Vegas Confirms the Phillies Aces Are Still Nasty

Vegas Confirms the Phillies Aces Are Still Nasty

Of the six pitchers in the National League with the best odds of winning the 2012 Cy Young Award, three of them pitch on your Philadelphia Phillies. Roy Halladay (11/2) is a smidgeon behind favorite Clayton Kershaw, with Cliff Lee (15/2) tied with Tim Lincecum right behind Doc. Cole Hamels rounds out the top six. Check out the full NY Cy Young and NL MVP odds below.

Full NL Cy Young odds courtesy of Bovada.lv

Clayton Kershaw            9/2
Roy Halladay                 11/2
Cliff Lee                         15/2
Tim Lincecum                15/2
Adam Wainwright          12/1
Cole Hamels                  12/1
Ian Kennedy                  15/1
Josh Johnson                15/1
Matt Cain                       15/1
Yovani Gallardo             15/1
Zack Greinke                 15/1
Stephen Strasburg        18/1
Chris Carpenter             20/1
Mat Latos                       20/1
Daniel Hudson               25/1
Gio Gonzalez                 25/1
Johan Santana              25/1
Madison Bumgarner      25/1
Mark Buehrle                 25/1
Matt Garza                    25/1
Jordan Zimmerman      30/1
Tommy Hanson             30/1
Johnny Cueto               35/1

Now when it comes to NL MVP candidates, the days of the Phillies having too many players capable of winning the honor only to cancel each other out in the voting appear to be over. Hunter Pence comes in as the fourteenth ranked player on the list and is joined by Shane Victorino as the only Phillies position players. Lee, Halladay, and Hamels also receive nods as long shot MVP candidates.

Odds to win the 2012 NL MVP

Joey Votto                     7/1
Ryan Braun                   8/1
Matt Kemp                    9/1
Justin Upton                  10/1
Giancarlo Stanton          10/1
Troy Tulowitzki               12/1
Jose Reyes                   15/1
Matt Holliday                 20/1
Ryan Zimmerman           20/1
Starlin Castro                20/1
Buster Posey                25/1
Clayton Kershaw            25/1
Hanley Ramirez             25/1
Hunter Pence                25/1
Jay Bruce                      25/1
Carlos Gonzalez            30/1
David Wright                  30/1
Roy Halladay                 30/1
Brian McCann                30/1
Andrew McCutchen        35/1
Carlos Quentin               35/1
Cliff Lee                         35/1
David Freese                 35/1
Tim Lincecum                35/1
Cole Hamels                  40/1
Lance Berkman             40/1
Rickie Weeks                40/1
Shane Victorino             40/1
Aramis Ramirez             50/1
Mike Morse                   50/1
Stephen Strasburg         50/1
Johan Santana               75/1 

On verge of Super Bowl, Eric Rowe responds to Eagles, Roseman

On verge of Super Bowl, Eric Rowe responds to Eagles, Roseman

The Eagles' season ended a few weeks ago with a 7-9 record. 

In a couple weeks, Eric Rowe might be playing in the Super Bowl. 

Rowe, of course was the Eagles second-round pick in 2015 and went on to have a promising rookie season. But in 2016, the change of head coaches brought a new defensive coordinator and a new scheme, which Rowe apparently didn't fit. So a few days before the season began, he was dealt to the New England, where he has become a big part of their defense. 

In his after-the-season press conference on Jan. 4, Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was asked about the trade and gave a somewhat curious answer. He said the team made the move because the front office had already determined they were not going to give Rowe an extension, even though he wouldn't have been eligible for two more seasons. 

If that sounded weird to Eagles fans, they weren't alone. It sounded weird to Rowe too, when the Wilmington News Journal's Martin Frank caught up with him this week. 

“That’s a long time away," Rowe said. "If that’s the reason, that’s really, really weird. You know, it’s whatever. If he thinks that, then I guess that’s what it was. They’re thinking way down the line.” 

Rowe, 24, ended up starting seven games during this regular season for New England, but played just 43 percent of the Patriots' defensive snaps. If Rowe played 50 percent of defensive snaps in 2016 or if he does it in 2017, the fourth-round pick the Eagles get back in the trade will turn into a third-rounder, so there's still a chance next year. 

While a third-round pick wouldn't be bad, the Eagles gave up on a young, talented corner just a year after drafting him because he didn't fit what they wanted to do. 

Shortly after the trade, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz called Rowe a good cover corner but cited the development of Jalen Mills as a reason why Rowe became expendable. Schwartz said he appreciated Rowe, but the personnel staff "decided to use him as an asset, and as coaches, we just deal with that and keep playing." 

It was pretty clear during training camp that Rowe had fallen out of favor with the Eagles. He was buried behind Mills and others on the depth chart, so maybe the trade was the best thing for him. 

"That was frustrating, just kind of like thinking, 'What am I doing wrong?'" Rowe said to the Wilmington News Journal. "Yeah, I made mistakes, but everybody makes mistakes. I'm not making bad mistakes. I'm making plays. Why am I sliding down? That was frustrating times. I would just go home and my girlfriend's there, and I'm telling her all this stuff. I'd tell my parents, and they're like, 'Just keep your head up, just keep working because you never know. Then boom, the trade comes up." 

And now he might get a chance to play in the Super Bowl, while the Eagles desperately need to fix their cornerback position before next season. 

Sixers-Trail Blazers 5 things: Streaking Sixers meet tough stretch

Sixers-Trail Blazers 5 things: Streaking Sixers meet tough stretch

Sixers vs. Trail Blazers
7 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 6:30

Coming off of an impressive win over the Raptors Wednesday, the Sixers (14-26) welcome the Trail Blazers (18-26) to the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night for the first game of a back-to-back. 

Here’s what to watch for the matchup:

1.  Streaking Sixers
What a new year it’s been for the Sixers.

Winning seven of their last nine games has Joel Embiid thinking playoffs. The Sixers are 5½ games out of the eighth seed in the East, and should get even better if (or when) Ben Simmons makes his debut.

With five teams ahead of them, it seems unlikely the Sixers get in, but why not enjoy the streak while it lasts and give Embiid and the youngsters a taste of their first success in the NBA?

2. Heating up
Speaking of enjoying the streak while it lasts, the schedule gets tougher from here on out.

With five sets of back-to-backs over the next two weeks, the team will be forced to play at least five games without Embiid. And the difference with "The Process" on the floor and off is staggering. The Sixers are 12-17 with Embiid, but a putrid 2-9 without the rookie sensation. Much of that can be attributed to Embiid’s stellar defense and Jahlil Okafor’s um, less than stellar, whatever he calls what he does on the defensive end.

3. Super Dario
Dario Saric’s improved play has been another catalyst for the hot streak. Saric has elevated his game during the 7-2 run, raising his numbers in points and rebounds, giving the Sixers a solid second unit. In fact, Saric is second (behind Embiid) among rookies in points (9.7) and rebounds (5.9) per game. 

“If Joel Embiid weren’t in the league, you’d have to talk about him in consideration for Rookie of the Year,” head coach Brett Brown said after Wednesday’s win.

4. Another one
After slowing the Raptors' All-Star backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry on Wednesday, the Sixers face another dynamic backcourt in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The duo averages a combined 49.5 points per game, nearly half (46 percent) of the Blazers' total points per game.

Luckily for the Sixers, the Blazers are an abysmal 7-17 on the road this year, including 5-10 vs. the Eastern Conference. 

5. This and that
• The Blazers have given up an average of 114 points over their three-game losing streak. The Sixers have scored 114 or more points in five of their 30 games this season. 

• The Sixers are 3-4 in the first game of back-to-backs and 1-6 in the second leg. The Sixers face the Hawks Saturday.

• After signing a four-year, $70 million contract with the Blazers in the offseason, former Sixer Evan Turner is averaging 9.4 points, 3.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, all down from his four-year average while with the Sixers. 

• Nearly every Sixer received a player vote for the All-Star Game: Embiid (43), Sergio Rodriguez (8), T.J. McConnell (4), Okafor (4), Simmons (3), Jerryd Bayless (2), Robert Covington (2), Nerlens Noel (2), Gerald Henderson (1), Ersan Ilyasova (1), Richaun Holmes (1), Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarot (1), Saric (1).