May 30, 2015 |
NEW YORK - It was only the second week of the season and Ryne Sandberg was already answering questions about Ryan Howard's struggles at the plate. Some of the first baseman's inconsistency stemmed from his not taking advantage of the abundance of fastballs thrown his way, the Phillies manager noted at the time. Six weeks later, Howard is still seeing a higher percentage of fastballs than he has in any season since his 2005 rookie-of-the-year campaign. But a big factor in his ability to turn a .380 slugging percentage on May 2 into a .519 clip less than four weeks later is that he has cashed in on more of those heaters.
December 4, 2014 |
Mark Sanchez has completed 63.4 percent of his passes this season, which is a significant improvement from his four seasons with the Jets. But he is still not completely satisfied with his accuracy, even though he never had a completion percentage better than 56.7 in New York. He wants it to be closer to his preseason, when he completed 80.7 percent of his passes. That might not be realistic - the top 10 quarterbacks in the league are between 65.1 and 70.3 percent - but Sanchez thinks there have been incompletions that should have been completions.
October 28, 2014 |
Nick Foles is a lesser quarterback this season than last in every meaningful regard, and this must change if the Eagles are to be taken seriously as Super Bowl contenders. These truths are clear when you watch him on the field, when you examine his statistics, when you listen to Chip Kelly fall back on the tired trope Monday of pointing to Foles' win-loss record as an accurate measure of his play and progress. "What's our record now, 5-2? Nick's 5-2, in my opinion," Kelly said one day after Foles threw two costly interceptions in the Eagles' 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
September 5, 2014 |
ATLANTA - Mario Hollands' season started in November, when he pitched for La Guaira Sharks in the Venezuelan winter league. The lefthander pitched there for a month and rested in January. He went to spring training in February, won a job with the Phillies, and threw fine until his left forearm stiffened Wednesday. Phillies coaches noticed a problem in the fifth inning of a 7-4 loss to Atlanta. Head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan accompanied them to the mound. Hollands was removed.
May 21, 2014 |
Tuesday is a big night for the 76ers. It's the NBA draft lottery. Their entire strategy of wink-wink-tanking the 2013-14 season - a smart and prudent long-term course of action - was predicated on increasing the chances that they would secure a high-enough pick to draft a difference-making player. And because the Sixers last year acquired a lottery-protected first-round pick from the New Orleans Pelicans in the Jrue Holiday trade, they are likely to end up with two selections among the top 10 in this year's draft.
May 9, 2014 |
THE NFL WILL NEVER admit it, but the telecast of its annual college draft - two networks, one red carpet, no waiting - is really nothing more than an elaborate drinking game: "waist-bender" . . . drink . . . "Wonderlic" . . . drink . . . and that's just the W's). Given all of that, there is the need for a little bit of sobering counterbalance. The 22nd pick in the first round turns out to be a productive player only about 60 percent of the time. He turns out to be an excellent player only about 19 percent of the time.
May 7, 2014 |
Ryne Sandberg adjusted the top of his lineup Monday, albeit not by choice. Jimmy Rollins tweaked his right groin when making one of three fifth-inning assists Sunday. The 35-year-old shortstop thought it best to rest one day. His manager agreed. "It'd be smart to get him off his feet today," Sandberg said. Rollins' absence illuminated one of the formulas behind the Phillies' solid start. Their starting pitching, of course, carried play for more than a week. But the top of the batting order produced with consistency and provided the rest of the lineup with chances.
September 13, 2013 |
If a five-month quarterback competition and two-game preseason audition were not enough evidence that Michael Vick earned the Eagles' starting quarterback job, his performance in the opener should serve as validation. The dizzying pace with which Vick executed and his 54 rushing yards - including a 36-yarder - were impressive, but Vick's passing might have been most praiseworthy. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns and did not throw an interception.
September 12, 2013 |
Two are tall and athletic, prototypical for their position in today's NHL. The other is short and squatty and makes up for his lack of size with his competitive nature. Introducing the promising goalies who hope to play a role in the Flyers' future: Cal Heeter (6-foot-4, 195 pounds), Anthony Stolarz (6-5, 215) and Carsen Chubak (5-11, 170). When the Flyers open training camp Thursday, all eyes will be on Steve Mason and Ray Emery, the players who will battle for the No. 1 goalie job. Mason, 25, and Emery, who will turn 31 later this month, are on one-year deals.
August 21, 2013 |
Ryne Sandberg's schedule called for every Phillies player to arrive Monday by 3 p.m. The outfielders were prescribed extra work at 3:45 p.m., and Jimmy Rollins joined them to practice relay throws. He stretched with the team but disappeared when batting practice commenced. He sauntered into the dugout near its conclusion, just before his hitting group, with a coffee in one hand and bat in the other. He plopped his 34-year-old body on the wooden bench. "Is he stubborn or [has he]