Phillies Come From Behind, Walk It Off Again, Then Cliff Lee Falls Down

Phillies Come From Behind, Walk It Off Again, Then Cliff Lee Falls Down

This is starting to feel like a subplot from the film Mr. 3000. T-Rex Pennebaker gets a dysfunctional Brewers locker room to rally around a chase for third place. Just that one specific part of the movie though. Obviously I don’t think Ruben Amaro is interested in having Ryne Sandberg come out of retirement to chase 3,000 hits. Even then I guess the Phillies aren’t really that far out of third, with a lot of baseball left to play. Who knows if they have or will set a specific goal at all?

So the Phils’ recent run is really nothing like Mr. 3000 (so far as we know), but it does feel like winning a few games might be causing the stagnant air in or around the clubhouse to dissipate a little. Guys are actually having fun again. Look at Cliff Lee while the team stormed the field to celebrate another walk-off victory over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night. He’s so happy he can’t even stand on his own two feet.

Domonic Brown’s ninth-inning single to score Michael Young completed the 5-4 come-from-behind victory, then for some reason a deranged Lee basically tried to tackle Young in the infield. Bad move because Cliff’s gonna get the worst of this one. Young trucks Lee, the pitcher loses his balance, and next thing you know he’s lying on his back in the dirt. Smooth.

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Now I like to feel like I'm realllly in step with all of our readers, so I know what you’re thinking. Could Michael Young take Cliff Lee? Lee has two inches and five pounds on Young, and presumably a reach advantage as well. Tackling is probably a poor strategy though – Young has a lower center of gravity. That wasn’t very good form, either. Insert obligatory Lee could/couldn’t play for the Eagles’ defense haha.

As for the game itself, the Phillies trailed 4-1 after Kyle Kendrick broke down in the fifth, serving up a three-run blast to Wilin Rosario. Surprisingly Zach Miner, B.J. Rosenberg, and Cesar Jiminez pitched well out of the bullpen, which afforded the Fightins a chance to climb back. Darin Ruf countered in the eighth with a two-run shot of his own, setting the table for a dramatic finish.

Jimmy Rollins got it going with a two-out double, then stole a bag that proved to be big as it allowed him to tie the score on a weak ground ball hit by Young. Chase Utley drew a walk, Dom brought us home.

You read correctly. All of that happened with two outs. Exciting!

That makes three walk-offs in five nights, four wins all told. The Rocks are not a good baseball team right now, so maybe this doesn’t mean the Phillies are going to launch an assault on third place in the NL East, second place, .500, whatever. It’s just nice to see some smiles at the ballpark again.

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Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

It really felt like we could've gotten this one. The Denver Nuggets are hardly pushovers, but they came into this one a 7-13 team that'd lost their last three games, and even last night they seemed fairly beatable, even for a Philadelphia 76ers team still missing Robert Covington (in additional to our usual mini-roster of absentees). But Philly's energy sagged in the third quarter as Denver caught a second wind, and they spent the final frame hitting shots that the Sixers couldn't answer. Final score: Nuggets 106, 76ers 98. 

The most sobering part of the loss was that Joel Embiid finally played what would best be described as "a bad game." Not that bad, of course — even at his worst, Joel still managed 16 points and notched career-high five blocks. But he only shot 5-15 from the field, turned ball over three times, grabbed just four boards and played a large part in the sinkhole offense that the Sixers played in the late third and early fourth that ultimately cost them this one. JoJo still has trouble reading double teams and knowing when not to attack into traffic, and his frustration was extremely evident as he kept trying to do too much and paying the price for it. 

Nonetheless, even with an off Embiid night and a still-slumping Sauce — officially down to Left in the Car Overnight temperature after a night of 4 points on 1-7 shooting in 35 minutes — Philly probably still coulda gotten this one. Sergio Rodriguez appears to have swiped Nik's swag at least temporarily, with a season-high 17 points on 7-14 shooting to go with seven dimes and three steals, while Dario Saric and Ersan Ilyasova also poured in 17 and 8 each, and the Nuggets wings were largely kept quiet for two and a half quarters. But even while struggling, the Nuggets paraded their way to free-throw line — 34 FTAs for the night, including 12 for Danilo Gallinari alone — and once they caught fire late, the Sixers just couldn't keep up. 

A bummer for a team that's now lost seven in a row, and has to face the Grizzlies tonight in Memphis — their fourth game in five nights, and the first of a three-game road trip — without Embiid and also without Jahlil Okafor, out with illness. Even with the Grizz missing their own big names (no Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph or Vince Carter lately) and likely suffering from fatigue of their own after a double-OT road win last night in New Orleans, the 4-17 Sixers are gonna have a tough go matching Memphis' grit and grind tonight. Anytime you feel like Supermanning in and saving the day now would be cool, Nerlens Noel. Just sayin'.

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Elton Brand is back with the Sixers, albeit not on the court.

The Sixers agreed with the former NBA forward to name Brand Player Development Consultant. In a press release, the team said Brand will be working with Sixers players in 'every facet of their on- and off-court development' while also working in the front office.

“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team," Bryan Colangelo said in the release. "Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group."

Brand retired during training camp after 17 NBA seasons, including five with the Sixers over two stints. The 6-foot-8 forward came out of retirement last season to provide a veteran presence for the Sixers and eventually played in 17 games when the team was snakebitten by injuries. 

He will now continue to be an influence on the Sixers' young core thanks to his new role with the basketball operations department.