Phillies Back on Top, Back on Top in June

Phillies Back on Top, Back on Top in June

Another series with the Nationals ends in a sweep... The Phillies are headed to the west coast to begin a tough road trip that includes three nights in San Diego, four in LA, and then they head back east for three at New Shea, finally heading home to face the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Orioles.

The key to starting this month on the right note is to take the momentum of being in first place and ending the homestand with sweep, but not any of the overconfidence that could come with it. The Phillies' record is heavily padded by an abundance of games against the worst team in baseball. Subtracting those, the Phils are sitting at .500 right now. We should still take each win as a positive though, because good teams are supposed to beat shitty ones. However, that's the last we'll see of the Nats until September, so the comp is about to get a lot more legit. 

The Padres are a team that to me makes no sense so far this year. I have no idea whether or not they are "legit," but I'm leaning toward a big No. In 2008, they were little more than a quad-A team, yet they came out of the gate on fire in '09, going 9-4 and besting the Mets and Phillies (before having the latter four-game series shortened by a rained out finale on April 20). Right about then, the bottom fell out, and the Pads looked more like what you might expect. By May 14, they were 13-22. Then they won 10 in a row, evening back up at .500, where they still sit after trading a few Ws for Ls with the Diamondbacks and Rockies. 
The pitching matchups for this series are fairly interesting, and for now, the Phillies side of the equation remains an unknown quantity. 
Joe Blanton is coming off his best start of the season, in which he tossed seven shutout innings and 11 Ks. He'll get Kevin Correia. Then, in game 2, we'll see Jake Peavy—the guy just about every Delaware Valley fan wants to have in a Phillies uniform, and he'll face the guy he would likely replace if the Phillies were to trade for him, Antonio Bastardo. This will be Bastardo's first big league start, and he'll be fortunate to have it in the cavernous park that Peavy prefers to call home. JA Happ will close out the series, facing Chris Young. You wanna know about the Petco factor for a starting pitcher? Check out Young's home and road splits. The good news is, we'll have a veteran who can give up the long ball and two greenhorns going this week, so that park should play to the Phillies' favor in this scenario as well. 
We'll have more on the pitching matchups, the beast that is Adrian Gonzalez, and the uh... other Padres each day of the series. All games start at 10:05, so get the coffee ready.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Source: Sixers to waive Brandon Paul as roster deadline nears

Source: Sixers to waive Brandon Paul as roster deadline nears

The Sixers, who have an afternoon of cuts to make in order to get the regular season roster down to 15 before 5 p.m. on Monday, will waive guard Brandon Paul, according to a source.

Jake Fischer first reported the news. Paul has received interest from other NBA teams, per the source, and has not yet had talks about the D-League. 

Paul, 25, appeared in four preseason games for the Sixers. He averaged 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three.

Paul recently shared with his challenges to pursue an NBA career.

The Sixers' roster stood at 20 after they signed Temple alum Dionte Christmas.

Cat Barber, Shawn Long and James Webb III also are expected to be waived and spend time in the Development League. Elton Brand announced his retirement and was waived last week.