Doc vs. Rock: Halladay and Hudson Bring Another Possible Pitchers Duel

Doc vs. Rock: Halladay and Hudson Bring Another Possible Pitchers Duel

So, yesterday's outing was pretty frustrating, with Joe Blanton giving up homers to the first two batters he faced and the Phillies getting no-everything'd through five innings. Joey B settled down after the first, but the Phils wilted under the weight of a brilliant Jair Jurrjens start. A late-inning comeback attempt fell short while the Braves expanded their lead as the middle relief trio of JC Romero, Kyle Kendrick, and Danys Baez combined to walk four batters and give up four hits in just two total innings. And to top it off Starks got ejected Shane Victorino got nicked up.

The good news is we have a doctor in the house today, with Roy Halladay set to face Tim Hudson in the rubber match.

Hudson's having a solid season so far, including a win over the Phillies in early April. The Fightins hung eight hits on him, but only three runs. Hudson is coming off of a loss to the Nationals, but his previous start was a complete game shutout of the Brewers.

Not long after the bottom of the lineup got Carlos Ruiz back, the top of the lineup will be without Victorino for a bit, although he's not expected to go on the DL. Michael Martinez will replace him in the lineup, with John Mayberry Jr. getting the start in right field and batting seventh, per Ryan Lawrence.  

With both staffs boasting some serious pitching, the season series should be pretty interesting and tough to predict. The Phillies' rivalry with the Braves is based on more than regional hate, and we're in a pretty good chapter of it.

It's also the MLB's Civil Rights Game. Not exactly sure why the teams wore their Negro League throwbacks yesterday and will wear modified 1974 throwbacks today, but that is the case. If anyone knows, feel free to let us know in the comments. Both sets of unis look pretty sweet, so no complaints here. Love the ol' powder blues...

I've recovered just enough from an afternoon and evening spent drinking away the Phillies' and Union's inept offensive efforts (thanks, Troegs Flying Mouflan!) to ya know, start drinking and watching baseball again. Enjoy your Sunday.

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 previous time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a massive 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.