Add Victorino and Blanton to the DL Pile, Dom Brown Won't Be Called Up

Add Victorino and Blanton to the DL Pile, Dom Brown Won't Be Called Up

Aside from the putridity of a 7-1 home loss that featured three home runs off the bat of Jason Giambi, the already short-handed Phillies are expected to lose a few more bodies to the DL. Joe Blanton was scratched from the start just prior to the game with a flare up of the elbow issues that have followed him since spring training, and Shane Victorino's hamstring finally told him it was time to shut it down.

Naturally, fans are wondering a few things today—particularly why Vic and Blanton weren't shut down sooner, as well as who will take their places and when this offensive downturn will right itself.

Blanton was allowed to pitch in Florida with a "cranky" elbow. Victorino didn't get an MRI right away, and was asked to pinch hit to lay down a successful sacrifice bunt on Wednesday night. The bunt was a key part of a 2-1 Phillies win, but while it likely didn't harm his hamstring any, it restarted the clock on when Victorino can return from the DL. Rather than having his stint end on May 30th if all goes well, he won't be eligible until June 3rd. It's not the end of the world (that starts tomorrow, fyi), but it's kinda wtf. 

Free Dom?

The best excuse for the Phillies' offensive woes—and it is a legit one—is that they've been fielding a MASH unit, with lineups half-full of should-be minor leaguers and bench players. With Victorino set to miss the next two weeks, we will see more of the same. What we won't see, for the time being anyway, is Domonic Brown. 

Ruben told reporters after the game that Brown isn't ready. And maybe he just means, right this second, he's not ready. Brown missed some time with a bum finger and could need some time getting back on track before joining the big club. Or, they just may not think he's ready in a big-picture sense. Or, maybe they're not ready to start his service time for the season. 

I won't begin to pretend I have the first clue what's best for Brown in the short or long term. I'm relatively confident the Phillies do, but it's hard not to wonder. Looking up and down the lineup and around the rest of the outfield, it's also hard to find the guys who are keeping Brown in the minors, so there are bound to be questions into the Phillies thinking on the kid until the offense comes around or Dom is in South Philly.  

Add those to the injury questions, and the only solace there is today is a look at the starting pitchers, where Roy Halladay's name is listed. 

Joel Embiid not named All-Star starter, can still make it as reserve

Joel Embiid not named All-Star starter, can still make it as reserve

Joel Embiid will have to hope NBA coaches trust the process.

Embiid on Thursday was not named a starter in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler locked in the three Eastern Conference frontcourt spots. Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan rounded out the backcourt.

James (25.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.1 assists) and Antetokounmpo (23.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists) were locks as starters. That left Butler, Kevin Love and Embiid as the next in contention. Butler is a two-time All-Star averaging 24.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 36.8 minutes for the 21-22 Bulls. Love is posting 20.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 31.6 minutes per game on the Eastern Conference-leading, 29-11 Cavaliers.

The Western Conference starting spots went to Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis. 

The voting was made up of fan votes (50 percent), player votes (25 percent) and media votes (25 percent). Embiid has a chance to be voted in by the NBA coaches, whose reserve selections will be announced on Jan. 26. 

Embiid would have been named a starter had the results been based on fan voting (50 percent). He finished third ahead of Love and Butler.

Embiid was in the running for a starting role during a breakout rookie season. He is averaging 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game. Even though his playing time is capped at 28 minutes, he ranks seventh among all players in scoring per 48 minutes. He is eighth overall in free throw attempts per game (7.9) and 10th in those made (6.2).

Embiid had obstacles, though, when it came to the voting: rookie status, 28-minute restriction, limited games played (29) because of his allocated workload, and the Sixers’ record.

Even though the All-Star Game highlights individual achievements, team record is often taken into consideration. The Sixers have won seven of their last nine games (see story), but still stand well below .500 at 14-26.

When it came to the players’ vote, it is hard for a rookie who hasn’t even competed against every team in the league to make a strong enough impression for another player to influence their perception of the top talent. Embiid finished outside of the top five in the players' vote, behind James, Antetokounmpo, Butler, Paul George and Kristaps Porzingis. Meanwhile, the Sixers' big man finished fifth in the media vote.

Embiid and the Sixers were very active in pushing for the fan votes. Embiid received the social media support of celebrities including Triple H, Kevin Hart and MLB MVP Mike Trout, among others. The Sixers promoted Embiid through a Shirley Temple campaign based on his favorite drink.

Embiid picked up major steam in the last week of voting. He had trailed Love by 16,028 fan votes in the second returns on Jan. 12.

He took to Twitter to express his gratitude.

Chip Kelly still jobless after swinging and missing with Jaguars

Chip Kelly still jobless after swinging and missing with Jaguars

Chip Kelly's job search continues.

The beloved (sarcasm) former Eagles head coach reportedly interviewed for the Jaguars' offensive coordinator opening. However, on Wednesday night, Jacksonville announced it was retaining Nathaniel Hackett as its OC.

“We are excited to announce Nathaniel Hackett as our offensive coordinator and he will immediately be tasked with installing and implementing our offense this offseason,” Jaguars new head coach Doug Marrone said in a statement from the team. “I have had the pleasure of working with Nathaniel for seven consecutive seasons and know firsthand how knowledgeable and passionate he is about winning.”

So, Kelly swung and miss twice on the Jaguars, as he reportedly interviewed for Jacksonville's head coaching job, as well.

"I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said, via CSNBayArea.com, two days after his firing as 49ers head coach. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”

Kelly's decline is staggering, even if you saw it coming.

Look at this NFL coaching history ...

With Eagles in 2013: 10-6, wild-card playoff berth
With Eagles in 2014: 10-6, missed playoffs
With Eagles in 2015: 6-9, fired before final regular-season game
With 49ers in 2016: 2-14, fired after regular season

Who knows what's next for the Chipper?