Your Wednesday Morning Roundup

Photo credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies won’t finish the season with 100 losses. Another small good thing in a pretty bad season.

They defeated the Washington Nationals 4-1 thanks to a two-run double by Cameron Rupp in the third inning. Starter Jake Thompson had a strong outing, going five innings and giving up one run on four hits while striking out five. The Phillies’ bullpen struck out nine in four innings of work.

Record-wise, this season was worse than last year’s 71-91 record, but there have been plenty of bright spots to show the near future. Ever since the arrival of Nick Williams in July, the team has started to become somewhat watchable. Will this change in 2018? I hope. But there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done.

Phils and Nats go at it one final time in 2017 tonight at 7:05. Mark Leiter Jr. goes for Philadelphia, while Tanner Roark opposes him for Washington.

The Roundup:

The best thing I read yesterday was Philly.com’s wonderful article of the oral history of the 2007 Phillies’ regular season finale.

Aaron Nola’s numbers have quietly been some of the best in baseball, from Ryan Lawrence of Philly Voice:

The fact that we’re in the final week of the 2017 season and talking about where Nola ranks among baseball’s best pitchers is somewhat remarkable given where we were a year ago, or even just six months ago with the 24-year-old right-hander. Nola missed the final two months of the 2016 season with an elbow injury and no one was still quite sure what to expect when he began making regular turns in the Grapefruit League back in March.

It’s safe to say Nola has quieted the pessimistic critics. And it’s also fair to say that Mackanin has been more than pleased to have a pitcher like Nola slotted anywhere in his rotation going into 2018.

While Rhys Hoskins is in a home run drought, Nick Williams is currently in a hit drought.

The Eagles brought back a familiar face in Kenjon Barner to replace Darren Sproles on a one-year deal. Barner recorded 129 rushing yards, 42 receiving yards, and two rushing touchdowns in 13 games with the Eagles last season.

Even without Sproles in the mix, the team can still have a diversified running game.

ESPN’s Tim McManus writes about Doug Pederson’s two analytics assistants that help him decide whether or not to go for it on fourth down:

Pederson named one of them at his day-after news conference — coaching assistant/linebackers coach Ryan Paganetti, a Dartmouth grad with a degree in Economics who spent two years as an analyst for the team. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich told ESPN there is a second voice that can be heard over the game-day communications system when it comes to such matters — director of football compliance Jon Ferrari.

The pair weighs in throughout the game, Reich said: after just about every touchdown on whether to go for one or two; during the final two minutes of each half to discuss timeouts, etc.; and when the team gets into what is considered fourth-down territory — usually around midfield and beyond. Sometimes Pederson initiates the dialogue; other times, the men upstairs do.

Carson Wentz now owes Jake Elliott a game check. But he may have worked out an alternative:

An Eagles fan claims Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall spat at his face.

After losing in overtime at MSG on Monday, the Flyers won the second leg of a home-and-home against the New York Rangers 4-3. Travis Konecny had the game-winner in the extra session.

It was Sam Morin’s turn to be the top young defenseman. The former first round pick scored the Flyers’ first goal and had a team-high four hits.

“I really don’t put pressure on myself. I know I belong here,” said Morin, a first-round selection (11th overall) in the 2013 draft. “I think I’m ready for the NHL, to be honest. I just have to keep working hard and show those guys I can make it.”

With the Flyers in a 2-0 deficit, Claude Giroux  — who again played left wing on Sean Couturier’s line — raced into the right circle, pirouetted, and dropped a pass to the on-charging Morin in the high slot. The big defenseman put a wrist shot behind Pavelec with 1:24 remaining in the first.

“I just saw ‘G’ had the puck and when he has the puck you have to be ready for the pass,” said Morin, who barely missed scoring a second goal when his backhander from the doorstep went wide midway through the third period. “I was coming from the bench and I just shot the puck toward the net and sometimes the puck goes in.”

Is Morin behind his fellow 2013 draft counterparts in terms of development?

Sam Carchidi is not a fan of protesting the National Anthem.

After spending a couple years in the AHL and some limited experience in the NHL, Jordan Weal is part of the young Flyers core.

Make no mistake, Weal was a darling of the Flyers fan base last season. They wanted him to make the team out of training camp. But the coaching staff thought Weal left a lot of meat on the bone in camp a year ago.

“He’s earned [his spot this season] and he’s kind of earned it the old-fashioned way,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “He spent more than a couple years in the AHL. The reality is he probably didn’t have the type of camp that he had hoped last year, but he went to Lehigh and earned it.

“He was arguably the best player in that league for several months. He’s earned the opportunity to be in a different spot [this year]. He works at his game and competes really hard. Right now, like any player, he’s working to get his game to a regular season level a week from now – and he’s earned that.”

The Sixers officially opened up training camp in Camden. After practice, head coach Brett Brown said he wants the team to make the playoffs:

“As I said to the group, our goal is to make the playoffs,” Brown said. “There are several other teams … they are in a room saying something similar. So to me, let’s talk about what that really means.”

The fifth-year head coach was speaking in terms of what his team needs to do to make a playoff berth possible. That’s understandable. But before Tuesday, Brown spoke of the challenges that will come with starting two rookie ballhandlers in Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. He never publicly mentioned trying to make the playoffs. Simmons and Fultz have done a great job of that, while Brown and the Sixers’ front office downplayed the heightened expectations.

Brown still loves Joel Embiid, who won’t participate in 5-of-5 drills throughout camp.

There’s two Okafors at camp this season, but they’re not related. Former first round pick Emeka Okafor is trying to return to the NBA after a four-year absence:

“Being back in this environment, being back in the NBA umbrella, with the guys, the team, talking to the press, just feels so good,” Okafor said Monday. “It feels like putting on a suit that’s always been the right fit, or your favorite pair of jeans, however you want to put it. It just feels very, very natural.”

Why, if something feels so right, would he wait so long to come back? The timing wasn’t right and he wanted to continue rehabbing in a way that would promote longevity.

“Making sure I was healthy and strong and ready to come back and play the way I wanted to play,” Okafor said.

What starting lineups may or may not work for the Sixers this season?

Logan Marchi and Frank Nutile will battle for the starting quarterback job this week, according to Temple head coach Geoff Collins.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright reflects on his time with the late Rollie Massimino.

In other sports news, 10 people involved in college basketball, including four assistant coaches and a senior executive at Adidas, are facing federal bribery, fraud, and corruption charges in what could be the start of something big. And maybe the end of Rick Pitino at Louisville.

Researchers at Boston University may have a biomarker to help diagnose CTE while people are living:

In a study published Tuesday in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers found that the biomarker, the protein CCL11, might also help distinguish CTE from Alzheimer’s disease, which often presents with symptoms similar to CTE and also can be definitively diagnosed only postmortem. The ability to diagnose CTE in the living would allow not only for the development of possible therapies to treat the disease, but also for research into prevention.

“This is a step forward from our knowledge gained in understanding CTE from brain donations,” says study senior author Ann McKee, a MED professor of neurology and pathology, director of BU’s CTE Center, and chief of neuropathology at VABHS. “It’s a hopeful step. The whole point is to understand as much as we can from the individuals who’ve fallen, so we can apply it to our future veterans and athletes.”

Dwyane Wade is expected to reunite with LeBron James in Cleveland once he clears waivers today.

DirecTV is allowing some subscribers to cancel their Sunday Ticket packages because of the National Anthem protests.

It might reach hockey as well, as Joel Ward, a Canadian, may take a knee during the National Anthem:

“It’s definitely something I wouldn’t cross out,” Ward said when asked by the Mercury News whether he’d consider taking a knee during the national anthem at an upcoming Sharks game.

“I’ve experienced a lot of racism myself in hockey and on a day-to-day occurrence. I haven’t really sat down to think about it too much yet, but I definitely wouldn’t say no to it.”

Deadspin did a feature on Raiders superfan Dr. Death and why he’s giving up on football if the Raiders move to Las Vegas.

Ric Flair claims he’s slept with around 10,000 women in his life in his 30 for 30 documentary. He now regrets saying that.

Huh:

In the news, Twitter is expanding their character limit from 140 to 280 and it already sucks:

The Saudi king has lifted a ban on women drivers.

A teen is dead and three others are injured in Germantown.

The Commerce Department is slapping a tariff on Canadian planemaker Bombardier.

Aerosmith is cancelling the rest of their South American tour after singer Steven Tyler suffered “unexpected medical issues.”

Dave Roberts on CBS tonight will feel really weird:

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16 Responses

    1. These players that are disrespecting our anthem are setting back race relations 50 years. Huge mistake. The left has completely imploded. Trump will win again in 2020. If the dems don’t have a reasonable person ( George Stefanopolis) they will lose again in 2024.

      1. how does what position a player is in during a 2 min song effect you in any way whatsoever?

        it’s totally meaningless. they keep doing it because people like you get so bent out of shape about it.

          1. while I would agree that Trump isn’t helping matters, guys like Kaepernick and Jenkins were doing their “protest” thing last season, well before Trump was elected. Trump is just an easy target for everyone right now, but let’s face the facts, this stuff has been going on for decades, and believe it or not, even during Obama’s term. My question/concern for all the protesters would be, when will it all end? When will someone wake up one day and say, well, there is no more inequality, so let’s stop kneeling. This is all going to filter down to the college sports, high school, everywhere. It’s sending a message of hey, it’s all “their” fault. When will it end?

  1. “In other sports news”????

    You better start paying attention to this FBI investigation. It’s going to have a long-lasting impact on college basketball which, last I checked, was pretty big in Philadelphia.

  2. Have basically become the LiveStrong bracelts of 2017. Just a fashion statement at this point. A Scause for Applause. I stand for standing!!

    1. Reminds me of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” also, where many/most folks had no idea what the original purpose was and just did it for likes and look at me attention.

  3. Some people just don’t get it.
    Its doesn’t matter what YOU think, it matters what the person who is offended thinks.

    Regardless of what the anthem ACTUALLY MEANS A whole lot of people were brought up believing that the anthem is used as a means of showing respect for the
    military and the country they died for. Its called ‘perception’.
    When players knell, sit down or what ever these people feel insulted and they boo, cancel their season tiks, burn steelers crap
    or whatever as a show of their displeasure.

    That’s all there is to it.

    1. Players have come out numerous times to explain why they are doing this. The fact is Trump furthered the ignorance to that with his idiotic remarks the other day. Every player I have heard talk about this has nothing but respect for the military and the country itself. All they’re doing is raising awareness. They are getting the attention. Unfortunately no one is seeing the message. All they are seeing is the action and responding negatively.

      1. Funny thing is that it was dying out as far as getting attention like till idiot Trump had to comment on it.

    1. I’ll take it! Got to find some pitching…Clearwater will be one huge ‘American Idol’ tryout next Spring…

  4. I can’t stand Eytan’s raps.

Comments are closed.