Phillies Get to Hefner Early, Notch First Series Win of the Season

Phillies Get to Hefner Early, Notch First Series Win of the Season

The last time he faced the Phillies, Jeremy Hefner gave up six runs and never recorded an out.

On Wednesday night, the Mets starter was tagged for two homers in the first inning. Chase Utley went to dead-away center and Dom Brown to the second deck in right. Notice, by the way, the uncanny similarity between the picture above and the one we used in our pregame post.

It was part of a five-run first that sent the Phillies on their way to a 7-3 win and their first series win of the season.

Hefner lasted just three innings and 68 pitches before his exit. He's now given up 18 earned runs in 10.1 innings over four appearances against the Phillies.

Standing opposite, Kyle Kendrick allowed eight hits but worked his way out of multiple jams — included a base-loaded spot in the second — to cede just two runs in six innings pitched. Both runs came on solo shots, one to John Buck in the second and the other to Lucas Duda in the fourth. Buck went yard in each game of the series and now leads the majors with 15 RBI.

The game was stopped and the tarp rolled out for 27 minutes in the bottom of the fourth when a thunderstorm blew through.

The offense picked up again in the sixth when Laynce Nix pinch-hit for Kendrick and popped a two-run homer to right-center.

Thereafter, Antonio Bastardo pitched a scoreless seventh, Mike Adams allowed another solo homer to Duda in the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon finished things off just in time in the ninth.

Although the two ridiculous plays in the outfield from Jordany Valdespin were probably better, Ben Revere earns a special shoutout for his inning-ending double play in the fifth. After a Kendrick wild pitch moved Valdespin to third and Daniel Murphy to second with one out, Revere made a charging catch on a flyball to shallow-center, sort of managed to keep his balance on the wet grass, and got off the falling-down throw to pick off Murphy at second and end the inning.

And that'll wrap it up.

Official game time: 2 hours and 55 minutes, plus a 27-minute delay.

And the attendance: 38,715

Phils improve to 4-5 and have the day off on Thursday before opening a weekend set with the Marlins on Friday in Miami.

Eagles claim DT Bruce Gaston off waivers

Eagles claim DT Bruce Gaston off waivers

The Eagles' roster now stands at the max of 75, as the team claimed defensive tackle Bruce Gaston off waivers on Tuesday from Chargers. 

The roster, which had to be cut to 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, must be at 53 by 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Gaston has played for the Dolphins, Cardinals, Packers and Bears since entering the NFL in 2014. He's also spent time with the Patriots, Vikings and most recently the Chargers.

The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder had eight total tackles and a sack in seven games for the Bears last season, his last NFL game action.

Gaston, 24, played collegiately at Purdue.

The Eagles take on the Jets at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday (7 p.m./NBC10) in their preseason finale before opening the regular season on Sept. 11 at home against the Browns.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson talks protesting anthem, Myke Tavarres doesn't

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson talks protesting anthem, Myke Tavarres doesn't

A day after flip-flopping on whether or not he planned to stand or sit during the national anthem, Myke Tavarres had nothing to say about this complex issue.

Tavarres, a rookie undrafted linebacker with the Eagles, told ESPN on Monday he planned to emulate 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and sit during the playing of the national anthem Thursday night prior to the Eagles’ preseason game against the Jets at the Linc.

Tavarres said he wanted to draw attention to racial inequality and social injustice with the demonstration.

"We’ve got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up,” Tavarres told ESPN.

But within a couple hours, Tavarres had changed his mind.

“Myke plans on standing for the national anthem,” his agent said in a statement. “Myke does not want to be a distraction to the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Myke's goal is and will always be to make the Eagles’ 53-man roster and help the team win a Super Bowl.”

Kaepernick, who four years ago led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, spoke for 18½ minutes about his decision to sit during the Star-Spangled Banner.

Tavarres said at his locker after practice Tuesday he had nothing more to say.

“I made a statement through my agent last night,” he said. “If you have any other questions, please talk to him.”

Head coach Doug Pederson said he did not talk individually to Tavarres, a fringe prospect who is unlikely to survive this weekend’s roster cuts.

But he did discuss the broader issue in a meeting with the full team and said he believes his players should stand during the anthem.

“Listen, I can appreciate everybody's opinions and I respect everybody's opinions,” Pederson said.

“But at the same time, I feel that [the national anthem] is important and it's obviously out of respect for the men and women of our country that sacrifice in order for us to coach and play this great game.

“So I get it. I understand it. But at the same time, I encourage everybody to stand.”

If not yet suspended, Lane Johnson would start at RT in opener

If not yet suspended, Lane Johnson would start at RT in opener

The Eagles are just 12 days away from the season opener against the Browns. 

And Lane Johnson still isn't suspended. 

The Eagles' starting right tackle is facing a 10-game PED suspension once the B sample returns and shows the same peptide from an amino acid that his A sample did. Johnson expects it to, but it hasn't happened yet. On Aug. 13, after news broke about the looming suspension, Johnson said he thought the results from the B sample would come back in two to three weeks, although there's no set timetable.  

... Nothing yet. 

So, at what point do the Eagles, who shifted the offensive line in anticipation of the suspension, have to plan for Johnson to be active for the opener? 

"[That’s] a great question, and this is something that we wrestle with every day," head coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday. "The conversations are such that we've got to have — especially offensively — just have a plan ready to go. 

"I'll tell you this: If he's ready to go, then he's our guy." 

Since news of the impending suspension broke, Johnson has been working with the second team at right tackle. To replace him, the Eagles moved Allen Barbre from left guard to right tackle and inserted rookie Isaac Seumalo at left guard. Seumalo stayed there until an injury forced Stefen Wisniewski into the lineup. 

If there's no suspension and Johnson is able to play in the opener, things would then shift back. Johnson would take his job at right tackle, and Barbre would go back to left guard, sending Seumalo and/or Wisniewski to the bench. 

"I think he had a tremendous camp and tremendous offseason at left guard, and you kind of put the pieces back in place," Pederson said of Barbre. "We've seen enough from the Isaacs and Wisniewskis, and Allen over there at right tackle that we know we've got the combination of guys — and ‘Big V’ (tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai) got plenty of reps — to sustain this thing through the duration."

For now, though, the Eagles aren't treating Johnson like a starter. The veteran will be playing on Thursday in the preseason finale against the Jets. It might be his last game until Nov. 28 against the Packers. Or not. 

The waiting game continues.