Phillies beat Texas 8-5

Phillies beat Texas 8-5

That's a headline you have never seen before.  The Phillies played the Texas Rangers for the first time on Tuesday night and came away with a win.  Lieber pitched well enough to get the win going 6.2 and giving up 4 earned.  While Lieber got his third straight win, he looked shaky at times giving up 2 Homers in the fourth.

In a line up move pleasing to the Phillies faithful, Charlie Manuel went with Polanco at third and Utley at second.  Both players contributed to the win at the plate.  Placido had 3 RBIs while Utley drove in a run.  Abreu is a machine, going 2 for 5 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs.  If he doesn't start in the All Star game, it will be a joke.  Go vote now.

In a move which seemed to rub the fans the wrong way, Charlie Manuel elected to keep Cormier in to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh.  I am not going to argue with Cholly on this one, I am not really sure what I would have liked him to do in this situation, so I will go along with the fact that it turned out to be the right move, so I won't argue with it.  Philly fans lived up to their rep of jumping the gun on this one.  Billy Wags did his thing for the 15th time this year.  Phils take dollar dogs to the bank.

The NL East is hot.  Four of the Five teams won last night to keep the standings in check.  The Marlins lost to grow lonely at the bottom of the ocean.  In a game which pleased my New York Mets friend, Pedro pitched a gem, flirting with a no-no late.  I've always liked Pedro and think Bostonians treated him poorly on his way out.

You may have noticed some minor site upkeep.  Just fixed up some stuff.  Shuffled around.  There are some Photo Albums now at the bottom left and a new ad top right, check out Dufunker and buy a tee shirt.

 

Shayne Gostisbehere was right: Let's not forget the big picture

Shayne Gostisbehere was right: Let's not forget the big picture

Shayne Gostisbehere spoiled us.

In 64 games, we were spoiled by his 17 goals, most by an NHL rookie defenseman since Dion Phaneuf scored 20 over a full 82 in 2005-06.

Spoiled by a historic 15-game point streak, the longest ever for a first-year blueliner.

And spoiled by four overtime winners, an NHL rookie single-season record.

With it all, Gostisbehere created a mighty and somewhat unfair challenge. He exceeded anyone’s wildest expectations and perhaps made for even greater ones as an encore.

So, naturally, questions and doubts have swirled around his quiet sophomore season. Speaking to reporters last week after a 4-1 loss in Buffalo, Gostisbehere, for the first time, expressed just a hint of frustration. In the midst of his current 22-game goal drought, he wanted to make a point.

“I’m doing my job,” he said. “I mean, I’m a defenseman, I’m not a goal scorer.”

It served as a reminder of what many wanted to see improve in Gostisbehere’s second NHL go-round — a more sound game in his own end by honing in on the defensive skills to his position.

Yes, the 23-year-old can change a game offensively, but could he be reliable and responsible defensively?

After all, Gostisbehere is a defenseman, like he said. We’ve already seen the offensive potential. From the onset, defensive growth is what head coach Dave Hakstol wanted to see.

“Consistency every day,” Hakstol said in early October. “Just be an everyday worker who is pushing hard to really improve himself as an NHL defenseman.”

Now, not only is Gostisbehere in a malaise offensively with four goals and 15 assists through 43 games, but he also hasn’t been sharp or consistent defensively. That certainly is a part of the concern permeating through the Delaware Valley. The 2015-16 Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie) runner-up has been benched twice because of it and is a team-worst minus-17 on the season.

However, the positive here is he’s focused on it. Forget scoring goals for a moment. Even with Gostisbehere’s struggles, Flyers defensemen have provided offense among the league’s best. And for a stretch of 20 games following his first healthy scratch on Nov. 17, Gostisbehere was cleaner and more active with 17 giveaways and 24 blocked shots just partially telling the story. In the 17 games prior, he had 19 giveaways and only 20 blocked shots.

“I’m here to help the team in any way possible,” Gostisbehere said last Sunday. “Right now, it’s just getting back to work and doing the little things. It’s not going to come easy. That is something that me personally, and a lot of us have to look at.”

Even some of the all-time great defensemen went through the proverbial sophomore slump. Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom went from 60 points and a plus-36 rating as a rookie to 41 and a plus-7 in his second season. Brian Leetch, also in the Hall of Fame, saw a dip in production across the board in Year 2 after winning the Calder Trophy.

But let’s not draw crazy comparisons. Let’s just understand the important thing here, which is Gostisbehere’s understanding that defense is paramount. He’s learning through his lumps, starting at the end of his breakout rookie campaign in which he looked spent from the NHL grind. He underwent minor offseason surgeries on his hip and lower abdominal, suffered a nasty face cut in the season opener, then a bone bruise on his right hand in December.

We’re just over halfway through the 2016-17 schedule. Gostisbehere is only 23 years old, a 2012 third-round pick with a cap hit less than 16 other Flyers in a season that looks more like a continued rebuild than a jump to contention.

Really, Shayne Gostisbehere should be some of the least of our worries.

Eagles WR Bryce Treggs has plenty to say on Trump presidency

Eagles WR Bryce Treggs has plenty to say on Trump presidency

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Bryce Treggs made a name for himself in 2016 due to his speed. He was a fan favorite for a moment, as any deep threat tends to be, but only appeared in 9 games and registered just 3 catches.

That didn't stop him from trending on Twitter in Philly on Friday after Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America.

Here were some of his tweets.