Happ Beats Hamels, Phillies Lose Third Straight; Sky Remains at Safe Distance From Earth

Happ Beats Hamels, Phillies Lose Third Straight; Sky Remains at Safe Distance From Earth

A night after former Phillie Brett Myers topped former Astro Roy Oswalt, former Phillie JA Happ beat Cole Hamels. After a loss to close out the series in Milwaukee, tonight's 5-2 defeat at the hands of Wade's Boys marks the first time the Phillies have lost three straight since early June.

However, we're reasonably certain the end is not, in fact, nigh, preferring instead to believe in both the sizable lead the Phillies have in the division and the wild card, as well as the line of humor we look so forward to on occasions like these, championed by a Mr. FanSince09. Not long ago, a trip to the playoffs was astonishing. Now, for better and occasionally for worse, the postseason expected. On the "better" side, we've come to understand that a great team losing three straight, two of which are to a team 35 games out of first place, probably means very little, if not nothing.

In a way, it's almost more comforting that the last two losses have come to the Astros, rather than one of the two current playoff teams the Phillies dispatched just before losing their last three. It's a reminder that while this is really happening, it's not the reality of this team.

Don't tell that to Charlie Manuel though. While we can and should turn the page, it's the skipper's job to get the Phils back on the train. Apparently he read them the riot act after tonight's loss.

As for the game itself, Jim Salisbury called it Hamels' worst start in two months, as Cole was charged with all five runs. David Hale has video of Cole after the game, saying it's possible the last-place Astros, particularly those who used to be Phillies, had some more motivation than the current Phils.

For some reason, the Astros just have a way of getting to the Phillies when this time of year rolls around.

Interestingly, former Astro Hunter Pence gave his previous fanbase a little taste of what they've been missing, homering in the fourth inning. The homer was the 20th of the season for Pence and ninth since joining the Phils on July 29th. Carlos Ruiz also homered, though his was the only run to cross the plate in the Phils' ninth inning comeback effort.

One other former Phillie note, again per Sully: Jason Michaels broke his hand and will miss the the remainder of the season.

One more game in Houston, tomorrow at 2:05. Despite all of the above, if the Phils get swept, it'll be someone else's turn to play the "NBD" card while I take my turn going Madson on an office chair.

Photo: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Source: Phillies agree to 1-year deal with reliever Joaquin Benoit

Source: Phillies agree to 1-year deal with reliever Joaquin Benoit

The Phillies have agreed to a one-year, $7.5 million contract with right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit, a source tells CSN's Jim Salisbury.

Benoit, 39, was the 11th-oldest pitcher in baseball last season, but he's remained effective as he's aged. Since 2010, Benoit has a 2.40 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, he's struck out 10.0 batters per nine innings while walking 2.8, and allowed a .189 batting average.

Benoit has also maintained his velocity through the years. His fastball averaged 94.2 mph last season, which is actually faster than it was in 2010.

Benoit has been in the majors for 15 years, spending eight with Texas, three with Detroit, two with San Diego, one with Tampa Bay and a half-season apiece with Seattle and Toronto.

Benoit has experience closing but has spent the majority of his career as a setup man. Benoit, along with Hector Neris, figures to have a place in the eighth or ninth inning for the Phillies in 2017, perhaps pushing last year's closer, Jeanmar Gomez, back to the seventh inning.

The Phillies have not yet officially announced the signing of Benoit and will need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for him.

Not So Fast Joel Embiid: Nik Stauskas's dad claims his son is the original 'The Process'

Not So Fast Joel Embiid: Nik Stauskas's dad claims his son is the original 'The Process'

Philadelphia 76ers sharp shooter Nik Stauskas is back on his "Sauce and Co." podcast with a couple of very special guests: his Momma Ruta and Pappa Paul.

After being overly Canadian in their take on Friday night's brutal loss -- "less than stellar" --  to the Orlando Magic, Mr. Stauskas brings the heat with a fantastic "fun fact."

"Speaking of Joel, I have a fun fact for your audience here," Paul Stauskas says. "I have to give him a new moniker."

He doesn't exactly have a new one yet but...

"'The Process' has already been taken. In 2013 there was a documentary made about Nik called 'Nik Stauskas: The Process.' So if Embiid wants to continue using that, I'm affraid he's going to have to pay a royalty."

                         [Related: Joel Embiid feels 'The Process' is about him]

And if you hit up YouTube, there is is, a 21-minute documentary about a younger Nik Stauskas.

"If this does blow up, there may be some royalty fees he owes me," Nik adds. "I'll have to bring that up to Joel."

"He's got the cheddar," Paul says. "So he can pay up."

You can listen to the Stauskas family podcast in full below.