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)

No. 24 Penn State at Purdue: Nittany Lions seek first road win

No. 24 Penn State at Purdue: Nittany Lions seek first road win

Penn State (5-2, 3-1) vs. Purdue (3-4, 1-3)
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
Saturday, noon, ABC/ESPN2

Scouting Penn State
The Lions (5-2) upended the Buckeyes, 24-21, when safety Marcus Allen blocked a field goal and cornerback Grant Haley returned it 60 yards for a touchdown with 4:27 left in the game. The Lions, who rallied from a 21-7 deficit after three quarters, earned their third straight victory.

Allen and Haley were named Big Ten co-Special Teams Players of the week, and linebacker Brandon Bell, who had a career-high 19 tackles in the game, earned the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week honor.

Running back Saquon Barkley has rushed for 681 yards, fifth-most in the Big Ten, and is tied for the conference lead in touchdowns with nine.

Scouting Purdue
Purdue (3-4) fell to Nebraska last week in the debut of Boilermakers interim coach Gerad Parker, who replaced the fired Darrell Hazell on Oct. 16. Quarterback David Blough leads the Big Ten in passing yardage (2,065) and total offense (300.7 yards per game), and has thrown 14 touchdown passes (albeit with 11 interceptions).

The Boilermakers are, however, last in the Big Ten in rushing offense (120.3), total defense (441.0), turnover margin (minus-8) and red-zone offense (15-for-23, 11 touchdowns) and next-to-last in rushing defense (249.0) and passing efficiency.

The Lions lead 13-3-1 and have won the last seven meetings, the most recent a 45-21 victory in 2013.

Storyline to watch
This is the ultimate trap game for PSU, and the Lions’ approach to it will say a lot about their leadership and maturity. They have also dropped their last four road games dating back to last season, including both this fall. Their last victory away from home came last Oct. 24, against Maryland in Baltimore.

What’s at stake
The Lions can become bowl-eligible with a victory.

Penn State 35, Purdue 21

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

CAMDEN, N.J. — If all goes as planned, a time will come when the Sixers can roll out a dominating frontcourt duo with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor sharing the court in lengthy stretches.

That moment has to wait, though, as both Embiid and Okafor are on minute restrictions. As he returns from a knee injury, Okafor currently is coming off the bench and backing up Embiid.

“This conversation with Jahlil and Joel is more intelligent and applicable at a later date,” Brett Brown said at practice Friday. “When Jahlil’s minutes start going up and Joel can, then it’s a real conversation. I do think you may see them sooner than even I thought together. But as far as making it a real constant part of a strategy or rotation, it’s beyond too early days.”

In an ideal world, Brown could pair the two bigs now and use all of their allotted minutes (Embiid 20, Okafor 14) at once. That would leave an extensive workload on second-year bench player Richaun Holmes.

“This is a hot topic,” Brown said. “I will say it one more time: If I play Jahlil and Jo together, I hope Richaun can play 35 minutes.”

It’s an unrealistic expectation for Holmes, who averaged 13.8 minutes in 51 games last season. Brown caps the majority of the Sixers at six-minute segments to keep them competing at a high energy level.

“Right now, he’s a backup,” Brown said of Holmes. “I think he’s going to be an NBA player for a very long time. I just feel like in the role, he’s a second-year player that didn’t really have much of a role last year. He’s shown everybody that he’s for real. He really can play a role. At this early stage, that is the key word.”

Embiid and Okafor have been envisioning competing together since Okafor was drafted two years ago. They became friends long before they were NBA players and have an easy chemistry on the court as a result.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Embiid said. “We played a little bit together today in practice. We’re figuring out how to play with each other. It’s a process and we’ve got trust it.”

Yes, the players know they have to wait, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to resist an opportunity to play with one another.  

“I think once we figure it out, we can really dominate together,” Okafor said. “We were able to flirt with it again today. We accidentally keep ending up on the same team even though Coach keeps telling us to make sure we alternate. But we’re having fun. We’re trying to put some pressure on it because we want to play together.”

Is that accidentally with air quotes?

“Yeah, exactly,” Okafor said with a laugh.