Man Alive, There Are Men Alive Out There! Kendrick and Phils Light Up Bucs

Man Alive, There Are Men Alive Out There! Kendrick and Phils Light Up Bucs

The Phillies narrowly avoided losing their third straight of a four-game set out in Pittsburgh, edging out the Buccos by a 12-4 count. 

Boats lined up outside to see the holiday weekend's fireworks with the gorgeous PNC Park and the Roberto Clemente Bridge as their backdrop, but the blasts went off a bit early tonight. The Phils' bats were alive from the start in this one, notching runs in the first (2), third (5), fourth (1), fifth (2), sixth (1), and seventh (1). Phils fans who made the trip out for the weekend finally got to see something worth the drive, after watching the visitors net a whopping two runs in the first two games of the series. 

Kyle Kendrick led the ice-cream-man capped Phils in the field on Saturday night, working fairly efficiently while allowing just three earned runs over a complete game—his first in 67 career starts.The newly called up Cody Ransom dropped a routine fly by Delmon Young in the eighth, allowing Young to advance to second on the play; Young would score on a two-out double, but Kendrick otherwise emerged unscathed. In the ninth, Kendrick allowed a few hits for a game total of 10, gave up another run, but then retired the next batter to close out with no help from the 'pen. 

Would have taken a hell of an inning by the Pirates to wage a comeback, but KK's work late in this one was a win within the win. 

At the plate, J-Roll and Victorino each had three hits, with Rollins leading off the game with a single and later adding a homer, a double, and a walk before calling it a night. Ryan Howard singled twice to add three RBI to his season total (58) and bring his average up to .296. Every Phillies starter, including Kendrick, grabbed a hit tonight. Wa-hoo!

An odd moment ended that eighth frame, with Kendrick giving up a long fly to left-center, which Shane Victorino successfully hauled in at the wall just in front of the Phillies bullpen. After snaring the ball, Vic appeared a little unhappy with Jose Contreras. Who knows what Big Truck did to deserve the yapping he got. Wheels speculated it was the lack of a warning that he was near the fence. I think he was yelling "DON'T DROP IT. NUNAN!"

Sure the Pirates suck and all, but we'll take any win we can get with the MASH unit lineup the Phils are fielding due to so many regulars being on the DL. Minus their regular 2, 3, and 6 hitters, plus their top two catchers, the Phils and their fifth starter smoked the Bucs in front of a packed house (everyone not wearing red was there to see the post-game fireworks). 

The series wraps Sunday with a 1:35 start. 

Former Eagle Byron Maxwell benched by Dolphins

Former Eagle Byron Maxwell benched by Dolphins

Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell is not starting tonight against the Bengals. Maxwell, who the Eagles traded this past offseason, was already seeing his playing time diminish. Now, he will sit in favor of Tony Lippett, who has not seen a single snap for the Dolphins this season.

The Eagles big trade this offseason keeps getting better and better.  They acquired the 8th overall pick in the draft in exchange for the 13 overall pick, Maxwell and Kiko Alonzo. Not only were they able to rid themselves of Maxwell’s awful contract, but they were able to get value for a player who is now not considered an NFL starter. 

The 8th overall pick that the Eagles acquired from Miami was flipped to the Browns among other picks to move up to number two. As you may know, that number two pick became offensive rookie of the month Carson Wentz. 

At the time of the trade, Maxwell originally failed his physical due to a shoulder injury. It was reported that the shoulder was so bad that he could not perform a simple pushup, but the Dolphins traded for him anyway.

The Byron Maxwell trade was the stepping stone for the Eagles to land their quarterback of the future, and this news can only make them feel better about the move. Howie Roseman had an incredible offseason cleaning up the mess Chip Kelly left behind, and Maxwell’s benching will certainly help his case for executive of the year. 

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Brett Brown left training camp last September with an unsettling feeling. He had just completed long days of scrimmages, drills and planning, and yet he sensed the Sixers were not ready to tackle the 82 games that lied ahead. 

“I remember driving back to Philadelphia last year knowing in my heart of heart that this group was going to be challenged,” Brown said Thursday following the morning practice session at Stockton University. “That was a frightening drive home. That drive home scared me because I felt like, I know what we have and how are we going to be able to maneuver through this?”

Brown was right. The Sixers lost their first 18 games and began the season 1-30. They stumbled the rest of the way, finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a dismal 10-72 record. 

“We really didn’t know who the point guard was,” Brown said. “We came in extremely injured, we were trying to make the Nerlens (Noel) - Jahlil (Okafor) thing work, there really weren’t a lot of veterans to look around [and see], and you knew it.”

Now in his fourth training camp as head coach, with 47 wins and 199 losses with the Sixers behind him, Brown has different emotions as the team nears the end of training camp on Friday. 

Instead of a constantly-changing lineup of players, the Sixers are building a roster that can serve as the foundation for the future. There are nine new players on the team, including first overall pick Ben Simmons and rookie Dario Saric. Joel Embiid will make his NBA debut after two years of injuries, and the Sixers added veteran leaders in free agency.

Brown has a clearer picture of what the team could look like this season and beyond. He is coaching training camp to enter a new chapter, not to simply make it through the upcoming months. 

“You can leave and you can sniff reality,” Brown said. “Now what I see is there’s depth. There are challenges positionally as we’ve talked about. But there’s talent. There’s point guards. They’re sprinkled in with some veterans. How we grow it and play it is still on the table. To me, it’s a completely different feeling that I have now that I did not have last year.”

The additions of Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez at the one spot lessen the coaching load for Brown. He also can turn to T.J. McConnell from last season. The depth is a far cry from when the Sixers were quickly changing at that position and didn’t find a consistent starter until they traded for Ish Smith in late December.

“That position, I think, is vital when you start putting a bunch of 20-year-olds around it and trying to find some type of organization,” Brown said. “You just can’t replace a point guard’s intellect. You can’t replace, I think, somebody that has great command from that position. It certainly helps me.”

Brown expects to feel “proud” when the Sixers wrap training camp on Friday. He is looking forward to getting the season underway, beginning with two practices at the new training complex in Camden before their first preseason game Oct. 4 against the Celtics. 

Brown anticipates his drive home this time will be a much different trip. 

“I feel comfortable that we’re ticking boxes and we’re achieving the goals that we set out from the start of what we wanted to get done in Stockton,” he said.

The Sixers continued to monitor load management on Thursday, as Okafor, Embiid and Gerald Henderson did not participate in the morning scrimmage. Bayless also did not go through the scrimmage because of a sore left wrist.