Perhaps the biggest positive of the final few weeks of the Phillies season has been the return to dominance of Cliff Lee. He was never nearly as bad as some may have thought earlier in the season -- he was actually pretty good all along -- but luck simply wasn't going his way. But now that he's seemingly locating at will and using all of his pitches effectively, he's been dominant.
Cliff pitched eight fantastic innings on Monday night against the Mets on the way to a 3-1 Phillies victory to move them to within 3.5 of the final wild card spot.
The offense was led by a big night from Jimmy Rollins. He got things going early in the first with a little hustle after striking out in his first at bat but getting on base with a past ball on strike three. He eventually scored on a fly ball to shallow center with some aggressive base running.
Jimmy and Dom Brown added solo shots later in the game to give Cliff some room. They were two of the stranger home runs at CitiField. J-Roll's was actually ruled a triple at first before being reviewed by the umps while Dom's bounced off the top of the wall and over.
Full recap of the win here.
>>Phils edge Mets, sit 3.5 back of wild card [CSN]
The Sixers made some roster tweaks on Wednesday night.
The team waived forward Carl Landry and center Tibor Pleiss, while officially announcing the signing of guard Anthony "Cat" Barber.
The Sixers were expected to cut Pleiss, who was acquired last Friday in a trade with the Jazz. On July 21, Barber and the Sixers reportedly agreed to a partially guaranteed deal.
Landy, a 32-year-old veteran, played one season with the Sixers after being acquired last summer in a trade with the Kings, a deal in which he was essentially a toss-in as it revolved around bringing Nik Stauskas to Philadelphia. Landry, who was under contract for 2016-17 at $6.75 million, battled injury to start 2015-16 and ended up playing in 36 games (12 starts), averaging 9.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Barber, 6-foot-3, 173 pounds, will fight for a roster spot at point guard during training camp. The 22-year-old went undrafted in June after declaring following his junior season at NC State in which he averaged 23.5 points per game, seventh most in the country and best in the ACC.
Ben Simmons' fellow NBA rookies may not think too highly of him, but when the best basketball player on the planet is giving him pointers, he must be doing something right.
On Tuesday, a photo of Simmons and LeBron James dribbling side by side started making the rounds on Instagram. That's right. The Sixers' number-one overall draft pick and franchise savior is apparently training with the four-time league MVP and reigning world champion.
Those workouts continued on Wednesday, when 12-time All-Star Dwayne Wade posted a photo of himself, Simmons and James, as well as Richard Jefferson and Jordan McRae. That's some good company for a first-year player to keep.
What does all of this mean for Simmons and the Sixers? Hard to say, but it can't be a bad thing that the rookie point-forward is spending time with a pair of future first-ballot Hall of Famers. Surely he must be learning something.
That's good news for the Sixers, who hope that Simmons can even come close to living up to the lofty comparisons some have drawn to James already.
Tommy Joseph is back in the starting lineup … as he's expected to be for most of the final month of the season. Joseph bats fourth behind third baseman Maikel Franco.
Joseph did not start Tuesday night in the Phillies' 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. The 25-year-old is hitting .251 with 17 home runs and 34 RBIs.
The slugger has a significantly higher average against left-handed pitching than righties, despite clubbing 12 of his 17 homers against right-handed pitchers.
Joseph has yet to faced Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez.
In other lineup notes, Tyler Goeddel gets the start in left field and will hit eighth, while A.J. Ellis gets his second start as a Phillie. He'll catch Adam Morgan.
Here is the full lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Freddy Galvis, SS
7. A.J. Ellis, C
8. Tyler Goeddel, LF
9. Adam Morgan, P
For more on tonight's game, read Steven Tydings' game notes.