We Hold These Phillies Truths to Likely Be Self-Evident (And We Love It)

We Hold These Phillies Truths to Likely Be Self-Evident (And We Love It)

Our man Rev helps us get ready for opening day next week. These are his words.

Not
long ago I wrote a post urging you to recognize and appreciate just
how amazing an era of Phillies baseball we’ve been treated to. As
a result of this success, Phils-mania has swept across the entire
Delaware
Valley. It’s getting to the point where you cannot go anywhere without
seeing something Phillies related.  Case in point - while waiting
for a prescription to be filled at CVS there was a copy of the most
recent issue of Philadelphia Magazine on the chair next to me. I picked
it up, looked at the cover, and saw Chase Utley staring back at me.
The cover promised details on which TV shows various Phillies DVR, which

teammate they’d least like to play poker against, and other similar
People Magazine/US Weekly insights into the local nine. Apparently there

are four separate covers with either Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins,
or Shane Victorino mugging for the camera. Their Phils coverage even
included an article featuring Phillies WAG’s. Yes, that’s how much
this team has captured our attention…their wives and girlfriends are
deemed worthy of coverage.

Now,
by no means am I anti all of this Phillies mania. If nothing else it’s
a reminder of how far they’ve come. However, there are certain truths
about this team which will reveal themselves over the course of a 162-game schedule. That’s the beautiful thing about following a baseball
team over the course of a season. You pick up on certain quirks,
idiosyncrasies,
and habits of your squad. You follow them day in and day out to the
point that you can anticipate what’s going to happen in any given
situation. This is especially true with a team that’s been together
as long as this one. We’ve had enough of an opportunity to watch them
to the point that we can predict, with a degree of certainty, what’ll
happen. In other words, certain truths about the Phillies have become
self-evident.

Based
on past experience, what follows is a list of things we know we can
expect to see from the two-time defending National League Champions.

  • Jimmy will go through a
    stretch where seemingly every time he steps into the box he’s already
    down 0-2 in the count. He’ll be sitting first pitch fastball and
    they’ll
    pull the cord on him. He’ll be sitting on something offspeed only
    to swing over it anticipating a fastball. During this time the chorus
    of “Jimmy’s not a leadoff hitter” will resume in full throat.
  • Shane, on a night where
    he’s batting in the two-hole in order to give Polanco a rest, will
    get thrown out trying to steal third with two outs and Ryan Howard at
    the plate. Uggghhhh. Mikey Miss will spend the entire next day killing

    him for a lack of baseball smarts.

  • Despite Charlie’s best
    but ultimately unsuccessful effort to give him days off during the
    season
    come September Chase will wear down, start opening up too early, and
    will hit .214 for the month. Everyone will freak out wondering what’s
    wrong with him only to see him hit .328 during the postseason.
  • After flailing at off-speed
    stuff away for the entire month of August The Big Fella will
    exponentially
    reduce the amount of heat on Utley with his annual September power
    surge.
    He’ll resume hitting bombs to leftfield and driving in runs by the
    bushel. Based on his September performance he’ll thrust himself into
    the NL MVP debate.
  • Towards the end of the year,
    Jayson Werth will be approaching a 30-30 season and will be forced to
    deal with a barrage of questions about his impending free agency.
    Werth
    being Werth, he’ll deflect each and every question and will reiterate
    his desire to remain a Phillie, that baseball is a business, and all
    he’s focused on is winning another World Series.
  • Pop Pop Moyer will go through
    a stretch in July where he fails to go more than 4 innings in any
    start.
    All of Philadelphia will be clamoring for Kendrick to take over the
    fifth starter’s job. Come August 3rd Jamie will face the Marlins in
    Florida and twirl a seven inning two hit gem.
  • The Scott Eyre watch. Phils
    LOOGY’s will struggle mightily the first part of the season prompting
    the beat writers to pepper Ruben Amaro Jr. with questions as to
    whether
    he’ll reach out to Scott Eyre. Ruben will deny any interest in
    bringing
    him back, but Eyre’s unwillingness to completely rule out a return
    continues to fuel speculation.
  • The lack of AB’s for the
    bench guys. If the last few years are any indication, and barring
    injury,
    Ben Francisco, Greg Dobbs, Ross Gload, and Juan Castro presumably
    aren’t
    going to see a whole lot of plate appearances. I am not including
    Brian
    Schneider in this mix as he’ll likely see a fair number of Sunday
    afternoon and day game following a night game starts behind the plate.
  • Following up an 11 run 14
    hit game in which they’ve chased a top of the rotation guy in the
    4th inning only to be followed up the next day by a 1 run
    3 hit effort against some career journeyman making an emergency start.
  • Ryan Howard costing the
    Phils a game by sailing a throw into left after Cole Hamels or Jamie
    Moyer has a guy picked off of first.
  • Sarge saying “as well”
    1,037 times. Sarge talking about J.R. Richard 311 times. Sarge saying
    “slide piece” 418 times.
  • Me cringing each and every
    time Tom McCarthy says “Oppo Boppo”.
  • L.A. coming close to being
    fined by the FCC after freaking out following a blown call by umpire
    C.B. Bucknor.

Despite knowing
in advance that all of these things are likely to happen it will do
nothing to take away from the enjoyment of watching them. Whether in
person, on television, or on the radio following a baseball team over
the course of a 162 game season is comforting and familiar. They become
part of your daily routine. Who’s pitching that day? How did Chase
deposit two balls over Utley’s corner and into the seats against Johan
Santana? How hot is Howard going to get when they visit St. Louis? It
never gets old. The daily drama is the best.

T-minus one week
until Opening Day.

Flyers answer Ron Hextall's plea with comeback OT win over Islanders

Flyers answer Ron Hextall's plea with comeback OT win over Islanders

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Shayne Gostisbehere’s fist pump was so vicious and mighty, the celebration was probably felt back in Philadelphia.

This was an exultation the entire Flyers felt, too.

When it started to look like the bye week wasn’t the break they needed, the Flyers reached down deep and got one Sunday night at the Barclays Center in the form of a 3-2 overtime victory over the Islanders (see Instant Replay).

“It allows you to take a breath,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “That’s one thing for sure.”

A sigh of relief for a team beaten and bruised — losers of three straight by a combined score of 15-4, not to mention 3-9-3 in its past 15 games. The Flyers had lost the day prior on home ice to the Devils, 4-1, with a performance not exactly inspiring confidence following five days off.

On Sunday, they trailed 2-0 in the second period.

“We've got to get better at dealing with adversity when something goes wrong,” general manager Ron Hextall said bluntly before the game. “We need to get back on the horse and get back going. Big deal, a team scored a goal. We need to react better to it.”

Finally, the Flyers reacted the way their GM had been hoping.

They flipped the deficit into a victory when Gostisbehere skated behind the net and put the puck on Claude Giroux’s stick for the game-winner with 1:40 left in the extra session. Gostisbehere whipped his arm through the air and embraced Giroux, along with Jakub Voracek, who started the play by stripping Islanders captain John Tavares.

“On a lot of different levels, it’s an important win,” Hakstol said. “It’s huge. And more importantly for us, a great effort. Thought we deserved the two points. Sometimes maybe that’s what it takes to get over the hump — a tremendous effort for 60-plus minutes. I thought we got that out of everyone tonight.”

For Giroux, it was his first goal since Dec. 21.

For Steve Mason, his first win since Dec. 21.

And for the Flyers, their first road victory since Dec. 14, as they went 0-6-3 in the previous nine games away from home.

Yeah, “it was needed,” as Wayne Simmonds said of the win.

“We’ve been fighting it lately and I thought that was a good game from start to finish,” he said. “I thought everyone played well. I think we made bounces go our way tonight instead of hoping and waiting.”

Simmonds scored what might have been the biggest goal of the game. The Flyers, down 1-0 in the second period, came up empty for 33 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play and the proceeding 5-on-4 advantage. The Islanders then padded the lead to 2-0 moments later, putting the Flyers’ backs against the wall.

But Simmonds kept his team from uncoiling with a goal at 14:10 of the period, giving the Flyers life at second intermission. If not for that score, who knows how the Flyers come out in the third period, trailing by multiple goals yet again.

"I think we were plying well,” Giroux said. “We had a lot of chances and [the puck] wasn't going in. Everybody on the bench was frustrated. When Wayne got that first goal, I think [there was] a little relief on the bench. I haven't seen a team celebrate so much just for a first goal. It was kind of a relief and we had a little boost out of that.”

Ivan Provorov scored the equalizer 1:47 into the final period when he maintained possession from the blue line to the circle, adeptly skating around two Islanders to put the puck on net. Provorov’s pass to Travis Konecny hit off the skate of New York’s Adam Pelech and into the net.

“I came off the bench and I saw [Brayden Schenn] was going into the zone, so I took a few hard strides, got the puck from him and I saw it was kind of an odd-man situation,” Provorov said. “I held on to the puck a little bit, saw T.K. going backdoor, passed it there and it went off their D skate.”

Just as important as the timely goals was the Flyers’ discipline. Against the Devils, the Flyers compiled 19 penalty minutes, forcing them on seven penalty kills. This time, the Flyers sharpened up, not allowing the Islanders a power play until midway through the third period. In total, they had just four penalty minutes and killed off both power plays faced.

That gave them a chance.

“We just kept saying it the whole time, ‘Keep going, keep going, guys,’” Simmonds said. “We just need one [goal] and from one comes two, and Mase held the fort.”

Mason made 17 of his 36 saves in the third period and overtime combined.

Now, the Flyers at least go into another important back-to-back — starting Wednesday at the Rangers before welcoming the Maple Leafs Thursday — with some confidence instead of a lost weekend.

“I thought the focus was purely on going out and playing well,” Hakstol said. “And you know, that’s harder to do than you might know — when you start to feel some of the pressure without a win in a little bit. I really liked that side of it. Even in that situation, all the guys played well. Hopefully that puts our entire team in the right direction.’’

Best of NHL: Crosby scores league-leading 28th goal in win vs. Bruins

Best of NHL: Crosby scores league-leading 28th goal in win vs. Bruins

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored two goals, Sidney Crosby added his league-leading 28th and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their fourth straight game, 5-1 over the Boston Bruins 5-1 on Sunday.

Pittsburgh led 2-1 through two periods before breaking out in the third with three goals in a span of 2 minutes, 57 seconds.

Sheary scored his 17th and has nine goals in nine games. Bryan Rust added his 12th and Patric Hornqvist his 11th for the Penguins, who won a season-high seventh straight at home. Pittsburgh the NHL's best home team, is 13-0-1 in its last 14 home games.

Evgeni Malkin had two assists for a season-best seven-game point streak. Crosby added two assists for a three-point game. Matt Murray made 44 saves to win his fourth straight game.

David Krejci scored his 11th for the Bruins, who have lost four straight and five of their last six (see full recap).

Rangers shut out Red Wings in 1-0 OT win
DETROIT -- J.T. Miller scored at 1:56 of overtime to lift the New York Rangers to a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves for his second shutout of the season and 61st of his career. The Rangers managed only 19 shots in a game that featured few memorable chances by either team.

The winner came when Mats Zuccarello and Miller swooped in alone on Detroit goalie Jared Coreau. Zuccarello made a simple pass to Miller, who lifted the puck over Coreau for his 16th goal of the season.

Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall played for the first time since Jan. 4, returning from a lower-body injury. The Red Wings put forward Drew Miller on waivers (see full recap).

Atikinson lifts Jackets over Senators in wild OT win
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Cam Atkinson's second goal of the game at 1:09 of overtime lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets a 7-6 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night.

Atkinson had a breakaway after a shot by Senators captain Erik Karlsson missed the Columbus net and went around the boards out to Atkinson, who was at center-ice.

The Blue Jackets trailed 5-3 after two periods before Lukas Sedlak and Matt Calvert scored 31 seconds apart to tie it less than 2 1/2 minutes into the third. Atklnson then gave Columbus a 6-5 lead with 9:10 remaining, before Kyle Turries tied it for Ottawa on the power play less than 2 minutes later.

Nick Foligno, Scott Harrington and Zach Werenski also scored for the Blue Jackets, and Joonas Korpisalo finished with 28 saves.

Zach Smith and Mike Hoffman each had two goals and Mark Stone also scored for the Senators. Mike Condon had 22 saves (see full recap).