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?

COME ON BATS.

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

Team USA overpowers Argentina in 1st Olympic exhibition

Team USA overpowers Argentina in 1st Olympic exhibition

LAS VEGAS -- New team. Same old result.

Full of new star power -- and dominant on the inside -- the U.S. men's basketball team opened its bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal Friday night with a 111-74 exhibition romp over Argentina.

A game that was over almost before it began showed the U.S. has to improve its shooting and conditioning. It also showed that there is plenty of talent among a group of players that seem to want to play well for each other and their country despite the absence of Olympic stalwarts Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

"There's a willingness from these guys to work on anything we need and to work hard," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "These are very good guys."

A U.S. team that hasn't lost a game in 10 years had little trouble with Argentina, which some consider a medal contender in Rio. Paul George scored 14 first-half points, Kevin Durant added 12, and the U.S. blew open the game early before an appreciative crowd on the Las Vegas Strip.

Even with Bryant retired and James taking this Olympics off, there was no real talent drop off on a team heavily favored to win gold once again. The depth of the U.S. showed as coach Mike Krzyzewski rotated players in and out, searching for the right combinations on a team with 10 new players from 2012.

"Nothing is for sure," Durant said. "We want to get this gold and right now we have a job to do. We have to prepare the right way."

Count the Argentines among those who were impressed at the first real game for the Olympic team.

"Obviously, they have the best talent and the best size in the world," Argentina's Luis Scola said. "That's a big difference in their favor."

The game was the first of five exhibitions the U.S. will play before traveling to Rio to defend the gold medal. The U.S. team has spent the last week practicing in Las Vegas in preparation for the tour and the games.

There weren't any opening night jitters, though the U.S. shot only 45 percent and missed all but 14 of 41 3-pointers. With DeMarcus Cousins pulling down 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes, the U.S. dominated inside, outrebounding Argentina 53-30.

"The big thing is getting in shape and they are not there where they will be," Krzyzewski said. "But we really have an inside presence on the boards."

For Durant the game was a chance to play with a pair of his new Golden State teammates, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. It was also a chance for Durant and Carmelo Anthony -- the only two players from the 2012 team -- to demonstrate that this will be their team in Rio.

Both players cheered from the bench as the minutes were spread around, jumping up to clap for teammates. Every U.S. player got quality time, with Green's 12 minutes the least played by any American.

"We're going to have fun and we're going to enjoy ourselves," Anthony said. "If it's not fun it's not worth it. We're going to enjoy ourselves but at the same time we're going to be focused in trying to get that gold medal."

Durant finished as the game's high scorer with 23 points, while George had 18 and Carmelo Anthony 17. Andres Nocioni had 15 for Argentina, while Manu Ginobili added 11 for Argentina, which lost to the U.S. in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics.

Though at times little defense was played, there was plenty of offense to keep the crowd at the new T-Mobile Arena happy. The teams combined to put up 70 3-point attempts, 41 of them from the U.S.

Oddsmakers had made the U.S. a prohibitive 29.5-point favorite in what at times looked a lot like an NBA All-Star game. But while the U.S. team is loaded with 12 NBA players, the Argentines had only three on their roster and the talent difference showed.

While the team is full of new players, the gold medal run will be the last for Krzyzewski, the national coach for the last decade. His teams have lost only one game during his reign, which will end after the Olympics with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich taking over.

Best of MLB: Yankees stay hot with win over sloppy Giants

Best of MLB: Yankees stay hot with win over sloppy Giants

NEW YORK -- Giants Gold Glove shortstop Brandon Crawford made three errors for the first time in his career, with his wild throw in the eighth inning giving the New York Yankees a 3-2 win Friday night that sent San Francisco to its season-worst sixth straight loss.

The Giants held the best record in the majors at the All-Star break, but haven't won since. They also lost catcher Buster Posey, who fouled a ball off his right foot and left with a bruise. X-rays were negative and he was listed as day to day.

Masahiro Tanaka shut out San Francisco for six innings, giving up four singles. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner went seven innings, allowing two runs.

The Giants nicked Dellin Betances in the seventh, pulling within 2-1 on a walk, a double by Denard Span and a wild pitch. That ended a streak of 31 scoreless innings by Yankees relievers.

A double by Giants pinch-hitter Mac Williamson off Andrew Miller (6-1) tied it in the eighth.

But the Yankees bounced back for the fifth win in six games, and didn't need to hit the ball hard to do it (see full recap).

Kemp homers twice in Padres' victory
WASHINGTON -- Matt Kemp homered twice and drove in four runs, rookie Luis Perdomo pitched seven solid innings and the San Diego Padres beat the Washington Nationals 5-3 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Kemp hit a solo shot in the first inning and gave San Diego the lead for good with a three-run homer in the fifth. He has six homers in his last six games and the Padres have homered in 20 straight, the longest streak in the National League this season.

Perdomo (4-4) gave up two first-inning runs, then limited the National to two hits over the final six innings of his longest outing. Brandon Maurer pitched 1 1/3 innings for his fourth save.

Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy homered for Washington. The Nationals have lost four of five.

Tanner Roark (9-6) turned in his shortest outing since June 5, lasting just five innings. He allowed five runs on four hits and surrendered two homers in a game for the first time this season (see full recap).

Fowler sparks Cubs' win over Brewers in return
MILWAUKEE -- Dexter Fowler led off the first with a homer and drove in three runs in his first game back from the disabled list, powering the Chicago Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Fowler went 3 for 4 with a walk and scored twice after being sidelined more than a month with a strained right hamstring. His two-run double to left with the bases loaded in the second drew rousing cheers from the bevy of Cubs fans visiting Milwaukee.

Jason Hammel (9-5) allowed four hits and two runs over five-plus innings for his second victory since the All-Star break for NL Central-leading Chicago. He never trailed after Fowler slugged a 3-1 pitch from Jimmy Nelson (6-8) over the center-field wall to lead off the game.

Hernan Perez had a run-scoring double for the Brewers, and Ryan Braun hit a solo homer.

There were so many fans in Chicago shirts that their boos drowned out cheers from Brewers backers when Braun stepped to the plate in fourth. Braun went deep to center on the first pitch of the at-bat from Hammel for his 14th homer of the year.

Hammel departed after allowing a leadoff double to Scooter Gennett in the sixth with the Brewers trailing 4-2. Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. then retired the Brewers' 3-4-5 hitters in order, capped by strikeouts of Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Carter on six pitches total (see full recap).

Zach Eflin tosses 1st shutout in Phillies' win over Pirates

Zach Eflin tosses 1st shutout in Phillies' win over Pirates

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH — Zach Eflin wasn’t the normal youth pitcher while growing up in Oviedo, Florida.

Though the lanky right-hander had the arm strength to overpower hitters, he concentrated more on pitching inside and keeping the ball low in the strike zone than trying to blow his fastball by everybody.
 
“I didn’t start throwing a slider or curveball until I was 16 or 17,” Eflin said. “I was taught at an early age that establishing the inside part of the plate allows you to throw your changeup effectively and opens things up so you can throw all your pitches. I wanted the changeup to be an effective pitch for me.”
 
The Phillies' rookie is showing in the early part of his major-league career that he learned his lessons well.
 
The 22-year-old had his best outing yet Friday night when he pitched a three-hit shutout — the first of his nascent career — to lead the Phillies to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at PNC Park (see Instant Replay).
 
Eflin struck out six, had no walks and used an efficient 100 pitches to notch his second complete game. He also went the distance July 5 against the Atlanta Braves when he pitched a six-hitter and threw 92 pitches.
 
“One of the most exciting things about this season has been seeing the improvement of so many of our young pitchers,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “Zach has made such great strides in a short period of time.
 
“I’m happy for him. He’s a hard worker and a personable kid. He’s done a really good job.”
 
Eflin made his sixth straight quality start and is 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA in eight outings since being recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley. The consistency Eflin is showing at such a young age is quite surprising in light of getting rocked for nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in his major-league debut by the Blue Jays on June 14 at Toronto.
 
“What impressed me the most after that debacle in Toronto is that Zach came back the next day and knew exactly what he needed to do in order to be successful and that was keep the ball down,” Mackanin said. “He’s been keeping the ball down ever since.”
 
Mackanin then smiled.
 
“He’s becoming one of my favorite pitchers,” the manager said.
 
Coming off a 2-5 homestand, the Phillies started a stretch in which they play 16 of 19 games on the road. Elfin got them off on the right foot at a venue where the Phillies were a combined 0-6 during the previous two seasons.
 
“It was great to pitch a shutout, a lot of fun,” Elfin said. “Having been out on the mound in the ninth inning before really helped. I knew I could finish the game.”
 
All-Star centerfielder Odubel Herrera broke out of his slump with three hits and two runs scored and catcher Cameron Rupp hit a two-run home run.
 
Herrera had two singles and a double after going 4 for 41 in his previous 11 games.
 
Herrera singled to lead off the sixth inning and scored the game’s first run on a single by Rupp. Herrera then doubled and scored on Andres Blanco’s single in the seventh to make it 2-0.
 
Rupp’s two-run shot, his 10th of the season, off Jon Niese in the ninth inning capped the scoring. Rupp had two hits and three RBIs.
 
Second baseman Freddy Galvis also had two hits, as did Blanco, who replaced third baseman Maikel Franco in the bottom of the third inning.
 
Franco was hit in the left wrist in the first inning by a pitch from Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole (5-6). He then singled in the top of the third before undergoing X-rays that were negative.

Eflin hit Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen in the rear end with a pitch in the bottom of the first inning, causing home plate umpire Tony Randazzo to warn both teams. There were no further incidents.
 
Franco had his hand wrapped after the game and said he did not know if he would be able to play Saturday afternoon. The ball hit Franco in the same spot where he suffered a fracture last August that caused him to miss most of the last six weeks of the season.
 
“I was scared at first because it was sore and was getting puffy,” Franco said. “I felt better [after getting treatment], though. I think everything will be fine.”