Yesterday, we mentioned the robot that's set to throw out the first pitch at the Phillies game this afternoon, but Philly.com went a step further and created the below video for all of you geeks out there. My favorite part, the Penn guy sitting on the ground on the sidewalk outside of CBP with his laptop out type-typing away at assumedly some code to make the bot more Cliff Lee-like.
PITTSBURGH -- Nick Bonino's main job for the Pittsburgh Penguins is to get to the front of the net and create chaos. The well-bearded forward executed perfectly in his debut in the Stanley Cup Final.
Bonino took a pretty feed from the corner by Kris Letang and beat Martin Jones from in close with 2:33 remaining to lift the Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 on Monday night.
Rookies Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary staked Pittsburgh to an early two-goal lead before the Sharks tied it in the second period on goals by Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau. The Penguins responded by upping the pressure in the final period and it paid off with Bonino's fourth goal of the playoffs after he darted to the San Jose net in time to knuckle Letang's pass by Jones for the winner.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
Matt Murray finished with 24 saves for Pittsburgh, which began its bid for the fourth title in franchise history by peppering Jones constantly in the first and final periods. Jones made 38 stops but couldn't get his blocker on Bonino's wrist shot. The Penguins threw 41 shots at Jones, well over the 28 he faced on average during San Jose's playoff run.
The Sharks made it to the first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history by rebuilding themselves on the fly. Two years removed from a brutal collapse from a 3-0 series lead in the first round against Los Angeles, San Jose ended a 9,005 day wait to play in the NHL's championship round by relying on a tough, aggressive style that squeezes opponents with a relentless forecheck while limiting chances in front of Jones.
Yet veterans Marleau and Joe Thornton -- the top two picks in the 1997 draft held in Pittsburgh who had waited nearly two decades to make it to the league's biggest stage -- insisted the Sharks were hardly satisfied after dispatching St. Louis in a cathartic Western Conference finals.
Maybe, but the Sharks looked a step slow -- maybe two steps slow -- while searching for their footing against the Penguins, who rallied from a 3-2 deficit to edge the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games to advance to their first Cup Final since 2009.
Rust, who surprisingly made the team out of training camp and became an unlikely playoff star by scoring both of Pittsburgh's goals in Game 7 against the Lightning, gave the Penguins the lead 12:46 into the first when he slammed home a rebound off a Justin Schultz shot for his sixth of the postseason, a franchise record for playoff goals by a rookie.
Less than a minute later Sheary, who didn't become a regular until the middle of January, made it 2-0 when Sidney Crosby whipped a blind backhand cross-ice pass to Sheary's stick. The rookie's wrist shot from the right circle zipped by Jones and the Penguins appeared to be in complete command by overwhelming the Sharks in a way few have in months.
San Jose and its group of Cup newcomers regained its composure in the intermission and responded with a big surge. Hertl jammed a shot from just outside the crease between Murray's legs on the power play 3:02 into the second to give the Sharks momentum. Late in the second, Marleau collected a rebound off a Brent Burns one-timer behind the Pittsburgh net and then beat Murray on a wraparound to the far post that caromed off Murray's extended right leg and into the net.
When will Joel Embiid be cleared to make his NBA debut? That question still remains.
But the big man is making it known, he is setting his sights on that game (whenever it may be) and being part of the Sixers’ new chapter.
Monday night Embiid posted a photo of himself in a Sixers jersey with the caption “Wish we could fast forward to next season #FinallyHealthy#TrustTheNewProcess.”
That second hashtag, though? Just tremendous.
Yes, even in the midst of an electric Western Conference Finals Game 7 between the Warriors and Thunder, Embiid is thinking ahead to next season.
Embiid, the third overall pick in 2014, has yet to play in an NBA game because of foot injuries. He has been going through non-contact drills during his rehab, teasing viewers with videos of his three-point shooting, and dabbling in soccer moves.
Embiid has been expressing his excitement of playing next season on social media. Seven weeks ago, a caption included “We'll see y'all next season. ME PERSONALLY.”
Jeremy Hellickson did everything he could Monday night to stop the bleeding a rough road trip through Detroit and Chicago provided the Phillies.
But the usually consistent Hector Neris had his worst inning of the year and Washington pounced.
The Nationals scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Phillies with a 4-3 win on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
Jayson Werth’s two-out RBI single plated the tying run in the top of the eighth to even the score at 2-2. Neris then walked Chris Heisey to load the bases for Daniel Murphy, who homered earlier. He delivered with the crushing blow, a two-run single that put the Nationals ahead for good.
Jonathan Papelbon, whom the Phillies have had success against at Citizens Bank Park, worked around back-to-back doubles by Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard to start the ninth inning and to pick up his 14th save of the season.
Papelbon fanned pinch-hitter Tommy Joseph with a slider, blew a fastball by Cesar Hernandez and got Tyler Goeddel to line out to second base to end the game.
The Phillies, now losers in eight of 10, saw their record fall to 26-25. On Tuesday, they’ll try to avoid falling to .500 for the first time since April 26.
Starting pitching report
In a pitcher’s duel against Washington’s Tanner Roark, Hellickson was dominant in seven innings of work. He needed just 79 pitches in those innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning.
For the fifth straight time, Hellickson held his opponents to three runs or less. He struck out eight Nationals and scattered just three hits while not issuing a walk. Hellickson left the game in line for the win, but the Phillies' usually efficient bullpen faltered.
Hellickson struck out the side in the sixth inning, which ended with Werth swinging through a breaking ball.
Neris entered Monday having not given up a run since May 6, a streak of nine and 2/3 innings. He started off by striking out Wilson Ramos with his nasty splitter.
Neris then walked Danny Espinosa before getting pinch-hitter Clint Robinson to line out for the inning’s second out. But command continued to be an issue. Neris walked Ben Revere to keep the inning alive for Werth, who made him pay. And then Murphy made it worse.
Jeanmar Gomez came on to clean up the eighth inning and then pitched a perfect ninth inning.
At the plate
The Phillies used their small ball ways to score the game’s first run in the bottom of the second. Back-to-back one-out walks of Hernandez, who would steal second and reach third on a wild pitch, and Goeddel put runners on the corners for Hellickson, who executed a perfect sacrifice safety squeeze bunt to score Hernandez.
After Washington tied the game at 1-1 on a Murphy home run, the Phillies struck back in the bottom of the sixth with a Freddy Galvis homer on a 1-2 slider down in the zone. Galvis went down to get the pitch and drove it to the right field seats for what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Howard, who was given the start at first base after sitting Sunday, was 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts and a long flyout to deep right-centerfield before he smashed an RBI double to follow up Franco’s double to kick off the ninth inning.
In the field
Howard’s leaping catch of Ramos’ line drive to end the second inning helped keep the Nationals off the board early.
Goeddel, who made that game-ending throw to the plate a few weeks back, again showed off his arm in the top of the seventh inning. With Bryce Harper on first base after being hit by a Hellickson fastball in the knee, Murphy, moments after hitting a home run foul and out of play, drove a pitch toward the gap in left-centerfield.
Goeddel closed on it and quickly fired to first. Harper, slow getting back to the base, was doubled off as Howard deceptively waited to show his glove until the ball neared. Washington manager Dusty Baker challenged the play, but a review that lasted two minutes and 15 seconds confirmed the call on the field.
Franco made a catch in the eighth inning similar to Howard’s. Robinson sent a line shot over the head of Franco, who made a full-extension grab with his glove. He appeared to injure his left shoulder on the play but remained in the game.
Asche on the way?
Cody Asche, who continues to work his way back from an oblique injury, went 1 for 4 Monday afternoon with a home run - his second during his rehab assignment - in Lehigh Valley’s 6-4 win over Norfolk.
Asche’s 20-day rehab assignment concludes Wednesday. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said the club would look at Asche then and said it's a “possibility” the 25-year-old joins the Phillies after.
The Phillies continue their 10-game homestand on Tuesday with Aaron Nola (4-3, 2.86 ERA) facing off against Washington’s Joe Ross (4-4, 2.52).