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Good News (Told in GIF): Tyler Cloyd's 2012 Home Run Problem May Be Fixable

Good News (Told in GIF): Tyler Cloyd's 2012 Home Run Problem May Be Fixable

Let's focus on the positives. Tyler Cloyd was, for a healthy part of last year, the most effective starter at the highest level of the minors, where he went 12-1 with a 2.35 ERA with the Iron Pigs. When he was tapped after September callups, Cloyd struck out 4.29 batters for every walk, which if it qualified would've ranked fifth in baseball -- right ahead of NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.

His problem: home runs. It was a big one; of the 18 runs Cloyd served en route to a 2-2 mark and 4.91 ERA last year, 14 were off the eight bombs rocketed during his six starts. But at least it seems isolated.

What's more, some of it may be fixable, maybe even for Cloyd's 2013 debut in place of Roy Halladay against the Diamondbacks in the thin desert air at Chase Field tonight at 9:40 p.m. Some, maybe not.

Even then, for a HR/9 over 2 and HR/FB over 17.0%, anything helps.

The first three home runs Cloyd served if anything should've been encouraging. Look where he put the ball. Either high, over the middle or both. Can't do that.

(Lucky for you, after glitch in BrooksBaseball's game logs led me to believe the site didn't have at-bat data for Cloyd, I pulled video for each home run from MLB.com for use in GIF. Then, Dan, wonderful Dan, who runs the site showed me where to look. Net of net: you get both Pitch F/X graphs and GIFs. Enjoy.)

First, against Lucas Duda on Aug. 29:

Can't do that. Not with an 86.7 m.p.h. fastball, which would've ranked fourth-softest in baseball last year.

Next, Jay Bruce on Sept. 3:

Same deal. Miami's Jose Fernandez gasses guys high. He also has 97 m.p.h. top-end heat.

Last (for now), Chris Nelson on Sept. 9:

You could literally draw a line, from right to left, connecting those pitches.

Cloyd's admitted that nerves played a factor in his struggles last year, and said that the butterflies didn't make the trip this time around. There's (hopefully) more to his evolution than that, but if you're fishing for reasons why he missed so often last year, start reeling.

Still, half of Cloyd's homers weren't on misses. In fact, those four were put exactly where you'd want a soft-hurler to: down and/or away.

First, righty Matt Dominguez on Sept. 13:

Where else is Cloyd supposed to drop that? That far outside on a righty, and Dominguez still turns on it?

Same deal with Mike Baxter, from Sept. 20:

Could still be lower. Still. Not as egregious a mistake as some of the others. Here, Cloyd just gets beat.

Next, his three home run game against the Nationals in his 2012 finale:

To Cloyd's credit, it actually looks like he came into this at-bat with a strategy, seeing how he put the ball in the exact same spot twice. Probably should've changed it up. But at least he can locate. Either way, where Harper fouled off the first pitch, he erupted on the second.

Now, Mike Morse:

Again: Cloyd missed, but not in a spot that should do so much damage.

This one, though, much of the same as before. Cloyd hangs down the middle, and Morse cashes in.

Now, for important context.

All but one of them -- Morse's second, because Cloyd had already served two prior -- came with the Phillies ahead or tied. Even then, six of the eight were when the team was within two runs or fewer. One of the others, Dominguez's three-run blast, shaved a 4-0 lead to one.

Two had leverage indicies over 1.85, where anything over 1.00 is "high pressure." These were nearly twice that. Nelson raked with two on and two out in the third inning of a 1-1 game. Then, Dominguez.

Cloyd's development of his cutter could help. Five of his 2012 home runs were on cutters, a pitch he threw just under one-third of the time.  Adding another pitch would've been ideal; he used curves and changes on only 20% of throws, combined. But making it harder on hitters would make Cloyd infinitely more effective.

There are still reasons to be skeptical. It's been written that Cloyd didn't have a handle on his cutter until his sixth start, when he doubled his season's run total in five innings off three jacks. Still, he could've simply just got beat that night, as happens to nearly every starter a few times every year.

Question is: how often can Cloyd beat hitters?

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

5 Minutes with Roob: Mitchell White talks about his time in Canada

5 Minutes with Roob: Mitchell White talks about his time in Canada

In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles cornerback Mitchell White:
 
Roob: Hey everybody, welcome to today’s edition of Camp Central here with cornerback Mitchell White. Welcome to Philly! Let’s go back in time — now, you were as much of a track prospect in high school as a football prospect, right? What led you to football as opposed to the high jump? You were a 6-foot-10 high-jumper, which is pretty good.
 
White: I don’t know, I was just always drawn to football in general. I like the team and camaraderie of it. Track was kind of more natural, and I don’t want to brag about it or anything, but it was easy. It came very easy to me, very natural. Football I enjoyed working for a goal and achieving success in that sport. So just more of a thrill and more of a satisfaction out of it.
 
Roob: Now you go to Michigan State as a walk-on. What were the challenges of that, and how tough was it to earn a scholarship as a walk-on there?
 
White: The challenges are pretty similar to being an undrafted free agent here. Every year, you start at the bottom of the depth chart and they bring guys in for that specific position every year. And you have to hustle — you kind of take the back door every single year, so you have to re-earn that scholarship every single year. It just gets you in that mindset of just always working and never taking for granted a play or a rep. Always hustling, being the first guy to do something. Obviously, it benefits me now in the long run, but it was definitely a challenge. I had a twin brother who was on scholarship, I had a younger brother who was on scholarship, so definitely being in that household it felt like I had to get on scholarship.
 
Roob: They’d just walk around calling you walk-on?
 
White: Yeah, yeah.
 
Roob: ‘Come to dinner, walk-on!’
 
White: Right.
 
Roob: You go to Oakland after school finished, you sign with the Raiders and I believe you were there with Matt McGloin if I have my dates right. You were there for that whole first training camp. What was that experience like?  
 
White: Again, I would say looking back to that time, I was just trying to hold my head above water. I was a rookie fresh out of college, so everything was really fast for me and I hadn’t played much at the defensive back position in college in terms of game experience. But yeah, looking back, it’s helped me this time around because I have a little bit more seasoning of what to expect at training camp, how you need to take care of your body, things you need to pay attention to and how you need to get into the swing of things.
 
Roob: What about the decision to go to Canada? You were just talking to Aaron Grymes here, who’s a CFL vet like you. You both did three years up there, you both won a Grey Cup. What was that experience like and was that a tough call going up there?
 
White: I think if you’re born in America and the United States, you want to play in the NFL. I think you’ve got to understand that it comes down to realities, like, ‘Look, I want to keep playing football.’ I didn’t want to spend a year out of football. I wanted to get better, to play to get better. It’s a humbling experience, but then your options get fewer. It’s definitely professional football up there and it teaches you how to play and you’ve got to play every week.
 d up going up there and finding wow, there are some good players up here and there’s some good football and I’ve got to bring my game. You don’t have a lot of options once you go up there and if you get cut, then your options get fewer. It’s definitely professional football up there and it teaches you how to play and you’ve got to play every week.

Roob: Now, a crazy thing happened after your second year with Montreal and this story blows my mind. They asked you to take a pay cut even though you were a starter, you were an established player. And you’re a prideful guy. Tell everyone what happened when they asked you to take a pay cut.
 
White: I don’t want to bring a negative light on that. It’s a business side of football and unfortunately, it came to me. I had a great experience in Montreal all the way up to that point, but yeah, we had a camp and I had moved to a new position that year. I thought I had a good camp but they asked me to take a pay cut and that was a really big moment for me because I trusted myself as a player and I said, ‘Look, I’m not going to take a pay cut and I’ll take my chances somewhere else in this league. I think somebody else is going to pick me up.’ And sure enough, they did. I had to wait four weeks for it, but Ottawa picked me up and I ended up having my best season up there.
 
Roob: So you sign with the Redblacks and you guys go 9-9-1 but you get to the Grey Cup and you’re 10-point underdogs to the Calgary Stampeders in the Grey Cup, which is the Super Bowl of Canada. Oh, by the way, Montreal? Who cut you? You had an interception against them in the regular season to seal the game, so you get a little revenge. But what do you remember about the Grey Cup? And what an accomplishment, I think they were 16-2-1, you guys were 9-9-1. They were heavy favorites and you guys won it all.
 
White: The one thing I remember about that week was how confident as a unit we were. We were just like, ‘We know what to do. It’s game time.’ One of the better feelings is playing championship-level football and playing for your team and that, to me, was one of the best parts of that experience. Really giving it up for your team and your teammates because I just want to win that game. I don’t care about anything else, I just want to win and when you accomplish that, it’s a real feeling. There’s nothing like winning the championship and that’s what I hope we can do here.
 
Roob: Now how do you feel like you fit in? It’s a very young group of corners and everyone’s getting a good, long look. Jim Schwartz talked about, ‘I don’t know who the starters are. I don’t know who the backups are.’ Everything’s up for grabs. You feel like it’s a good spot for you from that aspect?
 
White: One thing that I’m best at is when I have an opportunity to compete. And I think everybody here at the professional level wants to be able to compete and get their fair shake at a chance. Obviously, I came from a household where we’re all athletes and we were taught that the cream rises to the top. And it’s long camp and it’s going to play itself out.
 
Roob: We appreciate a few minutes. Eagles cornerback Mitchell White, good luck. Thank you.