Around the World: A Mixed Bag of City 6 Updates

Around the World: A Mixed Bag of City 6 Updates

It was an up and down weekend for college basketball in the city of Philadelphia, though, we admit, mostly down.

One program lost its starting center and a game to a MAC opponent. Another dropped two games in three days. Another dropped two in two. One nearly overcame Pitt, but then didn't. And then somebody beat Penn State and Drexel didn't even play!

So yeah...mostly bad. Brief updates on the local college ball scene below.

Temple
The Temple University Owls received the absolute worst news they could hear when they found out they would be without starting center Michael Eric for their game against Bowling Green on Sunday. Already making due with a short bench thanks to the absence of Scootie Randall, the Owls moved to a seven, though mostly six-man rotation without Eric. It would not be enough to beat the Falcons on their own floor.

Temple entered this season with questions about its front court depth before losing Eric. Now with 6-9 freshman Anthony Lee as the only player in the rotation above 6-6, the Owls look to be in some serious trouble.

No timetable has been set for Eric's return. The injury is to his right patella, the same body part that caused him to miss the last two months of the season last spring. He is scheduled for a reevaluation today.

Villanova
We knew the Wildcats wouldn't be the same team we've grown accustomed to over the last few years, but we didn't think it would be like this. Back to back losses to St. Louis and Santa Clara don't bode well for a team who schedules a typically weak out-of-conference schedule to make up for the literal hell that is their in-conference docket.

That said, St. Louis is actually a much improved basketball team and, by all accounts, a legitimate contender to the A-10 title. It's not what you would consider "a bad loss," especially in an early season tournament so far from home.

That Santa Clara game though is a tough one to swallow, regardless of whether or not it was like a home game for the Broncos.

Penn
The Quakers are losers of their last three in a row, dropping contests with Wagner, #16 Pitt and James Madison.

Though there's no reason to believe they won't be plenty successful in the Ivy League and surprisingly competitive for sleep-walking out-of-conferences opponents, Harvard's consecutive victories over #20 FSU and UCF may give Quaker fans some pause about how they stack up against the League's heavy favorite to repeat.

The good news is that Zack Rosen is still entertaining and that Jerome Allen is making every attempt to supplant Jay Wright as the best dressed coach in town. So there's that, right?

La Salle
Though they gave Pitt a legitimate scare last week, I doubt their 51-44 follow-up of a loss to Robert Morris was exactly what the Explorers had planned.

Their rebound blow out of Rider puts them back on the winning track for now, but Dr. G's young team still has a long way to go before they begin changing any hearts and minds.

Fortunately, their out-of-conference schedule isn't overly taxing, so it might be a good opportunity for the team to learn how to win some games and head into its A-10 slate with a bit of confidence.

St. Joe's
At 4-2, the Hawks have been something of a revelation. Their only losses are to Big East member Seton Hall and the one-man Mo Mo Jones show of Iona—who they were still able to force to double overtime.

In the meantime, they've beaten Western Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Tulsa and Penn State. There are plenty of teams who will do a whole lot worse than G-Tech in November and December when it comes to marquee wins.

Point guard Carl Jones is exploding for 21.3 ppg and shooting better than 50% from the floor, while sophomore Langston Galloway is following up his strong freshman campaign with an average 16.3 a night.

Are the 2011-2012 Hawks part of the consistent patch of A-10 overachievers who peak early and stumble late? I suppose we'll find out. But, for now, coach Phil Martelli looks to have temporarily silenced at least a few of his critics.

Drexel
Yeah, they've sort of been off since last Monday...

But they are 2-2 and scheduled for a game this Wednesday with St. Joseph's. Dragon fans have been crying for some love this season and always feel like the forgotten team in town. They've had some quality showdowns with members of the Big 5 in recent years. One more should give them even more material to add to their "why we deserve a scheduling agreement" manifesto.

Upcoming City Match-ups
11/30 Drexel vs. St. Joe's (Hagan Arena / 7:00 p.m.)
12/3   Penn vs. Villanova (The Pavilion / 7:00 p.m.)
12/10 Villanova vs. Temple (Liacouras Center / 5:00 p.m.)
12/17 Holy War (Hagan Arena / 7:00 p.m.)

Best of MLB: Alejandro De Aza drives in 5 runs in Mets' win over Cards

Best of MLB: Alejandro De Aza drives in 5 runs in Mets' win over Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright lost his glove trying to tag out Yoenis Cespedes and lost the game, too, when Alejandro De Aza homered and drove in five runs to send the New York Mets over St. Louis 10-6 Thursday night.

Seth Lugo (1-2) pitched five scoreless innings for his first big league win. The Mets took two of three to win their first series at Busch Stadium since 2008.

Brandon Moss hit two home runs for the Cardinals and Jedd Gyorko and Stephen Piscotty also connected.

The Mets led 3-0 in the fifth when Wainwright (9-8) and Cespedes were involved in a bizarre play.

Cespedes tried to go from first to third on a bloop single by James Loney. When several Cardinals chased the ball, Wainwright covered third base. Cespedes slid and his cleat pinned Wainwright's glove to the bag -- he would've been out, but when Wainwright pulled away his hand, the mitt stayed stuck under Cespedes' foot.

Because Wainwright didn't control the ball, Cespedes was called safe in a ruling upheld by replay. Moments later, De Aza hit a three-run homer to make it 7-0 (see full recap).

Scherzer's arm, Harper's bat help Nats blank O's
WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer allowed two hits over eight innings and Bryce Harper's two-run double helped the Washington Nationals avoid a four-game home-and-home sweep with a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.

Scherzer (14-7) struck out 10 and did not walk a batter. He retired 12 straight after Adam Jones's fourth-inning double and 21 of 22 before Mark Trumbo's leadoff single in the eighth.

Jayson Werth's solo home run staked Washington to a 1-0 lead. Daniel Murphy's RBI double in the eighth came before Harper's second hit helped the Nationals pull away.

The Nationals had lost four straight including three in a row to the Orioles, who won twice in Baltimore before the teams shifted to Washington.

Ubaldo Jimenez (5-11) allowed one run and five hits over six innings (see full recap).

Escobar pushes surging Royals past Marlins
MIAMI -- Alcides Escobar homered and drove in two runs to lead the surging Kansas City Royals past the Miami Marlins 5-2 on Thursday night.

Salvador Perez and Kendrys Morales also drove in runs for the Royals as the defending World Series champions have won 15 of 18 to pull within four games of the second AL wild card spot.

Kansas City starter Edison Volquez (10-10) pitched five innings and allowed two runs, both unearned, and three hits.

The Royals' bullpen, which has been a successful formula for the reigning two-time AL pennant winners, pitched four scoreless innings to push their franchise-record scoreless streak to 38 2-3 innings -- the best in the majors since 2002-03 when San Francisco tossed 39 1-3 straight.

Kelvin Herrera pitched a flawless ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances.

Tom Koehler (9-9) allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits in six innings for the Marlins (see full recap).

Matt Klentak: Trade was about doing the right thing for Carlos Ruiz

Matt Klentak: Trade was about doing the right thing for Carlos Ruiz

The Phillies’ decision to trade beloved catcher Carlos Ruiz to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday was ultimately made by Ruiz himself.

“This was about doing the right thing for Carlos because he has meant so much to this organization,” general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday night.

“Once Carlos cleared trade waivers last week, we started thinking about it. The Dodgers expressed some interest. Pete [Mackanin] and I talked to Carlos over the weekend. We discussed whether he wanted to finish the year with us or get the chance to chase another championship ring.

"He took a few days to discuss it with his family and got back to us Wednesday in Chicago and said that he'd be interested in exploring the opportunity and we finalized things with the Dodgers today.”

As a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors and five consecutive with the same team, Ruiz, 37, could have vetoed the deal. He chose to accept the deal because he wanted another chance to play in the postseason. He will serve as a backup to catcher Yasmani Grandal with the Dodgers, but is expected to get playing time. Ruiz's .368 on-base percentage from the right side of the plate could be a nice complement to the lefty-hitting Grandal.

The Phillies acquired the Dodgers’ backup catcher, veteran A.J. Ellis, minor-league pitching prospect Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later in the deal. The Phils will not decide on the player to be named until after the minor-league season ends in mid-September. The Phils also sent an undisclosed amount of cash to the Dodgers. Ruiz is owed about $2 million in the form of salary and a contract buyout for 2017. Ellis, 35, is finishing up a one-year deal that pays him $4.5 million.

"This deal was not motivated by cash,” Klentak said. “It was about doing the right thing for Carlos, giving him the chance to get another ring.”

Klentak said he was "adamant" about getting Ellis back in the deal. The Phillies have two catching prospects in the upper minors in Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, but the club would like to see them finish their minor-league seasons.

“Carlos has been such an important leader for so long, we knew we had to fill a role on and off the field,” Klentak said. “There is a reasonably good chance one of our young catching prospects will be in the big leagues before the season is over. Both our Double A and Triple A teams are in pennant races and we believe it's important for them to continue to get meaningful at-bats and play in meaningful games.”

Ellis is expected to join the Phillies in New York this weekend. It’s not easy going from a first-place team with legitimate World Series hopes to a rebuilding club.

“I talked to A.J. this afternoon,” Klentak said. “He is a true professional. It's never easy for a guy who has been in one place his whole career to be told out of the blue that it's time to go. A.J. is determined and excited about contributing to the Phillies.”

Bergjans, a 23-year-old right-hander, pitched at Haverford College. He was an eighth-round draft pick of the Dodgers in 2015 and is 3-13 with a 4.98 ERA for Single A Rancho Cucamonga this season. He has 133 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 130 innings.

"Tommy was an excellent college performer,” Klentak said. “He has controlled the strike zone well in a tough league. We're always looking to add starting pitching and we had a chance to do it. He strikes out better than a batter an inning and limits walks which was appealing.”

Sources: Phillies shake up amateur scouting department

Sources: Phillies shake up amateur scouting department

The Phillies have undergone massive changes on the field and off over the last couple of seasons.
 
Those changes have reached the club’s amateur scouting department.
 
According to major league sources, the club recently fired three longtime members of that department, including Mike Ledna, a high-ranking coordinator and national cross-checker. Ledna was the No. 2 man under former scouting boss Marti Wolever, who was let go two years ago and replaced by Johnny Almaraz.
 
Almaraz has overseen the last two drafts with a staff of mostly holdover scouts. He has clearly begun to put his stamp on the department with his recent shakeup. Ledna’s firing was preceded by the club’s decision to part with Steve Cohen and Paul Scott. They covered the talent-rich state of Texas.
 
It is not clear whether more changes on the scouting staff are coming. Over the last year or so, the Phillies have hired a new club president (Andy MacPhail), general manager (Matt Klentak) and manager (Pete Mackanin). The playing roster has also been churned, most recently with Carlos Ruiz being traded to the Dodgers on Thursday (see story). His parting leaves Ryan Howard as the lone member of the 2008 World Series championship team still with the club.