Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Rinaldo re-upped for 2 years

It appears that ruculence will still have a spot on the Flyers' roster.

The club announced on Tuesday afternoon the signing of Zac Rinaldo to a two-year contract extension. Due to make $750,000 this season, the extension bumps his totals up to $850K beginning in 2015-16.

Rinaldo, 24, will be entering his fourth NHL season in 2014-15.  He appeared in 67 games for the Flyers last season, recording two goals and two assists along with 153 penalty minutes. His value goes much deeper than point totals, however. Rinaldo placed second on the team last year with 231 hits while playing an average of just 7:41 per game.

A native of Ontario, Rinaldo joined the Flyers for the 2011 playoffs, appearing in two games, and made his regular season Flyers debut the following season. He appeared in 66 games that year, posting two goals and nine assists while ranking second in the NHL in penalty minutes with 232.

“I’m surprised that we’d even started to talk about it so early, but I am thrilled,” Rinaldo said.  “Philadelphia is where I started my NHL career and this is where I want to be so I am really happy.  This definitely gives me a lot of confidence by the Flyers showing that they have confidence in me.  I know they want to see me get better as a player, and this is the place to do it.”

Rinaldo was selected by the Flyers in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2008 draft.

After head coach Craig Berube said in a town hall meeting for season ticket holders that he's looking for Rinaldo to prove himself worthy of moving up the Flyers' depth chart, it was only a matter of time for the extension to be announced.

We'll have to wait until training camp opens in just over two weeks to see if Rinaldo underwent some bionic implants in certain body parts during the offseason which might shed light on what Chief sees in him.

New Alex Smith Deal Makes Sense

By Kevin Wallace

The Kansas City Chiefs surprised a lot of people last year when they were able to make the NFL playoffs. Even though they did not have a lot of  success once there, it was a nice surprise for the fan base. People in fantasy football were blown away by the production of Jamaal Charles, but not  necessarily Alex Smith at quarterback. That is why it might be surprising to some that signing Smith to a new contract extension was an excellent move by the franchise.

There is this thought that star NFL quarterbacks grow on trees. If a team does not have a guy who is putting up huge fantasy football numbers each week, he automatically should be let go according to delusional fans. Smith might not be setting any passing records, but he brings stability to the position for a team that just need him to be solid.

The four-year extension is worth $45 million in guaranteed money. That might seem like quite a bit to spend on a guy who is pretty average, but it actually allows Kansas City to be pretty flexible going forward. They are able to use the franchise tag however they want next year, which means they will probably lock up Justin Houston. This was really the only realistic way that they were going to be able to keep both guys, so it was important for them to get the deal done so that they have a veteran quarterback to lead the way.

Kansas City has a tough team in the Denver Broncos stuck in their division, and San Diego is not going to make life easy either. However, getting the deal done for Smith gives them much-needed stability at the quarterback position as they try to string together a few solid years in a row.

Monday, September 01, 2014

In dismal season, Phillies make some good history with combined no-hitter

Atlanta, GA -- In an otherwise forgettable season, Cole Hamels and three relief pitchers gave Philadelphia Phillies fans something to remember on Monday.

Hamels struck out seven in six no-hit innings and the bullpen took it from there as Philadelphia recorded the first combined no-hitter in franchise annals during its 7-0 rout of the Atlanta Braves in Monday's series opener.

Philadelphia's ace left-hander labored through five walks and a high pitch count and was removed by manager Ryne Sandberg for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh inning.

"I understood coming around the sixth inning that it was going to be a short game," said Hamels. "Understanding the situation and what was going on, I wasn't really too worried about it."

Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon preserved the no-hitter, each tossing a clean inning out of the bullpen. 

"I have the utmost respect and faith in the bullpen because they've been outstanding all year, especially these three guys," continued Hamels. "They've been some of the best."

Diekman struck out two in the seventh, Giles fanned the side in the eighth and Papelbon got three quick outs in the ninth -- the last on a soft liner hit by Phil Gosselin that first baseman Darin Ruf squeezed easily.

It was the first combined no-hitter in Phillies history and their 12th overall, including Roy Halladay's playoff no-no in 2010 against the Reds.

Hamels (8-6) became the first pitcher since Seattle's Kevin Millwood on June 8, 2012, to be pulled after six no-hit innings. Millwood, who threw a no- hitter with the Phillies in 2003, left that game with an injury.

That was also the last time a major-league team threw a combined no-hitter, with five relievers backing up Millwood.

Ben Revere had a career-high five RBI for the Phillies, while Jimmy Rollins moved into first place in franchise history with his 658th multi-hit game. Rollins singled, doubled and tripled and drove in a run to pass Richie Ashburn.

Julio Teheran (13-10) was charged with five runs -- two earned -- in 6 2/3 innings to end a three-start win streak. Jason Heyward walked twice and stole three bases for the Braves.

"One way to look at it is it's just a loss," said Braves third baseman Chris Johnson. "We lost the game. Tip your cap to their guys. You can't take anything away from them."

The Phillies manufactured the game's first run in the third inning. Cody Asche slapped a double to the gap in right-center to lead off, then moved to third on Hamels' bunt and scored when Revere lifted a sacrifice fly to left.

Hamels got some help from his defense to keep the no-hitter intact. With two outs in the third inning and runners on second and third, Johnson lined to short right field and Marlon Byrd made a diving catch going to his left.

Hamels had more hits than the Braves, leading off the sixth inning with a single before advancing on Revere's sacrifice bunt and scoring on Rollins' second extra-base hit of the game, a triple to deep right field.

Hamels threw his 100th pitch of the game early in the sixth inning, striking Justin Upton out chasing a high fastball. He then fanned Chris Johnson and got Phil Gosselin to pop to second.

Grady Sizemore pinch-hit for Hamels with two outs and two on in the seventh inning and drew a walk. Revere cleared the bases with a triple over Heyward's head in right-center, ending Teheran's outing, and Luis Avilan came on to get the final out.

Revere's RBI single in the top of the ninth and Ryan Howard's bases-loaded walk made it 7-0.

Notes: Hamels improved to 6-1 over his last 11 starts ... The Braves own an 8-6 lead in the season series ... After Sunday's game, the Phillies traded outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to the Blue Jays in exchange for minor-league third baseman Gustavo Pierre ... Prior to the game, the Braves recalled pitchers Juan Jaime and Chasen Shreve, and outfielders Jose Constanza and Joey Terdoslavich from Triple-A Gwinnett.

John McMullen talks NFL news on FOXSports radio

Union get ready for home-and-home series with Toronto FC

Chester, Pa.- After taking a break from game action over the Labor Day holiday, the Philadelphia Union (7-9-9) will face Eastern Conference rival Toronto FC (9-9-6) in an important home-and-home series. 

The club will host Toronto on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. ET on Comcast SportsNet and then travel north of the border on Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. ET match on The Comcast Network.

The Union will be without the services of Rais Mbolhi, Carlos Valdes, Michael Lahoud and Zach Pfeffer this week, as the quartet are part of a group of six Union players that have been called up to represent their countries over the next two weeks. 

Lahoud will play for Sierra Leone against the Ivory Coast and The Congo on September 6 and 10, respectively. Mbolhi will be in goal as Algeria faces Ethiopia on September 6 and Mali on September 10. 

Valdes, meanwhile, will travel to Miami for Colombia’s match against Brazil on September 5 and Pfeffer will join the US U-20 team for a camp in Buenos Aires, Argentina from September 1-10.  The U-20 national team will take on Argentina’s U-20 squad on September 9.   They could also potentially play two matches against two first division reserve teams but details will be announced in the future.

Brian Brown and Andre Blake will also join Jamaica as they take on Canada in Toronto on September 9.  The duo will not miss any Union matches, as they will remain in Toronto following the September 6 match and return to Philadelphia on September 10.

Temple's Young and Walker earn AAC honors

PHILADELPHIA - When a team finds itself as an underdog on the road and beats the home team by 30 points, people begin to take notice.

That was the case this week after Temple traveled to Music City to play Vanderbilt and exited with a 37-7 victory, the Owls' first against an SEC school in 75 years.

Junior CB Tavon Young earned American Athletic Conference defensive player of the week after registering a pair of interceptions to lead a Temple defense which limited Vanderbilt to 278 yards of offense. Temple, which had just three defensive interceptions in the entire 2013 season, matched that total in Week 1 behind Young’s two picks — both of which led to points on the offensive end. Young finished the day with two tackles and had a combined 35 yards on his two INT returns.

Sophomore QB P.J. Walker, meanwhile, earned honorable mention for his performance. Walker threw for 207 yards and 2 TDs and added another score on the ground in just over three quarters of action.

In addition, sophomore DT Averee Robinson earned the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) national defensive performer of the week along with the defensive lineman of the week honors. Robinson recovered two fumbles and returned one 55 yards for a touchdown.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Slow exodus continues as Mayberry dealt to Toronto

The veritable Bataan Death March that has been the 2014 Phillies season continued with a bit of promising news.

Following a series-ending 6-5 loss to the Mets in Flushing, Queens this afternoon, the club shipped off outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. to the Blue Jays in exchange for minor league infielder Gustavo Pierre.

The 30-year-old, six-year pro never was able to take the reins and establish himself as an everyday presence in the Philadelphia outfield for the duration of his stay here. He was hitting just .213 with and OBP of .286 along with six home runs, seven doubles and 21 RBI over 63 appearances this year.

Since arriving in red pinstripes in a deal which saw Greg Golson headed to Texas in November of 2008, Mayberry batted .242 and collected 52 homers, 74 doubles, 160 runs scored and 169 RBI in exactly 500 games.

Pierre batted a combined .260 over 116 combined games with Single-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire.

SJP begins title defense with narrow win in Chicago

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- For the third straight year, the St. Joseph’s Prep football team opened its season by going on the road to defeat a national powerhouse.

And it did so under the watchful, and somewhat cocky eyes of former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who released the following on his Twitter account: "Time 2 show our out of town guest from St. Joes Prep how real football is played. We Are MC."

The Hawklets (1-0) scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter Sunday and hung on to beat McNabb's alma mater of Mount Carmel of Chicago, 28-27, at Toyota Park.

The Prep, ranked No. 1 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, took a 28-21 lead with 6 minutes, 32 seconds remaining by taking advantage of a fortunate bounce. Jack Clements’ pass was intended for Terrence Green over the middle, but it deflected into the hands of Jon Reid in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. Reid, who is bound for Penn St., caught two touchdown passes.

Clements, a senior entering his first full season as a starter, went 11 for 15 for 206 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Caravan (0-1). Olamide Zaccheaus rushed for 112 yards, including a 37-yard score in the first quarter.

Mount Carmel, the two-time defending Illinois state champions, drove for a touchdown with 2:23 left, but the extra point missed wide left. The Caravan had one last chance with the ball, but a Zaccheaus tackle forced them to turn it over on downs with about 30 seconds remaining.

The Prep, who are defending PIAAA Class AAAA champions, beat Dallas Jesuit in the opener last season and defeated Cocoa (Fla.) the previous year.