Phillies fans entered this season with high hopes for their team, and with good reason. A decent team last year added a proven starter and an improvement to the back of the rotation. The roster screamed contender, and we expected nothing less than the playoffs. When Jimmy Rollins called the Phillies the team to beat, we cheered his cocksure swagger, even if we had our doubts (when don't we?). Then the team responded by having one of the worst Aprils in the majors, and for most of the season, the Phils and their fans were ridiculed for being so certain, then falling so flat.
But little by little, the Phils inched into Wild Card contention, and toward the end of the season got hot at just the right time. The soul-less Mets started to freefall, and support continued to strengthen behind the come-from-behind, against-all-odds team. It was a great day in Phillies history when they won the division at home in front of a wild crowd. At the pep rally on Monday, we cheered as JRoll and the Phils once again crowned themselves the team to beat. Unfortunately, just like the last time that happened, they're getting their asses kicked.
I in no way intend this to bash Jimmy, who continues to man up and play like an MVP. JRoll is class, character, smarts, and talent personified. I just hope that being down 2 games in a best of 5 will remind the Phillies that they play better when the odds against them—that when everyone expects them to lose, they go on a tear. They did it in those sweeps of the Mets, and their push down the stretch this season erased what everyone considered an insurmountable deficit. Almost like the challenge they're facing now. No one expects the Phillies to win this series, and I hope they respond just like they have all season.
Jamie Moyer spots Ubaldo Jimenez 21 years tonight. I think Moyer, who always shows confidence but never swagger, is the perfect guy to lead the Phillies onto the field with the season on the line.
UPDATE: The Rain gods are showing their support for the Phillies, shutting the lights at Coors down for a while.
The Sixers on Friday announced that center Nerlens Noel will undergo a minor surgical procedure on his left knee to address an inflamed plica.
Noel appeared in the Sixers' first preaseason game, but has been sidelined since Oct. 6 because of a left groin strain.
While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.
Noel's status for the season opener on Oct. 26 was already in question, and knee surgery should officially rule him out. There is no timetable for his return.
No surgery for Bayless
The Sixers also announced that Jerryd Bayless' left wrist ligament injury will not require surgery.
Bayless, who has been a limited participant in training camp, will be reevaluated in two weeks.
The logam at the center position has dominated talk surrounding the Sixers as they approach the start of the 2016-17 season.
While a trade has yet to be made, Bovada believes there's a good chance two of the team's three young centers won't be in Philadelphia by season's end.
Bovada released their NBA player props for the upcoming NBA season Tuesday, listing Nerlens Noel (5/7) and Jahlil Okafor (8/5) as two of the league's favorites to be dealt before February's trade deadline. On the other hand, Noel's odds to not be dealt are even, while Okafor's odds to remain a Sixer past this season are 4/9.
Kings swingman Rudy Gay was between Noel and Okafor with the second-best odds to be traded at 5/9. Gay's teammate DeMarcus Cousins had the fourth-best odds at 3/1.
Bovada's over/under player props featured bets involving six different Sixers. Joel Embiid's rookie stat line was set at 13.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. In five preseason games, Embiid has averaged 11.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in just 14.4 minutes of action. If his limited preseason action is any indication, Embiid could certainly reach Bovada's averages once his minutes restriction comes off.
Here are the rest of the Sixers' over/under prop bets:
- Jahlil Okafor: 15 points, 6.5 rebounds
- Nerlens Noel: 9.5 points, 7.5 rebounds
- Gerald Henderson: 10.5 points
- Robert Covington: 12.5 points
- Dario Saric: 5.0 rebounds