Domonic Brown Will Only Need to Wait Four Batters Before Homering Off a First-Time Starter Tonight

Domonic Brown Will Only Need to Wait Four Batters Before Homering Off a First-Time Starter Tonight

"Move Domonic Brown up in the batting order!" you demanded, and your comments did not fall on deaf ears--Ryan Howard heard your cries, and will be heroically sitting out with a "sore knee" in order to give our young masher a chance to do his damange one spot higher in the lineup tonight, and we here at the Level are very excited. It's just like our man Kulp said: "Stop! No! Don’t do it! Right now you don’t want Dom Brown thinking about anything other than what he’s been doing already...Don’t make a single change that might mess with the hot streak he’s riding." Oh. Well, tough noogies, Kulp, he's batting fifth.

Domonic Mordecai will get his chance to tee off in one of the first two innings off Red Sox starter Franklin Morales, who despite pitching in 175 games across seven seasons for the Rockies and Red Sox in his career, has never started a big-league game before. Morales will be taking the place of injured All-Star Clay Buchholz, and hopefully the Phils can find ways to take advantage of his lack of experience, like convincing him that the home team gets four outs in the first three innings of the game! Classic reliever-turned-starter prank.

In the meantime, also take a minute to say hello to Philly second baseman Cesar Hernandez, making his first-ever start for the Phillies tonight after an extremely successful start to the season for the IronPigs, posting a .305/.328/.428 stat line with 15 steals in 19 attempts. Only 23 years old, Hernandez is already being pegged as a potential long-term successor to Chase Utley, though it may be a good game to see him play at least one game for the Phillies (maybe even five) before we deem the best Phillie since Mike Schmidt expendable in his name. I know, formalities.

7:05 first pitch from CBP. Jonathan Pettibone on the mound for the Phils, with the chance to go 4-0 for the year and get the Phils back up to .500 for the first time in a month-and-a-half in the process. Do it for Shane, Jonny.

Penn at Yale: Quakers try to keep rolling, stay atop Ivies


Penn at Yale: Quakers try to keep rolling, stay atop Ivies

Penn (3-2, 2-0) at Yale (1-4, 1-1)
Yale Bowl, New Haven, Conn.
Friday, 7 p.m., NBCSN

It’s once again time for Friday night lights for Penn, which plays its second of three nationally televised Friday matchups tonight. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Scouting Penn
The Quakers won their third straight game and stayed perfect in the Ivy League with an easy 35-10 victory over old friend Al Bagnoli and Columbia last week. Junior running back Tre Solomon, the Ivy League’s leading rusher, was the star of the game, rushing for a career-high 127 yards on nine carries, catching five passes for 30 yards and even throwing a 23-yard TD pass on a late trick play. 

Quarterback Alek Torgersen threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns, one going to star junior Justin Watson and two more going to sophomore Christian Pearson, who’s emerging as another dynamic explosive receiving weapon. Linebacker Colton Moskal led the best defensive effort of the season with eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Moskal, a Syracuse transfer, currently ranks fourth in the Ivies in tackles with nine per game.

Scouting Yale
The Bulldogs lost their first three games (including a surprising one to Cornell in their Ivy opener), snapped their slide vs. Dartmouth, and then fell back to its losing ways last week at Fordham. Yale’s defense has particularly struggled, allowing 44 points to Fordham after previously surrendering 55 points in a loss to Colgate and 63 in a loss to Lehigh. 

The Bulldogs’ scoring defense currently ranks 118 out of 122 teams in the FCS (40.4 points per game) and 117th in total defense (487.8 yards per game). But their defense does have two of the top tacklers in the Ivies in Hayden Carlson and Foyesade Oluokun. And led by the tandem of Dale Harris and Alan Lamar, Yale leads the Ivies in rushing offense, averaging 184.8 yards per game — two-tenths of a yard more than Penn.

Series history
Yale leads the overall series 47-35-1, but Penn is 18-6 in the programs’ last 24 meetings dating back to 1992. The Quakers prevailed in last year’s matchup but hasn’t won at the Yale Bowl since 2010.

Storyline to watch
The historic Yale Bowl was erected more than 100 years ago but this will be the first true night game in the history of the stadium. That will only add to the mystique for the Penn players, who beat Yale in a night game at Franklin Field last season and love Friday night games because it reminds them of their high school days. But Yale players certainly figure to be up for the unique matchup, too. 

What’s at stake?
A win would keep Penn atop the Ivies with either Princeton or Harvard, the two other unbeaten frontrunners who face off the following day. 

Alek Torgersen, Justin Watson and Tre Solomon should have a field day against Yale’s leaky defense. Penn 42, Yale 27.

Gunn's bullet points: Logan's injury, battle in the trenches and more

Gunn's bullet points: Logan's injury, battle in the trenches and more

Derrick Gunn give his take on a few keys to the Eagles-Vikings game on Sunday.

• Losing Bennie Logan (groin injury) for this game is huge. He doesn't get a lot of notoriety for the dirty work he does in the trenches, but he helps Fletcher Cox get that push up the middle.

• Keep a close eye on the matchup between Jason Kelce and Vikings DT Linval Joseph. Kelce has been overmatched by bigger, athletic guys and Joseph at 6-4, 330 pounds is one of the best in the business.

• In his first three years as an Eagle, Connor Barwin had 26½ sacks as an outside linebacker, including a career-best 14½ in 2014. Through five games this season, Barwin, now a defensive end, has just one. Fatigue might be a factor. He has played more snaps than any other Eagles defensive lineman (79 percent). Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz says reducing Barwin's playing time might keep him fresher and stronger in fourth quarters.

• WR Dorial Green-Beckham was on the field for 81 percent of the Eagles' plays vs. Washington last week. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich feels DGB is ready for an expanded role.

• Darren Sproles usually wins matchups against LBs, but that might not be the case against the Vikings. Mychal Kendricks' younger brother, Eric, has been a solid, playmaking LB for Minnesota and he has the speed to keep up with Sproles.

• I've said it once and I'll say it again: Get Kenjon Barner more touches in the run game. Barner has the fewest carries among the Eagles' four running backs but the best yards-per-carry average at 5.8.