Team Effort Propels Phils to .500

Team Effort Propels Phils to .500

Hm... which story line from Wednesday night's 9-2 Phillies victory over the Cubs at Wrigley shall we lead with?

Kyle Kendrick throws six strong innings, allowing one earned run off three hits while filling in for Vance Worley on short notice. Nah, he's terrible.

Carlos Ruiz continues to mash, giving the Fightins the decisive lead in the eighth on his seventh home run of the season -- one shy of a career high. Kind of becoming par for the course, isn't it?

Hector Luna blows the game wide open in the ninth with a pinch-hit grand slam in his first at bat for the Phils, and first big league plate appearance since 2010. Hell, even SportsCenter will show that.

How 'bout this: the Phillies win their fourth straight, boosting their record to .500 for the first time since May 3, almost two weeks ago. Simple and satisfying.

There weren't just one or two heroes in this effort anyway. Almost everybody who played came up with some form of positive contribution toward the outcome.

The game was tight through the first eight innings, and Kendrick was a big part of the reason why, but Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo, and Raul Valdes each retired the Cubs in order in the seventh, eighth, and ninth respectively.

Ruiz was 2-for-4 and scored three runs, but the impressive growth of rookie Freddy Galvis was on full display, as he went 2-for-4 as well with a pair of doubles and an RBI.

And Luna's moonshot will turn up in every highlight reel on Thursday, but Mark Fontenot's and Ty Wigginton's pinch hits in the ninth do not deserve to go overlooked. Fontenot also notched his first hit as a Phillie, and Wigginton drove him and another home for the inning's initial insurance runs.

For the first time all season, this team is firing on all cylinders. Granted they've taken five of six off of sub-.500 opponents -- a classification the Phils, for now, no longer fall into themselves -- but they haven't strung wins together like this all year long though. It's a good sign that they are finally scoring runs and holding on to leads at the same time.

One more against the Cubs tomorrow, with the opportunity to go above .500 for the first time since Opening Day on the line.


There is one injury to report. Placido Polanco fouled a pitch off his knee, and had to be removed from the game. Officially diagnosed as a bruise, Polanco is said to be sore, and it sounds unlikely he will play tomorrow. Otherwise, it doesn't appear to be too serious.

Did Corey Davis reveal he wants to be drafted by Eagles?

Did Corey Davis reveal he wants to be drafted by Eagles?

We finally know who the Eagles will select this Thursday in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.

No need to tune into the draft broadcast, or even visit the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to partake in all of the festivities. Just look at Corey Davis' Twitter feed:

Done deal. Get him a cheesesteak and a midnight green uniform.

But in all seriousness, Davis made an appearance Monday on ESPN and retweeted this tweet to Trey Wingo.

Davis would certainly make an immediate impact on the Eagles' offense. He would join a receiving corps already bolstered in free agency with the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

But the Western Michigan product might not be on the board at the 14th overall pick, and the Eagles could look elsewhere on Thursday night.

The700Level's Andrew Kulp wrote about Davis at length here.

h/t to

Place Your Bets: NFL draft first-round odds

Place Your Bets: NFL draft first-round odds

So, you think you know where every player will be selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft?

Well, here are some odds, courtesy of Bovada, to help you gauge your early predictions for the draft in Philly this week.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
We start with McCaffrey, probably the most talked about prospect in Philadelphia entering the first round on Thursday.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz compared McCaffrey to Darren Sproles. Stanford head coach David Shaw thinks not only would McCaffrey be a good fit in the Eagles' offense, but would also be a great fit in the city of Philadelphia.

Bovada has 2/3 odds of McCaffrey being selected over the 9.5 pick, and has 11/10 odds of him being selected under the 9.5 pick.'s Dave Zangaro has McCaffrey being selected at No. 15 overall by the Indianapolis Colts -- the pick after the Eagles, who are slotted at No. 14 -- in his mock draft.

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette has consistently been in the top 10, or sometimes even the top five, of mock drafts.

Many teams covet Fournette for his combination of strength and speed. The LSU product is 6-foot, 240 pounds and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.

Bovada has 2/3 odds of Fournette getting selected over the fourth pick and 11/10 odds of him getting drafted after the fourth pick.

How many RBs/WRs will be selected in first round?
Since Bovada has the same odds for the number of running backs and wide receivers going in the first round, we combined the two.

If you're living under a rock and haven't been following NFL mock drafts since the season ended, there have been three running backs and wide receivers consistently selected in the first round -- WR Mike Williams, WR Corey Davis, WR John Ross, RB Dalvin Cook, RB McCaffrey and RB Fournette.

Here are the identical odds for both position groups:

Over 2.5 with 1/5 odds.
Under 2.5 with 3/1 odds.

How many defensive players will be selected in first round?
This one can get tricky, because you'll have to bank on a few teams getting desperate and drafting some quarterbacks to hit the under.

Over 18.5 with 1/1 odds.
Under 18.5 with 5/7 odds.

How many Alabama players will be selected in first round?
Alabama is the gold standard for NFL players. Every year, the university churns out first-round talent on the opening night of the draft.

In Zangaro's afformentioned mock draft, he has five Alabama players being selected.

Here are the odds:

Over 4.5 with 11/10 odds.
Under 4.5 with 2/3 odds.