Tuesday Kickstart Links: Girls in Their Summer Rain Gear, Pretty Boy Cloyd, Babin and Richardson Return to Practice

Tuesday Kickstart Links: Girls in Their Summer Rain Gear, Pretty Boy Cloyd, Babin and Richardson Return to Practice

Please excuse us while we shake off the cobwebs of a long, summer-closing weekend this morning. The Phillies may have been away for the weekend, but it was still a busy couple of days at the Bank, where Bruce Springsteen played a pair of shows. Meanwhile, up on the Parkway, Jay-Z's Made In America Festival dodged the rain to bring in some starpower. Dan De Luca reviewed the Boss for the Inquirer [Inq]  and Patrick Rapa posted a Made In America photo gallery at CityPaper

Here are a few quick reads to get you caught up if you took the weekend off from sports. 

On the field in Atlanta and Cincinnati, the Phils won two of three this weekend, their only loss coming on a devastating home run by Chipper Jones off of Jonathan Papelbon on Sunday. That blast ruined a would-be sweep of the Braves, but the Phillies came back with a win to start the next series yesterday afternoon in Cinci. 

Tyler Cloyd faced 17-game winner Johnny Cueto and was up to the pitching duel task. Cloyd threw nine strikeouts and even got his first career hit, reaching base just before Jimmy Rollins went yard for his 1,999th career hit. A pair of Cloyd's IronPigs' teammates maintained the win for him as Justin De Fratus held the lead in the eighth and Phillipe Aumont earned his first career save despite allowing two hits and a run in the 9th, and the Phils closed out the holiday weekend with a 4-2 win. Through his first two starts, Cloyd has 14 K's, the third best mark in Phillies history. [Jim Salisbury, CSNPhilly

Searching for a running back to have at the ready if you need to replace AP or Ryan Mathews in your hastily drafted starting lineup for week 1? Maybe a Redskin back or three are on the waiver wire? Even if so, good luck picking out which one will get fantasy-volume totes in week 1. As usual, there's no clear picture as to which guy the Shanahans will feature in DC this week or this season. The RB picture is so murky there—in large part by design—that now-former tight end Chris Cooley last November said he never had any idea who was going to get the touches in a given week. This season, even possible "starter" Evan Royster doesn't put any stock in the Redskins' depth charts. [SB Nation

In Cleveland, the big news on Labor Day was that rookie running back Trent Richardson got to work, practicing for the first time since a knee cleanup by Dr. James Andrews in early August. Richardson's presence at practice, despite being in shorts with no contact, bodes well for his dressing for the opener, though it's not yet known how his surgically repaired knee will respond to continued activity this week. We'll have plenty more previewing the Browns later. [Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Eagles also saw a key player return to practice as sackmaster Jason Babin got some work in. Babin told reporters he's not quite 100%, but "adrenaline will pick up the slack." He returns to one of the most threatening defensive lines in the league, a deep group that faces a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start on Sunday in Cleveland. [Reuben Frank, CSNPhilly

The Flyers committed to Scott Hartnell for the long-term, and his brother got this sleeve tattoo in their honor. Yeah it fooled me for a split second, thankfully not long enough for me to actually do the post I was about to… [@Hartsy19

Ya gotta keep busy though, right NHLers? Because there's still a giant wedge splitting the labor discussions. [Scott Burnside, ESPN

Tyler Cloyd photo by US Presswire. 

Phillies-Brewers 5 things: Opportunity for a rare 4-game win streak

Phillies-Brewers 5 things: Opportunity for a rare 4-game win streak

Phillies (33-61) vs. Brewers (52-47)
7:05 p.m. on NBC10; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

For the first time since they won four straight from June 3-6, the Phillies have a three-game winning streak going. On Friday night, they were carried by the arm of Aaron Nola, who is on a roll since early June (see story). Going for the Phils' fourth straight win, Jeremy Hellickson toes the rubber Saturday against rookie lefty Brent Suter.

Here are five things to know for the game:

1. Gone streaking?
A winning streak! The Phillies have put together one of their better stretches of the season over the last week, winning four out of five beginning with the final game of their set in Milwaukee. 

While the offense has picked up its play in that span (6.2 runs per game in the last five), the pitching needs to be mentioned first. The staff has come together well and looks much more like what the team expected in the spring. Fitting, the three-game streak began with six quality innings from Vince Velasquez. This season has been a struggle for the righty, who came off the disabled list in the win.

On Wednesday, Nick Pivetta allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings, but the bullpen held the Marlins scoreless. And then there was Nola on Friday. He looked sharp from the get-go and found a second gear when the lineup turned over. The second time through the lineup, he struck out seven batters in the midst of retiring 10 straight batters.

Now to the offense. Going into Friday's win, the Phillies were ninth in team OPS in July. Nick Williams has 10 hits in his last six games, picking up where Aaron Altherr left off. Maikel Franco has a five-game hit streak and has raised his average to .233, the highest it's been since the Phillies' opening series in April.

Meanwhile, the Brewers are ice cold. They've lost six straight and have a tenuous hold on their division with the red-hot Chicago Cubs on their heels. They're only a game up on the Cubs and are one behind in the loss column. They're only 2.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh and 3.5 up on the Cardinals. The clock may have hit midnight on baseball's first-half Cinderella.

2. Hellickson at home
In his last time out, Hellickson had the Brewers off balance for most of his outing. He was cruising into the fifth inning with a 1-0 lead, but the righty made one big mistake, leading to a home run by Brett Phillips that put Milwaukee up.

While the Phillies won the game, it ended Hellickson's day. It was the first time in his last five starts that he had failed to complete at least six innings.

The righty has been on a mini-roll since he was roughed up by the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park last month. In his last five appearances, he has a 3.26 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings. He's allowed only 30 baserunners in that period and held batters to a .227 average. 

Looking at Hellickson's season as a whole, he has similar numbers away from CBP in 2017 compared to last year. However, he's faltered at home. He had a 3.16 ERA in 99 2/3 innings at CBP last year with a 4.55 K/BB ratio. This year, it's a 4.59 ERA with a 1.59 K/BB ratio while his home run rate has ballooned. It's not a great look for a pitcher the Phillies would like to trade.

3. Brewers turn to the rookie
With their division lead evaporating, the Brewers are turning to Suter, a rookie making just his 12th appearance and fifth start of the season after making 14 and two last year. 

And the lefty has looked good in limited action. In 32 innings, he has a 3.09 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks. He's allowed 32 hits and just one home run.

The 27-year-old lefty has had success despite his four-seam fastball topping out in the upper 80s. He still throws it 70.3 percent of the time working in his mid-70s slider and low-80s changeup with some success. He'll rarely throw his curveball. 

One may wonder how a lefty who doesn't touch 90 mph can handle RHBs. Believe it or not, Suter actually has a reverse split for his career, holding righties to a .680 OPS while LHBs hit .803 off him.

Suter has made three starts in July and has held hitters to a .254/.294/.317 slash line in 17 innings, striking out 15 and walking four.

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Speaking of lefties, Odubel Herrera has had better command of the strike zone recently. He's drawn a walk in four consecutive games and has five walks to go with nine hits since the All-Star break.

Brewers: Eric Thames has cooled off considerably since his hot April, but he still leads the Brewers with 23 home runs this season and has a .774 OPS since May. 

5. This and that
• The Phillies haven't won back-to-back series since sweeping Atlanta and Miami April 21-27. They've lost every home series since taking two of three from the Giants on June 2-4.

• In five career starts against the Brewers, Hellickson is 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA over 28 innings. 

• Mark Leiter Jr. took a loss for Triple A Lehigh Valley on Friday, but Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery hit their 21st and fifth home runs for the IronPigs, respectively.

With off-the-charts command, Kyle Young aims to become tallest MLB pitcher ever

With off-the-charts command, Kyle Young aims to become tallest MLB pitcher ever

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Phillies prospect Kyle Young is aiming to become the tallest pitcher in MLB history.
 
The 7-foot left-hander out of Long Island has become the staff ace in Short-Season Class A Williamsport, with a 1.59 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 34 strikeouts and just seven walks in 28 1/3 innings this season. Those numbers would be impressive for any 19-year-old pitcher, but when you consider his size, Young’s command is off the charts.
 
His coaches attribute that ability to an athleticism rarely seen in taller pitchers.
 
“The amazing thing with him is the coordination he brings to the table,” Crosscutters pitching coach Hector Berrios said. “It’s been off the charts for a guy his size to be able to repeat his delivery and not only do it with one pitch, he does it with all three pitches.”
 
Right now, those three pitches include a fastball that reaches the low 90s, a changeup and an off-speed pitch that Young calls a “slurve.” And he believes that his height gives him an additional weapon.
 
“Not even just because of the intimidation or anything, but also just the downward plane that I can get on the ball with my fastball," Young said. "I think that really helps induce groundballs. I know they’re going to hit it, everybody hits fastballs, but just try to get weak contact. That's the main goal.”
 
“He hides the ball fairly well in addition to the release point being a tad bit closer to the plate, which matters,” said Crosscutters manager Pat Borders, who you might remember as the starting catcher for the Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. “If you get a release point that's a foot closer, it's like adding some velocity. He's a kid now physically. In a couple years, you're going to have somebody that's throwing harder and already has the mindset and physical skills to do some damage.”
 
The Phillies selected Young in the 22nd round last year, and a $225,000 bonus swayed him to turn pro rather than accept a scholarship to Hofstra. Early in his professional career, it looks like money well spent by the Phillies.

You can see more on Young, 2017 first-round pick Adam Haseley and 18-year-old power-hitting sensation Jhailyn Ortiz on the next episode of Phillies Clubhouse, which airs Saturday (11 p.m.) and Sunday (12:30 p.m., 6 p.m.) on CSN.