Rollins, Phillies Walk It Off Yet AGAIN

Rollins, Phillies Walk It Off Yet AGAIN

What on earth is happening at Citizens Bank Park?

For the fourth consecutive day, the Phillies won in dramatic fashion. By responding to a one-run deficit in the bottom of the tenth on Wednesday, they produced both their third comeback and walk-off victories this week -- a 7-6 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers that also represents the first three-game sweep of 2012.

Simply put, this has been unlike any stretch of baseball the Fightins have played all season.

Behind Vance Worley (5.1 IP, 10 H, 3 ER) and a stellar relief effort from Kyle Kendrick (1.2, 1, 0), the Phillies built a 5-3 lead through seven frames, with three of the home team's runs coming off the bat of Chase Utley. Charlie Manuel's decision to have Antonio Bastardo pitch to Ryan Braun with a runner on in the eighth proved disastrous however, as the National League's reigning MVP sent a 2-1 offering into the left-field seats -- his 28th of the season -- to knot the score.

Jonathan Papelbon got the Phils to extras, where defensive miscues reared their ugly head once again. Subbing for the hurting Placido Polanco, Ty Wigginton dropped a routine pop up in front of the third base bag, his 12th error of the season allowing Carlos Gomez to take second. Gomez reached home after a pair of sacrifices to give the Brew Crew a 6-5 lead, putting Michael Schwimer on the hook for a loss, but setting the table for the latest set of heroics.

With their backs against the wall, John Mayberry worked a one-out walk, and giving Carlos Ruiz the day off, Erik Kratz belted a double into the corner for his third hit of the afternoon. Chooch still managed to have his finger prints all over this one, following Kratz's AB with a pinch-hit sac fly to bring Mayberry home to tie the game. Finally, with two down, Jimmy Rollins slapped a line drive into right-center, scoring a sliding Mike Fontenot running for Kratz.

Elation. We're starting to get used to that feeling again.

It was Rollins' second walk-off hit over this four-game span, and the second blown save for Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez in this series -- sixth this year.

Before anybody goes overboard with effusive praise, it's worth a reminder that three of the last four are over the Brewers, who all of a sudden find themselves one of the few teams in the NL with a worse record than Philadelphia. But hey, when the club is scrapping for life, you take the W's however they come.

And as for the question we lead with -- what on earth is happening at CBP? -- the answer couldn't be more obvious. This really is a different team when all of the key players are healthy.

There is still something to look forward to here.

Temple Men’s Basketball adds two players to 2016-17 roster

Temple Men’s Basketball adds two players to 2016-17 roster

Temple men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy announced that the team has added two players to its 2016-17 roster. 

The Owls will announce the two new transfers, junior’s Isaiah Lewis and Steve Leonard, Thursday night at the Liacouras Center at the team’s Cherry and White Night. 

Lewis comes to Temple after playing for Casper College in Wyoming last season, where he averaged 5.5 points and 2.2 assists per game. Before his stint at Casper College, the 6-4 guard also played at Lee Junior College in Texas, and averaged 10.0 points and 4.7 assists per game.

Leonard, a 6-6 guard from Collegeville, Pa., played two seasons at Ursinus College. He averaged 5.6 points over 43 games during his career at Ursinus. 

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

CAMDEN, N.J. — The irony of Nik Stauskas’ reputation as a three-point shooter is that he doesn’t view himself that way.

Stauskas was drafted eighth overall by the Kings in 2014 after shooting 44.1 percent from three over two years at Michigan. But that’s not how he envisioned himself being in the pros.

“It’s crazy,” Stauskas said after practice Thursday. “I know I was a great shooter coming out of Michigan, but I don’t consider myself a shooter. I consider myself a gamer. I don’t think I’m an effective NBA player when I just stand and spot up and shoot threes. That’s really not my game.”

Stauskas has struggled to find offensive consistency in the NBA. The third-year two-guard averaged 32.4 percent from long range in his first two seasons. He wasn’t reliable as a knockdown shooter and bounced in and out of the starting lineup last season.

Rather than being a finesse player, Brett Brown encouraged Stauskas to get aggressive. Brown wanted to a see an edge from Stauskas and not hold back at the basket.

Stauskas displayed that side to his game on opening night against the Thunder. In 23 minutes off the bench, he scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting. His only miss came on a three-point attempt. His 83.3 shooting percentage was a single-game career high.

“He was cocky,” Brown said. “He was in attack mode. He was not afraid to put it to the floor and get to the rim. I feel like he’s got a real chance to have a breakout year. We need him to have a breakout year.”

The Sixers picked up the options on Stauskas, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on Thursday.

“I think the statement the club made on his contract lets him probably have a little bit more comfort on what we think of him,” Brown said. “I was really happy with his swagger last night.”

Stauskas is figuring out his role on the Sixers this season. It is one that can change often given injuries. A key to being successful, whether he is on the perimeter or at the rim, is feeling confident and in a rhythm on the floor.

“I had fun out there,” Stauskas said. “More than anything, I think yesterday was the first time in a while that I’ve really enjoyed myself out there and had a smile on my face.”