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March 2014

Jimmy Rollins Leads Phillies Offense in First Spring Win.


The last two days of Spring Training the Phillies lost to the Blue Jays.  Before today’s game, the Phillies were looking to get back on the right foot. Starting for the Phillies was Kyle Kendrick against Jose Alvarez, the Tigers’ Minor League Pitcher of Year, looking to make the Tigers’ 25-man roster.

The Game: In the first inning, Kendrick got off to a slow start, giving up a hit and two walks, before Nick Castellanos doubled to deep center clearing the bases. Kendrick ended the inning with a strikeout of Trevor Crowe. 3-0 Tigers

To start the 2nd inning, Kendrick walked Luis Exposito, but settled down to retire the next three batters. At the bottom of the inning, Marlon Byrd lead off the inning with a single for the Phillies first hit. Two batters later, Carlos Ruiz walked to move up Byrd. With two outs, Darin Ruf hit an RBI ground ball single to put the Phillies on the board. 3-1 Tigers

Sean O’Sullivan replaced Kendrick in the 3rd inning, and set down the side 123 with two strikeouts. In the bottom on the inning, the Phillies had an offensive explosion. The bottom of the inning started with a Rollins walk, and an Utley single. After a Howard strikeout, Byrd singled to load the bases. Domonic Brown hit a sharp ground ball to second base only to have the second baseman not touch the bag and had a throwing error to first; both Byrd and Brown were safe. Rollins scored on the play. Carlos Ruiz was then hit by a pitch to bring in the tying run, followed by Maikel Franco drawing a walk to give the Phillies the lead. Darin Ruf hit a ground out, but drove in Ruiz. After a walk of Tony Gwynn, Jimmy Rollins came up for the second at bat of the inning, and worked the count until he saw his pitch and hit a three-run homerun. 9-3 Phillies

In the top of the 6th, Luis Garica came in to pitch and was very shaky. After a single by Austin Jackson and an error by Reid Brignac, Nick Castellanos hit his second double bringing in a run. Trevor Crowe and Luis Exposito followed with a ground out and a sacrifice fly to bring in two runs. 9-6 Phillies

 In the bottom of the 8th, Lou Marson lead off with a double and Freddy Galvis moved him up with a fly out. Leandro Castro grounded out to bring in Marson to end the scoring for the day. 10-6 Phillies

 Justin De Fratus came in the 9th to close out to game. He started off giving up 2 straight hits before striking out the side.

 Other Phillies pitchers making apperarances in the game were Aumont and Jimenez.

 Some notable offensive performances:

Jimmy Rollins: 1-1, 1 HR, 2BB, 2R, 3RBI

Chase Utley: 1-3, 1R

Ryan Howard: 0-3 2 K

Marlon Byrd: 2-3, 2R

Darin Ruf: 1-3, 2RBI

Impact: This game starts the Phillies headed in the right direction winning the first game of the spring. Key players such as Jimmy Rollins look to be taking more pitches and looks more confident at the plate and willing to take the walk. If this continues through out the spring and into the regular season look for the offense to improve.

Up Next: The Phillies travel to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to face the Yankees. The Phillies will send David Buchanan to the hill versus C.C. Sabathia at 1:05. Note: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will make his first appearance in tomorrow’s game.  


Andrew Shipotofsky is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @AShipotofsky


Iverson Night Sixers Tickets Are 150% Higher Than Season Average Prices

Allen Iverson’s No. 3 will be retired by the Philadelphia 76ers in a halftime ceremony Saturday during Philadelphia’s game against the Washington Wizards. Since the announcement of the jersey retirement, Philadelphia 76ers tickets on the secondary market have increased in price to make Saturday’s game one of the most expensive games at Wells Fargo Center for the entire season. With little else to celebrate this year, Sixers fans are fine to look fondly on the success of one of the most popular players to ever wear a 76ers jersey.


As the number of tickets available continues to drop as the game gets closer, the average price on the secondary market is now $204.30 per ticket. The cheapest ticket for the game is currently $118, 50% above the average price for the remainder of Philly’s home games this season. The average price for this game is over 150% more than the average price of Sixers tickets spanning the entire 2013-14 season. Saturday’s game is also creeping up on January 17’s home game against the Miami Heat, which so far has been the highest priced home game of the season.


The current group of 76ers have been one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, though most of that has been to design. Philadelphia is all-in on a rebuilding process, accumulating draft picks and young players to develop into future stars. The plan has shown some success in its first season as rookie Michael Carter-Williams could be the best rookie the Sixers have drafted since Iverson in 1997. Still, only so much can seem successful during a season with a 15-43 record.


Iverson will be just the eighth 76er to have his number retired by the franchise, joining  Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Maurice Cheeks, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham and Bobby Jones. Iverson’s career highlights include being the 1997 NBA Rookie of the Year, 2001 NBA MVP, an 11-time NBA all-star, three-time All-NBA first team and four-time NBA scoring champion. In 2001, Iverson led the 76ers to the NBA Finals in their first appearance since 1983 and the franchise has not returned to the finals since.

Washington isn’t the most compelling opponent with a record barely over .500, even though they are currently slotted as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Still, the game on Saturday will be less about cheering on the current day Sixers and more about celebrating the career of one of Philadelphia’s favorite players.

Martin Hurting; Pettibone Returning; Gonzalez Scratched

JpetPhoto Credit: Andrew Gillen

A few bits of information stemming from Clearwater today. The first set of news came as a result of yesterday's game against the Blue Jays. Phillies right hander Ethan Martin left the contest after facing four batters with a bit of shoulder soreness, according to multiple sources. He is scheduled to go an MRI, but the general consensus doesn't seem to be all to concerned.

Another young hurler, Jonathan Pettibone, was also sidelined for a few weeks this Spring. Arm issues similar to Martin's held the potential fifth starter out of throwing sessions this far into camp. This morning, Ryan Lawrence reported that Pettibone is ready to get back at it. A 20-pitch bullpen session got the young pitcher back into a confident stride, telling reporters that he is ready to get back into regular work. Lawrence suggests that Pettibone is on a similar track to Cole Hamels. Both players will miss very little time, if any at all.

Finally, as there always seems to be, some news on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Several sources have him missing his start tomorrow against the Yankees. Gonzalez was already set to start yesterday's game, but that was pushed back until tomorrow. Now, it seems he will be pitching out of the pen. A loose translation from a tweet by Angel Ibo Castillo seems to confirm this:


Pitching, pitching, pitching. It always seems to be a huge point with the Phillies, good or bad. John Buchanan will get the start tomorrow.

Andrew Gillen


Around the Net February 28, 2014: Flyers mauled by Sharks, Rangers next; Trade deadline looms


Welcome to Around the Net, a bi-weekly look through linkage at the Philadelphia Flyers and other news from around the NHL.

Flyers bleed out in sloppy return

The Flyers followed up a good first period with a horrible second and lost 7-3: [The Checking Line-Jordan Kuhns] [Hockeybuzz-Bill Meltzer] [CSNPhilly-Tim Panaccio]

If the Flyers are going to make a run

Sam Carchidi lays it all out: [ Carchidi]

Trade deadline looms

The rumors and innuendo has picked up and will continue until March 5th. The latest: [Hockeybuzz-Eklund] [Kuklas Korner- Sabres Ehrhoff available?] [TSN Tradecentre]

NHL Capsules

A recap of last night's action: [The Hockey News]

Every shift counts, so go see the Flyers push for the playoffs. Get your Philadelphia Flyers tickets here.

That's all for this week, join us Monday as the trade deadline creeps closer and we see if any major moves happen in the NHL.

NBA Draft Profile: Adreian Payne

It seems like Adreian Payne has been playing college basketball for six years now. The Michigan State senior, despite suffering a foot injury, is enjoying his most productive season. He is averaging over 16 points per game and 7.5 rebounds on a very good Michigan State Team.

The Dayton, Ohio native has enjoyed a number of big games this season, including dropping 33 points against Texas. Though he’s had games in which he was not scoring particularly high numbers, he never really had any poor shooting games, aside for a 1-for-6 game against Oklahoma earlier this season.

What makes that so incredible is that Payne does not have the body of a jump shooter. Rather, he is a tall, athletic big man with a wingspan of 7'4".

He does use that incredible body to do two things. One is to create shots for himself from the top of the key and wings, where he has space to maneuver. He also used it on defense and is very rangy, given his height and wingspan. Payne is a tremendous defender in the post and protects the rim well.

Otherwise, he is a bit limited as he is still raw. He is still growing both physically and mentally. Physically, he is looking to grow into his frame as Payne stands at only 215 pounds. Once he does, he will become more of a force in the post. At his current build, he’ll be eaten alive in the post when matched up against guys like Serge Ibaka in the NBA.

Mentally, he is still maturing. He is improving his work ethic and in-game motor to play fluently and play hard. Often times, he’ll settle for simply jump shots when he could otherwise get by on moves, seemingly because he wants to move on and get the shot off as soon as possible. This is unacceptable at the NBA. He also needs to develop a better vision of the court.

What gives Payne a big advantage and bodes well for projecting how far he will develop is the fact he already has a perimeter game. Payne already has made 26 three’s this season, and counting, and that gives him more value at the next level as he has another way to score. See Kevin Love.

With his head screwed on right and the right coaches around him, Payne can have a nice career as a pro.

The Verdict: He’s not a lottery pick. Payne will likely fall somewhere in the 20’s in the first round. He’d be a nice player to get your hands on if you are in the neighborhood of his selection. The 76ers could package a bunch of their second-round pics for a late first round pick. This is not as unlikely as it seems, as NBA teams do not like late first round picks because they are guaranteed contracts. If Sam Hinkie could put himself in position to be near him, he’d be a nice scoring complement to Nerlens Noel as a role player off the bench his first few seasons. Plus, Brett Brown is exactly the type of coach that can get him thinking and approaching the game the way he should. Plus, his mental lapses won’t be much of an issue off the bench.

Phillies Look For First Win This Spring As They Face The Tigers


Photo Courtesy of Kevin Durso


Yesterday, the Blue Jays were too much for the Phillies as they fell 5-7. There were a few bright spots in the game including homeruns from Darin Ruf and John Mayberry Jr. Cliff Lee looked very sharp in his first outing giving up one run on two hits and no walks in two innings.

Today, Kyle Kendrick (2013: 10-13, 4.70 ERA) gets the start in his first spring game of 2014. Kendrick and the Phillies will be facing off against Jose Alvarez and Tigers at Bright House Field. Kendrick will look to have a bounce back year, returning to 2012 form when went 11-12 with 3.90 ERA and going on the disabled list for the first time in his career in 2013. Making 30 starts at the age of 28, Kyle is in the prime of his career. Also schedule to pitched after Kendrick is Sean O’Sullivan, Justin De Fatus, Phillippe Aumont, Luis Garica, and Cesar Jimenez.

Jose Alvarez, a rookie last season for the tiger, went 1-5 with a 5.82 ERA in 2013. At the age of 24, Alvarez will be looking to remain in a strong Tigers rotation that includes Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. With Verlander having a few question marks this spring, Alvarez could fill in for the Ace righty early in the season. Tigers are also playing the Yankees at home in Lakeland, Fl.

Game Notes:

·      Buchanan now listed to start over Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez on  Saturday

·      Jonathan Pettibone returned to the mound this morning, said felt good

·      Ethan Martin will see a doctor today after leaving yesterday’s game

Today’s Lineups:

Phillies lineup:

1.     Tony Gwynn Jr. CF

2.     Jimmy Rollins SS

3.     Chase Utley 2B

4.     Ryan Howard 1B

5.     Marlon Byrd RF

6.     Dominic Brown LF

7.     Carlos Ruiz C

8.     Maikel Franco 3B

9.     Darin Ruf DH

Kyle Kendrick will start for Philadelphia

Tigers lineup:

1.     Heran Perez SS

2.     Andy Dirks LF

3.     Jordan Lennerton 1B

4.     Austin Jackson CF

5.     Tyler Collins RF

6.     Nick Castellanos 3B

7.     Trevor Crowe DH

8.     Luis Exposito C

9.     Devon Travis 2B

Jose Alvarez will start for Detroit


First Pitch: 1:05 PM ET

Location: Bright House Field, Clearwater, Florida

Weather: 67o Mostly Sunny



Andrew Shipotofsky is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @AShipotofsky

Connor Barwin Opens Up About Eagles Locker Room Culture

Connor BarwinConnor Barwin revealed a glimpse of what NFL life is like in a locker room culture that has been in the limelight all offseason. 

Few topics have been more discussed in NFL circles this offseason than the locker room culture of America's favorite pastime. 

From Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin in Miami to what could happen to the team that drafts Michael Sam in May, the curiousity of what goes on behind closed doors has never been higher than it is at this very moment. 

Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin gave a peak behind the curtain in a piece he authored for Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback that outlines the many differences between the traditional office atmosphere and the locker room atmosphere in the NFL.

Continue reading "Connor Barwin Opens Up About Eagles Locker Room Culture" »