Game Chat: Phillies Starting Nine Will Look for Their First Hit Off Jose Fernandez

Game Chat: Phillies Starting Nine Will Look for Their First Hit Off Jose Fernandez

The good news is Ryan Howard's knee issue doesn't appear to be overly serious. It's not keeping him out of tonight's lineup at least. The bad news is he's 0-6 against tonight's starter Jose Fernandez. That seems to be a trend with the Phillies lineup this evening. Nobody in tonight's starting nine has a hit off of Fernandez.

[Related: Of course Ruben thinks the Phils' offense can turn it around]

Granted, the Fightins have only faced the young right-hander twice. Freddy Galvis actually has two hits off of him, but Charlie has decided to keep him on the bench. Laynce Nix also has a hit off of him, but he doesn't do much starting these days.

It's not like Fernandez is the next great thing. He has just baffled the Phillies. Corey Seidman points out the disparity between Philadelphia and the rest:

Fernandez against the Phillies: 0.00 ERA in 13 innings, .071 opponents’ batting average.

Fernandez against all other teams: 4.91 ERA, .261 opponents’ batting average.

Fernandez is a strike-thrower with a mid-90s fastball, a sharp, biting curve in the mid-high 80s and a changeup that he’s used more against the Phillies than against most other teams.

The Phillies will give Tyler Cloyd his second start of the season after an impressive debut a couple of weeks back in Arizona.

With Chooch hitting the DL this morning, Erik Kratz will handle the catching. Humberto Quintero will be available on the bench.

7:10 start time from Florida. Thinking it is about time for Chase Utley to do some voodoo crap in the clubhouse to wake the team's bats up.

Tonight's lineup:

Nerlens Noel on Sixers' frontcourt logjam: 'I don't see a way it can work'

Nerlens Noel on Sixers' frontcourt logjam: 'I don't see a way it can work'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Nerlens Noel is standing his ground.

After saying that the Sixers' entering the season with three starting-caliber centers (himself, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid) "doesn't make sense," Noel didn't back down from his stance during the team's annual media day.  

"I don't see a way it can work," Noel said Monday. "It's just a logjam. You have three young, talented centers that can play 30-plus minutes a night." 

The Sixers attempted to play with two bigs in Noel and Okafor last season but had little success. Now that Embiid is finally healthy, the fit to the puzzle doesn't figure to get any better.

Reports swirled during the offseason that the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor to add backcourt help to the woeful franchise, but nothing came to fruition.

"Things need to get situated," Noel said. "I think things obviously need to be moved around, someone needs to be moved around. It's just a tough situation. I can't really say too much because I have no say in the matter, so obviously that's for who can handle the situation in the right manner.

"I've gone through a whole lot. Probably the most, arguably, that any player has gone through in the NBA in losing. It's a tough situation to still be in. Year by year, to see things get more difficult to show your value. Year by year, it's always been something. It's really at a point where it's just a lot."

Bryan Colangelo said he understands Noel's viewpoint. However, the Sixers' president said he is in no rush to trade any of the centers and will wait the situation out.

"It’s not disappointing. It’s understandable," Colangelo said. "I think Nerlens actually did a pretty good job sizing up what we have, which is a lot of depth and a lot of talent at that position."

Despite each of the three centers being early in their career, Noel, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't want to hold off to see if the trio can actually mesh on the floor.

"I can't say I do really understand that (wait-and-see approach)," Noel said. "If you have a group of players, I just don't think it makes too much sense to just still come into the season with such a heavy lineup at the center position. I don't know what there is to wait and see."

Noel made sure to express that he has no issues with Okafor and Embiid and said they are some of his closest friends on the team. But when asked whether he was happy to be a Sixer, Noel deflected.

"I feel good," he said. "I'm all right, I'm in a good place right now."

Sure sounds like it.

Darren Sproles' TD from Wentz set to Sonic the Hedgehog music

sproles-sonic.jpg

Darren Sproles' TD from Wentz set to Sonic the Hedgehog music

You may fondly remember the time Darren Sproles took a punt return to the house last season and a wonderful Twitter user set the video to the Super Mario Bros.' star music, yes?

It was great.

Now that Sproles' put on the jets again yesterday in the Eagles win over the Steelers, the same @pacdude on Twitter has done it again.

This time it's the theme music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Please enjoy.