Sunday, August 15, 2010

Phillies Edge past Mets

The Phillies took two of three from the Mets this weekend because of their excellent pitching. Tonight, Kyle Kendrick and the bullpen allowed the Mets to score only one run. The Phillies ended up winning the game 3-1, the offense powered by the first two hitters in the lineup, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.

The game started with heavy rain, which died down by the middle innings. The Phillies opened the scoring in the 3rd, when Shane Victorino doubled home Jimmy Rollins. Rollins reached on a single and stole second and third before Victorino's double.

The Mets countered in the bottom half of the inning, when Jose Reyes lead off with a home run. Reyes was involved in a close play in the first inning, when he was called out trying to steal second. The replay showed that he was just safe, but it was a very close play. Throughout the game, the ESPN dummies (mostly Joe Morgan), continued to talk about the play, show it, even though it happened in the first inning. Come on, now!

The Phillies took the lead for good when Polanco singled in Victorino in the 5th. Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz extended the lead an inning later, when his clutch single down the line scored Jayson Werth. Ruiz has been carrying the Phillies lately, getting clutch RBIs. Chooch has stepped up in the absence of Ryan Howard and Chase Utely.

Kyle Kendric pitched well in 6 2/3rds innings, only allowing the Reyes' home run. The bullpen pitched well tonight, surprisingly. Chad Durbin got the final out of the 7th. Ryan Madson pitched a hitless 8th, although he did walk a man. Brad Lidge, who is getting better and better, put the Mets down 1-2-3 in the  9th...... nicely done.

Things are looking up for the Fightin' Phils. Chase Utley is expected back Tuesday. Ryan Howard is also expected to join the team Tuesday, but he may not start until later in the week. The Phillies are two games back in the NL East, and are tied for the Wild Card lead.

The Phillies have an off day tomorrow. The Giants will visit the Bank for an important 3-game series for the the Wild Card lead. The Phils and Giants are tied up right now in the standings. Roy Oswalt will face off against Barry Zito on Tuesday night at 7:05pm ET.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Phillies, Halladay Punish Mets

The Phillies picked up a solid win tonight, shutting out the Mets 4-0. The Phils were lead by the magnificent pitching of one Roy Halladay. The offense didn't exactly break out tonight, just edged along enough to get the Phillies the win.

Let's start with Halladay. He pitched 8 innings, gave up 4 hits, and struck out 7. And no runs, of course. An example of Halladay's dominance came in the bottom of the 4th. Jose Reyes hit a triple to lead off the inning. At that point, with the Phillies up just a run, I thought the game would be tied before long. After a ground out from Pagan, Halladay struck out both David Wright and Carlos Beltran.

The Phillies pushed across the first run of the game in the 3rd, when Halladay scored on a single by Placido Polanco. That run was the only earned run given up in the game. The second run scored on a throwing error by Ruben Tejada.

The third and fourth runs came on an inexcusable error from third baseman David Wright. A Jimmy Rollins grounder was hit directly at Wright, who proceed to boggle the mind by letting the ball go through his legs. It is a play any pro third baseman is supposed to make.

Another embarrassing error was made by Shane Victorino in the 6th inning. Victorino attempted to field a bloop single on one hop. Notice the emphasis on "attempted." Victorino lazily let the ball go under his glove, leaving it to Raul Ibanez to run over from left. Pagan, who hit the blooper, advanced to second on the play.

That play did not hurt the Phillies this time, but that it not an acceptable play in a pennant race. While it is commonplace for the Mets to make those errors, the 2-time defending NL champs can't be pulling that crap. Victorino has been horrible defensively all year, and I would bench him for a game or two if I was Charlie.

The Phillies are now only two games back of the Atlanta Braves in the division, and one game back in the Wild Card. The Phillies should be focused on the division, and use the Wild Card as only a fall back option. Tomorrow's game at Citi Field is a 8:05pm ET start. Kyle Kendrick will be facing off against the Mets' Mike Pelfrey.

Union Held to a Draw

The Philadelphia Union needed three points today at home but Colorado held them to a 1-1 draw. The Union outplayed the Rapids in the first half, but again they gave up the first goal in the 59th minute. Jeff Larentowicz, who had a whole section rooting him on (he is from the area), drove home a long strike.

The Union had chances but were just unable to finish until Danny Mwanga finally tied it up in the 73rd minute. Mwanga broke away from the defenders and slotted it home when it was just him and the goalie. Union fans rejoiced as the Union then looked to take the lead.

They were unable to due it. Late in the game, Sebatien Le Toux made a nice run in the box. While he was running to the ball, he was clipped by a Rapids defender. Le Toux was brought to the ground, and the scoring chance was foiled. To the coach Peter Nowak's disgust, the official motioned "play on" to the players.

The Union should have had a penalty shot, but that's neither here nor there. Sometimes you don't get those calls. The Union now sit with 17 points, and at 7th place in the Eastern Conference.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kolb Shines in Debut

Kevin Kolb made his debut tonight as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kolb played all the first quarter before being subbed out for Michael Vick. The Eagles did win the game 28-27, if that means anything to anyone.

In first drive for the Eagle offense, Kolb nailed open receivers with spot-on passes. In the first play of the game, Kolb found an open DeSean Jackson for a 21-yard gain. He hit Jeremy Maclin for a 29-yard gain later in the drive. On 3rd and 6 at the Jacksonville 11, Kolb made a great pass through the defenders to tight end Brent Celek, who bobbled the ball two separate times before dropping. Drive ends with a field goal.

In the second drive, Kolb lead a solid drive down the field before being halted by an offensive holding penalty deep in Jacksonville territory. Here are Kolb's stats from the game: 6/11, 98 yards, 83.5 QB rating.

Vick had an O.K. game, with the one glaring spot being his fumbling problem. Vick fumbled the ball twice, one leading to a loss in possession. Vick has to be more aware of the defenders around him, and, quite obviously, hold onto the ball. Vick's stats: 11/17, 119 yards, 1 INT, 60.7 QB rating. He also ran for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Other offense players who had good game were WR Riley Cooper and RB Martell Mallet. Don't know much about Mallet, but he ran for 60 yards and a TD. Cooper is a guy who I think will work his way into starting reps. He has impressed coaches in camp and had 61 yards receiving today.

The defense looked good in the first quarter, when they kept the Jaguars scoreless. The first team allowed the Jags to only gain 10 yards on two drives. The backups however had problems, allowing 17 points in the second quarter alone. An encouraging sign and a not so encouraging sign in the same game.

The Eagles next preseason game will be at Cincinnati on Thursday night at 8pm ET.

Phillies Pathetic in Loss

The Phillies have not scored runs in games pitched by Cole Hamels all season. That did not change tonight, as the Phillies suffered a 1-0 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. Only one word came to my mind as I watched this game: Pathetic.

Knuckleballer R. A. Dickey stumped the Philly hitters all night. He gave up only one hit, and that was a single by Cole Hamels. Hamels was the only guy who showed up at the ballpark tonight for the Phils. The Phillies knocked around Dickey last week. This week, Dickey becomes Phil Niekro. I don't get it. Same hitters, same pitcher, different result.

Hamels pitched wonderfully, tossing an 8-inning complete game. He gave up only one run on five hits, and Cole struck out eight. If I was Cole, I would be frustrated with the hitters. Every fifth day they don't show up, and it happens to be the day Hamels pitches. I would challenge the hitters by dissing them in interviews and such.

Roy Halladay will be on the mound for the Phils tomorrow, facing off against the Mets' Pat Misch at Citi. That one will be a 7:10pm ET start.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oswalt Wins in Home Debut

Roy Oswalt pitched in his first game in Citizens Bank Park tonight, and also won his first game in a Phillie uniform. Oswalt pitched seven strong innings, giving up five hits, and striking out five. Oswalt had great control of his pitches, throwing 109 pitches, 73 of them strikes. The Phillies won their 63rd game 2-0, shutting out the Dodgers.

The Phillies broke the scoreless tie in the 4th, when Placido Polanco scored on a grounder/fielder's choice by Domonic Brown. Not much offense for the Phillies tonight. Raul Ibanez knocked in Mike Sweeney in the 6th with a deep double to left-center field.

Injury News: Ross Gload was injured in tonight's game while running to second. It looks like a groin injury. He will have an MRI tomorrow.

Chase Utley was cleared to start hitting today for the first time since he hurt his thumb on June 28th. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said that the timetable for still the same as it was when Chase had his surgery. I would expect him back in two weeks.

McNabb Fan Asked to Remove Jersey at Eagles Camp

A fan wearing a Washington Redskins Donovan McNabb jersey at Eagles training camp was approached by Eagles security. Security asked Jim Devlin, 43, remove the jersey. Devlin said on 97.5 the fanatic that the security guard told him that head coach Andy Reid requested he take the jersey off.

Of course, the Eagles denied that Reid asked to have the fan take the jersey off. Here are comments from Devlin (acquired from "I just wanted to get reactions from the fan base, see who says what. Maybe get in a healthy debate on whether Donovan McNabb was good or bad for this franchise.

"I'm fine. Everybody was very cool, calm, professional and did not make a big deal about it. They asked me, and I figured I'm a guest at their facility, so why not make life easier for everybody?"

"Nobody really thought I was really wrong. They asked me to do something, and I was more than happy to do it."

I find this story very funny. The Eagles like to control every little thing. I am an Eagles fan but I am by no means fans of Andy Reid, or owners Jeffery Lurie and Joe Banner. I'm sick of their control freak attitude and ignorance.

Lure and Banner don't care whether the team win or lose, as long as they have a capacity crowd at the Linc. Of course, they will, and make just as much money. This team will not win a Super Bowl until the three amigos are no longer affiliated with the Eagles.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Phillies, Ibanez Slay Mets

The Phillies just edged past the Mets 6-5 in today's ballgme. Raul Ibanez lead the charge for the Phillies, hitting a 3-run home run in the 3rd inning. Roy Halladay picked up the win even though he gave up five runs. The Phillies remain two games back in the division because of the Braves win against the Giants. They are however only half a game behind the Giants in the wild card.

The first two hitters in the Mets lineup gave Halladay grief all day. Each had two hits and terrorized on the base paths. Pagan stole second and third in the first inning. Halladay struggled in that first inning, giving up two runs.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Jayson Werth hit a deep drive to center field. Carlos Beltran staggered back to catch it but slammed the center field fence. Very funny moment for us Philly fans. Beltran did not even expect the wall. That's why they have the warning track there, Carlos. The ball ended up in the vines climbing up the brick wall beyond the center field fence.

Raul Ibanez has a 16-game hitting streak
The Phillies batted around for five runs in the 3rd inning. Raul Ibanez had the big blow in the inning, hitting a 3-run homer of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Knuckballers have had success against the Phillies this season, but Dickey had none today. Ross Gload and Brian Schneider also had RBI singles in the inning.

Halladay more or less cruised along until the 7th inning, when the Mets cut the Phillies three run lead to two. Halladay did not have his best stuff today but he held in there and got the win. The Phillies finally scored runs for their ace and he did just enough to supplement those runs.

Then came Brad Lidge with a one run lead in the 9th. Josh Thole singled to open the inning, oh no. Brad then got the next three Mets to make an out and end the game. The tying run got to third base but no further.

Raul has a 16-game hitting streak going. He has really stepped up in the absence of Ryan Howard. Here is Ibanez (all quotes acquired from "There's a lot of stuff that you do, and the harder you look, the less you find. You have to back off and trust everything you've done. Less is more. The most important thing is to relax through the swing.

"Character is the key. This team has a mentality that I haven't seen on other teams. It's a light-enough clubhouse where a lot isn't said, and nobody presses to do more. You just try and contribute in any way that you can. We have a lot of guys doing that."

Here is the winning pitcher from the game, Roy Halladay: "I'm happy with the win. Obviously, it's about winning games. Even in the seventh, I felt like I made two good pitches to start the inning. I ended up making pitches after that that cost me. The bullpen picked me up. It's a little easier getting to sleep at night taking a win out of it."

The Phillies took two out of three from the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies have an off-day tomorrow and then start a three-game series with the Dodgers at the Bank.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Phillies Add Sweeney

The Phillies have acquired first baseman Mike Sweeney off waivers from the Seattle Mariners today in exchange for a player-to-be-named or cash. The deal was first reported by Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports. Sweeney will be able to help the Phillies off the bench or at first base while Ryan Howard is injured.

Sweeney is batting .263 with 6 home runs and 18 RBIs. Sweeney, a righty, is 37-years old and on the downside of his career. Sweeney made five all-star teams while with the Kansas City Royals in the early 2000s. He has struggled with injuries the last few years however.

Here's Charlie Manuel on Sweeney (all quotes from “He knows how to hit and he’s got some power. He can help us right now and off the bench later."

Ruben Amaro Jr.: “I don’t know if we had to do anything, but this will help. He can hit. He always could hit. “He’s a great makeup guy. He’s never played in the playoffs. He’s really excited about coming here. He views this as a pretty neat opportunity for himself.”

The Phillies sent down John Mayberry Jr. to make room for Sweeney. This is a solid move to help the bench. Sweeney is a better righty bat than both Ben Francisco and Cody Ransom. He has some power and he can hit lefties... sounds good to me

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Marlin Errors Lead To Phils Win

While only a single error will appear in the box score for the Marlins, defense mistakes all around the field for the Fish contributed greatly towards a Phillies win.  The final score stood at 6-1, with the Phillies winning their second straight game.  Couple this win with a loss from the Braves, and the Phillies are now only 2 games back of first place.

Carlos Ruiz was the offensive star for the Phils tonight, going 3-5 with a homer and 2 RBIs.  Ben Francisco and Ruiz hit back-to-back homers in the second inning.  After Carlos doubled in the 4th, "Chooooch" chants arose all around the ballpark, with so many Phillies fans in attendance in Florida.

Roy Halladay made his first start in Sun Life Stadium since his perfect game.  He pitched wonderfully, pitching seven strong innings, giving up an earned run, and striking out nine.  Halladay also hit a 2-run double in the 4th.  After the Marlins decided to walk Wilson Valdez to get to Halladay, Roy hit a shot down the foul line.

The Marlins didn't do much to help their cause on the field.  Cody Ross looked like he was lost when Ruiz hit a deep fly to center, and the ball wound up 25 feet from him.  That lead to Halladay's 2-run single.  Dan Uggla also made a series of defensive gaffes.

This win was the only bright spot on a gloomy day for the Phillies.  They will be without the services of Ryan Howard for at least the next 15 days.  The offense showed up tonight, but will the hole in the middle of the lineup rear it's ugly head in the next two weeks? 

Howard Placed on DL

Ryan Howard has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, according to Jim Salsbury of Howard injured his ankle on Sunday against the Nationals while trying to get back to the second base bag. Howard was in Philadelphia today seeing doctors and testing the ankle.

This is a major blow to an already depleted Phillies lineup. With Howard now on the DL, every starting infielder has spent some part of the season on the disabled list. Ryan has been the only consistent bat all season in the Phillies lineup. He is hitting .292, with 23 homers and 81 RBIs.

John Mayberry Jr. has been called up from triple-A to replace Howard on the roster. Righty Cody Ransom and lefty Ross Gload will likely platoon at first until Howard can return.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Flyers Fall in Game 1

Game one of the Stanley Cup Finals was a scoring slugfest. Both teams jockeying for the lead in the game. It went from 1-0 Flyers, to 1-1, to 2-1 Chicago, to 2-2, to 3-2 Flyers, and that was all in the first period. When the final horn sounded, the Flyers had lost 6-5 and are down 1-0 in the series. Michael Leighton was pulled in the second period after giving up five goals in a little over 35 minutes of play.

I'm not going to go into every goal in detail because there was so many. A positive for the Flyers was that they were getting secondary scoring from unlikely candidates. Blair Betts and Arron Asham each scored for the Flyers. Arron Asham is becoming a scoring threat because of he has a wicked and accurate slap shot.

The defense had several lapses, which resulted in turnovers, which often result in goals. Many of the goals Michael Leighton gave up weren't exactly his fault, but some he could have saved. The fact of the matter is you have to stop some of them. Five goals on twenty shots is no good for a goaltender. I think coach Peter Laviolette made the right decision to pull Leighton.

Brian Boucher, in his first game back from injury, relieved Leighton and played fairly well. He faced twelve shots and saved eleven, but that one goal was a big one. Tomas Kopecky scored the only goal of the third period, and that was the winner for the Blackhawks.

I don't think a goalie controversy should start up just yet. I think Michael Leighton deserves another start to show what he can do. If the Blackhawks have another great night against him, then maybe you switch to Boucher come game three.

Game two is critical for the Flyers. Falling down 2-0 in the series is not an option against the Blackhawks. They have a high powered offense and forced the Flyers to play to their style in game one. In game two, the Flyers need to slow the Blackhawks' offensive attack. They can do it by being physical against the Blackhawk forwards.  Game two is Monday night.

Halladay Tosses Perfect Game

Roy Halladay has thrown the 20th perfect game in Major League baseball history, the second in Phils history. Halladay dominated the Marlins to say the least, 27 up, 27 down. He struck out 11. The amazing thing is that Halladay went to three ball counts many times during the game, and every time he prevailed. Many Marlin hitters stood dumbfounded as the Halladay painted the corner with called third strikes.

The Phillies won the game 1-0, so Roy had no room for error. The run did the Phillies scored came on an error by Cameron Maybin. Maybe seeing the performance of a lifetime from Halladay will motivate the offense, which has been struggling mightily recently. 

As with most perfect games, the defense did help out Halladay. Juan Castro made several nice plays at thrid, including the one that ended the game. Wilson Valdez made a great throw from short to nail a Marlin runner on a bang-bang play. Both Castro and Valdez have performed great in the field while filling in for the regulars.

Think of how great a moment this is for Roy. For the rest of his life, he will be able to say that he pitched a perfect game. A perfect game is the ultimate one-game achievement for a pitcher. So many times, a unknown pitcher throws a no-hitter, and you'll never hear about him again. But for Halladay, his perfecto will be a footnote on his amazing career, instead of his 15 minutes of fame.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flyers Dominate Canadiens

The Philadelphia Flyers rebounded from their weak effort in game three to blank the Canadiens 3-0 in game four. Michael Leighton logged his third shutout in four games. Chris Pronger bounced back from a poor game three to being absolutely great in today's game. It's a great win for the Flyers. Now, the Flyers are one win away from going to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The first period saw two evenly matched teams battle it out. The momentum was swinging both ways and both teams had chances to score. Nobody did score though. It was a good period as far as the Flyers were concerned. The way they were dominated in the previous game, it was a good sign that they held their own against the Canadiens at home.

In the second period, the Flyers emerged as the better team. Claude Giroux cut into the Canadiens zone, easily splitting the dumbfounded Montreal defensemen. He then made a gorgeous shot over the shoulder of Jaroslav Halak, putting the Flyers up 1-0. Giroux's play has been great in the playoffs. He is only 22, but he is already one of the best players on the Flyers.

Ville Leino scored the second goal of the period for the Flyers. Chris Pronger zapped a laser-like pass across the ice to Leino. Ville was alone with the goalie. He stopped on the dime, and wheeled the puck around Halak. That goal was started on a beautiful pass by Pronger, and ended on a equally beautiful move by Leino.

The Flyers spent much of the third period dumping the puck into the Montreal zone. That seems to be their strategy when up by two or more in the third period. And it works. The Flyers kept Montreal frustrated all day. Claude Giroux scored an empty-net goal late in the game, to officially put the game away.

The Flyers got two players back from injury today. Jeff Carter and Ian Lapierriere both played in their first game in these Eastern Conference Finals. Jeff Carter looked good. Early in the game, Carter beat a defender and then unleashed a wicked wrist shot that was saved by Halak. Lapierriere played his usual game, albeit a little less physical because of the full mask protecting his face.

The teams will now travel back to Philly for game five on Monday. They Flyers need to win just one more game out of three, and two of those are at home. I'd like to avoid the drama of a game seven in this series. The Flyers cannot assume the series is won. The know quite well after last series that any team can come back from any deficit. With that said, let's wrap this one up on Monday.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flyers Blow Out Canadiens

The Flyers performed marvelously all around in game one of the Eastern Conference finals, shutting out the Montreal Canadiens 6-0. Yes, the Flyers dominated all game. Yes, Michael Leighton made some key saves. This game looked too good to be true. The Flyers have finally won a game handily for the first time in a long time.

This game started off on the right foot for the Flyers. About four minutes into the game, Braydon Coburn stuffed a puck home to open the scoring for the Flyers. That's all the Flyers would get in the opening period, but they were far from done.

The Flyers would erupt for three goals in the second period. James van Riemsdyk got the puck right off the faceoff and drove to the net, much to the dismay of the Montreal defensemen. He slotted the puck in the net like one would start a game of pinball. Danny Briere, again vying for playoff MVP, unleashed a slapshot right by goalie Jaroslav Halak. Simon Gagne netted a goal shortly thereafter, and that ended a nightmarish night for Halak.

Montreal coach Jacques Martin yelled "Next!" on the bench after that Gagne goal, and Carey Price emerged as the next victim for the Flyers. He managed to hold the Flyers for the rest of second period, much like a dam holds back a river. He would begin to show cracks in the third period.

The Flyers, with the game already put away, were hungry for more. Like a dog who just won't stop eating, the Flyers pounded home two goals in the third period. Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux scored the last two goals, respectively. This game was such a demoralizing loss for the Canadiens.

The Flyers can't get caught up in the moment, though. It was just one game. The next game is a completely different animal. The Canadiens are likely to be chewed out by their coach, and will come out better next game. If not, they might be eaten alive when they get to Montreal for game three. The Flyers need to weather that early storm, and then dominate them like they did during this game.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Amazing Flyers

The Flyers have pulled off the unthinkable in Game 7 of their second round series against Boston. They have become the third team in the history of the NHL to comeback from a 3-0 series deficit and win the series. Not only that, but they came back from a three goals to win in the final game. This series will go down in history as one of the best comebacks in the history of sports.

The Bruins jumped on the Flyers early, completely dominating them throughout most of the first period. Less then fifteen minutes into the game, the Flyers were on the bad end of a 3-0 score. I thought that would discourage them, and I was disgusted with their play. Goalie Michael Leighton looked like he could have had stopped at least one of those goals. The Flyers were down but not out.

JVR (James van Riemsdyk) did get a goal back late in the first period, leaving some hope for the second period. Even still, it was a tall order to come back from two in a Game 7. The Flyers would do just that in the second period.

The Flyers came out on fire to begin the second, firing many shots on goalie Tukka Rask. Scott Hartnell, who had made some blunders in the first period, put the Flyers within one on a beautifully placed backhander over the shoulder of Rask. Then, Danny Briere showed us his one-man show, when he wrapped the puck around the net and then put it in the net.... tie game.

So it all came down to the third period. Whoever won the period would win the series. The Flyers got a power play about midway through the period, and they were not going to waste it. Simon Gagne scored the game-winner on the power play for the Flyers. Finally, the Flyers had taken a lead in the game. It was just up to them to hold it.

They did hold that score, 4-3, for the rest of the game, propelling the team into history. The only other teams in NHL history to come back from 3-0 deficit were the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders. It is amazing when a team can when four straight games against the same team that it lost three straight to.... simply amazing.

The Flyers will now encounter the Montreal Canadiens, with the winner getting a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. It should be a good series. The Flyers will get home ice advantage because Montreal is the #8 seed and the Flyers on the #7 seed. Imagine that. The lowest seeded teams in the conference make it to the conference finals. Expect the unexpected.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/12/10

Phils Lose in Extras: The Phillies were scheduled to play a day-night double-header today. In Game 1, Roy Halladay struggled in the first couple of innings. He did manage to pitch 6 1/3rd innings and give up only two runs, but he surrendered 10 hits. The Phillies defense did not help either. They committed 3 errors and their should have been at least one more.

The Phillies only managed three runs, and the game was tied going into the 10th. The Phillies had Howard, Werth and Ibanez due up. Howard singled. Werth hit a ground ball but reached base on a fielder's choice. Ibanez hit a ground ball double play. Miguel Olivo (5-5 in the game) lead of the bottom half of the inning with a monstrous homer off Chad Durbin for the walk-off. The scheduled night game was canceled because of weather conditions.

Phillies Stealing Signs: The Rockies have accused the Phillies of stealing their signs. The Rockies claim that Phils' bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was looking through binoculars in the bullpen, trying to steal the Rockies signs. This is a load of crap. If you're not trying to steal signs then your not trying. Almost every team tries to steal signs. This is not a big deal.

Charlie Manuel: "We were not trying to steal signs. Would we try to steal somebody's signs? Yeah, if we can. But we don't do that. We're not going to let a guy stand up there in the bullpen with binoculars looking in. We're smarter than that."

Flyers Even Series

Just a week ago I'd never thought I'd say this words: The Flyers have tied the series 3-3 against Boston. The Flyers dominated Game 6, winning 2-1. They were winning for the whole game, and held Boston scoreless until the final minute of play. Goalie Michael Leighton played outstanding filling in for Brian Boucher. Clear your calendars for Friday night. Game 7, Flyers-Bruins in Boston, it's going be a wild one.

The Flyers jumped on the Bruins from the beginning. Mike Richards scored on a rebound about 7 minutes into the first period. That got the fans going at the Wachovia Center. Leighton held down the fort in the first. He looked really, really solid, never out of control.

In the second period, the Flyers capitalized on a chance on the power play. Danny Briere maneuvered around in the Boston zone before rifling the puck into the top corner. It was a perfect shot from Briere, who has really stepped up his game in the playoffs. The Flyers have a number of guys who step up in the postseason: Briere, Chris Pronger, and any net minder the Flyers put out there.

The Flyers looked good for most of the third period, but at the end, Boston started to get chances. The Bruins pulled their goalie late in the game. Playing with an extra skater, the Bruins' Milan Lucic stuffed one between Leighton's legs, breaking up the shutout. The Flyers did hold out one more minute for the win.

Coming back from a 3-0 deficit is quite an achievement. Not many teams in the history of sports have done it. I did not believe they could do it. Now, the focus for the Flyers must be on Game 7. They have won three straight so they have the momentum. It's just a matter of going out and doing it. We'll all be watching.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Flyer Force Game 6

Their will be a Game 6 Wednesday night in Philadelphia. That's what we know after the Flyers 4-0 victory tonight over the Boston Bruins. The Flyers dominated the Bruins in front of their home crowd. I think the last two games may give the Flyers the momentum they need going into Game 6, especially tonight. Not only did the Flyers not allow a goal, they shelled the Bruins defense for four goals.

The opening period was pretty good for the Flyers. Ville Leino got credit for a goal that I think Scott Hartnell should have been credited with. Both players were in front of the net for a rebound, and both players got their stick on it. Leino was falling backwards and shooting at the same time, but Hartnell provided the power that was needed for the goal.

So the Flyers had a 1-0 lead going into the second period. A little more than halfway through the period, Hartnell finally did get his first official goal of the playoffs. He swatted the puck out of the air and into the net on a perfect pass from Mike Richards. The Flyers finally hurt the Bruins on the power play, when Simon Gagne's wrist shot beat Tukka Rask. It was Gagne's second goal in as many games.

In the third period, Gagne again put the icing on the cake by getting the Flyers fourth goal. The game got chippy during the third period. The Bruins were clearly trying to hurt the Flyer players. They succeeded by knocking out Claude Giroux, who did not play in the final period. Also, when Mike Richards nailed Bruins star Marc Savard, Savard and a Boston goon hopped on Richards. They jumped him like a thug in an alley. They both got penalties but I think the NHL should take further action..

The Flyers did lose goaltender Brian Boucher late in the second period. Boucher apparently injured his knee when clumsy Ryan Parent fell on his leg. Boucher had to be helped off the ice. Michael Leighton, in his first game back from injury, filled in admirably for Bouch, holding onto the shutout.

The way I see it now, the Flyers probably aren't getting Boucher back. Leighton will need to step in and perform. The Flyers are one game away from a Game 7 to decide the series. They can do it, but they have to keep up the momentum and pressure. Boston has the pressure on them now, the weight of embarrassment sitting on their shoulders. Game 6 will be Wednesday night.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/9/10

Phils Edge Braves: Brad Lidge saved his first game of the season today, in the Phillies 5-3 win over Atlanta. The Phillies took two of three from the Braves in this series. Hamels went 5 innings and gave up 3 runs on 8 hits. He worked out of some jams but the Braves finally got to him in the 5th. The Braves knocked Hamels for 3 runs on 4 hits in the inning. The Phillies bullpen held up though, not giving up a hit.

Jayson Werth is continuing to pound the baseball. He hit a towering drive over the left field wall in the 3rd inning, his 7th homer of the year. Placido Polanco is starting to get his swing back also. He had 2 hits in ballgame, including a solo home run. The Phillies will head to Colorado tomorrow and play the Rockies tomorrow at 8:40pm EST.

Perfect Game: Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden threw a perfect game today. Braden faced 27 Rays and put each one of them down. This is only the 19th perfect game in MLB history. Braden also threw it against the Rays, one of the best teams in baseball. Braden was seen hugging his grandmother after the game. Sadly, Braden's mother died when he was a teenager.

Braden: "Pretty cool. I don't know what to think about it just yet. There's definitely a select group. I'd like to have a career more than today."

Go Flyers!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/8/10

Braves Beat Phils: The Phillies managed only one run against Braves' starter Kris Melden. That run came in the 2nd inning, when Shane Victorino's RBI single scored Brian Schneider. The Phillies had trouble with runners in scoring position. For instance, in the bottom of the 4th, with 2 men on and none out, the Phillies failed to get either run home. The Phils got 9 hits against Melden but did not register a hit against the Braves bullpen.

Joe Blanton looked good right up until the 6th inning. The Braves got their first hit in the 5th and Blanton looked to be in control. One big inning did him in. In the 6th, he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, and no home runs. Still not a bad outing for Blanton. You're not going to win with one run.

Union Crushed: Real Salt Lake, defending MLS champions, showed the Union exactly why they are champions. They dominated the Union, beating them 3-0. The Union had defense lapses. On one of the goals, a union defender watched as a Salt Lake player went past him and scored. It is tough on the Union (1-6) because they have played 6 of 7 games on the road. They did win their only home game.

Sixers Coaching Update: According to, the Sixers will meet with both Bill Laimbeer and Dan Majerle in the coming days. Laimbeer, a former Pistons star, has been very successful coaching in the WNBA. Will he be able to make the jump to the NBA? Majerle is a Phoenix Suns assistant coach. Shouldn't he be worrying about the San Antonio Spurs?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/7/10

Moyer Pitches Shutout: Jamie Moyer pitched a 2-hit complete game shutout in today's 7-0 Phillies win. The Braves were victimized by Moyer's control and velocity. That's right, velocity (or lack thereof)! Moyer, 47, became the oldest pitcher ever to pitch a complete game shutout. It is an amazing feat.

Braves' starter Derek Lowe got crushed by the Phillies. Lowe allowed 11 hits and 7 runs in 5 innings. This is just another example of how the Phillies are pounding quality pitchers. Jayson Werth, who is on a tear, hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 3rd to give the Phils a 3-0 lead. The bottom of the 5th was a big inning for the Phils. Raul Ibanez and Wilson Valdez both knocked in 2 runs in the inning.

The Phillies and Braves will meet again tomorrow at 3:10pm. This game will be nationally televised on Fox. Joe Blanton will be on the mound for the Phils. Charlie Manuel will miss the game due to a personal issue.

Gagne Wins it for Flyers

A little less than 15 minutes into overtime, Simon Gagne scored to finally give the Flyers a win in this series. It was a great moment for Gagne, who is in his first game back from an injured foot. He had not played a game in this series, but he certainly delivered for the Flyers tonight at the Wachovia Center.

Mark Recchi (playoff extraordinaire) has been killing the Flyers all series. Even late in his career, Recchi (above) is still great at getting in the right position at the right time. He scored with about five minutes left in the first period to put the Bruins up 1-0. The Flyers answered before the period was over. Daniel Briere put a low shot past Boston goalie Tukka Rask.

Chris Pronger, who has been money for the Flyers in the playoffs, opened the second period with a goal. That was his fourth of the playoffs. Claude Giroux put the Flyers up by two not too long after Pronger's goal. The Bruins did narrow the lead to one before the end of the period.

Milan Lucic tied the game for the Bruins early in the third period. The Flyers had their work cut out for them. With less the 6 minutes left, Chris Pronger fired a shot that was deflected into the net by Ville Leino. That was Leino's first goal of this playoffs. The Flyers could not hold onto that one goal lead though. Mark Recchi scored from point blank range with 32 seconds left in the third period.

That's where Gagne comes in. His and Recchi's goals were very similar. Both were scored from point blank range with a lot of net in sight. So the Flyers will now travel back to Boston for a Game 5. Boston still has a commanding 3-1 series lead, but maybe this win will light a fire under the Flyers. I'll sure be rooting for them.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/6/10

Phils Take 3 of 4 From Cards: The Phillies handled the Cardinals today, beating the Cards 7-2. Actually, they handled the Cardinals all week, beating them 3 out of 4 times. Today, ace Roy Halladay pitched 7 innings, gave one earned run, and struck out 9. That effort got Halladay (6-1) his 6th win of the season. The Phillies bats made sure this game was never in doubt.

Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse was pounded from inning #1. Jayson Werth hit a 3-run home run in the first to open the scoring. Raul Ibanez crushed a high fastball into the upper deck (416 feet) in the 6th inning to put the Phils ahead 6-1. Werth had a breakout game, going 3-4 with 3 RBIs and a home run. Werth is batting .354 with 21 RBIs on the year.

The Phillies start a 3-game series with the Braves tomorrow. Jamie Moyer is pitching for the Phils, with Derek Lowe on the mound for the Braves. Game time is 7:05pm.

Robin Roberts Passes Away: Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts has died at the age of 83 at his home in Florida due to natural causes. Roberts was a key player on the 1950 Whiz Kids NL pennant-winning team. He is the best right handed pitcher in Phillies history. Roberts had 6 20-win seasons. He was first in complete games (237) and second in wins (199) in the '50s.

Now I never saw Robin pitch. He was before my time, but from what I hear, this guy was one heck of a pitcher. He was a Phillies legend who will never be forgotten.

United coming to Town: One of the top soccer clubs in the world, Manchester United, will be coming to Philadelphia to play the Union in an exhibition game at the Linc. The game is scheduled for July 21rst. This is a very exciting for the Union. They have a chance to play a top European team in their first year of existence. Usually, top clubs tour America once every several years. You bet that this game will draw big crowds.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/5/10

Flyers Lose Again: It doesn't look good for our Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins put a whippin' on the Flyers, as the 4-1 score indicates. The Flyers out shot the Bruins 35-20, but they only managed one goal against Bruins' goalie Tukka Rask. Rask really stole this game for the Bruins. He was outstanding in net tonight.

The Flyers took their only lead of the series early in the first period. Arron Asham scored that early goal for the Flyers. Less than 4 minutes later, the Bruins had themselves a 2-1 lead after goals from Blake Wheeler and Miroslav Satan. The second period went by scoreless. In the third, former Flyer Mark Recchi scored on the power play. Maybe Brian Boucher could have stopped a one of those goals, but it's too late now.

The Flyers put much more pressure on the Bruins offensively this game, but unfortunately their was a rock in the net. It will be very hard for the Flyers to come back in this series down 3-0. It would be historic if they did, but even I believe they're done.

Phils Shut Down Cards: Kyle Kendrick pitched 7 shutout innings for the Phillies in their 4-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Kendrick gave up 6 innings and struck out 3. Maybe this is a sign that Kendrick is coming around, and that he can become a valuable pitcher in the rotation.

The Phillies didn't get a hit until the 4th inning, when Shane Victorino singled off Brad Penny. Placido Polanco followed that up with a home run to break the scoreless tie. Shane Victorino then homered to lead off the 6th inning. Greg Dobbs hit an RBI double in the 7th to cap the Phillies scoring.

Sixers Update: Mark Jackson's agent has informed the Sixers that his client has declined an interview for Sixers head coaching job. Jacksons agent had this to say: "It’s just not the right situation for him at this time." Well, no kidding! Why would Jackson want his first head coaching job to be with a team that stinks, draws small crowds, and has their money tied up.

According to, the Sixers are trying to schedule a meeting with former Sixer Monty Williams. Williams is an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Coming Tomorrow: Phillies wrap up series against Cards with a Halladay

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/4/10

Ruiz Wins Game: Carlos Ruiz hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to propel the Phillies over the St. Louis Cardinals. Ruiz's blast just cleared the fences as it settled in the first row. Ruiz was mobbed at home plate and smacked in the face with pies from Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs. Certainly a great way to send the Philly fans home with a 2-1 win.

Cole Hamels faired very well in the game. Hamels pitched 8+ innings, allowed one run, and struck out 8. Adam Wainwright was equally dominant for the Cardinals, allowing 1 in 8 innings. Carlos Ruiz drove in the only 2 runs the Phillies scored. The first RBI by Carlos came on a sacrifice fly.

Phillies Fan Tasered: On radio shows all over the country today, people debated whether security should have tasered a 17-year old who ran out onto the field. This is a complicated issue. On one hand, the security has to protect the players and coaches. There is no way to know whether the intruder has any weapons hon him.

On the other hand, the use of a taser is a bit harsh. The usual tackle does the trick. I'm going back and forth on this one. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Another fan entered the field of play during tonight's game, but no taser was needed because he gave himself in.

Not much news today besides the Phillies game. Check out tomorrow for posts on the Flyers and Phillies games.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/3/10

Phillies Lose 6-3: In Joe Blanton's first start of the season, the Phillies let down the sold out crowd at the Bank. Big Joe pitched 6 2/3 innings, gave up 10 hits, 4 runs, and struck out 4. Not bad for a guy who hasn't started a game for the Phils since the spring. He pitched six strong innings, giving up only 1 run. He fell apart in the 7th. He gave up a homer and two hits before getting pulled in favor of Nelson Figueroa.

Nelson did not help out Big Joe. He threw a wild pitch then intentionally walked Matt Holliday to load the bases. David Freese cleared the bases with a 3-run double. Two of the runs were charged to Blanton. Figueroa gave up another run for good measure.

The Phils did hit two homers, but they were both solo shots.

Sixers Coaching Search: The Sixers are continuing to talk to potential coaching candidates. Today they met with Avery Johnson. Johnson was also in the mix last year when the job was open. The Sixers have also contacted Mark Jackson, a TV analyst who has never been a head coach in the NBA. The Sixers met with Doug Collins, who has coached in the NBA and played with the Sixers.

Sixers GM Ed Stefanski: "We had an informative meeting and open dialogue with Avery today regarding our head coaching position. His reputation as a motivator and accomplishments as a head coach in the NBA are well-known and I certainly want to thank him for taking the time to meet with us."

Coming up tomorrow: Eagles training camp update, Phillies continue series against Cardinals, and Sixers continue to search for coach.

Bruins Take 2-0 Series Lead

Lucic by rubyswoon.

The Philadelphia Flyers have dropped their second game in a row to the Boston Bruins. The only difference was tonight's game didn't require overtime. When the final horn sounded, the Flyers were on the wrong side of a 3-2 score. They will now have to come back from to games down, a very tough task to say the least.

The night started off wrong for the Flyers. Boston took a 1-0 lead a little more than five minutes into the contest. The Flyers answered back with a goal from Mike Richards to even the score before the end of the period. The Bruins again jumped out in front in the second, with a goal from Miroslav Satan. Satan is really killing the Flyers this series. Danny Briere jumped out of the penalty box late in the second period, and tied the game at two.

So the two teams went into final period tied at two. Through the first 17 minutes of the period, that's how the score remained. But the Flyers poor defense allowed Milan Lucic to score the game-winner late in the period.

I thought the Flyers would build upon their Game 1 and improve their play. That didn't happen. The Flyers defense looked sluggish and the offense couldn't keep the puck in the Boston zone. On the power play, the Flyers were simply terrible. They barely managed shots, let alone scoring chances.

The Flyers now must tie the series at home. I feel the only chance they have is if they win Games 3 and 4 at home. They can do it, but they would be much more comfortable heading back to Philly with the series 1-1.

Phillies Pound Santana

Johan Santana by Keith Allison.

The Phillies bats are awake. After Saturday's 10-0 win and last night's 11-5 win, they are more than awake. The Phillies knocked around Mets ace Johan Santana for 10 earned runs, 9 in the 4th inning. The Phillies handed Santana his worst start of his career.

The night started off bad for the Phils. Moyer gave up a 3-run homer to Met 3rd baseman David Wright. It looked like one of those nights for Moyer. The Phils counter punched with two home runs of their own in the bottom of the first, hit by Placido Polcanco and Ryan Howard.

The bottom of the 4th inning last night was one of the best innings for the Phillies' batters that I've ever seen. With 2 outs in the inning, the Phillies promptly batted around. Raul Ibanez singled in Utley for the first run of the inning. With the bases loaded, in stepped Jamie Moyer (47-year old). Santana looked like he was out of the inning. Santana threw two straight balls. That got the crowd into it. Santana looked flustered as he walked Moyer, which forced in a run.

Shane Victorino was next. He knocked a one over the wall for a grand slam. One swing of the bat, and the score goes from 5-4 Mets to 8-5 Phillies. The Phils weren't done there. Polanco singled. Chase Utley then launched a mammoth blast (422 feet). Howard then singled. Werth doubled him home... 10-5 Phillies.

Jamie Moyer got lucky last night. Had the Phillies not exploded on Johan, Moyer would have been the goat today. He needs to stop giving up homers early in the game. He allowed two homers before the 4th inning yesterday. After that, he did pitch two scoreless innings, but he needs to avoid giving up the long ball.

The Cardinals visit the bank tonight. The game is scheduled for 7:05pm, but that may be delayed and/or canceled because of major storms in the Philadelphia area. Either way, the Phillies are back in first place and it feels good

Go Flyers!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Daily Wrapup: 5/2/10

Union Lose Again: The Philadelphia Union were promptly rolled over by the LA Galaxy last night. The final score was 3-1 and the Union's record is now 1-4. The MLS' leading goal scorer, Edison  Buddle, scored two goals against the Union. By the time the whistle sounded for the end of the first half, the Union were down 3 goals and also down a man.

The Union have showed a lack of discipline all season. Stefani Miglioranzi saw the red card this time. The Union will never have a chance if they're a man down every game. One bright spot in this game was the play of 17-year old Jack McInerny. He scored his first MLS goal last night.

Mayweather outlasts Mosely: I spent a good deal of time last night trying to watch this fight online for free. Anyone who does this regularly knows that it is hard to find a good stream that won't get shut down. Usually I can find one and watch the all of the fight. Last night I only caught a little of the fight because of computer issues.

Mosely hurt Mayweather early but then Mayweather dominated the Mosely for the rest of the fight. Mayweather needs to fight Pacquiao next. I know why Mayweather didn't want Pacquiao to be his first fight back. Pacquiao is the best fighter in the world and he will be until somebody beats.

Rollins May Miss More Time: is reporting that Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins may miss more time than expected. It was first reported that Rollins would miss 2-4 weeks. It is now looking like Rollins may miss more than 4 weeks after several setbacks in his recovery.

Rollins: "I was jogging and I actually picked up the pace and that part didn’t bother me. But when I started shuffling and then turned around to really go, that hurt. Going to the right, that doesn’t bother me. Shuffling left and turning to run, that’s when you feel it grab."

Late Games: Tomorrow I may post about tonight's Phillies game.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Daily Roundup: 5/1/10

Scroll down to see post about Flyers game.

Phillies Crush Mets: The Phillies rebounded from last night's 9-1 loss with a 10-0 win today over the New York Metropolitans. Roy Halladay pitches a complete game shutout, his third complete game of the year. The Phillies bats may have finally come out of their lengthy slump.

Victorino had a homer and 3 RBIs. Werth, Ibanez, and Castro each drove in 2 runs. Placido Polanco was the only Phillies without a hit in the game. Polanco has really struggled since he got hit in the elbow with a pitch, which cost him to miss a couple of games. The Phillies will play tomorrow night at 8pm in the final game of this series against the Mets.

More on Ryan Madson: The broken toe that put Ryan Madson on the DL was caused by Madson kicking a chair in the hallway leading to the clubhouse. Ryan had just blown a save, and, on his way to the clubhouse, slipped down the steps. This angered him more, which led to the chair-kicking. This is a very stupid way to get injured. A veteran like Madson should know this.

Madson: "I'm frustrated. I'm embarrassed. I let down my teammates and the fans that want us to all be out there and playing hard for them. I feel terrible about that. It's the worst part."

Charlie Manuel: "He was very apologetic. I know exactly how he feels." Manuel said that he once suffered a foot injury from kicking a wall.

Borel, Super Saver Win Kentucky Derby: Jockey Calvin Borel rode Super Saver to a victory in today's Kentucky Derby. On the track at Churchill Downs was a thick mud. I think this is the most mud I've ever seen at one place at one time. But Borel fought through the mud and commanded Super Saver along the rail.

Borel has jockeyed 3 of the last 4 Kentucky Derby winners. This is no coincidence. Borel is clearly a very good jockey. Next year, I may just bet on the horse Borel is on. Hey, I would have won money three of the last four years.

Late Events: Tomorrow in my daily roundup, I may comment on the Union-Galaxy game and the Mayweather-Mosely fight.

Flyers Lose in OT

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Boston Bruins. When it was all over (13:52 into overtime) the Flyers had come on the short end of a 5-4 game. The Flyers fought hard after being down two goals not once, not twice, but three times. Both goalies impressed in the overtime period, but the Flyer defense fell apart in overtime

The first period was dismal for the Flyers. They gave up 2 goals, and managed just 8 shots on goal. They looked sluggish after their nine day layoff. The team was uninspired. Chris Pronger and Mike Richards really performed admirably the whole game, but the rest of the team looked terrible in the first period.

Coach Peter Laviolette on the first period: “Clearly, the first period affected us. I think from a live game situation, [the layoff] affected us. We didn’t move the puck efficiently. We didn’t seem to have our legs. When you sit for a long time you try and simulate things, with the competitiveness and the skating and the battles on the ice. It’s hard to simulate.”

In the second period, the Flyers showed much improvement. Ryan Parent scored a goal to narrow the Bruins lead to one. But the Bruins answered back with a goal by Miroslav Satan on the power play. Chris Pronger notched his third goal of these playoffs with a one-timer from the point on a power play. The Flyers were within one goal again.

The Flyers really broke out in the third period. The scoring started when David Krejci put Boston on top by a score of 4-2. All hope looked lost for the Flyers, but they moved within one when Mike Richards scored on the power play. Danny Briere has been a clutch player all playoffs, and he came up big late in the third. He weaved his way through two Bruins on his was to the goal. That goal tied the game at four.

Early in overtime, the Bruins dominated. The Flyers were tired and it showed, as the Bruins launched shot after shot on Brian Boucher. Thankfully for the Flyers, Boucher answered those early chances. The Flyers finally got it together and had a few scoring chanced on goalie Tukka Rask. It was not enough. Marc Savard, in his first game back from injury, got the game winner in front of his hometown fans. The Bruins outshot the Flyers 15-4 in the overtime period.

Chris Pronger, who seems like he doesn't leave the ice, had an outstanding game. He showed why he is one of the best defenseman in the game.

The Flyers showed remarkable resilience but, at the end of the day, they are down 1-0 in the series. The Flyers have to build on this performance for game two Monday night. If it weren't for that horrible first period, the Flyers would have won this game.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Daily Roundup: 4/30/10

I already posted about the Phillies game here.

Madson on DL: Phillies relief pitcher Ryan Madson is on the DL for a broken toe.  Antonio Bastardo, who was optioned to the minors yesterday to make room for Brad Lidge, will rejoin the bullpen in Madson's absence. Madson has not done a good job in the closer's role this season. He has blown two games so far.

Hopefully, Brad Lidge can step up and close games better than Madson had. Now that Madson is no longer here to close, Lidge will be most likely thrusted into the spot right away.

Abiamiri's Injury Trouble: Eagles defensive end Victor Abiamiri underwent microfracture knee surgery. It looks unlikely that he will be able to return by the season opener. This serious injury may even threaten his career.

Abiamiri: "I know that I've been hurt a lot since I've been here. When I got hurt during the season, I was like, 'I'm just going to play through it.' It was bothering me through the season, but I figured I'd get it fixed at the end of the season. And I did. It's just that the amount of the time it takes for it to heal up is pretty extensive."

Big Sports Day: Tomorrow will be a big sports day for Philadelphia sports fans. The Flyers will play Game 1 of their second round series against Boston at 12:30. Roy Halladay starts for the Phillies against the Mets tomorrow at 3:30. The Philadelphia Union (1-4) play the top team in the Western Conference, the LA Galaxy, tomorrow at 10:30. The Kentucky Derby will also be held tomorrow.

It should be fun....

Phillies Crushed by Mets

The Phillies are struggling. That is what is clearly evident after their 9-1 loss to the New York Mets. The Phillies once potent lineup melted like a glacier in Arizona against the middling Jonathon Niese. I know the Phillies have had struggles against left handers (especially when they've never faced them before), but come on, this is ridiculous.

Kyle Kendrick started the game for the Phillies. Many people believed that this was a make or break start for Kendrick. He had an averagely mediocre night. He gave up 4 runs in 5 innings. He only gave up 5 hits but the Mets battered him for 3 home runs. I am not sure if Kendrick should lose his starting job in the rotation, but he didn't show much tonight.

Rod Barajas, former Phillie, hit two homers off the Phillies. When he was with the Phillies, he didn't even hit his own weight and managed a meager four dingers. He already has five homers this season, but he still isn't batting his weight.

Charlie Manuel needs to meet with his team in an attempt to end this slump. Shane Victorino did not hustle at all on a dropped third strike. He didn't even run at first, and when he did, it was only at half-speed. Had Victorino had gone full speed, he easily would have reached first because Barajas botched the pickup. Heck, I coulda beat the throw!

Brad Lidge was uninspiring in his first outing of the season. He gave up a home run to Rod Barajas, he of the newly-found power. He did manage to get an out before giving up another hit. He was lifted from the game after that. I just hope Lidge can pull it together, now that Madson is on the DL.

This is a bad time for the Phillies to get into a rut. They have two more games against these Mets at home. Then they have a 4-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Well, at least we have Roy Halladay on the hill tomorrow. Maybe he's the only one who can end this slide.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Daily Roundup: 4/29/10

I am starting a new segment called daily roundup, in which I comment on some of the major sports topics of the day.

Kolb Gets Extension: Kevin Kolb, the Eagles starting quarterback has received a contract extension. Kolb was only under contract for the upcoming season. This deal guarantees Kolb with be with the 'Birds for at least two years. The Eagles hope he'll be their starting QB for much longer than that though.

The deal is worth $12.26 million of guaranteed dough over the next two seasons. That's a lot of money for a guy that hasn't started more the two NFL games. It is evident the Eagles are very confident in Kolb. This deal basically means Kolb will get two years to prove himself in Philly.

Kolb: "I'm not trying to prove anybody wrong, I'm trying to prove this organization right for making this move. I know there are a lot of expectations. When you get an extension and you get the starting quarterback position, regardless of where you're at, there's a lot of pressure and responsibility."

Lidge Off DL: Phillies closer Brad Lidge was activated off the disabled list today. The Phillies will send down lefty Antonio Bastardo down to make room for Lidge. Hopefully, Brad can help sure up a shaky bullpen by shutting teams down in the 9th, something Ryan Madson couldn't do.

Antonio Bastard didn't get a lot of outings, but when he did pitch, he pitched well. Bastardo was the only option for the Phils because all of their other relievers could have been exposed to other teams had they been sent down.

Charlie Manuel (on whether Lidge will close right away): "I don't know. We’ll have to see where we’re at with that. I’ll just play it by feel. I’ll talk to him first and see where he’s at and how he feels."

Sixers Still Looking: Rumors have been swirling all week about who will land the Sixers coaching job for next season. While Larry Brown has been talked about, other candidates are also being contacted by the Sixers. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the Sixers have contacted Avery Johnson and the agent for former Sixer Doug Collins. They have also pursued some high-ranked assistant coaches and talked internally about Jeff Van Gundy.

The Sixers have so far denied all Larry Brown rumors. I think Larry would be the best fit for the job. His family lives in the area. Brown has turned around teams before and that's what the Sixers need, a turnaround. They should also make Brown the president of basketball operations.

Flyers-Bruins Preview

Claude Giroux by Eric Kilby.

The Flyers second round opponent was determined last night when the Montreal Canadians closed out the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their first round series. The Flyers will get the Boston Bruins. The Flyers have to be happy they don't have to face Washington's high-powered offense. Still, they shouldn't overlook the Bruins.

The Flyers were 2-2 against the Bostonians during the season, including a 2-1 loss in the Winter Classic game at Fenway park. I think this will be a pretty even-matched series. Both team's starting goalies were not starters to open the season. The Flyers have a hot Brian Boucher and the Bruins have a young goalie starting in front of Tim Thomas, Tukka Rask.

The Bruins are not a high-scoring team, but their defense is one of the best. The Bruins have killed 19 of 19 penalties in the first round. The Flyers will have a tough time scoring against Boston, especially with Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne out. They will need Claude Giroux (above, during the Winter Classic) to step up like he did in round one. They will also need Chris Pronger to have another big series.

Overall, this is my prediction. I'm going to say that the Flyers win in six games and advance to the Eastern Conference finals. This team really played well against the Devils and I think that will carry over even with the loss of Ian Laperriere, Jeff Carter, and Simon Gagne.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Phils Lock Up Howard

Philadelphia Phillies, World Champions 2008 by jpe118.

Last night was a frustrating night for Phillies fans, as the Phils blew a 3-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and ultimately lost 8-6. The Phillies might just make you forget last night's loss with their big move today. The Phillies have extended first baseman Ryan Howard's contract 5 years with an option for a sixth year. Starting in 2012, the extension will pay Howard $125 over five years with a 1-year $23 million option.

This deal will make Howard the second highest paid player in the game, only behind Alex Rodriguez. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Phillies made this deal. This will ensure that Howard will spend all of his prime with the Philadelphia Phillies. I, along with most people, assumed that Howard would sign for top dollar after next season. As it turns out, Howard is going to get top dollar with the Phillies.

This may be the first move that makes Phillies resemble a big market team. Truth is, they should be able to lock up their players long term because they are in a pretty big market. Not only that, the Phils play in front of a packed house almost (if not every) home game. I'm happy that Howard will continue to mold his legacy in Philly and not in New York, Boston, or LA.

One sad conclusion one may draw from this is that Jayson Werth may be playing his last season in red pinstripes. Werth is a great player and a fan favorite for his gritty play, clutch hitting, and outstanding defense. With all the money that is now locked up in Howard (and the rest of the team), it will be almost impossible for the Phillies to afford Werth.

Overall, this is a great move for the Phillies. They have locked up their cleanup hitter for most of his career. Most fans were not expecting for the Phils to resign Werth anyway. But who knows, if Reuben Amaro can get Roy Halladay in Philly, maybe he can keep Werth in Philies red.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eagles Draft Update

As day two of the 2010 NFL draft winds down, it's time to evaluate how the Eagles have done so far. The Eagles decided to trade up in yesterday's first round to take defensive end Brandon Graham at #13. The Eagles fully expect Graham to become a playmaker on the otherside of Pro-Bowler Trent Cole. Graham is a little undersized for a D-end, but he is descirbed as having a "great motor." Then again, 95% percent of the guys picked are described as having a great motor.

I think this was a good pick for the Eagles. They need an impact player on the D-line to take away attention from Trent Cole. Time will tell on whether Graham can become that player. I just hope he doesn't turn into Jerome MacDougal.

The Eagles then selected safety Nate Allen with the "Donovan McNabb pick" (37th overall). The Eagles have not been able to replace Brian Dawkins and they hope Allen (USF) can help fill the void left by the future hall-of-famer.

After selecting Allen, the Eagles started stockpiling draft picks. They traded the 55th pick (2nd round) to the Cowboys for the 59th overall pick and a fourth rounder. The dealing did not stop there. The Birds decided to trade the 59th pick to the Browns for the 71rst overall pick (3rd round) and two 5th rounder. Not so fast.... then the Eagles traded that 3rd rounder to the Packers for the 83rd pick (3rd round) and a fourth rounder.

Finally the Eagles decided to pick a player with that 83rd overall pick. That player was Washington defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. This pick confused me a little bit. Now, I have never heard of Te'o-Nesheim, but he was projected to be available in the 6th and 7th rounds. According to the "experts", the Eagles reached a bit. Also, I'm not understanding why they are picking another defensive end.

The Eagles now have nine picks for tomorrow. Then again they could trade out of the 4th round and wind up with 10 picks in the last two rounds (makes sense to me). The Eagles love to wheel-and-deal come draft time. They may like it a bit too much, possibly more than drafting players. So, the Eagles have four fourth round picks, two fifth rounders, a sixth rounder, and two seventh rounders.... have fun!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Temple Looking Good

A month ago, everyone in Philadelphia believed that Villanova was the region's best team and had the best chance to go far in the NCAA tournament. Many people are starting to change their thinking after watching Temple dominate St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island in the A-10 tournament. While those teams may not seem like tough opponents, Temple made sure each game was never in doubt.

The final score of this afternoons game in Atlantic City was 57-44. Temple beat Rhode Island to advance to the Atlantic 10 championship tomorrow. Temple never trailed during the game. Their stifling defense kept the Rams uneasy all game.

This team is led by guard Juan Fernandez and big man Lavoy Allen. Fernandez is a guy who has it all on the offensive side of the ball. He can shoot the three with the best of them. He can pass the ball because of his uncanny court vision. He can dribble-drive to the bucket.

Allen is a tough rebounder, and while his contributions may not always stand out on the stat sheet, he is a vital part of this team. This Owls' team is packed with supporting players who can come up big at any time.

The Owls will take on Richmond tomorrow in the A-10 title game. Temple, the 17-th ranked team in the country, already had a ticket punched to the big dance before this tourney. After this tournament, they be a 3 seed in the NCAA tourney.

The way I see it, Temple is a complete team. Their defense is 4th ranked in the nation, and defense wins championships. Temple beat Villanova earlier this year. Villanova is an inconsistent team and not too well defensively. Right now I'm saying the Owls will go farther into March than the Wildcats.

But who knows, the 'Cats could regain their rhythm if the beat an easy first round opponent.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Villanova Falls Again

The Villanova Wildcats were eliminated from the Big East tournament after their 80-76 loss to Marquette in a quarterfinal game. The Wildcats had beaten Marquette two previous times this season. This was not a surprising loss for me. Nova has been struggling of late, having lost five of their last seven. At times this season, Nova has looked like one of the top teams in the country. More recently, they have looked like a overrated team that can't defend.

This Villanova team has to pull it together if they hope to get anywhere deep into March. First, they need to consistently knock down shots. Second, the need to limit the turnovers. The defense has been a bit better than the offense. Marquette doesn't have a dominant big man either. Nova's gonna have to tighten up the D if the want to go deep into the Tourney.

Yes this is my first post in a while. I'm gonna ease back into it.