Colorado to Florida

No, it isn’t a trip but Citizens Bank Park baseball shifts from the Rockies to the Marlins.

Adam Eaton had his second straight solid start last night and the offense delivered again giving the Phillies a sweep of the Rockies.  Glad we are finished with the hurting Rockies (LF, SS, 2B, RF starters on the DL) for the season. When they get healthy, Rockies will put a hurting on teams and it won’t be us.

Chase Utley had a great April, cooled a bit and is red hot again with the bat.  In the last four games: 6 hits (3 homers), 13 RBI.  He leads all NL players in voting for the All-Star team and it should be that way.  Phillies fans need to make sure he continues to garner the most votes.

Hard to believe that the season is nearly two months old and the Phillies are facing the Marlins for the first time.    Being a team in the same division, the two meet 18 times this season, starting tomorrow night.  Attendance should be over 40,000 for each of the weekend games.

The Marlins are on a tough division trip, three in New York, three here and four in Atlanta.

Draft Countdown
Seven more days to the First-Year Player Draft.

Yesterday, Marti Wolever (Director, Scouting) and his crew gathered around a large rectangular table, the first of day-long meetings.  Each person is equipped with his own lap top computer.  All scouting reports are computerized compared to 20 years ago when huge and heavy three-ring binders contained hard-copy reports.

The Phillies have over 800 names in the computer.  The process is to rate the players from top to bottom in four categories: college pitchers, college position players and the same for high school players.  Every player eligible for the draft is assigned a number.  When draft day comes, the team’s announce: “We select # 167, Larry Shenk, a burly right-hander from Myerstown, PA, high school.”

The perimeter of the room contains eight large magnetic boards.  Each player has a magnetic name plate, complete with name, height and weight and school.  As they started discussing college pitchers yesterday, the magnetic name plates got shifted around into a top-to-bottom order.

With the Phillies at home through the first day of the draft, Marti and his crew get to watch some major league baseball, compared to the hundreds of high school and college games they’ve been watching since February.

Minor League Review
Lehigh Valley’s DH-1B-3B-OF Mike Cervenak and LH reliever R. J. Swindle are this week’s player and pitcher of the week winners in the Phillies minor league system:

Every major league team signs minor league free agents in the off-season.  Idea is to look everywhere for possible big leaguers and to help stock AAA and AA rosters.  Both Cervenak and Swindle fit that mold, although the Phillies actually signed R. J. last season out of the independent Atlantic League.

Cervenak, a former 3-time Big Ten selection at Michigan, started his pro career in 1999 in the independent league.  The following year, he was signed by the Yankees to a Class A contract.  He’s never made it to the majors and spent 40 games two years ago in Korea.

Swindle doesn’t have over-powering stuff (fast ball: 79-81; slider: 69-72; curve ball: 52-54; yes, a slow curve) but he keeps tossing zeroes.  He’s allowed 2 runs this season between Reading and LV.  His control is spectacular, 2 walks (1 intentional).  In four minor league seasons, he’s walked just 19.

Why sign players who have been in the independent leagues?  See Chris Coste.  His first five pro seasons were in those leagues.

This Date
In Phillies history
1965 With a blast that carries far over the Coca-Cola sign atop the left-center field roof at Connie Mack Stadium, 3B Dick Allen smashed one of the longest home runs ever, an estimated 529 feet.  It came off the Cubs’ RHP Larry Jackson who lost to the Phillies, 4-2.
1985 Mike Schmidt switches to first base, rookie Rick Schu comes up from Portland to play third base.
1986 Greg Gross gets 100th career pinch hit as Phillies edge Giants, 54.
1989 Mike Schmidt announces retirement from baseball in tearful press conference in San Diego. Returns to Philadelphia for press conference next evening with Philadelphia media.
1993 Terry Mulholland pitches first NL shutout in Mile High Stadium, 60, over the Rockies.

1 Comment

Mike Cervenak is very deserving of the honor…met him in Spring Training and had a very fun conversation with him. He was looking rather like he had been run over by a large truck after practice and I asked him, jokingly, if he was going to be ok. He went on about what a tough practice he had and how hard the coaching staff had worked him that day. Really though, this guy pushes himself very hard…he’s had to in order to hang in this long. He does remind me a lot of Chris Coste..similar work ethic, personality, and the same determination…I really hope he gets his shot at the bigs someday. He’s earned it!


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