Frustrations Mount with Shoddy Defense and No Timely Hitting

Frustrations Mount with Shoddy Defense and No Timely Hitting

"We didn't deserve to win the game," Charlie said after Tuesday night's 6-2 loss against the Dodgers. "We didn't play good."

Charlie speaks the truth.

Roy Oswalt's recent dominance of the Dodgers came to an end, and while Roy's velocity continued to be a bit down, he wasn't particularly bad on the evening overall. The ball was going L.A.'s way in this one, which allowed plenty of Dodger base runners. A real rough series of plays in the third is what really cost him. After walking the Dodgers rookie pitcher to start the inning, Dee Gordan singled, Casey Blake singled, and then Roy Oswalt threw a ball to first base in a pickoff attempt. The only problem was, Ryan Howard wasn't holding the runner on -- a real cringe-inducing play.

"I had one inning that got kind of out of hand. Had a couple balls that got thrown away, had some signs mixed up," Oswalt said after the game.

Roy wasn't particularly worried about his stuff, and said that he feels fine, "We had some plays here and there that could have been one or two runs, and nothing would have been said about [baserunners]."

While Oswalt seemed to brush tonight off as just another loss in which he had some bad luck, Charlie Manuel says he's noticed a difference in Lil Roy this season.

"He's not as sharp as he was," Manuel said. "When we got him last year, when he came over here after his first game, he was pretty sharp," Manuel said. "His changeup was a pitch he had been working on and he really used it a lot last year. He was very aggressive, pounding the strikezone. His velocity is a little different, but I think his arm is still sound."

The real downer from Tuesday night's game was the team's inability to capitalize on Dodgers' wild starter Rubby De La Rosa.

"Some of the credit has to go to their guy," Utley, who had an RBI triple, said after the game. "But we had some pitches to hit and we didn't. Didn't work out for us tonight. We're going to turn the page and come out ready to go tomorrow."

It was just a bad night for timely hitting from the Phils. With the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning, the Phillies only managed one run off a De La Rosa walk.

Oswalt wasn't great, but he kept the team in it, despite a couple of errors from the defense. Utley made a couple of throws that were way off target, and when asked if there was anything to it, Utley said there was not.

"Ryan is throwing me a good target over there," Chase said. "He's a big guy."

He may be a big guy when standing on first base, but he hasn't been living up to his Big Piece nickname at the plate (0-4 on the night with 2 Ks). The Phillies as a whole have been lacking power, with their last home run coming in the month of May. Wednesday is June 8th for those checking their calendars.

Without really being asked a particular question towards the end of his presser, Charlie offered up a soliloquy of sorts for anyone willing to listen to the frustrations that have been building.

"This is a game -- I say over and over and over, you guys here the same old story from me -- but this is a game you don't take nothing for granted," Manuel said. "Just because you did something last year or yesterday, doesn't mean you're going to do it tomorrow. We gotta play better baseball, we gotta hit better, we gotta run the bases better, we've got to score with two outs, we've just got to play the game much better."

It was some uncharacteristic angst from the Phils skipper, perhaps trying to send a message to his team.

"Our performance this year lately, especially against the pitching we've seen I think we should be hitting it, really. From Washington all the way through Pittsburgh and now tonight."

"We've just got to play better, that's the bottom line," Manuel continued. "It was a very bad ball game for us."

The skip wasn't the only guy one showing a bit of steam. While not really addressing the media lingering around the clubhouse after the game, Shane Victorino was visibly peeved.

"We're frustrated," Shane said. "Write that."

It seems losing frustrates everyone.

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.