A week ago today the Phillies were in South Florida closing out their series with the Marlins with a disappointing 5-4 loss. Their schedule for the following week included a three-game set at home against the Wild Card leading Braves, followed by a four-game series in Milwaukee against the Central Division leading Brewers.
On paper this stretch of games appeared quite daunting. On paper. The Phils swept the Braves, and now look to do the same against the Brewers as Vance Worley faces Yovani Gallardo.
What's been stunning about this Brewers series is that the Phillies have been without Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins (who did make an appearance late in the game last night after Wilson Valdez suffered a hamstring injury). Ryan Howard did not play Thursday night and, like Rollins, only made a brief cameo last night.
They've walked into Milwaukee and taken the first three games with reserve players. Obviously, it helps that those reserve players took the field behind Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee.
As Earl Weaver said, momentum in baseball is the next day's starting pitcher. Well, the Phillies should be in good shape as Worley has not lost in his last 14 starts.
Here's Charlie Manuel's lineup for this afternoon:
1. Shane Victorino CF
2. Placido Polanco 3B
3. Hunter Pence RF
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Raul Ibanez LF
6. Pete Orr 2B
7. Brian Schneider C
8. Michael Martinez SS
9. Vance Worley P
Anyone think The Vanimal will throw at Casey McGehee today? I had no problem with him crushing Chooch to score last night, but the flexing and preening afterwards was a bit much.
Game time is set for 2:10.
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.