Phillies scouts in final prep for Monday's draft

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Phillies scouts in final prep for Monday's draft

Thursday, June 2, 2011
Posted: 11:51 a.m.By Jim SalisburyCSNPhilly.com

Sometime Friday night, Phillies scouts will take a little break from their round-the-clock meetings and flip on the television in their war room at Citizens Bank Park. On the screen will be a reminder of why they spend all those nights on the road in search of talent that can help the team win championships at the big-league level.

The reminders name is Cole Hamels. He is the Phillies scheduled starting pitcher Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hamels has helped the Phils win four straight National League East titles and a World Series. His affiliation with the ballclub started nine years ago when the scouting staff called his name with the 17th pick in the 2002 draft.

Major League Baseballs annual first-year player draft begins Monday. Phillies scouts have been in town for a week, going over more than a thousand computerized scouting reports, having debates, constructing preference lists, administering private workouts and even sneaking off to watch a local talent or two.

All this in hopes of landing a player or two that, like Hamels, will help the Phillies win championships someday.

That remains our goal, scouting director Marti Wolever said.

If this years draft doesnt have the buzz of some previous ones, it might be because the Phillies dont pick until 39th overall, between the first and second rounds. They acquired that pick and No. 66 overall after free-agent Jayson Werth signed with Washington. The Phils next pick will come at No. 90, at the end of the second round. They lost their first-round selection after signing free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee.

Wolever likes this draft.

Its one of the deepest in years as far as talent, he said. Its loaded with all sorts of good things. The college pitching is good. Its a good year for high-school position players, and theres some good high-school pitching. Id say the talent is 2-to-1 high school over college.

Wolever said it was too early to know who the Phils would end up with at No. 39.

Things are still lining up, he said. Its really difficult to know. The 38 picks in front of us will determine a lot.

The first-round landscape, as always, is being impacted by finances signability as scouts call it.

The signability of a number of players will determine what type of draft it is, Wolever said. There are some unrealistic expectations out there and its permeating throughout the draft. What players and agents are looking for does not always match the talent. Its out of control and needs to be reeled in. Hopefully something can be done in the next collective bargaining agreement because were not doing a good job policing ourselves as an industry. There needs to be a line in the sand.

The CBA expires in December. Major League Baseball and the Players Association are discussing changes to the draft and signing-bonus reform.

Wolever said the Phils will take what they believe to be the best available player with their first pick. Balancing the players price tag with his talent is always a challenge.

Weve identified some players at 39 that are realistic about their abilities, but until you go through the process you dont know, Wolever said.

As for overall priorities, Wolever said hed like to get some catching, left-handed pitching, and a middle infielder or two, if we can.

Wolever was tight-lipped about the players that the Phils are targeting, but baseball sources say the scouting staff peeked in on South Jersey righthander Kevin Comer of Seneca High School this week. The Phils have serious interest in Comer, who has committed to Vanderbilt. Phils scouts have also closely monitored catcher Cameron Gallagher of Manheim Township High School in Lancaster County.

Other players that the Phils could be targeting include Illinois high school outfielder Charlie Tilson; Kent State lefty Andrew Chafin; Clemson shortstop and ACC player of the year Brad Miller; California high school catcher Austin Hedges; Las Vegas high school shortstop Jake Hager; Wyoming high school outfielder Brandon Nimmo; and Tampa high school righthander Jose Fernandez. Fernandez could be gone before the Phillies pick. His hometown Tampa Bay Rays pick have three of the top 32 picks and are targeting him.

The draft begins at 7 p.m. Monday night and runs through Wednesday. The first 60 picks will be made Monday night.

Pittsburgh has the first pick.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com

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Instant Replay: Phillies 8, Tigers 5

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Instant Replay: Phillies 8, Tigers 5

BOX SCORE

DETROIT – The Phillies beat the Detroit Tigers at their own game in picking up an 8-5 win to salvage one game in the interleague series on Wednesday afternoon.

Aaron Nola pitched well and earned the win. Odubel Herrera had a big hit and Hector Neris was clutch out of the bullpen.

The Tigers are one of the best hitting teams in baseball and the Phillies are one of the worst. But the Phils out-hit the Tigers, 12-10. Two of the Phils’ hits were home runs.

The Phillies entered the day scoring just 3.2 runs per game, ranking them second-to-last in the majors. The Phils had scored just 11 runs in their previous five games; four of them were losses.

The win left the Phils at 26-21 heading into Chicago for three games with the rugged Cubs.

Starting pitching report
Aaron Nola gave up seven hits and four runs over six innings of work. He walked one and struck out six.

Four of the hits and three of the runs Nola gave up came in the fifth. All the hits were singles and one could have been ruled an error. So Nola was not supported by completely clean defense.

The right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 10 starts. He has 70 strikeouts and just 20 walks in 66 innings.

He is 6-1 in 13 road starts during his young career.

Detroit right-hander Anibal Sanchez took the loss. He gave up eight hits and six runs in six-plus innings. Three of the runs were unearned. The Tigers committed three errors.

Bullpen report
David Hernandez inherited a 7-4 lead in the seventh. He allowed two hits, a walk and a run with one out and was removed from the game. Hector Neris came on and struck out Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos to clean up Hernandez’s mess. Neris stayed on for a scoreless eighth.

Jeanmar Gomez earned his majors-leading 17th save.

At the plate
Peter Bourjos drove in two runs. He singled home one in the second and belted his first homer of the season in the seventh. The homer gave the Phils a 6-4 lead. Tommy Joseph increased the lead to 7-4 with sacrifice fly later in that inning.

Herrera had the big hit for the Phillies, a three-run homer in the fourth. He hit a 2-1 slider from Sanchez far over the right-field wall and scored Jose Bautista points with a big bat flip.

The Phillies scored their second run of the day when Bourjos and Andres Blanco executed a double steal. Blanco became the first Phillie to steal home since Chase Utley in 2009.

Cameron Rupp and Blanco had back-to-back doubles in the eighth to give the Phils some cushion.

Ryan Howard laced a hard, line-drive single to right his first time up then struck out in his next two at-bats. He finished 1 for 5 and is now hitting .160.

Every player in the Tigers’ lineup had a hit except Castellanos.

Health check
Maikel Franco limped off the field and out of the game before the start of the bottom of the seventh inning. He jammed his right foot sliding into second base in the top of the inning and was diagnosed with a sprained ankle. It was said to be mild.

Up next
The Phillies are off on Thursday. They open a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday. The Cubs are the first team in the majors to reach 30 wins. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday afternoon – LHP Jon Lester (4-3, 2.60) vs. LHP Adam Morgan (1-2, 5.61)

Saturday afternoon – RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 3.30) vs. RHP Jerad Eickhoff (2-6, 3.86)

Sunday afternoon – RHP John Lackey (4-2, 3.38) vs. RHP Vince Velasquez (5-1, 2.75)

Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

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Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

Justin Verlander mowed down the Phillies last night in a 3-1 Tigers victory, but the Phils have a chance to strike back this afternoon against a struggling pitcher who hasn't had much career success against them.

Anibal Sanchez will take the hill for the Tigers and oppose Aaron Nola in today's series finale (1:10 p.m. on CSN). To say Sanchez hasn't had a great start to his season would be an understatement. He's 3-5 with a 6.32 ERA and opponents are batting .270 against him.

In his career against the Phillies, Sanchez is just 4-8 with a 4.94 ERA. Granted, most of those numbers came in the early part of his career with the Florida Marlins, when he regularly faced powerful Phillies lineups. As one might expect, Ryan Howard, who is again in the lineup today as the designated hitter and batting fifth, has seen Sanchez plenty of times. His 42 at-bats against Sanchez are tied for third-most against the 32-year-old righty. Howard's done OK against Sanchez — 9 for 31 (.290 average) with two homers and four RBI. Maybe some familiarity will finally lead to a breakout game for Howard. But, if his massive slump is any indication, maybe not.

For as poor as Sanchez's start to the season has been, Aaron Nola's first six weeks of 2016 have been at the other end of the spectrum.

Today's Phillies starter is 3-3 with a 2.85 ERA. But he's been better than those numbers show.

His .900 WHIP is third in the NL, as is his 5.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 6.45 hits allowed per nine innings is fourth in the NL, as is his 1.65 walks per nine innings. His 64 strikeouts rank eighth in the NL. Imagine if he got more than the 2.89 runs of support he's been getting in his starts.

As for the rest of the Phillies' lineup today, the only changes see Andres Blanco getting the start for Cesar Hernandez, batting seventh and Cameron Rupp behind the plate, batting sixth.

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera CF
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Maikel Franco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Ryan Howard DH
6. Cameron Rupp C
7. Andres Blanco 2B
8. Tyler Goeddell LF
9. Peter Bourjos 1B

Tigers
1. Cameron Maybin CF
2. J.D. Martinez RF
3. Miguel Cabrera DH
4. Victor Martinez 1B
5. Nick Castellanos 3B
6. Steven Moya LF
7. James McCann C
8. Mike Aviles 2B
9. Jose Iglesias SS

Best of MLB: Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

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Best of MLB: Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

BOSTON -- David Price scattered five hits over seven innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of hits to extend his streak to 28 games as the Boston Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 8-3 on Tuesday night.

David Ortiz had a two-run double and a two-run single, and Dustin Pedroia added three hits to help Boston win its third straight game. Price (7-1) allowed three runs, walking one and striking out six to earn his third consecutive win.

Colorado lost for the fifth time in six games.

Jorge De La Rosa (1-4) made his first start after spending almost a month on the disabled list with a left groin strain. He gave up two runs in the first, two more in the second and left with one out in the fourth with two on and one run already in (see full recap).

Polanco, Pirates crush Diamondbacks
PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-best five runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled by the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-1 on Tuesday night.

Polanco's shot to the concourse in right-center field off Shelby Miller (1-6) in the first inning gave Pittsburgh an early boost. Francisco Liriano (4-3) scattered two hits in 5 2/3 innings and added an RBI single as the Pirates improved to 6-2 during a 10-game homestand.

After a short adjustment period, Polanco has thrived batting third in the lineup, hitting .317 (20 of 63) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 15 games. The Pirates spread their 17 hits among 11 batters.

Miller's recent recovery from a miserable start with the Diamondbacks took a step backward. Less than a year removed from an All-Star appearance with Atlanta, Miller's ERA ballooned to 7.09 after surrendering six runs in five innings (see full recap).

Strasburg strikes out 11 in Nationals' win
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg remained unbeaten with an 11-strikeout performance, and the Washington Nationals hit three of their season-high five home runs off struggling Matt Harvey in a 7-4 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.

Strasburg (8-0) gave up two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings in defeating Harvey and the Mets for the second time in six days. Strasburg has five games this season with at least 10 strikeouts and 26 over his seven-year career.

Harvey (3-7) stumbled through a third straight ineffective start, allowing five runs and eight hits over five rocky innings. The right-hander has yielded 16 earned runs and 31 hits over his last three outings.

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon hit successive solo shots to put Washington ahead in the fourth inning, and Daniel Murphy added a two-run drive off his former teammate in the fifth for a 5-1 lead (see full recap).