I'm sure some of you sabermetricians out there already know, but for the rest of you, you can buy me a beer or a dollar dog to thank me later. I know what you all were thinking, you couldn't wait to get your tickets to opening day at Citizens Bank Park, which you knew go on sale in the coming days. No? You weren't waiting with vigorous anticipation? Well, for those of you who were, you can do what I did. You can buy a Phillies 6 pack of tickets which allows you to purchase tickets to opening day, a Yankee or Red Sox game, as well as 4 other games of your choice. You can do this right now, before the single game tickets go on sale. Sure, the Phillies are suckering a few of you out there into purchasing tickets to games you otherwise wouldn't really want to attend just so you can get involved with the hoopla of opening day. But for me, it was a no brainer. The past two seasons I've attended roughly 20 Phillies games each year, so bucking up for 6 in order to go to my first ever opening day was like an early Chase Utley walk off homer. The six games I chose include: opening day against St. Louis, a Red Sox saturday game, a Cinci game due to my childhood adoration of Junior, a Giants game in hopes of booing Barry, a random Dodger game, and the final home game of the season against the Fish. Here's to hoping the game will will be more productive than just hearing EAGLES chants.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Carson Wentz isn't playing on Saturday night against the Colts, but the No. 2 overall pick might have a chance to play in the preseason finale on Thursday, which has been the hope all along.
Wentz went through a lengthy pregame warmup -- about an hour -- on Saturday as his teammates prepared to face Andrew Luck and the Colts. Long after Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel went into the locker room, Wentz continued to throw.
This week's pregame warmup was much more intense than the one he was put through last week in Pittsburgh. On Saturday, he dropped back to throw and looked smooth throwing on the run, even across his body. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo put Wentz through the hour-long workout on Saturday. Leaving the field after the workout, offensive coordinator Frank Reich agreed that Wentz looked good.
Carson Wentz still going through long pregame warmup. pic.twitter.com/wbNTGbUgeL— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroCSN) August 27, 2016
Wentz tosses a pass in warmups. pic.twitter.com/jNSckKpny3— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroCSN) August 27, 2016
The real test will be the X-ray, because no matter how good he feels or how much he lobbies, he'll need to be cleared before he's allowed to return. Shortly after the injury, Wentz said practice would be determined by his pain tolerance and game action would be determined by medical personnel. If he doesn't play against the Jets, it could be a while before Eagles fans get to see their quarterback of the future.
Another hurdle is the short week of practice thanks to a Thursday game coming after a Saturday game.
"It's interesting because next week we only got really two days of practice," Doug Pederson said earlier in the week. "We'll see. We'll evaluate him through the weekend. [We’ll] take him on this trip and work him out a little bit when we get to Indy [Indianapolis], and then again next Monday and Tuesday. We've got to at least get a day's work with him in order for him to go in the game next Thursday."
Along with Wentz, there are several other Eagles who won't play against the Colts: Aaron Grymes, Alex McCalister, Joe Walker, Jordan Matthews, Isaac Seumalo and Mike Martin.
Odubel Herrera moves up to the two-hole after hitting sixth Friday, while Aaron Altherr goes from second to third and Jimmy Paredes gets the start in left and bats seventh. Ryan Howard starts again at first base and bats fifth.
Herrera, who has been struggling since the All-Star break with a .257 average, has lost his leadoff spot to Cesar Hernandez but is starting to find his swing again.
In the last seven days, Herrera is 5 for 17 with a double and a run scored. In August, the centerfielder is hitting .288 with two homers and five RBIs.
Altherr, who played left field Friday, moves over to right field and Peter Bourjos gets the night off. Altherr is hitting .255 with four home runs and 19 RBIs on the season.
Here is the full Phillies lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P
For more on tonight's's game, check out Steven Tydings' game notes.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Despite the Soul leading by three touchdowns early in ArenaBowl XXIX, there was little cheering from the their bench.
Given the volatility that is Arena League football and the frequency from which teams can strike, the approach remained resolute and determined. Defensive tackle Jake Metz kept the mindset of a scoreless game and could not stop hearing words coming from Ron Jaworski, a highly vocal partner in the Soul’s ownership.
“He kept yelling that offense gets headlines but defense wins championships,” said Metz, who currently lives in Schwenksville, Montgomery County, and went to Shippensburg University. “That resounded with me, and brought the championship.”
Metz and his defensive teammates then went out and shut down a highly hazardous and explosive Arizona Rattlers offensive unit en route to a 56-42 win (see story). Led by quarter Nick Davila, the only three-time MVP in Arena Football League history, the Rattlers could manage only seven points in a critical fourth quarter.
At the same time, Metz recovered a fumble by Davila with the Soul holding a slim six-point margin with just under six minutes to play. That turnover was the key point in the Soul’s eventual win, and cemented the role of the defense as a shut-down unit.
On the subsequent possession, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected with Shaun Kauleinamoku on a 30-yard scoring strike. That created a 14-point comfort zone and the final margin of victory.
“These players deserve this championship,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. “This is a first class organization and ownership gives the players a first-class experience. That way, we can attract great players, and with great players comes success.”
In capturing the league title Friday night, the victory was the second in franchise history. In 2008, the Soul and Phillies each won championships, and that was the last time a professional team captured a title in Philadelphia.
Metz remembers the Phillies' win over the Rays, and pointed out, “I went to those games as a kid.” That championship stuck with the 6-foot-6, 265 pounder, and helped to forge a championship mentality.
Early in the fourth quarter, Arizona caught the Soul at 42-42. From that point, Raudabaugh directed two scoring drives, and along with Metz’s important fumble recovery, carried the Soul to the title.
“It’s all about how you respond,” said Raudabaugh, who finished with 20 for 36 for 278 yards and six touchdowns. “Granted, they have a very explosive team, but we were never out it. They did come back, but we had an answer for them.”
The answer was a strong defense which Dolezel indicated was playing at their peak just prior to the title game.
Defensive back Tracy Belton, the AFL defensive player of the year and DB Dwayne Hollis, whose fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the game was another key defensive play, clearly showed how a defense can carry a team to a league title. That was the effort the Soul brought together in an environment as unpredictable as the Arena Football League.