Rauuuuuuuuul! Walks It Off

Rauuuuuuuuul! Walks It Off

What a day for Raul Ibanez! All the oft maligned Phillies left fielder did today was hit two home runs, 4 RBIs, and the walkoff winner to complete the sweep of the Pirates.

And Hunter Pence came through to score the game winning run and offered some fantastic quotes to Sarge postgame:

"Good game, let's go eat!"

More on the game below.

Yesterday, the Phils won on a huge day at the plate by Ryan Howard. Today, Raul Ibanez was the hero, homering twice, then collecting his fourth RBI of the day on a walkoff double that scored Hunter Pence.

The win capped a sweep of the Pirates and a 17-8 July for the Phillies. With the Braves losing their 10,000th game ever on Sunday, the Phils will enter August with a six-game lead in the NL East.

"Let's go eat" may not even be the Hunter Pence Quote of the Day. In that post-game chat with Sarge, Pence was undeniably excited to have just taken part in a meaningful baseball moment (probably the first time in a long time, considering the team situation he just came from). Here's Pence on his new digs:

"It's good to be on a scrappy team that can play some ball."

We bet. We know it's good to be a fan of a team that stays scrappy no matter how much success it has. Hunter, Raul and company got a great response from the CBP faithful, who long ago learned not to count this team out when they're down in the later innings.

HOT STATS
Ibanez had a productive month of July, with 24 RBI since the 5th. By Todd Zolecki's math, that's the most any MLB player had over that stretch. His 16 homers in 2011 match his entire 2010 total.

PENCE WATCH
In his two games as a Phillie, Pence hasn't had the best luck. Those who weren't able to see the games but checked out the box scores afterward would miss a few details. Yesterday, Pence was called out in his first at bat, despite having beaten the throw. Here's a good look at that.

Today, Pence's line read 1-4, but he wasn't credited with what probably should have wound up a hit. With Ryan Howard on second, Pence hit a grounder deep to short, possibly hard enough a play that he might've beaten the thrown. But two things happened that made the play result in a fielder's choice. First, Howard ran when he shouldn't have. Second, Howard appeared to beat the throw to third, but was called out because, to be honest, he looked out in real time. Regardless, Pence was on base when Ibanez smacked his second homer of the day.

PITCH-HITTERS
The Phillies have gotten some nice plate appearances from their pitchers in the past two games. On Saturday, Cliff Lee had a pair of hits and a sacrifice. Vance Worley followed that up with a hit and a sac of his own, with the latter moving Michael Martinez into scoring position. Jimmy Rollins came to the plate next and doubled, scoring Mike Mart.

Worley got off to a great start on the mound, including striking out five batters in a row over the first through third innings. He'd end the day with seven K's, but was also charged with four earned runs over six innings.

UP NEXT
The Phils head out to Colorado for a three-game set with the Rockies starting tomorrow.

[watch Ibanez's walkoff winner against the Pirates here]

Previously (July 9th): Rauuuuuuul Walks It Off

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La Salle suffers demoralizing loss to struggling UMass

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La Salle suffers demoralizing loss to struggling UMass

AMHERST, Mass. -- Zach Lewis scored a career-high 37 points, including six three-pointers, and Massachusetts pulled away from La Salle 84-71 on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak.

Lewis, whose 37-point effort was the best for any player in the Atlantic 10 this season, hit nine of his 16 field goal attempts overall and was a perfect 13-for-13 at the free throw line. Dejon Jarreau added 20 points and four three-ponters for UMass (14-15, 4-12).

Pookie Powell hit five 3-pointers and scored 24 points, and B.J. Johnson added 20 points to lead La Salle (14-13, 8-8).

Both teams shot similar percentages and had similar three-point totals, but the Minutemen finished with a plus-14 advantage at the free throw line.

La Salle remained within striking distance but a 13-4 stretch for UMass midway through the second half pushed its lead to 63-51. The Minutemen kept the Explorers at arm's length the rest of the way.

2017 NBA draft prospect watch: Malik Monk, Lonzo Ball lead the way in wins

2017 NBA draft prospect watch: Malik Monk, Lonzo Ball lead the way in wins

The Sixers acquired some more draft picks this weekend, including a "first round pick." Meanwhile, the Lakers still have the third-best lottery odds, meaning the Sixers have a decent shot of having their pick convey to them this season.

With that in mind, let's take a peek at who rose and fell this weekend.

Malik Monk, guard, Kentucky (6-4/185)
Saturday was pretty much peak Malik Monk. Monk can shoot and shoot he did, to the tune of 33 points in No. 11 Kentucky's 76-66 home win over No. 13 Florida. Monk didn't quite get 47 points like he did vs. North Carolina in non-conference play, but the freshman shooting guard scored a point per minute played. He shot 9 for 18 from the field, an impressive 5 of 7 from three, and got to the free-throw line with ease. He made 10 of 11 from the stripe. 

It was Monk at his most Monk, so he also had five assists to go with six turnovers. You let an offensive artist go to work like Monk and you're going to get a few turnovers to boot, and that's also to be expected when he takes some of the work left by De'Aaron Fox, who missed Saturday's game. Monk is almost surely a top-10 pick and should be near the top of the Sixers' board. He fits them like a glove if they can effectively build around Ben Simmons with shooters.

Lonzo Ball, guard, UCLA (6-6/190)
Kentucky wasn't the only team picking up a big conference win, as No. 5 UCLA went on the road and got revenge against No. 4 Arizona to the tune of a 77-72 win. Color exactly no one shocked, but Lonzo Ball had a big role in the win. He shot just 1 of 5 from three (5 of 10 from the field), but he was everywhere offensively. He dished out eight assists, picked up five rebounds and had just two turnovers. Defensively, he also provided two steals.

Ball wasn't just in the news for his performance on the court, which was certainly exemplary. His dad said that he would only play for the Lakers next year, causing an uproar before he somewhat walked back the comments. It would certainly be entertaining to see the Calif. native be the future point guard of the Lakers under the tutelage of new president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, but Ball doesn't have the clout to force his way to LA. Heck, the Lakers may not even have their pick come June.

Jayson Tatum, forward, Duke (6-8/204)
While Monk and Ball led their squads to wins on Saturday, Jayson Tatum was unable to do the same. He was stifled along with his No. 10 Duke Blue Devils in a 55-50 loss at Miami. The Hurricanes are the type of team that can give Tatum fits because they're long and can provide the mobile athletes needed to stay with Tatum. Since NBA teams are literally full of those kinds of athletes, it's a concern for the freshman as he presumably takes the leap next year.

Against Miami, Tatum played all 40 minutes and was a paltry 4 of 16 from the field, missing all seven of his attempts from three. He did have seven assists to go with eight points, but it was not a good look for the freshman. Duke can't afford a performance like that from the top-10 prospect if they're going to make a tournament run. They'll need to see more of what he did against Syracuse on Wednesday (also a loss), when he had 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.

Josh Jackson, forward, Kansas (6-8/203)
Ho hum, Kansas won again. The No. 3 Jayhawks seem poised to become No. 1 overall after losses by Gonzaga and Villanova this week and freshman Josh Jackson is a strong reason why Kansas will be a No. 1 seed come March. Jackson struggled from two (3 for 11) on Saturday in a 77-67 win over Texas but he was 2 for 3 from three and made 6 of 8 from the free throw line. That's important: He's struggled at times from those two areas and is now up to 37.8 percent from three. Jackson still struggles from the stripe at 57.1 percent. 

He had another all-around game against Texas, too. He had five rebounds and five assists and was his pesky self defensively. This came after a 15-point, 11-rebound effort to go with four assists against TCU on Wednesday. Jackson is versatile on both ends and seems like he could fit on any team picking near the top of the lottery.

Jonathan Isaac, forward, Florida State (6-11/205)
The No. 19 Seminoles finally broke out of a slump and Jonathan Isaac made himself heard in a 76-74 win at Clemson. That may not seem impressive since Clemson is unranked, but road wins in conference, especially in the ACC, are hard to come by and worth celebrating when achieved. Isaac was highly efficient as he scored 14 points on just eight shots. He made two treys in three attempts but had just three rebounds, likely a result of Florida St.'s size and length sharing the load on the boards.

The lengthy 19-year-old forward had just one block. However, it was the biggest block he could have made. He denied the Tigers a go-ahead shot in the final 10 seconds and helped preserve the road victory. Isaac has an enticing talent for defending the rim and it's part of why he's a major prospect. FSU does play some zone, so he'll need to adjust to full-time man-to-man defense at the next level. 

Quick Hits 
Let's look at some second-round picks this week, with the Sixers' additions to their treasure chest of picks.

While Arizona lost to UCLA, sophomore guard Alonzo Trier was on fire for much of the game, making 11 of 14 shots en route to a game-high 28 points. Trier has clear offensive talent but has some questions after a PED suspension to begin the year.

Oregon had some heroics on the road this week and junior forward Dillon Brooks played his part. He drained a three as time expired to beat California on Wednesday and had 36 points in a sweep of Cal and Stanford. 

Let's stick in the area with Villanova senior Josh Hart for this last one. The senior guard has potential as a role player at the next level and an efficient 16 points on 11 shots played a part in 'Nova's 79-63 win over Creighton.