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Fastball

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March 8, 2011 | By DAVID MURPHY, dmurphy@phillynews.com
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.
SPORTS
May 2, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
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.
SPORTS
June 6, 2014 | By David Murphy, Daily News Columnist
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.
SPORTS
September 9, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
MIAMI - On Thursday, for the second time in three days, the Phillies will start a pitcher who has attempted to reclaim his career with the addition of a two-seam fastball. Alec Asher, who will start Thursday in Washington, was told by the Phillies at the end of last season that he needed to learn how to throw a two-seamer. The sinker, manager Pete Mackanin said, gives a needed second look. Asher rode the pitch to great success in the minors this season before he was suspended for 80 games in June after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
SPORTS
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.
SPORTS
June 17, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
SPORTS
April 30, 1999 | By Brian Miller, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
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.
SPORTS
June 20, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
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.
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
June 13, 2014 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
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.
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SPORTS
September 9, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
MIAMI - On Thursday, for the second time in three days, the Phillies will start a pitcher who has attempted to reclaim his career with the addition of a two-seam fastball. Alec Asher, who will start Thursday in Washington, was told by the Phillies at the end of last season that he needed to learn how to throw a two-seamer. The sinker, manager Pete Mackanin said, gives a needed second look. Asher rode the pitch to great success in the minors this season before he was suspended for 80 games in June after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
SPORTS
August 11, 2016 | By Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER
LOS ANGELES - They gathered Tuesday evening on the Dodger Stadium dirt, behind a rope, and anticipated a homecoming. More than 100 friends and family came to watch Vince Velasquez, a native of nearby Pomona, Calif., and those closest to the 24-year-old pitcher secured field passes. Before a nightmarish 9-3 Phillies loss, Velasquez came to greet his support, which held signs during batting practice to encourage him. One spelled Pomona, but with a Phillies script "P. " A woman wearing a Velasquez jersey assembled a strikeout tracker.
SPORTS
June 20, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
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.
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 5, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
ST. LOUIS - The Phillies bullpen entered the season as one of the team's glaring uncertainties. A month into the season, it has been an obvious reason for the team's surprising start. The unit - which entered Wednesday with 98 strikeouts in 87 innings - is finding success without having firepower. It is unconventional, but it is working. The Phillies relief pitchers, according to PitchF/X data, throw an average fastball of 91.7 mph. It is the fourth-slowest mark by a Phillies bullpen since the data began being tracked in 2007.
SPORTS
May 2, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
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.
SPORTS
May 30, 2015 | By Jake Kaplan, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK - It was only the second week of the season and Ryne Sandberg was already answering questions about Ryan Howard's struggles at the plate. Some of the first baseman's inconsistency stemmed from his not taking advantage of the abundance of fastballs thrown his way, the Phillies manager noted at the time. Six weeks later, Howard is still seeing a higher percentage of fastballs than he has in any season since his 2005 rookie-of-the-year campaign. But a big factor in his ability to turn a .380 slugging percentage on May 2 into a .519 clip less than four weeks later is that he has cashed in on more of those heaters.
SPORTS
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.
SPORTS
April 17, 2015 | Jake Kaplan, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK - Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said he will decide "a series at a time" whether Ryan Howard is in his lineup against lefthanded pitchers. The only two games the struggling first baseman has not started were against southpaws. As he did Friday against Washington's Gio Gonzalez, Darin Ruf started in Howard's place Wednesday against Mets lefthander Jonathon Niese. Rightfielder Jeff Francoeur occupied Howard's cleanup spot. In 27 at-bats entering the game, Howard had just four hits (.148)
SPORTS
April 13, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
It was his slider above the strike zone on which Nationals leadoff man Michael Taylor whiffed. It was his slider that Yunel Escobar lifted over Ben Revere's head for a double to left field. And it was his slider that Bryce Harper watched paint the outside corner of the plate for an inning-ending strike. Ken Giles bounced back Friday night from his struggle-filled season debut, but the promising 24-year-old setup man is not yet out of the woods. While his slider was razor sharp, he relied on it as his primary pitch after again struggling to locate his fastball.
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