Roy Halladay Leaves Early Due to Heat, Cubs Beat Phils 6-1

Roy Halladay Leaves Early Due to Heat, Cubs Beat Phils 6-1

CHICAGO -- Monday night's game was painful to watch for those sitting at home in their living rooms in the Delaware Valley, spoiled by the luxuries of icy cool air conditioning and frosty beverages. So just imagine how painful it was for the Phillies fans who trekked out to Wrigley Field to cheer on their squad only to sit in what felt like a sauna. It wasn't just the 91 degree first pitch temperature. It was a sticky, humid, oppressive heat.

And it got to Roy Halladay.

After giving up a single to Starlin Castro to start the bottom half of the fifth, Halladay was curiously pulled having thrown only 69 pitches. The guess at the time was something to do with heat/exhaustion, as the temperatures and humidity at the ball park were flat out gross, and Roy looked very red. He threw a couple of laborious innings in which the Cubs really made him work, including 31 pitches in the third.

Halladay didn't seem like himself all night, and was seen bending over at the hip in between multiple batters. He even crouched down behind the rubber while Chase Utley tried to fix his cleat at one point. I wouldn't be surprised if Utley did this on purpose, noticing his ace was gassed.

The official reason the Phillies later gave for Roy's departure was "due to the heat."

That ended the Cy Young winner's day, but the Phils were still in the game at that point, trailing only 3-1.

How the Cubs Got To Roy

Aramis Ramirez lifted the first pitch he saw from Roy Halladay into the left field bleachers in the first inning to put the Cubs up 1-0.

Halladay's toughest inning was clearly the third, in which he gave up a single to pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, followed by a walk to Kosuke Fukudome. Starlin Castro slapped a single through the left side.

That brought up Aramis Ramirez with the bases loaded and no outs. Ramirez battled Halladay and eventually hit a ball to the warning track in right on the ninth pitch of the at-bat to put the Cubs up 2-0. Two pitches later Carlos Pena scored the third Cubs run on a lined single to right. Halladay got Marlon Byrd to fly out to left and Alfonso Soriano to center to finally end the inning. But the Cubs were up 3-0 at that point and the Phillies offense could never get anything going against Rodrigo Lopez, who left the game to a standing ovation in the seventh.

[for more on Lopez's gem, check out Patrick Mooney's post]

Andrew Carpenter and David Herndon couldn't keep it close and allowed the Cubs to stretch the lead to 6-1.

Nothing Doing Offensively

Rollins finally added some life to the Phillies offense by smacking his 9th home run of the year into the second row of the bleachers in right center to start the fourth inning, but they couldn't plate anyone else the rest of the night.

Michael Martinez got things going in the sixth with a bloop single followed by Chase Utley taking a ball in the leg to get on base and put two on board for the Big Piece. Ryan Howard caught a break when Soriano dropped a foul ball down the line in left, but couldn't deliver, finally popping out to shallow center after a tough at-at bat.

The Phillies were cooked.

UPDATE: Halladay did not talk to reporters following the game but through a team spokesperson said he would "absolutely" make his next scheduled start against the Padres on Sunday.

US PRESSWIRE photos

Tranquillo Barnetta will not return to Union next season

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USA Today Images

Tranquillo Barnetta will not return to Union next season

Tranquillo Barnetta is going home.

In an abrupt announcement on Tuesday, the Union declared that the skillful Swiss attacking midfielder will not renew his contract with the club and will return to Switzerland following the 2016 season to play for his hometown club, FC St. Gallen.

According to MLS Players Union, Barnetta’s exit will free the Union of $687,500 next season.

“The entire soccer community here was so welcoming and I’m so thankful to everyone at Philadelphia Union for making me feel so appreciated,” Barnetta said. “Playing in front of my friends and family and making plans for life at the end of my career where I want to live is a force I can’t resist.”

Although the timing of the announcement is a surprise, the move isn’t one. With Alejandro Bedoya now in the mix, currently playing out of position in a box-to-box midfield role, the Union will replace Barnetta with Bedoya at the center attacking midfield spot. It’s a position that Bedoya is comfortable in, playing there with his previous club, FC Nantes.

Bedoya played for the injured Barnetta in the center midfield spot last Saturday and scored his first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC.

But even with Bedoya ready to take over, the Union will miss Barnetta. Since joining the Union in 2015, Barnetta, 31, has been one of the better possession playmakers in MLS, scoring six goals and seven assists in 37 games.

“Tranquillo has been a key piece in what we’re trying to build here in Philadelphia but we appreciate his decision to return to Switzerland,” said Union sporting director Earnie Stewart, whose club has three matches left in the 2016 season, and will likely make the playoffs. “We look forward to continuing to push for the postseason.”

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

The Eagles are 3-0. They’re alone atop the NFC East and have been the biggest surprise of the young NFL season.

Doug Pederson’s message to his team: You haven’t done anything yet.

Although the Eagles are riding high, Pederson doesn’t want his team to change its outlook or hard work. That’s what teams have to worry about once they’ve found some success.

“The biggest thing is complacency,” Pederson said Monday. “You think you've arrived. You think you are all that. When that creeps in, that's when you get beat. It's my job not to let that creep in. I've got to keep the guys focused and grounded. I told them this week they're going to travel and go home and people are going to pat them on the back and say how great they are.

“But next Monday, I'm going to tell them, ‘Hey, we're back to work. We're 0-0. This is Game 1 and let's go.’ That's just the way it has to be. You are building for one ultimate goal and that's a few weeks down the road. That's what you are trying to get to. But you can't get there unless you take care of the next opponent. It's my job to keep them focused that way.”

Being 3-0 (they’re one of five 3-0 teams) gives the Eagles a head start, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee them a playoff spot. This is the ninth 3-0 start in franchise history. They’ve made the playoffs just five times in the previous eight. And they recently missed the playoffs after starting 3-0 in 2014 under Chip Kelly.

In NFL history (before this season), there have been 276 teams to start with 3-0 records. Of them, 200 (72.3 percent) have made the playoffs.

“We just have to approach it the same, one day at a time,” Pederson said. “That's the way this business goes. You are on top of the world one minute, and you can be at the bottom of the heap the next. Just got to keep things even-keeled and can't get too high, can't get too low. Approach it the same. Like I mentioned earlier, you can't substitute for hard work. That pays off on Sundays. We just have to stay the course. Again, a lot of football left.”

While the Week 4 bye comes pretty early, the Eagles have a couple key players who will use the time to get healthy. And Connor Barwin pointed out that the bye is coming about closer to the halfway point between when the team started its tough training camp and the end of the season.

Pederson told his players to use the week to get away from football and free their minds. Meanwhile, Pederson and his coaches will use the extra time to self-scout and prepare for the final 13 games of the regular season.

With a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback who was thrust into action a week before the opener, expectations outside (and perhaps inside) the building were tempered.

The Eagles aren’t an underdog anymore.

“We kind of enjoyed flying under the radar, but obviously a win like this against a team like the Steelers will open some eyes around the league,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “For us, nothing different. We’ll keep our preparation the same. We’ll stick our heads down and focus on the work day to day and understand what’s gotten us to 3-0.”

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