Islanders in Philly, Attempting to Start a New Streak

Islanders in Philly, Attempting to Start a New Streak

Before their last visit to the Wells Fargo Center, the New York Islanders hadn't won in Philadelphia since 2007. It's one thing if a streak lasts that long against a team from the other conference, but a division foe? It was fairly impressive, and certainly enjoyable.

Of course, no streak can last forever, and the Isles finally snapped it with a 4-1 win here on January 19. Also laid to waste was Sergei Bobrovsky's career unbeaten mark against the Islanders, which previously stood at 7-0. One of the Flyers' problems that night won't be solved merely by changing the goalie, though Peter Laviolette has elected to go with Ilya Bryzgalov.

After the previous loss, Lavvy lamented the number of times Bob was hung out to dry. In short, that's still a problem. In his most recent action, Bryz was unable to play the role of the savior his team needed, as they were overmatched and mistake-prone, and he had no answers of his own.

The question everyone's wondering is, are these issues fixable with the current personnel, or are we totally boned will help need to be brought in at the trade deadline?

The goaltending issues almost certainly won't be addressed via trade, but the blue line could see a new face or two. In the meantime, maybe the Flyers getting healthier will have enough effect. Danny Briere isn't known for his defense, but his return tonight gives the Islanders another dangerous scorer to worry about, which could slow their attacking tendencies some. Here's hoping, anyway.

The Isles come to town having lost their most recent game but won the previous two. They're trading wins for losses lately, but that's actually a good thing for a last place team. Evgeni Nabokov has been hot in net, as the Flyers saw the last time these teams met. Two of the Isles' last three losses have had Al Montoya in net, including Saturday's defeat by the Sabres. The Flyers may have to deal with Nabokov, who hasn't let up more than three goals since January 7.

Does #48 get back on the board? Can Simmonds keep his career-best pace alive? Can Bryz snap back to the form we saw against the Preds?

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Aaron Altherr, activated by the Phillies Thursday afternoon, bats fifth and plays right field in his season debut in Atlanta. 

Sometimes one hitter can make a lineup look much different. Altherr's presence in the middle of the Phillies order provides them with three power hitters, something they've seldom had this season. He provides some protection out of the five-hole for Tommy Joseph and Maikel Franco, who precede him.

Cesar Hernandez remains in the leadoff spot for the Phillies after going 3 for 4 with a walk Wednesday to raise his batting average to .290. 

Cody Asche may soon lose playing time as the Phils' outfield picture gets more crowded, but for now his lineup spot appears safe. With Peter Bourjos on the DL, Asche gets the start in left field and bats eighth.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Carlos Ruiz, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Cody Asche, LF
9. Aaron Nola, P

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

The player who was projected to be the Phillies' opening day rightfielder and No. 5 hitter is finally ready to play. The Phils on Thursday reinstated outfielder Aaron Altherr from the disabled list after he missed the season's first 103 games with a wrist injury.

Altherr takes the 25-man roster spot of Peter Bourjos, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder sprain.

Altherr, 25, impressed with power late last season, hitting .241/.338/.489 for the Phillies with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 22 RBIs in 161 plate appearances. 

He tore a tendon sheath in his wrist on a diving catch attempt early in spring training, had surgery and missed about four months in total. The Phils were patient with Altherr during his rehab assignment, giving him the full 20 days before making the decision to add him to the active roster. In 13 games at four different levels during the rehab stint, Altherr went 14 for 41 (.341) with two doubles, a homer and seven walks.

Bourjos injured his shoulder running into the wall at Marlins Park earlier this week. The injury will keep him from being traded ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline, but Bourjos could be moved in August. He hit .410 in June but was slumping before the injury, hitting .148 over his last 14 games.

Marlins reinstate 2B Dee Gordon after 80-game drug ban

Marlins reinstate 2B Dee Gordon after 80-game drug ban

MIAMI — Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon issued an apology on Twitter addressed primarily to his young fans as he returned from an 80-game suspension for a positive drug test.

"I know I let you down, and I'm sorry," Gordon said in a video. "Complacency led me to this, and I'm hurt. I urge you guys to be more responsible than I am about what goes into your body. I wouldn't wish this on anyone."

Gordon, who won the NL batting and stolen base titles last year, was reinstated before Thursday's game against St. Louis.

Gordon tested positive for two performance-enhancing substances and was suspended in late April. Gordon acknowledged in April that he unknowingly took the banned substances.

Marlins president David Samson said then that the second baseman had betrayed the team and its fans. On Wednesday, Samson said the Marlins are glad to have Gordon back.

"I believe that America and our fans and our players and us, we're a pretty forgiving society," Samson said. "It's important Dee ask for that forgiveness, and he has, and he'll receive that. He's got to continue to work to get himself back in with his teammates and the fans and my son."

In his video, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Gordon said he learned from his mistake.

"I thought being the smallest guy I would never fail a drug test," he said. "I didn't pay attention at all and I didn't meet the standards. That's my fault and no one else's. But don't give up on me."

To make room on the roster for Gordon, the Marlins designated for assignment infielder Don Kelly, who had two triples in Sunday's victory. Even without Gordon, the Marlins have remained in contention for their first playoff berth since 2003.

Last year Gordon batted .333, stole 58 bases, became an All-Star for the second time and won his first Gold Glove. The season earned him a $50 million, five-year contract in January.