Herndon Out, Blanton In; Carpenter to Start Sunday

Herndon Out, Blanton In; Carpenter to Start Sunday

CITIZENS BANK PARK -- The Phillies were pretty much all business today during their workouts at Citizens Bank Park. There's a good team in front of them in the St. Louis Cardinals but the Phillies feel supremely confident that they're capable of beating them and advancing to the NLCS.

A couple of quick notes: David Herndon has been told that he will not be on the NLDS roster. He admitted to being a bit surprised at the move. Instead, it's likely the Phillies decided to go with Joe Blanton out of the pen instead. Nothing is official just yet, but Charlie said during his presser that they'll likely keep 11 pitchers.

UPDATE: It's now official, the Phillies just tweeted the rosters: NLDS roster pitchers: Bastardo, Blanton, Halladay, Hamels, Kendrick, Lee, Lidge, Madson, Oswalt, Stutes, Worley.

The most interesting news of the day came when Tony LaRussa said he's going to go with Chris Carpenter as the Cardinals starter in game two on Sunday night. Carpenter would be matched up against Cliff Lee and will be pitching on only 3 days rest for the first time in his career, according to Jayson Stark.

Jaime Garcia will start game 3 in St. Louis. As we noted yesterday, his numbers at home are much better than on the road. Additionally, there seems to be some concern about his confidence and pitching at Citizens Bank Park wouldn't seem like a place to help build a young guy up.

Not much else of real interest to report. Ryan Howard says he only expects to need 12-15 tickets or so for the first part of the series in Philadelphia. I guess people don't need to travel as much if they're already in St. Louis.

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 from 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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AP Images

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.