Back in the NL and a win!  It isn’t that easy but we certainly looked better last night.

Kyle Kendrick continues to step up.  He allows hits but then makes big pitches at the right time.  He certainly is a competitor. 

Hopefully, the 14 hits are the start of a stretch in which the offense is more consistent.  Getting the bats going right now is the perfect timing.

Hello R. J.
After last night’s win, the Phillies purchased the contract of left-handed reliever R. J. Swindle from Lehigh Valley.  It was an early birthday present for R. J. who turns 25 on Monday.

He doesn’t throw overly hard.  But, he is a strike-throwing machine.  Between Reading and Lehigh Valley this season, 6 walks, 48 strikeouts in 40 innings.  In his fifth pro season: 23 walks, 207 strikeouts in 181.1 innings.

Left-handed hitters in the International League are hitting .129 against him.

His last outing was Monday night at Rochester, 1 inning, 3 strikeouts on 18 pitches (13 strikes).  His fast ball is in the 81-82 mph range; slider, 73-74, but the pitch that does the most damage is a curve ball, 53-55.  Folks, that’s slow.  The radar gun almost falls asleep.  The bottom line: R. J. gets hitters out.

How did he get here?

Mal Fichman is a Boise (ID)-based special assignment scout who specializes in the coverage of independent leagues.  He’s been around the minor league world for years and has hundreds of contacts.  Andy McCauley, Swindle’s manager with the Schaumburg (IL) independent league team (2006) first notified his old friend, Fichman, of the lefty reliever.

A year ago, R.J. started the season at Newark (NJ) in the Atlantic League, another independent league.  Wayne Krenchiki (manager) and Steve Foucault (pitching coach) both contacted Fichman.  Tommy John, who managed Bridgeport in the same league, also reached out to Fichman, “R. J. doesn’t belong in this league.”

Fichman notified Steve Noworyta, Director of Minor Leagues, and the Phillies purchased Swindle’s contract from Newark for $3,000.  He was sent to Lakewood in the Class A South Atlantic League making $2,500 per month.  After 20 games there (2-1, 0.93) he moved up to Clearwater (0-1, 4.80).  Then, this year he started at Reading before moving to AAA in late May.

Since he was born in Vancouver, he has been selected to Team Canada for the Olympic trail games.

Odds of players from the independent leagues reaching the majors aren’t great.  But, it can be done.  Just ask Chris Coste.

This Date
In Phillies history
1993 A game that is one of the classics at Veterans Stadium.  A 4:35 p.m. doubleheader with San Diego is delayed by rain and the night went on and on.  The sun was coming up when I pulled into my driveway after:
       **5 hours, 54 minutes of rain delays in game # 1, won by Padres, 5-2
       **2nd game starts at 1:28 a.m. and ends at 4:40 a.m. on Mitch Williams’ game-winning single
       **DH, which was to start at 4:35 p.m., ends 12 hours, 5 minutes later. 



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