Cool Shootout Bro. Flyers Lose, 3-2

Cool Shootout Bro. Flyers Lose, 3-2

In our preview, we hoped we'd be spared a shootout tonight in Colorado. The Avalanche have fared well in the trick-shot competition, and we all know the Flyers' history in it. Well, like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, we probably should have just kept it out of mind, because there it came, stomping down buildings along the way.

But, also like Mr. Stay-Puft, the shootout was actually kind of awesome, even though the Flyers lost. Regular readers of the site know I'm not a big fan of ending a game in shootout, and I'm not going to rehash those reasons here. Tonight, it felt like a fitting way to end a close but somewhat unremarkable 3-2 game, and the goals weren't hard to look at.

Notes and video of the action below.

Scott Hartnell got back on his goal-scoring track, netting his 16th of the season and seventh on the power play late in the first. With the Avalanche down Gabriel Landeskog for 4 minutes, the Flyers worked the passing lanes well and found open man after open man, culminating in Jake Voracek sliding a pass across the crease to Hartnell for the dunk.

The Flyers had yet to lose a game they'd been leading after the first period this season. That streak is over, due almost entirely to a poor effort in the second period. They were great in the first period, then flat in the second. The Hartnell-Briere-Jagr line had some trouble getting going in particular.

Landeskog would get his revenge, scoring the first of two Colorado goals in the period. TJ Galiardi had the other, although it was a total fluke play. Brad Malone appeared to be trying to get the puck back to the point, but it hit Tom Sestito's skate, then deflecting into traffic in front of the net and bouncing in.

The Flyers had some good fight in them for the third, but they couldn't crack JS Giguere until there were just 18.1 seconds left on the clock. With a flurry around the net, Briere emerged from his office behind it and slammed the puck in. At least, it appeared to everyone watching the telecast that he did. The official scoring still has Wayne Simmonds credited with the goal as of this posting. Simmer was once again ready to hammer away on the doorstep.

After a scoreless OT (much of which was played with the teams skating three a side), the shootout came. The outcome of this one might have been the same if neither goalie had taken the striped ice. All three Avalanche shooters beat Bryzgalov, and the first two Flyers (Briere and JVR) beat Giguere. But Matt Read narrowly missed the equalizer, putting a real nice attempt on net, but catching iron like a young Gordon Bombay.

Yeah, but a quarter inch the other way and he'd have missed completely…

Aside from the lapse on the first goal, the Flyers played some solid defense in this one. Hard to find anyone in white and orange to blame for the second, and the shootout, well, yeah, you'd like to see Bryz come up with at least one.

Overall, the shootout goals were all pretty nasty though. JVR scored on his first ever attempt, and it was a beaut, Clark.

How about this play from Braydon Coburn?

Harry Z tried to check Galiardi, missed, and went face-first into the boards. Wasn't pretty, but he seems to have been OK.

The Flyers are now a dismal 19-36 in shootouts…

Video Highlights, sadly including only the final goal of the shootout (we'll see if we can get the rest):

Phillies-Brewers 5 things: Opportunity for a rare 4-game win streak

Phillies-Brewers 5 things: Opportunity for a rare 4-game win streak

Phillies (33-61) vs. Brewers (52-47)
7:05 p.m. on NBC10; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

For the first time since they won four straight from June 3-6, the Phillies have a three-game winning streak going. On Friday night, they were carried by the arm of Aaron Nola, who is on a roll since early June (see story). Going for the Phils' fourth straight win, Jeremy Hellickson toes the rubber Saturday against rookie lefty Brent Suter.

Here are five things to know for the game:

1. Gone streaking?
A winning streak! The Phillies have put together one of their better stretches of the season over the last week, winning four out of five beginning with the final game of their set in Milwaukee. 

While the offense has picked up its play in that span (6.2 runs per game in the last five), the pitching needs to be mentioned first. The staff has come together well and looks much more like what the team expected in the spring. Fitting, the three-game streak began with six quality innings from Vince Velasquez. This season has been a struggle for the righty, who came off the disabled list in the win.

On Wednesday, Nick Pivetta allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings, but the bullpen held the Marlins scoreless. And then there was Nola on Friday. He looked sharp from the get-go and found a second gear when the lineup turned over. The second time through the lineup, he struck out seven batters in the midst of retiring 10 straight batters.

Now to the offense. Going into Friday's win, the Phillies were ninth in team OPS in July. Nick Williams has 10 hits in his last six games, picking up where Aaron Altherr left off. Maikel Franco has a five-game hit streak and has raised his average to .233, the highest it's been since the Phillies' opening series in April.

Meanwhile, the Brewers are ice cold. They've lost six straight and have a tenuous hold on their division with the red-hot Chicago Cubs on their heels. They're only a game up on the Cubs and are one behind in the loss column. They're only 2.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh and 3.5 up on the Cardinals. The clock may have hit midnight on baseball's first-half Cinderella.

2. Hellickson at home
In his last time out, Hellickson had the Brewers off balance for most of his outing. He was cruising into the fifth inning with a 1-0 lead, but the righty made one big mistake, leading to a home run by Brett Phillips that put Milwaukee up.

While the Phillies won the game, it ended Hellickson's day. It was the first time in his last five starts that he had failed to complete at least six innings.

The righty has been on a mini-roll since he was roughed up by the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park last month. In his last five appearances, he has a 3.26 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings. He's allowed only 30 baserunners in that period and held batters to a .227 average. 

Looking at Hellickson's season as a whole, he has similar numbers away from CBP in 2017 compared to last year. However, he's faltered at home. He had a 3.16 ERA in 99 2/3 innings at CBP last year with a 4.55 K/BB ratio. This year, it's a 4.59 ERA with a 1.59 K/BB ratio while his home run rate has ballooned. It's not a great look for a pitcher the Phillies would like to trade.

3. Brewers turn to the rookie
With their division lead evaporating, the Brewers are turning to Suter, a rookie making just his 12th appearance and fifth start of the season after making 14 and two last year. 

And the lefty has looked good in limited action. In 32 innings, he has a 3.09 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks. He's allowed 32 hits and just one home run.

The 27-year-old lefty has had success despite his four-seam fastball topping out in the upper 80s. He still throws it 70.3 percent of the time working in his mid-70s slider and low-80s changeup with some success. He'll rarely throw his curveball. 

One may wonder how a lefty who doesn't touch 90 mph can handle RHBs. Believe it or not, Suter actually has a reverse split for his career, holding righties to a .680 OPS while LHBs hit .803 off him.

Suter has made three starts in July and has held hitters to a .254/.294/.317 slash line in 17 innings, striking out 15 and walking four.

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Speaking of lefties, Odubel Herrera has had better command of the strike zone recently. He's drawn a walk in four consecutive games and has five walks to go with nine hits since the All-Star break.

Brewers: Eric Thames has cooled off considerably since his hot April, but he still leads the Brewers with 23 home runs this season and has a .774 OPS since May. 

5. This and that
• The Phillies haven't won back-to-back series since sweeping Atlanta and Miami April 21-27. They've lost every home series since taking two of three from the Giants on June 2-4.

• In five career starts against the Brewers, Hellickson is 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA over 28 innings. 

• Mark Leiter Jr. took a loss for Triple A Lehigh Valley on Friday, but Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery hit their 21st and fifth home runs for the IronPigs, respectively.

With off-the-charts command, Kyle Young aims to become tallest MLB pitcher ever

With off-the-charts command, Kyle Young aims to become tallest MLB pitcher ever

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Phillies prospect Kyle Young is aiming to become the tallest pitcher in MLB history.
 
The 7-foot left-hander out of Long Island has become the staff ace in Short-Season Class A Williamsport, with a 1.59 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 34 strikeouts and just seven walks in 28 1/3 innings this season. Those numbers would be impressive for any 19-year-old pitcher, but when you consider his size, Young’s command is off the charts.
 
His coaches attribute that ability to an athleticism rarely seen in taller pitchers.
 
“The amazing thing with him is the coordination he brings to the table,” Crosscutters pitching coach Hector Berrios said. “It’s been off the charts for a guy his size to be able to repeat his delivery and not only do it with one pitch, he does it with all three pitches.”
 
Right now, those three pitches include a fastball that reaches the low 90s, a changeup and an off-speed pitch that Young calls a “slurve.” And he believes that his height gives him an additional weapon.
 
“Not even just because of the intimidation or anything, but also just the downward plane that I can get on the ball with my fastball," Young said. "I think that really helps induce groundballs. I know they’re going to hit it, everybody hits fastballs, but just try to get weak contact. That's the main goal.”
 
“He hides the ball fairly well in addition to the release point being a tad bit closer to the plate, which matters,” said Crosscutters manager Pat Borders, who you might remember as the starting catcher for the Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. “If you get a release point that's a foot closer, it's like adding some velocity. He's a kid now physically. In a couple years, you're going to have somebody that's throwing harder and already has the mindset and physical skills to do some damage.”
 
The Phillies selected Young in the 22nd round last year, and a $225,000 bonus swayed him to turn pro rather than accept a scholarship to Hofstra. Early in his professional career, it looks like money well spent by the Phillies.

You can see more on Young, 2017 first-round pick Adam Haseley and 18-year-old power-hitting sensation Jhailyn Ortiz on the next episode of Phillies Clubhouse, which airs Saturday (11 p.m.) and Sunday (12:30 p.m., 6 p.m.) on CSN.