Cole Hamels responded well to both the heat and his last outing, a forgettable shelling at the hands of the Mets coming out of the All-Star Break. The Phils' lefty looked at ease despite temperatures hovering around 100, striking out 10 in eight innings.
It was the 18th time Cole reached double digit strikeouts as a Phillie, moving him to fourth on the all-time franchise list. He moved one ahead of Chris Short and now sits seven behind Jim Bunning. Quite a ways before he reaches Curt Schilling and Steve Carlton, but not bad for a 27-year-old whose big league career began in 2006.
The Phils, clad in the gorgeous throwback uniforms from the Philadelphia teams of my youth, took game one of the four-game set, 3-1.
Their runs came when Shane Victorino reached second on a fluke play in the second inning, then scored on Carlos Ruiz hit that bounced off Padres centerfielder Cameron Maybin's glove (originally called an error); Vic plated again in the fourth when pitcher Cory Luebke balked with him on third base. John Mayberry Jr doubled in Ruiz for the Phillies third run, and Cole took care of the rest.
Ryan Madson returned to the closer's role, donning a pair of stirrups Jamie Moyer must've appreciated (pic below), and put up a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 16th save of the season. After the game, however, Charlie Manuel did say that Antonio Bastardo will get some save opportunities going forward.
While we're on the shallow stats, Hamels' win was his 12th, good for a tie with Jair Jurrjens at the top of the NL leaderboard.
It wasn't an easy night to sit in the stands (at least it looked tough from my air conditioned living room), but the Phils win moved them to 20 games above .500 at home, 26 over the mark overall at 62-36.
Have any doubts about Joel Embiid's health?
Well take a look at this.
How about now?
Of course, this isn't live NBA action, and it is against 5-11 Drew Hanlen, a skills coach and consultant, but it's impressive nonetheless.
Charles Barkley is jumping on the Sixers bandwagon.
"I think the Sixers gonna get really good, really quickly, but it all depends on (Joel) Embiid," Barkley said. "They're not gonna win a championship the next couple years, but I think they can really become a perrenial playoff team in the next three years."
Sounds good, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of "ifs" according to Barkley.
Most of those "ifs" ride on the health of center Joel Embiid. If the big man gets healthy, and the Sixers can resolve the "glutton of big guys," Barkley likes the Sixers chances.
"I think the most important thing they need to figure out is if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. ... I like (Jahlil) Okafor and I like (Nerlens) Noel, but they gotta figure out if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy.
"I like Ben Simmons, but that team's got a long way to go," Barkley said.
To hear more of Barkley's thoughts on the Sixers' future, watch the full video above.
The Eagles have a serious depth problem at linebacker, and they're looking at a local prospect to try to fix it.
The team will sign former Villanova linebacker Don Cherry on Sunday, pending a physical, a league source told CSNPhilly.com. ESPN's Adam Caplan first reported the deal.
Cherry, 21, first signed with the Bears after going undrafted in the spring, but was cut by Chicago in June.
The 6-1, 240-pound Cherry was an All-CAA selection as a sophomore, junior and senior. During his time on the Main Line, he was credited with 331 tackles, 46 1/2 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Even with Cherry, the Eagles are still light in the depth department at linebacker. After starters Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, the team has Najee Goode, Deontae Skinner, seventh-rounder Joe Walker and a couple of other undrafted free agents.
After cutting wideout Jonathan Krause on Friday, the Eagles had three vacancies on their 90-man roster. They're filling another of those openings with former Alabama safety Nick Perry, according to a league source. The perry deal was first reported by Al.com's Matt Zenitz. The 6-1, 211-pound Perry spent last season on the Ravens' practice squad after going undrafted in 2015.
Eagles training camp kicks off Monday, and the first full-team practice is Thursday.