Charlie Manuel: Roy Halladay Is “Coming Along Real Good”

Charlie Manuel: Roy Halladay Is “Coming Along Real Good”

The Phillies are creating a bit of buzz once again with their latest stretch of good baseball, taking two of three from a pair of first-place teams, and the first two so far in a four-game series with the Washington Nationals. We’re still skeptical about a potential playoff run as we’ve seen this team go on stretches like the current one earlier this season, always setting up for a corresponding letdown later.

We can plainly see some of their weaknesses as well, one of which might be in the back end of their starting rotation. Jonathan Pettibone and John Lannan are okay, but don’t go deep into many games – a problem considering the bullpen – and Kyle Kendrick has come back down to earth a bit since getting off to a hot start.

At least they might have some help on the way in the form of Roy Halladay. Charlie Manuel went on 94 WIP with Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow on Wednesday to discuss a wide scope of topics. Perhaps the most exciting tidbit from the 40-minute interview was the skipper’s update on Doc, who is throwing and, well… we’ll let Cholly take it from here.

"Hallady's coming along real good… I’ve been watching him throw in the outfield with Dubee, and he’s got a good chance he’s going to pitch for us before the season is over I predict."

Coming along real good. Has a chance to pitch before the end of the season. Both of those statements are very encouraging. Granted, even if Halladay does come back, we have no way of knowing which Halladay the Phillies are getting. Is it the two-time Cy Young Award winner, or the guy who surrendered nine runs over 2.1 innings against the lowly Miami Marlins?

As we said at the start of the season however, Doc doesn’t necessarily have to be the dominant eight-time All Star to be effective for the Fightins. If he can come back and pitch even as well as Kendrick has this year, he could provide a huge boost for that staff, almost like acquiring another arm at the trade deadline.

And hey, we can hope for more. I’m not sure how many people envisioned Chase Utley coming back and having the kind of season he has enjoyed in 2013, but he appears to have turned the clock back by about three years. Maybe surgery was the answer for Halladay.

The Phillies still have a lot of work to do before Halladay can come back and pitch in the thick of a playoff race. Frankly it may not matter who comes back, or who gets hot if the bullpen remains an utter mess. That said, even if the Phils aren’t going anywhere, I’d still like to see Doc come back and go out on a high note in case the organization doesn’t have plans to re-sign him.

Admit it, you would hate for your last memory of Roy in red pinstripes to be a nine-run drubbing at the hands of the club he once tossed a perfect game against.

>> Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel Joins Anthony and Glen [94 WIP]

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event, Giroux sat down with CSN's Michael Barkann on Philly Sports Talk for a game of “Who Does It Better: Canada or the United States?”

The game started off with a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered.

“I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded.

Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."