Training Wheels Come Off for Dom Brown as Phils Continue in Washington

Training Wheels Come Off for Dom Brown as Phils Continue in Washington

In many ways, Tuesday marked the beginning of a fresh start for Phillies baseball, only minus the "start" for Domonic Brown. Called up from Lehigh Valley yesterday morning, Brown's flight to Washington was delayed, forcing Charlie Manuel to break out the old eraser and strike no. 9 from the lineup card before the game. Dom eventually arrived at the ballpark, but tonight he arrives in left field.

With Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence out of the picture, Ruben Amaro cleared the path for Brown to become a fixture in the club's outfield. Considered one of the top prospects in baseball as recently as a year ago, Brown's big league career to this point has been shaky, and the hype surrounding the 24 year old has waned. Now he'll be playing everyday, and it's time to sink or swim.

Brown dealt with injuries over the course of the season, but appeared in 60 games for the Iron Pigs in 2012, batting .286 with 33 runs, five home runs, and 28 RBI. Defensively, Brown moved from his signature right field, spending more games in left (43) and even in center (11) than right (4) for the first time since he's been in the organization.

In previous Major League stints over the past three seasons, Brown has appeared in a combined 92 games. He is a lifetime .239 hitter with 36 runs, seven homers, and 32 RBI. Last night he slapped a pinch-hit single in his first at bat of the year.

Who knows whether or not he's ready to make the jump full time -- if he ever will be for that matter -- but it's time to find out. From everything we've seen and read, Brown seems to have too much talent to fail, and we certainly hope that turns out to be the case. If nothing else, his progress lends a level of intrigue to the Phillies season going forward that otherwise might not exist.

Pitching Matchup

Vance Worley (5-6, 3.88) is on the hill for the Phils, and he's struggled some of late. His ERA has raised nearly a full point over his last five starts, over which he is 1-2 with a 6.42. Previously, Worley had only allowed seven or more hits twice all season -- he's done just that in four out of the last five. You have to wonder how much the bone chip is bothering him as this season wears.

The Nationals aren't necessarily the team to help him get his groove back, either. On May 5, Washington beat Worley with five runs off 11 hits over six innings, including a pair of bombs from Jayson Werth and Chad Tracy.

For the Nats, it's right-hander Edwin Jackson (6-6, 3.52), who was cruising in his past two outings. He's allowed just one run in 14 innings.

The Phillies defeated Jackson in a well-pitched game on May 23. He held the Fightins to three runs over seven frames, but Cole Hamels out-dueled him with eight rounds of shutout ball. However, the departed Shane Victorino and Mike Fontenot had the big hits in the game. Tonight would be a good night for Dom Brown to make an impression -- he's 2-for-3 with a double and a run batted in against Jackson.

Sixers acquire, merge two leading eSport companies

Sixers acquire, merge two leading eSport companies

The Sixers on Monday acquired controlling stake in Team Dignitas and Team Apex, two eSport companies.

The companies will be combining under the Team Dignitas banner. The Sixers become the first North American sports franchise to acquire an eSports team and intend to manage the day-to-day operations of Team Dignitas.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the infrastructure, resources and experience of the Sixers organization to support these exciting teams as they continue to compete at the highest levels across multiple games," Sixers managing general partner Josh Harris said in a statement. "We see our entrance into eSports as a natural extension of our expanding interests in traditional sports and entertainment and are confident that our involvement will accelerate the already rapid pace of growth in eSports as a whole.”

Team Dignitas and Team Apex have created games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Smite.

NFC East Week 3: Eagles sit alone atop the division

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USA Today Sports

NFC East Week 3: Eagles sit alone atop the division

Washington reverses course, Dak just wants to be Carson, and OBJ is getting knocked out by kicking equipment. The Eagles sit atop the NFC East heading into the bye week; let’s see if any of the objects in the rearview mirror are closer than they appear.

Washington

What Happened: Jay Gruden’s squad took a defibrillator to their season, coming back from a 21-to-9 deficit to beat the Giants in New York by a final score of 29-27.

The game was billed as a rematch between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr., who went WWE on each other in last season’s Giants-Panthers match. And yet, to the surprise of no one, the two didn’t end up lighting each other on fire on the 50-yard line. Shocker, really, I know. Apparently, the refs didn’t even let them bring their flame-throwers in the building.

It was an odd game, featuring 19 penalties, 7 field goals, and zero Kirk Cousins interceptions. Perhaps not coincidentally, Washington found success offensively when they took the ball out of Cousins’ hands; their final drive for the go-ahead score featured eight running plays. This may be a sign of things to come, as Washington’s offense had been ridiculously pass-focused the previous 11 quarters this season.

The most impressive player on Washington’s roster, meanwhile, was kicker Dustin Hopkins, who went 5-for-5 on field goals for the day. There’s only so much excitement a fanbase can get when the best player is the kicker. Like finding out your favorite bar started serving hot cocoa. Neat!

What It Means: The lungs may be pumping, but the body may be lost. The victory in New Jersey came at a significant cost for Washington; DeAngelo Hall suffered his annual season-ending injury, the offensive line needed three back-ups on the final drive, and so many guys in the D.C. secondary went down that safety Will Blackmon had to finish the game playing the slot. 

And if you think this team is just starting to come together, think again. Chris Baker (he of Nick Foles crushing fame) was seen yelling at his defensive coordinator. Vernon Davis (who is, yes, still playing football) was making play-call requests like he was talking to the DJ at a bar-mitzvah. And Hall, who is likely out for the season, had to call a players-only meeting before the game even started. This team has more cracks in it than SpaceX’s recycled rockets

(Side bar: who has the money to send themselves into space, but then opts for the discounted spaceship? It’s gotta be Dan Snyder, right?)

What’s Next: The Cleveland Browns at home, so okay, yes, Washington should be able to get back to .500 next week. But if (when) they do, let’s not completely forget that they only won this game because of gross incompetence on the Giants end: a turnaround in Washington is about as likely as global warming being caused by zebra farts. It’s so unlikely, it’s not even worth exploring. Also, it’s gross.

New York Giants

What Happened: The Giants fell into old habits, choking away a fourth quarter lead like this was 2015. The loss was assisted by 11 penalties (5 personal fouls) for 128 yards and 3 turnovers (including, as it always seems to, a pair of Eli Manning interceptions in the fourth quarter). It was the kind of totally-dysfunctional defeat that makes you wanna fire the head coach and hire a disciplinarian like Tom Coughlin.

OBJ was statistically terrific (seven receptions for 121 yards), but it didn’t matter in the end. He is now the fastest player to 3,000 yards receiving, which he did in an impressive 30 games. The Giants, meanwhile, are 12-18 in those 30 games, which gives him a lower winning percentage than Kevin Kolb. Or Brett Myers. Or Mo Cheeks, as a coach!

Looking for positive news? Slot receiver Sterling Shepard looks legit. The rookie wide-out had five catches for 73 yards, including an impressive touchdown across the middle. His continued development will likely result in Victor Cruz’s home eventually being up for sale.

Oh, and lastly, if you had predicted that Giants center Weston Richburg would become the first player ejected for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, please DM me your lottery numbers immediately.

What It Means: New York is now 2-1, but it’ll feel about as bad as 2-1 can feel. Like throwing up on the beach; it’s not ideal but could certainly be a lot worse.

But like throwing up on the beach, things could get really bad, really quickly, depending on what happens next. Big Blue let a very winnable game slip through their fingers, and lost it in a fashion that will have pundits comparing this squad to the one from last year. THAT team made a fourth-quarter lead feel about as safe as Tesla’s auto-pilot. The Giants need to do everything in their power not to be THAT team.

Beckham, meanwhile, continues his quest to become the most dislikable receiver in the NFC East (an award Dez Bryant has held tighter than he holds touchdown passes). The guy had the audacity to question why the refs gave him a warning before the game about fighting. That’s like a puppy getting upset you covered the living room floor in newspaper. You think we’re gonna just let you come in here and pee everywhere again? Fool me once, pup. 

Even the equipment thinks this guy’s a jerk, a fact proven by this video of Beckham getting smacked in the face with a kicking net. PUT HIM IN THE CONCUSSION PROTOCOL, ROGER! 

What’s Next: Monday Night Football against the Sam Bradford-led Minnesota Vikings. The Giants will likely be underdogs heading out to Minnesota, which is an odd thing to say about any team going up against Bradford.

Dallas Cowboys

What Happened: Remember a week ago when the Birds made mincemeat out of the Bears on Monday Night Football? That’s essentially what the Cowboys did Sunday night to Chicago. Ezekiel Elliot had his biggest game so far, getting over a hundred yards rushing for the first time in his young career, and Dak Prescott threw his first touchdown pass, to Dez Bryant. Dallas led 24-7 at halftime and walked out with a 31-17 victory that didn’t even feel that close.

Like fellow rookie Carson Wentz, Prescott has yet to throw an interception. And like Wentz, Prescott found beating the Bears an easy task. Their stats are freakishly similar, actually: Wentz has thrown 66 completions, completing 64.7%, for 769 yards. Prescott has also thrown 66 completions, completing 66.7%, for 767 yards. It makes the match-up between Dallas and Philly on October 30th all the more intriguing… assuming Prescott isn’t benched for 52-year-old Tony Romo by then.

In other news, Bryant appeared to injure his knee at one point, but returned, and that was about as much drama as Dallas faced on Sunday. Yawn. 

What It Means: Every win in the NFL is a tough-win, the other team gets paid too, blah-blah-blah. The Cowboys swam in the Eagles wake on this one. Chicago was coming off a humiliating Monday night whipping, traveling to Dallas on a short week, and playing without their starting quarterback (a detriment no matter how uninspiring as that QB may be). Let’s not confuse the Cowboys opponent with the ‘85 Bears… or even the ‘05 version. 

Sure, Dallas has now doubled the number of Romo-less victories they had last season. Sure, they’ll feel better at 2-1 than the Giants probably do. But anyone who had held out doubts about the Iggles after Week 2 needs to allocate those same doubts for ‘dem Boys.

Meanwhile, the better Prescott plays, the more controversy Romo’s return will eventually stir-up. Playing your back-up quarterback should be like visiting the dentist; it’s great when everything goes well, but if you’re already thinking of going back right when you leave, something probably went wrong. 

What’s Next: Chip Kelly! The Cowboys head out to San Francisco to face Blaine Gabbert (groan) and the 49ers who are averaging an unsurprising 26:45 in the time of possession department, which is about 26 minutes higher than expected. Why not spend your bye week being nostalgic as The Chippah runs the same four plays over and over till your head explodes?