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!