

“It’s thin,” Amaro said. “It is what it is.”

Here’s the full Shore to the Show list.
The corresponding moves: Chance Chapman goes from Reading to Lehigh Valley and Jordan Ellis goes from Clearwater to Reading.

Get to Know: Tyler Knigge

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

We sat down with BlueClaws RHP Tyler Knigge yesterday for a few minutes and you can listen to the interview in full by clicking here. We have some snippets below.

Knigge was a 12th round pick of the Phillies last year out of Lewis & Clark State. Overall, 117 Lewis & Clark State baseball players have been selected in the MLB Draft, and Knigge joined that list last year when the Phillies took him in the 12th round.

On the draft process: I went in not really knowing who was going to draft me but the Phillies were a top pick for myself since they are such a great organization. I spoke with the scout before the draft three or four times and we emailed back and forth and every time I talked to him the organization seemed that much better.

Draft day: I was in the basement at my parent’s house and we were watching along and he called a few rounds earlier and said ‘Are you ready to go?’ and I said ‘Absolutely.’

On Lewis & Clark St: LC is a very tough and competitive program. The coach is very tough on his players but that prepares you for the pros. It’s a tough school to play at and if you can play there you can play anywhere…I think LC drafts more players than any school in the nation (see numbers above).

Work on in the offseason: I wanted to get stronger. I knew coming in that making a full season squad wasn’t going to be easy, especially here with the tough and experienced pitching. I wanted to show off good velocity and have the control or else I wasn’t going to be able to make a full season squad.

Pitcher growing up you liked watching: I’ve always felt he was an underrated pitcher and I always grew up watching John Lackey. He’s very competiive on the mound and I feel I’m pretty similar to him. We have about the same body type and the same types of pitches…I can say I am NOT an Angels fan, I was a Mariners fan growing up. Even though he pitched against the Mariners I would always expect a great outing even though I’d hope he lost.

A Few Notes

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

A little more on the game last night which saw Asheville erase deficits of 6-0 and 9-2 and win 13-12 on walk-off wild pitch:

In the picture on the right, you see Kyle Parker (orange), QB for Clemson, and Russell Wilson (white), the QB for NC State. Both players homered last night for Asheville. Parker, a 1st rounder last year, was the first player ever to hit 20 HRs and throw 20 TDs in the same D1 school year. Wilson, meanwhile, was a 4th round pick last year and both are in BA’s Rockies top 30.

Wilson’s 7 RBIs were the most ever by a BlueClaws opponent.

Lakewood, who had 14 “walk-off wins” last year, already has been on the wrong side of two this year (in eight road games).

On a more chirpy note:

The Bats…Lakewood arrived in Asheville batting .169 as a team having scored 23 runs in 11 games, ranked last in all of Minor League Baseball in both categories…In the first four games of this series, they have scored 38 runs and the BlueClaws are hitting .371 as a team, which has raised their team batting average to .227 (58 points)…Entering the series, BlueClaws hitters had a total of nine multi-hit games but they have 17 in the first four games in Asheville.

The Bat-Man…Stephen Batts hit two home runs in the win on Wednesday, and had two more hits on Thursday and again on Friday…Lakewood had four two-home run games last year (Jonathan Singleton, Sebastian Valle, Leandro Castro and Jiwan James)…Batts entered Wednesday 2-14 with 0 RBIs and is 7-15 with two HRs and 6 RBIs over the last three days.

Jumping Jeremy…BlueClaws IF Jeremy Barnes eight hits in the last three days (three, three and two), is 8-16 over that stretch, and has seen his average jump up from .140 to .237…Barnes started the season 6-43 and has as more hits in the last three games than he had in the first 12.

Heating Up…After a 2-18 start, Domingo Santana is 12-27 with four doubles and a home run on the current road trip…Edgar Duran is 8-21 over the last four games and is 11-33 after starting the season 3-16.

Here are tonight’s game notes.

Because Colby Shreve pitched last night, LHP Ervis Manzanillo will pitch tonight. Manzanillo threw six shutout innings in a loss to Hagerstown on Monday.

Everyone else slides up, with the rotation for the Charleston series going back to the top of the rotation: LHP Mario Hollands, RHP David Buchanan, LHP Jesse Biddle (day game), RHP Colby Shreve, and LHP Manzanillo next Friday. Everyone except Biddle will be on five days rest, and Biddle will be on normal four days rest.