Victorino, Phils Topple the King in Seattle, Extend East Lead

Victorino, Phils Topple the King in Seattle, Extend East Lead

Vance Worley rejoined the Phillies earlier this week and was immediately tasked with getting the team a win against one of the best pitchers in the world. Felix Hernandez was on the mound for the Mariners in Seattle, where the Phils had dropped the first game of the series the night before. Not exactly the ideal recipe for keeping the Phillies run of series wins alive.

But Worley was solid through five innings, allowing just one run in the second and working his way out of a few jams to leave a 1-1 game in the hands of an incredibly capable bullpen as the Phillies bats took swipes at King Felix and the M's pen.

Shane Victorino led the Phillies' attack, just a single short of the cycle and contributing a ground rule double with the bases loaded in the seventh. That put the Phils up by a pair and ended Felix's night. Michael Stutes earned the W by taking the mound and allowing a pair of walks while inducing two outs, and Antonio Bastardo came in to K the living crap out of Adam Kennedy. Bastardo also pitched a 1-2-3 eighth before giving way to Ryan Madson in a non-save situation ninth.

It would have been another save opp for Doggie had Vic not gone and RUINED it in the top of the frame, putting a two-run shot over the right field wall to extend the Phillies' lead to 5-1.

Notes:
•The top of the order was white hot, with both Jimmy Rollins and Victorino notching three hits.
•Ryan Howard also had a good night at the plate, sac'ing in the game's first run and  adding a double and a single.
•Nice to see the Phils strike out only five times with Felix on the mound
•The Braves lost again, so with the Phillies' win, they extended their lead in the NL East to 6 games over Atlanta, and 9.5 over both the Mets and the Nats. Yes, the Nationals are winners of eight straight, moving past the free-falling Marlins and sniffing at .500.

Homemade Phanatic is a descendant of the famous Roche clan, James, brother of CSN Philly producer Dan Roche.

Are we there yet? Philly Sports Talk examines the state of the Flyers

Are we there yet? Philly Sports Talk examines the state of the Flyers

All week on Philly Sports Talk on CSN, we examine how our teams got to this point and where they are in the rebuilding process. 
 
Today, we finish up by taking a look at the Flyers.

 
How did we get here?
The Flyers' rebuild had begun when Ron Hextall returned to his old stomping grounds in the summer of 2013 as the team's new assistant general manager.
 
He took over GM duties after one season and the philosophical change was in place. Paul Holmgren was made president and Hextall's imprint, which had already started, was ready to become bigger.
 
What Hextall inherited was a cap-stricken team fresh off a first-round playoff loss, an organization that had tried to spend its way to immediate results instead of putting greater focus on the long game.
 
Some of the past decisions are well-documented: signing enigmatic goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million deal in 2011 after trading for him. With a buyout, the Flyers are still paying Bryzgalov through 2027. Signing veteran center Vinny Lecavalier to a five-year, $22.5 million contract in 2013. And signing imposing defenseman Chris Pronger to a seven-year, $34.55 million extension — nobody could foresee the unfortunate concussion issues that suddenly derailed Pronger's career, but it was nonetheless a hurdle for the Flyers moving forward.
 
Hextall has adeptly maneuvered through much of those rocky waters.
 
Now, the Flyers are a more cost-efficient (partly because they have to be in this salary cap world), draft-oriented organization planning for the future while not ignoring the present. This rebuild hasn't been a total demolition, but more of a retooling — a smart but tricky process, especially down the line.
 
Are the Flyers on the right path back to prosperity?
The youth is coming.
 
Hextall, oftentimes close to the vest, made that abundantly clear at his end-of-the-season press conference.
 
"Our young players, they've done enough," Hextall said in early April. "Our young players are going to get a long look. We don't plan on going out and signing veterans on the back end. Our kids, it's time to give them a shot, and we're going to do that."
 
But the really hard part is just beginning — results. Can the prospects catch up and meet the current core? The pressure for it to start has never been higher.
 
Help does appear to be on the way, though, for a team that regressed this season and missed the playoffs for the third time in the past five years.
 
Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon, Felix Sandstrom and Carter Hart give the Flyers future options in net.
 
Two promising prospects are expected to join Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere and company on the blue line.
 
Oskar Lindblom, a dynamic 20-year-old winger, could crack the Flyers' group of forwards, which should have Jordan Weal and Valtteri Filppula for a full season.
 
Also, don't forget forward Mike Vecchione, a Hobey Baker finalist who signed with the Flyers out of Union College in late March.
 
Oh, and the No. 2 pick of the draft — likely a talented center — is in the Flyers' grasp.
 
The 2017-18 season will be a telling time for the Flyers. Patience has been required, but when will it be rewarded?
 
The clock is ticking.

The Game of Zones-Joel Embiid mashup you didn't know you needed

The Game of Zones-Joel Embiid mashup you didn't know you needed

There are times in all of our Internet lives when we come across a piece of content that we don't quite understand, that we didn't really know we needed, yet fills our black Philadelphia sports fan hearts with joy anyway.

Today is one of those days.

And that piece of content is this Game of Zones x Embiid mashup.

If you're unfamiliar, this is the latest in Bleacher Report's fun take on a Game of Thrones / NBA mashup.

There's the mountain of a man that is Joel Embiid laid up with a presumably bum knee. There's the Temple of Shirley potion to give him life. There's the maester Sam Hinkie shouting off his analytics spells. There's Hinkie talking about growing the seeds and reaping the harvest. There's a terrifying looking Dario. There is a raising of the cat. 

Perhaps the best part is Jahlil Okafor attempting to hold the door.

What does it all mean? I don't know. But I trust it.