Take a Load Off, Bullpen: Lee Goes Seven, Phils Win 10-0

Take a Load Off, Bullpen: Lee Goes Seven, Phils Win 10-0

Coming off a series featuring two agonizing late-game losses, the Phils
owed it to their fans tonight to win their first game against the Mets
by fifteen or more. Sadly, the Phillie Phaithful in attendance had to
content themselves with a 10-0 nail-biter, in which the Phillies only
hit two home runs and in which Cliff Lee allowed a staggering half-dozen
baserunners in just seven innings of scoreless work. Ingrates.

Down a pair of starters in Jimmy Rollins (groin) and Raul Ibanez (bald),
the Phils' offense showed no signs of shorthandedness tonight, as the
boys strung together ten runs (the first eight each coming with two
outs) on 11 hits, with Chase being the only starter to post an 0-fer.
The two fill-ins performed more than adequately, as Wilson "You Can't
Get Rid of Me That Easily" Valdez punched home the first run of the
night with a double in the second and John "Put Me In Coach, I'm Ready
to Play" Mayberry "(Today)" Jr. blew the game open with a two-run blast
in the third. And Hunter Pence continues to own the NL East, homering for the second time in three games and coming around to score each of the four
times he reached base.

But as it so often has this summer, the night belonged to Cliff Lee.
Blowing up Met hitters like you thought he would—with some help from
home plate ump Mike DiMuro on a third-strike call or two, including a
particularly comical punch-out of Philly whipping boy David Wright—Cliff
was beautiful for seven scoreless innings tonight, walking an
uncharacteristic three but only allowing three base hits and racking up
seven K's. And has practically become rote for him, the Phife Dog wowed
at the plate as well, singling to keep a rally going in the second and
nearly homering in his last at bat in the eighth—after which he was
taken out of the game, receiving a standing O for his two-way efforts.

The Braves seem on their way to a win against the hapless Cubs in
Chicago, so the Phils' lead in the NL East should hold at 6.5 tonight,
but man, have you guys seen how far the D'Backs and Giants have fallen
out west? Well into a weeks-long match of one-downsmanship, the two
clubs have sunk to 14 and 15 games behind the Phils, respectively—and
all Philly really has to do is beat one of them to ensure a playoff
spot. I'm not smart enough to figure out what their magic number is yet
for that one, but suffice to say, it's not nearly as high as it should
be for a season that still has a month-plus to go. (Oh, and they also
clinched a winning record for the year tonight, the team's ninth in a
row. Whatevs, yo.)

Tomorrow night, Vance Worley goes up against Jon Niese for a chance to
NO WE'RE NOT F--ING LOSING TWO SERIES IN A ROW. 7:05 first pitch from
CBP. It was a long weekend—let's give our bullpen another day of rest if
we can, huh?

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?

In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."

It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.

And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.

"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?

The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.

Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.

If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

That makes one of us.

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.