Watch With a Broom: Will Phils Complete First Three-Game Sweep of Season?

Watch With a Broom: Will Phils Complete First Three-Game Sweep of Season?

Sure, the Phillies have completed two two-game sweeps this season, but two-game sweeps are like ties, and ties are like kissing your sister. Someone said that once. I'm not sure who. I don't actually believe it. I like ties.

I'll start over.

After showing (albeit limited) signs of a renewed swagger in the form of a 7-2 rout and a comeback win in the ninth, the Phillies aim to make it three in a row at Citizens Bank Park tonight when they take on the Rockies in the final leg of their three-game series at 7:05 (CSN / MLB Network / 94.1 / 1210)

[game notes below]

On the Mound
Vance Worley is the owner of 3-3 record, 2.80 ERA and 1.295 WHIP in 10 starts this season. He has given up exactly three runs in each of his last four starts, though those allowed at Camden Yards on June 9 were all unearned. Worley does not having a winning decision dating back to a 7-3 home win over the Padres on May 11. Of course, he didn't pitch for nearly a month after that one, landing on the DL. Of note, Worley has been much better in six starts on the road (1.89 ERA) than in his four appearances at home (4.30 ERA).

Standing opposed, Jeff Francis will be on the same 75-pitch count as Alex White and Josh Outman before him, as Rockies manager Jim Tracy has opted to go with a four-man rotation for reasons further explained here. As Corey Seidman referenced in his evening notes, you may remember Francis from such playoff defeats as Game 1 of the 2007 NLDS, in which Francis threw six innings of four-hit, two-walk, six-strikeout, two-run ball in the first win of an eventual Rockies sweep. Otherwise, Francis is 1-1 lifetime against the Phils in five starts with 6.84 ERA. He has made just two appearances this year, giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 and four runs in 5 1/3 within the last two weeks.

Good Vibes
Some reassuring facts re: the Phillies' history against the Rockies:

-- A win tonight would give the Phils' their second straight three-game sweep of the Rockies, dating back to last August in a series at Coors.
-- The Phils have twice swept the Rockies at home, once in 2004 in three games and once in 2010 in four games.
-- In their last 26 games, the Phillies are 22-4 against the Rockies.
-- In their last 15 at CBP, they are 13-2 against the Rockies.

Your nightly Elias-blows-my-mind reminder
Per the Sports Bureau:

"Last night marked the first time that the Phillies had a walk-off victory in which there was no RBI recorded on the winning run since May 4, 2008 vs SF ... In that game, Ryan Howard scored from 2nd base with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th on Eugenio Velez’s fielding error at 2nd base on a ball hit by Geoff Jenkins ... Additionally for the Phils, last night was their 1st win this season when trailing in the 8th inning or later."

Charlie's 6/21 lineup
Coming off last night's unusual victory, the Phils will be sticking with the same lineup and order for the second straight game. Here's how they'll attack Fisher, and eventually the Colorado bullpen, in order:

1. Rollins, SS
2. Pierre, LF
3. Pence, RF
4. Ruiz, C
5. Victorino, CF
6. Polanco, 3B
7. Mayberry, 1B
8. Martinez, 2B
9. Worley, P

For the out-of-towners
As mentioned above, in addition to the local CSN broadcast, tonight's game will also be aired on the MLB Network. Enjoy

Wayne Simmonds stars as Flyers top Predators, push win streak to 5 games

Wayne Simmonds stars as Flyers top Predators, push win streak to 5 games


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dave Hakstol likes Wayne Simmonds’ net-front play more than that of any player in the league.

The Flyers' power forward showed on Sunday why his coach thinks that way.

Simmonds’ two power-play goals in front of the crease helped extend the Flyers’ win streak to five, their longest of the season, in a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night (see Instant Replay).

“If there’s a better guy in the league at net front, whether it’s on power play or 5 on 5, I don’t know who that is,” said Hakstol said after Sunday's victory. “He did a great job there tonight.”

Simmonds’ first goal came when he deflected Jake Voracek’s shot past Juuse Saros, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 18:12 of the first period.

“They had great movement around the top of the box and Jake told me to go back door if he was going to get it for a one-timer,” Simmonds said. “So I stuck my stick out back door and he hit it, and it went in the net.”

Then Simmonds batted a puck through Saros' legs for a 2-1 advantage at 6:47 of the second period for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.

“It was kind of a little bit of a cluster and the puck comes to me, and I’m alone in front of the net so I just put it five-hole and it worked,” Simmonds said.

The right wing’s father was watching in the sellout crowd of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena during the Flyers' annual father-son trip.

“It was nice, obviously,” Simmonds said. “I just went outside and saw him. He didn’t really say much to me, but I know he’s glowing on the inside.”

Simmonds has now scored 10 career goals in 20 games against Nashville.

“What I really like about Simmer is he’s at net-front, he’s scoring goals, he’s on the power play, but he’s a great, hard-nosed, 200-foot player,” Hakstol said.

Simmonds’ goals gave the Flyers an early spark on Sunday.

“It was huge,” said Flyers left wing Michael Raffl, who scored the winning goal at 16:37 of the second period when made a power move on a rush and tucked the puck past Saros. “That gives us all the momentum.”

The Flyers improved to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

“We’re just trying to take care of pucks and maintain the pressure that we have,” Simmonds said. “The next shift up every game is the most important shift and that’s how we’re trying to play it here.”

Predators coach Peter Laviolette, a former Flyers coach, wasn’t surprised by his former team’s power-play success. The Flyers entered the game tied for the third best power play in the league cashed in twice on seven chances on Sunday.

“We knew going in that their power play was really good,” Laviolette said. “Their players have a lot of time together and cohesiveness and they’re pretty set in what they do. They bring pucks to the net and when they do that, things can happen. That was a difference in the game tonight.”

Winning goalie Steve Mason has started 10 of the last 11 games. He made 30 saves Sunday to improve his record to 8-8-3.

“This is the situation I want to be in, so it’s a workload that all summer you prepare for even when I was not getting the work load I wanted,” Mason said. “You prepare for it and now that it’s here I’m making the most of it.”

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

WASHINGTON – It looks as if the Phillies will have some action at the winter meetings.

The team is close to signing veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit, sources tell The winter meetings officially begin on Monday. The signing is expected to be announced before the meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, is a veteran of 15 seasons in the majors. He is coming off a strong 2016 season in which he pitched in 51 games for Seattle and Toronto and recorded a 2.81 ERA.

Benoit began the 2016 season with the Mariners and had a 5.18 ERA in 26 games. He was traded to Toronto in July and gave up just one run in 23 2/3 innings over 25 games, but did not pitch in the postseason after suffering a torn calf muscle in late September.

The right-hander has pitched for six teams in his career and has a lifetime 3.79 ERA in 712 games.

Entering the offseason, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said he wanted to improve the bullpen. He opened the offseason by trading for veteran right-hander Pat Neshek and last week claimed lefty David Rollins off waivers from Texas. Now, Klentak is poised to add Benoit.

Benoit has mostly pitched in a setup role in his career, but he does have closer experience. It is unclear what role he’d pitch in for the Phillies. The Phils have Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Neris returning to the back of their bullpen in 2017. Benoit could complement that pair or the Phillies could choose to trade Gomez or Neris.

Neris pitched in 79 games in 2016 and had a 2.58 ERA, so the Phillies would only deal him if they were to get a strong package of talent in return.