J-Roll Stirs the Phillies to Third Straight Victory Over Rockies

J-Roll Stirs the Phillies to Third Straight Victory Over Rockies

There was plenty of action in the first six innings of baseball, and the scoreboard said the Rockies bettered the Phillies 3-2 at that point, but after a one hour and thirty-nine minute rain delay Phillies fans had seemingly forgotten what had happened up to that point.

Ryan Madson came out to pitch after the lengthy delay in a spot he isn't typically used in. After back-to-back singles to start things off, Madson got Carlos Gonzalez down swinging, then drilled Melvin Mora in the back to load the bases. Madson struck out Ryan Spilborgh's on a nasty 96 mph heater right down the middle for the second out, and got Ian Steward to pop out to right to get out of the jam. Madson's tapdance with disaster but ability to eventually avoid it was quite Lidge-esque, but it gave the Phillies some hope heading into their final three at bats trailing by only a run.

Wilson Valdez led off the bottom half of the seventh with a pinch hit ground rule double and was batted in by Jimmy Rollins who singled to left and advanced to second on a kicked ball. Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco couldn't advance Rollins, Jimmy stole the bag during Howard's at bat which ended with the Big Piece working a walk to set the table for Jayson Werth who hadn't had a hit with 2 outs and a runner in scoring position since the middle of May. Werth failed to deliver but it didn't matter as Jimmy Rollins made a heads up play to score on a ball that got away from catcher Miguel Olivo putting the Phillies up 4-3.

Jimmy's RBI single in the seventh, steal of third, and subsequent go-ahead score on a ball that got away is the kind of aggressive play that this team was missing during its extended funk over the past few weeks. J-Roll was certainly making things happen on Sunday. It's no surprise the game ended in a Phillies victory.

The Phillies have that never-out-of-a-game attitude, a swagger even, and Jimmy Rollins presence is a huge part it.

Jose Contreras and J.C. Romero teamed up for a clean 1-2-3 top of the eighth and Brad Lidge pitched like Brad Lidge. Strikout, walk, strikeout, single, and a walk to load the bases. As L.A. said on the radio broadcast, it doesn't matter how you get to it, as long as you get the third out in a scoreless ninth.

We guess, but it'd be nice if Lidge didn't make us sweat so damn much. It's hot enough out here.

Phillies beat the Rockies by a final of 4-3 and will look to make it a cool four game sweep tomorrow afternoon in a Business Persons Special.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”