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East QF Game 6 Preview: Flyers face elimination at home

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The Flyers face elimination in Game 6 on Tuesday night. (Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography)

Tuesday night could be the last time the Flyers take the ice in the 2013-14 season. Of course, that is under their control.

The Flyers host the Rangers in Game 6 from Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 with tomorrow on the line. A win forces a decisive Game 7 in the series and keeps the Flyers season alive. A loss ends with the traditional handshake that sends the Rangers on their way to the second round.

Continue reading "East QF Game 6 Preview: Flyers face elimination at home" »


Flyers Five: Comparing 1997's Rangers series with this year's

 


(left to right) Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Eric Lindros and Dainius Zubrus shake hands after the Flyers' Game 5 victory in the 1997 Eastern Conference final.

The last time the Flyers and Rangers met in the playoffs was 1997 -- a well-documented tidbit during this series. It's tacit that the NHL is an entirely different game between now and then -- 17 years is a LONG time in the hockey realm -- but just for fun, this week's Flyers Five looks at similarities and differences within the team then and now.

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Podcast Ep. 98: Setting Up Game Six, Gus vs. Gill

FF on FD logo

On this edition of the Flyers Faithful Podcast on Flyerdelphia.com, Steve Jacot and Hal Greenblatt look at the Flyers as they head into game 6 against the New York Rangers, down 3-2. Topics include the team's line and offensive difficulties, Hal Gill vs. Erik Gustafsson, Steve Mason, Scott Laughton, and more.

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Fantadelphia: The Four Week Wait

  Fantasy-baseball

(c/o Google Images)

It's the end of April, which can mean only one of three things:

  1. Your fantasy team is unstoppable, and you're already laughing your way to the bank.
  2. Your fantasy team is awful, and you are in all-out scramble mode to avoid being the laughingstock of your friends, family, and co-workers.
  3. You don't play fantasy, and you live a miserable existance. 

Whether you are playing with categories,  points, head to head or roto, we have four weeks of data to obsess over instead of building powerpoint presentations for the boss.  Now is the time that our inner Billy Beane kicks in, and we scour the waiver wire for the next big prospect, harass our friends to make a big splash, or turn off the lights and turn up Adele.  After four weeks, the leauge is starting to take shape.  You need to take a look for that move (or moves) tat can improve your team for the long haul.  What should you be looking for?

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing conversation is heating up right now.  George Springer was brought up, and has somehow exceeded even the loftiest of expectations.  Every year we hear about this guy, and every year we are disappointed.  Mike Trout is by far the biggest fish (see what I did there?) to have ever been transferred to the big pond, and even he was awful in his first go round.  (Seriously, look it up)  After his trip back down to the minors, he figured something out and went bananas for the last month of the season.  You cannot count on this happening again, but there are a few big names to keep an eye out for.  Gregory "don't call me Placido" Polanco has been talked about as a better version of Andrew Mccutchen, somehow drawing comparisons to Jadevon Clowney.  Jon "get the h out" Singleton will absolutely be a monster, based solely on the fact that the Phillies dealt him away.  Oscar Tavares has seemingly been talked about since before Mike Trout, but has yet to set foot in St. Louis.  Unfortunately for you, they are probably already scooped up.  Now is the time I would try to make a move, dealing away anyone around the top 100 in the MLB for one of these guys.  It may be tough, but this is where you may have to pay the least.

The Underacheiver

Honestly, this is the least amount of fun.  Nobody wants to deal for a guy who is stumbling his way through a Major League Season.  These are the guys to take a look for now.  Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Eric Hosmer, and Allen Craig have all stumbled out of the gate.  See if you can pry away one of these guys for half the price of draft day. Unfortunately, half the price of a metric buttload is still half a buttload.  We need to be realistic here, and try to get guys who will help us out, but won't cost us our posterior.  I hate the term "professional hitter."  Technically every non-pitcher in the MLB is a professional hitter, sooooooo, that's dumb.  Salvador Perez was one of those guys.  He makes great contact, has some power, and plays on a team of underacheivers.  With a few higher points of .OBP from the likes of Moustakas and Hosmer, and we will see his counting stats improve.  Zach Wheeler, despite his status as a dum Met, is a spectacular play.  Wil Myers had a beautiful rookie season, fulfilling the prophecy of the one true king.  Unfortunately, he has been more King Joffrey in 2014, haplessing swinging his sword pretending to be a threat.  He is going to be the kind of pickup you can get for cheap, yet has a phenomenal upside in both redraft and keeper leagues.

The Lame Horse

This year seems to have really saddled us with immense injuries.  More than 15 pitchers have gone under the knife, risking even their 2015 season.  (Hint: Don't target those guys)  We have also seen our fair share of star injuries, with torn thumb ligaments for both Josh Hamilton and Bryce Harper.  Jurickson Profar hasn't had a single at bat this year, and Manny Machado is progressing slower than we thought.  Start to  send some feelers, and see if you can pry away some talent that has a few weeks to go on the DL.

 

Take a few minutes this week and take a look around your league.  Most likely the bottom of your league has teams filled with guys who have spent some time on the DL.  These teams are most likely to make a deal, with hopes of turning their year around.  The prospects are a crapshoot, butsee what you can do to get one of them on your squad.  The underacheivers are going to be your best bet.  People get tired of watching their team flounder, and you will be able to get the best bang for your buck.   Keep an eye out for the best deals, and happy trading! 

Scott Anderson is a writer for Philliedelphia.com. Follow him on Twitter @therealscottya 


At Playground Build, Jeffrey Lurie and Chip Kelly Speak About the Eagles' Release of DeSean Jackson

Chip Kelly
Chip Kelly paints.  Photo courtesy of Matt Lombardo

Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly spent some time this afternoon at Prince Hall school in North Philadelphia as part of the Eagles annual playground build.   This was Kelly's first real time in public since the release of DeSean Jackson.   Also present was Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.  Would they speak?

Our friend Matt Lombardo of 97.5 the Fanatic and NJ.com grabbed some quotes from both given the situation:

But - couldn't the Eagles get something of value in return for him?  Kelly didn't think so:

What about Jeffrey Lurie?  Would his perspective be any different?

Kelly now faces the task of finding a suitable replacement for Jackson at the wide receiver position.  Kelly did address that, too, somewhat:

Kelly would of course be foolish to publicly give his draft strategy now.

As we get closer and closer to the draft, we are unlikely to get any extra information out of Kelly or the Eagles prior to their selection.   As for the DeSean Jackson release, we only will be able to fully judge it when we get to see how the roster shapes up as a whole when camp breaks.


Phillies Catcher Carlos Ruiz is National League Player of the Week

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What a week Carlos Ruiz had for the Phillies.  Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times is reporting that Ruiz is being honored as National League Player of the week.

Here was Ruiz's week:

  • 11 for 22 (.500 average)
  • Five walks
  • One home run
  • Seven RBI

Ruiz now has a .296 average, .412 on base percentage, and an .891 OPS, batting at various points in the Phillies lineup, including second, fourth, and seventh.


The Illogical, Indefensible Decision to Play Hal Gill

 

Hal Gill

Photo by Amy Irvin/38 Photography

It's not a stretch to say that Hal Gill's play cost the Flyers the game on Sunday afternoon. Gill was on the ice for the Rangers' 2nd and 3rd goals that effectively buried the Flyers at 3-0 in the second period, and both came directly following miscues from Gill. On the second Rangers goal, Gill whiffed on a glorious scoring chance that could have (and should have) knotted the score at 1.

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The Phillies at Four Weeks- Could They Be.... Good?

The Phillies third week of the season was their worst week of the year. They started out by losing two of three to the hated Braves, and then opened their West Coast trip with two losses in Colorado, to a team that isn't exactly picked to win it all. The Phillies were going to have a losing week, and were close to getting swept on Sunday, before rallying to win a big one. That game proved to be the beginning of a run where the Phillies have won 6 of 8, and passed .500 for the first time since week one.

The Phillies remain in fourth place, 4.5 games behind Atlanta, but right about where they need to be. They beat up on the highly-regarded Dodgers for three wins, and took two big ones from the Diamondbacks. Now they get to welcome in the hated-Mets for two, followed by the equally loathsome Nationals for the weekend. How they do this week could be very telling for the ball club.

All of this begs the simple question- could the Phillies be better than we all thought? I did predict a winning season (84 wins), and fought with myself on whether or not I should go higher. I chose not to in the end because this was an old team coming off of a couple of bad seasons. Still though, an opening month that has been better than what we all maybe thought does beg the question of "what if?"

For me, I find their good start interesting because of the fact that this team is essentially what I thought. A.J. Burnett has been really good, as has Cliff Lee on the whole. Cole Hamels first start back was very positive, and Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez have rounded out the rotation fine. The rotation is probably the strongest part of this group. The line-up has been pretty decent too though. I can't say anything bad about the "old guys" start- Howard, Utley, Rollins, and Ruiz have all been no worse than decent. Ben Revere may leave something to be desired defensively, have no power, and not yet get on-base at a high enough number, but he's hitting .312 and has nine steals already, meaning if he fixes even one of those flaws he'd be a pretty good player, and Marlon Byrd has come to life lately. Dom Brown hasn't gone on fire yet, and i'm disappointed in everyone at third, but overall the line-up has been a positive.

The thing is, the bullpen and bench have sucked as bad as I thought. On the bullpen side, Papelbon has surprisingly been the most positive thing, though I can't complain too much about Mike Adams, so far. After that, no one has been great, and I'm only really confident in Bastardo at this point. The Phillies should be looking at every free agent available right now in the bullpen. The bench is an even bigger mess. While Nieves and Gwynn have been capable enough, so far, the rest have been close to useless. Freddy Galvis looks overmatched, Jayson Nix has no real use, and John Mayberry Jr. has only further proven that his only use is pinch-hitting against mediocre lefties. I said in Spring Training, and I'll say now, that the Phillies picked their bench wrong- you pick bench players for their bats, overall, and not the positions they back up at.

The good news is this- both of those areas should actually get better. You can improve a bench at any time on the trade and waiver market, and it's not that expensive. We also can expect Darin Ruf to be back in a few weeks, and to be a huge step up. On the bullpen front, two names on the DL stand out right now. One, Ethan Martin is starting to throw, and to me, has late inning reliever all over him. Two, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, known to us as MAG, is throwing again, and it might surprise you- he was hitting 94 mph on Sunday and apparently throwing well. You start to look at this and say- what if? If these guys step in and help the bullpen, could this team be very good? Could Ruf be everything they need on the bench? The answer might be yes.

Let's not get carried away though, 13-12 is just that. If they have a good week against two teams they're looking up at in the standings, perhaps we'll be talking different in a week, but for now, let's remind ourselves that the Braves pitchers have given up two runs or less 22 times already this season. If the Phillies want to compete, they will have to be better than they've been over the first 25 games, but they're basically on pace to get my 84 win prediction, so far.