Jimmy Rollins Calls Monday's Loss a 'Twilight Game'

Jimmy Rollins Calls Monday's Loss a 'Twilight Game'

The friggin' Houston Astros, man. There's something about the lowly Astros and the Phillies when it comes to late-in-the-season baseball that just doesn't spin the proper way in the universe.

Jimmy Rollins said it best after the Phillies 5-1 loss in Houston last night:
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We'll just
call that one the twilight game! Weird things happened less
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It was a completely sloppy game for the Phillies; an unfamiliar and unwelcome sight to see them stumble so much defensively. The night was perhaps best summarized by the play pictured above during which Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Pete Orr -- instead of turning a double play to end the fourth inning -- collided and allowed a run to score while making no play on the ball.

This was not the kind of effort we've come to expect from the Phillies any longer. It's safe to say they mailed this one in. Charlie knew it, too.

“I thought we played a sloppy game,” Manuel said. “That bothered me a lot.”

If they weren't so damn good and so far ahead in the standings a fan might get angry. But, you know, there's that whole magic number thing that's rapidly setting into the horizon and will disappear completely in the next few days.

I'm not going to lose any sleep over this loss, but there's no denying it was a rare accented blemish on this wonderful season.

Even Charlie, despite showing his displeasure with the sloppy play, kept things a bit light.

From Jim Salisbury's game story:

Manuel blamed Orr for colliding with Rollins on the ball that resulted in an RBI hit for Jimmy Paredes.

“I
think Orr has to catch that ball in front of Rollins,” Manuel said.
“Then again, he’s been trying to bump into someone for three days.”

That was a clear reference to Orr’s nearly running into a bratwurst during the sausage race in Milwaukee on Friday night.

Colbert takes the hill on Tuesday night against Should Of Kept to try and get the Phils off the two game slide.

Sixers merchandise sales on the rise along with win total

Sixers merchandise sales on the rise along with win total

Between recent wins and Joel Embiid’s All-Star push, fans are buying their Sixers gear.

According to Fanatics.com, a sports apparel website partnered with the four major sports, the Sixers rank fourth among all NBA teams in total merchandise sales over the past seven days. The Warriors, Cavaliers and Bulls are ahead of them.

Joel Embiid was the fifth-best selling player over that period. His popularity has risen during his enthusiastic All-Star campaign, which included celebrity shoutouts and an outpour of social media activity. Embiid is now up to 553,000 Twitter followers.

The Sixers have ranked in the league’s top 10 of merchandise sales since the beginning of the 2016-17 season. They hold the largest year-over-year increase during that time frame in the NBA this season.

In September, Ben Simmons ranked in the top 10 of NBA players in merchandise sales since draft night.

Sales from the Sixers' and NBA's official online stores are included in these statistics.

Sixers clicking just in time to face surging Raptors on Wednesday

Sixers clicking just in time to face surging Raptors on Wednesday

The Sixers are clicking just in time to face their toughest competition in over a month. The Raptors (28-13) come to Philadelphia as the Sixers have won six of their last eight games by holding one another accountable and taking each outing step-by-step.

“You feel like the group is coming together,” Brett Brown said. “You feel like all the work that we have put in is starting to pay dividends in relation to a solid foundation.”

The Raptors sit second in the Eastern Conference, just one and a half games behind the Cavaliers. The last time they met, the Raptors beat the Sixers 123-114 on Dec. 14 at the Wells Fargo Center.

A lot has changed since then, especially the rotations. Brown started Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor together against the Raptors, an experiment that waned out after six games. The Sixers have found a formula to winning with an established starting lineup and a consistent second unit, with the added experience of Gerald Henderson and Nerlens Noel. They will be tested Wednesday as both Joel Embiid (illness) and T.J. McConnell (wrist) are questionable.

“When you look at this team, it’s a lot of talent but we didn’t play as a team,” Ilyasova said of the start of the season. “Now we come together. I think it’s all about the chemistry, we trust each other.”

The Sixers are looking to carry over the momentum of a 113-104 victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee on Monday. They got a test of All-Star caliber talent against Giannis Antetokounmpo, whom they held to two points in the second half. The Sixers will have their hands full with the backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry (22.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists) and DeMar DeRozan (28.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists).

One key to countering talent like that placing an importance on accountability. The players are not letting each other off the hook for mistakes on the court, regardless of who the opponent is.

“I could see it over the past couple weeks, guys coming out here and being more vocal on both ends of the court,” Noel said. “If one guy messes up, you’ve got to let him know so it won’t be a recurring thing. With that, guys are taking steps in the right direction, both leadership roles because everybody on this team can be a leader in their own way.”

The Raptors come in on a four-game winning streak.