Just Enough Buzz: J-Roll Homers, Kendrick Takes His Turn to Shut Out the Marlins

Just Enough Buzz: J-Roll Homers, Kendrick Takes His Turn to Shut Out the Marlins

I could be projecting, but I assume a lot of people reading this site have a smartphone app that alerts them every time the Phillies score, or maybe just periodic updates from every game. If you don't have one, that probably sounds crazy. If you do, it's the most normal thing in the world. Mine buzzes and sends a screen notification every time any Philly team scores or gets scored on (aside from the Sixers, because ya know), and then one last time when the game is done. This summer, the app has been the bearer of more bad news than it has good. The Fightins have allowed more than 20 runs than they've scored. They've lost eight more games than they've won. More often than not, I'm watching the game as the other team scores. Seconds later, that ... buzz comes. 
Gotta wonder how many times the dog bit Pavlov. 
Tuesday night, there were just two buzzes. The first came on the second pitch of the game. Jimmy opened the night with a home run for the 41st time in his career—and he did it on the night he passed Larry Bowa for most games played as a Phillies shortstop (1,731). As if that weren't momentous enough, not another run crossed the plate for either team. 
Not the most exciting nine innings of ball between fourth and fifth place teams, but thanks to Kyle Kendrick, that lone run stood as the winner. 
Picking up where Cole Hamels left off the night before, Kendrick threw seven scoreless innings. He allowed only five hits while striking out six and walking ze-ro over seven innings. Sinkers and changeups all night. Josh Lindblom and Jonathan Papelbon each threw a scoreless frame to hold and save the shutout for the Killer. 
If anyone needed a straight line of zeros, it was Kendrick, who'd given up nine runs over 7.1 innings in two previous starts since rejoining the rotation after the Joe Blanton was traded. Actually, every Phillie not named Jimmy Rollins needed Kendrick to put up that line, because after J-Roll's homer off of hard-luck Marlins starter Josh Johnson, they managed only three hits the rest of the night. Wasn't a pretty night at the plate.
But a win's a win, and that's three in a row. The Phils are now 2.5 games ahead of the Fish and just a game out of third. Stranger things... It may not scream "October baseball," but it's making August enjoyable. 

David Murphy
@HighCheese

Phillies are 17-12 since the All-Star Break. In 14 games since the July 31 trades, they are 9-5 with a 2.69 ERA.

14 Aug 12

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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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.