One Way to Take Pressure of Doc: Phils Grab Rare Early Lead, Beat Cards 8-2

One Way to Take Pressure of Doc: Phils Grab Rare Early Lead, Beat Cards 8-2

They called the game after six-and-a-half innings this time, as the
rains descended upon CBP, but really, we only needed to play one
tonight. The Phils scored five in the first tonight--the first time in a
week, as Sarge and Wheels repeatedly reminded the folks at home, that
they had crossed the plate even once before the fifth inning--and that
was more than enough for Roy Halladay, looking far more like his old,
medically certified self tonight, who cruised for seven frames against
the Cardinals as the Phils ended up winning 8-2.

We'll talk
about Doc in a sec, but first and foremost, shoutout to our old friend
Ty Wigginton, who had arguably his best game as a Phillie tonight at
third base for the Redbirds, going 0-2 both at the plate and in the
field, his wide throw to first on a Kevin Frandsen grounder with two
outs pulling the ripcord on the Phils' first-inning rally. The Phillies
began teeing off against Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, with Ben Revere
even notching his first extra-baser of the year with an RBI triple.
Five men passed, the Phils batted around, and the game was placed in Roy
Halladay's hands.

If this was the Roy Halladay of the first two
starts of the season, that'd still be cause for concern. But even if
his gas still peaked in the low 90s, Doc still had a far greater
resemblance tonight to the Cy Young winner of 2010 than the guy who got
shelled in the first two starts this season. His fastball was cutting,
his breaking pitches were landing with pinpoint control, and nothing was
wide in the dirt. He still let up two homers--both solo shots, which
just peaked over the wall--as well as two walks as he wore down a little
late, but those were the only four base-runners Halladay allowed all
night, and he made up for them with six strikeouts, his most since his
rocky first start in Atlanta. If this is the Doc we have to work with
the rest of the season--one who doesn't quite overpower anymore, but
still hits his spots, keeps batters guessing, and doesn't beat
himself--I think most of us would take it.

He also had some
major help in the field. Freddy Galvis, not exactly known as an outfield
patrolman, made two fine-ass catches out in left tonight, include an
awkward backhanded diver that really had no business being a successful
grab. And Ben Revere, who started the season looking like a Gold Glover
before badly misplaying a couple key fliers against the Reds, returned
to SportsCenter-worthy form on a shallow fly to center tonight, padding
what must be his league-leading diving-catch total.

Offense,
check, pitching, check, defense, check. If only all 162 could be this
simple. Cliff vs. Lance Lynn in Game 3 tomorrow night.

Eagles-Steelers inactives: Mychal Kendricks active

Eagles-Steelers inactives: Mychal Kendricks active

Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who entered the weekend listed as questionable, is active for the team’s game against the Steelers on Sunday afternoon.

Kendricks suffered a broken nose and a quad contusion in last week’s game against the Bears in Chicago. After missing practice for a couple days, he returned in full on Friday and was expected to be ready to go.

In past years, Kendricks would have likely been listed as probable, but the NFL confusingly did away with its “probable” label on injury reports this season.

As for the players who aren’t playing on Sunday, there aren’t any surprises. Zach Ertz (ribs), Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) and Isaac Seumalo (pec) were all ruled out earlier in the week and are inactive.

Brent Celek will start at tight end for Ertz and Ron Brooks will start at corner for McKelvin. Expect rookie Jalen Mills to be on the field as the outside corner in the nickel package.

Joining them on the list of inactives are WR Bryce Treggs, OL Dillon Gordon, OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai and OL Josh Andrews.

If you’re wondering about Treggs, the receiver the Eagles claimed off waivers from the 49ers and last cuts, it seems like the team isn’t ready to activate him just yet. Here’s what Pederson said on Friday about Treggs and the possibility of activating him:

“Yeah, it’s tough to keep the five receivers up based on what you need, defense, special teams and all that,” Pederson said. “He’s shown flashes of his speed in practice and doing a nice job there. And with him too, much like DGB, it’s how well he can process and how well he knows the system in order for him to, one, be active and, two, get a chance to play.”

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Provorov, Schenn shine in Flyers' last scrimmage before preseason

Provorov, Schenn shine in Flyers' last scrimmage before preseason

VOORHEES, N.J. – Five games.

That’s what the Flyers are facing this coming week, which is why coach Dave Hakstol had his players involved in a full scrimmage Sunday morning at Skate Zone.

“I like it better than practicing,” offered Michael Raffl. “A little more action. A little physical and it gets you in game shape. I enjoyed it.”

The Flyers have two split-squad games on Monday – one in New Jersey against the Devils and other in Brookyln against the Islanders.

The scrimmage was up-tempo. So much so, Raffl and defenseman Will O’Neill were involved in a dangerous collision in the left corner that could have been disastrous with both players getting up slowly, but uninjured, on a puck chase.

“I don’t know, I was coming in hard,” Raffl said. “At first, I thought about playing the body and then I didn’t want to. So I was mixed in-between trying to slow down and there was a lot of contact as I fell into the boards. I felt fine afterwards.”

Raffl hit his neck awkwardly and was lucky to be uninjured. O’Neill took the hit.

“I went into the wall and knew he was coming and tried to be strong on my feet,” said O’Neill, a free agent signed over the summer. “Contact play in a bad area. Tough part of the ice.”

Hakstol held his breath there.

“It could have turned out differently,” he said. “It was kinda awkward play. You’re always happy to see him pop up and come out for another shift right after that.”

Raffl’s gray team won the scrimmage, 2-1, with rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov setting up a play that resulted in Brayden Schenn’s game-winning goal from Wayne Simmonds.

“Good tempo, competitiveness … kind like the first few days where tempo and work levels were good,” Hakstol said of the scrimmage. “It tends to be a little scrambly in those first scrimmages.”

Jordan Weal centered the top line with Schenn on the left. Hakstol has Schenn on the left right now to get him used to playing there again. Once Claude Giroux returns from the World Cup of Hockey, the top line of Schenn-Giroux-Simmonds will be reunited.

“I made the play up there to Simmer and a nice pass by Provy to me and then Simmer back door to Schenn,” Weal said of the game-winning goal. “It felt good ... I’ve played just one game in nine months.

“I’m just trying to get a feel for being on the right side of pucks. It’s not going to come in the first game.”

Weal was impressed with Provorov.

“He’s a really good player,” he said. “You can see it in his skating, his passing. He’s got a lot of confidence. He tore up the WHL and that’s a great league. It’s going to be exciting to see him moving forward.”

Hakstol rated Provorov as “solid and efficient” in the scrimmage.

Loose pucks
Steve Mason worked with Carter Hart in goal … Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz worked for the black team. Mason didn’t give up a goal. “We have eight exhibitions on the schedule and I will get into three or four of those,” he said. “By the time those wrap up, I’ll be where I want to be. Right now, I am feeling great which is a good start.” … Hakstol said Mason won’t play on Monday … Rookie forward Travis Konecny sat the scrimmage out (maintenance day). He said he was given a day off, but Konecny was receiving treatment by the medical staff on Saturday. “I see the trainer every day, I’m fine,” he said. Konecny should play in one of the split-squad games on Monday … Greg Carey had the other goal for the gray squad; Nicolas Aube-Kubel had the lone goal for the black squad … The defense rotated for both teams. Provorov was with Philippe Myers much of the game … Jakub Voracek practiced on his own. He won’t see action in the first three games and neither will Shayne Gostisbehere because of the World Cup, Hakstol said ... The scrimmage consisted of  two, 25-minute periods with a running clock. Sounds like the Public League, no?