Gallery: Bradley Maule Documents the Phillies-Mariners Weekend Series

Gallery: Bradley Maule Documents the Phillies-Mariners Weekend Series

One of our favorite Philly blogs of all time was PhillySkyline, a thoughtful and eye-opening perspective on Philadelphia through the eyes of Bradley Maule. Brad has moved to Portland, Oregon, but fortunately, we still get to keep up via the powers of the Internets (he still maintains a nice presence at Maule of America). Recently back in Philly for a short trip, he reminded us what a great eye he has for the things we see (and don't always appreciate) every day. After Brad returned to Portland, we found out he'd be making the trip up to Seattle in part to see the Phillies play there this past weekend, and we asked if he wouldn't mind sharing the experience here. These are his words, and his amazing pictures. Be sure to click on the top right image for the entire 22 photo gallery.

You know, it's a drag that the Mariners took two of three from the Phillies over the weekend, but you have to admit that it was a great series of baseball. Beating defending Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez was a thrill, but doing so seemed to mess up their timing against garbage ball lefty Jason Vargas on Sunday. That dude, who made his MLB debut at Citizens Bank Park in the late innings of a Phillies 13-7 win over the Marlins in 2005, somehow baffled the Phils for a three hit, complete game shutout, his second in the past month.

Nevertheless, it was great to watch the Fightins out here in the Pacific Northwest. It wasn't quite Citizens Bank Park West, but there was a nice smattering of red across an unusually packed Safeco Field. Or should I say Shaneco Field, at least for Saturday night. Victorino finished a single short of the cycle as he led the charge in the 5-1 win.

I get the impression that Mariners fans are not unlike Pirates fans: they're good and knowledgeable baseball people, but they're sick and tired of losing. But, they're now a half game out of first, and in addition to King Felix and Ichiro, young bucks like Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley have the potential to put butts in seats like they haven't seen since the days of Junior and Buhner (each of whose jerseys were well represented, as well as Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez . . . no A-Rods though).

Seattle is the farthest-away opponent the Phillies have to play (according to The Internet, San Diego is 2,365 miles from Philadelphia and Seattle is 2,371), and they never do well in interleague play anyway, so they get a pass for losing 2 of 3 to an AL West team. They still have the best record in baseball -- the best in the NL by a full five games -- and they're heading into RyHo's hometown to play a Pujols-less Cardinals team.

Here is a handful of photos from Saturday night's 5-1 win, notable for a solid, Vic-led win over Felix, Ackley's first MLB homerun, and especially Michael Stutes' first MLB victory in his native Northwest. The Portland native was a member of Oregon State's back-to-back championship team.

Peace out from the rainy baseball land of clam strips & chips and Hale's Ales. Go Phils!

Many thanks to Brad for the great photos.

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Box Score

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Flyers passed a freshness test Sunday night — barely.

After building a 3-0 lead in the first 23 minutes, the Flyers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Rogers Arena.

The Flyers were the more rested team. They had two days off here following Thursday’s loss in Edmonton — and a three-day break before the start of the trip.

But they almost allowed the Canucks to come back in their second game of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip.

The Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks (26-28-6) were denied a chance to gain ground on the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn — who added the goal that proved to be the winner — scored for the Flyers. Two of the three goals came on the power play. Both teams failed to score in the third period.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen replied for the Canucks.

With the win, the Flyers avoided going winless on a three-game tour through British Columbia and Alberta. They posted their first victory in Western Canada in the past nine attempts.

Goalie report
Coach Dave Hakstol showed loyalty in goaltender Michal Neuvirth, after he allowed four goals on his first 12 shots in Thursday’s one-sided loss in Edmonton. The goaltender started off much better Sunday, as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close early and stopped all eight shots that he faced in the first period.

Power play
Hakstol was looking for the Flyers to rediscover their “swagger” on the power play. He got his wish early as Simmonds jammed in a Shayne Gostisbehere rebound only 5:45 into the game. The puck barely crossed the line but was clearly in, as confirmed by a video review. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows was off for hooking at the time. In the second period, Schenn padded his NHL power-play goals lead as he gave the Flayers a 3-0 lead at 2:38. Schenn scored his 14th power-play goal of the season on a shot from the slot as Simmonds screened Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. With his goal, Simmonds moved into a tie for second in NHL man-advantage markers with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Both players have 12.

Voracek busts his slump
The drought is over for Voracek. The winger busted his scoring slump as he gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 2:38 of the second period. The goal was Voracek’s first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

Shayne the unfriendly ghost
Gostisbehere did not live up to his nickname. Ghost was quite visible as he assisted on all of the Flyers’ goals. The Flyers started scoring as Simmonds tipped in Gostisbehere’s point shot during a power play.

Did you notice?
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a chance for a rare breakaway with about five and a half minutes left in the first period, but missed a well-placed lead pass as he was coming out of the penalty box. Instead of a scoring opportunity, the missed pass led to an icing call and a face-off in the Flyers’ end.

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?