Archive | April, 2014

Simmonds and Mason Lead Flyers to Game 7

30 Apr

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Wayne Simmonds scored three goals to help the Flyers force Game 7 against the New York Rangers.

Wayne Simmonds scored three goals to help the Flyers force Game 7 against the New York Rangers. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—On a whirlwind day in sports where the commissioner of the NBA banned the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for life for some ugly racist remarks, Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers excelled for his team in a sport in which few Black athletes play.

With his team facing elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Simmonds helped the Flyers prolong their season for at least one more game by scoring three goals in a 5-2 beat down of the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night.

“(Simmonds) was all over the puck,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who scored on an empty-net goal in the third period. “I think when Wayne wants to win the battle, he wins it and kind of gives everybody in the room the motivation to do the same.”

Simmonds became the second Black player in the history of the NHL to score a hat trick in a playoff game. Chicago’s Dustin Byfuglien accomplished the feat back in a playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011.

More important than the social or societal significance of his accomplishment, Simmonds’ performance propelled the Flyers to a victory in an elimination game and pushed the opening round series to a seventh and deciding Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“We’re all the same color on the inside and we all have a common goal and that’s to go out there and get wins and that’s what we’re going to do,” Simmonds said. “That’s what we do every day.”

  Flyers goal tender Steve Mason saved 34 of 36 shots on goal. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Flyers goal tender Steve Mason saved 34 of 36 shots on goal. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Equally as good as Simmonds’ performance was that of goalie Steve Mason, who kept New York from scoring until the game was way out of reach. He had 34 saves against 36 shots. His tenacity along with  his teammates scoring has the Flyers one win away from advancing to the next round of the playoffs.

“Obviously, he played real well. He had a real good period in the first,” said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault. “He gave his team a chance to come out of there a goal ahead. He’s a good goal tender.”

Giroux said Mason’s good start in goal got the Flyers going and set the tone for the entire game.

“It was impressive to see Mason play the way he played tonight. He’s been doing it all year,” Giroux said. “For him to do it in Game 6, it’s great. He was our leader tonight with the way he played tonight and his attitude. It was great to watch him work hard.”

Mason, who stopped 13 shots on goal in the first period, said getting the feel for the puck coming at him early was important for his overall confidence throughout the game. He a had a couple of early  glove saves.

“It’s always important to feel the puck early I find,” Mason said. “If you’re getting some big saves early in the game, it’s something to build off of for the rest of the game. I was able to make a couple of timely saves to start off the game. … It was nice to be busy early in the game.”

The Flyers got on the board first with a power-play goal by Simmonds who got a pass from Scott Hartnell. Simmonds rebounded his own shot and put it past Rangers goalie Henrik Lindqvist to give his team a 1-0 lead.

In the second period, the Flyers took command and punched their ticket to the Big Apple by scoring three goals in the period. Simmonds second goal of the game came off teammate Brayden Schenn’s stick. He then shot the puck past Lindqvist. That score put the Flyers up 2-0.

After the Flyers penalty kill squad and a  g00d glove save by Mason stopped a Rangers power-play opportunity, Erik Gustaffsson, who committed a high-sticking penalty, jumped out of the penalty box, took a pass from Braydon Coburn and scored on wrist-shot beneath Lunqvist’s pads to give his team a 3-0 lead.

Simmonds’ third goal of the game came on a power-play when he followed in a shot by Jakub Voracek to give his team an insurmountable 4-0 stranglehold that basically punched their ticket to New York for Game 7. The game was delayed for a few minutes to clear the hats off the ice.

“Obviously, it’s do or die, we win or we go home,” Simmonds said. “I think everybody in the dressing room did a good job preparing for the game. We’re not ready to go home yet. We want to move onto the second round. I thought we played a game good, but we gotta carry it over to (Wednesday) night.”

Flyer’s head coach Craig Berube is hoping to bottle his team’s Game 6 performance for Game 7. He likes his team’s chances despite being on the Rangers home ice for Game 7.

“Going back two or three years ago, we hadn’t won there,” Berube said. “Winning that game up there (in Game 2), we know we can win up there. It’s confidence. Our guys realize we can do it.”

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NBA Commissioner Silver Needs to Take Action on Sterling

27 Apr

Having a Racist Owner is Bad for the NBA’s Brand

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and The Philadelphia Sunday Sun

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he is investigating alleged racist remarks by Los Angeles  Lakers owner Donald Sterling.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he is investigating alleged racist remarks by Los Angeles Lakers owner Donald Sterling.

PHILADELPHIA—You’d like to think that the sports world would be the one place where the problems of the world could be put on hold in favor of living and dying with the fortunes of our favorite team.

But the stark reality is that sports reflect the good, the bad and the ugly of our society. This past Saturday we definitely saw the bad and the ugly when Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racism infused conversation with his bi-racial girlfriend became the outrage of the social media world.

This incident is the latest version of Sterling’s series of Racist Mixtapes released during his tenure as the owner of the Clippers. From being the defendant in a landmark Fair Housing lawsuit brought by Black and Latino tenants of his housing properties, to his treatment of NBA legend Elgin Baylor, that Sterling’s racism went unchecked by the National Basketball League has me scratching my head a little.

Especially since this is the same NBA that enforced a dress code on its players because former commissioner David Stern felt that Black athletes wearing cornrows, gold chains, and high-priced sweat suits was “off-putting” to some of the millionaire patrons that purchase courtside seats and luxury boxes.

This was also the league that acted swiftly when Ron Artest went into the stands and fought Detroit Pistons fans at the Palace in Auburn Hills in 2004, suspended former NBA star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf when he refused to stand for the National Anthem in 1996, and has even fined two Los Angeles-based players, —Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and Matt Barnes of the Clippers—for slurs they’ve made on the court.

Yet Sterling was able to be a fairly public bigot without even so much as a slap on the wrist.
Condemnation for player offenses was often meted out quickly under the Stern administration. Anything that brought dishonor to the brand was handled quicker than Olivia Pope could come up with a press strategy.

But Stern isn’t the NBA’s commissioner anymore. Adam Silver is. And this the first assault on the brand on his watch. He’s investigating, but everyone wants to know how he’s ultimately going to handle this.

Clippers owner Donald Sterling has a history of racist incidents.

Clippers owner Donald Sterling has a history of racist incidents.

Silver needs to take a good, long look at Sterling’s history as an owner. He needs to talk to former Villanova coach Rollie Massamino and ask him if Sterling really said, “I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers…” He needs to talk to Elgin Baylor about Sterling’s vision of “Southern Plantation”-type structure for the Clippers in which a White coach presided over “poor Black boys…”

And he really needs to get a copy of that 2009 Fair Housing suit if for no other reason but it shows a pattern.

And if finds that the smoke we’ve seen is coming from the equivalent of a California brushfire, Silver needs to figure out a way to handle this situation. Does the league take control of the Clippers? Do they try and work out a deal in which he sells the franchise?

The league only needs to look at how another professional sports league, Major League Baseball, handled a similar situation. When late Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott made remarks praising Adolf Hitler and referring to her Black players, Eric Davis and Dave Parker, as her “million-dollar niggers,” the league decided it had had enough of her antics.

Since racism in America’s pastime is just bad for business, Schott was suspended from day-to-day operations with the Reds and was eventually made to sell her stake in the team.

For a league that’s roughly 80 percent African American, it’s inappropriate for an avowed racist to own a franchise. It is bad for the NBA’s brand to be associated who doesn’t want African Americans to come to the arena and watch other African Americans play basketball.

The Black players who have been sanctioned by the NBA for violating some form of league decorum are looking to Silver to handle this situation with the same sense of urgency used against them.

Racists like Sterling have no place in a league that’s been marketing itself as a worldwide brand. If Silver has any business savvy, he needs to understand that talking diversity on one hand while ignoring Sterling and his racism on the other sends the wrong message to fans and players.

 

Mason Comes Up Huge for Flyers To Even Series

26 Apr

Flyers Goalie Comes up with 37 Saves in 2-1 win over the New York Rangers

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Steve Mason had 37 saves in win over the New York Rangers Friday night.  Photo by Webster Riddick.

Steve Mason had 37 saves in win over the New York Rangers Friday night. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—Until further notice, a horrible game or the end of the Flyers playoff run, Steve Mason is your goalie. Period—end of discussion. There is no goalie controversy in this part of South Philly.

In a must-win situation, Mason did his part stopping 37 shots on goal and the offensive did just enough to support his outstanding effort.

Jakub Voracek’s second-period power-play goal gave the Flyers a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center to even the best-of-seven first-round Stanley Cup playoff series at two games apiece.

With the way, the Rangers were attacking the Flyers net in Friday’s Game 4, Mason simply shut New York down for most of the game.

“He’s been great for us all year long, he’s very strong mentally and he showed that tonight,” said right winger Wayne Simmonds.

The two teams will lock horns in a pivotal Game 5 matchup at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday at noon. After having ended a three-year losing streak on the Rangers home ice in Game 2, the Flyers say they are confident that they come away with a win.

“That’s huge getting that win in New York the last time we played there,” Simmonds said. “It’s not on our minds anymore and we’re going to be focused on the game and making sure we do all the right things to be prepared for the game.”

On a night when the Flyers were out-shot by the Rangers 38-25, Mason, who hadn’t played in two weeks, was simply superb, especially after he allowed the game’s first goal by Rangers center Dominic Moore four minutes into the game. That would be New York’s first and only lead of the game. Mason slammed the door on the Rangers for the rest of the night.

“(Mason) played a great game, made some big saves and got some momentum for us when we were playing on our heels a little bit,” said Matt Read, who scored the Flyers first goal in the opening period. “He played a great 60 minutes, he battles in there and he does the right thing. It’s good to see him back and healthy.”

Mason also got help from a tenacious Flyers defense which blocked 14 shots and got physical with the Rangers when they approached the Flyers net. Even when the Flyers lost Nicklas Grossman for the rest of the game with an upper-body injury in the second period, Philadelphia was relentless on defense.

“They did a great job with the blocked shots and the guys picking up the slack after we lost (Grossman),” Mason said. “It’s a big loss. The guy logs a lot of minutes and blocks a lot of shots.

The guys picked up big where he would have left off. Those are the type of efforts come playoff time that you need to be successful.”

A more physical Flyers team came up really big early in the third period when the Rangers had a four-on-three power-play opportunity, but Mason, who had a stick save in that sequence, and the defense successfully killed the penalty.

“Our defense did a good job tonight,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “I thought they broke the puck out well. They were physical down low. Most of their chances were rushed chances and that’s the just coverage and the neutral zone. Our D battled hard and did what they had to do.”

On the offensive end, the Flyers did just enough scoring to win the game. Voracek’s goal with 12:38 left in the second period turned out to be the winning score. The score happened when he guided in a shot from Braydon Schenn into the goal past Rangers net-minder Henrik Lundqvist.

“I was wide open, Schenn made a good heads up play and I tipped it,” Voracek said.

After the Rangers took a 1-0 lead, the Flyers tied on the game on a goal by Read, who rebounded a shot from Jason Akeson that hit the board behind the Rangers net. Read shot it over the left glove of Lindqvist.

 

Hopkins Wants to Fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.

25 Apr

Boxing’s Oldest Champ wants  to unify light heavyweight crowns and then wants  a shot at Pretty Boy Floyd 

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Bernard Hopkins was back in the gym in this week after last Saturday's win over Beibut Shuemenov. Photo by Chris Murray.

Bernard Hopkins was back in the gym in this week after last Saturday’s win over Beibut Shuemenov. Photo by Chris Murray.

PHILADELPHIA—The one thing you will not see in this column about Bernard Hopkins is a line that talks about his defying the boundaries of age because with all his accomplishments in recent years.
It’s an old story, and telling it has gotten old as well.

I’m also getting out of the business of pleading with Hopkins, who turns 50 in January, to get out of the boxing game. Yes, he’s a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer as a boxer and a promoter who doesn’t have to prove a damn thing to anybody, but if he wants to keep taking (and giving) the punches, who am I to judge?
Besides, the real story with the legendary Philly fighter is always about what’s next. Nearly 48 hours after he easily dispatched Beibut Shumenov to unify half of the world light-heavyweight championship, Hopkins was training at Joe Hand’s Gym in North Philadelphia and talking about plans for future fights.

“It’s never a time to rest, especially in victory,” Hopkins said. “That’s the time to work harder and smarter …What fighter in the last 30-40 years that’s publicly made it known, win, lose or draw, that he’s in the gym Monday? This ain’t showing off, this ain’t bragging, this is what I do.”

As he approaches 50 with strands of gray popping out of his unshaven face, Hopkins wants to become the undisputed light-heavyweight champion.

And just for the sport of it, Hopkins wants to drop down in weight and take on Floyd Mayweather Jr., arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the history of the sport and definitely the greatest of his generation.

No, you didn’t read that wrong. Hopkins, who now calls himself, “The Alien”; wants a shot at Mayweather, who currently holds the World Boxing Council welterweight and World Boxing Association super welterweight championship belts.

“Yes, if it’s an opportunity to fight the baddest, one of the smartest minds, along with myself, in the game…Listen, why wouldn’t a chess player love to take on another good chess player?” Hopkins asked rhetorically.

If Hopkins gets into the ring with Mayweather, they would probably fight at 154 pounds. Hopkins said he would be able to handle that weight because he fought as Oscar De La Hoya at 154 pounds when he was the world middleweight champion.

By the way, Hopkins won that fight with a 9th-round knockout. I know that was 10 years ago. But after watching Hopkins beat up younger fighters like Antonio Tarver and Kelly Pavlik, I’ve learned to never the count the old man out.

But while he wants to take on Mayweather, who will defend his welterweight crown against Marcos Maidana on May 3, Hopkins won’t be sitting idly by. His next goal is to unify the light-heavyweight crown by taking on unbeaten World Boxing Council champion and Ring Magazine titleholder Adonis Stevenson (23-0-1 with 20 KOs).

“I’m collecting belts in the process, I’m not sitting back there, getting fat and eating bon-bons,” said Hopkins, who owns the International Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association titles. “I’m making history, too. It’s not like I’m waiting around doing the Amir Khan thing , ‘Please give me a shot and all that stuff.

“I’m going to continue being “The Alien,” and make history. The one guy out there that’s been knocking everybody’s heads off is Adonis Stevenson. …He’s a dangerous puncher. …Any second, any chance you get hit by him, you’re going to sleep. I need that risk to be in the game at this level.”

In addition to being a crafty fighter in the ring, Hopkins is pretty good at promoting and creating storylines.

In the scenario he’s set up, Hopkins would beat Stevenson. After that, he’d take on Mayweather (45-0) who is five fights away from breaking Rocky Marciano’s record for the most wins without a loss.

“Fifty-Fifty promotions,” Hopkins said. “He has a chance to get 50 wins, I turn 50. Fifty-Fifty promotions. …I want to show that I’m the first 50-year-old to be the baddest man and biggest paying guy in the boxing business. Wouldn’t that be a great way to leave the game?”

It would be for Hopkins. But the fun part would be watching the spectacle and the buildup to it. Can you imagine the trash talk between those two? Hopkins said he would have cameras on him 24-7 so the world can see him go through his training regimen.

A Hopkins-Mayweather fight would be a huge boost to boxing. The curiosity alone would hype the fight. Criticism of the fight as an absurdity by more than a few sports writers and columnists would only add fuel to the flame. It would be “Old School versus New School.”

And win or lose, the guts that Hopkins has to even dare to embark on this journey would only solidify his stature in the sport.

Emery and the Flyers Come up Short in Game 3 Loss to Rangers

23 Apr

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

It was tough night for Flyer goalie Ray Emery.  Photo by Webster Riddick.

It was tough night for Flyer goalie Ray Emery. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—It wasn’t a difficult decision for Flyers head coach Craig Berube to start Ray Emery in place of an injured Steve Mason.

After all, Emery had a strong effort in the Flyers Game-2 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden—the team’s first win at the world’s most famous arena since 2011.

“Ray’s played well and he’s coming off a big win,” Berube said before Tuesday’s Eastern Conference playoff game at the Wells Fargo Center.

It was too bad that Emery couldn’t stop the Rangers in Game 3 as New York dominated every phase of the game in a 4-1 win over the Flyers in front of a packed house of fans clad in orange.

New York now has a 2-1 lead in the best- of-seven NHL Eastern Conference First Round series and it also means the Flyers are in a must-win situation for Friday’s Game 4 at home.

Despite outshooting the Rangers 32-23, the Flyers couldn’t get anything past goalie Henrik Lundqvist (31 saves) except for a goal late in the first period by Mark Streit. That was also because the Rangers defense stuffed the Flyers offense for most of the game. New York blocked 28 shots and smothered them at every opportunity.

“I think you got to move the puck quicker than we are. I think it’s too predictable in what we’re doing with (Claude) Giroux and Timonen,” Berube said. “We had a lot of zone time with the puck. They did a good job with the puck, but we gotta get it to the net. If you don’t get it to the net, you’re not going to score. We gotta build deception here and there and get them through.”

Not getting enough scoring opportunities on the offensive end really manifested itself in the Flyers power play. The Flyers were 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

“We try to get the pucks through the net, especially on the power play,” said Flyers defenseman Kiimmo Timonen. “We gotta do it better. They blocked way too many shots and we gotta find away to do it better and do it quicker.”

Within the game’s first four minutes, Rangers center Derek Stepan scored the game’s first goal when he rebounded a shot by teammate Rick Nash that caromed off the left glove of Emery and into the net. About seven minutes later, Martin St. Louis put the puck past Emery to give New York a 2-0 lead midway through the first period.

Berube said Emery didn’t play a bad game and could have used more help from his defense. He also said falling into an early 2-0 hole hurt his team. Emery had 16 saves against 20 shots on goal before being pulled for Steve Mason in the third period. Berube did not say who was going to start in Game 4.

“I’m sure (Emery) wants a couple back, but he’s battled,” Berube said. “He gave us an opportunity going into the third period. … You can’t get down 2-0 in games like this. We gave ourselves an opportunity, but we need the better start.

The Flyers finally got on the board late in the opening stanza on a goal by a streaking Mark Streit, who took a pass from Jakub Voracek who was skating at the circle to the left of Lundqvist.

Despite outshooting the Rangers in the second period, the Flyers found themselves in a two-goal deficit thanks to a goal by New York defenseman Dan Girardi. The Rangers final goal of the game came on a score by former Flyers left winger Daniel Carcillo, who banged his stick on the glass near the Flyers goal and then stared at a fan.

Revere’s RBI Single Lifts Phillies to Win over the Braves

17 Apr

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Ben Revere's RBI single was the difference in the Phillies win over the Braves.  Photo by Webster Riddick.

Ben Revere’s RBI single was the difference in the Phillies win over the Braves. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—The walk-up song for Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere is the catchy Pharell Williams hit song, “Happy.”

And that’s the feeling the Phillies will take with them on a 10-game road trip through Colorado, Los Angeles and Arizona starting Friday.

Revere’s two-out RBI single driving home Domonic Brown in the bottom of the eighth was difference for the Phillies in a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in front of 25,750 fans on a crisp Thursday afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Though hitting for power is not Revere strong suit, hitting it where they ain’t and getting the ball into the outfield is and he was effective when he needed to be. For the game, he was 3-for-4.

“Sometimes, I try to hit homeruns,” Revere said jokingly. “I was waiting for it; I was just kind of patiently waiting to see something happen. I wasn’t trying nothing too big, I was just to put the bat on the ball and find a good pitch. Luckily, it found some outfield grass to score Dom.”

It was the kind of day that things were going well for the Phillies. They even won the replay challenge. In the fifth inning, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons tried to steal second and slid off the bag and was tagged by shortstop Jimmy Rollins. But second-base umpire Bill Welke’s safe called was overturned by the replay officials.

Revere’s game-winning single was the exclamation point for a brilliant pitching performance turned in by A.J. Burnett, who was coming off a small inguinal hernia injury. Though he did not get the win, Burnett was the reason why the Phillies walked away with a victory.

In seven innings, Burnett allowed no runs on just three hits with five strikeouts and just two walks. He threw 101 pitches. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Burnett made things look easy with his approach on the mound.

“I thought Burnett was much better with his 101 pitches with just two walks. He had better command and he talked about having a shorter stride since his hernia. He looked a little more effortless out there and he didn’t fight himself,” Sandberg said. “He was a little bit more in the strike zone and he did a nice job.”

Burnett said the hernia injury did not bother him. He didn’t feel any pain and wasn’t uncomfortable on the mound. He will have surgery at the end of the season, but will live with the pain which comes off the push off (left) foot.

“It’s there, but the pain level is not there,” said the 37-year-old Burnett. “It’s something that I know is going to be there. I’m going to have to manage it the best way I can. Hopefully, I can do that every time I come out.”

It was the second straight game a Phillies starting pitcher when beyond the sixth inning. Burnett said that’s something the starters are expected to do to take the pressure off the relievers, especially early in the season.

“Your starters need to do it in the first couple of months,” Burnett said. “That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to go deep into games, so those guys are fresh at the end of the year. You want to go deep in those games. The first couple of months we’re supposed to take the haul.”

Meanwhile, a well-rested back end of the Phillies bullpen kept the Braves scoreless for the final two innings. Set-up man Antonio Bastardo got the win in relief, allowing no runs on just one hit.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon got his fourth save of the season. He’s 4-for-4 in save opportunities since blowing his first save opportunity in the Phillies road loss to the Texas Rangers.

“I’ve been able to make adjustments and that’s what this game’s about,” Papelbon said. “Hopefully, I will continue to do that. Texas was one of those things that happen with a closer. You have to put it behind you and keep going.”

 

 

 

Lee Pitches Well, but Phillies Can’t Score in Loss to Braves

17 Apr

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee strikes out 13 Atlanta Braves, but is on the short end of a 1-0 shut out. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee strikes out 13 Atlanta Braves, but is on the short end of a 1-0 shut out. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—On a night when Cliff Lee was mowing down Atlanta Braves hitters, the Phillies offense was about as cold as the night time temperature.

That’s because the Phils couldn’t figure out the riddle that was Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran (2-1). In nine innings, the Phillies could only manage just three hits—all singles by Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins.

In what was an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, the Braves came away with a 1-0 win over the Phillies in front of 23, 382 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park who saw Lee come up with 13 strikeouts while his offense struggled.

The only mistake Lee made in 128 pitches was giving up a home run on an 0-2 pitch to Braves catcher Evan Gattis, who was ripping up Phillies pitching the way his predecessor Brian McCann used to when he was the Atlanta catcher. It was Gattis’s third home run of the series. He had four hits in the game.

“On the pitch to Gattis, I tried to elevate a fast ball, it wasn’t a bad spot, but it wasn’t the spot I was trying to hit. It was down and in,” Lee said. “The pitch I made today was a bad pitch. I missed the spot I was going for and it ended up in a decent spot, he just put a decent swing on it. You gotta give him credit. I’ve got to be better than that. I should have thrown a different pitch or a different location.”

Pitching all nine innings, Lee definitely did his part to help the Phillies win this game. He scattered 11 hits and did a masterful job of pitching himself out of jams when the Braves had men on base. The effort Lee put out tonight was nothing short of amazing.

Meanwhile, Teheran wasn’t necessarily coming up with strikeouts, but he was getting the Phillies out and thanks to the wind blowing in from center field a few hard hit balls that might have gone out of the park on a hot summer day, stayed inside the stadium.

Atlanta's Julio Teheran allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout of Philadelphia. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Atlanta’s Julio Teheran allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout of Philadelphia. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Teheran had four strikeouts and no walks in 115 pitches. He kept the Phillies offense off balance by mixing his pitches effectively. Centerfielder Ben Revere said it was frustrating for his team to not be able to put runs on the board back up

“(Teheran) was hitting his spots and everything, but that’s the way baseball goes,” said Philliescenterfielder Ben Revere. “The guys hit the ball on the money, but it was right at their guys. It’s frustrating but we just got to keep our heads and come back out (Thursday).

“(Lee) pitched one heckuva game. It was phenomenal. Everybody in here is frustrating because your pitcher does so well and gets the loss.”

Teheran was perfect through his four innings before giving up an infield single to Howard. He gave up a pair of two-out singles, but the Phillies could not push across.

This loss to the Braves is just the kind of stuff that happens to average teams. They get a solid outing from their starting pitcher, but they can’t hit. Sometimes, the reverse happens. The Phillies score a lot of runs and then the bullpen or the starting pitching breaks down.
The Phillies have to figure out away to play every aspect of their game well—whether it’s getting clutch hitting, good starting and relief pitching. Phils manager Ryne Sandberg said the Phillies have do a better job of providing Lee with run support.

“That’s a trend that we don’t want to have because we know that he gives us a chance to win,” Sandberg said. “Things didn’t go our way on the offensive side with some hard-hit balls tonight.”