December 8, 2022

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Soon it will be Opening Day

Excited about Major League Baseball starting up again (finally)? Ready to see the Phillies’ loaded lineup in action?

We’ve got you covered with our season preview section.

You’ll find there are question marks to address for the Phillies as well — namely pitching depth and defense. With a shortened spring training that just concluded, the team will have to find a way to address its pitching staff should injuries come into play. And while Bryce Harper and Co. will surely hit, they’ve got to catch the ball as well.

There’s pressure to win, and so the question marks extend as well to Joe Girardi, who’s on the hot seat this season.

So happy opening day on Friday, and let’s see how the Phillies answer with their play.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

The projected win total for the Phillies this season is 86.5, so how many do you see them winning? [email protected]

Harper puts on a show. Nightly. For six months. And in perhaps the toughest sports town in America. Carson Wentz got himself traded out of Philadelphia. Ben Simmons withered here. But if there was a playbook for the city’s highly paid star athletes, Harper pretty much keeps running the “Philly Special” over and over. Mike Schmidt says, “He’s a showman.”

The addition of Bryson Stott to the opening-day roster gives Joe Girardi a bat with potential — and seemingly endless lineup combinations.

Next: Opening day is almost here. The Phillies begin the season against the Oakland Athletics at 3:05 p.m. Friday at Citizens Bank Park (NBC10).

Sixers coach Doc Rivers indicated that reporters would eventually “figure out” whether all of his players were vaccinated when he was asked on March 31. A week later, there appears to be an answer as swingman Matisse Thybulle was ruled ineligible to play against the Toronto Raptors and did not accompany the team on its trip to Canada.

Thybulle, who was previously believed to be vaccinated, entered COVID-19 protocols twice during the NBA’s regular season. But there could now be playoff implications attached to his unvaccinated status — which was confirmed by The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey — with the Sixers currently on the path toward a first-round series against Toronto. As the fourth seed, they would play the No. 5 Raptors. Which could pose a problem in Games 3 and 4 if he is not vaccinated by the postseason.

But for now, Thybulle’s team will play Thursday’s game without him.

Next: The Sixers play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against the Raptors in Toronto (NBCSP).

Ronnie Attard’s first week with the Flyers has been a bit of a roller coaster, as the rookie defenseman posted a minus-4 in his NHL debut on Sunday and then notched his first NHL point with an assist on Tuesday.

While Attard’s play has been a bit uneven, as should be expected from a player less than two weeks removed from playing college hockey, his mentality and demeanor have ben anything but. On Wednesday, interim coach Mike Yeo praised Attard for having a short-term memory and being resilient even after making mistakes.

Yeo believes that the blueliner’s willingness to continue to play his game and push the envelope offensively will be an asset for him long-term.

Next: The Flyers head to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets Thursday in the second leg of a home-and-home series (7 p.m., NBCSP+). The Flyers will be looking for revenge after losing at home to Columbus on Tuesday, 4-2.

  • Dunphy’s new job: Columnist Mike Sielski is a La Salle graduate and knows it will take more than the hiring of Fran Dunphy to save the men’s basketball program, as the issues are systemic.

  • All in the family: Kalista Hyham is having a standout season for La Salle’s water polo team after transferring to play in her fifth college season for her father, Tom, the Explorers’ head coach. The Hyhams love the sport — and being together again.

  • Good habits: Temple’s new women’s basketball coach Diane Richardson plans to rebuild the Owls with the acronym HABIT in mind so that honesty, accountability, branding, integrity, and teamwork are emphasized.

We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Marcus Hayes, Scott Lauber, Alex Coffey, Mike Jensen, Keith Pompey, Giana Han, Mike Sielski, Siobhan Nolan, Sam Cohn, and Isabella DiAmore.