Philly March Madness: (6) Mark Recchi vs. (11) Cole Hamels

Philly March Madness: (6) Mark Recchi vs. (11) Cole Hamels

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.


(6) Mark Recchi

Mark Recchi spent parts of 10 seasons with the Flyers and still holds the team record for points in a season (123), a mark he set in 1992-1993. The diminutive winger, now 43 years old and still a valued member of a Stanley Cup contender, has been a member of two championship teams, although neither were in Philadelphia. Still, Recchi’s blend of grit with pure offensive skill and a trademark ability to create his own shot in a split second made him a fan favorite in Philadelphia, which he continues to be despite playing so many fruitful years of his career as a member of conference rivals Pittsburgh, Montreal, and now Boston. Some Flyers career milestones include five 25-plus-goal seasons, with 40- and a 53-goal campaigns that also saw him top the 100-point mark, and being a member of the “Crazy Eights” line along with Eric Lindros and Brent Fedyk. Recchi is also well known for being involved in two of the most significant trades in Flyers history. First, he came to the Flyers in a deal that sent Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuellson, and Ken Wregget to Pittsburgh, and he was dealt to Montreal as part of a deal that returned two other members of our field of 64, Eric Desjardins and John LeClair. He was later traded back to the Flyers for Dainius Zubrus. It takes a special kind of player to be loved in Philadelphia long after you’ve left and played for several hated rivals (and become something of a Flyer-killer), but Recchi earned that respect during his time here. -Matt P.


(11) Cole Hamels

Although his career is still on its upswing, Cole Hamels has achieved something even some of the greatest pitchers in the game have only been able to dream about. In 2008, Cole pitched his way into Phillies history by earning the NLCS and World Series MVP honors while helping to break a decades-long championship drought in Philadelphia. In his five playoff starts that year, he posted a 4-0 record, a sub-2.00 ERA, and a 0.91 WHIP. When Philadelphia needed him most, he was at his best. There is little else he needs to accomplish to earn the love of city, but we often have an odd way of showing that. Although Hamels has had a few statements and actions that fans haven’t appreciated, most were insignificant; his continued on-field progress has most people seeing that despite his California calm, Cole is a fierce competitor with a skill set to back it up. Now seated among the four aces, he has had no problem losing sole ownership of the starting pitching spotlight he had just two seasons ago. With Hamels now throwing four pitches well, including a knee-buckling change-up, we have a feeling we’re in for many more years of highlights, possibly even a Cy Young, and hopefully another parade. -Matt P.

Who should advance to the next round?Market Research

NBA Playoffs: Warriors sweep their way to 3rd straight NBA Finals

NBA Playoffs: Warriors sweep their way to 3rd straight NBA Finals

BOX SCORE

SAN ANTONIO -- Stephen Curry scored 36 points as the Golden State Warriors closed out the Western Conference Final against the injury-ravaged San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory Monday night, becoming the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12-0.

Golden State led by as many as 22 points in cruising to its third straight NBA Finals. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship matchup with Cleveland, which leads Boston 2-1 in the East finals.

"It's great to be one of the last two teams standing, we'll see how it goes," said Kevin Durant, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds.

San Antonio's only lead came on the opening possession when Manu Ginobili tossed in a left-handed scoop shot. The Spurs started Ginobili in what could be his final game with the team. The 39-year-old had maintained he will not ponder whether to retire or return until after the season.

Unsure if the beloved veteran will return, the crowd serenaded Ginobili with "Manu, Manu" chants as the game came to a close.

"An amazing competitor, even more fun playing against him," Durant said of Ginobili. "He was phenomenal this series."

Kyle Anderson scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who were without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and David Lee. San Antonio didn't go down without a fight despite the injuries.

Anderson dove on the court for a loose ball that the Spurs had tipped away defensively, pushing the ball upcourt to Patty Mills who fed Ginobili for a 3-pointer that pulled San Antonio to 108-94 with 7 minutes remaining.

The effort made Spurs coach Gregg Popovich smile and clap at times, but the Warriors' depth and talent proved too much for short-handed San Antonio.

Golden State shot 56 percent and were 14 for 39 on 3-pointers.

Draymond Green had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.

Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge closed out a disappointing series with his second eight-point effort against the Warriors.

Ginobili finished with 15 points in 32 minutes.

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

BOX SCORE

The loudest noise made by the Phillies' offense on Monday night was the thud — clearly audible above the small crowd — that Odubel Herrera created when he smashed his batting helmet on the dirt infield after grounding out to third base to end the seventh inning.

Herrera's frustration spoke for an entire team. The Phillies were hammered, 8-1, by the Colorado Rockies (see Instant Replay). They were out-hit, 13-3. The loss was the Phils' 18th in the last 22 games and they have been outscored 126-89 over that span.

The loss left the Phils at 15-27 for the season, matching their worst 42-game start since 2000 when they finished 65-97 in front of tiny crowds at Veterans Stadium in Terry Francona's last season as skipper.

Over the last two games, both losses, the Phils have just six hits.

"Three hits today, three hits yesterday," manager Pete Mackanin said. "You're not going to win a lot of games getting three hits."

Aaron Altherr had two of the Phillies' hits, both doubles against Colorado rookie Jeff Hoffman, who was very impressive with seven walk-free innings and seven strikeouts.

Herrera went hitless in three at-bats and is hitting just .200 in the month of May and .232 overall — not what the front office expected when it signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension in the offseason.

"It's very frustrating because I feel like I am being selective and waiting for my pitch, but when I make contact things don't happen," Herrera said. "I feel like I'm swinging the bat well, but I'm just missing."

Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff gave up nine hits, seven of which were singles, and four runs over six innings. Four of the hits that Eickhoff allowed came in the third inning when the Rockies scored three times. Two of the runs scored on a flare double and the other on a groundball through a drawn-in infield.

"I executed a lot of good pitches," Eickhoff said. "I got a lot of the contact I wanted. The ball just didn't land in the gloves."

Eickhoff did not walk a batter. He struck out four.

Despite being 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA in nine starts, the right-hander believes he has made strides his last two outings. He gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings in his previous outing at Texas. Prior to that start, he worked on fixing a mechanical flaw in his delivery.

"These past two have been night-and-day different," he said. "I felt great today and in Texas and I'm going to keep that positivity going."

Finding other things to be positive about with this team is becoming difficult.

This Phillies team was not expected to contend; it is still in a rebuild. But things weren't supposed to be this bad, either.

"I'll tell you what, I'm getting frustrated, too," general manager Matt Klentak said before the game. "This team is better … there is more talent on this team than we've shown in terms of our record.

"We'll pull out of it. We will. That's what talented players will do. I'm not going to tell the fans they shouldn't be frustrated. We've gone through a tough stretch.

"But I'm not ready to call it regression. I think there's been a lack of consistency on our team in general, with some players more than others. There's been a lack of consistency, but especially for young players, two months is a relatively small sample size to categorize it as regression."

At 29-17, the Rockies have the best record in the National League. They have 16 road wins, which is one more than the Phillies have overall. The Rockies are in town for three more days. This ugly start could get even uglier.