Archive for June, 2011

Good Friends and a Strong Bullpen

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

These are the two most important things in life, according to Bob Lemon.

Greetings from Hagerstown, where tonight the BlueClaws will finish a four-game series against the Hagerstown Suns. Lakewood picked up a 7-2 win last night, with the bullpen throwing 8.1 innings of scoreless relief.

Here are today’s game notes.

Good Friends and a Strong Bullpen…In Lakewood’s last 14 games, their bullpen has allowed just 13 ER in 61.1 innings pitched (1.91 ERA)…In that stretch, which dates to June 12th, Chase Johnson has thrown nine shutout innings…Jay Johnson has thrown 7.1 shutout innings…Colby Shreve has thrown seven shutout innings.

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Chasing Zeros…BlueClaws RHP Chase Johnson has thrown 10 consecutive perfect innings, including four against Hagerstown in an 11-inning game on June 14th and four more against
Hagerstown in a 14-inning game on June 28th.

From the Side…BlueClaws LHP Jay Johnson has allowed just five ER in 22.2 innings pitched since his debut (two ER, no outs recorded, four batters, all walks) and one run in his last 14.1 innings…Johnson, a side-armer, has 26 strikeouts in those 22.2 innings pitched…He threw a career long three innings on 6/11 and then bested that with 3.1 scoreless innings on 6/16…He threw three shutout on 6/29 at Hagerstown…Johnson, from Canada, played at a junior college in Canada and Texas Tech University…He signed with the Phillies during spring training.

A New Home…BlueClaws RHP Colby Shreve has a 2.45 ERA (8 ER in 29.1 IP) since moving to the bullpen in early May…He has thrown 8.1 consecutive scoreless innings and has allowed three ER in his last 20.1 innings…Further, five of the eight runs he’s allowed out of the bullpen came in one inning vs Hagerstown on 5/16…A 6th round pick in 2008 from the CC of Southern Nevada, Shreve was a starter with the BlueClaws last year, going 7-5, 3.95…A Las Vegas native, Shreve missed the first two years of his professional career with injuries.

Fordcast Tour Coming to FirstEnergy Park

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

avatarexThe BlueClaws are excited to welcome the Fordcast Tour to FirstEnergy Park for next Thursday’s game, which is one of the Fordcast Tour stops!

If you are unfamiliar with the Fordcast Tour, it is an awesome summer-long tour created to celebrate the launch of the new 2012 Ford Focus.  The Fordcast team will make stops all across the Northeast at music, sports, and food festivals events.

At the BlueClaws game there will be two Ford Focus Lounges with video games, trivia, a Focus Fotobooth for you to strike a pose in and free giveaways! One of the giveaways will include Ford Focus binolculars, five of which will feature a gold star to denote a winner of tickets to a future BlueClaws game.

We should also mention that there will be 2012 Ford Focus vehicles on-site for BlueClaws fans to check out in person! This vehicle has everything a BlueClaws fan would want – MyFord Touch capabilities that include voice commands and a rear-view camera (just to name a few!), heated seats for those cold winter nights and best of all, it gets 40 miles per gallon!

Cant make it to the game? No worries, we will post a video recap shortly highlighting our experience in the Fordcast Lounge!

For more information on how you can win tickets to next week’s BlueClaws game, follow the Fordcast Tour on Twitter at @FordcastTour and check out their website here.

ClawCast: Travis Mattair

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

mooseblogBefore Wednesday’s game in Hagerstown, we sat down with BlueClaws 3B Travis Mattair, who re-joined Lakewood two weeks ago after opening the season with Clearwater.

“Moose” spent a year playing basketball at Boise State and talks about that and his transition back to baseball, his first love.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

When did you decide that this game was your first love? Watching playoff baseball and the Phillies were in the playoffs. I couldn’t keep my eyes of baseball tonight. It was like I had to have it. I was talking to my roommates in Boise, started talking with Brian Gump, Matt Rizzotti. And thought it was feasible that I could play the game again. I don’t regret going to Boise one bit and I’m fortunate I got another opportunity.

When you went to Boise, did you think you had fielded your last groundball? I really never thought I’d be playing baseball ever again. I was going to play basketball and go to school but it’s crazy how life works. It’s a roller coaster ride but I’m glad I’m on the right tracks right now.

What’s the attraction to basketball for you? It’s a different game. I grew up playing it, playing on my dad’s rec team as a kid. I loved it. It’s not like baseball where if you mess up at the plate, you have to wait an hour. In basketball you can go make up for it right away.

How did you have to change the workouts from basketball when you decided to come back to baseball? I lost 25 pounds right away in basketball because of the running. So my workouts changed from running to bulking up. It’s definitely night and day.

Where do you fell you are compared to when you last played baseball? I actually feel like I’m ahead of where I was then. I’m more committed. I want to be here, at the field every day. I couldn’t really say that before…Now every morning I want to go hit and I want to take ground balls. When you’re committed to something it’s amazing what you can do.

Who was the guy you liked watching at third growing up? Scott Rolen. People say I resemble him a lot, even the way I walk, he was a basketball player too. But I’m trying to be my own guy, but he’s not a bad guy to emulate.

Bastardo, Stutes Get Shot to Close

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Two former BlueClaws, Antonio Bastardo and Mike Stutes, will get the first shot to close for the Phillies now that Ryan Madson has been played on the disabled list with a bruised right hand.

Bastardo, who was with the BlueClaws in 2007, has allowed three ER in 27 innings on just 13 hits this year with the Phillies. He does have two saves, though now he will get a more formal opportunity.

“OK, I take the chance,” Bastardo said. “I’m ready for that and see what happens.

Bastardo had quite the summer with Lakewood in 2007. He went 9-0, 1.87 in 15 starts and opponents hit a paltry .189 against him. He was in Clearwater by the end of the year and with the Phillies by 2009.

Stutes, meanwhile, wasn’t drafted until 2008, from Oregon State.

That summer, after starting the year with Williamsport, he finished by going 5-1, 1.48 in seven starts with Lakewood.

This year, he made his big league debut on April 25th, and is 3-0, 2.92 in 26 games.

From Todd Zolecki:

Stutes has talked with Madson and Brad Lidge about preparing for the closer’s role. He was told to block out the score and baserunners and zero in on getting the batter out.

“It’s just like any other inning though,” said Stutes, who had closed some for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. “Whether you get three outs in the ninth, three outs in the eighth, three outs in the seventh, it’s still three outs.”

Good luck to both guys. Of course, if it doesn’t work, they could just let Cliff Lee close.

Wednesday Notes

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

The BlueClaws sent RHP Lendy Castillo to the mound tonight in Hagerstown after the Suns took the first two games of the series on Monday and Tuesday. Last night, it was a Kevin Keyes 14th inning home run to give Hagerstown, who had tied the game in the 9th inning with a two-run HR by Michael Taylor, a 4-3 win.

Here are today’s game notes.

Castillo, a converted infielder, is making his fifth appearance and has given up four runs in 10 innings so far with Lakewood. This is his first start. He has 14 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched.

Jesse Biddle gave up one run over 5.2 innings pitched last night and has allowed three runs over his last 17.2 innings. However, he has recorded three straight no-decisions.

Biddle has a 2.59 ERA since May 1st after having a 7.16 ERA before that.

Singleton, May Take FSL Honors

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Jonathan Singleton and Trevor May, both with the BlueClaws last year, took home Florida State League honors this week.

Florida State League
Jonathan Singleton, Clearwater
.520/.613/1.000, 7 G, 13-for-25, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R, 6 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Jonathan Singleton wore a serious funk into the week — his 0-for-3 Monday made him 1-for-18 over the last five games, and he’d managed to get as many as two hits in only one game all month. On Tuesday, everything changed. He doubled in his first at-bat of the game, and he finished with a home run, a single, a walk and six RBIs. In his next game, the Phillies prospect notched two more singles and another base-on-balls. Singleton wasn’t done yet, though: he homered twice, doubled and walked to score three runs Thursday. He went 3-for-5 on Friday and had a hit in each of the next two games.

Florida State League
Trevor May, Clearwater
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 14 K
Trevor May, who won two Pitcher of the Week awards at two levels last year, picks up his first honor of 2011. The Phillies prospect pitched a 1-2-3 inning and ended up the victor in this week’s FSL All-Star Game, but his regular-season start on Wednesday really stands out. May punched out 14, tying a career-high mark, allowing one hit and two walks over seven innings at Tampa. May ended up without a decision, and the game was suspended due to rain with a 2-2 tie in the 10th.

Here’s another recommended read: 5 Minutes with Justin Friend. The Reading reliever sat down with Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News.

Pregame quirk: Takes a hit of smelling salts before he goes in to pitch. “It kind of wakes you up after sitting in the bullpen for eight innings,” said Friend, who picked up the habit from Oakland closer Andrew Bailey, a Paul VI product. “He’s a two-time All-Star, so I figured I might as well try it.”

Jesse Biddle, who has a 3.04 ERA since May 1st, throws tonight for Lakewood in Hagerstown where the BlueClaws look to bounce back after dropping the first game of the series on Monday night.

Jim Murphy Featured the APP

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Here is Tony Graham’s story from the Down on the Farm blog.

Murphy has hit nine of his home runs at home where Legg estimates FirstEnergy Park’s big league dimensions and high walls have cost him about five more.
”For me, the things we’ve worked on, are trying to keep his bat in the hitting area a little longer so there are more places for him to hit the ball,’’ Legg said. ” That’s been our main focus.”

Whenever Lakewood’s  Jim Murphy strides to the plate a murmur of anticipation  runs through the
crowd at FirstEnergy Park.

“”C’mon Murph,” is a cry you hear often.

With good reason. As the week began a  common sight was Lakewood’s all-time home run leader, with 31 over two stints with the BlueClaws, sending one of his majestic shots out of the spacious ball park, or delivering a key hit.

The 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star first baseman was tied for the SAL lead with 17 home runs (the most in a first half in franchise history) and was No. 2 in RBI (54). His .287 batting average led all Lakewood regulars.

”He’s having an outstanding year, not only  offensively, but he does a fine does a fine job defensively,  and his leadership on that club has been very good as well,” said Chuck LaMar, Phillies assistant general manager of player development and scouting.

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Be sure to read the full story.

BlueClaws to Face Chien-Ming Wang Tonight

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Former Yankees RHP Chien-Ming Wang, who won 38 games in 2006-2007 with New York, will face the BlueClaws tonight rehabbing for the Hagerstown Suns.

Here are today’s game notes.

BlueClaws to Face Wang…Nationals pitcher Chien-Ming Wang will make a rehab start with Hagerstown tonight, his first appearance in any game since July 4, 2009…Wang won 19 games for the Yankees in both 2006 and 2007, but tore the Lisfranc ligament in his right root running the bases in Houston during the 2008 season and had shoulder surgery in 2009…He signed with the Nationals in February of 2010.

Going For Nine…David Buchanan can tie Garrett Richards of Arkansas (AA) and Justin Wilson of Indianapolis (AAA) as the only pitchers in Minor League Baseball with nine wins if Buchanan earns his ninth win of the season today…He is tied with Hagerstown’s Matt Grace and Taylor Jordan in the South Atlantic League, who the BlueClaws will face each of the next two days.

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This is the first opposing player to rehab against the BlueClaws this year…Lakewood enters this four-game series on a three-game win streak and at 3-1 in the second half…This is the first of a seven-game road trip which will take the BlueClaws to Hagerstown and Delmarva.

ClawCast: Karch Kiraly

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

During the rain delay on Friday, Sean Houston sat down with volleyball legend Karch Kiraly, in town for the Corona Light Wide Open to be held today and tomorrow in Seaside Heights.

Click here to listen to the full interview, or see below for a few snippets:

  • Beach volleyball had its birth in Southern California, but as the tour grew and one of the first places it went to was the coast of New Jersey. It turns out a lot of us players loved coming here. The fans are great, the beaches have great deep sand.
  • My dad came over from Hungary and met my mom at the University of Michigan. He gave me my start when I was six. He had never seen beach volleyball in Hungary and fell in love with it.
  • They should certainly expect to have a lot of fun. It’s a great family sport. People talk about how our country needs more exercise, and there’s no better way to do it. People tell us “I can’t even walk in this stuff. How do you jump 2 and a half or 3 feet…You have to be in tremendous condition.”
  • I got my start on the beach so that was my first love. When I got to high school I got to play indoors and played in two Olympics. But they added beach volleyball in Atlanta so I got to win the first ever gold medal in beach volleyball Olympics. There’s something special about being a part of a team of 15, but there’s also something special about being out there two on two with your partner. One of the great challenges is that if you are having a bad day, there are no substitutes. You have to work through it.
  • I was aware of some of the greats in beach volleyball, like Ron Von Hagen. One of best indoor players, a guy named Larry Rundle. When I was around 10 or 11 years old, Sports Illustrated did an article on him and said he entered his first adult tournament when he was 11. So I entered my first tournament when I was 11, with my first coach, my dad. I saw the fear in the eyes of my opponents, they didn’t want to lose to an 11 year old kid. That was one of the experiences that hooked me on the game.

Karch was going to throw out a first pitch at the game on Friday, but unfortunately the game never got going.

There is a double-header today that starts at 6:05. RHP Garett Claypool throws for Lakewood in game one against RHP Luis Noel (Friday’s starters) and game two features Lakewood RHP Lisalberto Bonilla and Delmarva LHP Cameron Roth.

Two Former Claws Headed to Futures Game

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

cosartvalleCongratulations to 2010 BlueClaws Jarred Cosart and Sebastian Valle who are headed to the 2011 MLB Futures Game this year, to be held July 10th in Phoenix, two days before the MLB All-Star Game.

Cosart is 6-4, 3.16 with Clearwater this year. The 21 year old from League City, Texas was selected to play last year while with the BlueClaws, but was injured and could not participate, so this must be extra-special for Cosart this time around.

Valle, meanwhile, is batting .343 with three HRs and 22 RBIs and this is his first selection to the game. Valle, just 20 and from Los Mochis San Aloa, Mexico, spent the first half of 2009 and all of 2010 with Lakewood. His most memorable moment was hitting the game winning HR in the SAL Championship Series clincher (game four) for Lakewood last year at FirstEnergy Park.

Here are the former BlueClaws that have been selected (italics means they were selected the season they were with Lakewood):

  • 2003-04: Gavin Floyd
  • 2003: Ryan Howard
  • 2005: Scott Mathieson
  • 2006-08: Carlos Carrasco
  • 2007: Adrian Cardenas
  • 2008: Jason Donald
  • 2008: Greg Golson
  • 2008: Lou Marson
  • 2009: Kyle Drabek
  • 2010: Jarred Cosart, Domonic Brown

Here is the full story from MLB.com with the full rosters.

Second Half Opens Tomorrow

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

The BlueClaws return home to open the second half of the season Thursday night against Delmarva.

First things first…here is the recap of how the BlueClaws players did in the All-Star Game, won by the South 6-3. Jim Murphy and Anthony Hewitt each had a hit while David Buchanan and Garett Claypool threw scoreless innings.

Lakewood has taken four of the six meetings with Delmarva this year and will face the Shorebirds a full 19 times in the second half. Here’s Lakewood’s rotation to open the second half:

LHP Jesse Biddle (3-6, 4.03)
RHP Garett Claypool (2-3, 3.15)
RHP Lisalberto Bonilla (0-2, 1.62)
LHP Ervis Manzanillo (4-4, 4.78)
RHP David Buchanan (8-4, 3.21)

Minor League Review

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Here’s the weekly Minor League Review courtesy of Larry Shenk:

Players of the Week

**Pitcher: RHR Eric Pettis, Clearwater.  Relieved twice, 0 runs in 5.1 innings; allowed 4 hits, 1 walk and 5 strikeouts.  Since joining Clearwater from Lakewood on May 5, he has 11 scoreless outings out of 13.  He’s given up just 2 runs, solo home runs in back-to-back games, June 3 and 6.  For June, he’s 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA.  The 23-year-old was selected in the 35th round in 2010 out of UC Irvine and signed by Demerius Pittman.  He broke in at Williamsport last season, finished 8-0 with a 1.37 ERA for 20 games (5 starts).

**Player: 2B Cesar Hernandez, Clearwater.  In an All-Star Game shortened week, Hernandez hit .500 (9-18) in 4 games.  His 9 hits led the organization.  Included were 2 homers.  He’s hitting .390 in his last 10 games and .328 in June, improving his average from .214 to .249.

The 21-year-old hit .325 in 65 games a year ago at Williamsport.  He was signed as an amateur free agent out of Carabobo, VZ, by Sal Agostinelli and Jesus Mendez.

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Five Minutes With David Buchanan

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

This was in yesterday’s Philadelphia Daily News. Click here to read the whole thing.

Favorite memory: Was at the Braves’ game in 2007 when John Smoltz picked up his 200th career win. Oddly enough, Tom Glavine was the opposing pitcher for the Mets. “Every time [Smoltz] had two strikes, the crowd just got up on their feet and cheered. Seeing stuff like that makes you want to get to the big leagues.”

Father’s Day Game Preview

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

biddleblog2First of all, a Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there in BlueClaws Blog world.

Today is the final game of the first half as the BlueClaws will start the three-day All-Star Break tomorrow, opening the second half at home on Thursday against Delmarva.

Jesse Biddle (3-6, 4.03) will start for Lakewood, and he was going to start against fellow first round pick Jameson Taillon. But Taillon was scratched this morning. Not injury related, presumably to give him a few extra days around the All-Star Break and to let him throw an inning on Tuesday in the All-Star Game.

Here are today’s game notes.

Biddlemania…Biddle, 19, makes his 13th start of the year and third against West Virginia…He’s allowed six ER in 9.2 innings pitched against the Power this year…Last time out, Biddle gave up two runs (a first inning HR to David Freitas) in six innings against Hagerstown, getting a no- decision…He struck out nine, one off his career high (10, with GCL Phillies)…Biddle went 0-3, 7.16 in April, but since then is 3-3, 3.02…The leadoff hitter is batting just .183 off Biddle this year…Biddle threw a career-long seven innings and allowed one unearned run on May 29th against Delmarva…Biddle is the sixth former first round pick to play for the BlueClaws (Floyd, Hamels, Drabek, Golson, Hewitt)… Biddle, who grew up a Phillies fan, was drafted 27th overall in 2010 by the Phillies…He split last year between the Gulf Coast League and Williamsport…Committed to Oregon before signing with the Phillies.

Murphy’s Law…Since April 25th, Jim Murphy is batting .315 (62-197) with a league-leading 47 RBIs and 19 doubles in that period (52 games)…He had six RBIs in the BlueClaws first 17 games…Murphy hit a three run HR in the first inning of Wednesday’s game with Hagerstown, his first HR since May 28th and his 14th of the season…He added two more HRs on Friday night in West Virginia, his second 2 HR game of the year…He has 30 in his Lakewood career, a franchise record…Murphy also has 16 HRs in the first half, the most by a BlueClaw in a half (passing Juan Richardson’s 15 from the second half of 2011)…Murphy now trails Richardson by just six for the single-season home run record.

UPDATE: Murphy has the day off. He finishes the first half with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs.

Dandy Domingo…Since May 19th, Domingo Santana is batting .307 (27-88) with eight multi-hit games in that stretch…He had two doubles in last Sunday’s win over Hagerstown and two more in Wednesday’s win over Hagerstown.

This will be the first half the BlueClaws do not have a winning record since the second half of the 2005 season when they went 31-38. Ten straight halves with a winning record is a pretty remarkable achievement for give or take 200 different players.

Congratulations to Hickory, who won the first half title, clinching last night with a win over Charleston and Greensboro’s loss to Kannapolis. Hickory is 13-2 in their last 15 games and has won seven straight.