Well, thank the lord that at long last, the Philadelphia Phillies' losing streak is over. After dropping the first game in their interleague series against the Seattle Mariners, the Fightins battled back last night and reversed their fortunes against one of the best pitchers in baseball, knocking Felix Hernandez around to the tune of three runs in seven innings (which is about as much as anyone knocks around Felix Hernandez, I suppose), while Vance Worley and the bullpen did what they needed to do to keep a subpar Seattle offense in check. Now Cole Hamels takes the hill with a chance to win the series and fully represent, not just for the city of Philadelphia, but for the entire National League. (Hey, if we don't, who will?)
Opposing the Phillies today will be...a Mariners pitcher who is not Michael Piñeda or Felix Hernandez. It doesn't terribly matter which after those two, but technically speaking, this dude's name is Justin Vargas, a lefty with a 4-4 record and a 4.13 ERA. Vargas has a career 9.45 ERA in three games against Philly, which is a good thing, but considering that the last time he faced Philly (in 2006 with the Marlins) we still had Mike Lieberthal, David Bell and Abraham Nuñez on the roster, perhaps not a terribly meaningful statistic. More interesting are the recent stats of our guy cole, who at 9-2 has the chance to become the majors' first ten-game winner this year, sticking it to teammate and fellow nine-game-winner Roy Halladay. Plus, if he gets 18 strikeouts today, he can overtake Doc for the league lead in K's as well, Dream big, Cole.
4:10 first pitch from Safeco Field. “It was a good game," said Uncle Cholly about the team's W last night. "We beat a good pitcher. That definitely builds confidence, an aura, laughter. There’s a good feeling.” We like all those things. More for Fathers' Day, I say.
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.
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.