Archive for November, 2009

Phillies Offseason Outlook

November 30th, 2009 by Johnny G | 33 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

As the Eagles make their run for the postseason, as the Flyers struggles continue, and the Sixers continue to play pitiful basketball, the Phillies’ offseason is officially underway. Tweaking a team that has already proved it is the best team in its league after reaching the World Series for a second consecutive season is not easy. By declining Pedro Feliz’ option, Ruben Amaro must now find a replacement in the free agent market. Luckily, this free agent pool is stocked with legitimate talent at the hot corner with Mark DeRosa, Adrian Beltre, Placido Polanco, and Chone Figgins. The best fit at third would be Adrian Beltre. He is an extremely slick defender at third base, who may not be as sure handed as Pedro Feliz, but has much more range. His power potential in this ballpark could bring back memories of his 45 homerun days in Los Angeles, which would trump the 12 homeruns from Feliz.

Replacing Feliz’ numbers will be much easier than expected on the offensive side as his numbers were mostly inflated due to an unusually high batting average with runners in scoring position. As a .266 hitter overall on the season, he led the team while hitting with RISP. That is an anomaly and is unlikely to be a continuous trend. His power decline over the last several years is also concerning. Figgins has been a popular pipe dream with Philly fans but in reality will most likely command a contract in the four year, 50 million dollar range. That is entirely too much money for a slap hitting leadoff man even with his extremely high on base percentage.

What is even more important to the Phillies will be solidifying their bullpen and starting rotation. At this point, the last spot in the rotation will be up for grabs between Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, and whatever other players receive Spring Training invitations. As we have seen in the past though, it is not enough to go into a season with only five or six legitimate starting pitchers. While the Phillies can most likely not fit a top tier starting into their payroll such as John Lackey, they can pick up cheap, low risk options with high upside. Justin Duchscherer is coming off elbow surgery last season and spent the final two months of the 2009 season rehabbing in the minors. He could be an effective option if he can be had on a cheap, incentive laden contract. Brad Penny would be another similar option, who struggled mightily in the American League with more talented hitters and then proceeded to dominate the National League like the Cy Young contender we all remember from several years ago.

As we move along to the bullpen, we get to the real question mark with this club. Brad Lidge had arguably the worst season of any reliever in the history of baseball. Ryan Madson pitched well out of a set up role but largely struggled when he was asked to close in the ninth. Scott Eyre had a phenomenal season but just had off-season elbow surgery and may be retiring. Chan Ho Park was a nice surprise and performed well above expectations in a sixth and seventh inning role but he is now a free agent. J.C. Romero missed the final months of the season and the playoffs with an elbow injury and it could be a lingering injury that has yet to be corrected. It is fairly clear that the Phillies cannot bring in another high profile and expensive closer, as they have already committed a large sum of money to Brad Lidge. The only option at this point is to bring in a legitimate set up man who can step in to close if Lidge’s struggles continue. There are several free agents who fit this description, starting with Brandon Lyon. A former closer for the Diamondbacks who was then traded to the Tigers, he has an 88-91 mph fastball but has one of the best curveballs out of the bullpen you will see in the game. He would not command a long term or expensive contract and would be a nice option for the Phillies. Mike Gonzalez, from Atlanta would be another interesting option because of the fact he is left-handed and if he stays in a set up role could replace one of the open spots for a situational lefty with Eyre and Romero being question marks at this point. Although he struggles with his command at times, which can be frustrating, he has some of the best stuff in the big leagues and could be a very low risk, high reward opportunity. Finally, there is Billy Wagner….., well I guess we don’t have to waste much time speculating on that.

As this team is currently constructed the Phillies are still clearly the best team in the National League East and they are at minimum a top three team in the National League overall. If Amaro can find a legitimate replacement at a reasonable price for Pedro Feliz, patch the bullpen together with cost-effective options who can fill in for Brad Lidge if he struggles, and possibly find another starting pitcher for the back end of the rotation, there is no reason the Phillies cannot reach the World Series for a third consecutive season.


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Eagles-Redskins Preview

November 29th, 2009 by Christian | 1 Comment | Filed in General
This is a game the Eagles should win. The Redskins (3-7) are in last place in the NFC East, and the Eagles (6-4) already beat them, 27-17 on Oct. 26, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

Washington has lost five of six games since starting the season 2-2.

The Eagles look the build upon the momentum from last week’s come from behind win in Chicago. Entering the fourth quarter trailing, the Eagles drove down the field for the winning score in what this team and city hopes is the beginning of a new trend. Prior to that drive, the Eagles were 1-8-1 in their last ten games when entering the fourth quarter trailing.

The Redskins are banged up, missing key offensive weapons RB Clinton Portis, TE Chris Cooley and two offensive lineman. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and cornerback DeAgelo Hall are also questionable.

The Eagles, will be playing without RB Brian Westbrook, but his replacement LeSean McCoy has played extremely well. McCoy has gained 403 yards on 106 carries with 3 TDs.

And Philadelphia’s most explosive player, DeSean Jackson, had a 57-yard TD reception and a 67-yard scoring run in the Week 7 win over Washington.  Look for him to have another big game.


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Johnny G’s Week 12 Picks

November 29th, 2009 by Johnny G | 2 Comments | Filed in General

   After a tough loss on Thanksgiving with the Raiders, my record now stands at 8-2. This is a light football card, so there will only be two picks this week.

Miami Dolphins(-3.5) Over Buffalo Bills
Coming off an impressive Thursday night win over the Carolina Panthers, the Dolphins enter this game clicking on all cylinders. Chad Henne is effectively running a traditional offense and Ricky Williams looks like he did five years ago. The Bills come into this game in a state of turmoil after head coach Dick Jauron was fired and their new interim head coach has decided to yet again switch quarterbacks. The Bills will not be able to stop Williams on the ground and the Dolphins cover the 3.5 on the road. Roll with the fish.

Double Your Money Pick of The Week

Seattle Seahawks (-4) over St. Louis Rams
With Marc Bulger out of this contest and Steven Jackson currently listed as questionable, the Seahawks should not have much of a problem with this horrific Rams team. Matt Hasselback along with Julius Jones should be able to muster up enough offense to get the job done and with Kyle Boller now leading the Rams, they very well may get shutout. This is a pretty easy winner. Take the Seahawks laying four on the road.

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What is the NFL Thinking?

November 26th, 2009 by Christian | 8 Comments | Filed in Football, General

Please Spare Us

After getting stuff ready for Thanksgiving, I plopped down on the couch to catch a few minutes of the game before family began arriving for dinner. After a few plays, I was compelled to get up and enter this post. I’ll keep it brief.

What on earth is the NFL thinking putting the Detroit Lions on every Thanksgiving? This is awful. They stink. They’re one of the worst franchises in pro sports. Last year they were 0-16! This year they’re not much better at 2-8. Since 2001, they have won 2, 3, 5, 6, 5, 3, 7, and 0 games in each season. That’s an average of 3.875 wins per year! Is the NFL kidding?

Why are we force fed this team every year? I’m sure the NFL knows they have a huge national audience and it might not be a good idea to keep showcasing the worst team in your league year after year. But, I can hear them say, ‘this is a Thanksgiving tradition.’ If this is a tradition, it’s a tradition I can do without.

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Johnny G’s Thanksgiving Day NFL Pick

November 25th, 2009 by Johnny G | 7 Comments | Filed in Football, General, TalkSportsPhilly

Click here for Turkey Recipe

Dallas Cowboys Vs. Oakland Raiders 4:15 pm on CBS

After taking the Titans on Monday Night Football (+4) and winning outright over the Texans, my record now stands at 8-1. I am giving out one selection for free on Thanksgiving and there will be 4 picks posted by Saturday for the games on Sunday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your winnings.

In this game we have the Cowboys coming off an overall terrible performance by their offense against a struggling Washington Redskins team, where they needed a last minute touchdown to pull out a one point victory. On the other side, we have the Oakland Raiders coming off their biggest win of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Raiders came into that game as 10 point underdogs and were not given much of a chance to win the game with Jamarcus Russell being benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski.


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Pujols Unanimous NL MVP

November 25th, 2009 by Christian | 5 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General

A League of His Own

It’s unanimous – Albert Pujols received all 32 first-place votes in balloting announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday, taking the NL prize for the second straight year and third overall.

Pujols hit .327, with 47 HRs and 135 RBIs. He had the best slugging percentage in baseball at .658 and was second in on-base percentage with .443, one point behind AL MVP Joe Mauer.

Florida’s Hanley Ramirez, the NL batting champion, finished second with 233 points, followed by Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard (217) and Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder (203).

Pujols, who also won the award in 2005, became the first player to repeat since Barry Bonds won four in a row from 2001-04. He is the first unanimous MVP since Bonds in 2002.

Pujols is the only player to hit 30 homers in his first nine seasons and has never hit below .314.


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NHL suspends Flyers Briere for 2 games

November 24th, 2009 by Christian | 2 Comments | Filed in Flyers, General, Hockey

Daniel Briere

Associated Press

TORONTO (AP)—The NHL has suspended Philadelphia Flyers forward Daniel Briere two games for a late hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Scott Hannan.

The league announced the discipline Tuesday.

The incident occurred at 9:06 of the second period Monday night, right after Hannan had scored.


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