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February 2018
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Without Embiid, Sixers turn focus to Hawks in Atlanta

By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor 

 Tip-off: 7:30 pm ❖ Location: Atlanta, GA ❖ TV: NBCSP ❖ Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic 

Well, who knew this day would come this season? Joel Embiid had been doing almost completely perfect on injuries this season, at least to his lower body. And now, it looks as if the Sixers will need to learn how to survive without Embiid for the rest of the season and possibly for the first round of the playoffs as well.

The Philadelphia 76ers (44-30) travel to Atlanta on Friday night to face the lowly Hawks (21-54) for the second time this season. They will need to figure out a solution for the center spot without Embiid.

Continue reading "Without Embiid, Sixers turn focus to Hawks in Atlanta" »

Kingery tabbed for MLB debut as Phillies face Foltynewicz, Braves

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

After blowing a five-run lead to the Atlanta Braves (1-0) on Opening Day, Gabe Kapler and the Philadelphia Phillies (0-1) will look to rebound behind RHP Nick Pivetta Friday evening at SunTrust Park. Pivetta will oppose five-year veteran RHP Mike Foltynewicz.

Phillies No. 2. Scott Kingery prospect will make his first big league start, batting sixth as the third baseman in lieu of Maikel Franco. Starting for the Braves at the hot corner is Ryan Flaherty, who appeared this spring with the Phillies as a non-roster invitee. Catcher Andrew Knapp will make his second start for the Phillies in as many games, instead of No. 7 prospect Jorge Alfaro.

Left fielder Rhys Hoskins provided the Phillies an early 1-0 lead in Thursday's season opener with a two-out RBI double in the first. The score remained the same until the the sixth: second baseman Cesar Hernandez went yard — his second straight home run on Opening Day — Franco walked with the bases loaded and Knapp hit a RBI single. Kapler pulled starter RHP Aaron Nola despite logging 6 1/3 shutout innings on 68 pitches (48 strikes), and the club's 5-0 lead soon evaporated after. In relief, LHP Hoby Milner allowed his inherited runner to score, along with another, while LHP Adam Morgan and RHP Hector Neris allowed two and three earned runs, respectively.

Friday will be a rare, next-day game following Opening Day, as there is usually a built-in rain date on day No. 2 of the regular season for teams to avoid a doubleheader at the onset of the season. The Braves opted instead to have the off-day on Easter Sunday, noted the Phillies radio broadcast. Ten other games (20 teams) will also take place on Friday.

The Phillies have lost five of their last six games against the Braves dating back to August 30th's doubleheader last season. The Phillies are 5-5 all-time at SunTrust Park.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (0-1) Atlanta Braves (1-0)
RHP Nick Pivetta RHP Mike Foltynewicz
(2017: 8-10, 6.02 ERA) (2017: 10-13, 4.79 ERA)

Continue reading "Kingery tabbed for MLB debut as Phillies face Foltynewicz, Braves" »

Pick Swap Pod: Embiid's Injury & Process Hall of Fame with Liberty Ballers


In episode 15 of the Pick Swap Podcast, part of, Kevin Love of Liberty Ballers joins Brandon Apter and Josh Liddick to discuss Markelle Fultz's return, potential playoff opponents while also announcing the first ever Process Hall of Fame class.

Brandon, Josh and Kevin learn of Joel Embiid's injury news during the recording, sending the trio for a loop in the latest Pick Swap Pod.

Enjoy and make sure to subscribe to the Sports Talk Philly Podcast Networks on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Google Play.

Phillies Nuggets: The Gabe Kapler Honeymoon is Over

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor 

In December, I penned a piece discussing how 2018 would be the most important calendar year for the Philadelphia Phillies organization in some time. In it, I asked when the honeymoon for new manager Gabe Kapler would end. Opening Day of the 2018 season, it would appear, is the answer. 

Theo DeRosa recapped the Phillies Opening Day loss for, but some of Kapler's more controversial decisions in the team's 8-5 loss are worth examining even more deeply. 

Continue reading "Phillies Nuggets: The Gabe Kapler Honeymoon is Over" »

Embiid diagnosed with concussion, orbital fracture

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz knocked heads during the second quarter of Wednesday night's game against the New York Knicks Sixers fans collectively held their breathe as Embiid laid in agony on the hardwood before Sixers trainers came to his aide. 

Embiid was initially said to not have a concussion and a negative x-ray before being sent to the hospital for precautionary testing with what was diagnosed as a facial contusion. 

Continue reading "Embiid diagnosed with concussion, orbital fracture" »

Nola pulled early, bullpen loses game late

By Theo DeRosa, Sports Talk Philly staff 

Final: Braves 8, Phillies 5

ATLANTA — Aaron Nola wasn't ready to leave.

The Phillies' young star right-hander was dealing in the sixth inning. He'd already recorded one out in the frame, and had yet to allow a run.

He'd thrown just 68 pitches when new manager Gabe Kapler strolled out to the mound, demanding the ball. Nola gave it up. 

By the eighth inning, the Phils' bullpen had given it up as well. A 5-0 Phillies lead pretty quickly turned into a 5-5 tie game. Then, in the ninth, the Braves' Nick Markakis walked it off with a three-run home run, completing a streak of eight uncontested Atlanta runs.

WP: Arodys Vizcaíno (1-0, 0.00 ERA)  ❖  LP:  Héctor Neris (0-1, 40.50 ERA)

Continue reading "Nola pulled early, bullpen loses game late" »

Embiid won't travel with Sixers on two-game road trip


By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly editor  

Early in the second quarter of Wednesday night's game against the Knicks, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz collided and the Sixers big man suffered a facial contusion. He didn't return to the game and Embiid was taken to a local hospital for further testing. His Instagram story showed a short clip of him in a hospital bed with the caption "not good".

Per the Sixers, Embiid was released from the hospital this morning and there will be further information coming. He will not travel with the Sixers on their two-game road trip to Atlanta and Charlotte.

Joel will not fly with team today. We hope to provide a more detailed updated no later than tomorrow, likely sooner. He was released from hospital this morning.

Although Embiid passed initial concussion tests and x-rays at the arena were negative, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice reports that a concussion or facial injury has not been ruled out at this point.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer was told by sources that Embiid might have suffered a fracture to the orbital bone of his left eye, adding his eye was kind of caved in. Meanwhile, Derek Bodner of The Athletic reports that Embiid's absence will likely extend beyond the team's two-game road trip.

The Sixers remain a half game behind Cleveland for the third spot in the East, so the team will really need to cut down on mistakes more than usual and stay aggressive, despite just playing the Hawks on Friday. Beating Charlotte without Embiid might be tough with Dwight Howard on the other end, so it'll take an all-around effort to get through these two games and perhaps more if he's out for longer.

More as it develops...

Phillies Option Arrieta to Minors, Set Opening Day Roster


What do you do with your new $75 million pitcher on Opening Day? Send him to the minors, of course. The Phillies set their Opening Day roster on Thursday morning ahead of today's 4:05 p.m. Opening Day matchup against the Braves in Atlanta. The roster is without starter Jake Arrieta, who was optioned to Class-A Clearwater.

The move may just be a paperwork move. Arrieta is not projected to start until Sunday, April 8, when the Phillies take on the Miami Marlins during their opening series at home. With days off on Sunday, April 1 and Friday, April 6, the Phillies had the ability to carry an extra reliever until they need Arrieta. Arrieta, meanwhile, can continue to get ready for the season. Arrieta is behind schedule, since he was signed on March 12, missing almost an entire month of Spring Training.

Arrieta could stay in Clearwater and throw a game Extended Spring Training on April 2 or 3 and be ready to start for the Phillies on March 8. Or, Arrieta could simply remain with the Phillies and throw on the side as the Phillies take on the Mets in New York.

When Arrieta is ready, he will replace someone who begins the season in the Phillies bullpen.

As expected, the Phillies played starter Jerad Eickhoff (lat), Mark Leiter, Jr. (flexor strain) and Tommy Hunter (hamstring) on the 10-day disabled list.

Here is the Opening Day Phillies Roster:

Starting Pitchers (4):

  • Aaron Nola
  • Nick Pivetta
  • Vince Velasquez
  • Ben Lively

Bullpen (9):

  • Hector Neris
  • Victor Arano
  • Luis Garcia
  • Drew Hutchison
  • Pat Neshek
  • Jake Thompson
  • Edubray Ramos
  • Adam Morgan
  • Hoby Milner

Infield (5):

  • Carlos Santana
  • Cesar Hernandez
  • Scott Kingery
  • J.P. Crawford
  • Maikel Franco

Outfield (5):

  • Rhys Hoskins
  • Odubel Herrera
  • Aaron Altherr
  • Nick Williams
  • Pedro Florimon

Catchers (2):

  • Jorge Alfaro
  • Andrew Knapp

Goaltending Problem for Flyers Magnified with Injuries

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers goaltender situation grew even more frustrating and stressful with yet another injury. Less than halfway through his first game back from injury, Michal Neuvirth exited Wednesday night’s game with a lower-body injury, only prolonging the Flyers problems in the crease.

While the Flyers got a tremendous performance from Petr Mrazek in relief, the Flyers have struggled in goal throughout the month of March. The Flyers were able to keep some stability in goal for a good part of the year, until injuries started to surface in mid-February that turned this into an out-of-control roller-coaster ride.

Continue reading "Goaltending Problem for Flyers Magnified with Injuries" »

Cheeks to be inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It has been 25 years since Maurice Cheeks last stepped on an NBA court as a player. After patiently waiting his turn to hear his name mentioned among the greats of the game, he will finally receive the honor as he has been elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's class of 2018. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news:

Continue reading "Cheeks to be inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame" »