9-3 Beatdown in Beantown Be Damned, Apparently: Phillies Lineup Exactly The Same As It Was Last Night

9-3 Beatdown in Beantown Be Damned, Apparently: Phillies Lineup Exactly The Same As It Was Last Night

This season hasn't really offered opportunities to note Charlie Manuel's patience/loyalty/stubbornness/consistent lack of roster versatility which makes batting order shuffles a "Six One, Half Dozen The Other" proposition.

Then came today's lineup: exactly the same as it was in last night's 9-3 whupping.

The good news: Ryan Howard's left knee apparently isn't bothering him today, or at least not as much as Manuel is terrified of Delmon Young's fielding in Fenway Park's cavernous outfield. The bad: this is the same arrangement that features six of nine players with on-base percentages under .300.

Egregious as it sounds, there's merit to the strategy.

The Phillies did muster 15 baserunners last night -- only five fewer than the Red Sox. Best-case scenario: they capitalize tonight where they didn't 24 hours ago, offering Manuel a sliver of hope that they can be competitive without Chase Utley and Carlo- ... Chase Utley. Worst-case: they flop again, as they have all year anyway, and Manuel makes a switch to try to salvage the series split at CBP.

Knee-jerking just screams a panic that a team that (can't believe I'm saying this...) is still only three games under .500 and very much relevant in postseason considerations can't really afford.

It should be noted that, through 52 games, Manuel's ran with 36 permutations, only partly because of injuries/suspensions to Utley, Delmon Young, Carlos Ruiz, Ben Revere and Ryan Howard. He's tried and tried and done basically everything but hit Michael Young leadoff or Dom Brown higher than sixth. The manager's flexibility is commendable. His players' performance, less so.

Remember that today when you dial up sports talk radio calling for people's heads.

Cliff Lee (5-2, 2.48) vs. Ryan Dempster (2-5, 4.69) tonight in a 7:10 start time at Fenway before both teams fly to Philly to play tomorrow.

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to CSNPhilly.com's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.

"Woo."

Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started. 

Woo.

Sixers-Pelicans 5 things: Joel Embiid takes on dominating Anthony Davis

Sixers-Pelicans 5 things: Joel Embiid takes on dominating Anthony Davis

76ers (4-18) vs. Pelicans (7-15)
8 p.m. on TCN and CSNPhilly.com, Pregame Live starts at 7:30

The Sixers will try to snap their eight-game losing skid when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on Thursday night.

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Walking wounded, part II
After the Sixers were limited to nine available players in Tuesday's loss to the beat-up Memphis Grizzlies, things won't be much better in the health department in New Orleans.

Sure, Joel Embiid's expected return after sitting out the second half of a back-to-back set for rest will be a welcome boost. However, the Sixers are still dealing with a host of other ailments that will likely limit them to just 10 healthy bodies on Thursday night.

The Pelicans surely won't shed a tear for the Sixers because they have their own injury issues. New Orleans could have as many as five players sidelined, including former Sixer Jrue Holiday with turf toe.

2. The next big thing
All of the injuries won't decrease the game's intrigue, mainly because of the matchup at center between Embiid and Anthony Davis.

Embiid is coming off a subpar performance in his last outing against the Denver Nuggets, but the big man has still been as advertised this season. The rookie is putting up 18.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 23.3 minutes a game. Embiid is also shooting 46.8 percent from the field and an even 50.0 percent from three-point range.

On the other side, Davis has been an absolute monster for the Pelicans this season, even if it hasn't translated into many wins. 

The three-time All-Star leads the NBA in scoring with 31.6 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting. While carrying the scoring load, Davis has still been able to average a career-high 11.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals a night.

This should be the first of many meetings between two big men that look to dominate the future of the league.

3. Glass repair
With Embiid out on Tuesday, the Sixers were dominated 69-54 in the rebounding battle against the Grizzlies.

They should find things a little easier in that department against the Pelicans. Despite Davis' best efforts on the boards, New Orleans has allowed a league-high 48.9 rebounds to opponents this season. 

With Embiid back in the lineup, Ersan Ilyasova coming off a 17-rebound game and Richaun Holmes always active, the Sixers should be able to control the rebounding category.

4. Injuries
Robert Covington (knee/illness) is available to play. Jahlil Okafor (illness), Jerryd Bayless (wrist), Nerlens Noel (knee) and Ben Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

Holiday (toe) and E'Twaun Moore (toe) are questionable. Tyreke Evans (knee), Dante Cunningham (knee) and Quincy Pondexter (knee) are out for the Pelicans.

5. This and that
•  The Sixers are trying to avoid a franchise-record 24th straight road loss.

•  The Sixers and Pelicans split the season series in 2015-16 with each team winning at home.

•  Ilyasova is averaging 16.2 points and 8.2 boards so far in December.