Live Game Chat: Rockies at Phillies

Live Game Chat: Rockies at Phillies

We'll likely be in and out here with spotty coverage cause we'd like to watch the game you know.

1st - Cole comes out gunning to shut down the Rockies in the first.  Cole gets the crowd into it early.

Jeff Francis made Jimmy, Shane and Chase look rather silly swinging at some nasty curves.  I don't like this Francis guy.

These announcers suck.  I never thought the day would come when I'd wish Wheels were calling a game.

2nd - Damn.  The ageless Todd Helton leads off the second with a bomb to dead center that took a nasty bounce off the wall for a three bagger.

Ugh.  Rockies take the early lead and Cole looks human.  This isn't how it was supposed to go, Cole.

Cole gets back on track with a nice K on a high fastball but then follows that up with a base on balls.  Cole certainly doesn't look nearly as dominant as his performance last week.

Shit.  Yorvy Torby gets a single and drives in another.  Phils down 2-0 real fast.  Settle down.  It's early.

After Francis got down a nice bunt for the second out, Cole walks Kaz to load the bases.  Meeting on the mound.  Somebody needs to calm this guy down.  Get out of this one and let him settle in.

Walks in a run.  3-0 Rockies.  The euphoria of the last four days is slowly turning back into that Philly pessimism we all know too well.  I guess it could have been a lot worst.  Time for the bats to go to work.

Anyone else hate that commercial where Tony Gwyn gets told he's going to the HOF?  Big shocker there.

Hey our man David Aldridge does baseball?  Where's Barkley?!  I think I'd boo Sir Charles right now.

Ryan Howard comes up to start the inning and sits right back down with his 3,000 K of the season.

Hey! Aaron Rowand didn't strike out!

The Bat does what he does and gets the Phillies their first base runner of the day.  Patience is a virture.  Keeps telling myself, "it's only the second inning."

3rd Inning.  Hopefully Cole can settle in a bit here. Three quick outs and that's the kind of inning we need.  Now let's get a hit!

Carlos Ruiz leads off the inning with a K.  Awesome.  Maybe Cole can get a friggin hit here.

AND HE DOES!  King Cole comes through with a single.

DAMNIT.  Jimmy grounds into an inning ending double play.  Not much going the Phils way thus far.

4th Inning.  I just got a text message with the F word in it about 8 times.  Fickle Philly fans.  Must have faith.

The announcers keep talking about Cole's pitch count.  He's up to almost 80 in the middle of the 4th.  He has settled in though.  Two quick outs, the second on a quick liner right back to Cole.  And another 1, 2, 3 inning for Hamels.

They just showed a nice aerial view of the stadium and I ask you all, why do I not have tickets?

Jeez.  Shane hits a bullet right to Atkins.  Why can't they find a gap?  Chase is good at that, right?

Ryan Howard strikes out, of course.  End of 4, still without a hit from somebody who is paid to hit baseballs.

5th Inning.  Ruiz!  Carlos pulls in a foul ball that it didn't look like he had a chance at.  Glad to see that elbow is alright.  Two more quick outs topped of by a sick play by Wes Helms at third.  Cole can do this for four more innings, right?


Aaron Rowand answers the call!  That baby's outta here!  3-1 ballgame.  As I said in my preview, I had a feeling Rowand would be a catalyst for this team in the post season.

BACK TO BACK HOME RUNS!  WOooo!!! Ahhhhhh... nice nice nice.  Pat Burrell goes yard by the skin of his teeth.  3-2 Rockies.

Time for the faithful at CBP to get rowdy, give this team some energy.

Wes Helms hit one rather hard that for a moment looked great but was actually right at a Rockie.  That would have caused pandemonium.  Hamels pops a bunt to Atkins.  Garbage.

Ruiz gets a single and the Phils are starting to get to Francis.  That's four hard hit balls in a row.

The speedster Carlos Ruiz steals second!?!  And on a full count, Jimmy walks to put two on for Shane.  Shane can't capitalize but the Phils showed some life.  The meat of the order will lead off the 6th for the Phils.

6th Inning.

Cole starts off the top of the sixth by wiffing Helton.  After striking out Atkins but not getting the call, the second out comes on a pop up to Rowand.  What kind of name is Hawpe?  Strike that guy out.  And Cole does!  7th for Cole to end the inning.

Utley hasn't had a hit yet today.  He's due.  UGH.  Utley hasn't looked good against Francis today at all.  3rd K of the day for our man.

Ohhhhhhhh.  Man, this ump is calling them tight today.  After it looked like he should have been struck out, Howard pops out to right.  Utley and Howard haven't done jack.

Rowand pops out to left to end the inning.  I need a beer.

7th Inning.  Cole starts it off allowing a base on balls to the CF whose name I don't feel like trying to type.  Cole's up to 110 pitches.  Not much left in that arm today.

Cole gets Yorvy to pop out.  Francis comes up to attempt a bunt and successfully gets it down to move the runner over.  Now why couldn't Cole do that?

And Hamels leaves the game to a nice ovation.  Hat tip to Cole.  That second inning was unfortunate, but he looked great otherwise.  On comes Flash.

Flash gets the job done!  You can ask for your peanuts and Cracker Jacks while only being down one run thanks to Gordon.  Enter crunch time.

Burrell leads off the bottom of the 7th, Francis is still out there.  Scratch that.  In comes LaTroy Hawkins... wasn't he the guy in Chicago that one those games for the Phillies when he was a Cub about 3 summers ago?  Google says, Yep, it was him!  Oh, and I Love Latroy!

Damn it, Hawkins is efficient and gets Burrell on one pitch.  Dobbs to PH for Helms.

Programming note: Gamecast is faster than MLB Radio that is faster than SOPcast.

Dobbs fouls off five pitches before taking ball four.  Great at bat by Mr. Dobbs.  Now they're taking him out to pinch run Bourne.  Not sure how I feel about that.

Ugh.  Shit.  Damn.  Not good.  Carlos grounds into a double play.  See, now did you really need Bourne to pinch run there?  Make me manager!

8th Inning. Gordon is back out there.  They brought in Abe to play third.  After Helms was lifted for Dobbs who was lifted just because.  Striiiiiiiiike three.  Gordon gets a K to start the 8th.

Sigh.  Matt Holliday goes yard.  That's the Flash we know!  Rockies lead 4-2.

Fact: J.C. Romero is our favorite Phillies reliever.

One out.  Apparently you can get MLB playoff text alerts?  I bet A.J. Feeley gets those.

SICK PLAY BY JIMMY ROLLINS.  SICK.  Diving to his right on the fringe of the outfield grass, gets up, and gets the runner on a bang bang play to end the inning.

Prediction: Tadahito will lead off with a single and Jimmy or Chase will go yard to tie the game up.

Brian Fuentes starts off the 8th by giving Iguchi a base on balls.  That's not what you want to do if you're a Rockies pitcher.

Jimmy pops up after what was looking like a nice at bat in which he had the count in his favor.  Doh.  I jinxed him.  Blame me.  It's all my fault.

Shane grounds into a dou... nope.  Shane is fast enough to prevent a double play but grounds out to short.

Down goes Utley looking.  I'm starting to feel this one fading.  Hmm... this is not good.

9th Inning.  This live blogging thing starts to suck when your team is looking like they're going to lose.  Myers comes out looking pretty sharp though.  Myers throws to straight Ks but then gives up an infield single to Yorvy.

Phew.  After letting two runners on, Myers gets the curve working to K Matsui to end the 9th.

It's in the hands of Howard, Rowand, and Burrell.

K, ground out, fly out.

The called third strike on Howard looked like a horrible call.  Boo to that ump.

There's your game one people.  That wasn't very fun.  Rockies 4 Phillies 2

Eagles-Cowboys scouting report: Birds just do not match up well

Eagles-Cowboys scouting report: Birds just do not match up well

Eagles (4-2) at Cowboys (5-1)
8:30 p.m. Sunday on NBC
Cowboys favored by 4; over/under 43

Sizing up the Eagles' highly anticipated Sunday night showdown with the Cowboys:

When the Eagles have the ball
Here we go. Biggest game of the season so far for the Eagles, who have already beaten two of the NFL's best in the Steelers and Vikings.

The Cowboys are surprisingly playing like the class of the NFC, making this an enormous game. If the Eagles win, they'll be in first place in the division at the beginning of November, and they'll have three high-quality wins under their belt. Winning a tough road game like this would do wonders for the confidence of Carson Wentz and whoever else plays a key role.

But a victory is far from certain. The Cowboys have exceeded expectations on both sides of the ball this year. We all know about the offensive attack led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott (more on that below), but Dallas' defense has also done its job well.

The Cowboys' secondary had been a mess for several years, but the unit has gotten better since the arrival of last year's first-round safety, athletic freak Byron Jones. 

In one of the most important developments for Dallas, Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in 2012 who was a straight-up bust in his first four seasons, is playing the best football of his career. He's been targeted 40 times and allowed just 21 catches for 191 yards (9.1 average) and no TDs. Over the last two games, Claiborne has faced A.J. Green and Jordy Nelson and given up just three catches for 37 yards, breaking up two passes.

Claiborne signed a one-year, $3 million prove-it deal to stay with the Cowboys, and he's earning himself some money before heading into unrestricted free agency.

Veteran cornerback Brandon Carr plays opposite Claiborne and is also having a decent year after a few disappointing ones. Carr has two inches and 20 pounds on Claiborne, so one would think the Cowboys would try to match Carr up with the Eagles' biggest receiver, Dorial Green-Beckham.

Last season, Sam Bradford targeted Jordan Matthews five times when he was being covered by Carr and all five were completions, for 24 yards and a TD. In this one, Matthews will likely line up opposite Jones or Tyler Patmon in the slot.

Coverage has been the best aspect of Dallas' defense this season. Getting to the quarterback has been the worst. Lacking an explosive pass rusher, the Cowboys have just 11 sacks on the year and four came against the Bengals. Per Pro Football Focus, the only team in the NFL that has rushed the passer less effectively than the Cowboys is the Lions, who did sack the Eagles three times in Week 4.

If the Eagles can protect Wentz against this mediocre pass rush, they have a real chance to win. Wentz has been accurate and decisive when he's had a clean pocket, and while the Cowboys have made those aforementioned improvements in the secondary, this is still a defense you can move the ball against.

When Wentz has been kept clean — i.e. not faced pressure — he's 100 for 146 (73 percent) for 1,097 yards with seven TDs and two INTs. When under pressure, he's 18 for 39 (46 percent).

The Cowboys have been much better this season at stopping the run, thanks in large part to the health of linebacker Sean Lee. The former Penn Stater is instinctive and fast, a sure tackler and a sound coverage LB. He really does everything ... except stay healthy. In the four seasons prior to 2016, he missed 33 of 64 games to various injuries. Annually, the Cowboys' defense has fallen off a cliff without him.

Dallas is allowing just 92.2 rush yards per game, 10th-fewest in the NFL, and no RB has exceeded 75 rushing yards against them. The Eagles have not been a particularly effective running team so far, ranking 20th with 4.1 yards per carry and 17th with 111.5 rush yards per game. For reference, that's 50 fewer rushing yards per game than Dallas, which leads the NFL.

Look for the Eagles to try to get that ground game going quickly in the first quarter. If they can, it will open up the play-action game in which Wentz has thrived. It would also further mitigate the Cowboys' pass rush by making them a step slower reaction-wise.

The best formula for success would seem to be involving Ryan Mathews early, letting Wentz complete some short passes to Darren Sproles, Matthews and the tight ends, and then opening up the deeper stuff once an amped-up Dallas defense has been forced to adjust.

When the Cowboys have the ball
The Eagles have a very good defense and the Cowboys have a very good offense. Based on how the Cowboys move the ball, this is the worst possible game to be without defensive tackle Bennie Logan, who's missing his second straight week with a groin injury.

The Dak Prescott-Ezekiel Elliott tandem has worked wonders. 

Elliott has averaged 142 rushing yards and 5.9 yards per carry in his last four games. 

Prescott, like Wentz, has quickly become more than just a game manager. Over his last four contests, Prescott has completed 73 percent of his passes, averaged 9.0 yards per attempt and totaled nine touchdowns with one interception. He hasn't been much of a threat running himself, except on the goal line, where he has rushing TDs of one, five and six yards.

But before getting to the Cowboys' passing game, it's obvious that this defensive game plan will begin with stopping Elliott. That's no easy task. Elliott is a world-class running back behind the best offensive line in football. And stopping Zeke only becomes tougher with the expected return of All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.

The Eagles know they must rally to the ball when Elliott has it. Gang tackles are a necessity. Of Elliott's 703 rushing yards this season, 383 have come after contact.

The return of wide receiver Dez Bryant should also benefit Elliott. Bryant simply cannot be covered one-on-one in crucial third-down or red-zone situations. He excels at making tough catches when being well-defended. 

Bryant torched Nolan Carroll last season, catching a 51-yard pass and an 18-yard TD against him. And that was with Matt Cassel at the helm.

Cole Beasley and Jason Witten are factors over the middle. Malcolm Jenkins was great last year as the Eagles' slot corner but not against Beasley. In the first meeting, Beasley caught nine passes for 112 yards and two TDs and both scores were against Jenkins.

It seems that all small, white wide receivers get compared to Wes Welker, but that really is the type of player Beasley is. He's the go-to option on third down because of his shiftiness and ability to get that one foot of separation with a quick move. Prescott has targeted Beasley often, and without Bryant, Beasley has caught three TDs in his last three games. Prior to that he had never really been a red-zone threat.

The slow-footed, ageless Witten still somehow gets open, though it would seem the Eagles are equipped to defend him with Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks and the safeties.

As it always is, the key here is pressure. The Eagles made Bradford uncomfortable all day last Sunday and that was the main reason the Vikings got nothing going offensively. But Minnesota was playing with two backup tackles. The Cowboys are playing with an O-line filled with first-round picks who've lived up to the hype. 

Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox have played well this season, but this needs to be their best game if the Eagles are to have a chance. 

Special teams
The Eagles are the only team in the NFL with a kick return TD this season and they have two, courtesy of Wendell Smallwood and Josh Huff. Both are good runners, but that has just as much to do with the other special teamers' preparation, scheme and blocking ability. 

Since ST coordinator Dave Fipp arrived, the Eagles have 21 return TDs — that includes kick returns, punt returns, interceptions, fumbles and blocked kicks. No other team in the NFL has more than 15 over that span.

Speedy second-year receiver Lucky Whitehead returns the kicks and punts for Dallas. He's yet to score in that role, but did return a kick 79 yards last year.

Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey is the most accurate in NFL history. In his six seasons, he's converted 90.1 percent of his field goals. He's also 222 for 222 in extra points. And at home, in Dallas' dome, he just does not miss (82 for 88, 93.2 percent).

I think this is going to be a great game decided by fewer than seven points that comes down to the final two minutes.

But, while the Eagles have played up to the level of competition in their two toughest games, I just don't see them going into Dallas after a Cowboys bye week and beating a balanced offense. This just is not a great matchup for a pressure-oriented defense against a gargantuan offensive line.

For the Eagles to win, they'll need surprising performances from a few players, whether it's Nelson Agholor or Josh Huff catching a deep ball, or Connor Barwin or Vinny Curry having a standout game. 

My score predictions have been wrong four weeks in a row, so let's hope this makes five.

Cowboys 27, Eagles 24

Sixers apologize for replacing anthem singer, say 'wrong decision was made'

Sixers apologize for replacing anthem singer, say 'wrong decision was made'

The Sixers on Friday issued an apology to Sevyn Streeter, the artist who was supposed to perform the national anthem before Wednesday night's home opener.

Streeter was replaced by the Sixers for wearing a shirt that said "We Matter."

The team released the following statement:

“We are sorry that this happened. After receiving feedback from our players, basketball operations staff and ownership group, we believe that the wrong decision was made, and Sevyn should have been welcomed to sing. We apologize to her, and in an effort to move the conversation forward, we have reached out to offer her an opportunity to return and perform at a game of her choice. We are waiting to hear back.”

Streeter turned to social media during the game to voice her displeasure. CBS3 did report Thursday that she had signed a contract that barred her from making a political statement during the performance.

The Sixers addressed their players in a team meeting to get their opinion on how they would like to the situation to be addressed.

“Collectively, we talked about it, everybody expressed their emotions about it,” Robert Covington said on Thursday. “We know that we want to take steps about it. We just don’t know exactly what steps we want to take. We talked about a lot of different things. That’s one thing that, as a team, we’re very aware of now that the whole incident’s happened. It’s not something we’re going to look over. It’s just a matter of time.”