Lavoy Allen Has Breakout Performance, Wants His Piece of the Burger

Lavoy Allen Has Breakout Performance, Wants His Piece of the Burger

The Sixers' crowd on Monday evening at the Wells Fargo Center to take in the 103-83 throttling of the Washington Wizards was a modest one to say the least, with announced attendance a shade over 10,000 fans. But the fans that did brave the unpleasant weather conditions appeared to be the South Philly regulars this season season, here every night to watch Doug Collins and his hard-working Sixers go a nasty 8-1 on their home court.

You see, they know. They know exactly what happens when the Sixers reach the century mark on the scoreboard.

Part of me hates it. In a game when the 76ers were clicking on all cylinders -- "We executed, we didn't turn the ball over, we made the extra pass, our defense was brilliant," Doug Collins said after the game -- it's somewhat annoying to the hardcore basketball fan in me to see the crowd get up off their feet, the loudest the Center was all night, for when the scoreboard read 99 points with two minutes left to play.

For some strange, bizarre reason, fans who come to Sixers games this season go super-sized nuts when the team hits 100 points in a game, rewarding every ticket holder in attendance with a free Big Mac the next day at McDonalds. And the player who hits the bucket to send them in to triple digits is showered in cheers like delicious golden french fries are showered in salt.

Our distaste for this faux basketball excitement aside, we were quite happy to see former Temple star Lavoy Allen get the honors on Monday evening, hitting the big shot to send the Sixers to 101 points. But don't think Lavoy doesn't want his piece of the burger.

"I'm expecting a couple of them to give me their tickets," Allen joked after the game of the fans cheering for his big bucket. "I'm feeling for a couple of Big Macs tomorrow."

But did the pressure of the moment -- of 7,000,000 calories, of 440,000 grams of fat, of 1,400,000 milligrams of cholesterol -- get to him when he squared up in the fourth for the big jumper?

Not a chance.

"I had a feeling it was going in," Lavoy said.

All jokes aside, Allen's performance was by far the best of his young career and it came on a night when the Sixers really did need it. They were without their two best big men in Spencer Hawes and rookie Nik Vucevic, and Tony Battie is certainly getting up there in age and can only give you so many minutes. Lavoy knew coming into the night he'd likely get a chance to show what he's capable of.

Allen entered tonight's game against the Wizards with just 7 career points on 3-7 from the field in three appearances this season. He put up a career-high 10 points on Monday night by shooting a perfect 5 for 5 from the field in 17 minutes of action.

"I just try to play the same way all the time, not to get too nervous, not to get too fast, just play my game," Lavoy said of his best performance to date. "The guys have been telling me all year long, whenever I get the opportunity to go in there, to show what I can do. Be ready at all times because you never know what can happen. I was ready whenever coach called my name."

Coach Collins praised his other rookie big man for his effort and gave him the coveted "Ace of Spades Award" given to his best player on any given night.

"How about our boy Lavoy Allen?" Coach Collins said after the game. "What a coming out party for Lavoy tonight.

"It was great. It was one of the first times I've seen him really smile and really see his personality. Lavoy's good. He's big, he's strong, he can shoot the ball. He's got a good feel for the game. And you know, it's interesting how it works, I always tell guys in this league you've got to be ready when you're called on and Lavoy played a few minutes down in Miami that I think helped him the other day. And he came in tonight and gave everybody hamburgers too, so he's gonna be the real hero."

Allen, a stud during his college days with the Temple Owls, is no stranger to success, but the one knock on his game was always the seemingly inconsistent effort. Coach Collins says he has yet to see that linger in Lavoy's short time in the League.

"I talked to him about it when we drafted him," Collins said after the win. "I said Lavoy, 'you know it's interesting, no one has ever told me you're not talented, you're not big, you're not strong, you don't have great hands, you can't shoot, you're not a good defender. I've never heard anybody say those things. All I've ever heard anybody say is you've got a low motor. Well you can change that. I can't change it for you but if you want to play with the energy you can play with, you've got a chance to be really good."

Now, perhaps it was the magical powers of one Ronald McDonald, but the Golden Arch's stock price (MCD) closed at $100 and some change on Monday afternoon? The same exact point total needed to give 10,100 Philadelphians free big Macs. Eerie.

We'll let Lavoy savor this one for a while, just like a Big Mac burp you can still taste a day later.

"Now I get to be the crowd favorite for at least another 24 hours," Lavoy said.

Phillies conclude miserable homestand with new low as Zach Eflin demoted to Triple A

Phillies conclude miserable homestand with new low as Zach Eflin demoted to Triple A

BOX SCORE

For a moment Sunday afternoon, Citizens Bank Park sprung to life as the Phillies strung together five hits in a four-run second inning.

But four home runs off starter Zach Eflin sent the Phillies to another defeat and Eflin to Lehigh Valley.

Eflin was optioned to Triple A following the Phillies' 8-4 loss to the Reds, in which he allowed seven runs on nine hits in just five innings of work (see Instant Replay)

"His first two-three outings were really good," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He was keeping the ball down, but his last three, including today, he's elevating his sinker and once you elevate that sinker, it doesn't have the effect that you'd like to have."

The Phillies have now lost nine consecutive series for the first time since 1997. The loss was their 22nd in 28 games and handed the Reds their first series win at CBP since August 2006.  

Eflin got off to a rocky start Sunday with three first-inning singles, allowing one run. He escaped further damage but then proceeded to give up a home run in each of his final four innings. The final home run — Adam Duvall's second on the day — came on an 0-2 pitch and extended Cincinnati's lead to 7-4. All of the Reds' hits off Eflin came on fastballs as their potent lineup feasted on his pitches high in the zone.

Two weeks ago, Eflin's ERA stood at 2.87 as he kept opponents in the ballpark with his hard sinker. However, starting with a May 17 outing in Texas, Eflin has allowed 22 runs in his last 15 innings. He's given up seven homers in his last two starts and at least nine hits in five consecutive outings as his ERA ballooned to 6.13. With Sunday's results, the Phillies were left little choice but to option the 23-year-old righty while he deals with a rough patch.

"There are some things I need to work on," Eflin said. "I need to do a better job of pitching backward, especially in fastball counts. There's a lot of things I need to work on, but at the end of the day, I'm not worried about it. I'm going to go down there, work on everything I need to work on and get back as soon as possible."

The Phillies will reinstate Howie Kendrick (oblique) off the 10-day disabled list Monday, Mackanin said, in a corresponding move after the veteran IF/OF completed a four-game rehab stint (see story)

Kendrick could help boost an offense that is scuffling. After a four-run second inning highlighted by Andrew Knapp's 434-foot three-run home run, the Phillies' bats fell silent. They strung together five more hits. However, three double plays and a few untimely strikeouts killed any further rallies.

The Phillies left a potential run stranded on third base in the fifth inning as Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr struck out against starter Scott Feldman, who waded into and out of trouble in five innings of work. Herrera went 0 for 4 with that strikeout, continuing to slump. His average has fallen to .217.

With Kendrick returning, Mackanin indicated he would give Herrera some days off soon to help him relax amid mounting pressure to hit.

"He's scuffling. A couple guys scuffling," Mackanin said. "I'll probably move him down in the lineup. I can't keep him in the two-hole. But he has to fight his way out. 

"We'll see when Kendrick gets here. We're going to have another outfielder. I'm going to mix and match and try to get everybody in there. Kendrick, I'm going to bring along slowly because I want to make sure he's healthy.

"In other words, I don't have a set outfield. I'm going to mix those guys up."

On the infield, Maikel Franco continued his slide Sunday, going 1 for 4 with a strikeout and a double play. The slugger is hitting .213 this month, just as he did in April, but his power is down with just two home runs. Kendrick, who only played left field in April, played third base while at Triple A, so he could potentially spell Franco as well.

"He hit a ball hard today but he's not giving us consistent at-bats," Mackanin said. "He's searching both physically and mentally. It's not easy for him. I can tell he's down on himself. He's not happy about what's going on."

The Phillies came into this week struggling and were unable to rebound against the Rockies and Reds, losing five of seven. They averaged just 2.42 runs during the homestand.

However, the bigger problem comes in the rotation. The team gave up 5.71 runs per game in their last seven despite a 23 2/3 inning scoreless streak from the bullpen. The rotation's struggles continue to plague the team as they carry the worst record in baseball into Miami for a three-game set starting Monday.

"I certainly expected more out of our starters," Mackanin said. "We've had some issues with [Aaron] Nola's arm and Clay Buchholz going down. Although [Jerad] Eickhoff is going to end up having a good year in my opinion. He's been a little bit hot and cold.

"And Eflin, I counted on him to have a big year this year. I think if he gets himself straightened out down in Triple A, I think he's going to come back strong. But certainly, I can't sit here and say I'm happy with [his performance]."

Instant Replay: Reds 8, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Reds 8, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

Zach Eflin allowed a career-high four home runs and the Phillies were outslugged by the Cincinnati Reds in an 8-4 defeat Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils have now lost nine consecutive series for the first time since 1997. The loss was their 22nd in 28 games. The Reds, who took two of three, picked up their first series win at CBP since August 2006.

Eflin was roughed up for the third consecutive start. The Reds tagged him for seven runs in just five innings. After three hits led to a run in the first inning, he gave up home runs in each of his last four frames. Following the game, Eflin was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Jeanmar Gomez allowed a solo home run in relief. 

Andrew Knapp gave the Phillies an early lead with a three-run homer during a four-run second inning. However, three double plays stifled the Phillies' offense, which was held scoreless after the second inning. 

Scott Feldman improved to 4-4 with the win for the Reds. The Phils dropped to 17-31 while the Reds improved to 24-25. 

Starting pitching report
Eflin stumbled through five innings, allowing nine hits. He had held opponents to just four homers in first six starts but has now has let up seven in his last two appearances. Over his past three starts, Eflin's been tagged for 22 runs in 15 innings. He's given up at least nine hits in all five May starts. 

A poor sign for Eflin: Only two of his outs came on the ground. The Reds were all over his fastball and scored in each of his five innings. His ERA has gone from 2.81 to 6.13 since May 17.

Feldman labored through a 32-pitch second inning in which he gave up four runs. He settled down afterward with a pair of double plays to get through five innings. The veteran righty struck out the last two batters he faced with a man on third and one out.

Bullpen report
Luis Garcia threw two shutout innings, striking out one. Jeanmar Gomez gave up rookie Patrick Kivlehan's second home run of the day in the ninth inning, snapping the Phillies' bullpen's scoreless streak at 23 2/3 innings. Gomez allowed three hits and the one run in two innings.

Blake Wood, Wandy Peralta, Drew Storen and Raisel Iglesias each threw shutout innings in relief of Feldman.

At the plate
Manager Pete Mackanin wanted the Phillies to string together 4-5 hits and they did so in the second inning. Tommy Joseph and Michael Saunders led off with back-to-back singles before Knapp drove them in with his 434-foot blast. Knapp laid off two high fastballs after falling behind 0-2 and drilled a curveball into the Phillies' bullpen.

Freddy Galvis followed with a double. Even Eflin aided the cause with his first career RBI on a run-scoring single. 

The top two in the order — Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera — went 0 for 8. Everyone else in the lineup had at least one hit. Saunders and Aaron Altherr each had two hits while Ty Kelly had a pinch-hit double.

Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Kivlehan combined for five home runs with Duvall and Kivlehan notching multi-hit games. Jose Peraza and Zack Cozart extended their hitting streaks to 13 and 11 games, respectively, in the first inning.

Up next
The Phillies head on the road and begin a three-game set with the Miami Marlins, whom they beat twice in April at Citizens Bank Park.

Monday, 7:10 p.m. — Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 4.28) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-7, 4.82)

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.— Vince Velasquez (2-4, 5.55) vs. Justin Nicolino (0-1, 5.40)

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. — Aaron Nola (2-2, 4.34) vs. Dan Straily (3.83)