Ray's Replies: Is Kelly 'looking dumb' by waiting on Vick?


Ray's Replies: Is Kelly 'looking dumb' by waiting on Vick?

Q. Some reporters keep repeating the Eagles have nothing to lose by keeping Mike Vick and not making a decision until the last possible minute. I totally disagree. Chip Kelly is a brand new coach so everyone is watching every move he makes to see if he knows what he is doing. This is his first and most important player personnel decision in the NFL.

Logically, a new coach would immediately dump an old, declining quarterback like Vick. He has failed miserably the past three years. It is a no-brainer. Kelly is looking dumb and indecisive and showing a lack of strong leadership by being wishy-washy on this obvious but important decision.

I think a poor perception of Kelly is more harmful than possibly a seventh-round draft pick they could get in a trade (for Vick).

-Domenic Z.

A. I think you are overreacting, Domenic. I don’t think the rest of the NFL will judge Kelly on this decision nor should they. This is just one of many decisions the new coach has to make as he begins cleaning up the mess he inherited from Andy Reid. The question of whether he knows what he is doing won’t be answered in this offseason. It will take time.

I don’t have a problem with Kelly keeping Vick on the roster for now. The Eagles don’t have to pay Vick the $3 million until March, so they have time to weigh their options and that’s what they are doing. It doesn’t mean Kelly is dumb or indecisive. It has nothing to do with leadership. He is just doing his homework and taking his time. That’s fine.

I don’t know what Kelly ultimately plans to do, but if it were up to me, I would cut ties with Vick at some point within the next month. In that regard, Domenic, we agree.

Even if Vick agreed to accept a pay cut, it wouldn’t make sense for the Eagles to keep him around. It’s time to move on, turn the page, pick any cliché you like. Vick will find a QB job for next season, but it should not be here.

Some see Vick as a fit for Kelly’s offense. I don’t. For one thing, he never has run anything like Kelly’s option, which means he would be trying to learn a new offense. The reads, the ball-handling and timing are totally different. Asking a soon-to-be 33-year-old quarterback, who isn’t always the best pupil, to make that kind of transition does not make sense.

Those who try to project Vick in this offense do so because they still think of him as a running threat. He’s not anymore. He hasn’t just lost a step, he has lost more than that and in the NFL that’s the difference between explosive and ordinary. The option is a different kind of running anyway. It is not scrambling; it is assignment running, reading on the move and reacting. Again, it would be new to Vick.

Kelly has said he can’t play with quarterbacks who take bad sacks and quarterbacks who turn the ball over. Those are the things that characterized Vick’s play the past two seasons. If Kelly is studying the tape, he will see ample evidence of that.

Also, in the option, the quarterback gets hit a lot. He doesn’t have the rules to protect him in the same way they protect a drop-back passer. So how does a player as injury-prone as Vick figure in that equation? Simply put, he doesn’t.

In my opinion, keeping Vick around would be a waste of time. Even if you think he can run this offense, could you foresee him running it two years from now? He’ll be 34 then with an even thicker medical file. There’s no point.

Vick would be, at best, a one-year stop gap and Kelly would have to start over with another quarterback the following year. He would be better off trying to develop that quarterback now. Keeping Vick for another year will only slow down the process.

Best of MLB: Indians outlast Blue Jays in 19 innings for record 14th straight win

Best of MLB: Indians outlast Blue Jays in 19 innings for record 14th straight win

TORONTO -- Carlos Santana homered in the 19th inning off infielder Darwin Barney and the Cleveland Indians set a franchise record by winning their 14th straight game, 2-1 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

Cleveland won 13 straight in 1942 and again in 1951.

It's the longest winning streak since Atlanta won 14 straight in 2013. It's the longest by an AL team since Oakland won 20 in a row in 2002.

Santana doubled and scored in the third as the surging Indians survived a marathon game and disappointed a sellout crowd that came for a Canada Day matinee that lasted 6 hours and 13 minutes, featured 19 pitchers and saw 34 left on base.

The 19 innings matched the longest game in Blue Jays history. Toronto played 19 against Detroit in August 2014 (see full recap).

Revere's double gives Nationals win in 14 innings
WASHINGTON -- Ben Revere doubled in the winning run with two outs in the 14th inning, and the Washington Nationals outlasted the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 on Friday night for their sixth straight victory.

Revere's liner off the wall in right-center off Ross Ohlendorf (5-6) scored Danny Espinosa, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning.

Yusmeiro Petit (3-1), the sixth Washington pitcher, worked two innings for the win.

The last-place Reds have lost five straight and nine of 10. They battled for 4 hours, 30 minutes before falling in this one.

Bryce Harper had two singles for Washington, but one of them probably should have been at least a double. Leading off the fourth, the reigning NL MVP hit a liner that appeared headed for the seats but instead struck the top of the wall in center field. Harper admired the drive too long, and was barely past first base by the time the ball was returned to the infield (see full recap).

Ace Fernandez's 2-run double lifts Marlins over Braves
ATLANTA -- Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, making the first pinch-hit appearance of his career, drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double in the 12th inning, helping the Miami Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 7-5 on Friday night.

The dramatic moment overshadowed the meltdown of closer A.J. Ramos, who blew a rare save in the ninth for Miami. Ramos had converted 33 straight saves, one short of the franchise record, before Tyler Flowers led off with his sixth homer to force a 5-5 tie.

Fernandez, one of baseball's most dynamic starters, began the game with a .222 batting average in 27 at-bats. With the pitcher's spot due up in the 12th and no position players available, Fernandez batted for reliever Nick Wittgren (3-1) and delivered the big hit.

Fernandez is Miami's starter Saturday.

Casey Kelly (0-3), the sixth Atlanta pitcher, took the loss (see full recap).

Herrera boosts All-Star candidacy with big game in Phillies' win over Royals

Herrera boosts All-Star candidacy with big game in Phillies' win over Royals


Odubel Herrera says he is not trying to audition for a spot on the National League All-Star team, that his concern is helping the Phillies win ballgames.
On Friday night, Herrera did both. He homered to lead off the bottom of the first inning and drove home the Phillies’ final run with a two-out hit in the sixth. He also stole a base, scored two runs and made a splendid running catch in right-center. His efforts helped the Phillies beat the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals, 4-3, on fireworks night at Citizens Bank Park and certainly enhanced his All-Star candidacy (see Instant Replay).
The Phillies’ fourth win in a row gave them a 36-45 record at the mathematical halfway point of the season.
Herrera’s big night raised his batting average to .306 and his on-base percentage to .396. He has nine homers, one more than he hit as a rookie last year, and 30 RBIs.
Somebody from this Phillies team will be named to the NL All-Star team when the announcement is made Tuesday night. Herrera is the team’s top candidate.
“I don’t have that on my mind,” the 24-year-old centerfielder said after the game. “I’d love to be part of it. But I’m just trying to help my team win.”
He’s done that a lot this season.
On Friday night he got some help from his friends.
Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson allowed just one run over six innings. The right-hander has given up just two earned runs in 12 innings over his last two starts. Teams looking for a veteran arm to add to their rotation at the trade deadline will no doubt take notice.
Cody Asche continued to swing a hot bat – “This is the best I’ve ever seen him,” manager Pete Mackanin said – with an RBI double batting out of the No. 3 spot.
Maikel Franco also drove in a run with a nice piece of two-out hitting. He smacked a 3-2 fastball on the outer part of the plate to right field off Ian Kennedy in the third inning for his 42nd RBI.
Franco has made a lot of outs on two-strike pitches away in the zone. Not this time.
“Fastball away,” he said. “I had to make an adjustment and take what they give me. I put some good contact on it and got the RBI.”
Cameron Rupp had two doubles. Guess who leads the Phillies with 16 two-baggers? Yup. Rupp.

Rookie Edubray Ramos protected a three-run lead in the seventh. David Hernandez allowed two hits in the eighth, including a two-run homer, to make it a one-run game, but that did not faze never-nervous Jeanmar Gomez. He racked up his 22nd save. He could be a candidate for the All-Star team.
It was interesting that Mackanin did not use Hector Neris in the eighth inning, especially after an off day Thursday. But Neris pitched three days in row in Arizona prior to the off day and leads the majors with 42 appearances. Mackanin wanted to stay away from him.
“Neris is fine,” Mackanin said. “I want to make sure I can keep him healthy. Sometimes you’ve got to go to other people and they have to do the job.”
Neris has been wearing a compression sleeve on his right arm while sitting in the bullpen. Asked about it after the game, he said he wears it to keep his arm warm now that the weather has warmed and a jacket is not needed.
“Nothing is wrong,” he said.
Before embarking on their recent nine-game road trip, the Phillies had the worst team batting average in the majors at .225. Since then they have vaulted up four spots and are now hitting .239 as a team. They have reached double digits in hits in eight of their last 10 games.
“It was good to bring the sticks into our ballpark,” Mackanin said. “We swung them pretty well on the road.”
Friday night’s 12-hit effort snapped a seven-game home losing streak for the Phils. They have not lost eight straight at home since 1972.

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Royals 3

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Royals 3


The Phillies opened their final homestand before the All-Star break with a 4-3 win over the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.
The Phillies’ fourth win in a row gave them a 36-45 record at the mathematical halfway point of the season.
The Phillies went 0-6 on their last homestand and were winless in their last seven home games, dating to June. With the victory, they avoided losing eight straight at home for the first time since 1972.
The Royals had won 12 of 18 coming in.
Starting pitching report
Jeremy Hellickson pitched well. He gave up just one run over six innings, walked one and struck out six. Four of the five hits Hellickson gave up came in the first two innings. He has given up just two earned runs over 12 innings in his last two starts, both wins. For the season, Hellickson is 6-6 with 4.06 ERA.
Kansas City right-hander Ian Kennedy (6-7) gave up six hits and three runs over five innings. He left trailing, 3-1. 
Bullpen report
Rookie Edubray Ramos allowed a leadoff double in the seventh, but got three straight outs to strand the runner and protect a three-run lead.
David Hernandez inherited a three-run lead in the eighth and turned it into a one-run lead when he allowed two hits, including a two-run homer.
Jeanmar Gomez protected the one-run lead for his 22nd save.
At the plate
The Phillies have reached double digits in hits eight of the last 10 games.
Odubel Herrera knocked in two runs for the Phillies. He led off the bottom of the first inning with a homer and had a run-scoring single in the sixth.
Maikel Franco had an RBI single and Cody Asche an RBI double.
Cameron Rupp had three hits, including two doubles. He leads the Phillies with 16 doubles.
Kendrys Morales had a two-run homer for the Royals in the eighth. The Royals scored a two-out run against Hellickson in the second on a double by Alcides Escobar and a single by Cheslor Cuthbert.
Signing day
The Phillies will sign more than a dozen 16-year-old prospects from Latin America on Saturday (see story).
Up next
The series continues Saturday night with Aaron Nola (5-7, 4.45) opposing Kansas City lefty Danny Duffy (3-1, 3.24). First pitch is 5:50 p.m.
Nola is looking to rebound from four straight poor starts in which he has had difficulty keeping the ball down. His ERA has risen from 2.65 to 4.45 over that span.