Hamels On the Mound for Sunday Night Baseball

Hamels On the Mound for Sunday Night Baseball

For the second Sunday in a row the Phillies play in front of a national television audience as they host the Braves in the final game of their three game series.

Cole Hamels (4-1, 2.66 ERA) faces Jair Jurrjens (3-0, 1.52 ERA) in the rubber match. Hamels last faced Atlanta back on April 10th at Turner Field where he went seven shutout innings, giving up just four hits, striking out eight, and walking one en route to picking up his first win.

All he's done since that start is go 4-0 with a 37/8 K/BB ratio. He's gone at least seven innings in all five of his starts since he lasted just 2.2 innings in his season debut against the Mets. Hamels is 10-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 20 career starts against the Braves.

Charlie Manuel's lineup against the righthanded Jurrjens reads Rollins (6), Victorino (8), Polanco (5), Howard (3), Francisco (9), Ibanez (7), Valdez (4), Sardinha (2), and Hamels (1).

While it's a nice change of pace to watch and listen to a national telecast the flipside is that we're due for at least 127 cheesesteak references, the misidentification of various CBP food purveyors, and lord knows what else may come out of Bobby Valentine's mouth.

Please take the time to leave comments on the most absurd things seen and heard during the production. With any luck they'll at least humor us and give us a Mother's Day shot of Phoebe, the Phanatic's mom (who has hopefully recovered from the fastball she took to the grill during the Phanatic's birthday).

First pitch is scheduled for 8:05. 

Brett Brown says Ben Simmons will return in January

Brett Brown says Ben Simmons will return in January

Ben Simmons is on track to return to the Sixers in January, Brett Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday. 

Previous reports indicated that Simmons, who suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot in the Sixers' final training camp scrimmage on Sept. 30, would be out three months. Friday's news jives with that, but this is the first time the Sixers have given a timetable.

"It's not doom and gloom," Brown said. "Ben is coming back in January. We are still trying to find information on Jerryd (Bayless). Jahlil (Okafor) is still trying to touch the court in his first preseason game."

With long-term ramifications in mind, there had been some speculation that Simmons' camp wanted him to sit all season. 

This is rather encouraging news and it means the Sixers may avoid watching another of their top picks miss his entire first year.

Union offering great deals on field level seats ahead of MLS Cup Playoffs

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Union offering great deals on field level seats ahead of MLS Cup Playoffs

Playoff soccer is returning to Chester for the first time in five years, and while fans prep for the Union’s first postseason games since 2011, there is no shortage of seating options for Union tickets on the primary market.

Perhaps most importantly, fans won’t have to break the bank to be on hand as the Union compete for their first MLS Cup in franchise history. Union field level seats are available for both the team’s final home regular season game against the New York Red Bulls and the Eastern Conference Semifinal on October 30 should they advance past the knockout round.

The team’s official website lists feet-on-the-pitch seating starting from $155 per ticket for this weekend’s game against the Red Bulls. The first-place Red Bulls head to Talen Energy Stadium with a first-round bye secured, but Union head coach Jim Curtin expects them to bring the pressure with them on Sunday. Fans can look on up close – and for relatively cheap - as the Union look to hand the Eastern Conference leaders their final loss of the regular season.

The Union will take on either New York City FC or Toronto FC in the knockout round either next Wednesday or Thursday. Pending a victory on the road, they’ll return to Talen Energy Stadium to host an Eastern Conference Semifinal game on October 30. Field level seating is still widely available for the team’s first home playoff game since 2011 and start from $178 per ticket.

2016 marks the franchise’s second MLS Cup Playoffs berth in its seven-year existence. They clinched a first-round bye in 2011 but fell to the Houston Dynamo by a 3-1 aggregate in the Conference Semifinals. The Union bring a much different vibe into the playoffs this season, however, after a formidable stretch from September on nearly drowned their postseason hopes. The team won its last game on August 27 against Sporting Kansas City, losing four games and drawing in two others since. 

Despite the team’s recent struggles, there is a sense of renewment that will carry them into the MLS Cup Playoffs. Records are cast aside and the slate is wiped clean, beginning a new path on the long and often tumultuous road to a national championship.