Today in Philly Sports History: 13-Game Win Streak Ended by Pirates, 1991

Today in Philly Sports History: 13-Game Win Streak Ended by Pirates, 1991

It's one of those The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same deals. What do the Phillies do these days when they're looking to bust out of a slump? Beat up on the Nationals. What did the Phillies do in 1991 when they were looking to bust out of a slump? Beat up on the Nationals--then better known to non-time-traveling audiences as the Montreal Expos. Over a 13-game stretch in 1991, the Phils faced the Padres twice, the Cubs three times, and Les Expos a total of eight times, winning all 13 games. A 40-58 team when the streak started, the Phils moved from 21 1/2 to 12 1/2 games back by its end--not exactly making them contenders, but at least keeping them from being a total afterthought. On August 13th, 1991, though, whatever good vibes and good times the streak had started were finally put to an end.

Remarkably, as recent as 18 years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates were still a force to be reckoned with, and they were absolutely rolling as the Phils came to town that day in '91. Getting a quality start from reigning Cy Young champ (and current proud Phillies papa) Doug Drabek, the Pirates took the game 4-3 on RBIs from Andy Van Slyke and Jose Lind, padding their first place, 66-45 record. Unfortunately, the Pirates proved too formidable in general for the Phils in those days, as the loss marked, ironically enough, their thirteenth loss in a row to the Buccos. 

Thus ended, the streak still tied the thirteen-gamer pulled off by the classic 101-win '77 team for the longest stretch of winning in modern franchise history (though they went for sixteen in a row a couple times in the 19th century, supposedly). Meanwhile, the Phils finished off the season a mediocre 78-84, while the Pirates won the division, eventually losing a seven-game NLCS to the pennant-winning Braves.

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Cesar Hernandez returns to the Phillies' punchless lineup on Saturday afternoon against the Reds (4 p.m./TCN).

Hernandez, who missed Friday night's 5-2 loss with a groin injury, is back at second base and leading off. Hernandez has led off in all 44 games he's started this season. The fifth-year pro has struggled after getting off to a torrid start. He's hitting just .185 (10 for 54) over his last 14 games.

After bouncing around the lineup, centerfielder Odubel Herrera returns to his customary spot in the two-hole. Herrera's season is a microcosm of the Phils' woeful offense. An All-Star in 2016, Herrera is hitting just .227 this season. Manager Pete Mackanin hopes the Venezuelan will hit his way out of it soon (see story).

Here is the rest of today's lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

Top NHL draft prospects Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier get CHL awards

Top NHL draft prospects Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier get CHL awards

Brandon center Nolan Patrick and Halifax center Nico Hischier, the projected top two picks in the 2017 NHL draft, on Saturday afternoon added some CHL hardware to their trophy case.

Patrick won the Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect Award, beating out Hischier and Windsor's Gabriel Vilardi, while Hischier edged Swift Current's Aleksi Heponiemi and Guelph's Ryan Merkley for the CCM Rookie of the Year Award.

Injuries forced Patrick to play just 33 games this season, but he still produced at a point-per-game pace for Brandon. He finished with 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists).

Hischier scored 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games with the Mooseheads, his first season in the QMJHL after coming over from Switzerland.

The Flyers have the No. 2 overall pick. If the draft goes as projected, the Flyers will come away with either Patrick or Hischier, whoever the New Jersey Devils do not pick.

The 2017 NHL draft is June 23-24 in Chicago.

Missing history
Flyers prospect Carter Hart had a chance to become the first goalie in CHL history to win the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Year Award twice, but this year's award went elsewhere.

Owen Sound goalie Michael McNiven on Saturday afternoon took home the 2016-17 CHL Goaltender of the Year Award. McNiven was 41-9-4 for the Attack this season. He posted a 2.30 goals-against average and .915 save percentage with six shutouts.

McNiven led the Ontario Hockey League in save percentage, and his six shutouts were tied with Windsor's Michael DiPietro for the league lead. His 41 wins were tops in the OHL.

Hart, 18, posted a 32-11-6 record in 54 games with the Everett Silvertips in 2016-17. His 1.99 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and nine shutouts were all ranked No. 1 in the WHL.

Despite missing out on the CHL Goaltender of the Year Award this year, Hart previously did win the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy as the WHL's Goaltender of the Year for the second straight season. He was twice named the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week and had a shutout streak of 193 minutes and 48 seconds during the regular season.

Hart was one of three second-round picks by the Flyers in the 2016 NHL draft.