The 2012 Phillies

Since they can’t play “High Hopes” anymore, this is what they should play after every Phillies game

Rally Towels: Good for wiping spit

It was a common joke I used to tell among baseball media types.  “It’s a good thing the Phillies are giving out rally towels because this lineup just spit in(insert pitcher’s name) face.” The Phillies hocked up a big yellow one in Cliff Lee’s face last night. During Lee’s nine starts this year, the offense has only provided 16 runs for him. Actually 15 if you consider that Lee himself has an RBI in one of his starts. His next start will be Sunday in Baltimore against Jason Hammel, who is 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA. Normally Baltimore isn’t considered that much of a challenge but this is 2012. The Washington Nationals are in first place. Cliff Lee hasn’t one win to his name this whole year. Baltimore is even closer to Philadelphia than Washington is, so it is likely Phillies fans will be trying to build a new “Citizens Bank South” just 90 min. down I-95. That is unless the fans have given up on making that much of an effort to support the team. If you’ve turned on a game lately or been to the ballpark, you might notice a lot of blue seats visible that had been filled with people where red t-shirts and white jerseys. That’s just one sign that attendance has been down. Another sign is the efforts of the Phillies themselves to drive up ticket sales. Before 2010, many fans received emails on a bi-weekly basis offering a “two tickets for the price of one” sale on certain seats. When the Phillies got hot and the park began the sellout streak, those offers disappeared. Last month, an email was sent out offering fans the same buy one get one free deal for tonight’s game that had brought people in so many times before 2009. The writing is on the wall that the streak could come to an end. The poor play of the Phillies could move up the day that this actually happens. If it doesn’t happen this season, it surely will if the Phillies don’t re-sign Cole Hamels. Fans could decide to hold on to their money in protest or simply spend their money elsewhere rather than on a team that chose not to resign their homegrown star player.
Speaking of home grown star players, not many people chose to get on Jimmy Rollins this week for his comments. When asked about if he heard the boos, he responded, “I could care less”. That’s not what fans in Philadelphia want to hear. In this city, fans respect accountability and want understanding. Not, “I could care less”. That one seemed to fly under the radar. Back when the Phillies were rocking the win column, his “frontrunners” comment set off a storm. Maybe the fans here are starting to care less about the Phillies, so Rollins’ comment flew under the radar.

In injury news, Jim Thome was called up today. He’ll likely get a lot of at bats over the next week due to the Phillies playing three series in American League Parks. The Phillies optioned Pete Orr to AAA to make room for Thome. Orr started the season with the team after Michael Martinez went on the DL in spring training. When Thome and Laynce Nix went on the DL, Hector Luna (originally Eric Kratz) and Mike Fontenot filled their spots. With Utley, Nix, and Howard still on the DL, it’s going to be a hard situation to determine who will have to leave the 25 man roster. Here’s my revamped predictions:

If/when Utley and Howard come back, Hector Luna will be the first one to get sent down. After that, Mike Fontenot will return to AAA. Fontenot can play 2nd and 3rd, but Wiggington can also play 3rd and we know how Galvis does at 2nd. But when you have that third lineup guy in Nix? That’s going to be a killer. It’s looking likely that John Mayberry might return to the Ironpigs if the Phillies decide to stick with Nix. Wiggy and Nix were signed after Howard went down. Wiggy is actually still off the Rockies contract. There is a $4M option on him next year with a $500k buyout. Nix is on a two year deal with an AAV of about $1.2M. Mayberry might have to be the sacrificial lamb again this season. But that all depends on IF Howard, Utley, and Nix return this season. Big if. As for Michael “Predator” Martinez, it looks like he just got Wally Pipp’d.

Worley to DL, Kendrick to start. Alternatives?

Two possible starters waiting in Lehigh Valley
The Phillies have confirmed that Vance Worley has been sent to the 15 day disabled list with elbow inflammation. He will be eligible to return on May 27 and he will miss tonight’s start in Chicago in addition to two additional turns through the rotation (Monday vs Washington and Saturday May 26 vs St Louis). This could fulfill the prophecy of two starters going down long term every year. Elbow problems are serious stuff.
So in response, the Phillies have moved Kyle Kendrick back into the rotation and recalled Joe Savery to full a spot in the bullpen. But laying in wait are two pitchers that have been dazzling down in the minor leagues. One a veteran, one a young rookie.

Scott Elarton

Team
League
W
L
ERA
G
GS
CG
SHO
SV
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
AVG
AVG
LHV
INT
4
1
2.39
7
7
0
0
0
37.2
31
11
10
3
13
19
.225
.225
Minors

4
1
2.39
7
7
0
0
0
37.2
31
11
10
3
13
19
.225
.225

 

Scott Elarton was signed to give added depth to the Phillies rotation, the likely number seven starter after Kendrick. Elarton has started seven games with Lehigh Valley. He had one rough outing against the Buffalo Bisons where he gave up 8 earned runs in 3.2 innings. Other than that he has been masterful. Take out the Buffalo start and he has about a 0.52 ERA. Right handers are batting .190 against him. He's 11th in the International League in WHIP at 1.17. Elarton's turn to start comes up tonight against Indianapolis. We signed this guy for a reason. Should another starter go down in the Phillies rotation, expect to see Elarton get called up.

Tyler Cloyd

Team
League
W
L
ERA
G
GS
CG
SHO
SV
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
AVG

REA
EAS
3
0
1.80
4
4
0
0
0
25.0
22
5
5
1
3
20
.239

LHV
INT
4
0
0.69
4
4
0
0
0
26.0
12
2
2
1
5
21
.145

Minors

7
0
1.24
8
8
0
0
0
51.0
34
7
7
2
8
41
.194

 

 

Tyler Cloyd was selected by the Phillies in the 18th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Bellevue East High School in Bellevue, Neb. He also pitched for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League following the 2011 season. Last season he split time between Clearwater and Reading and started 22 games, going 9-4 with a 2.77 ERA for the year and getting 128 strikeouts. He has seven starts this season between Reading and Lehigh Valley, winning pitcher of the week in two different weeks in April. Lefties are batting .167 against him while right handed batters have a .132 avg on him. He leads the Ironpigs in WHIP at 0.65. Today is actually his 25th birthday. That should tell you enough. The Phillies are notorious for keeping the young talent down as long as they can unless their hand is forced (see Freddy Galvis). If the Phillies had the need for a number 8 starter, I can't say with any confidence that Cloyd would get the call even there. You'd be more likely to see Jose Contreras start after Kendrick and Elarton get moved into the rotation. I apologize for giving you that image. There's a reason though he hasn't progressed as quickly as Vance Worley, also drafted in 2008. In 2010, the Phillies used Cloyd predominately out of the bullpen, a transition with which he had some difficulty, finishing the year with an ERA over 5.oo, spending most of the year in Clearwater after only starting 9 games. So the bounce around did more harm than help. He started more games in 2011 and improved somewhat, but so far he has been excellent in 2012. It will take a desperate situation for Cloyd to get called up as a started anytime before September this year.

But... if Kyle Kendrick does not perform adequately in his fill in starts, it is possible the Phillies could move him back to the pen and call up Elarton. Less likely: Cloyd. Kendrick would have to get shelled though in consecutive starts. And the other facets of the game, the offense and the bullpen, would have to perform well so Kendrick would have to be the only scapegoat left to blame for potential losses. Translation: Everything would have to go wrong for Kendrick and right for everyone else. If tonight the Phillies lose 7-1, it won't really matter since there was no offense. If Kendrick throws 7 innings and gives up 2 runs and leaves with the score 4-2, then the bullpen blows it, then the bullpen blame game will roll on. I can't say for any certainty how much of a leash the Phillies will give Kendrick, both in individual games and in the rotation as a whole. But knowing what we do about Elarton and Cloyd, they can't just say "We use the guys we have". Because they have two more guys in Lehigh Valley just waiting for a call.

App Review: Lakewood Blueclaws

This is the first in a series of mobile app reviews for the die hard Phillies Phan

Many of us now are carrying a smartphone in our pocket, be it the iPhone, Android, or some other phone with an “App Store”. Many of the minor league teams across the nation have their own app where fans can follow and keep up with the team. A good number of the minor league apps are designed by Critical Technologies Group (CTG). Many team apps share the same features and sections, but each app is different in the way they are maintained. The app for the Phillies single A affiliate Lakewood Blueclaws was designed by CTG and has a good number of features that help fans follow the team.
NEWS
The news section is constantly updated with game recaps from all of the Blueclaws games. Blueclaws broadcaster Adam Giardino pulls double duty here by writing up the game recaps after getting off the mic when the games end. The stories are easily loaded via pop up and you can get about a week’s worth of game recaps and Blueclaws press releases in this section.
Pros: Game recaps easily quickly available after the games
Cons: No way to go back further than a week.
Grade: A

SCHEDULE / PROMOS
Most team apps have a section for the schedule and everyone is different. Here the Blueclaws app could use some improvement. The schedule section only features the calendar of games, and even that is pretty limited. It differentiates between home and away games, but only shows game times for the home games. So if you’re hoping to catch an away broadcast on the radio or something, you’re going to have to find the time somewhere else. I understand it would take a lot of work to update the schedule with linked game results, so the teams will get a pass there. But it would be more convenient for users to have the promotions listed under the schedule section. Instead, there is a section just for “Promos”. This section lists all the promotions fans can enjoy at the home games. When you click on a promotion though, you get an annoying pop up asking if you want to know more about this promotion instead of actually going to the information. The Promos section also has a subsection for coupons, but in a year of having this app, I have yet to see a coupon be offered for Blueclaws fans.
Pros: Easy to navigate
Cons: No away game times, poor arrangement, unnecessary pop ups, coupons section always blank.
Grade: C-

TICKETS
This section gives you a seating chart, stadium guide, and a way to buy tickets to home games right off your phone. You’ll have to sign up for an account with ticketreturn.com to complete a purchase through the mobile app. Make sure and do that before your try and buy tickets for a game you want to go to. The seating chart lets you know where the reserved section seats are laid out at First Energy Park. There’s supposed to be a option to check out the view from the seats but that options seems to be broken.
Pros: Option to buy mobile tickets
Cons: Broken links
Grade: B+

GAMEDAY
Here you can track the action of the game. It’s not as fluid or detailed as the MLB AT Bat app is, but you can get a good idea of what is going on during the game, who is up to bat, the counts, the score, etc. There is also a subsection for box scores of the game, though the calendar view doesn’t show the scores for every game, instead showing a “Final” link to the individual game pages. But once you go to those pages, you can get a play by play breakdown of the whole game, winning and losing pitcher, and the box scores themselves.
Pros: Highly detailed box scores of each game, good filter ability.
Cons: No scores on calendar view
Grade: A

TEAM
In this section you can check out the team roster which is updated on a regular basis, as well as check out the standings for the South Atlantic League. Fans can check out the information and stats on each Blueclaws player on the roster.
Pros: Up to date information
Cons: None to speak of
Grade: A+

EXTRAS
The Blueclaws have a section for social media, with links to the team’s Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube (Bluetube) pages. The Twitter feed is the best feature as it can link to your own mobile Twitter feed. The Facebook page requires a log in so you might not be able to see as much there and it might be a better idea to go to your own Facebook app to check out the Blueclaws on Facebook. There’s also a weather section there but that only gives you the weather of your current location as opposed to showing you the weather in Lakewood or wherever the Blueclaws are playing that day or week. Also missing is a way to listen to the Blueclaws radio broadcast on your mobile phone. Some teams do offer that feature and fans can listen online now at WOBMAM.com and through the radioPup app. Even if the feature is not done through the Blueclaws app itself, it would be good to have the app provide the information on how to listen to the game off a smartphone.
Pros: Good social media section, especially Twitter
Cons: No radio feed
Grade: B-

Overall, the Blueclaws app is a good way to keep up with the team. The news and game results page is quickly updated and it’s always handy to be able to buy tickets right off the phone. With some cleaning up and the addition of radio streaming (or links to such), this app would be even better. Even for the casual Blueclaws fan, this is a good app to get, especially if you are into finding out what promos are coming up.
Overall grade: B+

Disrespect

“That’s Baseball”
The words of Cliff Lee after pitching 10 scoreless innings lasts night. He was pulled in the 11th inning when Antonio Bastardo came in and gave up an unearned run as the Giants beat the Phillies 1-0. The Phillies couldn’t manage to get one run in eleven innings. Sound familiar? A 1-0 loss… something about October, the Cardinals… you know where I am going here. It is the second time in a week the Phillies have been shut out in a game. In their 5-0 loss to the Mets last week, the Phillies got six hits. Last night, only four Phillies got hits. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino’s batting averages both dipped below .300 after they both went 0 for 4.
It seems that every time the Phillies pitchers turn in a gem of a performance, the lineup hocks up a slimy one and spits right in their face. But hey, that’s baseball. Can we chalk it up to the fact that Utley and Howard are off the grid? Maybe. The Phillies have found ways to win this season without them. Perhaps we could say they just play terribly at ATT Park, where their record is now 18-27.
On the opposite end, the Phillies will begin a four game series at Petco Park in San Diego tonight where they are 22-4. The Phillies have pretty much owned that park, sweeping a series there last season. Can this trend continue? If there was ever a time to play a series at Petco Park, now is the time. Having “Continued Success” there would certainly lift them out of the funk they are in and help carry some momentum into Arizona. Vance Worley goes tonight. It will be his first outing ever against San Diego.
One thing I am convinced of: The era of “Pitching, Pitching, Pitching” is over. I never want to hear that phrase again.
Speaking of pitchers: Jamie Moyer. Nuff said. When he hangs up his glove, I would hope the Phillies at least have him in for a “Jamie Moyer Appreciation Night”. He doesn’t have to do the one day minor league retire as a Phillie deal like Pat Burrell is doing, but I would hope he comes back to throw out a first pitch. Charlie Manuel is on record as saying, “He better not pitch against us and beat us. Then I’m really going to be mad.” The Phillies host the Rockies for a three game series in June. Should Jamie Moyer pitch that week, there’s a good chance Charlie will be mad. Mad at who I wonder? His hitters for not hitting him or Ruben Amaro Jr. for not re signing him?

Blueclaws add three years to radio deal

The BlueClaws and Townsquare Media have extended their agreement to ensure that every BlueClaws game is carried on WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310 through at least the 2015 season. The three year extension extends the partnership that began in 2002, the BlueClaws’ second season of existence.
“Townsquare Media has been a tremendous partner of ours for the last 10 years,” said BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown. “This agreement ensures that our fans can continue to hear BlueClaws games on the same stations for more than a decade. We’re ecstatic to be in a situation like this.”
In addition to all games being carried on WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310, all games will also be streamed on ShoreSportsNetwork.com. If that’s not enough, fans of the Blueclaws can listen through the radioPup smartphone app. At this point, it’s unknown if the Blueclaws iPhone app will add the ability to stream the radio broadcasts directly through the app like one can with the Ironpigs app.
“We put such an emphasis on our local, Jersey Shore community, and the BlueClaws are obviously an extension of that,” said Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media’s Shore Sports Network Director. “They’re a big part of our programming and we’re thrilled to extend our partnership.” The previous agreement, announced in 2008, ensured that all games would be carried through 2012, and this three-year extension means all games will be carried on Townsquare’s WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310 through 2015.
Broadcaster Greg Giombarrese will return for his fourth season as the “Voice of the BlueClaws,” broadcasting all 140 games. Starting this season, Adam Giardino joins the broadcast team, serving as pre and post-game show host as well as providing play by play during home games. Each broadcast begins with the BlueClaws Beat Pre-Game Show 15 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch and concludes with a 15-minute post-game show.

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