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.

Carson Wentz further asserting himself as Eagles' leader in Year 2

Carson Wentz further asserting himself as Eagles' leader in Year 2

It's not like Carson Wentz wasn't a leader last year. 

He was. 

From the moment the No. overall 2 pick arrived at rookie camp in May, those leadership qualities the Eagles discovered during the pre-draft process were immediately on display. Wentz is a natural leader at a position that necessitates it. 

So in his rookie season, he led. 

"I thought that was all kind of natural, things naturally happened," Wentz said. "Yes, I was a rookie but I don't think that I was by any means quiet. I wasn't just the guy that rolled with the punches and went with it. I thought I was still doing my job as a leader as well. But the longer we're playing this game and the more experience we have, the more we can just step up our leadership as well."

If Wentz was a leader in his rookie season, he's really a leader now.  

Last year, he arrived to the Eagles' offseason after the whirlwind of the NFL draft and admitted on Tuesday that he "didn't really know where the locker room was." Hard to lead when you don't know where to get changed. 

And throughout last spring, he was the team's third-string quarterback preparing for a redshirt season until he was thrust into the starting role after the Sam Bradford trade, just a little more than a week before the start of the season. 

A year sometimes makes a huge difference. 

This year, he's the guy, the face of the franchise, the unquestioned leader of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. 

"There’s definitely a poise about him," receiver Jordan Matthews said. "You can tell it’s not like last year when he was thrust into the position. He knows his role, he knows he’s the guy, and I think there’s a sense of confidence that comes with that, a sense of poise that he handles extremely well. I’m excited to see what he does this whole offseason and what we’re going to do moving forward."

Wentz is the Eagles' leader on and off the field. He's planning on getting together with his receivers and skills position players again this summer, something he thinks will become an annual trip. 

Earlier this month, Wentz took his offensive linemen out for a day of shooting guns and eating steaks (see story). He bought his entire line shotguns last Christmas. 

It might not seem like a summer get-together or a trigger-happy trip would help the Eagles on the field, but it might. After all, the team's being closer certainly won't hurt. And Wentz, 24, is the guy facilitating all of it. 

Then there's the way Wentz leads on the field. He's always had control of the huddle, but with more time in the offense, he knows what he wants. Center Jason Kelce said the more knowledge Wentz gains of the offense, the "more comfortable (he is) voicing [his] opinion." 

"And I think that he's definitely asserting his style on the offense," Kelce said. 

For the most part, Wentz had a pretty good season as a rookie, flourishing early, hitting a long rough patch, and then finding his way out of it. He ended up throwing for 3,782 yards and set an NFL record for completions as a rookie. 

The Eagles this year, and in the foreseeable future, will go as far as Wentz leads them. 

"They say the biggest jump is from year one to year two, so him just knowing what’s coming, he looks like a vet already," offensive tackle Lane Johnson said. "Pretty extraordinary."

Sir Charles and Shaq made things personal last night and it was fantastic

Sir Charles and Shaq made things personal last night and it was fantastic

Shaq always has the trump card -- and by that we mean championship rings -- to throw in Charles Barkley's face. But with that said, Sir Charles is probably a much better trash talker and therefore has a superior mouth to defend himself with and throw barbs back in Shaq's direction.

The mouthy duo got into it a bit last night and it teetered between fun and lighthearted and a little personal.

Shaq attacks Chuck for only playing in one NBA Finals and therefore not really knowing what he was talking about. Charles claps back at Shaq for having ridden Kobe and Dwyane Wade's coattails. 

During an NBA playoffs that has been mostly boring, at least these two can still entertain us.