Fantastic Outings from Hamels and Madson With Just a Sprinkle of Offense

Fantastic Outings from Hamels and Madson With Just a Sprinkle of Offense

Prior to the game, Phillies fans hoped that a little home cooking could be just what the Fightins needed to snap their season-long four-game losing streak. While the Phils didn't find the local ingredients to solve their offensive woes, they did put together all of the pieces necessary to win a 2-1 baseball game over the Colorado Rockies.

Cole Hamels, perhaps a little amped out of the gate, started out just okay, but really turned things on in the later stretches, at one point retiring 14-straight batters.

"I don't try to go out and do more. I just try to go out and win games, no matter if we won 10 in a row or lost 4 in a row," Hamels said after his fifth victory of the season.

"I'm just glad that we were able to play baseball," Cole added. "The eighth inning, we got the hit, bunt, sac, that's us playing baseball. It was good to see us do that. We got the win. Madson came in and shut the door again. He's been on top of it and that just shows where he's at. He's definitely done really well in this role. He's going after 'em."

In addition to executing nicely on offense in the eighth, the Phillies flashed some sound defense that certainly contributed to the victory. John Mayberry Jr. threw Alfredo Amezaga out when attempting to go first-to-third on a liner to right. Big John showed off his hose by hitting Polanco with a perfect ball on a rope -- a trait Ben Francsico has certainly not shown thus far as an everyday right fielder.

Mayberry may just keep playing himself into the starting lineup each night.

Mad Dog On Fire

Hamels eight great innings of one run ball set to the table for Ryan Madson to shut the door on Colorado's meat of the order in the ninth. Mad Dog was pumped, and for good reason. His fastball-changeup combo is making opposing teams look silly as of late.

Charlie Manuel says Madson is pitching as well as he ever has.

"His changeup is absolutely the best I've ever seen it," Manuel said after the game. "He's consistent with it now. He can throw it for strikes down or he can bounce it whenever he wants to. Of course Chooch is good at blocking it. His stuff is absolutely as good as I've ever seen it."

With Madson pitching so damn well late in games, the next question is whether Charlie will go back to Jose Conteras (who had a rough go of it in less than an inning of work down in Clearwater on Wednesday night) when he comes off the DL in the coming weeks?

"It'll be a tough decision, but I think that it will work itself out," Manuel said. "When [Madson]'s pitching like that, I think he makes it kind of tough right now to move him. What would be the point?"

Lack Of Offense

So while Manuel has plenty of confidence in his pen closing tight games out, is he worried about the sputtering offense after they only put 2 runs?

"'Worried?' 'Concerned' is a better word," Manuel said following the Phillies 5-hit performance, the latest in a string of low production outings. "I'm concerned about it, but at the same time, with the pitching we have, we keep working and chipping away, we'll improve our offense. We're gonna have to, that's how I look at it."

"It's a long season. You grind it out. We're gonna get better. We're gonna get it done. That's how I look at it."

It's a lot easier to look at when you put the notch in the win column at the end of the night.

Penn State men's hockey ranked No. 1 for first time

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Penn State men's hockey ranked No. 1 for first time

At 16-2-1, Penn State's men's hockey team is ranked first in the nation for the first time in program history.

The Nittany Lions have improved each of the last four years under head coach Guy Gadowsky. 

Their record by year:

      2013-14: 8-26-2
      2014-15: 18-15-4
Last season: 21-13-4
This season: 16-2-1

Penn State received 30 of 50 first-place votes in the USCHO Division I poll. Denver is ranked No. 2, followed by Boston University, Minnesota-Duluth and Massachusetts-Lowell (see USCHO poll).

Penn State was ranked fourth last week before sweeping Michigan State.

Joel Embiid now as dominant as Henry Sims

Joel Embiid now as dominant as Henry Sims

There are seemingly countless metrics one can use to detail Joel Embiid's supremacy as a Sixer, but perhaps no stats more clearly tell the story of how indefatigable the rookie has been this season than those of his free-throw shooting. Despite ranking just eighth on the team in total minutes, he's already gotten to the line 215 times this season and made 169 of them, about 250% more than the second-most made FTs on the team (Ersan Ilyasova, 65). What's more, his seven games with ten or more free throws attempted is already more than Thaddeus Young (six), Evan Turner (three) or Jrue Holiday (zero) ever had as a Liberty Baller. 

But yesterday against the Bucks saw JoJo hit a new level with his foul drawing. Despite essentially being shut down by the Bucks in the first half -- I can't remember if he even had a single bucket at the break -- The Process eventually imposed his will in Milwaukee in a major way, parading to the line in the second half, ending with 22 points (as well as 12 rebounds and five blocks) on 4-9 shooting, getting to the line an astounding 18 times. 

Who was the last Sixers giant to accomplish such a feat, you might wonder? Well... 

Yes, it's been an impressive season for our double-redshirt rookie, and every game he seems to add another immortal name to his list of historical analogues. But not until now could we afford to mention him alongside the great Henry "Lickface" Sims, two-year Process legend whose 18 trips to the free-throw line on April 4, 2014 totally helped us win that random late-season game against the then-rebuilding Boston Celtics. As impossible as it once seemed, it now appears that soon, Embiid's folk herodom will be as self-evident and undeniable to the Sons of Sam as that of Hammerin' Hank himself. 

Get this guy to the All-Star team already.