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Lee, Ruiz Among 2009 NL Champion Phillies Not Scheduled to Appear at 10th Anniversary Celebration

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

When the Philadelphia Phillies hold a special 10-year anniversary celebration of the 2009 National League championship team this Sunday, one of the most important players that led the team to success will not be in attendance, Cliff Lee, along with his battery-mate, Carlos Ruiz.

The Phillies announced on Monday the following players, manager and coaches from the team scheduled to appear at the ceremony (subject to change):

Manager & Coaches:

  • Charlie Manuel
  • Mick Billmeyer
  • Rich Dubee
  • Pete Mackanin
  • Sam Perlozzo
  • Milt Thompson

Continue reading "Lee, Ruiz Among 2009 NL Champion Phillies Not Scheduled to Appear at 10th Anniversary Celebration" »

Zach Ertz Rises to No. 40 on NFL Top 100 List

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles found themselves represented on the 2019 NFL Top 100 list with Carson Wentz falling from the top of the list to the bottom.

A few days later, center Jason Kelce appeared on the list for the first time in his dominant career.

On Sunday night, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz heard his name called as he rose from number 68 in 2018 to number 40 on this year's list.

Continue reading "Zach Ertz Rises to No. 40 on NFL Top 100 List" »

Eagles Sign Long-Time Cowboy Orlando Scandrick to One-Year Deal

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles were down yet another corner at training camp with Cre'von LeBlanc now in a boot and out for a few weeks.

In response to the injury, the team claimed undrafted free agent corner Alex Brown off of waivers and brought in long-time Dallas Cowboy Orlando Scandrick for a workout.

The team got some good news in that LeBlanc is thought to have only suffered a foot sprain and should be ready to start the season.

Continue reading "Eagles Sign Long-Time Cowboy Orlando Scandrick to One-Year Deal" »

Cre'Von LeBlanc Shows Up at Eagles Training Camp in Boot, Team Works Out Orlando Scandrick

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

When the Eagles started training camp, among the players missing after just one day were corner and fan favorite Cre’Von LeBlanc.

The fact that he was not at practice seemed to indicate a potential trade, one that would not be surprising. With a roster that contains Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox and Josh Hawkins, a trade of some depth to someone like the Jets and their new GM Joe Douglas should not be surprising. Not all the players can make the 53-man and it is better to recoup some draft picks rather than simply cut players.

But the Eagles said that his absence was injury related and it seems that that is indeed the case.

On Saturday, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports reported that LeBlanc was at practice, but was wearing a boot, meaning the injury could be serious.

Continue reading "Cre'Von LeBlanc Shows Up at Eagles Training Camp in Boot, Team Works Out Orlando Scandrick" »

Is It Worth It for the Phillies to Trade?

By Jake Finnerty

As the July 31 trade deadline nears, Phillies fans continue to wonder if it’d be worth it to trade.

Currently, the Phillies are sitting at a 54-49 record, which brings them to 6 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East and one game back for the second NL Wild Card spot. If the team continues at this rate, would it be worth it to trade multiple developing prospects or even young talent in the league for a short-term player?

When talking about the Phillies, one word seems to come up a lot in conversation: pitching. That one word says it all. Phillies are in need of depth in their bullpen, along with more strong starters.

As we near the deadline, rumors have surfaced that the Phillies are interested in potentially trading for Indians starter, Trevor Bauer, and Diamondbacks starter, Zach Greinke. Bauer has the rest of this season and all of next season on his contract, while Greinke has two more seasons left on his.

The question is: how much would you be willing to give for a one- or two-year pitcher? If it were to come down to it, would the Phillies give up some of their young talent or top prospects just for two pitchers? It just doesn’t seem to be worth it.

To acquire either Bauer or Greinke, you’d have to give up at least one of your top lineup players and multiple prospects, and also possibly cash. Giving up a good player on your starting roster and top developing talent will ruin your chances in the future for a championship. You acquire one or two solid starters, but what about your hitting or bench batting, or even the bullpen?

On top of that, you’d get a solid starter for a maximum two years and then there’s no guarantee he returns. You trade away your young players to chase a second Wild Card spot in 2019. There’s no guarantee you’ll even make it past the Wild Card round or even make the Wild Card. No trade involving your young talent or top prospects makes any sense to me.

Keep your young guys, let them develop, and use them to win a championship in the future. Do not try to trade for a rental pitcher who may only give you the chance at a Wild Card spot. Thinking to the future of the Phillies, a trade would make no sense for this season. Keeping the young guys and prospects gives you more time for growth and development into a championship team instead of trying to rush into it.

Come 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, we’ll see if the Phillies front office thinks it will be worth it to trade for one or two pitchers to add to the team.

Jason Kelce Cracks NFL Top 100 for First Time in Career

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

On Monday, Carson Wentz was shown a great disrespect when the players dropped him from number 3 to 96 on the NFL Top 100 List.

The team got their second player on the list, though it could be debated whether his ranking is disrespectful or not.

For the first time in his career, Eagles center Jason Kelce was selected to the NFL Top 100. You read that correctly and that is not an error – this is Kelce’s first appearance on the list.

A case could be made that offensive lineman as a whole are underrated on this list, but to put this in perspective, there were 8 players on the NFL Top 100 in 2018 that play on the offensive line. Jason Kelce was ranked as the top lineman by multiple credible outlets in 2017 and was still left off the list.

Continue reading "Jason Kelce Cracks NFL Top 100 for First Time in Career" »

Phillies Open Critical Series Against Braves This Weekend

By Matt Albertson, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Philadelphia Phillies return to South Philly for a crucial series against the division leading Atlanta Braves this evening. The Braves are 4-6 in their last 10 games and were just swept in Atlanta by the rebuilding Kansas City Royals. On the other hand, the Phillies are 7-3 in their last 10 games and just completed a road trip where they recorded four wins and only one loss. The Braves lead over the Phillies in the division was at a season-high 9.5 games on July 15 but is now down to 5.5 games. 

The Washington Nationals are one game ahead of the Phillies in the standings and are in a three way tie for the two wild card spots, along with the Cubs and Cardinals. 

The Phillies must win two games to keep pace in the division race but can make the race really interesting with a sweep of the Braves this weekend. It seems that the Phillies are catching the Braves at an opportune time, too. Not only are the Braves scuffling over the past ten days, but rookie pitching sensation Mike Soroka has been mediocre over his last seven starts. During that span, the young righty has posted a .318 BAA, a 4.38 ERA, and a 3.63 FIP. Overall, Soroka has been excellent in his nine road starts, sporting a 6-0 record with a 1.13 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. The Braves are 13-4 in Soroka's starts this season. 

The Phillies will counter with veteran right hander Jake Arrieta. Since announcing that he had a marble-sized bone spur in his right elbow, he has allowed just two earned runs over his last 10 2/3 innings. Arrieta needs a continuation performance for the Phillies to win tonight. It will also be interesting to see what Arrieta's pitch selection will be against the Braves. Arrieta's slider usage has almost completely stopped since he announced his injury so it will be interesting to see if that trend continues. The Braves have stacked the lineup with left handed batters tonight, with only Acuna Jr., Donaldson, and Soroka the only dedicated right handers. Arrieta's opponents slash line against lefties this season is .319/.391/.529 with 11 home runs surrendered and 30 runs earned. In 2015 when Arrieta won the Cy Young, his opponents slash was .159/.221/.228 with 3 home runs surrendered and only 17 runs earned. 

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Atlanta Braves (60-43) PHILLIES (54-48)
RHP  Mike Soroka RHP Jake Arrieta
(2019 10-2, 2.46 ERA) (2019 8-7, 4.40 ERA)

Continue reading "Phillies Open Critical Series Against Braves This Weekend" »

The Return of the Burgundy Bombers


By Matt Albertson, Historical Columnist 
The Phillies will wear the infamous "Saturday Night Specials" uniform ensemble this Saturday night against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves will also wear period throwbacks. The all-burgundy uniforms were only worn once 40 years ago on May 19, 1979 when the Phillies lost to the Montreal Expos 10-6. 
Sports nostalgia continues to boom and the Phillies are capitalizing on it with their continued use of 1970s and 1980s uniform schemes and one offs. Three years ago the team wore 1976 uniforms complete with the opening day pillbox cap. Last year the team announced it would wear the popular powder blue 1980s away uniforms at home for Thursday day games. The Phillies were the second club in major league history to wear throwback uniforms when they donned 1957 retros in 1991. But none of the uniforms since then have been as unusual and unique as the 1979 "Saturday Night Specials". 
The original uniforms were the dual brain child of then club president Bill Giles and the 1970s loud uniform craze. The traditional flannel baseball uniform from the 1950s and 1960s gave way to polyester and outrageous color combinations. The team already sported burgundy batting practice jerseys so the novelty of a reverse uniform sans pinstripes (could you imagine if they had pinstripes) seemed worth a shot. But the players hated them immediately. Larry Bowa said they reminded him of uniforms worn for Sunday afternoon softball. Greg Luzinski hated the color because they  looked grape. Larry Christenson, the starting pitcher who made his debut that night in 1979, said that the uniforms were dark and struck the wrong cord with the players. Reliever Tug McGraw said that the entire team hated them because they looked like softball uniforms. 
The Phillies had a 4-0 lead over the visiting, sputtering Expos in the top of the 4th when Christensen beaned catcher Gary Carter. Carter made like he was going to charge the mound but trotted to first. Christenson told Inquirer reporter Matt Breen that he thought there was going to be a brawl after the benches cleared. "I thought itw as going to be a brawl in these purple-nurple uniforms. But nothing happened." The altercation fired the Expos up and they went ahead to beat the Phillies 10-6. Larry Bowa blamed the uniforms. After the game, Luzinski told owner Ruly Carpenter that he'd never wear that uniform again and the team threw the uniforms in the trash. Bill Giles told reporters after the game that the uniforms didn't match up to their exceptions; they fit right and they were too dark for TV.  
The team hated the uniforms but some fans did not. The Inquirer reported on May 27 that club received numerous calls from fans across the country asking to buy the uniforms. The club agreed and sold the entire ensemble for $200 each, with proceeds benefiting intellectually disabled children in the Delaware Valley. Fans have already tweeted the New Era Clubhouse store asking if the uniforms will be available for purchase this weekend, complete with zipper front. 

Part of the distaste for the all-burgundy uniforms was because they ere so dark. The lighting industry has vastly improved in the past 40 years and Citizens Bank Park's new LED lighting will literally shine new light on the old color scheme. Saturday night, we will find out whether or not the LED's superior color rendering index will have fans and players alike viewing the uniforms in a different light. 

Assessing the 76ers' Backup Point Guard Position After Signing Trey Burke

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

A lot has changed in the Philadelphia 76ers backup point guard role from last season to right now. Ben Simmons is still the obvious starter and will be playing most of the minutes. TJ McConnell signed with the Indiana Pacers in free agency and the team traded Markelle Fultz to the Orlando Magic mid-season. 

As for the point guard rotation behind Simmons heading into this season, it begins with Shake Milton: a young, developing player who had his contract converted from a two-way deal to a four-year NBA contract. After that, it's a battle between two veterans who both provide different skills to the roster, Trey Burke and Raul Neto.

Continue reading "Assessing the 76ers' Backup Point Guard Position After Signing Trey Burke" »

76ers Fill Roster, Sign Trey Burke to One-Year Contract

By Kevin Condit, Sports Talk Philly Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers and guard Trey Burke have agreed to a one-year contract, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. 

The contract is for the veteran minimum, with Burke set to reportedly make up to $1.84 million in the upcoming season, according to The Inquirer's Keith Pompey

Burke brings some shooting and much needed guard depth to the 76ers. Many were under the impression that Shake Milton would lock down some minutes at the backup guard spot after the team signed him to a four-year contract earlier in the offseason. However, he looked very "shakey" in Summer League, shooting poorly from outside and struggling to control the ball.

Continue reading "76ers Fill Roster, Sign Trey Burke to One-Year Contract" »