Fantastic Outings from Hamels and Madson With Just a Sprinkle of Offense

Fantastic Outings from Hamels and Madson With Just a Sprinkle of Offense

Prior to the game, Phillies fans hoped that a little home cooking could be just what the Fightins needed to snap their season-long four-game losing streak. While the Phils didn't find the local ingredients to solve their offensive woes, they did put together all of the pieces necessary to win a 2-1 baseball game over the Colorado Rockies.

Cole Hamels, perhaps a little amped out of the gate, started out just okay, but really turned things on in the later stretches, at one point retiring 14-straight batters.

"I don't try to go out and do more. I just try to go out and win games, no matter if we won 10 in a row or lost 4 in a row," Hamels said after his fifth victory of the season.

"I'm just glad that we were able to play baseball," Cole added. "The eighth inning, we got the hit, bunt, sac, that's us playing baseball. It was good to see us do that. We got the win. Madson came in and shut the door again. He's been on top of it and that just shows where he's at. He's definitely done really well in this role. He's going after 'em."

In addition to executing nicely on offense in the eighth, the Phillies flashed some sound defense that certainly contributed to the victory. John Mayberry Jr. threw Alfredo Amezaga out when attempting to go first-to-third on a liner to right. Big John showed off his hose by hitting Polanco with a perfect ball on a rope -- a trait Ben Francsico has certainly not shown thus far as an everyday right fielder.

Mayberry may just keep playing himself into the starting lineup each night.

Mad Dog On Fire

Hamels eight great innings of one run ball set to the table for Ryan Madson to shut the door on Colorado's meat of the order in the ninth. Mad Dog was pumped, and for good reason. His fastball-changeup combo is making opposing teams look silly as of late.

Charlie Manuel says Madson is pitching as well as he ever has.

"His changeup is absolutely the best I've ever seen it," Manuel said after the game. "He's consistent with it now. He can throw it for strikes down or he can bounce it whenever he wants to. Of course Chooch is good at blocking it. His stuff is absolutely as good as I've ever seen it."

With Madson pitching so damn well late in games, the next question is whether Charlie will go back to Jose Conteras (who had a rough go of it in less than an inning of work down in Clearwater on Wednesday night) when he comes off the DL in the coming weeks?

"It'll be a tough decision, but I think that it will work itself out," Manuel said. "When [Madson]'s pitching like that, I think he makes it kind of tough right now to move him. What would be the point?"

Lack Of Offense

So while Manuel has plenty of confidence in his pen closing tight games out, is he worried about the sputtering offense after they only put 2 runs?

"'Worried?' 'Concerned' is a better word," Manuel said following the Phillies 5-hit performance, the latest in a string of low production outings. "I'm concerned about it, but at the same time, with the pitching we have, we keep working and chipping away, we'll improve our offense. We're gonna have to, that's how I look at it."

"It's a long season. You grind it out. We're gonna get better. We're gonna get it done. That's how I look at it."

It's a lot easier to look at when you put the notch in the win column at the end of the night.

Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy dies at 48

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Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy dies at 48

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy has died in Orlando.

Police say the 48-year-old former Seattle Seahawks star was found dead on Tuesday morning.

Orlando Police Department public information officer Wanda Miglio said the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown, but that there is nothing suspicious about his death. An investigation is being conducted.

One of the best defensive lineman of his generation, Kennedy was a star in his 11 seasons in the NFL with the Seahawks. He became the second Seattle player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He was an unmovable wall as a dominant defensive tackle, and a quiet, gentle soul away from the field never interested in finding himself in the spotlight.

Kennedy was an eight-time Pro Bowler and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1992.

"Really sad to lose a guy like Cortez Kennedy," Broncos' general manager John Elway tweeted Tuesday. Elway was chased around by Kennedy twice a year for much of the 1990s as competitors in the AFC West. "A great personality, a great player and I enjoyed competing against him."

Even though he last played for the Seahawks in 2000, he remained a significant part of the organization. He was a mainstay around the team during training camp and would occasionally roll through the locker room during the regular season grabbing a few minutes with anyone -- players, coaches, media -- up for a chat.

"My heart hurts," current Seahawks offensive lineman Justin Britt tweeted. "We lost a truly great player but even better person."

10 observations from Day 1 of Eagles' OTAs

10 observations from Day 1 of Eagles' OTAs

There was finally some football in South Philly on Tuesday as the Eagles kicked off the first round of their OTAs. 

Aside from a few notable absences -- Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters, Donnie Jones -- the Eagles had just about everyone on the field (see story)

Here are 10 observations from Tuesday's practice: 

1. Here's how the first-team offense looked: 
QB: Carson Wentz
RB: LeGarrette Blount
TE: Zach Ertz
OL (left to right): Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Halapoulivaati Vaitai
WR: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews

2. Here's how the first-team defense looked: 
LDE: Brandon Graham
LDT: Destiny Vaeao
RDT: Tim Jernigan
RDE: Vinny Curry
LBs: Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod
CB: Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson. 

Note: In the nickel package, rookie third-rounder Rasul Douglas came on the field as an outside cornerback and Mills slid into the slot. 

3. Early in the practice, in an offense-only drill, the Eagles were trying to audible into a new play, but there was some confusion with Blount, who didn't seem to know the play. Blount is still obviously learning the playbook, but it shows the respect they have for him that he was working with the ones already. 

4. The play the Eagles wanted to get into during that drill was a good one. Wentz rolled out to his right and found Jeffery streaking across the field. The two seem to be getting on just fine. 

Although later in 11-on-11s, Wentz tossed up an ill-advised pass deep to Jeffery in tight coverage and the ball was picked by McLeod. Jeffery will win a lot of battles, but that one was too much. 

5. Linebacker Joe Walker and cornerback Ron Brooks were on the field on Tuesday but didn't participate in team drills. Walker (ACL) and Brooks (quad tendon) are both recovering from significant injuries. 

6. The Eagles lined up a few times with Darren Sproles and Donnel Pumphrey on the field together. Those few times, Sproles was in the backfield and Pumphrey lined up in the slot. It's early, but we might get to see some creativity from Doug Pederson with these two this year. 

7. Dillon Gordon, whom the Eagles signed as an undrafted rookie last year, did something interesting on Tuesday. The offensive tackle, who played tight end in college, took a few reps at tight end in limited offensive drills. That's intriguing because if he could play the role of an extra tackle during the season, he'd have something Matt Tobin doesn't: the ability to actually become a receiver, not just an eligible one. 

8. Robinson, who is getting run at corner with the first team, won a jump ball with Dorial Green-Beckham on a deep ball. It was an impressive play by Robinson, but DGB mistimed his jump. 

The best defensive play of the day came from Najee Goode in 7-on-7s. The veteran backup linebacker and special teamer dropped back and dove backward to break up a pass off the hand of Nick Foles. 

9. Obviously, there's no hitting yet, but Derek Barnett had a good first day going against the vets. Sure, Lane Johnson completely shut him down on one play, but Barnett showed off a variety of moves. 

10. The Eagles' two rookie receivers worked with the third team on Tuesday, while DGB and Nelson Agholor worked with the twos. Shelton Gibson showed off his quickness and Mack Hollins' size and speed combo wasn't any less impressive. Also, Hollins wasn't wearing gloves, but it didn't seem to affect his ability to catch. 

Stupid observation of the day: Thanks to his afro and thick beard, Seumalo kind of looks like a lion with a mane.