Hart Leads Flyers to Shootout Win in Boston

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It's starting to become a pattern. For the fifth of six games this month, a game required overtime for the Flyers. For the fourth time, it required a shootout.

That was thanks in large part to Carter Hart, who withstood the flurry of chances that the Bruins fired his way late in the third period and in overtime after they had tied the game up earlier in the period. 

Hart took center stage in the shootout as well, making two saves and poking the puck away from David Pastrnak to give the Flyers a 3-2 win over the Bruins in a shootout on Sunday night at TD Garden. It marked the fourth straight win for the Flyers and sixth straight game they have earned a point in the standings.

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Are the 76ers Finally Receiving the Version of Furkan Korkmaz They Have Been Waiting For?

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Through the opening eight games this season, there are a good amount of takeaways for this new look Philadelphia 76ers team. One takeaway nobody expected was the play of Furkan Korkmaz, who looks like he is ready to be a part of an NBA rotation on a nightly basis. 

After an impressive run this summer for the Turkish national team in the World Cup, Korkmaz looks like he has come into this season with newfound confidence. In his third season, he is posting career highs in both scoring and shooting. Three-point shooting has been looked at as a weak point for this team, but Korkmaz has been playing like he can be the floor spacer that the Sixers will need moving forward. 

So far this season, Korkmaz is averaging 8.9 points per game on 46.0% shooting from the floor and 47.1% from deep. He has scored in double figures in four of the team’s first eight games. He scored a career-high 20 points in Philadelphia's 114-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night.

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Flyers-Bruins: Game 17 Preview

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers have put together a solid week with three straight wins. Back to last weekend's back-to-back, the Flyers are on a five-game points streak with wins in four of the five games.

The tests don't get easier. The Flyers close this weekend's back-to-back on Sunday with a game against the Boston Bruins, a team on a two-game losing streak following a six-game winning streak. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

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Flyers-Maple Leafs Observations: Role Reversal

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers took the loss to Toronto just seven days ago via an 11-round shootout, so it was fair to think deja vu when the two teams reached the skills competition once again this Saturday.

With goals from Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, the Flyers managed to secure their second shootout win in eight days, this time beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in the shootout and 3-2 in the game.

While the goals by Giroux and Couturier were outstanding and there were other standout players, the story of this game was in net.

Here are some observations from the Flyers shootout win over the Maple Leafs.

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Couturier, Elliott Lead Flyers to Shootout Win Over Leafs

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

A week ago, the Flyers and Maple Leafs needed a shootout to decide the game. It took 11 rounds to get a result.

On Saturday night in Toronto, the Flyers had to survive a frantic overtime to force a shootout again. This time, just three rounds were needed.

Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier got goals in the shootout and Brian Elliott made two saves as the Flyers claimed a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs.

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Flyers-Maple Leafs: Game 16 Preview


(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

A marathon shootout is perhaps the only reason the Flyers are not currently on a four-game winning streak. It took 11 rounds of a shootout to get a decision between these two teams just a week ago.

The Flyers are now coming off two wins this week and have points in their last four games, as they travel north of the border to face the Toronto Maple Leafs. Game time is at 7 p.m.

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Report: Phillies Interested in Third Baseman Donaldson

By Ian D'Andrea on Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/idsportsphoto/46607410645, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

The Phillies have a third baseman of the future in Alec Bohm.  But Bohm, who has not played above Double-A just yet, probably is not ready to take the hot corner in 2019.  Therefore, the Phillies could add a third baseman this offseeason as they look to upgrade that position in the interim.  Late Friday, the Phillies were connected to a big name: Josh Donaldson.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Phillies are one of the teams to express interest early:

Donaldson was in Atlanta on a one-year deal.

The Braves have an option at third base in Austin Riley.  Riley came to the major leagues ahead of schedule and the Braves utilized him in the corner outfield spots.  Riley started off strong but cooled as the year went on.  The Braves could seek to re-sign Donaldson.  The Braves gave Donaldson a qualifying offer, which means that he would cost another team a draft pick to sign him.

For that reason, it would be surprising to see the Phillies pursue Donaldson; if they were going to give up a draft pick, it would be for a big signing (like Harper last offseason).  The Phillies have publicly stated they wish to try to use their financial power this offseason and avoid giving up young talent.  Donaldson on a one-year deal might not be worth that.


"Sticking to Sports" is Not Just Wrong, It's Impossible

By Mitch Nathanson, Historical Columnist 

The demise of Deadspin has me thinking: who will be the Phillies’ fourth starter next season? 

Not really.  It has me wondering where I’ll go to get the snarky, biting, tough insight I always looked forward to every time I clicked on over to the site.  There are fewer and fewer options, it seems, for information and opinion from outside the protective bubble that is “Sportsworld.”  Sportsworld is a weird place.  Odd rules apply where some things are talked about incessantly while others aren’t spoken of at all.  The identity of the Phillies’ fourth starter is fair game in Sportsworld; pretty much anything having to do with the weird and insular world of John Middleton isn’t.  More weirdly, discussing the personal lives of athletes is usually kosher in Sportsworld, which makes identifying the boundaries of fair and foul play within the bubble particularly difficult.  In Sportsworld, cellphone videos of players behaving badly is considered journalism but the same writers who write breathlessly about recalcitrant wide receivers refer to club owners as “Mister” while putting away their note pads and taking their seat on the team plane. 

Which was where Deadspin came in.  Deadspin didn’t respect Sportsworld’s boundaries.  Everything was on the table over there.  Most of it, because it was a sports site after all, touched pretty heavily on sports but every once in a while something would be tangential or not even come within a football field of it.  No matter, Deadspin would post it if its editors deemed it newsworthy.  And that’s what made it great. 

Now it’s gone and we’re told that it’s gone because its editorial staff refused management’s mandate to “stick to sports.”  On the surface, “sticking to sports” might seem like a good idea for a website that, without question, revolved around sports, but it’s the looming presence of Sportsworld that makes such a pronouncement ridiculous and not a little bit insane.  Sticking to sports is why, until it was replaced in 2008, Jackie Robinson’s Hall of Fame plaque didn’t contain any mention of the fact that he broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947.  Sticking to sports is why people like Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane are permitted to own franchises at all.  And, hey, sticking to sports is why there is still, in 2019, a professional sports team that goes by the name “Redskins.”

And let’s be real – even sticking to sports isn’t really sticking to sports.  In the midst of the Colin Kaepernick debate, public address announcers across Major League Baseball and other sports began instructing fans to not only stand for the National Anthem, but, if they were veterans, to salute as well.  Within the bubble of Sportsworld, such an instruction can very well be seen as politically neutral.  Outside of it, the mandate looks like something else altogether.  Sports talk radio likewise is “just sports” only if viewed from within the Sportsworld bubble.  Outside of it, listeners are subjected to a barrage of middle-aged white guys calling in to complain about Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Jimmy Rollins, Maikel Franco, Joel Embiid – take your pick -- not playing the game “the right way” according to the insular worldview of the pale demographic that apparently has Angelo Cataldi’s number on speed dial.  The suspicion that many of these same callers own red hats that don’t sport the Phillies logo isn’t one I can’t easily dismiss.  On the surface they’re talking about sports.  It’s the subtext that matters, though.  A subtext that can’t be broached if we’re all herded back into the “stick to sports” lane.

By the way, if we’re “sticking to sports,” how does Odubel Herrera’s personal life fit within that mandate?  Why should it matter what he did in Atlantic City to get himself suspended?  Shouldn’t we simply care that he’s out for the season and leave it at that?  Of course, it’s absurd to leave it at that.  More to the point, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to leave it at that.  Context matters.  And oftentimes, the context extends far beyond the foul lines.  Sportsworld would proclaim that, obviously, Herrara’s actions at the Golden Nugget last May are relevant and fair game, which makes sense.  But then, out of the other side of its mouth, it proclaims that Jim Crane's business dealings at Eagle Global Logistics – the company that provided him the wealth to purchase the Astros -- are out of bounds, which makes no sense at all.

In the end, sites like Deadspin didn’t have a chance.  The funhouse mirror that is Sportsworld always wins.  It has too much money, too much power, too much influence not to.  But it sure was exhilarating to watch these underdogs not only take on the champ but deliver more than a few staggering blows. 

R.I.P. Deadspin.  No matter what you thought of it, remember this: anything that pissed Dan Snyder off as much as Deadspin did couldn’t possibly have been bad.


Report: Phillies Will Interview Nationals Coach Dillon For Hitting Coach Position

Joe DillonBy Ian D'Andrea on Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/idsportsphoto/46667344905, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

The Phillies got one step closer to filling out their coaching staff on Friday, when they hired former Phillies infielder Juan Castro to fill their open infield coach position.  The club remains in search of a hitting coach to permanently replace John Mallee, who was dismissed in August.  The Phillies are now looking to the World Champion Washington Nationals to interview of one their coaches for a promotion.

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Phillies are planning to interview Joe Dillon, Nationals assistant hitting coach.  Dillon has been serving as assistant hitting coach to Kevin Long.   Long was the hitting coach under Phillies manager Joe Girardi in New York.  While the Phillies will not be able to pry Long away from the Nationals, a promising coach under his tutelage might be in order.

Salisbury notes that Dillon has been the only publicly confirmed candidate for the position.  Some rumors in the past included former Phillies Matt Stairs and Jim Thome, but there is no indication whether or not they have had an interview.  If the Phillies had their sights set on Dillon all along, they had to wait for the World Series to be complete, along with the related festivities afterward, including the parade.

Dillon is a former major league infielder with the Florida Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.

Phillies Will Name Juan Castro Infield Coach

Philles 4-30-10119

Former Phillies infielder Juan Castro was part of one of the bigger moments in Phillies history.  At the end of Roy Halladay's perfect game in Miami, it was Castro at third base who moved to his left, spun, and threw to Ryan Howard to secure the perfect game.  Castro will now join the Phillies coaching staff.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak revealed on WPEN radio on Friday morning that Castro is joining the Phillies coaching staff as infield coach.

Castro replaces Bobby Dickerson, who reportedly departed the organization to serve as bench coach with the San Diego Padres.  Dickerson was with the Phillies just one season, replacing part of the role of Jose David Flores, now with the Baltimore Orioles.  Paco Figueroa serves as first base and baserunning coach, the rest of the job Flores once held.

Klentak also said that the Phillies remain in pursuit of a hitting coach.