Philly Weekend Outlook: Action Packed

Philly Weekend Outlook: Action Packed

Phillies:
Great win for the Phillies yesterday.  Lieber has really stepped forward and shut up all of the doubters, myself included, who thought he wasn't a legitimate number one starter.  If the Phillies lost two to the Rockies it could have turned into a real bad down turn.  They came back from being down in the later innings and got Jim Thome's long ball out of the closet.  The Phillies move on to Atlanta for a weekend series.

Sixers:
You have to get excited about playoff basketball.  Although Philly fans may have not been on board all season with the Sixers, they will definitely amp it up for playoff hoops with the Answer asking for noise.  The Pistons are formidable defending Champs led by the Trade away as much as I can then ditch you for a ready made champ Larry Brown.  It should be exciting if nothing else.

Tip off 3:00 PM in Detroit - ESPN Series

Eagles:
Philadelphia, as we all know is an Eagles town.  There are the Phillies faithful and those die hard Flyers fans.  But collectively, Philadelphia bleeds green.  That is why the biggest news of the weekend will likely revolve around tomorrow's draft day.  It's crazy how the Eagles can command so much of the attention of a town.  Putting an elite team on the field year after year doesn't hurt.  (note to Ed Wade: elite teams don't just "compete" for division titles, they win them.

With their 13 picks, the Eagles have endless possibilities and I will leave the guessing up to the Mel Kiper's of the world.  I would love to see a move for Darren Howard of the Saints, which many sources have been reporting could be likely.  Chris Mortenson reported yesterday that the Eagles could do a deal for
him; he also reported the Eagles are likely to be the most active team
due to their 13 picks.

There are still grumblings about Edgerrin James and Shaun Alexander being moved to Philly, which I find unlikely, but after last off season nothing would surprise me.

Jaws has been reporting that the Eagles' really likeWR  Mark Clayton of Oklahoma and OT Jamaal Brown of Oklahoma.  There is still a lot of talk about the QB moved to WR/TE phenom Matt Jones.

I think it is safe to say my prediction is meaningless, but here is what I'll guess.  The Eagles will get a deal done with Baltimore to ship Corey Simon off and the cap space and picks acquired will allow them to get Howard from the Saints.  They will somehow select an O-Lineman and Matt Jones in the first round.  So the biggest impact players will be a high O-Lineman and WR along with Howard.  they will use their 3rd-5ths for a LB, S, and RB in no particular order.

Sorry, I'm rambling.  What do you think?

 

Record-breaking crowds flood the Parkway for NFL Draft Experience in Philly

Record-breaking crowds flood the Parkway for NFL Draft Experience in Philly

Who needs to the Pope when you have Ginger Jesus?

The NFL Draft Experience joined a long list of wildly popular events in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and all along the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The NFL announced today that nearly 100,000 fans enjoyed the experience, the most-ever for a draft-related event, on day 1 of the draft alone.

Fans flooded into the Experience with people from all across the country in town to support their respective teams. Eagles fans clearly dominated the crowd, however, as you couldn't go a few minutes without hearing an E-A-G-L-E-S chant. 

ESPN also showed some love all night long. SportsCenter's Scott Van Pelt called the story of the night in Philadelphia the city of Philly itself. Adam Schefter called it the "wildest, most raucous crowd in draft history." Jon Gruden called Philly "one of the greatest football towns on the planet."

Aside from not being totally in love with their first pick Derek Barnett upon first blush, Philly fans showed off wonderfully. Even the booing of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came off as cute.

The Draft Experience is open again on Friday from noon until 11:00 pm and on Saturday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. It's free for all fans.

Try the games, avoid the cheesesteaks. And bring some sunscreen (ugh).

By the numbers: Jeremy Hellickson legitimately among NL's best the last year

By the numbers: Jeremy Hellickson legitimately among NL's best the last year

Unless you're a die-hard Phillies fan, you might not grasp just how good Jeremy Hellickson has been since the start of 2016.

Hellickson, who allowed one run in six innings Thursday to improve to 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA this season, hasn't just been solid — he's legitimately been one of the best pitchers in the National League.

Some stats to back it up:

• Hellickson has a 1.11 WHIP the last two seasons. That's a better mark than Noah Syndergaard, Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, David Price, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Quintana and Chris Archer have.

• Over the last calendar year, Hellickson's 3.29 ERA ranks ninth-best in the NL. Over that span he has a lower ERA than some really good pitchers like Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, Carlos Martinez, Hamels, Quintana and Rick Porcello. It's almost identical to Chris Sale's 3.26 ERA over that span.

• Hellickson over the last calendar year has walked 2.03 batters per nine innings. That's fifth-best in the NL behind only Mike Leake, Bartolo Colon, Madison Bumgarner and Syndergaard. (Jerad Eickhoff is a spot below Hellickson at 2.05 and then comes Max Scherzer at 2.08).

• How has Hellickson been so effective with so low a strikeout rate? He's thrown exactly 250 pitches since 2016 on the low-outside corner and low-inside corner. That's fifth-most in the majors, behind only Jon Lester, Zach Davies, Keuchel and Kyle Hendricks. Paint.

This stat refers to zones 17 and 19 in the image below.

Of course, Hellickson has done this with an extremely low strikeout rate. He's never been a big strikeout guy, but he did say Thursday he's been a bit surprised to have this much success in 2017 with his lowest career K rate. 

Hellickson has a very low batting average on balls in play which will regress closer to his career average, but it's not as if luck is the sole factor here. As mentioned above, he's hit spots as well as almost anyone in the majors. 

And the changeup, his elite pitch, gets some swings and misses but more often results in weak contact and quick outs. The worm will turn at some point, but Hellickson shouldn't be expected to fall off a cliff and revert back into a pitcher with a high-4.00s ERA.

The Phillies did well with this acquisition two offseasons ago and may have been fortunate things with Hellickson worked out the way they did. He has even more trade value now than he did a year ago.