Sixers Look to Snap Season-Long Losing Streak in Phoenix

Sixers Look to Snap Season-Long Losing Streak in Phoenix

1-1 is better than 0-2, you know. As such, it would be good if the
Philadelphia 76ers decided to win tonight in Phoenix, thus leaving the
Celtics as the unlikely last winless team in the Atlantic Division.
Luckly for the Sixers, they've had pretty good luck against the Suns
recently, winning both of their contests against the fading Western
Conference team last year. The Suns are also 0-1 so far in '11-'12,
having dropped their season opener to New Orleans at home on a
heartbreaking game-winning jumper from new Hornet Eric Gordon.

Justin Einhorn of Yahoo! Sports draws an interesting parallel in his game preview
column comparing Philadelphia's Spencer Hawes to Phoenix's Robin
Lopez—both highly touted big men who have had some trouble finding
themselves in the league since being drafted a few years back. Both
Hawes and Lopez had breakout games in their teams' respective season
openers (though both were in losing efforts), and it'll be interesting
to see which, if either, of the two keeps up the pace in Phoenix
tonight. “He was incredibly committed in the offseason,” Sixers coach
Doug
Collins said of Hawes. “This is a kid who has great confidence in
himself. Spencer came
in great shape. He thrives in the way we play. If Spencer stays healthy
and
sound, he’s going to have a great, great year.”

I'm not sure I share Dougie's absolute confidence in Spence, but we're
glad to see signs of the all-around player he's long been touted as
being. Against a less-than-stingy defense like the Suns', he should at
least have a chance to show off his skills some more. In addition, look
for Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner, who have had some big games against
the Suns in the past, to play more of a role in the Sixers' offense than
they did on Monday, where they each scored ten but never really took
over the game for any stretch.

9:00 tip from the US Airways center. “If we play with that kind of
effort and competitive nature [as we did in Portland] over the course
of the year, we’re going to be fine,” Hawes said after Monday's game.
“The stuff that hurt us
tonight is correctable. And I think we’ll get it quickly the more we’re
around
each other.” That I can pretty easily agree with, at least.

Former Phillies pitcher, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning dies at 85

Former Phillies pitcher, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning dies at 85

LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, who pitched six seasons with the Phillies and went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

Bunning's death was confirmed by Jon Deuser, who served as chief of staff when Bunning was in the Senate. Deuser said he was notified about the death by Bunning's family.

Bunning won 224 games in a 17-year major-league career and pitched the first perfect game in modern National League history. It came with the Phillies on June 21, 1964.

He became the first pitcher after 1900 to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues.

He belonged to a rare group of major league pitchers to throw a perfect game in the modern era.

A Kentucky Republican, he was the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress. He served in both the House and Senate.

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Cesar Hernandez returns to the Phillies' punchless lineup Saturday afternoon against the Reds (4 p.m./TCN).

Hernandez, who missed Friday night's 5-2 loss with a groin injury, is back at second base and leading off. Hernandez has led off in all 44 games he's started this season. The fifth-year pro has struggled after getting off to a torrid start. He's hitting just .185 (10 for 54) over his last 14 games.

After bouncing around the lineup, centerfielder Odubel Herrera returns to his customary spot in the two-hole. Herrera's season is a microcosm of the Phils' woeful offense. An All-Star in 2016, Herrera is hitting just .227 this season. Manager Pete Mackanin hopes the Venezuelan will hit his way out of it soon (see story).

Here is the rest of today's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P