Phillies Welcome A's Home to Philly, Announce Bevy of Roster Moves

Phillies Welcome A's Home to Philly, Announce Bevy of Roster Moves

Remember that time there were two baseball teams in the city of Philadelphia? Yeah, me neither, that was a really long time ago.

The Philadelphia Phillies (47-29) will resume interleague play when they host the Oakland Ahtletics (34-42) for a weekend set at Citizens Bank Park. Tonight's first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m and will feature Vance Worley squaring off against Oakland's Guillero Moscoso.
The Phillies are coming off a tough loss last night to the Cardinals despite taking two of three at Busch Stadium and a very impressive ten of their last thirteen played. The A's, on the other hand, have been a bit more erratic. Though their record would seem to indicate they're struggling to tread water in the AL West, the A's have won six of their last eight, with victories including a sweep of the San Francisco Giants and the two losses coming in the form of back-to-back drops to the New York Mets over their last two games. Despite residing at the bottom of their division and below .500, they remain only six games back of the West-leading Texas Rangers.

For the Phillies, Roy Oswalt's back troubles have generated roster moves aplenty. The Phillies announced a handful of roster moves this afternoon, most notably placing starter Roy Oswalt on the DL after last night's back scare. It's being called lower back inflammation for now, and we don't know how confident anyone is that Oswalt will be back anytime soon, including Oswalt himself.

As such, Scott Mathieson has been recalled from Lehigh Valley, and Brian Schneider  activated from the DL, sending Dane Sardinha will back to the Iron Pigs.

Finally, JC Romero has been officially released. Hopefully a fresh start is in the cards soon, as there should be a few clubs interested in adding a lefty specialist.

Switching gears to address some of the local history mentioned at the top, though it's obviously been a while since the A's could be called "home town," we were able to dig up a few fun links for your amusement (one's from Wikipedia!). This link, for example, provides a bit of background on the former "City Series" played between the two clubs from 1903 to 1953, one year before the A's eventually departed for Kansas City before settling in Oakland. And here you'll find a history of Shibe Park, featuring a few pictures, a youtube video and some relevant statistics from the old "Connie Mack" (field dimensions, capacity, building costs, etc), while this final blue underline will take you to the official web page of the Philadelphia Atheltics Historical Society, a detailed site packed with all sorts of information historical junkees of our city and its relationship to baseball.

Pay no attention to those fools who claim "the wrong team left town all those years ago." Last time I checked, we don't share a building with Al Davis. On the other hand, I can't say I foresee Brad Pitt playing the role of a Phillies' general manager on the big screen any time soon. Come to think of it, who would play Ruben Amaro in a film? My vote is for this guy. Any other suggestions?

This Weekend's Pitching Matchups:
6/24  Vance Worley (2-1, 3.41) vs. Guillermo Moscoso (2-3, 3.30)
6/25  Cole Hamels (9-3, 2.51)  vs. Trevor Cahill (7-5, 3.24)
6/26  Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.51) vs. Josh Outman (3-1, 2.86)

Flyers-Stars 5 things: Streaking like it's 2002?

Flyers-Stars 5 things: Streaking like it's 2002?

Flyers (16-10-3) vs. Stars (11-11-6)
1 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com

Remember when it was a fight for the Flyers to simply sew together back-to-back wins?

Prior to this run, they had done it just twice in the first 22 games.

Now, they’re the hottest team in the NHL, winners of seven straight and trying to make it eight on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Wells Fargo Center.

Here are five things you need to know for the matchup:

1. The great eight?
Jeremy Roenick, Mark Recchi, John LeClair and Eric Desjardins.

Roman Cechmanek and Brian Boucher.

These are just some of the players that were wearing Flyers jerseys when the team last won eight consecutive games, back on Jan. 6-19, 2002.

It’s worth mentioning, before the 2004-05 season, winning streaks were a bit more challenging with a tie being the result if overtime went scoreless. The extra session was also not 3-on-3, like it is now.

Still, what the current Flyers are doing is impressive. They’ve gone to the shootout only once over the seven-game spurt and have outscored the opposition by 10 goals, 27-17.

2. Raffl winners
Dave Hakstol has called Michael Raffl a big-bodied, straight-line forward, which is certainly not off the mark.

But from time to time, Raffl will show the deceptive skill side of his game.

He did it Thursday night to win the Flyers’ 6-5 affair over the Oilers in the final minute and a half of regulation for his second game-winner over the last three contests.

"Raf has this stutter step that's undercover speedy," Steve Mason said postgame Thursday (see story). "He used it in Nashville to get a big goal and then here tonight.

"It looks like he's going to stop fully up, but he finds another gear and he really adds another element to that line that brings physical play.

"He has that sneaky talent, too, that can make you pay."

Raffl is quietly making teams pay. The Flyers are 4-0-2 in games that he scores a goal. Despite missing eight games because of injury, the 28-year-old Austrian is on pace for around 20 goals.

That’s much-valued secondary scoring and complementary play.

3. Not so bright
Before reeling off seven straight wins, the Flyers were in a similar spot to which the Stars are in now.

Dallas, which finished 50-23-9 last season — best in the Western Conference — after starting 19-5-0, can’t find consistency through 28 games this season. The Stars have won back-to-back games just once thus far and goaltending has been an issue as Dallas is surrendering an NHL-worst 3.18 goals per game.

The Stars do not lack offensive firepower, however. Center Tyler Seguin is tied for second in the NHL with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists), while linemate Jamie Benn isn’t far behind at 24 (eight goals, 16 assists).

Also, veteran forward Jason Spezza is coming off a three-point game (one goal, two assists) in Dallas’ 5-2 win over the Predators.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: We’ve got to go Jakub Voracek after the winger’s one-goal, three-assist performance on Thursday night. Voracek has been an absolute monster on the seven-game winning streak, posting 11 points with three goals and eight assists for a plus-6 rating.

Stars: It’s hard not to say Seguin, a dynamic player who always gives the Flyers trouble. His 21 career points (nine goals, 12 assists) against the orange and black are his second most versus any team.

5. This and that
• Mason is on a career-best six-game winning streak in which he’s posted a 2.27 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. Since Nov. 12, Mason is 9-3-1 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

• Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen is a dreadful 1-10-3 lifetime against the Flyers with a 3.49 goals-against average and .891 save percentage, while backup Antti Niemi is 4-1-0 with 1.48 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

• Dallas has won its last three meetings with the Flyers by a combined score of 7-3.

• The Stars have lost 11 of 15 on the road.

• Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov has four points (two goals, two assists) in his last four games.

Penn State fan surprised with Rose Bowl tickets in heartwarming video

Penn State fan surprised with Rose Bowl tickets in heartwarming video

It's been a long road back to relevance for the Penn State football program. 

The Nittany Lions surprised just about everyone this season by finishing 10-2, winning the Big Ten title and claiming a spot in the historic Rose Bowl against USC on Jan. 2. 

For one fan, the surprise season went one step further.

Per ESPN's Instagram account ...

But wait, there's more. 

Not only was he surprised with Rose Bowl tickets in what could be the most touching video of the year, but he even got a personal call from Penn State head coach James Franklin thanking him for his support. 

Not a bad way to close out 2016.