The Jimmy June Continues as Phils Sack Bucs

The Jimmy June Continues as Phils Sack Bucs

After a horrendous end to the weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays (does that team not sound like a used car salesman since dropping the 'Devil'?), the Phillies got off to a solid start against the Pirates on Monday night. Jimmy Rollins stayed hot and helped lead the Phils' offense in an 8-3 win, leading the game off with a double and hitting a bomb to right for his sixth homer of the month (and seventh since May 29th). Chooch picked up three more "vote for me cotdammit" hits, and Joe Blanton threw seven strong despite again being unable to resist the temptation of the homerun jar. 
The Pirates came to town having won six of their last eight and knocking on first place in the NL Central—not at all familiar territory for the Buccos. But in the first inning, they looked like the same old Pirates, committing three throwing errors as the Phils jumped out to a 4-0 lead. In the seventh, reliever Doug Slaten allowed a single before walking three straight batters. 
With three games remaining in the series, we probably won't see another win be so nicely giftwrapped, but at least we're talking about the Phillies taking the opportunity they were given, rather than blowing it. 
NotesRollins' homer came on a 3-0 green light, and was a big blast, falling just short of the second deck as it hit the Budweiser sign in right. 
Hunter Pence, Polly, and Mike Fontenot each contributed a pair of hits, and five different Phillies were credited with RBI in the win. 
Blanton allowed seven hits and a walk in his seven innings, striking out eight and trimming his season ERA down below 5 again. He probably had to tiptoe past Cliff Lee's locker stall after his third win in as many decisions, giving him seven on the season. 
Jake Diekman and Chad Qualls gave us a rare night off from skewering the bullpen and its creator, each allowing only a single baserunner and nothing to cross the plate. 
Jeff Karstens had an 'ugly' night. Na mean?
The Phils had a pair of errors, but that was only half of the Pirates' total. 
A little more than a month ago, Jimmy's name was dragged through the mud. A hot June later, who knows. Maybe Shane Victorino steps it up next? Please?
Chase Utley appears ready to rejoin the team and play in Wednesday night's game. No idea how effective he'll be, but it certainly can't hurt to start getting guys back. 
They're still a whopping eight games back in the division, but this is a Phillies season where we need to raise a glass to the wins and selling a share of our cellar stock to the Marlins. 
Up NextVance Worley faces veteran lefty Erik Bedard tonight. 

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.

T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C.

McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.

The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.

The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.

Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.

Sixers' Ersan Ilyasova excited to see family in adopted hometown of Milwaukee

Sixers' Ersan Ilyasova excited to see family in adopted hometown of Milwaukee

Traveling to Milwaukee means a return to where Ersan Ilyasova began his NBA career.

Twelve years later, it also means a return to his family when the Sixers visit the Bucks on Monday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
 
Ilyasova planted roots in Milwaukee during his seven seasons with the Bucks, who drafted him in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft. Though he has played for four teams since the Bucks traded him to the Pistons in the summer of 2015, Ilyasova has maintained a home base in the city he adopted after coming to the NBA from Europe.

“I kind of grew up there,” he said. “It’s a lot of time spent.”

Ilyasova’s lengthy tenure with his first team - which doesn’t always happen in the NBA - afforded him and his family the time to make Milwaukee their home.

His wife and three young children (daughters ages eight and five years old and son age three years old) have remained there while Ilyasova has moved around the league frequently. He has been a member of the Pistons, Magic, Thunder and Sixers in a matter of two seasons.

“It’s a huge thing,” Ilyasova said. “I haven’t seen the girls for two months now - a lot of Skype and FaceTime. I see my son, he flies back and forth with my wife.”

The Sixers flew to Milwaukee on Sunday from Washington, D.C. after Saturday night's loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center. Ilyasova planned to stay at his house and catch up on the time he has missed while being away from his family. This includes missed time during the holidays while the team was on a west coast road trip.
 
“It’s always really exciting,” Ilyasova said. “They’re counting the days when I will come. They’re all excited to come to the game.”
 
Another highlight of being back in Milwaukee? A home-cooked meal.
 
“They’re already preparing it,” Ilyasova said. “It’s duck with apples in it.”