Bucs at Phils: Lefty On Lefty in the Cold

Bucs at Phils: Lefty On Lefty in the Cold

The offense did knock the cover off the ball but you have to look at the Phillies coming away with a win in Jonathan Pettibone's MLB debut as a positive for Charlie Manuel's club. Now they look to build off that victory by handing their ball to their ace, Cole Hamels.

[Before we get to the game, how about Chuck manning first base during BP this afternoon as seen in the photo above? Reminds me of a story I wrote about him throwing BP to Pat Burrell back in the day. Which I couldn't find a link to. Anyone?]

Cole Hamels (0-2, 6.4) is still looking for his first victory of the season and will take on fellow left-hander Jeff Locke (1-1, 5.17) for the Buccos. Let's hope Cole doesn't go on a Cliff Lee-like run last season and have to start checking off the win-less months.

Cole has been much improved over his last two starts, allowing just 4 earned runs -- after a miserable 13 earned runs in his first two starts of 2013. The Phils have gone 0-4 over those four starts. Friendly game note we may have just jinxed: the Phillies have NEVER lost 5 consecutive starts made by Colbert Hamels.

Hamels will not have the support of one Chase Utley in the lineup this evening -- although Chase did just fine when he was used as a pinch hitter last week. Freddy Galvis gets the start at second as Utley gets a regular-old rest day. The team is in the midst of a 17-games-in-17-days run. So rest now seems logical.

Chooch Cometh

Carlos Ruiz will begin a rehab assignment tonight in Clearwater and will appear in Reading this weekend. He'll be eligible to return to the Phillies this Sunday, April 28th when the take on the Mets in New York.

7:05 pitch per usual. Hope you brought your winter coat because it's cold as _____.

Tonight's Lineup: Rollins, Galvis, Young, Howard, Mayberry, Brown, Revere, Kratz, Colbert

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?

In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."

It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.

And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.

"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?

The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.

Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.

If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

That makes one of us.

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.