Phillies (59-68) at Mets (64-63)
7:10 p.m. on CSN
On Day 1 of the post-Carlos Ruiz Era, the Phillies are at Citi Field to begin a three-game series with the Mets.
Let's take a look:
1. Quick audition for Alfaro
Jorge Alfaro will reportedly be called up by the Phillies in time for Friday's game against the Mets. He might not be up long, though, as catcher A.J. Ellis is expected to join the Phils this weekend.
Phillies GM Matt Klentak spoke Thursday night about the importance of receiving Ellis from the Dodgers in the Ruiz trade. Like Chooch, Ellis is known for his game-calling ability. With Cameron Rupp being more of an offensive-minded catcher, the need still exists for a vet like Ellis.
Alfaro is regarded as the top catching prospect in baseball by MLB.com, and he will likely be called up again in mid-September, but for now the promotion seems more need-based than anything else. The Phillies need a backup catcher until Ellis arrives and Alfaro was the only catcher other than Rupp on the 40-man roster. The move made sense.
2. Yet another meeting with Colon
The Phillies face 43-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon for the fourth time this season and 13th time since he joined the Mets in 2014.
Colon (11-7, 3.36) has lost fastball velocity each season since 2011. His heater averaged 91.7 mph that season and is all the way down to 87.7 this year. But he remains effective because he commands that fastball as well as any pitcher in baseball. Colon throws one of his two fastballs a whopping 89 percent of time. His pitch distribution this season has been 65 percent two-seamers, 24 percent four-seamers, seven percent sliders and four percent changeups.
The Phillies just haven't been able to solve Colon the last several years. In his starts against them as a Met, Colon is 8-3 with a 2.78 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Nine of the 12 were quality starts.
Colon has a 2.25 ERA in four August starts, but he's been hittable. His opponents have hit .320 this month, but Colon has beared down with men on base.
Current Phillies have hit .229 against him with four home runs, three of which belong to Ryan Howard.
3. Morgan looks to build momentum
Adam Morgan has had a rough time in the majors in 2016, going 1-7 with a 6.21 ERA, but he's coming off his best start since early May. He allowed one run in six innings vs. the Cardinals last Friday. It was his first time pitching six innings in his last seven starts.
Morgan has faced the Mets just once, last season. He allowed five runs and 11 baserunners in 3⅔ innings.
Morgan has shown he's better than his opponents at Triple A, but in the majors he's had a lot of trouble retiring righties. They've hit .300 with 67 extra-base hits and an .887 OPS in 533 plate appearances. He's essentially made all right-handed hitters look like last year's version of Nolan Arenado.
4. Power at first
The Phillies' first base production has increased since the All-Star break as Howard has gotten hot. But Tommy Joseph continues to hit for power when given the opportunity to play, hitting his 17th homer Wednesday night in Chicago.
Since 2000, only seven players have more homers than Joseph in their first 75 games: Jose Abreu, Ryan Braun, Adam Dunn, George Springer, Albert Pujols, Trevor Story and Wilin Rosario.
The Phillies lead the majors with 33 home runs from their first basemen. (Howard and Joseph have a combined 36, but three of them came when one was either pinch-hitting or DH'ing.)
Howard, by the way, is up to .199. A 1-for-3 game would get him above the Mendoza line for the first time since April 30.
5. This and that
• Setup man Hector Neris leads the majors with 64 appearances, but he's only getting better as the season progresses. In his last 18⅓ innings, he's allowed one run (0.49 ERA) and 11 baserunners (0.60 WHIP). He's struck out 26 and walked two.
• The Mets are third in the National League with 165 home runs but 13th in runs. It's a boom-bust offense that has gone bust far too often this season. The Mets rank 29th in team batting average (.241) and 27th in on-base percentage (.309).
• Yoenis Cespedes returned last Friday from a quad injury and has hit since, going 8 for 25 with three homers and two doubles.
• Travis d'Arnaud has always been a highly regarded catcher, and he's healthy now, but he's missed so much time over the last few years that the Mets can't be certain he's their catcher of the future. The 27-year-old was traded by the Phillies to the Blue Jays in December 2009 in the Roy Halladay deal and then shipped to the Mets three years later with Noah Syndergaard for R.A. Dickey. D'Arnaud showed flashes last season, when he hit .268/.340/.485, but he averaged 88 games in 2014-15 and has played in just 54 this season.
PHILADELPHIA — CSN, the cable home of the Philadelphia Eagles, announced that former Philadelphia Eagles Seth Joyner and Barrett Brooks are joining the network’s Eagles game day programming. Seth and Barrett will join Michael Barkann and Ray Didinger on the set of “Eagles Pregame Live,” “Eagles Postgame Live,” and “In-Game Live” on CSNPhilly.com. Derrick Gunn and Reuben Frank once again report from the field. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell also returns this season.
After “Eagles Postgame Live” Seth and Barrett join Amy Fadool for “End Game,” CSN’s social-media-influenced program that instantly reacts to what fans are saying.
Joyner, who spent 13 years in the NFL, including eight with the Eagles, will also appear in studio on TCN’s “Breakfast On Broad,” every Monday during the season. Barrett Brooks, who also spent 12 years in the NFL, is currently a host on “BOB,” airing each weekday on TCN at 6 a.m. and streaming live at www.BreakfastonBroad.com.
“Seth was part of one of the most feared Eagles’ defenses in the history of the league and Barrett’s won the game’s ultimate prize – a Super Bowl,” said CSN’s VP of News Programming Michelle Murray. “They’ll team up to bring Eagles fans the most dynamic insight and analysis for every game this season.”
“I am excited to join Michael, Ray and Barrett on Eagles Post Game Live this upcoming season,” said Joyner. “I relish the opportunity to share my opinionated and passionate analysis of football with the NFL’s greatest fan base, from a personal position of experience!”
Throughout the season, CSN’s Eagles’ coverage will include daily reports with live player interviews, press conferences and practice highlights during every “Philly Sports Talk,” “Quick Slants,” and “SportsNet Central.” “Breakfast on Broad” will also have local and national Eagles experts on each weekday morning on TCN. Extensive stories, interviews and videos from the network’s Eagles Insider and columnists can be found on CSNPhilly.com.
Fans can follow all the Eagles news and interact with CSN’s Eagles programs by using the hashtag #EaglesTalk and following the network’s football experts:
Breakfast on Broad @BOBonTCN
Michael Barkann @MBarkannCSN
Derrick Gunn @TheRealDGunnCSN
Amy Fadool @AmyFadoolCSN
Barrett Brooks @BBrooks72TCN
Reuben Frank @RoobCSN
Seth Joyner @SethJoyner
SEATTLE -- Three plays were all it took for Dallas to get yet another injury scare surrounding Tony Romo.
The quarterback lasted just 90 seconds into the Cowboys' 27-17 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night before leaving with what appeared at first to be a potentially significant injury, but ended up being minor.
Romo was tackled from behind by Seattle's Cliff Avril on the third play from scrimmage as Romo scrambled from the pocket.
He immediately grabbed at his back, crumpled on the field while trainers sprinted from the Dallas sideline and images of Romo's injury problems from last year immediately flashed to mind.
Turned out it was all just a scare. Romo walked off the field without assistance, threw passes on the sideline and lobbied for a return to the game. Dallas coach Jason Garrett opted to play it safe and Romo donned a baseball hat as a spectator the rest of the night.
"I was just in shock and had my mind on just, `C'mon, Tony. Get up,'" Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the team's TV broadcast.
"Said a few prayers right there in the middle on the spot. Really just couldn't imagine getting that hand dealt to us. We're pleased that it's in good shape. We obviously don't need to see what Tony can do out there."
What Romo saw was an impressive initial flash from rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and a solid performance by backup QB Dak Prescott against one of the top defenses in the NFL.
Elliott rushed for 48 yards on seven carries, including a 13-yard run where he knocked Seattle safety Kam Chancellor backward. Prescott was solid playing against most of Seattle's starting defense, finishing 17 of 23 for 116 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass that Jason Witten snatched away from K.J. Wright.
Russell Wilson and Seattle's No. 1 offense played into the second half, scoring on four of its final five possessions including a pair of TD tosses by Wilson (see full recap).
Foster leads Dolphins to win over Falcons
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Running back Arian Foster had a 2-yard touchdown run in the Miami Dolphins' 17-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.
Foster, who joined the Dolphins during the offseason and is coming off an Achilles injury, had his most extensive playing time with his new team in the third preseason game that was played at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.
The four-time Pro Bowl running back played in just one series in the first half, but he made the most of the limited opportunities by sparking the Dolphins to their lone touchdown drive of the half with five carries for 10 yards, capped by his 2-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.
The Dolphins are taking a cautious approach with Foster, who hasn't played a full season since 2012 with Houston. The former Texans star didn't play in the Dolphins' preseason opener and had just two carries for minus-5 yards last week against Dallas.
With Foster expected to challenge second-year running back Jay Ajayi in the Dolphins backfield this season, coach Adam Case came into Thursday night's game wanting a little more to evaluate Foster on.
Foster didn't get a lot more work, but he did enough in the seven touches he received to make the Dolphins' running back competition interesting. Ajayi carried seven times for 11 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards.
Foster had two receptions for 20 yards, which included a 16-yard catch that moved the Dolphins into scoring position at the Falcons 22.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, coming off an impressive outing against the Cowboys, didn't put his team in many scoring positions, but he did move the ball effectively.
He completed 20 of 29 passes for 155 yards while leading the Dolphins to a score in one of two red zone opportunities (see full recap).