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Curveball

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NEWS
April 19, 1993 | By Joe Santoliquito, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Dennis Ellixson appeared rattled, letting up a run in the bottom of the third then escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth. A good start was not Ellixson's strong point in his first real varsity action, against Glen Mills in a Del-Val League baseball game Thursday. His curveball, on the other hand, was. Using an inside-out philosophy of pitching, setting up his curveball with his fastball, Ellixson struck out a career-high eight batters over six innings of relief in helping Sun Valley to a 4-2 victory at Glen Mills.
SPORTS
October 2, 2008 | By Jim Salisbury, Inquirer Staff Writer
Here's a look at the finer points of yesterday's 3-1 Phillies victory. In two regular-season starts against the Milwaukee Brewers, Cole Hamels allowed 14 hits and seven runs in 13 1/3 innings. Yesterday, in Game 1 of the division series, Hamels held the Brewers scoreless on two hits over eight innings. He struck out nine. Word out of the Brewers' clubhouse was that Hamels' signature change-up was better than ever, and that he had a good fastball. But three pitches are better than two and one key to Hamels' success was the use of his curveball.
SPORTS
April 25, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
Jerad Eickhoff was three years removed from being a 15th-round pick and even further from being considered a prospect. The pitcher was instead a middling minor-leaguer, struggling to find success on baseball's lowest rungs. Then, in the summer of 2014, he struck up a conversation with Mark Connor, a roving pitching instructor in the Texas Rangers' farm system. Connor told Eickhoff to throw his curveball more. He believed that American League pitchers who offered a heavy dosage of curveballs were more likely to succeed.
SPORTS
April 2, 2011 | By DAVID MURPHY, dmurphy@phillynews.com
THE HARD PART about being on top? The margin for improvement is far smaller than the margin for regression. Roy Halladay has faced this quandary throughout most of his career, but coming off a career year in which he went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA and won the National League Cy Young Award, it was difficult to envision an aspect of his game that he could manage to refine. Well, yesterday provided a bit of insight. In spring training, Halladay spent significant time working on his curveball, and in the Phillies' dramatic, 5-4 victory over the Astros, he used the pitch with a great deal of effectiveness.
SPORTS
September 7, 2015 | By Jake Kaplan, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the last 15 months, countless hitters at four levels of pro baseball have found themselves quickly behind in counts because of Aaron Nola's pinpoint fastball command. Then will often come his best secondary pitch, a breaking ball, and with it an obvious question from those watching. "Was that a slider or a curveball?" Since the Phillies drafted Nola seventh overall in the 2014 draft out of Louisiana State, his breaking pitch has been labeled as both in articles and in interviews with opposing hitters.
SPORTS
February 27, 2010 | By Matt Gelb INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Last week, Rich Dubee said it was counterproductive for Cole Hamels to work on two pitches. The pitching coach wanted to see consistency from Hamels' curveball before experimenting with a cutter. Yesterday, as Hamels faced hitters for the first time during live batting practice, he threw more cutters than curveballs. "He's been playing with it," Dubee said of the cutter. "We played with it last year some. I think he's very comfortable where he is arm-wise. He feels like he's ready to do that stuff.
SPORTS
February 19, 2010 | By Matt Gelb INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Cole Hamels says he doesn't need to see the video - he remembers what he did. Rich Dubee does, too. He saw the times Hamels snatched the throw back from his catcher and stomped around the mound after something went wrong. When Hamels was at his best in 2008, Dubee said, he never noticed a hitch in Hamels' mound mannerisms. That changed in 2009. And so did the results. "The success won't come back until the demeanor changes - his attitude and his focus," said Dubee, the Phillies' pitching coach.
SPORTS
September 28, 1997 | By Ralph Vigoda, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The visitors' bullpen in Yankee Stadium was far out in left field, and the big fence in front of it hampered the players' view. "You really couldn't see home plate from there," said Paul Hopkins. So when Hopkins got the signal from his manager and began the long walk to the mound in the middle of the fifth inning, he wasn't sure who he'd be facing. Not that it would have made much of a difference. Just called up by the Washington Senators, this was his first appearance in the majors and his nerves were already tattered.
SPORTS
April 10, 2001 | By Brian Miller INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
It's not an eerie calm. And it's certainly not a dead calm. But Owen J. Roberts baseball coach Greg Gilbert said his current group is just . . . calm. Calm? "I asked them about it a couple of times, and I haven't got a straight answer yet," Gilbert said. "But they're going out and doing what they have to do. Every group is different, I guess. " Actually, since Gilbert showed up in Bucktown four years ago, every group of Wildcats has been the same as far as winning in the Pioneer Athletic Conference is concerned.
SPORTS
April 15, 2016 | By Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER
It was a curveball count. Two strikes, a runner on third in a tight game Wednesday night defined by Jerad Eickhoff's curveball. The pitch had buckled the knees of Padres hitters all night. It had to be a curveball. Eickhoff stared at Cameron Rupp. The catcher wanted fastball. So did the pitcher. "I was going to get into one," Eickhoff said. This is promise, a 2-1 Phillies win over San Diego, when a 25-year-old righthander is on the same wavelength as his 27-year-old catcher to fool the best hitter on the other team in the most crucial moment.
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SPORTS
June 6, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
ALLENTOWN - Zach Eflin had a suggestion for his coaches last summer as he was winding through his first season in the Phillies organization. The pitching prospect wanted to again throw a curveball, which he had taught himself in high school. The Phillies obliged. And the success Eflin has since found could have him in the majors sooner rather than later. The pitch - which Eflin classified as a "knuckle curve" - gives the righthander a needed extra option. It is something else the batter has to think about, Eflin said.
SPORTS
May 10, 2016 | By Phil Anastasia, Staff Writer
Derek Wakeley has been playing baseball with many of his West Deptford High School teammates since their first days in Little League. "A lot of us go back to when we were 8 or 9," said Wakeley, a senior righthander. Those Eagles will be together for another month, tops. But while Wakeley and company have their sights set on a Colonial Liberty Division title as well as the South Jersey and state Group 2 tournaments, they have another opportunity to make their mark as well. For the first time in three years, West Deptford has qualified for the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, the most prestigious in-season tournament in South Jersey baseball.
SPORTS
April 26, 2016 | By Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER
MILWAUKEE - Cameron Rupp lowered his right hand and signaled for a fastball in the most crucial moment of an 8-5 Phillies loss to the Brewers. Jerad Eickhoff did not flinch. He stared at his catcher for three seconds to express his disapproval. Rupp flashed a new call. The curveball. "If I get beat on my curveball," Eickhoff said later, "I'll live with it. " On Sunday, he was beaten again and again on the curveball. Eickhoff allowed a career-high seven runs. Ten Brewers batted in the decisive six-run sixth inning.
SPORTS
April 25, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
Jerad Eickhoff was three years removed from being a 15th-round pick and even further from being considered a prospect. The pitcher was instead a middling minor-leaguer, struggling to find success on baseball's lowest rungs. Then, in the summer of 2014, he struck up a conversation with Mark Connor, a roving pitching instructor in the Texas Rangers' farm system. Connor told Eickhoff to throw his curveball more. He believed that American League pitchers who offered a heavy dosage of curveballs were more likely to succeed.
SPORTS
April 21, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
Vince Velasquez had not allowed a run this season in his first 15 innings. His first two starts with the Phillies were nearly perfect. A night like Tuesday's 11-1 loss to the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park seemed as if it was bound to happen. The Mets tagged Velasquez for a pair of home runs (on a night when they hit six) just 10 days after the pitcher had blanked them for six innings. The righthander allowed five runs - two of which were earned - in 41/3 innings. Velasquez threw just 74 pitches, perhaps still a bit worn out from firing a career-high 113 pitches five days earlier.
SPORTS
April 15, 2016 | By Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER
It was a curveball count. Two strikes, a runner on third in a tight game Wednesday night defined by Jerad Eickhoff's curveball. The pitch had buckled the knees of Padres hitters all night. It had to be a curveball. Eickhoff stared at Cameron Rupp. The catcher wanted fastball. So did the pitcher. "I was going to get into one," Eickhoff said. This is promise, a 2-1 Phillies win over San Diego, when a 25-year-old righthander is on the same wavelength as his 27-year-old catcher to fool the best hitter on the other team in the most crucial moment.
SPORTS
March 24, 2016 | By Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER
CLEARWATER, Fla. - When Jerad Eickhoff stepped to the plate in the second inning of his first Grapefruit League start, the sign to bunt may or may not have been flashed. Depends on whom you ask. Eickhoff, who fractured his right thumb in a February bunting incident that delayed his spring progress, swung with runners on the corners and one out. He chopped it back to the pitcher. "To get back in the box was kind of a nervous wreck," Eickhoff said Tuesday. "If I had to bunt, I had to bunt.
SPORTS
March 17, 2016 | By Matt Breen, Staff Writer
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Steven Souza Jr. smacked the barrel of his bat against his thigh in frustration as he walked back to the Tampa Bay dugout. He had swung well ahead of Aaron Nola's change-up as the Phillies righthander left batters mystified Tuesday when his pitches rounded into form for the first time this spring. Manager Pete Mackanin said Nola looked like himself as he pitched the first 42/3 innings of a 5-2 win. Nola mixed his fastball with a looping curveball and an effective change-up, a pitch he spent the offseason trying to improve.
SPORTS
September 7, 2015 | By Jake Kaplan, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the last 15 months, countless hitters at four levels of pro baseball have found themselves quickly behind in counts because of Aaron Nola's pinpoint fastball command. Then will often come his best secondary pitch, a breaking ball, and with it an obvious question from those watching. "Was that a slider or a curveball?" Since the Phillies drafted Nola seventh overall in the 2014 draft out of Louisiana State, his breaking pitch has been labeled as both in articles and in interviews with opposing hitters.
SPORTS
August 20, 2015 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
MOOSIC, Pa. - Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage described Jerad Eickhoff as having a "bulldog mentality. " The righthander commands the mound with a tenacious approach, Brundage said. All signs point to the bulldog being unleashed in the major leagues Saturday. The Phillies have yet to name a starter for that day's game in Miami. The IronPigs have not named a starter for Friday, which would be Eickhoff's normal day to pitch. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team is still figuring it out. Brundage said it's not his decision.
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