Phillies Start Second Half With 7-2 Win Behind Fine Play From Ibanez, Mayberry

Phillies Start Second Half With 7-2 Win Behind Fine Play From Ibanez, Mayberry

Ahh, Phillies victories. It's been days since we've gotten to experience one of those. Unlike last season, when the Phillies stumbled into the second half after the All-Star break, the Phillies wasted no time getting back to where they left off last week. They rode the fine play of Raul Ibanez, John Mayberry, and the solid pitching of Worley and the pen to beat the Mets 7-2. As they should.

The Phils got to Dickey early, putting up 3 runs in the second inning. Raul Ibanez started things off with a single to left. Sports Illustrated cover boy Carlos Ruiz smacked a single up the middle and then Domonic Brown worked a base on balls to load the bases. John Mayberry Jr. smacked a single up the middle to put the Phils up 2-0 and Charlie then gave Vance Worley a green line which paid off. Worley weakly grounded out to third, but Brown was either running all the way from third or got a great read on the ball and scored without a play. Jimmy popped out to end the inning, but the Phils were up 3-0 and never looked back.

After making an impressive diving grab out in left field in the bottom of the fifth, Rauuuuuul did it at the dish in the top half of the following inning, bashing a homer out towards Utley's corner that put the Phillies up 4-0. It was Ibanez's 13th homer of the season.

Vanimal Earns the Win

Vance Worley was okay in his first start back from his short stint with Lehigh Valley. He managed to avoid any real trouble until the bottom of the sixth. A walk to Carlos Beltran, a single to David Murphy, and another walk to Jason Bay loaded the bases with one out and Charlie had seen enough from Vance. Manuel went with 9-pitch-inning-is-this-guy-for-real Juan Perez whose effectively wild style came back to bite the Phillies just a bit. Perez threw a wild pitch that allowed the Mets to get one on the board. He almost threw another one away to the following batter, but Chooch miraculously kept it in front of him. Perez finally forced a groundout to Martinez to end the inning with only minimal damage done.

Madson to Stutes to Bastardo

Needing three innings from the pen, Charlie had the luxury of using Ryan Madson in the seventh, easing him back into major league action. Madson looked sharp in his first game back from the DL, hitting 95 on the gun, and striking out Ruben Tejada and Jason Pridie (who?) before forcing Angel Pagan to pop out to center. Not a bad seventh inning guy, eh?

Michael Stutes hiccuped a blast of a homer to Carlos Beltran and had to really work to limit the Mets to only one run in the eighth.

Despite having a five run lead, Antonio  Bastardo was called on to pitch the ninth. And he did it well (1-2-3). Finishing off the Mets and completing the Phillies win to kick off the second half on the right foot.

Per the broadcast this evening, Antonio Bastardo has held opponents to one hit in their last 48 at-bats.

LOLMets & Big John

After Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada screwed up a routine groundball that would have ended the eighth inning, Mayberry ripped a bases-loaded double that scored 'em all. 7-2 Phils. Game over. [watch the double here]

Big John continues to swing a hot bat, finishing the day 2-4 with 5 RBIs.

Eye On the Enemy

The Braves kept pace with the Phillies by beating the Nationals 11-1 in Atlanta. [box]

NBA Notes: Magic Johnson takes over Lakers, trades Lou Williams

NBA Notes: Magic Johnson takes over Lakers, trades Lou Williams

With the Los Angeles Lakers mired in the worst years in franchise history, owner Jeanie Buss has turned to Magic Johnson to lead them back to championship contention.

And she removed her own brother from his job to do it.

Jeanie Buss fired general manager Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations. Jim Buss also was dismissed as the Lakers' executive vice president of basketball operations in a major shake-up of the struggling team's front office.

Jim Buss retains his ownership stake in the team, but Jeanie Buss has final say under the structure set up by their late father, Jerry Buss. She used it to chart a new course for the 16-time NBA champion franchise, which has the NBA's third-worst record at 19-39.

The Lakers are almost certain to miss the playoffs for a team-record fourth straight season, and they posted the worst record in team history during each of the previous three years.

"It was such a hard to decision to make, that I probably waited too long," Jeanie Buss said in an interview on Spectrum SportsNet, the Lakers' television network. "For that, I apologize to Laker fans. Now, with clarity and direction, and after talking with Earvin, a change was needed" (see full story).

Lakers: Deal reached to trade Williams to Rockets
The Los Angeles Lakers have swung their first deal of the Magic Johnson Era, agreeing to send Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a future draft pick.

Brewer's agent Wallace Prather confirmed the terms of the trade, which were first reported Tuesday by Yahoo Sports. Neither team immediately revealed the trade publicly.

"Thanx for the love L.A., I've enjoyed my stay," Williams wrote on Twitter.

Williams led the Lakers in scoring at 18.6 points per game, playing off the bench. Brewer was averaging 4.2 points for Houston.

The trade came hours after the Lakers announced the firing of general manager Mitch Kupchak and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations -- part of a massive front office shake-up.

And while the draft pick will help the Lakers' future, the Rockets just got deeper (see full story).

Grizzlies: Healthy roster for stretch run
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies' latest injury reports need a second glance, they appear a bit suspect.

Nobody is listed as hurt or nursing an injury. If someone is out, it's simply for rest.

No knee problems requiring forward Chandler Parsons to sit. No ankle issues for reserve forward Brandan Wright. No lingering problems from point guard Mike Conley's broken back earlier this season, and no more groin issues for defensive stalwart Tony Allen.

There's not even foot problems for All-Star center Marc Gasol.

Having no injuries to report is a relief for a team that has been hit hard the last two years. The Grizzlies are 34-24 and sixth in the Western Conference heading down the stretch.

"I think our chemistry is starting to come," forward Zach Randolph said. "Guys are starting to fill into their roles and starting to play a lot better, especially on the defensive end."

It was just a year ago on Feb. 20, 2016, that Gasol had season-ending surgery to repair his broken right foot, sending the Grizzlies spiraling into a historical season for injuries that finished with Memphis using an NBA-record 28 players . Memphis limped into its sixth consecutive playoff appearance and was mercifully swept out of the first round by the San Antonio Spurs (see full story).

Report: Jahlil Okafor 'will get moved by Thursday'

Report: Jahlil Okafor 'will get moved by Thursday'

Will Jahlil Okafor be traded?

That is the big question surrounding the Sixers as Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline inches closer.

According to one report, there’s already an answer.

Appearing on NBA TV Tuesday night, NBA.com’s David Aldridge said Okafor “will get moved by Thursday.”

Aldridge, who said the Sixers have “a lot of offers to sift through,” mentioned the Pacers and Kings as potential landing spots. Following the DeMarcus Cousins trade, Sacramento is left with Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein, who aren't offensive bigs. Koufos is averaging 6.1 points in 57 games this season, while Cauley-Stein is scoring 5.8 per game in his second NBA season.

“[The Kings] can offer more minutes and more opportunities for [Okafor] now,” Aldridge said.

According to multiple reports earlier on Tuesday, the Pacers have emerged as a suitor in the Okafor trade talks. Indiana is 29-28 and in sixth place of the Eastern Conference, but only a game ahead of Chicago — also a reported Okafor suitor — and two in front of Detroit.

Through a trying season, the Sixers’ second-year big man is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. He’s played in 38 contests, 22 of which he has started after playing 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaging 17.5 points and seven rebounds.