Phils Visit Their Former Partners in Permanent Putridity

Phils Visit Their Former Partners in Permanent Putridity

CHICAGO, IL -- The 2011 Cubs are not a good baseball team. In fact, Rick Morrissey, a respected writer for the Chicago Sun Times, puts it plainly:

This is the worst team in the storied 138-year history of the Cubs.

And over the next two days they'll get the pleasure of facing Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and a Phillies team with the best record in baseball.

Now, to be completely accurate, Morrissey later goes on to admit his vision is clouded by the here and now, but his point remains the same, that this Cubs team stinks.

They even know it. See "We stinks."

This conjures up two thoughts. First, this is a perfect storm of everything pointing towards a Phillies series victory which means the baseball gods will stick a tack in Cliff Lee's cleat or force Roy Halladay to trip and fall while running Wrigley stairs only to forget how to throw a cutter for a day, thus giving the Cubs a wildy unexpected series victory.

But more so, it makes you think how quickly things can go wrong for a club. At one point, the Phillies are losing out on Alfonso Soriano to the Cubs in free agency, the next, they're the 2008 World Series Champions, and are now going for a fifth* straight division title and third World Series appearance in four years.

And Cubs fans are wearing brown bags on their heads. It's just a reminder to enjoy the product we have now in Philadelphia, because runs like this only last so long.

Programming note: I'm out in Chicago this week, working the games on Monday and Tuesday nights, and enjoying the view (and beverages) from the bleachers on Wednesday. So if there's any Chicago angle or storyline you'd be interested in hearing about, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

A Level fist bump to Julianne Hough Fan Club President Ryan Lawrence for the heads up on the Sun Times article. You may remember from the Phils trip out to Chicago last season that Hough sang the classic "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." [pictured]

And yes, it's hot as hell in Chicago this week. Please don't forget your deodorant.

For more on this Cubs team, see our Q&A from a few weeks ago with ESPNChicago's Jon Greenberg.

Tonight's lineup: Struggling Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp sit

Tonight's lineup: Struggling Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp sit

Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp, both struggling mightily through the first month of the season, will get Saturday night off when the Phillies take on the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Joseph is hitting .190 with one homer and 18 strikeouts in 18 games, while Rupp is batting .180 with one homer and 20 strikeouts through 15 games. Last season, Joseph had 21 home runs and Rupp 16.

Brock Stassi will spell Joseph at first base and bat seventh. Andrew Knapp takes over for Rupp behind the plate and will bat eighth.

Daniel Nava also receives a start, playing left field. The first-year Phillie is hitting .346 with a pair of homers and as many walks as strikeouts (seven).

Zach Eflin takes the mound in a meaningful start for the right-hander (see story). He opposes resurgent Dodgers righty Brandon McCarthy (see game notes).

Here are tonight's lineups:

Phillies
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Daniel Nava, LF
7. Brock Stassi, 1B
8. Andrew Knapp, C
9. Zach Eflin, P

Dodgers
1. Andrew Toles, CF
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
4. Yasmani Grandal, C
5. Yasiel Puig, RF
6. Cody Bellinger, LF
7. Chase Utley, 2B
8. Chris Taylor, 3B
9. Brandon McCarthy, P

Eagles draft Washington DT Elijah Qualls with final pick

Eagles draft Washington DT Elijah Qualls with final pick

With their final pick of the 2017 draft, the Eagles selected 6-foot-1, 313-pound Washington defensive tackle Elijah Qualls in the sixth round on Saturday.

He's the second Washington player the Eagles took in this year's draft. They selected injured cornerback Sidney Jones in the second round (see story).

Qualls had 77 tackles, 11½ tackles for loss and 7½ sacks in 30 career games (see bio).

"I for sure stop the run well," Qualls said at the NFL Draft Scouting Combine. "And I'm actually a lot better pass rusher than a lot of people think. Typically a lot of our game plan as far as pass rushing was to keep the quarterback contained, so I really couldn't get after him like I'm capable of.

"I'm not going to say I'm one of the best pass rushers ever or anything like that — I've only been playing defensive line since I got to college. I'm still learning, but I'm a lot better than people do think."

Qualls was actually a running back in high school, but he said he got bored scoring touchdowns.

"I was 260 playing running back in high school," he said. "I had 1,300 rushing yards, though. It honestly became too easy, that's why I switched to defensive line. Scoring touchdowns wasn't exciting to me anymore, it was just something I expected.

"Then my last year, my coach came to me and said, 'Hey, would you be willing to play some defense?' My mindset was that if I played defense, I could get the ball back. So I played some defensive line, middle linebacker. I was recruited at both of those positions.

"I kind of just did a little research project trying to see what the long term was like for both running backs and defensive linemen, and defensive linemen tend to last longer, have less severe injuries, and honestly on average probably make more money, so I decided to be a defensive lineman. Plus I like the challenge."

With Bennie Logan leaving as a free agent, the Eagles have Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Beau Allen and now Qualls in the mix on the interior of the defensive line.

"I feel like I can fit into any scheme," Qualls said. "I can do anything you ask me to, I played everything from zero to outside linebacker, so there's not much I can't do. It's just whether or not someone can accept me being a couple inches shorter than the person they prefer playing there.

"But I'm stronger than a lot of people, and my football intelligence is top notch."