A friendly reminder that both Michael and Delmon Young will be playing in the postseason

A friendly reminder that both Michael and Delmon Young will be playing in the postseason

Hey guys! The MLB postseason started in earnest last night. (Game 163 between the Rays and Rangers doesn't count, since you can still use it to pad your regular season stats, for reasons I will never understand.) The Pirates beat the Reds in the Wild Card game, and good for them, having not played in October in 21 years and all. It's enough to get you excited about playoff baseball, even if the Phillies are already off hunting and rehabbing and such.

Well, until you remember the two members of the 2013 Phillies who will be participating in this year's postseason--the Young twins Michael and Delmon, both of whom ended up on contending teams and are, somewhat remarkably, still being used in key roles on their respective squads. Michael was jettisoned to the Dodgers, where he hit .314 for them in a little over 20 games in an infield utility role, while Delmon latched on with the Rays, where he became their regular DH and posted a very respectable .780 OPS in 70 plate appearances.

You may recall that I was not a very big fan of the Young twins during their time in Philadelphia, but I had hoped that their respective, long-overdue dismissals would be the end of the heartburn they caused me during the 2013 baseball season. Not so, as seeing these two miscreants mucking up my postseason action and being reminded of endless misplayed flies, baserunning gaffes and double play grounders will surely have me reaching for the TUMS in no time.

The Rays play their Wild Card entry game tonight against the Indians, while the Dodgers kick off their NLDS series against the Braves tomorrow night. Go Cleveland.

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 of 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.