Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pushing Hard: Getting Results

(Source: Walt Hilsenbeck)

(Source: Walt Hilsenbeck)

There’s an old Fire Sign Theater line: “If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.” The Fire Sign guys make this statement as if it were a universal truth. But they weren’t thinking about young athletes when they said this back in the early 1970s. Another view might be: “If you push something hard enough, it will get stronger.” Jesse Biddle’s pitching schedule has been a bit intense for most of this Continue reading

Next Time on the Mound: Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

Jesse’s next outing for Reading has been shifted from Saturday night to Sunday at 5:05 p.m. (5/4) due to a rainout in Portland yesterday. The Fightins play their arch rival, the Harrisburg Senators. Pitchers hit!

Jesse’s next probable start after Sunday would be Friday night in Trenton against the Thunder, less than an hour’s drive from Philly.

See you out there. Dress warm. Stay for the whole game. Fightin Phils relief pitchers can be fun to watch.

Still Lights Out, But Miles to Go

Thanks to Walt Hilsenbeck for this photo.

Thanks to Walt Hilsenbeck for this photo.

Two weeks ago, Jesse had pitched in three games, registering an ERA of 5.10 and a record of 0 – 2. The pundits speculated that he was struggling. Those of us who know him understood that he was still trying to find his groove on the mound. Statistics are an interesting thing: they tell you very little about what’s going to happen next Tuesday. The numbers are only about what has already happened. It’s never been clear what part probability should play in baseball — and yet, of course, somehow the numbers mean everything to all of us.

In his past two starts Jesse has only allowed one earned run and given Continue reading

Figuring It Out in Reading

On the mound in April. (Source: Tug Haines/Reading Fightin Phils)

On the mound in April. (Source: Tug Haines/Reading Fightin Phils)

After struggling some in Harrisburg last Sunday, Jesse was on the mound again Friday night against the Senators, but this time in Reading. And this time he had spent four days working on focus and command. Sometimes at the start of the season it takes a few games for pitcher’s to get the right feel on the mound. It seems that Biddle had the right feel last night.

He has been very quick to point out Friday night’s 6-2 win with 11 strikeouts Continue reading

2014 Fightin Phils Season Underway: Biddle on Mound Tonight

Source: Jay Floyd,

Source: Jay Floyd,

The season began for the Reading Fightin Phils last week. Jesse got the opening night start. We’re sure he felt he could have pitched better. He got the loss and only went 3.1 innings. You can read about that game here.

Suffice it to say that after a crazy spring training he’s still working out some kinks in his feel for pitching. But, to be honest, that’s what going to minor league games is about. You are getting a firsthand look at young players working on their games and battling through the learning process.

Jesse is scheduled to pitch again tonight, April 8, 2014, against the New Continue reading

Test Flight Tomorrow: A Few Innings of Intra-Squad

The Phillies reported yesterday that Jesse will be one of the starting pitchers to take the mound tomorrow afternoon in Clearwater in the Phillies intra-squad game that will kick off spring training games for 2014. Ethan Martin will start as well. Other pitchers to get innings will be David Buchanan, Justin DeFratus, Luis Garcia, Jeremy Horst, Cesar Jimenez, Shawn Camp, and Kenny Giles.

As the interview, above, with Chuck Bushbeck shows, Jesse’s been ready to go and Continue reading

Season Wrap Up for #54

The baseball field from the 1989 movie Field o...

Field of Dreams (yes, the real one)

Minor league players learn the ropes the hard way more often than not. Jesse Biddle had a storybook season, just not the story he wanted. His March spring training outings were definitive and astounding. He threw four innings for the Phillies AAA team, facing off against R.A. Dickey, and left the game up 4-0 with five strikeouts, three hits, and one walk. He was named Player of the Month in the EAL and Pitcher of the Month by the Phillies for April. But he had contracted whooping cough, and by the beginning of May he was in the throes of that illness and it would dog him all season. In July Continue reading

August Is Not July

Franco pumping up his pitcher before the game. (Source: Reading Fightin Phils)

July was an oddly cruel month for Jesse Biddle. Although he was the winning pitcher for the USA in the Futures Game, the month seemed to take a lot out of him. He maintained his lead in strikeouts for the EAL, but Jesse’s July ERA overall was 7.11 and he had a 1-3 record in five games pitched. You have to expect that all players hit a wall sometime during the season. The question is whether they figure out how to power through that wall.

Jesse did just that in August, beginning with a face-off against A-Rod in Trenton (walk, HR, K), and then four straight six inning outings where anyone watching could pretty easily say the kid was systematically busting down that frustrating July wall. In five August games, Jesse has allowed only nine runs Continue reading

Jesse Celebrates Left-Handers Day with Strong Performance

Franco pumping up his pitcher before the game. (Source: Reading Fightin Phils)

Franco pumping up his pitcher before the game. (Source: Fightin Phils)

Yesterday was International Left-Handers Day. It was also Jesse’s uncle’s birthday — Uncle Jesse turned 54! So it was kind of interesting watching Jesse Biddle hit 95 on the stadium gun in the first inning of the Reading Fightin Phils’ game against the Binghamton Mets (B-Mets to Mets fans). He threw 19 pitches in that first inning — 15 strikes and 4 balls — two of which were beautiful edge catching curveball strikes that apparently the ump didn’t like. The Reading faithful let the dude know about those mistakes properly.

Jesse took a two-out come-back liner off his left hip in the second. That seemed to temporarily take him out of his rhythm. He battled and was fully recovered by the 4th pretty much mowing down B-Met hitters with his swing-and-miss 91-93 mph fastball, mixing in curves, sliders, and change-ups to keep hitters off-balance. He also reached base once on a 2nd inning fielder’s choice Continue reading

Never a Dull Inning: Harrisburg Shut-Out for Six, But Biddle Battles

Jesse on the MetroBank JumboTronYou never cease to run into weirdness in baseball games if you pay attention. Jesse’s outing in Harrisburg last Thursday was certainly a night of weirdness. I talked to a scout during the game who had an accurate radar gun on Jess. Most stadium guns get bad readings on lefties who pitch from the far left side of the rubber. The gun for Metro Bank Stadium showed fastball speeds of 91 mph. The scout said Jesse was consistently 93-94 mph…which explains a lot of the swings and misses we witnessed all night long.

The thing is, it was one of those nights he struggled with command. He Continue reading