Consolation Prize: Claude Giroux a Hart Trophy finalist

Consolation Prize: Claude Giroux a Hart Trophy finalist

In the end, Claude Giroux couldn’t lead the Philadelphia Flyers past the New York Rangers. A poor playoff series for Giroux that was punctuated by the gut-wrenching image of the captain missing the net when he had Henrik Lundqvist dead to rights will sting for awhile.

The fact is the orange and black don’t make it this far were it not for No. 28’s contributions. The NHL recognized Giroux’s tremendous season, as he was named one of the three finalists for the Hart Trophy, the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

Could they have picked worse timing to announce this thing? Oh well.

Giroux definitely has to be considered the darkhorse candidate being lumped in with Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf and Pittsburgh Penguins golden boy Sidney Crosby. Crosby finished first in the NHL in points with 104, Getzlaf second with 87, then Giroux with 86.

Giroux’s season was about more than statistics. While Crosby and Getzlaf thrived on two of the strongest clubs in the league, G was instrumental in one of this season’s biggest turnarounds. He guaranteed the Flyers would make the playoffs after a 1-7 start, and backed up his talk with strong play on the ice.

Obviously, there’s a bad taste in everybody’s mouth the day after the season comes to an end, but this is a great, deserving honor for Giroux to be named a finalist all the same. It's just not much of a consolation prize right now.

Former Phillies pitcher, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning dies at 85

Former Phillies pitcher, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning dies at 85

LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, who pitched six seasons with the Phillies and went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

Bunning's death was confirmed by Jon Deuser, who served as chief of staff when Bunning was in the Senate. Deuser said he was notified about the death by Bunning's family.

Bunning won 224 games in a 17-year major-league career and pitched the first perfect game in modern National League history. It came with the Phillies on June 21, 1964.

He became the first pitcher after 1900 to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues.

He belonged to a rare group of major league pitchers to throw a perfect game in the modern era.

A Kentucky Republican, he was the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress. He served in both the House and Senate.

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Cesar Hernandez returns to the Phillies' punchless lineup Saturday afternoon against the Reds (4 p.m./TCN).

Hernandez, who missed Friday night's 5-2 loss with a groin injury, is back at second base and leading off. Hernandez has led off in all 44 games he's started this season. The fifth-year pro has struggled after getting off to a torrid start. He's hitting just .185 (10 for 54) over his last 14 games.

After bouncing around the lineup, centerfielder Odubel Herrera returns to his customary spot in the two-hole. Herrera's season is a microcosm of the Phils' woeful offense. An All-Star in 2016, Herrera is hitting just .227 this season. Manager Pete Mackanin hopes the Venezuelan will hit his way out of it soon (see story).

Here is the rest of today's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P