Earlier this week the Indians came to town riding a hot streak, having already run roughshod over the Phillies once this season. This time it’s the Reds showing up at Citizens Bank Park while on a tear – winners of six straight and 10 of their last 12 – and having already pounded the Phillies.
Cincinnati swept the Phils in their April series at Great American Ballpark, which naturally helped jump start their campaign. The Reds were 5-7 heading into that three-game set. Since then, they’re 20-9 and only 1.5 games out of first place in the NL Central.
It wasn’t pretty for the Fightins, either, as it seldom has been in 2013. Charlie Manuel’s crew managed to scrape together four runs over three tilts, which has really become the story of the year up to this point. Their problems ran deeper than that though. Bullpen woes helped cost the Phillies in 4-2 and 1-0 losses, while an 11-2 shellacking is the last time we saw John Lannan.
The big thing for the Phillies this weekend – besides trying to locate their offense – will be not to give Cincinnati too many freebies. As Matt Hammond writes, the Reds are walking their way to wins these days. With that in mind, it might be a positive that Cole Hamels will not take the hill this weekend.
At just 19-22, everybody around the Phillies is talking about trades these days, even Jimmy Rollins and Ruben Amaro. Well, I suppose that is the general manager’s job. That said, the club is only 3.5 games out of first place in the NL East, so we’re not quite there yet. A series victory could be huge with those lousy Marlins right around the corner.
What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?
In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."
It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.
And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.
"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?
The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.
Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.
If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.
"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."
That makes one of us.
The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.
Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.
He later made the announcement on Twitter.
Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.
Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.
"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."
Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.