Fantastic Fourth: Mets Welcomed to Philly By Facing Cole Hamels

Fantastic Fourth: Mets Welcomed to Philly By Facing Cole Hamels

The New York Mets come into Philadelphia this
evening with a renewed hope of putting their laughable struggles of the
past few seasons behind them. It's Cole Hamels job to take the first
step in squashing that hope, and demonstrating the Phillies are, once
again, the team to beat the the NL East.

The Mets have made some changes in their decision makers, but the
core of their team remains very similar to the team of the past few
seasons. That said, the Phillies are not looking past the Mets this
season. Charlie Manuel even thinks they're going to surprise some
people.

"When I look at their team, their starting pitching usually pitches
pretty good against us, especially three or four of their starters. They
still have Rodriguez at the back of their bullpen," Manuel said. "If
you look at their lineup, they've got a pretty good lineup. They're
going to win more games than people think they are."

The Mets will throw their fourth starter this evening, the tall Chris
Young. That's pretty much the most noteworthy thing about Young, that
he's 6 feet, 10 inches tall.

"He's Big," Charlie Manuel said of Young. "He looks like he's
standing right up on top of you. He's not throwing the ball real hard.
But his fastball is sneaky. Sometimes he's kind of wild enough to be
real good."

He'll face the same Phillies lineup that started opening day, with
Shane Victorino back in the leadoff spot and playing center field after
getting the beginning to Sunday's game off.

The Phillies will counter the Mets fourth starter with one Colbert
Hamels. Asked if it has hit him until now that Cole Hamels is his fourth
starter, Manuel had this to say, "It's going to hit me tonight when I
get to see him."

Should finally hit the rest of us too.

7:05 scheduled start time from chilly CBP this evening.

*

Utley Jog Watch

After reports this morning that Utley will be able to start jogging any day now, Ruben Amaro Jr. says Utley is, in fact, not close to jogging.
"He is not close to jogging. If he was close to jogging he’d be
jogging, I guess. He has taken some ground balls. He’s done okay with
that so far. But it’s still baby steps."

So that's neat.

Charlie was asked about Chase's progress before the game as well.

"He's
slowly coming around. I watched him the last couple of days. He's
starting to move a little farther each day," Manuel said of  Utley
taking more grounders prior to each game over the weekend.

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders, DFA Severino Gonzalez

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders, DFA Severino Gonzalez

The Phillies on Thursday officially announced the signing of outfielder Michael Saunders to a one-year deal with a club option for 2018. 

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Saunders will make $9 million this season with the Phillies and the club option for 2018 will be worth $11 million with escalators potentially pushing it to $14 million.

Saunders, 30, is the left-handed hitting outfield bat the Phils were seeking. He hit 24 home runs for the Blue Jays last season in his walk year, making the AL All-Star team before slumping in the second half.

Saunders hit .298/.372/.551 with 16 homers in 82 games for the Blue Jays before the All-Star break, then hit .178/.282/.357 with eight homers in 58 games after.

He had a good year against same-handed pitching, hitting .275 with a .927 OPS and eight homers against lefties. 

He'll likely start in right field for the Phillies, with Odubel Herrera in center and Howie Kendrick in left (see Phils' projected lineup).

Saunders, who will wear No. 5, can also play first base, which could allow the Phillies to sit Tommy Joseph against a tough right-hander and fill in the outfield.

It was important to Phillies GM Matt Klentak that the player he signed to fill the spot in the outfield was not going to block young outfielders like Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and others.

On a one-year deal, Saunders came relatively cheap to the Phils, lingering in free agency as other hitters found contracts. In the middle of last summer, Saunders seemed poised for a multi-year contract like the four-year, $52 million deal Josh Reddick signed with the Astros. His second half cost him some money.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Saunders, the Phillies designated right-hander Severino Gonzalez for assignment.

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

He’s done it again.
 
Eleven days ago, Sixers social media went wild over a video that showed Joel Embiid walking out to the ring as a WWE character in WWE 2K17. Well, YouTube user Hillman811 is back with an even better version of the video complete with Sam Hinkie and fans chanting.
 
The first video sparked questions to Embiid about his favorite WWE wrestler, and he even did his own Triple H introduction at the Wells Fargo Center after The Game threw him an All-Star vote (see story).
 
Watch the video below and let your mind run wild with what this would look like if it actually happened.