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February 2019
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Richard Rodgers Re-Signs with Eagles on Two-Year Deal

Embed from Getty Images

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles will be retaining yet another free agent from the 2018 roster.

The Eagles announced on Thursday afternoon during the Phillies Opening Day game that they had re-signed tight end Richard Rodgers to a two-year deal.

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Phillies Announce 2019 Opening Day Roster

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies have set their 25-man roster, ahead of Thursday's 2019 season opener at Citizens Bank Park against the reigning National League East champion Atlanta Braves.

Thirteen pitchers, two catchers, five infielders and five outfielders make up the roster, along with RHP Tommy Hunter and outfielder Roman Quinn set to start the season on the injured list.

Pitchers (13+1):

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Phillies to Open 137th Season Behind Harper, Nola

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

For the second straight Opening Day, the Philadelphia Phillies will embark on a new season behind RHP Aaron Nola – the franchise's 137th – opposite RHP Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves Thursday afternoon, home at Citizens Bank Park.

Bryce Harper will make his highly anticipated Phillies regular season debut, along with Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, and J.T. Realmuto. Rhys Hoskins returns to the everyday role at first base, while the longest-tenured Phillies player – second baseman Cesar Hernandez – returns for his seventh season and fourth straight Opening Day start. Through 40 career at-bats opposite Teheran while with the Washington Nationals, Harper has slashed .450/.577/1.125 with eight home runs, 19 RBI, 11 walks and just five strikeouts.

Nola receives his second straight Opening Day starting nod of his now five-year big-league career, as second-year manager Gabe Kapler begins his second season. Teheran, meanwhile, begins his ninth season and will make his sixth straight Opening Day start for the Braves, who have fallen in three of the veteran's Opening Day appearances, outscored 18-13 and outhit 37-31.

The Phillies have lost three of their last four season openers since 2015, outscored 25-11. Right-handers Nola (2018), Jeremy Hellickson (2016-17) and southpaw Cole Hamels (2015) were the Phillies starters in those contests. The club's last season opener at home was 2015, when it, behind Hamels, was shut out 8-0 by the Boston Red Sox in a rare, early Interleague series.

The Phillies are 61-73-2 all-time on Opening Day.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

 Atlanta Braves Philadelphia Phillies
RHP Julio Teheran RHP Aaron Nola
(2018: 9-9, 3.94 ERA) (2018: 17-6, 2.37 ERA)

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Hart, Couturier Lead Flyers in Shootout Win Over Maple Leafs


(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

After a wild overtime where the Flyers appeared to have won the game only to have another quick whistle take it away, Carter Hart was experiencing another first: his first shootout at the NHL level. And he had a lineup of All-Stars coming at him.

Hart never wavered, making four saves in the shootout, including on attempts by Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and William Nylander, as the Flyers got the only goal of the skills competition from Sean Couturier to seal a 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center.

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Flyers-Maple Leafs: Game 77 Preview


(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

With back-to-back losses over the weekend, it is over for the Flyers, who will fall out of the playoff race mathematically sometime in the coming days. With that, the final days of the season will be about trying to finish strong and getting a look at players who may have not seen the ice recently.

The Flyers first opponent in the final six games is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just 12 days earlier, Toronto delivered a blow to the Flyers playoff chances by rallying from down 5-2 for a 7-6 win.

Game time is at 7 p.m.

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NFL Owners Vote to Allow Replay Review of Pass Interference Calls, Non-Calls

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The owners of each NFL team held another meeting Tuesday and passed a rule change for the 2019 NFL season that is sure to have a major impact on the game.

The new rule expands replay review capabilities by allowing teams to challenge phantom pass interference calls, be the defensive or offensive, as well as challenge a pass interference that was not called.

The obvious reason for the change stems from a blatant miss in the NFC Championship game that may have cost the Saints a trip to the Super Bowl had the Rams correctly been charged with a pass interference penalty. Instead, the Rams advanced and had a pitiful showing in Super Bowl LIII, falling to the New England Patriots.

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Flyers Sign F Michael Raffl to 2-Year Extension

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

With the 2018-19 season nearly in the books, the offseason is right around the corner for the Flyers. Before the book closes on the current season, they did manage to address one of their pending free-agent contracts.

The Flyers have signed forward Michael Raffl to a two-year extension, GM Chuck Fletcher announced on Tuesday afternoon. The deal is worth $3.2 million with an average annual value of $1.6 million.

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Breaking Point: Flyers Tough Schedule Became Too Much to Handle

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Two weeks ago, the Flyers picked up a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. It was Monday, March 11, and the Flyers had taken a 16-point deficit in the standings and closed the gap to within three points of a playoff spot.

But the three games that followed -- and the four since, a seven-game stretch where the Flyers have gone just 2-5-0 -- has really put an end to all the playoff talk as a difficult schedule of games that were all must-wins at this point simply became too much.

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Sports Illustrated Predicts Phillies to Return to World Series in 2019

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The 2019 season will not only mark the first with Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson and Jean Segura, among others, as teammates, but also exactly one decade since the Philadelphia Phillies last played in the World Series.

Ironically, Robertson was on the New York Yankees in 2009, playing in his second season, when his club denied the Phillies back-to-back World Series championships by defeating them in six games.

Fans have high hopes now, with Harper, but most do not go as far as what Sports Illustrated has predicted. The magazine, which recently featured Rhys Hoskins, Harper, Aaron Nola and Realmuto on one of their regional 2019 MLB season preview covers, is predicting the Phillies to reach the World Series before ultimately falling to the Houston Astros.

The Washington Post writes of Sports Illustrated's "high hopes" for the Phillies:

SI projects the revamped Phillies, who boast a powerful lineup but not much in the way of proven starting pitching beyond Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, to finish 92-70, seven games ahead of the 85-77 Nationals, followed by the Mets, Braves and Marlins. The Brewers and Dodgers are projected to win the NL Central and NL West, respectively, with the Cardinals and Cubs claiming the two wild cards. In the playoffs, SI predicts the Astros will defeat the Phillies in the World Series. Apparently those expectations followed Harper up Interstate 95.

The magazine picked the Washington Nationals, Harper's former team, to play in the 2018 World Series against the Yankees. Clearly, neither happened, and that very well could be the case for its 2019 prediction.

Wouldn't it be something, though, if Harper led the Phillies deep into "Red October" in his first of at least 13 seasons in red pinstripes? Time will tell.

Phillies Re-Sign Andrew Romine to Minor-League Deal

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Just four days after being released, utility player Andrew Romine has returned to the Philadelphia Phillies on a minor-league contract, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury. Romine, 33, will report to minor-league camp on Tuesday, and will serve as minor-league depth in case of injury at the big-league level.

Romine collected 10 hits this spring over 18 games and 39 at-bats; he doubles and homered once and produced four RBI, three walks and two stolen bases (.256/.310/.359). The nine-year veteran played with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from 2010-13, the Detroit Tigers from 2014-17, and the Seattle Mariners in 2018. Over 581 career games, the switch-hitter has slashed .235/.291/.301 with 38 doubles, 10 home runs, 81 RBI, 82 walks and 287 strikeouts.

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