March 8, 2011 |
TAMPA, Fla. - Do not be fooled. Roy Oswalt might be a 33-year-old man who has not publicly ruled out retirement at the end of this season, but he still has the same gunslinger mentality that carried him into the big leagues 10 years ago. "You gotta pitch off your fastball," the veteran righthander said yesterday as he stood in the visitors' clubhouse at Steinbrenner Field. The only member of the Phillies' rotation who did it more often last season was Cliff Lee. Roy Halladay has his cutter.
May 2, 2016 |
The Phillies hoped that Adam Morgan would be able to recover the velocity on his fastball after shoulder surgery two years ago sapped the pitch of its speed. Friday night - Morgan's first major-league start this season - was an indication that the fastball is turning a corner. Morgan threw 51 of his retooled fastballs in five innings of a 4-3 win over Cleveland. The pitch, according to PITCHf/x data, zipped at an average speed of 90.8 mph. Morgan's fastball hovered in the low 90s before he had surgery in January 2014 to close a gap in his left shoulder.
June 6, 2014 |
THE FIRST rule of the Major League Baseball draft is that none of us knows anything. None of us with bylines, anyway. All we can do is listen to the words of the guys who are paid to do this and then make some rudimentary calculations of the odds that we will ever see the player in question at the major league level. The baseball draft is all about projecting risk and measuring probabilities. It's an actuarial endeavor disguised as a meat market. Tools are easy to identify. The hard part is deciding whether those tools are worth the risk that they won't translate against better competition.
May 10, 2015
Ken Giles' fastball has yet to reach triple digits this season. The Phillies reliever has not lived up to his "100 Miles Giles" nickname. But, "95 Miles Giles" has proven effective despite his fastball's decreased velocity. "100 miles per hour is just a luxury thing," Giles said. "I'm still 95-96. Who cares? I'm going to be more effective if I learn how to pitch. That's how I get out. Not blowing guys away. It's learning how to pitch. " Giles' fastball has averaged this season at 94.7 m.p.h., according to Pitchf/x data.
June 17, 2014 |
Righthander Ken Giles gave the crowd at Citizens Bank Park something to cheer about on a day when there was little else offered. Giles pitched a scoreless ninth inning Sunday and did so with flair during a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. In his second Phillies appearance, Giles recorded two strikeouts, sandwiched around a pop-up. What got the crowd going was the radar gun. He threw one fastball that was recorded at 101 m.p.h. and another two at 100. This came after he allowed a home run and recorded the game's final out on a strikeout in a third of an inning during Thursday's 7-3 win over the San Diego Padres.
April 30, 1999 |
It is the sound that accompanies a live fastball. It is the clap of the catcher's mitt, almost like the sharp boom of thunder. Years ago, in the sports hyperbole of the time, fastballs were described by how they "trailed sparks" or how they "smoked. " It was, of course, nonsense. But as long as the game has been played, a good fastball has made that distinctive sound. It is the same sound that perks the scout's ears, that brings the smile to the coach, that draws the attention of even the casual fan. And it is the sound being heard at Malvern Prep right now, the sweet smack that separates the merely functional fastball from something special.
June 6, 2016 |
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.
June 13, 2014 |
A pitcher who tries to throw a baseball 100 m.p.h., Phillies reliever Jake Diekman was saying, will never do it. It is not the sort of thing he can will into happening. Trying to reach 100 m.p.h. by throwing a baseball as hard as you can is like trying to hit a golf ball 400 yards by swinging the club as hard as you can. Fluidity and mechanics and feel matter more, and a pitcher will recognize the perfect synchronicity of those elements as soon as he lets the baseball go, the way a jump-shooter knows he'll hear that sweet zip as the basketball passes through the net. "Yeah," Diekman said, as if he were savoring a sip of a 2008 Cheval Blanc.
June 20, 2016 |
With a piece of chalk, Thomas Eshelman would etch a strike zone onto a cement wall near the driveway of his family's Southern California home. Eshelman would then split the strike zone into quadrants and pelt each rectangle. His parents - Dave and Rosemary - would complain about the patter of the ball's hitting the house. But it was in those sessions that the pitcher's uncanny command was born. "One time, I hit the side mirror of my dad's car," Eshelman said. "He was pretty mad about that.
April 21, 2012 |
SAN DIEGO - Another day of failure complete, John Mayberry Jr. plopped down at a laptop and began scrolling through the video. He saw the 87 m.p.h. fastball he popped to second base with the bases loaded in the first inning. Then there was another fastball he skied to right to begin the fourth. He swung and missed at a curveball and fastball in the sixth and then took a 93 m.p.h. fastball for strike three. And to top it off, he swung through another fastball in the ninth. But he at least took one pitch in that at-bat, a fastball that skipped past the catcher and allowed the Phillies to score an insurance run in Thursday's 2-0 victory.