Friday, October 31, 2008

The Best Parade Ever

The title of this post says it all. The Philadelphia Phillies championship parade this afternoon was spectacular. I was not down at the Bank, but I was on Broad Street near the beginning of the parade. I was in the front row because I got there around 9:15, and the parade didn't start until noon.

The amount of Phillies fans there was simply amazing. It seemed like everyone either took off work or school because there were tons of kids there. When I got there, there were already thousands of people around City Hall, but I was able to find a good spot when I walked down Broad a little bit.

This was the first championship parade I was ever at, so I didn't know what it would be like. The players came by on high floats, waving and cheering along with the fans. Jayson Werth was going absolutely crazy when the float stopped at my intersection. He was squirting beer all over the crowd, including a lot on me since I was in the front row. Pat Burrell had his big dog, Elvis, sitting right next to him in the parade.

When the players arrived, there was deafening noise. The fans had been cheering all day up to that point. They cheered for passing cars, police officers, fake-Rockies, and even a man on stilts with a Phillies flag. They didn't even shut off Broad Street until the beginning of the parade, so cars full of fans were honking all day.

I got home around 3:00, just in time to see the players arrive at Lincoln Finacial Field and the Bank. That's right, they filled both stadiums with fans for a big celebration at the end of the parade.

The parade was a great experience for me and all Phillie fans there. But like Cole Hamels said, I could go for a few more parades up Broad Street before it's all said and done.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phillies Are the World Champions

The Philadelphia Phillies are now the best baseball team in the world! I have been waiting a long time to say that! The Phillies beat the Rays 4-3 in the decisive Game 5. The game started from the bottom of the sixth and went back and forth until Pedro Feliz drove in the game-winning run in the seventh.

The Phillies have culminated this year with the sweetest of prizes. The players have dreamt of this since the first smell of spring. No, actually the players have dreamt of this since they first saw a World Series game on T.V.

But let's not beat around the bush, this win was for the fans. I went down to Cottman Avenue and partied in the street all night long. Cottman Ave. is that place on they always show on T.V. with the massive and crazy crowds, just in case you aren't familiar with the area.

We are the Champions! We are the Champions! No time for losers (Mets)! 'Cause we are the Champions.... of the World!

I can't tell you how much this championship means to the city of Philadelphia. More than the nonsports fan could even contemplate. I, along with other Phils fans, am so happy they could finally win it last night.

I will be attending the parade tomorrow afternoon on Broad Street. I will write about that tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away (And Bud Selig Can Follow)

The rest of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series will be played tomorrow night. The Phillies are up in the series 3-1 (just in case you weren't paying attention). The game tomorrow will be picked up from the bottom of the sixth with the game tied, 2-2.

Bud Selig really screwed this one up. First, he lets the game start, even with a severe threat of rain. Then, he lets them play until the Rays tie the score in the top of the sixth. He will deny that he waited until the score was tied. But Major League Baseball is more likely to distribute free steroids to all its players before it will end a World Series in a five inning game. You can't tell me that they wouldn't have kept playing had the Phillies held the lead.

The conditions from the fourth inning on were unbearable for the players. Jimmy Rollins misjudged a fly ball because he couldn't look up into the rain. The field was flooded out, and the Rays gained a cheap run because of it. They should have let the Phillies bat in the bottom of the inning to see how the Rays would have fielded in that situation.

But let's get back to public enemy number one: ol' Buddy Selig. He tried to manipulate the score of the game by making the Phillies come back onto the flooded field for another inning, just so the Rays could tie it up. If this was a government, I think the word "corrupt" would be the best to describe it. Does he think the fans are dumb enough to believe that he didn't want that game tied. Maybe that crap works in Tampa Bay, but not in Philly. It is always bad when you hear the commissioner speak. You know something has gone wrong, whether it be steroids or a possible lockout. The difference this time was that the commissioner caused his own problem.

But let's talk about the less than half a game that will be played tomorrow night. The Phillies could wrap it up tomorrow at home, and I think they can do it. I think they need to jump on the Rays 'pen early tomorrow. The Rays bullpen is tough late, but vulnerable early (just like Scott Kazmir). Joe Maddon has no idea how to manage a pitching staff. He uses pitchers like Andy Reid uses timeouts: Use a lot early, have no more for the end. He tires out his pitchers by warming them up, and then using them on only one batter. He is not opposed to use seven batters in an inning, as he did early in the series.

I think the Phils should start Ryan Madson or J.C. Romero tomorrow night. Please no J.D. Durbin! The man gives up a homer every time out. It's not that he gives up a lot of runs, just a couple big ones.

So rain, rain go away!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Going Back to Philly

Two games into the 2008 World Series, the Phillies are not looking good. They are 1 for 28 with runners in scoring position, the worst in Fall Classic history. They lost last night 4-2, when James Shields completely shut down the Phillies pathetic offense.

The Phillies are in a good position, however. They went into to Tropicana Field and took one of two games. The Rays are a terrific at home, so it was important to take a game there. Even with the cow bells ringing, Cole Hamels was still dominant on the hill in Game 1.

Speaking of the cow bells, I wonder why the Rays organization has to give them out to make noise. Up here in Philly, we don't need loud and annoying giveaways to make the Bank rock with the intensity of a low grade earthquake. We'll take care of the loud and annoying part ourselves.

The Phillies bats have been silent (although I don't think it has anything to do with the cow bells). If the Phillies hope to win another game in this series, they have to hit with runners in scoring position. Had any other pitcher on the face of the Earth had pitched Game 1 except for Cole Hamels, the Phillies would be down 2-0 in the series.

If I was Charle Manuel, I would alter the pitching rotation in this way (starting from Game 1): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Hamels, Moyer, Myers, Hamels. I think this rotation would make perfect sense. You have your best pitcher Hamels on the mound for three games if the series extends to seven games. Cole would pitch Games 1,4, and 7. Frankly, I wouldn't want Jamie Moyer pitching Game 7 because he has been horrible in the playoffs. Manuel has already said that excluding Moyer from the rotation was not an option, and I agree with him. I wouldn't want him to pitch with the series on the line, however.

Charlie Manuel would never consider this rotation because he is too stubborn to change anything about his team. I know what he's going to say: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I agree with him, but Hamels has been sensational and he should pitch in as many games as his arm allows him. Manuel has babied Hamels all year by never pitching him on short rest. But come on! I know he is only 24, but this is the World Series and he is your best player. Get him out on the field as much as possible.

Now, let's talk about the hitting (or lack their of). The Phillies bats need to wake up in a hurry. Maybe the madness that will be the stands in Citizens Bank Park will wake them from their slump. Charlie Manuel needs to go around the clubhouse and pinch every player and tell him,"Yes, you're in the World Series, but that doesn't mean you play any different than April and May."

I think all the hitters are trying to do too much. Shane Victorino looked like he was trying to hit one through the roof every time. Ryan Howard (upper right) feels he should be hitting homers every other at-bat. They need to calm down and just try to make contact, not hit one out of the stadium. Howard also needs to get his head out of the clouds (or domes) in the field. One time, that may cost the Phils a run.

I will stay with my prediction of Phillies in 6. They need to win at least two games at the Bank before returning to the Trop for that to happen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It Will be the Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays wrapped up the American League Championship Series last night, with a 3-1 win in Game 7. They will be taking on our-beloved Phils in the World Series. The Red Sox, after being down 3-1 in the series, won two consecutive games to force this decisive seventh game.

I didn't know who to root for last night. I thought both teams had good pitching and good hittting. I knew both would be a tough test for the Phils. I wanted to root for the Rays, because I didn't want the Red Sox to win three straight games coming into the World Series. But the Rays have really been hitting the ball (mostly out of the park), so I'm a little nervous.

It will be a tough series for sure for the Phillies. Cole Hamels needs to come out strong in Game 1 on Wednesday. I will do a comprehensive preview on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bring On the World Series!

The Phillies are National League Champions for the first time since 1993! I've been waiting all night to sat those exact words. The Phillies put the Dodgers down easily last night, with a final score of 5-1. Cole Hamels pitched beautifully, only giving up the homer to Man Ram. The Phillies will be facing either the Red Sox or the Rays on baseball's biggest stage.

The Phillies are finally reaping the benefits of all their hard work throughout the season. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a homer, and the Philies never turned back after that. But let's not talk about the game. If you want to see a box score, you can go to or look in your local newspaper.

The Phillies have a great chance to break Philadelphia's sports' championship drought (or curse, if you prefer). Everybody is going nuts in Philly, and I can tell you that for a fact. I can't wait to hear the roar of Citizens Bank Park when the Phils host the World Series. I wish I had a ticket.

It looks like the Phillies will be facing off against the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. The Rays currently lead the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS 3-1.

The Phillies have taken this team by storm. I have to say that before the Phillies made the playoffs last season, Philly was a football town. If the Eagles were playing, nobody even thought about checking the Phillies score. But now, since that magical playoff birth last season, Philadelphia has turned Phillies Red. Now that the Phillies are in the World Series, Phillie fan support is at its peak. The Eagles? There not even playing this week. The Phillies will take center stage.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One More Win

With just hours left until the Phillies face off against the Dodgers in Game 5, I am excited for a World Series celebration later tonight. Cole Hamels' left pitching arm will decide whether the Phillies clinch tonight. The Phillies are up 3 games to 1 in the series, and they can wrap it up tonight. Hamels is by far the Phillies best pitcher, and he has shown it this postseason.

This is the Phillies best chance to make it to the World Series. Their ace is on the mound, and they are coming off an emotional late-inning win in Game 4. They have all the momentum coming into this game at Dodger Stadium tonight. The first pitch will be at 8:22 pm EST.

I think the Phillies will wrap up the Series tonight. As I've said, all factors point in their favor.

My Prediction for Game 5: Phillies 4, Dodgers 1
Cole Hamels will pitch a beauty, going eight solid innings and only giving up a lone run. Brad Lidge will come in to close the game in the ninth. The Phillies offense is somewhat quiet, but they do enough to get the win and earn spot in the 2008 World Series.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


The Tampa Bay Rays won Game 2 of the ALCS early this morning. I stayed up and watched all 11 innings of madness from Tropicana Field. It was a big win by the Rays to even the series at one. The teams will be off tonight and will pick up the action at Fenway on Monday.

This game had everything. Home runs, wild pitches, extra innings. Very exciting game, and finish. There was seven dingers in the game (four for the Red Sox and three for the Rays). Dustin Pedroia came up big for the Red Sox knocking two over the fence.

Third basemen Evan Longoria had a huge game, going three for five with a homer and three RBIs. The Rays knew they had to win this game and B.J. Upton finally did in the bottom of the 11th. Upton hit a shallow fly ball to right field, and that was enough to sacrifice the man home.

It seemed as if every time one team took the lead during the game, the other team would equalize on their next at-bat. Just a see-saw game that came down to a sacrifice fly in the 11th.

Go Phils!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Flyers Preview

The Philadelphia Flyers will kick off the hockey season tonight at the Wachovia Center. The New York Rangers will be visiting them starting at 7:00 pm EST. The Flyers are looking to make the playoffs for the second straight year, and I think they have the talent to do it.

The Flyers will be trotting out almost the same team as last year's squad. One big addition is a healthy Simon Gagne, which they didn't have most of last season. Gagne scored 40+ goals in the 06-07 and the 05-06 seasons. Don't expect him to equal that total, even if he stays healthy. Mainly because those seasons came when Gagne was paired up Peter Forsberg, the best passer in the NHL.

Gagne will probably appear on a line with center Daniel Briere. Briere had a good first year for the Flyers last season. Look for him and Gagne to combine for a lot of goals this season.

Mike Richards has taken over the captaincy, and he is also the best player. Richards had a monster season last year, racking up 75 points. Richards should rebound nicely from that breakout campaigne.

Martin Biron will still be the goalie. Biron was named the number one goalie before last season. The Flyers gave him a chance and he showed he could dominate, especially in the playoffs.

The Flyers only concern seems to be the defense. The offense if stacked with 20+ goal-scorers, but the defense is unproven. Kimmo Timmonen is one of the most underrated defensemen in the game. He was the Flyers go-to defensemen last season, shutting down the other team's biggest stars. Braydon Coburn seems poised for a breakout season, after playing well last year. Coburn, with his smooth skating ability and size, could emerge as a top defensemen. Randy Jones is a solid defensemen also, but injured. The Flyers picked up veteran Steve Eminger to add some depth to the position.

If, when watching the game tonight, you feel something is missing, don't be surprised. Derian Hatcher won't be in the lineup tonight. Hatcher delivers bone-crunching hits almost shiftly. I think he gets into the other team's head. Like Ray Lewis on the Ravens, he instills fear in other team. They think twice before skating into his zone. I think he will be sorely missed.

I can't believe it's hockey season already. I feel like the NFL season just started (ended?) for the Eagles, and here we are talking about hockey. But I do like hockey, and with the Phillies having all these breaks, I'll need something to watch. I'm finding increasingly difficult to find anything good on TV. Between the first and second rounds of the MLB postseason, there was hardly any good sports on TV. Hopefully, the Flyers can fill that void.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Can't Dodge Brett Myers

Throughout the game, you could hear the Phillie Phaithful chanting "Beat L-A" every chance they got. They Phillies complied, putting the Dodgers down 8-5. Brett Myers (above) was the star of this one. But it wasn't his pitching (which was mediocre) that won him cheers from the fans, and the win. It was the piece of lumber he carried around that won the game for the Phillies. Myers was a remarkable 3 for 3 in the ball game, knocking in three runs.

Brett Myers didn't pitch all that well, giving up five runs in five innings. Myers knocked in three very important runs at the beginning of the ballgame. The Phillies so called "big bats" were horrible in the game. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Pat Burrell combined for nine strikeouts. The bottom of the order, especially Carlos Ruiz and Brett Myers, picked up the pace. Ruiz was 2 for 4 with one RBI.

The other hero of the game for the Phillies was Shane Victorino. Victorino was 2 for 5 with four runs batted in. Victorino has been the definition of clutch in this postseason. In the seventh inning, with two runners on, Victorino saved the game for the Phillies by making a remarkable catch against the wall in deep centerfield. Victorino leaped as high as he could and saved extra bases and at least two runs. Victorino is batting .318 with 9 RBIs in the postseason.

Ryan Howard looked atrocious at the plate in this game. He was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Howard has been as impatient and undisciplined as two year old with a big bowl of chocolate ice cream. The Dodgers threw all curve balls to him tonight and he chased them low almost every single time. Here is a rule of thumb: If you see a curve ball before you have two strikes, don't swing! 90% of all the curve balls were low!

I know this may sound crazy, but if I was Charlie Manuel, I would strip Brad Lidge of the closer roll. I would implement Ryan Madson instead. I know Lidge hasn't blown a save all season, but he has been allowing too many hits and walking too many batters. I think his arm is a little tired from the regular season because his fastball is not as fast as it usually is. He also had no control tonight. He walked Manny Ramirez to lead off the ninth. He got an out, then walked another batter. He can't do that! The Dodgers could have tied the game with a simple swing of the bat. Madson has been masterful lately, and struck out the side in the eighth inning of tonight's game.

The Phillies should be very pleased with their two wins. They are now guaranteed to come back to Philly for at least one game (after three in LA.) Manny Ramirez did homer tonight, but it proved to be moot. I would be happy if the Phillies took one game of the three at the Coliseum. Of course, I'd be thrilled to wrap up the series there too!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The 5 Things the Phillies Need To Do To Beat LA

1. Take Manny out of the game

Ramirez is arguably the best postseason hitter of all time. Here's something that's not debatable: Manny has 26 postseason home runs, the most by any player in the playoff history. Charlie Manuel knows Manny's tendencies, so maybe the Phils might not have to walk him as much. The Phillies pitching staff must make sure that no runners are in scoring position when Manny is due up. He is their only player with real good power and you can't let him be the one to knock in their runs.

2. Utley needs to hit

For the Phillies to be successful, Chase Utley (above) needs to fill that hole in his bat. Utley is batted .133 against the Brewers with four strikeouts. He is a big part of the reason why the Phillies haven't been producing with runners on. When Rollins or Werth gets on for him, he needs to be able to provide a base knock.

3. Be patient, Ryan

Ryan Howard must not get frustrated. He will not get many pitches to hit. That does not mean he should chase balls out of the zone. I know you're a good hitter Ryan, but for the good of the team, take the walk. We all saw what happened the other night, when the Brewers walked you to get to Burrell. A walk is as good as a single.

4. Don't be intimidated by Dodger pitching

Everyone is raving about how good the Dodger pitching is. Well, I ain't buyin' it. You have to remember that they pitch in the spacious LA Coliseum. Some of those deep flies at the Coliseum will turn into four-baggers in the Bank. I'm surprised more people aren't bringing this up.

5. Take the home games

I know the Phils have home field advantage, but I'm not so sure it works in their favor. They play two games here, then three in California, then finish the final two games at the Bank. If the Phillies loss both games (or even go 1-1) the Dodgers will have a chance to wrap it up at home. So their is a big emphasis on winning these home games.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baseball's Final Four

The League Championship Series will start tomorrow, with the Dodgers taking the on the Phillies. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox will be taking on division rival Tampa Bay. Here is a preview of both series:

Red Sox vs. Rays

Boston Red Sox

This is a very intriguing series between two very good teams from the AL East. Boston pitching depth is probably unmatched in the majors, but Tampa's is a close second. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester are two of the most dominating pitchers in the game. Josh Beckett isn't 100% but he will start at least one game in this series.

Boston's lineup has a great mix of veteran players and blossoming stars. Everyone knows Big Papi (above) is their power hitter, but he is suffering from a wrist injury. He hasn't been hitting all that well. Jason Bay has been a great run producer since coming from Pittsburgh. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia batted .326 with 17 homers and 83 RBIs. That .326 average was good for second in the American League. He should be the AL MVP. The rest of the lineup is stacked.

One major loss for the Red Sox is veteran third basemen Mike Lowell. Lowell was last year's World Series MVP, and a real leader. Lowell is certain that he will not play in any remaining playoff games.

Tampa Bay Rays

I have to confess that I thought the Rays would crumble in the second half. They sure showed me. The Rays young pitchers have really pitched well in big games this season (and in the playoffs). James Shields pitched well during the season, and had a nice outing against the White Sox last week. Scott Kazmir didn't have his best season this year, but he still a feared lefty.

The Rays seem to have great teamwork in a sport that significantly lacks real teamwork. Their young (and loaded-with-talent) players score runs with ease. Evan Longoria is a all-around player at third base. He homered in his first two postseason at-bats. Not bad for a rookie. Carlos Pena is the only player on the Rays with 100+ RBIs. He also knocked 31 balls over the fence during the season.

My Prediction: Rays in 7

Phillies vs. Dodgers

Philadelphia Phillies

Everyone knows about the Phillies prolific offense. I don't think I need to give you the stats of guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Pat Burrell. But a lot of the Phils' role players have been stepping up in the postseason. Shane Victorino has been terrific in October, knocking in five runs in four games. Jayson Werth has been a player that has created opportunities. His speed and timely hitting helped carry the Phils to the playoffs.

The starting pitching for the Phillies has been rather inconsistent. Cole Hamels is the team's ace. And he pitched a gem in the Game 1 of the NLCS, throwing eight shutout innings. Brett Myers looked very good in Game 2, but he has a tendency to blow up. Jamie Moyer pitched poorly in Game 3, but he usually is money. The Phillies bullpen is shaky if the starters don't go at least six innings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Manny Ramirez is absolutely dominant in the playoffs. The Phils cannot pitch to him. He hit two homers in the Cub debacle. He has 26 dingers in the playoffs in his career. The Dodgers power ends with Manny. Andre Eithier is second on the team in homers with a parsley 20 (Note: Eithier would be fifth on the Phillies). Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Russell Martin are the fuel that drives the Dodger offense.

The Dodger pitching isn't all that great either. Manager Joe Torre will start Dereck Lowe, who was 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA during the regular season. Chad Billingsley is the team's best starter, going 16-10 with a 3.12 earned run average.

My Prediction: Phillies in 6

Comment on your predictions

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are the Eagles Done?

The Eagles are now sitting at two wins and three losses. That's hard to believe considering how well they played in the first two weeks. But a close, heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys, a terrible loss to the Bears, and a Washington victory changed all that. The Eagles look all but alive in the rugged NFC East.

This week's 23-17 loss is just another example of the fact that Eagles NFC empire is crumbling. I have to confess that I didn't watch too much of the game, because the Phillies were playing in a far more important game. I did catch some of it, and it wasn't pretty. The Eagles jumped ahead to a 14-0 lead early in the game, and I thought it was over. The Eagles looked dominant early on. How foolish am I? Expecting the Eagles to hold a commanding lead? Stupid!

Some more bad news has just come out of Eagle Land. Brian Westbrook has two broken ribs. That's the nail in the coffin for me. Westbrook is the only guy who keeps this team in playoff talk, and now he's racking up injuries like traffic tickets.

There needs to be a change. Andy Reid's crap is getting old, and the fact that his team keeps choking in games doesn't help him. Eagles fans either think Reid is a wonderful strategist (there are some crazy people out there) or a bumbling buffoon. I think it's safe to say that more people side with the latter.

Donovan McNabb seems to play worse as the season goes on. I think he has one, maybe two, years left as the starting quarterback. He seems to choke after the first quarter. If he continues to do that, he shouldn't be back next year.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

LA, Here We Come!

Pat "The Bat" Burrell powered the Phillies to a 6-2 win in today's game. The Phillies will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. Burrell smacked two homers in the game, including a three-run bomb in the third inning, which gave the Phillies a fairly comfortable lead early in the game. Starter Joe Blanton looked like C.C. Sabathia, pitching six innings and only allowing a solo shot from Prince Fielder.

Jimmy Rollins got things started early for the Phillies, homering on the sixth pitch of the game from Jeff Suppan. Rollins pulled a nice line drive over the right field fence to silence the crowd in the first inning. Jayson Werth also homered for the Phils.

Going into this game, I thought the Phillies would lose. Joe Blanton isn't exactly the definition of a solid starter, and the Phillies offense has been asleep through the first three games. I thought it would come down to a game five showdown between Cole Hamels and C.C. But Joe Blanton brought his "A" game and the Phillies offense finally unloaded on the Brew Crew.

The Phillies will be playing the Dodgers in the NLCS, which starts on Thursday. The Phils will have home field advantage because they finished with a better record that the Dodgers. Truly, I don't think the Dodgers are a very talented team. The Cubs killed themselves in that series. The Dodgers just got lucky that they were playing the cursed Cubs.

The Phillies really need to unload on the Dodger starters early because their bullpen is pretty good. Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley are their best starters. Lowe is old but clutch in the playoffs, and Billingsley is young and inexperienced. Jonothan Broxton and Takashi Saito form a good one-two pitch in the 'pen. The Phillies swept these guys in Citizens Bank Park the last time they met.

The Phillies better not pitch to Manny Ramirez. He is by far the most dangerous hitter LA has, and is very good in the playoffs. He hit two home runs in three games against good Cubs' pitching.

I like the Phillies to win this series in six games. That's my prediction.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's Not Going to Be Easy

The Phillies will play game four tomorrow afternoon. They have just finished losing to the Brewers 4-1 at Miller Park. The Phillies offense looked absolutely weak, scoring only one run against contact-pitcher Dave Bush and an average bullpen at best.

Jamie Moyer had a rough opening inning, giving up two runs. He then settled down to throw three shutout innings. Moyer threw 90+ pitches through four innings and was taken out as a result.

The Phillies offense looked powerless against the Brewer pitching. Let's look at this statistic. The Phillies had nine hits, which resulted in only one run. The Brewers had two more hits than the Phillies, and they scored four runs. The Brewers hit with runners on, and the Phillies struggled mightily when it really counted.

Let's take this time to talk about the dreadful ninth inning. The Phillies loaded the bases with no outs to start the ninth. Pedro Feliz came up to the dish, and grounded to third. Third baseman Bill Hall threw to the second baseman Craig Counsell, who relayed it to first for the double play. Shane Victorino took out Craig Counsell when he ran to second. Victorino basically bulldozed through him, and the umps called interference. They disallowed Howard's run and also pulled back Dobbs to second. Ruiz followed by grounding back to the pitcher for the final out of the game.

Like Jimmy Rollins said, it wouldn't be the Philly way if it came easily. And tomorrow will be a tough game as well. Joe Blanton (above) will be on the mound for the Phils, and countering him will be Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan. Blanton has been all over the place this season, and nobody knows what to expect from him. He could pitch beautifully, but he is more likely to blow up around the fourth or fifth inning.

Come on Phils, couldn't you make it easy just this once.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eagles Face Tough Test This Week

The NFL season is going on? I thought October was for baseball. The Eagles will have a very important game this Sunday against the pesky Washington Redskins. No, this game is not as important as any game the Phillies will play in the near future, but the Eagles are 2-2 and would love to get a divisional win against the 'Skins this season.

Some good news for the Eagles is that Brian Westbrook (above) will most likely play this week. Westbrook participated fully in team workouts today. He will give the Eagles a big lift in this game. If Westbrook would have played last week, the Eagles would have scored when they were in the red zone, and they would have beaten the Bears.

The Redskins are coming off a BIG win over the Cowboys. Jason Campbell looked great, and is clearly maturing each week. The Eagles will have to be careful with him, because he can definitely throw the deep ball.

The Eagles defense has looked very good through the first four games. They are third in the NFL in total defense, and first in rushing D. The young linebackers (Stewart Bradley, Omar Gaither, and Chris Gocong) look like they have been playing together for years. The Eagles D-line has really pressured the passer so far.

The Eagles really have to avoid the stupid mistakes that caused them to lose their last two games. Desean Jackson really has to get his act together. I do think Andy Reid is putting to0 much pressure on him to carry the offense. But who was he going to trust to carry the offense? Westbrook wasn't playing, and I'm not exactly comfortable with Lorenzo Booker being the main playmaker. But it's not like Jackson is dropping passes. He is fumbling the ball and making mental mistakes, and it HAS to stop.

Donovan McNabb really has to avoid throwing interceptions and fumbling the ball on key drives. Sometimes it looks like the Eagles are going to take over the game, but then McNabb throws a pick or coughs up the ball.

My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 17

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Victorino Powers the Phillies to a Victory in Game 2

Game two between the Phillies and Brewers has just ended 5-2 in favor of the Phils. Brett Myers pitched very well, giving up a slim two runs through seven strong innings. But Brett's bat may have had a bigger impact on the final score. Myers drew a walk from C.C. Sabathia in the second inning to put two runners on for Jimmy Rollins. Myers did a nice job of fighting off Sabathia. Rollins then walked. Victorino followed him up with a grand slam to give the Phillies 5-2.

C.C. Sabathia choked in this game. It's as simple as that. He gave up five runs in three and 2/3 innings. I know it was tough on Sabathia's arm to pitch four consecutive starts on short rest. But C.C. hasn't done well in the playoffs throughout his career. He has a 7.17 ERA in the postseason.

The Flying Hawaiian was the hero in this game, however. He drove in four of the Phillies five runs with a grand slam in the second inning. Victorino (upper left) sent a mythical blast over the wall in left field. Nobody in the park thought it was going over the fence when he hit it, but that line drive homer just kept carrying until it left the field of play.

Victorino batted second in tonight's game. In game one and during the latter part of the season, Victorino batted in the bottom of the order. But in tonight's game Charlie Manuel decided to switch Victorino with the struggling Jayson Werth, and boy did it pay off! He homered, and also doubled... twice.

Myers was the warrior in this game. He fought threw a jam in first inning when he loaded the bases with one out. He then walked in a run, but that was the only run he gave up in that inning. He got Corey Hart to ground in to a fortuitous double play to get out of the inning.

The Phillies now have a good chance to go to the NLCS, and there is no reason they shouldn't. Old reliable Jamie Moyer (16-7) will be going against unreliable Dave Bush (9-10). The Phillies have a real good opportunity to sweep these Brewers on Saturday night at Miller Park. If they could do that, their pitchers would get some much needed rest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Phils Take Game 1

The Phillies have just finished finishing off the Brewers, 3-1. Cole Hamels pitched a beauty of a game, allowing no runs through eight innings. He should have pitched the ninth, but Manuel took him out in favor of closer Brad Lidge. Lidge seems unable to pitch an inning without a ton of drama (there were runners on second and third with two outs). In my opinion, Hamels should have been left in.

Hamels was pitching superbly, giving up only two hits. He had only thrown 101 pitches through eight innings. What Uncle Charlie should have done was keep Hamels in but keep Lidge loose just in case Cole slipped. Lidge threw 30+ pitches and now will not be able to pitch tomorrow night.

But I don't know what the situation was. Maybe Hamels told Charlie he didn't want to pitch the ninth? I think Hamels has to tell Charlie that he needs to complete the game. Tell Charlie he will handle the rest.

The Phillies' offense looked incredibly weak against a average young pitcher (Yovani Gallardo) and a mediocre Brew Crew 'pen. Chase Utley's line drive in the third was dropped by center fielder Mike Cameron to drive in two runs. Gallardo walked in a run later in the inning.

Game 2 of the NLDS for the Phils will be tomorrow night. Brett Myers will be facing pitching- lord C.C. Sabathia. I think the "C.C." stands for "constant complete" for the complete games Sabathia throws practically weekly. Tomorrow will be a tough test.

Thome Comes Through

The Chicago White Sox will being playing baseball in October. Last night they beat the Minnesota Twins, 1-0. They won the one game playoff to make the playoffs. John Danks (White Sox) and Nick Blackburn (Twins) both pitched incredibly for young pitchers in this important game. The deciding run came in the 7th inning, when former Phillie Jim Thome launched into the haze in deep center. He was the hero for the heroic White Sox.

Ken Griffey Junior also made a nice play when he threw out Micheal Cuddyer from center field. Cuddyer would have been the first run of the game, but Junior made a very nice throw to nail him at the plate.

The White Sox will now be facing the AL East Division-winning Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS.