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Flyers 5: Takeaways from Game 3 of Flyers-Islanders

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

There are moments within a game where you need your best players to carry you. It’s usually when you lean on your goaltending for a big save or a top scorer to deliver the punch needed that gives you the edge.

For a lot of the game, the Flyers did get the big save from Carter Hart. But noticeably absent were the top players who helped establish a 3-0 lead in Game 2.

The Flyers need more from these players, especially if they are to see this playoff run go any further. They need their top scorers. They need their best performers. They need the guys who get the most ice time to really earn it. They need their leadership group to step up on the ice.

It didn’t happen in Game 3, that’s for sure. For two periods, the Islanders imposed their will, smothered the Flyers and didn’t allow much of anything. They were once again opportunistic, once again ready to bounce on chances, once again simply the better team overall.

Here are 5 takeaways from Game 3 of Flyers-Islanders.

Continue reading "Flyers 5: Takeaways from Game 3 of Flyers-Islanders" »


Islanders Smother Flyers to Take Series Lead

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

For the second straight game, the Flyers came out and had a solid first period. And then the Islanders took over.

Two opportunistic goals in the second period gave the Islanders the edge and they never looked back, capitalizing on the first power play of the game in the third period as well to put the game essentially out of reach.

The result was a 3-1 decision for the Islanders that gave them the 2-1 series lead.

Continue reading "Islanders Smother Flyers to Take Series Lead" »


Round 2, Game 3 Preview: Flyers-Islanders

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers and Islanders were set to come right back from Game 2 and take the ice again just 25 hours later for Game 3. But the social injustice issues in the world and United States provided a reason to put everything on pause and take a break from hockey, for all the right reasons.

Players spoke out about these issues, how they vowed to listen and learn and how they want to be involved. Every game on Saturday will have an extended moment of solidarity and we are sure to see more displays of this in the coming weeks.

There is a game once again on Saturday, and after a few days of necessary reflection and conversation, it is time to get back on the ice. The Flyers and Islanders will be out there, and the team that comes out on top will once again be on top in the series.

Game 3 is set for 7 p.m.

Continue reading "Round 2, Game 3 Preview: Flyers-Islanders" »


Phillies Welcome Braves for Weekend Series

By Greg Hall, Sports Talk Philly editor

Would you believe the Phillies currently occupy a playoff spot?

Heading into the final series before the 2020 trade deadline (Monday Aug 31 at 4:00 pm ET), the Phillies host the Atlanta Braves for a weekend set at Citizens Bank Park, with the Phils in the eighth and final playoff spot in the National League.

Game one - Friday Aug 28 at 7:05 pm ET on NBCSP & MLB Network - out of market (tv).

Game two - Saturday Aug 29 at 1:05 pm ET on FOX (tv).

Game three - Sunday Aug 30 at 7:08 pm ET on ESPN (tv).

All three games will be broadcast via WIP/WTTM 1680 on the radio.

The series will be the final time the two teams play each other in 2020. The Phillies are currently in third place in the National League East, four games behind the Braves. 

As of this writing, the pitching match ups beyond Friday night's contest are mostly unknown, as Phillies manager Joe Girardi has not announced a starter for Saturday or Sunday following the postponement of Thursday night's game against the Washington Nationals. That start would have belonged to Spencer Howard, who will most likely slot in Saturday or be skipped until his next turn in the rotation.

Continue reading "Phillies Welcome Braves for Weekend Series" »


Wheeler Showing He Is Worth Every Penny

By Greg Hall, Sports Talk Philly editor

When Zack Wheeler signed a five-year $118 million deal with the Phillies this offseason, the fan base thought he could be solid, but potentially overpriced addition to the rotation.

He has been worth every penny.

The Phillies are 3-2 in Wheeler's five starts, but he has given the team a chance to win every time out. In fact, the club's bullpen blew a lead in the two losses. Neither of those hit Wheeler's line, as he is 3-0 this season with a 2.76 ERA, a sparkling 171 ERA+, 1.10 WHIP, 20 strikeouts and only six walks across 32 2/3 innings.

A WAR of 1.7 ranks Wheeler fourth among National League pitchers, trailing only LHP Max Fried, teammate Aaron Nola and RHP Zac Gallen.

He is inducing the weakest contact of his career while missing barrels at a 98 percent clip, according to Baseball Savant.

These numbers are, in large part, due to his dominant sinker. He is throwing it just over 21.6 percent of the time, averaging 96.8 mph and producing some major results.

Continue reading "Wheeler Showing He Is Worth Every Penny" »


Draft Profile: Stanford's Tyrell Terry

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Now that the Sixers’ season has come to an end it is time to start gearing up for what’s next, the NBA draft. With the draft just two months away it’s time to start getting a plan in place. The Sixers have multiple second-round picks in the upcoming draft, and here is one player they should consider using a pick on. 

Tyrell Terry is a sharpshooting guard coming out of Stanford after just one season. In his sole college season, he averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.2 APG. His stock has continued to rise and fall on draft boards, but if available he could be a good pick for the Sixers. 

Terry checks a lot of boxes that the Sixers need. For starters, he shoots the three effectively. In 31 games at Stanford, he shot 40.8% from deep on just under five attempts a game. He is also able to get his shots off in a variety of ways whether it be catch and shooting or off the dribble. 

Shot creation is another weak area for the Sixers that Terry does well. His ability to work in the pick-and-roll can give the Sixers something similar to what they had in Alec Burks. Adding guards who can create offense on the perimeter is a must for the Sixers moving forward.

Another thing that should entice the Sixers is that Terry is a complement to both of the Sixers’ All-Stars. His spot-up shooting can aid Joel Embiid when he is working in the post or dribble hand-off situations, and his ball-handling ability makes him a good partner with Simmons in the pick-and-roll. 

Along with being an effective scorer, Terry also can work as a facilitator. He is a gifted and willing passer that could run an NBA offense. This would also make him a capable secondary ball-handler when Simmons is off the ball. 

The major concern with Terry is his size. At just six foot one and 160 pounds, he is very undersized for the NBA. Adding on strength will be key for him as he prepares to go against NBA athletes. 

Outside of his size, there is a lot to like about Terry’s game on the offensive side of the ball. With two premier defenders in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, hiding a smaller defender is capable. What he brings offensively should be enough for the Sixers to take a flier on him on draft night.

Sixerdelphia


Updated Schedule for Flyers-Islanders Released

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The NHL Players made a necessary and crucial decision to take two days off the ice to focus on social injustice in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake. The NHL will resume play on Saturday, as the NBA will, and continue with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game 3 of the Flyers-Islanders series was postponed and the rest of the schedule needed to be updated as a result and the revised schedule was released on Friday morning.

Game 3 will now be on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Game 4 will be on Sunday night at 8 p.m. Game 5, which is now necessary after the Flyers Game 2 win, will be on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

If Games 6 and 7 are necessary, they will now be on Thursday, Sept. 3 and Saturday, Sept. 5.

Continue reading "Updated Schedule for Flyers-Islanders Released" »


WHAT IS MLB CELEBRATING WHEN IT CELEBRATES JACKIE ROBINSON DAY?

By Mitch Nathanson, Historical Columnist 

Because baseball missed out on its annual opportunity to pat itself on the back on April 15th it shrewdly pivoted and made today, August 28th, “Jackie Robinson Day.”  Rather than celebrate the day Robinson walked out to first base at Ebbets Field in 1947, putting to an end the ban on African Americans in Organized Baseball that baseball itself enforced for a half century, MLB has decided that the day in 1945 that Brooklyn Dodger President Branch Rickey signed Robinson, then with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, to an agreement to join the Dodger organization, was the next best option.

Well enough.  But what, exactly, is MLB celebrating here?  Of course, Jackie Robinson must be remembered and nobody associated with American sports should be ignorant of all he had to overcome just to take a big league field, but why the “celebration”?  And why is the collective that banded together for a half-century to bar an entire race an opportunity afforded to White American ballplayers seemingly as a matter of course celebrating their forbears’ decision to stop doing what they could have stopped doing for years if only they cared enough to stop doing it?

The recent announcement that MLB is considering reclassifying the various “Negro Leagues” as Major Leagues only amplifies the absurdity of baseball celebrating itself for putting a putative end to its very own marginalization of Black baseball.  Of course the Negro Leagues were Major Leagues, as they were bursting with players who no doubt would have excelled in the National and American leagues of the first half of the Twentieth Century if only they were permitted the opportunity.  No more proof of that is needed than this: by the end of the first decade of integrated big league ball (1956), a Black player had won six Most Valuable Player awards, seven Rookie of the Year awards, and the first Cy Young Award (Don Newcombe in 1956).  On an organizational level, the two clubs that rushed to integrate first and pepper their rosters with Negro League players (the Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians), quickly became dominant in their respective leagues. 

There will be obstacles in the effort to integrate the Negro League records into Organized Baseball’s, with some of them insurmountable.  There were multiple “Negro Leagues” and record-keeping wasn’t what it was in the National and American leagues.  Top-tier Negro League clubs would play other top-tier clubs but also lower level and ragtag outfits as they barnstormed across the country looking for any and all ways to fill their coffers sufficiently to keep the lights on in the ballparks and gas in the buses.  How to deal with incomplete records and statistics along with the sometimes disorganized nature of Black baseball?  Nobody knows.  But this is a problem Organized Baseball created and because of it, we’ll never really know how truly great so many Black ballplayers of the first half of the Twentieth Century were.  Celebrating yourself for ceasing to inflict a harm you never should have inflicted at all strikes a discordant note in the symphony MLB likes to play for itself.

Moreover, the arrival of Robinson and a select few of his contemporaries hardly ended Organized Baseball’s racially-motivated standards and practices.  The next decade-plus saw an influx of Black stars but beyond them, roster spots were reserved primarily for White players.  MLB could use Jackie Robinson Day to shine a spotlight on that somber reality but because that narrative doesn’t bathe Organized Baseball in sunshine it chooses to ignore it instead.  The Robinson story MLB prefers is the one where one of its own – Rickey – beneficently “allowed” Robinson to join his Dodgers, a story that slyly shifts the focus from Robinson to Rickey, thereby permitting MLB to slather itself in glory.  But doing so strips Robinson of his own voice in what is his story, not Rickey’s.  Robinson recognized this and in his 1972 autobiography wrote as much:

There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands.    Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first World Series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I  cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made. (emphasis added)

On this Jackie Robinson Day, as with all of the ones that came before it, baseball is celebrating Branch Rickey’s drama and not Robinson’s.  It can do better.  It should do better.  It must do better.

Mitch Nathanson's biography of Jim Bouton is out now.


No Fans In The Stands For Eagles In 2020

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Though not surprising, the new was made official on Thursday: no fans will be in attendance at Philadelphia Eagles home games.

The team pushed their message out through their social media platforms shortly after the state and city confirmed the news.

This is, of course, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the state and local government hope to continue to control the spread of the virus by banning public gatherings that could serve to further spread the disease.

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Bicep Tear Expected To Sideline Andre Dillard For 2020 Season

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

It was Wednesday that the Eagles got the news that Genard Avery would miss a significant amount of time with a knee injury.

Less than 24 hours later, the team has received even worse injury news regarding their starting left tackle.

According to the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the injury has been confirmed as a biceps tear that will require surgery.

Continue reading "Bicep Tear Expected To Sideline Andre Dillard For 2020 Season" »