Archive for April 19th, 2011

Adapting to your surroundings

April 19th, 2011 by Mike H. | 4 Comments | Filed in General

Charlie Manuel is a beloved figure in the Philadelphia Metro area.  There is a good chance that he can go into just about any restaurant in the area and not have to pay a dime. From 2007 to 2010, Charlie Manuel had one of the easiest jobs in baseball, write out the lineup and watch from one of the best seats in the building. Those Phillies had something that the current group does not have: Power. Previous lineups had a “heart of the order” that had three guys with the potential to hit thirty or more home runs each. The only real changes that were made on a daily basis was changing out the pitcher. In 2011, the Phillies only have one hitter with 30+ home run potential: Ryan Howard. The lineup changes from day to day, and in some games inning to inning as Charlie tries to spark some offense by including John Mayberry Jr., Michael Martinez, Pete Orr, and Brian Schneider into what started off as a strong offensive lineup, but lately has been rather ineffective.

Charlie Manuel has recently been quoted as to being disappointed with the teams lack of power. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for everything that Charlie has done for this franchise and city, but isn’t his job to not only get the most out of this team, but to put them in the position to succeed.  The difference between this team and the lineups of years past is clear, the starting rotation. The lineup in previous years needed to score 5, 6, or even 7 runs per game just to counteract the short comings of the likes of Kyle Kendrick, Adam Eaton, and Vincente Padilla. The 2011 lineup shouldn’t need more than 3 or 4 runs on average behind the likes of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels. I’ve stated before that I think the most optimal lineup is:

  1. Rollins
  2. Polanco
  3. Ibanez
  4. Howard
  5. Victorino
  6. Francisco
  7. Ruiz
  8. Valdez
  9. Pitcher

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Missing Utley and Lidge

April 19th, 2011 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Missing Utley and Lidge | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

 

By Amy McCormick

The Phillies began the 2011 season with two long-term substitutes in key roles: Wilson Valdez has been covering for Chase Utley at second base and Jose Contreras has been consistently filling in for Brad Lidge as our closing pitcher.  I’ll admit that I like both Valdez and Contreras; however, the return of Utley and Lidge cannot come soon enough.

At second base, Valdez is a solid infielder.  At the plate, he leaves something to be desired.  Last season, in 333 at bats, Valdez hit .258.  Going into tonight’s game, his batting average was .318, with fourteen hits.  Let me put it this way: if we need to have our second baseman on the disabled list for a length of time, and we use an in-house solution for coverage, my choice is Wilson Valdez.  That being said, he’s no Utley.  Chase Utley is one of the top second basemen in the league, both defensively and offensively.  At this point, the Phillies have sixteen games in the books for 2011.  In the first eight games, our offense averaged 7.25 runs per game.  In the latter half, they’ve average 2.875 runs per game.  Are we going to have a repeat of the offensive slump we saw in 2010? We need Chase healthy, and we need him back in the lineup.  I watched footage of Utley doing drills yesterday, and his lateral movement looks remarkably better.  The fact that he’s running is promising.  I’m holding my excitement until I see him in the starting lineup, though.  I hope, for our offense’s sake, that it’s sooner than later.  The Phils got shut out by Milwaukee tonight, and the offense managed just two hits. 

Brad Lidge has been out due to issues with his shoulder, and is expected to return this season without surgery.  In his absence, Jose Contreras has been closing quite a few games.  I have to say that I like Madson in the eighth and Contreras in the ninth.  My concern is the questions I have about Contreras’s longevity.  I have doubts that he can keep up the innings he’s been throwing for a long period of time.  Some people hate Brad Lidge and say that he’s injury prone, past his prime, and anxiety inducing.  Please remember that he had 27 saves in 32 opportunities last season; he converted seventeen of his last eighteen.  His four-seam fastball and breaking slider make him one of the best closers in baseball.  Don’t get me wrong; I like Contreras in the ninth inning, even if he is 39 years old (he has to be older than that).  I’ll admit that I get excited when I hear “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” as he runs from the bullpen.  But just as Valdez is no Utley, Contreras just isn’t Lidge.

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Tough Win for Flyers in Game 3; Why Zherdev Needs to Start

April 19th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | 1 Comment | Filed in Flyers, Football, General

Last night’s victory over the Sabres in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals was extremely difficult. The Buffalo Sabres countered the Flyers outbursts all the way until Kimmo Timonen slammed the door shut with an empty netter. This was the best game that the Flyers have played the entire series. There were times when they were outplayed, there isn’t a question about that, but remember this is a team that has constantly been adjusting since Chris Pronger has been out. It looks like they have finally started to turn that corner.

-Brian Boucher was the first star for the Flyers last night. There were many times that Buffalo found themselves with the puck right in front of the net and Bouch was there to make the save. The only bad play that he made all night was the rebound off of the blocker that lead to Gerbe scoring the second goal. He needed to knock that puck down, not throw it out. Other than that he was fantastic.

-He also made one of the most heads up plays I have ever seen in the playoffs. The Flyers were getting burned by the Buffalo power play early on in that third period, because of the two Timonen penalties. A shot was fired towards the net and hit Boucher in the mask, consequently breaking one of the straps. Boucher realized this and flicked his mask off, said that it was pulled off and was broken, an automatic dead play whistle was blown and the Flyers got a 2 minute break that they desperately needed at that point. I may not have agreed with having him in net for this game, but those are plays that a veteran makes and you need those in the playoffs.

– Nickoly Zherdev  should play at least the rest of this series, if not the entire playoffs. He is a better fit for the Richards, Versteeg line. On that third goal it was a total team effort. Versteeg fired a pass across ice to Richards who fired a pass to Zherdev for a one timer to a wide open net. Nodl is not the scorer that Zherdev can be. Versteeg isn’t a scorer and Richards can be, but so far in this series he has shown no signs of life in the scoring department, but has been able to find people who are open.

-It was nice to see Jeff Carter score a goal last night, more  importantly on the power play. Getting the power play going will determine if this team can make a run to the Stanley Cup. Carter needs to start shooting the puck more, there are more than enough people (Giroux, Leino, Richards) to get the puck in the zone, but you need that guy who can put it home. Carter can be that guy.

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Sixers Thrashed by Heat 94-73 in Game 2

April 19th, 2011 by Brandon Pemberton | Comments Off on Sixers Thrashed by Heat 94-73 in Game 2 | Filed in General

Lebron James Scored 29 points, leading the Heat to a 94-73 victory over the Sixers in game 2.

By Brandon Pemberton

After putting forth a good effort in Game 1, the Sixers were simply outclassed last night by the Miami Heat. They shot 34% from the field for the game, and the Sixers starters were outscored by the Heat starters 76-29. What??? That’s right, the Heats starters scored more points then the entire Sixers team.

Lebron James scored 29 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 6 assists and Chris Bosh continued to dominate in the paint scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Dwayne Wade, who had been dealing with migraine headaches added 14 points of his own.

Thaddeus Young(18 points, 6 rebounds) and Evan Turner(15 points, 6 rebounds) were the only bright spots for the Sixers if there were any, Young did score a good amount of his points in the last 3 or 4 minutes while the Heats bench players were playing. Andre Iguodala had another bad game scoring 5 points on 2-8 shooting in 36 minutes of play, and Elton Brand was virtually invisible scoring 3 points and grabbing 7 rebounds in 30 minutes of play.

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Romero to DL?

April 19th, 2011 by Mike H. | 1 Comment | Filed in General

Pending the reults of his yet to be performed MRI, it looks like JC Romero will be heading to the 15-Day disabled list. Romero apparently strained his right calf after getting two outs in the ninth. It isn’t that much of a concern, as Bastardo has pitched well enough to warrant the job. The Phillies will most likely want to call up Mike Zagurski to maintain the second left handed reliever in the bullpen. Zagurski has had success in AAA so far this season.

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Boucher Solid in Flyers 4-2 Win

April 19th, 2011 by JGlenn | Comments Off on Boucher Solid in Flyers 4-2 Win | Filed in General

Boosh is Back

Maybe the goaltending change was what the team needed. The Flyers played their best game of the series this far, winning 4-2 and taking a 2-1 lead in the best of 7 series. Brian Boucher took over as the playoff starter and was rock solid in net. He did what Bob was not able to do, give the Flyers some big saves. The Flyers just seem to play better in front of Boucher. To me it looks like he quarterbacks the game more than Bobrovsky does. You constantly see him directing the defenseman where to go, and where the puck is. His puck handling abilities are also much better than Bobs. It looks like he will be the starter from here on out, although this is the Flyers so you never know.

The Flyers looked very good offensively, getting goals from Carter (PP), Briere, and Zherdev. Timmonen buried an empty netter to seal the game. The Flyers really needed to get Carter going and he looked pretty good all night. Zherdev was playing his first game of the series, filling in for the injured Andres Nodl. It will be interesting to see what Laviolette does when Nodl is healthy again. Zherdev gives you that speed element and needs to be accounted for at all times. It looked like the power play moved the puck a little better too with him in there. Richards shook off a tough start to the game and hopefully is getting out of his slump. He had a nice assist on Zherdevs goal and rang one off the post as well.

The turning point of the game though was the Flyers 5-3 penalty kill. Hanging on to a 3-2 lead with about 13 minutes left, and Zherdev in the box for slashing, Darroll Powe took a blatant charging penalty. The result was a 1:15 2 man advantage. Boucher made 2 point blank saves, and Coburn and Timmonen had some big clears. The Flyers also blocked a few shots during the kill in a real gut check moment of the game.

Game 3 is usually a piviotal game and i thought it was the Flyers best effort so far. Hopefully with Boosh in the lineup we can play like this from here on out. The Flyers may also get Pronger back for game 4. During the game it was mentioned that he had a full practice with the team today, which is encouraging. JVR is growing up right in front of our eyes. He is finally using his size to his advantage, and is a bull so far this series. I would love for this team to get their pre all star break swagger back. Lets Go Flyers!!!!