Chooch Posts 7 RBI, But Phils Fall in Painful Extras

Chooch Posts 7 RBI, But Phils Fall in Painful Extras

Probably not the best way to start a Thursday morning, but who wants to take a quick look at just a few of the more painful elements from last night's 15-13 Phillies loss in Atlanta?
After being given a lately unheard of 6-0 lead, Roy Halladay surrendered six runs in the fifth inning thanks to a Brian McCann grand slam, and two more in the sixth. The thrill of run support and the agony of an ace in distress…
Seven RBIs by Carlos Ruiz, one shy of a club record for all players and a new mark for Phillies catchers, went to waste. His pair of doubles and a bat-flipping bomb to left all came before the game went to extras. Ruiz's season line swung up to .329/.363/.575/.938; 4 HR, 17 RBI. How Chooch is it to swing the bat like that on a night when his pitcher clearly labored?
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. 
Jimmy Rollins committed a costly error what could have been a double play in the eighth, but bullpen management will be a hot-button after Charlie opted not to go with Jonathan Papelbon, who would have been pitching in a third consecutive game. Michael Schwimer relieved Jose Contreras with the bases loaded and one out with a three-run lead, then walked Michael Bourn on four pitches, allowed a two-run single to Martin Prado, and a sac fly to Freddie Freeman. More from Crashburn Alley on the bullpen decisions here. 
And yet, the Phils weren't done. Entering the ninth down 13-12 with All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel on the mound for the Braves, they dinked the tying run after Juan Pierre walked, stole second, advanced to third on a Polly groundout to short, and scored on a long infield single by Shane Victorino up the middle. 
But the blast that hurt the most on the night came off the bat of one Mr. Larry Wayne Jones. With the Delaware Valley either in bed, hanging on for "one more inning," or wired with Phils-Related Insomnia, Chipper went deep in the bottom of the 11th. One last F You Trot to the Phillies? God I hope so. 
More from Jim Salisbury here. 
Luckily we don't have to wait long to put that one away. The teams meet again today just after noon. Hope Joe Blanton is ready to go deep into this one.  
Two questions: Would you have used Papelbon in the eighth?
Are you worried about Halladay?

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry from how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 — the last time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a gigantic one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

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Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.