About Last Night: Phils Stumble in Seattle

About Last Night: Phils Stumble in Seattle

The Phillies had some rallies going in three of the final four innings last night at Safeco Field, but it was too little, too late. It was Ichiro Suzuki jersey night, and the right fielder responded by scoring three runs, while Michael Pineda took a no-hitter into the sixth inning as the Mariners won 4-2.

It took the Fightins' bats a while to get used to Seattle's rookie
right-hander, who had some overpowering stuff. Chase Utley finally
notched an RBI single in the top of the sixth, but Placido Polanco
struck out with the bases loaded to limit the damage to one run. Polanco
was not pleased, and had words for the umpire after the three-pitch at
bat, something it seems has been all too common lately for the typically steady
third basemen.

From there it was up to the Mariners bullpen, and they made things interesting. Shane Victorino homered in the eighth to get the Phillies within two, and they had the tying run at the plate while making their last stand, but Domonic Brown grounded out to end the game.

Just prior to Vic's solo shot, Jimmy Rollins was called out at first on a really close play. On the replays, it appeared he may very well have been safe, but neither J-Roll, the Phils' skipper, or the announce team made much noise about it. It doesn't appear it would have impacted the game's outcome anyway.

Roy Oswalt didn't pitch bad, but his inability to get Ichiro out proved costly. SS Brendan Ryan drove him in twice, and Justin Smoak also had an RBI. C Miguel Olivio added a solo blast, and hit the ball hard all night, as Oswalt went 6.1, and allowed four earned on eight hits and two walks.

It was a tough game for the Phils, who made the cross-country flight to meet a team they are not familiar with, and play in a ballpark that doesn't necessarily suit their style. Of course, they'll have to get over all of that, and it won't get any easier tonight against the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez.

The loss ended a seven-game winning streak.

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

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.