Cole Hamels Is Pretty Good, Pitching Tonight

Cole Hamels Is Pretty Good, Pitching Tonight

When all this Four Aces stuff first started, there is one guy who I felt maybe flew under the radar, and it's not Joe Blanton. Cole Hamels was number four, not just in the rotation, but with the hype machine as well, and that didn't seem right. After all, the 27 year old is the only World Series MVP of the bunch, and it was entirely possible—if not likely—his best baseball was still ahead of him.

Fast forward to June 14, when if Cole was ever in fact taken for granted, he certainly is not now. Hamels has arguably taken over the lead as the Phillies' most dominant pitcher in 2011, or at the very least a close second. He's 8-2 with a 2.58 ERA, and a win tonight would tie him with teammate Roy Halladay and Boston's Jon Lester for the most in the Majors.

Hamels has been nothing short of magnificent from his second start on this season. He's lasted a minimum of six innings in every outing, and gone seven or later in all but two, while allowing more than three runs on only one occasion. The Phils are 10-2 over those twelve appearances, and Cole hasn't lost a decision since May 8.

Hamels is also eighth in MLB with 91 strikeouts, and leads the NL in the somewhat underutilized WHIP statistic—walks and hits per innings pitched.

While King Cole will try to keep pace with both his teammate and the rest of the league, the Phillies begin a four-game series over the next three days at home versus the Florida Marlins tonight, before hopping a plane after Thursday's day game for a brutal trip to Seattle. The Fightins defeated the Marlins 3-2 in Hamels' last meeting with the Fish on April 17, allowing two earned runs over seven innings to work a no decision.

Taking the hill for Florida is big righty Chris Volstad (2-6, 5.51), who has struggled mightily against the Phils for most of his four-year career. Volstad last picked up a W over the good guys on May 25, 2009, and is a miserable 0-5 with a 5.60 ERA in eight starts since.

Volstad's last start versus the Phils came on September 7, 2010. The former first round pick allowed nine hits and five runs over five, including three bombs. Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, and Ryan Howard each took the 24 year old deep in an 8-7 win.

Indeed, Ibanez and Howard have experienced great success at the plate against Volstad. Raul is 10-for-19 with three home runs lifetime, while The Big Piece is 11-23 and has gone yard an astounding six times. With Hamels on the hill, you figure if either of those two can connect tonight, the odds on a Phillies win are pretty good.

Temple surrenders late lead in 81-74 loss to No. 20 Cincinnati

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USA Today Images

Temple surrenders late lead in 81-74 loss to No. 20 Cincinnati

BOX SCORE

CINCINNATI -- Kyle Washington scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half, rallying No. 20 Cincinnati to its ninth straight win, 81-74 over Temple on Wednesday night.

The Bearcats (16-2, 6-0 American Athletic) trailed by six points before Washington made two one-handed shots during a decisive 17-5 run that put them ahead to stay. Cincinnati led by as many as 13 points.

The Bearcats extended their best winning streak in three seasons and completed a series sweep of the Owls (10-10, 1-6), who were sloppy with the ball.

Troy Caupain had 18 points for the Bearcats, including seven free throws in the closing minutes.

Shizz Alston, Jr., led Temple with 25 points for the second game in a row, matching his career high.

Obi Enechionyia made a 3-pointer, a dunk and a 15-foot jumper as Temple opened a six-point lead at the start of the second half, its biggest of the game. Washington then led the decisive run by scoring on two shots near the basket.

Big picture
Temple: The Owls have been prone to bad first halves, but that wasn't the case this time. They led 28-26 at the break despite having nine turnovers and no offensive rebounds.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats have won their last 19 home games, their longest such streak since taking 19 in a row from March 2, 2013 through Feb. 15, 2014. Their last home loss was 77-70 to Temple in their league opener last season.

Poll implications
A ragged win over a struggling Temple team won't much help the Bearcats. They don't play a currently ranked team until next week, when they host crosstown rival Xavier, which is ranked No. 22.

Up next
The Owls have a week off before hosting Memphis next Wednesday. They split their series last season, with each team winning at home.

The Bearcats play at Tulane on Saturday. They beat Tulane 92-56 at home on Jan. 1.

You can play with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in NBA Jam

You can play with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in NBA Jam

He’s on fire.

Ever wonder what it would be like to play NBA Jam with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? Well now you can.

Thanks to a roster update, spotted by Kotaku, you can now have the fun of matching up Embiid with Simmons, or Embiid with Nerlens Noel or even the more daring combination of Jahlil Okafor with Noel.

Here’s what the player ratings look like for all of the aforementioned players in this reboot of one of the more popular games in the early-90s.

In addition to current NBA rosters, the game also gives you the ability to play with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Kanye West, and yes, even Harambe.

So fire up your computer and match up your favorite two Sixers, or politicians.