Archive for July, 2011

ClawCast: Jim Murphy

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Sean Houston sat down with BlueClaws 1B Jim Murphy, who last night hit his 20th home run of the season last night, two off the single-season franchise record.

Click here to listen to the interview and below find a few snippets.

My girlfriend said I’d look good in a moustache, about two months ago. I grew it out, it looked ok so I kept it. My average went up about 40 points in the process too so I kept it.

Coaching. I don’t like anything else. This is what I grew up wanting to do and when I can’t play anymore I want to coach, be involved somehow, something in the game. I’d like to manage in the minor leagues.

The fan support is great, especially of late. They’ve responded well. I hear my name called out a lot, it’s a lot of fun. There’s a buzz when I come up to the plate and I really enjoy that.

Murphy has played first base in all but three games this year.

Walk-Off ‘Claws, Friday Night, Murphy

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Lakewood’s walk-off win last night was their 8th of the season. Miguel Alvarez delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 9th for the BlueClaws, who won just their second game that they trailed entering their final at bat.

Jim Murphy is now two home runs away from tying the single-season franchise record of 22 set by Juan Richardson in 2001. He broke a tie with Ryan Howard last night with his 20th HR, a mammoth blast into the LF picnic area.

Joe Adelizzi, longtime BlueClaws beat writer for the Asbury Park Press who was here last night, said it was the farthest ball he’d ever seen hit at FirstEnergy Park.

Here are Friday’s game notes. Garett Claypool will start for Lakewood, who will sweep this three-game series with a win tonight. Lakewood is trying to get to four-games over .500 in the second half for the first time and two games over .500 overall for the first time since June 3rd.

Here is video of Alvarez’s game winning hit last night courtesy of PhoulBallz.com.

Fordcast Tour Video

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

The great folks with the Fordcast Tour and the Ford Focus were here on July 7th and gave the tour to a number of BlueClaws fans plus had a great night at the ballpark. Take a look!

Thursday Preview

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Off a win yesterday afternoon, the BlueClaws are back in action tonight at FirstEnergy Park against Greenville in game two of their three game series.

Here are today’s game notes.

Jesse Biddle (5-6, 3.10) takes the hill for Lakewood…Biddle, 19, makes his 19th appearance for Lakewood and second in a row against Greenville…He threw seven shutout innings against the Drive on Friday at Fluor Field to win his second straight start and fifth game of the year…That game earned him Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week & South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week (third BlueClaw to win this year, Claypoool, Bonilla)…Biddle has not allowed more than one run in any of his five second half starts (28.2 IP, 18 H, 3 R/ER, 34 K, 0.94 ERA)…Since going 0-3, 7.16 in April, Biddle is 5-3, 2.27)…Career long outing is seven innings (twice, 5/29 vs DEL, 7/15 vs GRE)… 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…Committed to Oregon before signing with the Phillies.

Rupp on a Roll…BlueClaws C Cameron Rupp has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games (26-64, .406)…Rupp, drafted in the 3rd round last year from the University of Texas, has an eight-game hitting streak (14-30) after his nine-game hitting streak was snapped…His average has gone from .217 to .269 over the current stretch.

RHP Scott Swinson 2-2, 2.44) starts for Greenville…He (5) and Biddle (7) matched zeros on Friday in Greenville but Lakewood got to the Drive’s bullpen and won 4-0.

IF Travis Mattair was promoted to Clearwater. “Moose” was 29-87 over his last 24 games before his promotion.

Brad Lidge Post-Game

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge threw a scoreless inning for Lakewood on Monday. Here is his post-game presser.

Two Great Articles, Day Game

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Here are two really good articles you should read.

The first is in today’s New York Daily News on BlueClaws 2008 first baseman

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Matt Rizzotti (why the NY Daily News? He’s from Floral Park, went to Molloy and Manhattan College):

It didn’t take long for Reading coach Mark Parent to see that his fast-talking first baseman was unflappable.

“His approach to hitting is different than anyone I’ve ever seen,” says Parent, who has played and coached in professional baseball for 26 years. “He chooses to hit with two strikes. He almost likes hitting with two strikes.”

The second is from Saturday’s Asbury Park Press on 2010 BlueClaws manager Mark Parent:

“You don’t have to constantly remind guys of different situations that come up,”’ said Parent last week while sitting in the dugout at Trenton prior to a game between the Thunder and the Reading Phillies.

The Phillies promoted Parent two managing levels in the wake of his leading the BlueClaws to the 2010 SAL championship, the second consecutive title for the franchise.

“These (Double-A) guys have more of a baseball I.Q. than at that (low-A) level, and they know more how to take care of themselves on a day in and day out basis,” Parent said.

The BlueClaws will play a day game today in Kannapolis, an 11:05 start with LHP Ervis Manzanillo on the mound. You can read today’s game notes here.

Quick Notebook

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Julio Rodriguez won his 11th game of the year last night, allowing just one run over seven innings in a win at Port Charlotte (for Clearwater)…Rodriguez is now tied with Craig Westcott of San Jose for the MiLB lead in wins.

Colin Kleven, a hard-throwing 20 year old from British Columbia, threw seven shutout innings for Williamsport last night.

Also included in Kleven’s effort were 15 ground ball outs of the 21 batters he retired, and that brought a smile to Morandini’s face.

“That is absolutely big, especially on this field,” Morandini said. “It is a slow infield and they didn’t square him up too much tonight. When you are getting ground balls like that, it means you are keeping the ball down, changing speeds and that made him real effective tonight.”

Great line from Reading manager, and 2010 BlueClaws manager, Mark Parent on Joe Savery, who has given up hitting and is back pitching again:

“Most pitchers are so worried about themselves 24/7 I don’t know how they stay married in the first place,” Parent said in both a serious and kidding way. “When they go out to the other side, play defense, it becomes a team-oriented game and you kind of get out of yourself.”

Savery is back with Lehigh Valley as a pitcher, where he was last year before becoming a hitter early in this season.
Here are today’s BlueClaws game notes for the 5:05 start in Kannapolis.

ClawCast: Jesse Biddle

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

biddleblog3BlueClaws LHP Jesse Biddle threw seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts to beat Greenville last night, not allowing his first hit until there was one out in the sixth inning. On Sunday, before the series opener in Kannapolis, we sat down with Biddle for a new ClawCast.

You can listen to the ClawCast by clicking here.

Biddle is slated to pitch next on Thursday at FirstEnergy Park against Greenville again. Below are some snippets:

On his start: I felt great. Just, the first hitter I had to shake the nerves a bit but after that I settled in and was able to get some outs.

On his curveball last night: It was real nice to be able to go to that. I had been charting the last few games in the stands and saw some of their strengths and weaknesses. It seemed like they liked to chase the curveball and especailly early in the game they were able to bite at that.

On the first inning, getting around a runner at 2nd base with nobody out: The first out of that inning, a good friend of mine from Philadelphia (Sean Coyle) was up and he’s had my number before. I was really trying to make sure I got that out, but I knew he had seen me before and I wanted to get that out.

Chris Truby came out in the seventh inning with two outs: He just asked me how I was feeling. I kind of talked him down from taking me out. I had just struck the guy out and was feeling great. All my pitches were working. He asked what I was going to do if I left him in and I said I would strike him out. Unfortunately I lied to him about that (he grounded out to second).

Turning point for him?: I can’t really pinpoint what exactly has changed, but mentally I’ve become a bit more intense and agressive in the strike zone. I’m pitching more to contact but it’s a matter of sticking with it and knowing that I can play in this league and against these older guys. Having that confidence has enabled me to pitch pretty well.

Throwing strike one: Yes. I pretty much wasn’t trying to trick anyone. As soon as I was getting ahead ahead I was going to throw the curveball and strike them out, that was my plan and it worked out. That’s basically what the plan has been lately.

ClawClast: Pitching Coordinator Gorm Heimueller

Friday, July 15th, 2011

gormblogBefore Friday’s game in Greenville, we sat down with Phillies minor league pitching coordinator Gorm Heimueller for a new ClawCast which you can listen to in full by clicking here.

Here’s a brief snippet:

On Jesse Biddle, changeup: I saw him in spring training working on it. He was very frustrated at times, which all young pitchers do. he’s not a first round pick if his change-up is his best pitch. His number one priority is still command his fastball and after that go the off-speed pitches.

On 2010 BlueClaw Jonathan Pettibone: He was very steady and consistent. He knows his ability and he’s gotten a lot stronger. He’ll get better and all of those guys (in Clearwater)…are very young. They’re all good young arms. With Jon, he picks things up very well and has a great pitchers body and he’ll continue to throw well.

On the new guys: The draft this year hasn’t gotten that many pitchers, more position players. Two lefties, Adam Morgan in the 4th round and Austin Wright in the 8th round. They have nice arms. Ryan Duke here has done a good job. I try not to evaluate too much. I just want to watch them from the spring and this summer and get them ready for next year.

Congrats to Tom McCarthy

Friday, July 15th, 2011

tommccarthyPhillies broadcaster and Brick native Tom McCarthy was inducted into the Trenton Thunder Hall of Fame last night and, as you can see in the picture, they named the broadcast booth after him.

Tony Graham was in Trenton to cover the story.

Perhaps no one locally, other than family members,  have followed McCarthy’s career more closely than Geoff Brown, general manager of the Lakewood BlueClaws.
Brown was in group sales for Trenton in the mid 90′s when McCarthy was the Thunder Director of  Public and Media Relations while also working as a broadcaster.
After the 1999 season McCarthy left the Thunder to pursue a full-time career in broadcasting.
“”He was the first radio guy I ever knew,” Brown said Thursday. “”He was the best.”
McCarthy’s father, Tom, is a long time usher behind home plate for Lakewood.
Said Brown, “”When Tom was doing radio for the Phillies before he was doing TV, I swear I’d be out running and listening to the game and have to remind myself, “”Wait a minute, this is a Phillies game, this isn’t a Thunder game back in the day.’

You can read the full story here.

Burt Young to Donate Picture for “Holding Onto Hope”

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

We have some really cool news…

Next Saturday, July 23rd, the BlueClaws will welcome Burt Young, who played Paulie in the Rocky series, to the ballpark for an autograph signing. That night, the BlueClaws will also honor Lakewood Officer Christopher Matlosz, who was killed in the line of duty in January. $3 from each ticket purchased will go to Holding Onto Hope, a charity established by Matlosz’s finace.

Young, meanwhile, who is now an accomplished painter, will paint an exclusive baseball-themed picture which will be raffled off during the game.

All proceeds from the raffle will go straight to Holding Onto Hope.

Young will also sign autographs and pose for pictures at the game.

Here is his official website and here is the full story on the Officer Matlosz fundraiser for next Saturday.

ClawCast: Meet Ryan Duke

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

ryandukeRyan Duke picked up his first BlueClaws save last night, and we sat down with the right-hander before today’s game in Greenville.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

At Oklahoma: My brother went to Texas and my dad went to Texas Tech so I grew up rooting for those schools but in the end the best choice for me was going across the border, going to Oklahoma. Playing time, stuff like that made that the best option for me.

Faced Cameron Rupp (at Texas)? I faced him a few times. i can’t remember it all that well, but he said I struck him out once so that’s what I’m going on.

Draft process: I was driving home from Norman to Corpus Christi. The Phillies called and asked if I wanted to play baseball. I said yes. I got home and turned on the computer to hear my name called. Me and my brother were just sitting at the table. It was a big weight off my shoulders, and it’s great to be a part of the organization.

Surprised how quick you moved up? Yes definitely. Most of the guys that you see end up satying in short season ball for the full year. It’s a real privilege and a blessing to come up to Lakewood.

Favorite pitcher growing up? Nolan Ryan, I was actually named after him. That’s one of the best pitchers of all time so I guess I’d have to say him, and lately when I was in high school I liked watching Roy Oswalt.

Bonilla: Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Monday, Lisalberto Bonilla was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week. Tuesday, he won his first game of the year and on Wednesday, he was named Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week.

Here is the weekly Phillies minor league review from Larry Shenk at the Phillies.

Players of the Week

**Pitcher: RH Lisalberto Bonilla, Lakewood.  Made 1 start and wasn’t involved in the decision, a 1-0, 10-inning BlueClaws win over Hagerstown on Wednesday.  Pitched 9 innings, allowed 5 singles, 0 walks and fanned a career-high 12.  Threw 107 pitches, 77 for strikes and had 3, 3-ball accounts. He was also named the MiLB.com pitcher of the week in the SAL. In 17 games at Lakewood (5 starts), he has a 1.49 ERA for 54.1 innings with 54 strikeouts.  The 21-year-old was signed as an amateur free agent out of Samana, Dominican Republic, by Sal Agostinelli and Bernardo Perez, 12/19/08.

**Player: 1B-DH Darin Ruf, Clearwater.  Hit .632 in 6 games (12-19) with 3 doubles, 6th-7th homers and 8 RBI.  Ended the week on an 8-game hitting streak.  Six-game RBI streak ended Sunday.  Batting .403 in 17 2nd-half games, 4 homers, 15 RBI.  For the season, hitting .311 in 81 games with an organization-high and FSL-leading 29 doubles; 7 homers, 50 RBI, matching his career high set a year ago at Clearwater. The 24-year-old was selected in the 20th round in 2009 out of Creighton University and signed by David Seifert.

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A Night of Power

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

The Green Monster at Flour Field in Greenville is 30 feet high, five feet shorter than it is in Fenway Park in Boston. But the triangle in centerfield is still 420 feet from home plate, and that’s where Jim Murphy hit his first home run last nigh

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t. As it was, he added a second long ball, his 19th of the season.

Murphy is now just three behind Juan Richardson (2001) for the franchise single-season home run record, and he is tied with Ryan Howard for second place on that list.

Anthony Hewitt and Edgar Duran also homered for Lakewood in the 8-7 win and Ryan Duke earned his first Lakewood (and second professional) save. Duke, a 25th round pick this year from Oklahoma, is the fist 2011 draft pick to join the BlueClaws this year.

Lakewood is at Fluor Field of course, where they clinched the 2009 South Atlantic League title.

Here are today’s game notes.