Phils Kick Off 4-Game Cincy Series With Important Hamels Start

Phils Kick Off 4-Game Cincy Series With Important Hamels Start

This past weekend was one of the more bizarre and unpredictable in recent memory of following the Phillies. Now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and both the Saturday and Sunday games being canceled, the Phils will get back on the field after a pair of strange off days. It's the kind of break in a baseball season we only really ever see around the All-Star break (but not quite as long, obviously).

But not only will the Phillies be getting back to action for the first time since their loss to the Marlins on Friday night, Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62) will be starting for the first time in 17 days. Will Hamels return to form after an extended rest or will the fatigue he mentioned after that poor showing against the Nationals on Auguest 12th linger?

Jim Salisbury goes so far as to say, "You could make a case that this is the most important start that any Phillies pitcher has made this season."

If I had to guess how Hamels bounces back, I think he'll respond well based on what he said in the clubhouse following that less-than-stellar outing against the Nationals coupled with what Rich Dubee said following his most recent bullpen session.

The Inquirer's Boop Stats adds that Hamels couldn't be returning against a better team. Despite them having a stacked lineup, Hamels career numbers against Cincy are fantastic.

Including the 2010 playoffs and his one appearance against earlier this season, he is 8-0, 1.23 ERA in nine starts and has held them to a .168 batting average.

Hamels will take on a Reds team that has been playing good ball lately, winners of 4 straight and 6 of their last 7. Right-hander Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44) will start tonight for Cincinnati.

Even with the right-hander on the mound for the Reds, Charlie Manuel is going with John Mayberry Jr. in left field. Is this more telling of Raul Ibanez's groin still being a little sensitive or Mayberry's real solid play of late?

Tonight's Lineup vs. Cincy: Victorino, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Pence, Mayberry, Ruiz, Valdez, and Hamels.

Transaction: With Hamels coming off the DL today to make his start tonight, Pete Orr was sent down to make room on the roster.

7:10 start time from Cin-city. All eyes on Cole.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Zach Ertz making significant strides after offseason work with Carson Wentz

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USA Today Images

Zach Ertz making significant strides after offseason work with Carson Wentz

The same Zach Ertz who's never had more than four touchdowns in a season now leads all NFL tight ends in touchdown catches. With four.

It's all part of the natural evolution between Ertz and Carson Wentz.

Ertz shares the NFL TD catch lead among tight ends with the Buccaneers' Cameron Brate and the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski.

And going back to last year, Ertz has six touchdown catches in his last seven games and eight in his last 13 games.

In his previous 40 games? He had five touchdown catches.

“I think it's just all the offseason work with Carson," Ertz said. "I think the coaches have a lot of confidence in me down there, and I think that stems from all the red-zone emphasis that we had all spring and summer.

"And then I’ve just made plays, the offensive line has held up, I think Carson is putting the ball in amazing spots, and I just go up and get the ball. I have the easy part."

Ertz had TD catches to give the Eagles 14-0 leads against the Giants and Cards and then caught two last Thursday that turned a 10-3 deficit into an 18-10 lead as the Eagles beat the Panthers in Charlotte.

He's the first Eagles tight end with four TD catches through six games since Pete Pihos in 1955.

“The biggest thing is A) He puts in the work and B) He’s a really intelligent football player," Wentz said. "He knows coverages, recognizes things, knows when he’s hot (on a blitz).

"He’s really kind of in my head. He knows when I’m about to change his route, those types of things. With a guy like that, that knows how to create separation and play on time and be on the same page as me, that makes it tough to stop."

The touchdowns are most notable, but Ertz is off to the best start of his career in every category. His 34 catches and 405 yards are both second-most among all NFL tight ends to Travis Kelce's 37 and 423 (in seven games).

The Eagles, 5-1, face the 3-2 Redskins Monday night at the Linc. Ertz already has 54 career receptions against the Redskins — third-most ever by a tight end.

“It’s just Year 2 in this system," he said. "I’m a lot more comfortable in my role this year as opposed to last year. I was hurt, missed two games, and I was slowly integrated back into the gameplan.

"I think this year I’m extremely confident in my role, I think they have the confidence in me to go out there and make plays when my number’s called, and it’s not going to be 10 targets every game. Last week it was two targets, 20 yards. It’s going to vary each and every week but I’m very happy with how they’re using me right now."

Ertz and Nelson Agholor are the first Eagles tandem with four touchdown catches each through six games since Fred Barnett and Calvin Williams each had four back in 1992.

The red zone was a point of emphasis this offseason, and Wentz's numbers in the red zone are off the charts — 62 percent completion percentage, nine touchdowns, no interceptions and a 112.8 passer rating, fourth-highest in the NFL.

Ertz is third in the NFL with five red-zone first-down catches and fourth in the NFL with both six red-zone receptions and 49 yards.

“It’s timing," Wentz said. "It’s a timing thing and being on the same page.

"Red zone’s all about making plays. Playmakers making plays and playing on time down there is so crucial and that’s something we’ve really focused on. I think we’ve gotten better at all our spots on playing on time but he’s a guy that we feel creates mismatches and we take advantage of them."