Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Arsenal Roasts Celtic

Arsenal has just finished up roasting Celtic at Emirates Stadium... final score 3-1. This was the second leg of the UEFA Champions League, Playoff Round 1. In the first game, Arsenal shut out Celtic 2-0. So, the aggregate favored Arsenal 5-1.

Arsenal's first goal was very controversial. Eduardo broke away from the pack and was taken down by the Celtic goalie Artur Boruc... or so we thought. The referee whistled for a penalty kick. Eduardo nailed the PK but on further replay, it looked like Boruc made no contact with Eduardo.

Then, in the second half, Emmanuel Eboue put one in the back of the net for Arsenal. That goal kind of sealed the deal for the Gunners. Eboue has looked great so far early on.

Andrei Arshavin, who came in for Eduardo, scored in the 74th minute, which really put Celtic away. Arsenal didn't get the clean sheet, however. Massimo Donati of Celtic scored in the 90th minute, which was the only bright spot in the match for the Scottish club.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lidge Blows Another One

B rad Lidge is no stranger to blown saves. And he added another one to his collection earlier tonight at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The Phillies were winning 4-3 going into the bottom of the 9th. Then, Brad Lidge came in and before you knew it, the game was over. The Pirates won 6-4.

The Phillies came back from down a run in the top of the 9th to take the lead by a run. Andrew McCutchen misjudged a deep fly from Victorino. Ben Francisco scored as the go-ahead run. McCuthcen later made up for that in a big way.
Game over... Lidge's fault again.
Then in the bottom of the inning, Lidge immediately gave up a lead-off single (his trademark). After a wild pitch by Brad, the runner moved up 90 feet into scoring position. Then Brandon Moss hit a liner into left that Werth bobbled on the bounce, allowing the tying run to score.

Then, Andrew McCutchen stepped in. He knocked a 2-run walk-off homer off against Lidge. The rookie overpowering the vet. Game over... Lidge's fault again.

The game started off so promising, with a first-pitch homer for J-Roll. Then, on the first pitch of his second at-bat, Jimmy knocked another dinger. The Phillies should sweep the Pirates, no offense to Pittsburgh fans. The fact of the matter is that the Pirates traded away all their veteran talent and the Phils should beat a team made of mostly young players.

Reid: Vick Will Play Thursday

This afternoon, Andy Reid held a press conference announcing the Michael Vick will play this Thursday night against Jacksonville. Reid said the Vick will play during the first three quarters with the starting squad. Reid also said that Kevin Kolb will quarterback during the fourth quarter.

Reid: "I can only go off what I've seen in practice and it looks like he's moving around pretty good. Realistically, it's been two years. We'll see how it works out. We'll give him a couple shots in there and see what he can do."

"I'm just going to take it play by play and see how he adjusts to game speed. If I think that's a problem, I'll probably discontinue the reps. If I feel he's adjusting OK, I'll continue to give him an opportunity here and there."

It will be interesting to see how Vick performs and how Reid uses him. Vick will actually appear in a bankruptcy court hearing the morning of the game. He will show up though. That is confirmed.

Brian Westbrook will also make his preseason debut. Westbrook is coming off an ankle injury. I am also interested to see how he looks. Hopefully, he hasn't lost a step.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Rose Question

20 years ago today, Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life for gambling when he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Much debate has gone on recently about whether Rose sould be reinstated. I, myself, believe he should, but I am not so one-sided that I can't see the other side of the argument.

Mike Schmidt mentioned this recently and it is a valid point. Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and others have used performance-enhancing drugs and have admitted it. Rose gambled on his team to win. While wrong, I don't believe he deserves a lifetime sentence when Manny Ramirez had to sit out 50 games for doing something much worse.
If Pete Rose is banned, so should the 'roid users.

Steroid users pollute the game like carbon dioxide pollutes the atmosphere. They compromise the game more than gambling on your team does. Let's not forget that Rose didn't throw any games. The gambling didn't have an effect on the game because he was trying to win any way.

Now Pete Rose goes around autographing balls for money all year. While Alex Rodriguez is out making $33 million a year. It is not right. Using steroids has much more of an unfair impact on the game. If Pete Rose is banned, so should the 'roid users.

Here is where I am somewhat conflicted. If Eric Bruntlett got thrown out of the game for gambling, no one would be talking about trying to get him back in the game. Rose is being considered because he is the Hit King. Any regular player would not be given the same treatment.

Whether Rose is reinstated or not, I don't know. He should be reinstated and I'm not just saying that because he is a former Phillie. I believe he has suffered longer than players doing worse things in the game today.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


This afternoon's Phillies-Mets game was supposed to be about Pedro Martinez's return to Flushing. But as we know, baseball throws us many curveballs (no pun intended). Eric Bruntlett, who was starting instead of Chase Utley, turned out to be the star of the Philles 9-7 victory over the Metropolitans.

The Mets choose to start Oliver Perez. Perez did not even finish the first inning after giving up 6 runs and going 3-0 to one Pedro Martinez. Jayson Werth hit a 3-run homer off Perez before an out was recorded.

Later in the inning (and this was a long inning), catcher Carlos Ruiz took Perez deep with two runners on. So, two 3-run dingers in the first frame. Then Perez, faltering with his command, threw 3 straight balls to Pedro Martinez. After that, Mets manager Jerry Manuel had seen enough and yanked Perez.

So, it was Pedro time. Angel Pagan lead off for the Mets with a long drive to left-center that was stuck between the padding and the warning track. Shane Victorino put his hands up, which is what you are supposed to do when a ball gets stuck in the outfield wall. Meanwhile, Pagan was racing around the bases.

Finally, Raul Ibanez picked up the ball (which wasn't too stuck) and threw it in. By that time, Pagan had already reached home plate with an inside-the-park homer. Pagan later hit an "outside" homer in his next at-bat.

Pedro got knocked around early in the game. I won't blame him for the inside-the-park homer (that was Victorino's fault), but I will blame him for the other 3 runs he gave up. He settled down, giving up no runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th.

Now to Eric Bruntlett, who entered the game hitting .128. The light-hitting Bruntlett did get three hits in the ballgame. He did have a fourth hit (a triple) that was taken away after the umpires ruled that Jeff Francoeur, in fact, did catch the ball. The original ruling was a hit.

Those hits (however surprising) weren't Bruntlett's mark on the game. In the ninth inning, Bruntlett botched two ground balls (only one was ruled an error). But if it wasn't for those two plays, Bruntlett wouldn't have the chance to orchestrate one of the most exciting plays in baseball.

With the runners going on a 3-2 count, Daniel Murphy lined one right to Bruntlett (who was there covering second because both runners [on 1rst and 2nd] were stealing). Bruntlett caught the ball (1 out) touched 2nd base (out 2) and tagged the runner going to second (out 3). And just in a matter of seconds, Eric Bruntlett had ended the game.

Bruntlett's unassisted triple play was only the second in MLB history to end a game. The first since 1927 to do so. It was a great moment for a player who gets little playing time usually.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Reid Confirms Vick Debut

Andy Reid said today that Michael Vick will make his Eagles debut Thursday night against the Jaguars. If everything goes well over the next few practices. I guess that means, unless Vick gets injured, he will appear in the game this week.

Reid: "I want to see how he does this week. He worked throughout the week here as we went to the game [in Indianapolis]. He did a couple of workouts here and was here yesterday on the players' day off and worked hard. He's getting through that soreness and we'll just see how it goes for this week as he goes through practice.

"I think he wants to get in and play again. I can't tell you right now how much he is going to play. But he's shooting to play this game.

"It looks like -- I'm talking the football side -- it looks like he's in pretty good shape. You could tell he's done some running and some lifting. It looked like he started out a little rusty throwing the ball and as the week went on that smoothed out for him a little bit."

Good. I will be watching for Vick. It will definitely be exciting to see how Vick can play. Some people have suggested that Vick won't play because Reid doesn't want him to be the focus, but the team because of their sloppy play two days ago.

Hamels Must Improve

The Phillies hopes of repeating as World Series champs rely on Cole Hamels. Hamels has been average at best this season, after winning 15 games last year and earning the World Series MVP award. Hamels is 7-8 with a 4.78 ERA this season. Last night he pitched 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 10 hits against the injury-depleted Mets.

Hamels is 0-3 in August with a 6.75 ERA. By comparison, Cliff Lee is 3-0 in August with a 0.75 ERA. There should be no debate who the ace of the staff is now. Some people thought Hamels would be pressured by Lee to pick up the pace. Apparently he didn't get the message.

If the playoffs started today, I don't think Hamels is in the rotation. I would go with Lee, Happ, Blanton, then Pedro. I don't know what's wrong with Hamels. He basically throws only 2 pitches 95% of the time (fastball and changeup). Maybe he is tipping his pitches and the batters just use a process of elimination.

It also seems like he is having control problems. He hit the Mets pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, last night with two outs. He could have gotten out of the inning because the Mets scored a run after that.

I don't know why Hamels is struggling but I do know he must improve for the team's sake. If Hamels becomes the pitcher we know and love, the Phillies will have a deep rotation. If not, the Phillies better hope their hitters are hot come playoff time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Favre To Join Vikings?

T he Brett Favre saga is far from over folks. According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, Viking players believe that Farve will be in Minnesota to start the season. Apparently, after visiting Vickings practice, players belive that Favre is coming to the Vikings.

According to Glazer an unnamed Viking said this about Favre, "I'm telling you it's already done. Right after the Indy game (first preseason game). I don't think anyone here doesn't think that." Wow... not surprised Favre might comeback but that the players already think it's a done deal.

Another unnamed Viking said this, "I don't know if it's done, but I think he'll be in by the third preseason game." That might mean that it's already done.

To be honest, I'm tired of Favre (just like almost everybody who's not a Viking fan). Either sign or don't sign. Why does it have to play out like a Broadway show? Make a decision and make it final (too late).

I am intrigued by this latest news, even with what is said above. The fact that the Viking players think this is a done deal is kind of odd. Most people thought the Favre story would be over with (not that lucky). And now, the players are breaking news about Favre.

I wonder who these unnamed players are (there definitely not Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels). The Vikings front office must be livid that two players would reveal such deep secrets to the media. Well, OK they aren't that deep... but still.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reactions to Vick's First Practice

he Philadelphia Eagles newest acquisition was on the practice field today at the NovaCare Complex. Michael Vick's first impressions from his new teammates were very good. Although Vick is still trying to get into football shape, his teammates were impressed with him today.

Safety Quintin Mikell: “That was great too. He was dropping some dimes in 1-on-1s. He looked good. We were joking – we wanted to see him take off one time, but he wouldn’t do it.”

Receiver Reggie Brown: “He’s taking it slow. I know how strong his arm is – but still accurate."

Receiver Danny Amendola: "He throws the ball the ball as hard as anybody I've ever seen." “He throws the ball as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen."

Vick himself said he felt "great" during practice. Coach Andy Reid said Vick needs to lose "2-3 pounds" or "5 pounds". Vick should be able to do that easily after some practices in the Philly heat.

Andy Reid: “Now, he’s not getting any younger, but once he gets back in shape, I don’t think you’re going to see person that’s slower and can’t throw as well.” Let's hope for your sake, Andy.

The Eagles organization shouldn't be worried about fans boycotting their team. I was actually at a Jersey shore beach today and I saw a plane whose banner read, "Shame on Eagles... boycott the game." No real Eagles fan would boycott their team just because they do not agree with a decision they made.

I am hearing a lot of people on the radio and on the computer saying that they will never root for the Eagles again, or that they will start rooting for the Steelers. That won't hurt the Eagles. Those "fans" wouldn't be the ones shelling $80 for a game or God-knows-how-much for season tickets.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Reaction to Vick Press Conference

The Philadelphia Eagles have just wrapped up a press conference announcing the signing of Michael Vick. Vick, Andy Reid, Tony Dungy, and owner Jeff Lurie all spoke at the press conference. Vick said he was very remorseful and sorry, but he had to say that or Jeff Lurie would have cut him at the conference.

If you scroll down you can see a video, provided by ESPN, of Vick at the press conference.

Vick: "I know I've done some terrible things, made a horrible mistake. Now I want to be part of the solution and not the problem." He better not be the problem. He caused enough problems for the NFL. Let's hope he can still play.

Vick: "For the life of me, I can't understand why I was involved in such pointless activity. Why did I risk so much at the pinnacle of my career?" I don't know Mike, that's the question everyone was asking when the dogfighting news came out.

Vick: "I'm glad I got the opportunity and the second chance. I won't disappoint." That sounds like a guarantee.

Owner Jeff Lurie spoke after Vick, Reid, and Dungy. He said he had to do a lot of "soul searching" and and he spoke a lot about the horrific acts Vick committed. He ripped into Vick, but he thinks that Vick can become an ambassador for the fair treatment of animals.

Lurie will hold Vick on a very short lease (no pun intended). Vick messes up just once, Lurie gave the impression that the Eagles will not hesitate to cut Vick if this doesn't work out. This seems like a low-risk, high-reward situation to me. If Vick screws up again, he's gone. If he works out, he could be very good for this team.

Eagles Introduce Michael Vick - ESPN VIDEO

Andy Reid On Eagles' Signing Vick - ESPN VIDEO

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vick Signed by Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed with terms to ex-con and QB Michael Vick to a 1-year deal with a club option for a second. While I was watching the Eagles first preseason game, I found out that the Eagles got a deal done with Vick. I'm am in pure shock.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN first reported this story during the Steelers-Cardinals preseason game. I had heard rumors about the Eagles signing Vick be he was the first reliable source. You have to give him props.

According to ProFootballTalk, the first year of the deal is worth $1.6 million. The Eagles reportedly have the option of bringing Vick back for a second year, and that would be worth $5.2 million.

I like this move myself. Vick could become a game-breaker either as a part-time QB or in the Wildcat formation. Maybe Reid will use Vick to give McNabb a rest or something. Maybe Reid will reveal this in the post-game press conference (I wish).

Keep in mind that Vick has not been fully reinstated yet. He is allowed to play in preseason games, but he is not yet cleared for regular season duty. Roger Goodell has until week 6 to inform Vick of his status. But Goodell can clear Vick to play at any point up till then.

I have more on this when more comes out. The post-game press conference will be interesting to watch. If your in the Philly area then it will be on CSN after the game.

Lee Continuing to Dominate

Cliff Lee has been nothing short of spectacular since joining the Phillies. In three starts with the Phils, Lee has pitched 7 innings or more in each of the starts. He has allowed only one run in each of the three starts. GM Rueben Amaro Jr. must be smiling right now.

In today's game, Lee went 8 innings giving up a run in a 6-1 Phillies win in Wrigley. The Phillies swept the Cubs in the not-so-friendly confines. Nice way to bounce back from the Marlin series.

The Phillies offense was alive during the final two games of the series. Cliff Lee just praised the offense on 950 ESPN radio. Lee wasn't getting that kind of O in Cleveland. I don't have the exact words from Lee because I just heard it on the radio.

Ryan Howard took a break from striking out once today, hitting a 3-run bomb. Maybe this offense outbreak at Wrigley will linger on to Atlanta. The Phils need to get as far ahead of this division as possible.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pedro Wins First Start

The Phillies blew the Cubs away 12-5 in Pedro Martinez's first start as a Phillie. Pedro threw 5 innings at the not-so-friendly confines. He gave up 3 runs on 7 hits. He struck out 5 and walked 1. Not a bad start for a guy making his first of this season.

Pedro's stuff looked good. His fastball reached 94 MPH, but didn't hit that number consistently. But who knows, maybe after some more work Pedro will be able to be more consistent with his velocity.

He had a lot of movement on his pitches. His cutter was cutting. His slider was sliding. And his curve ball was curving.

The Phillies offense has woken up from its slumber. Sure, maybe it was against a young pitcher making his first start, but this game could give the hitters more confidence.

U.S. Still Winless in Azteca

The United States soccer team has lost another game in Stadio Azteca. Mexico beat the U.S. 2-1 today in a World Cup qualifying game. The high altitude and heat in Mexico City really wore down the Americans, who lost control of the game in the second half.

The U.S. opened the scoring, with a goal by Charlie Davies in the 9th minute. A great ball from Landon Donovan put Davies on a breakaway between him and the goalie. Later in the first half, when Israel Castro put a beautiful shot into corner of the net.

In the second half, things starting getting testy between the two squads. Davies was on the ground in pain, and he didn't like how three Mexican players were helping him up. U.S. players came over to defend Davies and pushing ensued.

Miguel Sabah scored the winning goal for the Mexicans in the 82nd minute when he hit the roof of the net. It was an unspectacular goal but a very pivotal one in the game.

The referees let this game get out of hand in the second half when the brawl occurred. It's no secret that these teams don't like each other, so the refs should have been prepared for it. They didn't red card any Mexican players, even though they were the instigators in the altercations.

Why couldn't this game be broadcast in English. I had to watch the Spanish broadcast on Telemundo. ESPN has shown most of the U.S. World qualifying matches. Why couldn't they show the biggest one of the year?

0-23-1 in Mexico City is not a good record for the U.S. but the team is improving. I thought they would win this game and show that this U.S. team was better than the previous squads. Even with the loss, I believe the U.S. may be set for a World Cup run.

Lidge is Not a Closer

Brad Lidge's ability as a closer was on display tonight at Wrigley Field. Brad gave up a 1-run lead in the ninth inning after walking the lead off batter. Lidge was perfect last season but has been anything but this year. His 7.29 ERA would hint at that.

While the Phillies did win tonight's game 4-3 in 12 innings, they should have won in the regulation 9. Lidge has blown 7 saves this season. The Phillies could have a bigger lead in the division if he had saved maybe 5 of those.

Lidge should be relegated to mop-up duty. I don't want to see him in a close game. Even in the lest pressure situations, Lidge is assured to give up his usual run or two. That won't fly in the playoffs.

We can only hope that another reliever steps up in Lidge's place. I don't know who that could be at the moment. Ryan Madson didn't do good in his last try as closer. Hey, there's always Tyler Walker.

Moyer "Disheartened" About Move to Bullpen

Jamie Moyer reacted today to Phillies decision to move him to the bullpen in favor of Pedro Martinez. Moyer deserves to be demoted to the bullpen, but a part of me feels bad for him. He's a good guy who feels like he's been "misled."

Moyer: “I'm really not happy with this decision that the Phillies have made. I will take what they've asked me to do, but I’m not really excited about the decision that has been made. Ultimately, I'm a little disheartened because this past winter when I was negotiating with the Phillies this was a sore thumb, if you will, about this potentially happening.

“I feel disheartened and misled, but I refuse to be a distraction."

While Moyer is in the bullpen now, who knows what could happen in a month. Pedro could get pasted, and Moyer could be right back in. And the team is looking for a closer, Jamie.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rios Claimed by White Sox

Outfielder Alex Rios has been claimed off waivers by the Chicago White Sox. The Blue Jays had been looking to dump his expensive contract somewhere and the White Sox have gladly taken in the 2-time All-Star. He was in the lineup today for the White Sox game at Yankee Stadium.

Rios is batting .264 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs. He will probably play center for the White Sox and join their already stacked outfielder with Jermaine Dye and Carlos Quentin. He should help the team and raise the Sox payroll. They already took on Jake Peavy's massive contract.

Pedro to Start Wednesday; Moyer to 'Pen

The Phillies have finally announced when Pedro Martinez will make his first start with the team. Pedro will pitch Wednesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Happ will start on Tuesday, trying to follow up his complete game shutout. Lee will wrap the series up on Thursday. And Jamie Moyer will move to the bullpen.

The Phillies have finally decided to take my idea and move Moyer to the bullpen. I was telling them to do that even before Happ pitched his complete game. Then everybody else jumped on the bandwagon. I like it when I'm right.

So, Pedro will finally make his much-anticipated Phillies debut. We, MLB fans, will finally be able to see what Pedro's got after all those starts in the Minors.

Also, the Phillies have activated reliever Chad Durbin off the DL. He has a 4.62 ERA in 42 games and should improve the Phillies 'pen.

So this brings up the question: Did I witness Jamie Moyer's last major league start? Just to remind you, I was at the Bank yesterday. If Pedro pitches well, we may never see Moyer in the rotation again. He will most likely pitch in mop-up roles in the bullpen. Sad way to see Moyer go, but the change was needed.

Kolb and Cole Injured at Eagles Camp

I didn't want to post about this topic until more information was available. I found out about the injuries this morning but I wanted to make sure everything was clarified. Backup quarterback Kevin Kolb sprained his MCL in his knee in morning practices. He will miss the first preseason game, but after that he is day-to-day.

Defensive end Trent Cole sustained an AC sprain in his left shoulder. He will also miss Thursday's game, but is day-to-day after that.

It was originally thought that these were more serious injuries. Good thing they weren't because you wouldn't want your backup quarterback and sacks leader missing significant time.

I don't no what is happening down at Eagles training camp. First, MLB Steward Bradley out for the season. Then, rookie backup TE Cornelius Ingram gone for the year. Maybe the Eagles have to stress more to their players that they need to come to camp in-shape and ready to work.

Just found out that the Eagles have signed Matt Nagy, a former top quarterback in the AFL. I guess they want some more depth at QB.

Phillies Interested in Nomar?

The Phillies have been looking for a righty infielder off the bench to replace Eric Bruntlett, and Nomar Garciaparra could be that guy. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chornicle, the Phils had a scout in Kansas City to watch Nomar's A's play the Royals.

Even though the trade deadline had passed, teams can still acquire players through waivers. When asked about whether he might OK a deal to Philly, Nomar says, "Why not?"

Nomar is batting .265 with 2 homers and 13 RBIs. Even though Nomar has been off-and-on the DL, his numbers are still much better than Bruntlett's. Bruntlett is hitting a dismal .131 with 6 RBIs.

The only reason the Phillies have Bruntlett around is because he can play a lot of positions. He is not useful as a pinch-hitter, and may not make the Phillies postseason roster if they make the playoffs.

This deal could be good for the Phillies because it would be a clear improvement over what they already have.

Phils Swept by Marlins

The Phillies got blown out 12-3 yesterday in an embarrassingly sloppy game at Citizens Bank Park. I was in attendance during yesterday's game against the Marlins and I am disgusted by what I saw: a Phillies team that seems to be falling apart.

Jamie Moyer gave up only 2 earned runs in 5 innings, but he also gave up 11 hits in what should be his last start this season. The Phillies bats managed only three runs in the ball game. The Phillies need to start hitting the ball with runners in scoring position.

In the 7th inning, home plate umpire Ed Rapuano threw Shane Victorino out of the ball game from centerfield. Victorino raised his hands in the air after a borderline strike from Rodrigo Lopez was called a ball. Rapuano threw Shane out of the game, and Victorino ran up from centerfield and got in Rapuano's face. Several players had to hold Victorino back from Rapuano, clearly afraid Shane was going to harm Rapuano.

I have never seen a umpire throw a guy out of the game for putting his hands up in the field. Rapuano has never been good at calling balls and strikes (that was on display the previous half inning during Howard's at-bat). Shane Victorino should not be suspended or fined under any means. If anything, Rapuano should be disciplined.

After the confrontation, we fans at the Bank booed every call Rapuano made. Believe me, Rapuano was really getting it from the fans. The fans also taunted Rapuano by chanting "Vic-to-ri-no!" over and over again.

Jayson Werth took over center field for Victorino. Werth made an atrocious play when a grounder went directly under his glove with the bases loaded. Three runs scored and the Phils were mentally done.

Brad (7.24 ERA) Lidge comes into the game in the ninth with the Phils down 9-3. Even in a completely no-pressure situation, Lidge gave up three runs in the ninth... not exactly how your closer should pitch.

Brad Lidge should not be the closer. He comes in and is almost guaranteed to give up a run or two. Lidge should not be put in a close game. They need to find another guy in the bullpen to step up because Lidge should be relegated to mop-up duty.

Charlie Manuel held a 20-minute meeting after the game, clearly frustrated with how his team is performing.

Manuel: "I can tell you this. I was upset by the way we played today. I thought we lost our composure and did things we don't normally do. We can do much better. We're not the team you saw on the field today.'' If you want to make a playoff run (or the playoffs at all), you better be.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lee Wins Home Debut; Happ To Stay in Rotation

Cliff Lee has arrived at Citizens Bank Park. He lead the Phillies to a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Lee gave up only one run in 7 innings, striking out 9. Paul Bako, who has been a solid pick-up, smashed a homer.

In his first two starts, Lee has been as advertised. If he can continue pitching well, the Phils playoff rotation will be just fine. And J. A. Happ better be in it.

General Manager Rueben Amaro Jr. has confirmed that Happ will stay in the rotation, even if Pedro Martinez is ready to pitch, after his complete game shutout last night.

Amaro: "Happ's not going anywhere. He deserves to stay in the rotation. He's pitched very well. He's probably been our most effective starter." Indeed he has, Mr. Amaro.

Amaro: "We still haven't made a decision, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that six guys could pitch in our rotation." Well, pitching coach Rich Dubee doesn't like the idea, nor does Charlie Manuel. I might call that "out of the realm of possibility."

What is not out of the realm of possibility is that Jamie Moyer should move to the bullpen in favor of Pedro. I have been saying this for days, so I'm not going to restate my reasons. Don't release Moyer, just in case Pedro fizzles out.

The reason I don't like the 6-man rotation is because it is giving two rotation spots to over-the-hill pitchers. I'd rather have Pedro and Hamels than Pedro then Moyer. The 5th starter job should be given to either Moyer or Martinez, not both.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happ Throws Complete Game; Pedro With 11 Ks

J. A. Happ has just secured his spot in the rotation according to everyone watching the game tonight. The 26-year old has just tossed his second career complete game shutout. Happ shut out the Rockies 7-o. The Phillies bats exploded with three homers (Pedro Feliz, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth).

Happ struck out 10 in the game, giving up only 4 hits in his masterful performance. I don't care if Pedro is ready to go, Happ should not lose his spot in the rotation. Just for the record, Jamie Moyer has 0 complete game shutouts this season. Happ has 2.

Happ was hitting the corner all night long, even in the 9th inning. He struck out Troy Tulowitzki looking for the final out of the inning. The fans at the Bank exploded after that pitch, showing appreciation for Happ's gem.

Pedro Martinez threw 82 pitches through 6 innings for Double-A Reading. He struck out 11, clearly having no control problems. He did give up 2 earned runs.

John Finger of CSN wrote this on Pedro: "Featuring a nasty hook and a changeup that was too much for minor leaguers to handle, Martinez picked up 11 strikeouts and threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 23 hitters he faced." He's ready for the Majors.

After Happ's performance, Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee should make the decision and remove Jamie Moyer from the rotation and put Pedro in his spot. That is the only logical solution. Pedro should get his shot and Happ clearly deserves his spot. Moyer is the odd man out.

The Pedro Question

Phillies management will have some upcoming decisions to make regarding their starting rotation. Pedro Martinez is starting tonight for Double-A Reading and could be in the Phils rotation as early as next Tuesday according John Finger of CSN. If Pedro is in, then who is out?

The likely candidate to exit the rotation and join the bullpen is 26-year old lefty J. A. Happ. Happ has pitched well in the rotation, going 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 25 games this season. Happ deserves to be in the rotation, and there is a pitcher 20-years older than him who I think should move to the bullpen.

Jamie Moyer is a fan favorite who has 10 wins this season. The problem with Moyer is that he is inconsistent. Last night against the Rockies, Moyer gave up 6 runs in 5 innings. Don't just think I'm overreacting to one bad start.

Moyer's 5.55 ERA is second-to-last among players eligible for the ERA title. Don't let his 10-8 record fool you, Moyer is definitely the weakest link in the Phillies rotation. Moyer has given up 4 or more runs in every other start since June 17. That's just how Moyer is. Sometimes he'll go 6 and give up 3, and sometimes he'll go 5 and give up 6.

Uncle Charlie isn't even considering moving Moyer (above) from the rotation. Here's is his explanation: "I think it's because Jamie has 10 wins and because of who he is and the fact he's won 250-some games and he's been important to us."

Just because Moyer's a veteran and he's a nice guy and a fan favorite shouldn't factor into the decision. We all like Moyer, but you have to do what's best for the team. And who know's, maybe Pedro gets hit hard in his first few starts. In that case, you put Moyer back.

That's not going to happen though. Poor J. A. Happ will be forced into the bullpen even though he has pitched really well. Rueben Amaro Jr. said they haven't ruled out a 6-man rotation. Pitching coach Rich Dubee has nixed the idea, however.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Maclin Finally Signs

The Eagles have finally signed their first round pick (19th overall) Jeremy Maclin to a 5-year deal worth $15.5 million, a little over $9 million guaranteed. Many Eagle fans (including me) are relived that Maclin will finally join the team.

Maclin is an explosive player who will have some impact catching the ball and returning the punts. He is like DeSean Jackson, and hopefully he will have the same kind of impact Jackson had on the Eagles offense last year this year.

Maclin will have to study up extra hard on the Eagles complicated offense, being that he missed the team's first 15 practices.

Maclin: “I pick up things very easily. I think I’m smart and I can do things like that. I’m going to take what I learned in minicamp and hopefully translate it out here.” Hopefully, Jeremy, hopefully.

Here's DeSean Jackson about the time that Maclin missed: “It’s definitely crucial – the time he’s missed. I’m not saying he’s not going to be able to come in and pick up things and get going. But definitely the time he’s missed is a crucial period of time. Vets, selected vets and all the rookies – we went through it already, so our bodies are kind of in shape now. Those first couple days, it’s nothing you can just bypass. It’s work you have to get through. Hopefully he has to come in with the mentality that he has to get right on it.”

Eagle Nation hopes the Maclin is a fast leaner and can catch up with the team right away.

Bradley Out for the Season

Sorry I couldn't post about this topic earlier in the week, but my computer was having technical difficulties. The Eagles are having some difficulties as well (but not of the same kind). Middle linebacker Steward Bradley is out for the season with a tore ACL. Joe Mays will likely take his starting job.

First of all, Bradley sustained this injury at Eagles Flight Night, a promotional event at the Linc. The event is basically a practice with fans and giveaways. A night that was supposed to be fun for Eagles fans has turned out to be anything but.

Head coach Andy Reid was steamed at a press conference when asked about Bradley's injury. He said he would not confirm it even after the team and Bradley's agent had already done so. He then went on an apparent tirade on the media for essentially doing their job.

Reid: “We won’t talk about injuries today. Some of your colleagues here decided that they would go to the players and/or other personnel here and ask about injuries. I made a pact with you guys when I first got here that I would disclose to you the injuries – just stay away from the players, stay away from other personnel in the organization, and I would take care of you with that."

Does Reid understand that a reporter's livelihood is interviewing players and/or personnel. Also I'd like to know more about this "pact" made between Reid and Eagles reporters. Is there a signed contract somewhere that we should know about?

This is just Andy being his old ignorant self. He is a control freak who wants to manipulate any news coming out of Eagles camp. Reid doesn't give a crap about us fans. We deserve to know about a injury to a key defensive player. We pay your salary through paying to see you coach, the least you could do is acknowledge a injury of this magnitude.

Another problem I have with Reid (and these are starting to pile up) is why he is blaming the reporters. Maybe he should blame Bradley's agent or the his bosses in the front office. The Eagles organization did acknowledge an injury to Bradley.

To say the least, I'm am not a big Andy fan. This may be me being cynical about the Eagles (wouldn't be the first time), but this has not been a good start to camp.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

NHL Investigating Flyers

According to ESPN, the NHL is investigating the contract the Flyers recently gave to defensemen Chris Pronger. They are also looking into the contract given to the Blackhawks Marian Hossa. The NHL thinks the Flyers and Blackhawks may be trying to circumvent the collective bargaining agreement.

The NHL will hire a outside firm to see if the Flyers discussed when Pronger would retire as they were negotiating his contract. Pronger's deal will give him $7.6 million the first year and the second year; $7.2 million the third year; $7 million the fourth year; $4 million the fifth year; and $525 thousand in the final two years. Since the hit the Flyers will take on the cap is the average yearly salary of the contract, the Flyers will only have to absorb a little under $5 million a year.

The NHL believes that Pronger told the Flyers when he would like to retire, and the Flyers added on the extra few years so that the cap hit would be less. It is a clear lope hole in the collective bargaining agreement. The NHL is worried that these GMs (like Paul Holmgren) are using these front-loaded deals so that they would have more money under the cap.

I don' think the NHL could possibly prove their argument. How are they going to figure out how the Flyers negotiating the Pronger deal? The punishment for the Flyers could be fines and/or loss of draft picks..

Lee Masterful in Debut

cliff lee, philly by artolog.

Cliff Lee has arrived, ladies and gentleman. Lee's first start as a Phillie came last night against the Giants. He pitched his third complete game in four starts last night, giving up only 1 run in a 5-1 Phillies victory.

Lee didn't even allow a hit until the 6th inning, by which time Lee himself had already recorded a hit. Lee later said that he was happy he didn't throw a no-hitter in his first start as a Phillie, "I'm kinda glad I didn't throw a no-hitter. If I did that the first time, I'd have to live up to some high expectations." Yeah, but a no-hitter would be pretty sweet way to introduce yourself to the fans.

Cliff later hit a double off the centerfield wall that was this close to a homer: "I got the first hit and I was pretty pumped about that but you get a double off the wall in the opposite-field gap, I totally never expected that."

"I felt comfortable. It's a loose clubhouse, everybody's nice. It was an easy transition for me," Lee said. "When I get on the field, I can just throw to the mitt and everything else is kind of irrelevant. I wasn't ever nervous or anything. I felt good about getting that first inning out of the way, getting that first guy out and putting up a zero." Great first impression, Cliff.