Against All Odds, Phils Find a Way to Go Ice Cold

Against All Odds, Phils Find a Way to Go Ice Cold

Good gawd I hope you didn't have tickets to the Phillies game tonight. 
On a windless, 90-plus-degree evening in South Philly, the Fightins scored on their first at-bat of the game, then packed it up as far as production was concerned. Vance Worley battled a little harder than his line might indicate and ultimately gave up the winning runs to what would have been the last batter he'd face. The Rockies picked up two more off of Michael Schwimer (one of which was charged to Jake Diekman) in the top of the ninth to block the sweep with a 4-1 win. 
Jimmy Rollins continued a memorable day with a leadoff homer just hours after standing alongside Vice President Joe Biden to speak out against domestic violence. For an inning, it felt like the Phils had carried the momentum of their walkoff win from Wednesday night. But, that'd be the end of offense. Neither team plated a run between the first and seventh innings, with Worley maintaining a shutout until Chris Nelson took him yard with Tyler Colvin on second. 
There'd be no ninth-inning magic for the Phils, who conceded runs in the final frame for the second consecutive night, but this time couldn't catch up. After a pair of wins over a reeling team the Phillies should beat, the game 3 loss was as stagnating as the air over the park. 
Notes:Despite a 4H, 2BB, 2ER line, Worley ran up some deep counts and finished the night at 108 pitches through seven. Holding a shutout through 6.2, Worley's ERA came down to 2.78 despite the loss.
With Jeff Francis on the Rockies' 75-pitch limit, Colorado used relievers for the final four outs, during which time only two Phils got on base. 
The Phillies were 0-9 with runners in scoring position. 
Rafael Betancourt, who was charged with the ninth-inning lost on Wednesday night, got Polly to fly out, then K'd both John Mayberry Jr and pinch hitter Jim Thome to close it out.  
Mayberry kept his mini-hot streak going with a pair of hits, one of which was a double. 
Ty Wigginton had another big hit late but was stranded in the eighth inning after a leadoff double. 
Tomorrow, the Phils open a series against the Rays, with Cliff Lee facing James Shields. 

Doug Pederson: Dak Prescott knew he didn't have to win by himself

Doug Pederson: Dak Prescott knew he didn't have to win by himself

For the most part, Carson Wentz had a pretty successful rookie season. 

Sure, the Eagles finished with a 7-9 record, but Wentz did enough to continue the franchise's belief that he is indeed the quarterback of the future. 

Another guy in Dallas did the same thing with the Cowboys. Actually, Dak Prescott had an even more impressive rookie season, leading the Cowboys to 13 wins, while winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. 

Prescott, a fourth-round pick, had a great year, but didn't try to do too much. And that's what impressed Eagles head coach Doug Pederson the most. 

"[Prescott] understood this right away, that he didn't have to win the game for them," Pederson said on The Doomsday Podcast, hosted by Matt Mosley and Ed Werder. (Pederson also talked about running the Rocky steps). "He knew that he had a good defense, a tremendous offensive line, a great runner, he had some veteran players that he could rely on and he learned that early. As soon as he had the opportunity to play and that was early, from Day 1. 

"That's something that a young quarterback, sometimes it takes them a while to figure out the game that way. That's the impressive thing, that he learned how to handle that business that well, utilize the people around him and understand that he didn't have to go win the game."

While Prescott had plenty of help during his rookie season, it was pretty evident Wentz was lacking in that area. 

Prescott had a great offensive line, Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott and others. Wentz had an offensive line that was missing Lane Johnson, an often-injured Ryan Mathews and receivers like Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham playing serious snaps. 

So it made sense when the team went out this offseason and signed Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and recently LeGarrette Blount, as free agents, finally getting Wentz some real help. 

"We had opportunities to get those two guys and it was obvious last year, we were young at the wide receiver position," Peterson said. "We needed some leadership, some veteran presence there and we went out and got that with Torrey and Alshon. We still want to build through the draft, we still want to acquire young talent. 

"LeGarrette Blount now is a guy that gives us that big back, running back, that can come in and compete and hopefully he does everything he did at New England the last couple of seasons. He had 18 rushing touchdowns for over 1,000 yards and we just expect that same level of performance here."

Maybe having weapons will allow Wentz to do what made Prescott so impressive to Pederson in 2016: not too much. 

Tonight's lineup: Michael Saunders dropped to eighth in order

Tonight's lineup: Michael Saunders dropped to eighth in order

Pete Mackanin is still searching for answers to the Phillies' offensive woes following Sunday afternoon's disheartening 1-0 loss in Pittsburgh during which the Phils could only muster three hits.

The latest lineup twist as the search for an answer continues will see Michael Saunders bat in the eight-hole tonight as the Phils open a four-game series with the surging Rockies tonight at Citizens Bank Park (see game notes).

When he has started this season, Saunders has been a fixture within the middle of the Phillies' order. After all, the offseason free-agent signing was an All-Star for Toronto last season when he hit 24 homers and drove in 57 runs.

But this season hasn't gone as planned as Saunders is hitting just .232 with four homers and 15 RBI in 41 games with the Phils this season.

With Saunders' drop down the lineup, Tommy Joseph will bat fourth, Maikel Franco fifth and Odubel Herrera sixth against Rockies spot starter Jeff Hoffman.

Tonight's full lineups can be found below:

Phillies
1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Aaron Altherr LF
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Maikel Franco 3B
6. Odubel Herrera CF
7. Cameron Rupp C
8. Michael Saunders RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff SP

Rockies
1. Charlie Blackmon CF
2. D.J. LeMehiau 2B
3. Nolan Arenado 3B
4. Carlos Gonzalez RF
5. Mark  Reynolds 1B
6. Gerardo Parra LF
7. Alexi Amarista SS
8. Tony Wolters C
9. Jeff Hoffman SP