Phils' Offense Will Try Again, This Time in Cavernous Petco Park

Phils' Offense Will Try Again, This Time in Cavernous Petco Park

The NL West has some big ballparks. Having left one pitcher-friendly confine (AT&T Park) only to find  themselves in another, the Phillies will open up a four-game set with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park this evening.
Of course, the Phils are coming off a squandered Cliff Lee 10-inning gem that resulted in a 1-0 loss in eleven. It was well-advertised before the season that this team would have trouble scoring runs, but, now more than ever, the pitching staff was supposed to make up for the lack of power at the plate. Unfortunately, as Kulp pointed out earlier today, the offense isn't doing its part late in contests to win the tight ballgames they'll have to play if they are to rely on starting pitching.
Tonight, they'll start anew, hoping to extend the Phillies' recent good fortunes in San Diego.

Working in the Phils' favor is that that they've won their last 11 in a row at Petco Park, 15 of their last 16 dating back to 2008, and 22 of 26 in SD since the stadium opened in 2004. That 11-game win streak at Petco is the longest active streak for any visiting team in any stadium.
On the mound for the visiting Phillies, Vance Worley is 0-1 this year with a 3.75 ERA in two starts. After surrendering just one in his first start of the year versus the Pirates, he gave up four on eight hits and a tied-for-career-high four walks against the Mets on Apr. 14. He has not gone past the sixth inning in either start.
Standing opposed, 22-year-old Joe Weiland is making just his second career start in the majors. The first came last Saturday, when he was knocked around by the Dodgers for six runs on six hits and three homers in five innings pitched.
First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 on CSN and can be heard on both 94 WIP and 1210 AM.
Charlie's 4/19 lineup:

Pierre LF, Polanco 3B, Rollins SS, Pence RF, Victorino CF, Mayberry 1B, Ruiz C, Galvis 2B, Worley P

We've got six more of these West Coast games to stay up for in a row? Sheesh. See you postgame.

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."