Cole Can't Hold, Phils Endure Dispiriting 4-3 Loss to Mets

Cole Can't Hold, Phils Endure Dispiriting 4-3 Loss to Mets

Is Cole Hamels really unlucky this season, or is he just not that good? It's at least partly the former, but if you only watched tonight's start, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's solely the latter. Cole gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings tonight, striking out five but generally looking very pedestrian out there against a not-exactly-overflowing-with-talent Mets lineup. The Phils scored a quick three for Cole in the second, but he was unable to hold the Mets from there, and the Philly bats weren't offering much help beyond that. Final score: Mets 4, Phils 3.

Cole is now 2-11 on the year, the only pitcher in either league besides our old friend Joe Blanton to be in double-digit losses this early in the season. His ERA is now an average 4.50 for the season, and just about all his peripherals (K/BB ratio, homers per nine--he nearly gave one up to Eric Young tonight, of all people) are among the worst of his career. It's still confusing to know what's going on with our presumptive ace, since unlike Doc Halladay, he doesn't seem to have lost anything off his fastball or be having any particular trouble with his location, but losing at home to a crappy Mets team when spotted a 3-0 lead early--and laboring throughout the contest, really--is certainly not the type of performance we would've expected from Hamels going into the year, and the type of performance we've gotten from him far too often thusfar.

Anyway, Cole can't get all the blame tonight, considering the offense went scoreless in eight out of nine innings. It's hard to be too hard on Chase Utley on his first game back from injury, or Michael Young coming off a week where he hit .400 with six extra base hits, but their combined 0-10 in the 2-3 spots tonight were pretty deadly, none moreso than in the final inning, where their weak grounders and Ryan Howard's third-strike whiff meant that Dom Brown would not get his third chance in four games to be a hero with two outs in the ninth.

There were bright spots. Dom did get off the schneid a little with a 2-3, 1BB effort that included his first extra-base hit in 11 games, and Ben Revere stretched his hitting streak to an impressive eleven games, scoring two base hits that (of course) never even left the infield. And the Phils did have a pretty good chance to break this one back open in their favor, with Chooch working a 3-1 count on Scott Rice in the seventh with the bases loaded, then smacking one hard to center. But center fielder Juan Lagares was close enough to make a nice play on it, and the Phils never threatened again.

Tough loss to take with Cole on the mound, especially against a Mets starter like Jeremy Hefner, whose ERA against the Phils was over 15.00--yes, really--going into the game. And with the Nationals beating the Rockies tonight, the Phils are now 2.5 games behind Washington for third in the East, barely 48 hours after it looked like they were going to take a one-game lead on them with a three-game home sweep. Trying times for Phils fans for sure, and if the team doesn't start to turn things around soon--especially now that just about everyone is back and healthy--that rip-it-up-and-start-again talk is gonna get too loud for Ruben Amaro to drown out, for better or worse.

4:00 game tomorrow, with Jonathan Pettibone taking on Dillon Gee. Third one of the series is against Matt Harvey, so if the Phils don't get this one tomorrow, they're at serious risk of the Mets returning the favor for the Phils' Citi Field sweep in April. Just sayin'.

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles (5-7) come into Sunday's game against the Redskins (6-5-1) on a three-game losing streak.

The Redskins exposed the Eagles' defense the last time these two teams met almost two months ago on Oct. 16.

Here are our (cough) expert predictions for this Week 14 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (4-8)
After losing three straight games, I couldn't pick the Eagles against just about any team in the NFL. Maybe Cleveland. Maybe Chicago. 

But against Washington? Nah. Can't do it. 

Sure, I know Washington comes into the Linc on a two-game losing streak, and they're clearly not a top team in the NFC. It just doesn't matter. Kirk Cousins is a decent quarterback and Washington clearly has enough weapons to shred the Eagles like they did for 493 yards in the first meeting. 

For the Eagles' offense, Carson Wentz hasn't looked good in a long time and this week he enters with a few of his skill position players banged up. 

This looks like another loss to me. 

Washington 26, Eagles 20

Derrick Gunn (5-7)
The Eagles are an embarrassed, desperate team, and a win over the Redskins could lift the weight of what has been a downward spiral. Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews returned to practice this week, but can they jolt this offense back to life? Carson Wentz has played like a rookie the last three games, and the once stout defense has crumbled.

So here come the Redskins, losers of two in a row but still very much in the playoff conversation. The Redskins' defense is beat up and could be missing several key players, but unfortunately for the Eagles, Washington's offensive weapons are relatively healthy, except for tight end Jordan Reed, who's listed as questionable with an AC joint sprain. Matt Jones and Robert Kelley pack a punch out of the backfield. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been in a zone. Over their last six games, Cousins has averaged 352.6 passing yards, plus he's thrown 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. 

The Eagles remember what Washington did to them back in Week 6, but I feel their revenge motives will fall short.

Redskins 27, Eagles 17

Ray Didinger (5-7) 
With all the talk this week about effort and players dogging it, I fully expect the Eagles to come out focused and fired up at home Sunday. Here's the problem: I just don't know if they are good enough to win the game. Motivation is one thing, but talent is another and right now, the Eagles are lacking in that area.
 
The players have been called out by their coach, by the media and by the fans so if they have any pride at all they will come out and play hard against the Redskins but I look at the matchup of this Eagles' secondary against the Washington receivers — especially a hot DeSean Jackson (25.3 yards per catch the last three games) — and I don't see a happy result.
 
Redskins 24, Eagles 17

Andrew Kulp (6-6)
Not sure if the Eagles really are in freefall mode or if they've simply been unable to overcome injuries while facing some better than advertised opponents. Either way, they have plenty to play for, because Washington has been embarrassing them for awhile now. With Jordan Matthews back and against a less than stellar D, I predict an end to the losing streak, so long as they finally come up with an answer for Kirk Cousins.

Eagles 26, Redskins 24

Corey Seidman (5-7)
Close game, better performance from Carson Wentz and an awakening in the run game, but not enough defensive talent to shut down what Washington will try to do deep with DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder, over the middle with Jordan Reed and short with Pierre Garcon.

Redskins 31, Eagles 27

Andy Schwartz (5-7)
It's simply come to this. I can't pick the Eagles to win a game the rest of the season until they do.

I want to think the offense will benefit from the return of Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews. And I want to think the defense will play with desperation and break out of its "slump" and make some big plays.

But I won't believe it until I see it.

Redskins 24, Eagles 16

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere took a shot off his right hand in the second period Saturday and has a bone bruise. 
 
The Flyers will watch it because sometimes the swelling prevents wearing a glove comfortably the next day.
 
Ghost, who has five points – all assists – over his past six games, was hit with a puck in the second period of a 4-2 win over the Stars. He went to the bench and tried to shake it off, but left for the dressing room shortly after a Flyers power play began in the period’s final three minutes.
 
He participated for part of the power play, then left the ice and did not return until the start of the third period.
 
“It was good by then,” he said. “Obviously, it hurt a bit.”
 
The Flyers play in Detroit on Sunday night. 
 
Ghost has 16 points (four goals) in 29 games this season. X-rays were negative, he said, adding he was not worried about the hand, which was badly swollen after the game.