Flyers-Panthers: Prongerless Reality Game 1

Flyers-Panthers: Prongerless Reality Game 1

Although the Flyers have been without Chris Pronger for a few games already, a situation they are no longer strangers to, tonight marks the first time they'll take the ice knowing that they will be without him for the rest of the regular season. Their best shutdown defender, the big point shot, the masterful antagonism, and the biggest hits will all be in the press box the rest of the way. 

Not exactly good news for a team suddenly struggling to close out games when a guy who logs Chris Pronger minutes is out of the lineup. As always, we'll try to find some silver lining, but the rest of the Flyers will need to change a few things pretty quickly, starting tonight in Florida.

Nick Boynton will be active, with Erik Gustafsson called up but serving as a healthy scratch. Obviously the Flyers will now be relying quite a bit on Boynton to maintain, if not help to restore, the defensive depth, with Andrej Meszaros once again playing a prominent role in all facets. But as much as we need to see the D-men steup up, the forwards really have to get back on their game defensively too, which includes not allowing so many turnovers that end up going the other way and giving the defense little chance. At times they've seemed careless, maybe even overconfident with the puck, and that's dangerous no matter who they play, but especially so when they're facing teams that are desperate for wins. 

At 11 points out of the playoff race, I'm not sure the Panthers are scratching that bubble. I don't think the Flyers are currently above losing to them either, not after what we've seen from them lately (and the Panthers have beaten both Tampa Bay and Chicago in the past week). Our boys have been rather creative in how they let games get away from them, making it harder to pinpoint exactly what is currently going wrong. It's easy to say they didn't play a full 60 minutes against the Thrashers, but why? And how did that manifest? I don't even feel like getting into that game. Not at all. 

A decisive win tonight will, which should be very possible, will go a long way toward getting our minds off back to back weekends of shitful hockey. On the other hand, with a loss tonight, it's possible they could slide out of first place for the first time since early January. Motivation enough? 

Boucher is net for the the Flyers, Vokoun for the Panthers. Show 'em why, Boosh. 

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, White Sox 3

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, White Sox 3

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO – The Phillies got a nice start from Jerad Eickhoff, mostly good bullpen work and plenty of timely hitting in posting a 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox in interleague play Wednesday night.
 
The Phils had been outscored 18-1 in losing their previous two games to the White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
 
The Phillies are 59-68. They are four wins shy of last year’s majors-low total of 63.
 
Starting pitching report
Eickhoff (9-12) pitched six innings of two-run ball and left with a 4-2 lead after throwing just 71 pitches. Eickhoff scattered four hits, walked nine and struck out two. The sixth inning has been a problem for him this season. He has allowed 26 earned runs over 19 innings for a 12.32 ERA in the frame. Eickhoff did hold it together and limited the damage to two runs in the sixth before handing off to the bullpen.
 
Eickhoff’s ERA in the first five innings of a game this season is 2.64.
 
White Sox right-hander James Shields gave up four runs over six innings. He is 5-16 with a 5.98 ERA.
 
Bullpen report
The trio of Edubray Ramos, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez closed it out for the Phillies.
 
Gomez survived a run in the ninth for his 34th save.
 
Ramos and Neris both pitched a scoreless inning.

Since the All-Star break, Neris has pitched 18 1/3 innings and allowed one run and two walks while striking out 26.
 
At the plate
Tommy Joseph had a nice game with a double, his 17th homer and two runs scored. Aaron Altherr had a pair of RBI singles and scored a run. Freddy Galvis doubled home a run and Cesar Hernandez homered.
 
Dioner Navarro smacked a two-run homer off Eickhoff in the sixth.
 
Trade talk
There’s interest in Carlos Ruiz (see story).
 
Up next
The Phillies are off on Thursday. They open a three-game series against the Mets in New York on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:
 
Friday night – LHP Adam Morgan (1-7, 6.21) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (11-7, 3.36)
 
Saturday night – RHP Jeremy Hellickson (10-7, 3.60) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (11-7, 2.61)
 
Sunday afternoon – RHP Vince Velasquez (8-6, 4.31) vs. RHP Robert Gsellman (1-0, 0.00).

Rookies Keegan Rosenberry, Fabian Herbers help Union top Crew

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Rookies Keegan Rosenberry, Fabian Herbers help Union top Crew

BOX SCORE

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Rookies Keegan Rosenberry and Fabian Herbers scored to help the Union beat the Columbus Crew 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Rosenberry gave the Union (10-9-7) a 2-1 lead in the 74th minute. Tranquillo Barnetta one-timed a feed to Rosenberry who trapped it with his right foot and blasted a left-footer through a pair of defenders and past goalkeeper Steve Clark.

Herbers, making his fifth start of the season, opened the scoring in the 60th. Chris Pontius tapped it to Herbers who, from the top of the box, had a shot blocked by Hector Jimenez before side-netting the rebound. Both of his two career goals have come against Columbus (4-9-11).

Adam Jahn tied it in the 73rd minute. Tony Tchani's header, off the corner by Federico Higuain, was deflected off the crossbar by goalkeeper Andre Blake and -- after a failed clearance by the Union -- Jahn tapped it in from close range.

It was the Union's third consecutive home win.

Columbus has one win in its last 11 matches.

Source: Phillies have gotten trade 'nibbles' on Carlos Ruiz

Source: Phillies have gotten trade 'nibbles' on Carlos Ruiz

CHICAGO — Another trade deadline arrives next Wednesday.

Could a Phillies veteran such as Ryan Howard or Carlos Ruiz, the lone holdovers from the 2008 World Series championship team, be on the move?

ESPN reports that both players have cleared waivers, which would make them eligible to be dealt. Players traded after Aug. 1 must first clear waivers. They have to be on a new team’s roster by Sept. 1 to gain postseason eligibility. Players traded after Sept. 1 are not eligible for the postseason.

Howard has been available for a trade for a couple of seasons, but there has been no interest. Even now, with him hitting .339 with seven homers, 16 RBIs and a .742 slugging percentage since the All-Star break (entering Wednesday), there remains little interest, according to sources. Howard is still owed about $16 million in the form of salary and a $10 million contract buyout for 2017, but that would not be an impediment to a deal as the Phils would eat that. Still, it’s unlikely he will be traded because most of the American League contenders are set at designated hitter, which would be his optimal role.

So, Howard, 36, is likely to play out the final year of his contract with the Phils, take his well-earned bows and exit either to retirement or a new team next season. He says he wants to keep playing.

Ruiz, 37, is also in the final year of his contract. Like Howard, he has swung the bat well recently, hitting .298 with a .433 on-base percentage in his last 26 games. He’s a backup catcher at this stage of his career, but that could appeal to a team like Cleveland or Boston, contenders who could be in the market for catching depth.

A baseball source said the Phillies have received some recent “nibbles” on Ruiz. It’s unclear if a deal will reach the finish line.

As players with 10 seasons in the majors and five consecutive with the same team, Howard and Ruiz both have the power to block a trade. It’s doubtful that either would because both have stated that their goal is to play in the postseason again.

“I’m still happy here,” Ruiz said. “We’ll see what happens. If that happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm going to play.”

Howard has taken the same attitude.

“Those are situations where I guess you’ve got to see what presents itself,” he said. “You know me. The last 12 years I’ve just been focused on playing ball. If it presents itself, it presents itself. You handle that situation. Otherwise, I just try to stay in the moment, stay in the now and prepare for the game.”