If you're one of the many Philly ex-pats living in the Denver area, this NLDS has to be especially great for you. When the schedules were announced, the StubHub tickets for the games at Coors were costing quite a bit less on average than those at CBP (though it's now gone up after the Game 1 win). Of course it's gotta be hard to miss the insanity of October baseball's return to Philly, seeing all the red shirts around, huddling around an office TV, talking baseball with people who haven't watched 3 games all season, but at least you get more coverage than usual, and you better get to see a game or two in person.
But if you want a taste of your hometown atmosphere for the remaining games in Philly or if somehow you don't have tickets for those games at Coors, you need to head to Pat's Philly Steaks and Subs in Denver. As AJ Daulerio pointed out in Philadelphia Mag's Daily Examiner, Woody Paige of the Denver Post stopped in to Pat's to talk some jive with the Philadelphians before penning yesterday's column. After seeing him for years on ESPN and reading this column, how he wasn't beaten with long rolls and tied to the dumpster is beyond me. There's also word that the local Philly news will broadcast from there later today.
Anyway, Pat's has 3 Denver locations (see his site for details), one of which is also a great bar scene with plasmas for the games. If you read my post about my trip to Lambeau for the Eagles season opener, you may also remember that Pat is my cousin, and he owns the shop with my uncle. Both were at the game with me, as well as my cousin Dan and Pat's fianceé Audrey. These are rabid Philly fans. You will feel at home.
There was a lot of talk about how lame the Rockies fans were in the play-in game. After the first round loss at home, the Phils will need to take at least one in Denver, so you ex-pats better get out there in force and let 'em hear you.
(Photo from the Denver Post)
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs were everything they were advertised to be on Friday afternoon/evening.
And they looked like what they are – the best team in the majors – as they put a whoopin’ on Adam Morgan and a Phillies club that is slowly cooling after its hot start.
The Cubs rode three home runs to a 6-2 win over the Phils at Wrigley Field (see Instant Replay). It was the Phils’ third loss in four games on this road trip and fifth in the last seven games.
As if the loss wasn't enough, the Phillies' misery was stretched out by a pair of late-game rain delays that totaled 1 hour, 33 minutes.
Scoring runs continues to be a great challenge for the local nine, which entered the day averaging just 3.3 runs per game. The Phils have been held to two or fewer runs 16 times in their 48 games. For the season, they have been outscored by 35 runs.
The Phils are still over .500 at 26-22, but they might not be much longer if they don’t find some offense. They had 10 hits in the game, but only one for extra bases.
"We couldn't string anything together," manager Pete Mackanin lamented afterward.
Mackanin was asked if he was worried the offensive shortcomings were catching up with the team.
“I wouldn’t say I’m worried about it,” he said. “I’ve been conscious of it the whole season. We certainly would like to have more offense, a little bit more power.
“You look at the Cubs, you look at the Tigers, they’ve got power and home-run threats to do damage. We haven’t been able to do that. So, of course, I’m always concerned it might catch up with us, but as long as the pitching does its job we’re going to be in as many games as they allow us to be in.”
Starting pitching is a big reason the Phillies came into Wrigley Field five games over .500. It has kept them in games to the point where a big hit or big defensive play can win it.
But the starting pitching was not there in this game and that’s a problem when you’re facing the Cubs. They are a team has been built to break a 108-year World Series championship drought. They are averaging 5.7 runs per game, best in the National League, and have outscored their opponents by a whopping 123 runs. Their 32 wins are the most in the majors.
The Cubs pounded Morgan for six runs in four innings. He was tagged for eight hits and five were for extra bases, including three homers.
Morgan really struggled in the fourth inning. He gave up a mammoth 461-foot homer to Jorge Soler to lead off the frame. Four batters later, David Ross followed a walk and a single with a three-run home run to left and the Friday afternoon Happy Hour was on at Wrigley – at least until the skies opened in the seventh. Morgan gave up a third home run (to Kris Bryant) in the fifth.
“You try to be consistent and give your team a chance to win,” Morgan said. “When you put them in a hole like that it’s hard.”
Two of the homers Morgan allowed came on 1-2 counts. One was on a slider, the other a fastball. Neither put the hitter away, obviously. Poor location.
“Morgan didn’t have it today,” Mackanin said. “He really didn’t have command of any of his pitches. He struggled to make pitches when he needed to. You can overcome a solo home run, but that home run by Ross was the one that got us out of the game.”
In six starts, Morgan has an ERA of 6.67.
“He’s one good start, one bad start, one good start, one bad start. He's got to be more consistent,” Mackanin said. “At this level you have to be consistent to be successful. He’s capable of doing it. He just has to do it.”
Mackanin was asked whether Morgan’s spot in the rotation was in jeopardy. He did not give a direct answer.
“Nobody is solid in their spots,” the manager said. “Last year, I talked a lot about how you’re auditioning every day. At this level, consistency is the hallmark of a good major-league player. That includes pitchers.”
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs, on the strength of three home runs, hammered the Phillies, 6-2, at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon/evening.
Phillies starter Adam Morgan was hit hard.
The loss dropped the Phillies to 26-22. They are 1-3 on this road trip and have lost five of their last seven overall.
The Phillies entered the day averaging just 3.3 runs per game, the second-lowest mark in the majors. They have been held to two or fewer runs 16 times in their 48 games.
The Cubs have the majors’ best record at 32-14. They are averaging a National League-best 5.7 runs per game.
The game was delayed 56 minutes by rain in the seventh inning.
It was delayed again for 37 minutes in the top of the ninth.
Starting pitching report
Morgan was tagged for six runs in four-plus innings as his ERA swelled to 6.67 in six starts. He was bruised for eight hits. Five were for extra bases and three were homers. One of the homers, a mammoth blast by Jorge Soler, traveled 461 feet.
Lefty Jon Lester got the win. He gave up just two runs over 6 1/3 innings and one was unearned.
Andrew Bailey, Brett Oberholtzer and Colton Murray pitched scoreless ball for the Phillies.
Trevor Cahill and Hector Rondon finished it out for the Cubs.
At the plate
Maikel Franco drove in both of the Phillies’ runs with a sacrifice fly and an infield hit.
The Phillies had 10 hits, but only one for extra bases, a double by Odubel Herrera.
Tommy Joseph started at first base against the lefty Lester. He singled in his first at-bat, grounded out and struck out twice. Ryan Howard entered the game after the rain delay and struck out in his only at-bat.
Soler, David Ross and Kris Bryant all homered for the Cubs against Morgan. Ross’ was a three-run shot with one out in the fourth.
In the field
Freddy Galvis made several outstanding plays at shortstop.
The Cubs made two errors in the third inning and the Phillies capitalized for an unearned run.
Cody Asche (oblique) and Mario Hollands (elbow) both had their injury rehab assignments shifted to Triple A Lehigh Valley.
Asche’s 20-day rehab assignment is set to run out on Wednesday at which time the Phillies can bring him to the majors or option him to Triple A. Actually, the Phils could bring him to the majors before if they choose.
Right-hander Mark Appel, pitching at Lehigh Valley, was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, which might explain the big drop in velocity he experienced in his last start.
The Phillies promoted Ben Lively to Lehigh Valley to take Appel’s spot. Lively was off to a tremendous start at Double A. The 24-year-old righty was 7-0 with a 1.87 ERA and a 0.943 WHIP in nine starts.
Jerad Eickhoff (2-6, 3.86) pitches Saturday afternoon against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 3.30).
Turns out the hip and abdominal surgeries for both Flyers captain Claude Giroux and rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere weren’t a deterrent from making their countries’ respective World Cup of Hockey rosters.
Also going will be center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who was added to Team Europe’s roster.
All three Flyers were “add-ons” to Team Canada, Team North America and Team Europe as the final rosters were announced on Friday night.
The World Cup of Hockey tournament begins in September 17 and ends on Oct. 1.
Giroux, 28, has twice represented Canada at the World Championships and once in World Junior competition.
Gostisbehere, 23, represented the U.S. internationally once the World Juniors. Team North America is all players 23-and-under or “Young Stars” as some refer to them.
Despite his poorest offensive output in three years, Giroux still led the Flyers with 67 points this season, playing in his 500th career game and scoring his 500th point. He won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP.
Gostisbehere took the NHL by storm as a November fill-in for the injured Mark Streit and ended up becoming a Calder Trophy finalist. That award will be announced in late June.
He quickly ended up as the team’s first unit power play quarterback, and led all rookie defensemen in points (46), while establishing several club rookie records, including goals by a Flyers defenseman (17).
Gostisbehere was voted the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s best defenseman and the Gene Hart Memorial Award, given by the Flyers’ fan club to the players possessing the most “heart.”
Bellemare, 32, had 14 points this season as a valuable fourth line checking center and penalty killer. He also celebrated his 100th game as a Flyer. He figures to be a role player for Team Europe.
Ghost and Giroux both had off-season surgery on May 17. Their recovery is approximately 10-12 weeks. Both are expected at Flyers’ training camp in September.
Incidentally, the Flyers had just 167 man-games lost due to injury this past season. That’s the fewest number of injuries since 1998-99 when they had 120.
In all, the Flyers will send eight players – Bellemare, Giroux, Gostisbehere, center Sean Couturier (North America), defenseman Mark Streit (Team Europe), and three players from the Czech Republic – defenseman Radko Gudas, goalie Michal Neuvirth and forward Jakub Voracek.
Eight teams will compete in the tournament with every game being played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Philadelphia was one of the host cities for the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996 when the Wells Fargo Center first opened as the CoreStates Center.