Vick talking to reporters in Marlton, NJ
At one point during this drug-out, ridiculous NFL lockout do we as fans eventually give up and start looking for other outlets to get our sports fix. We LOVE football, I think every man alive loves football. What’s not to love?!? You have giant, beastly men smashing into each other at 100 miles per hour to get this pigskin of a ball across a line. May the last men standing win! Football gets the blood pumping, the adrenaline racing, it gets you up off your feet and screaming at the TV. It turns ordinary men into fanatical, crazy creatures. From the untrained eye it may look as if we’ve gone crazy, but hey it’s all for the love of the game.
Most phans expected a sweep going into today’s game, but that thought was quickly forgotten really early. A Rollins error helped the Mets jump out of the gate early with a 4 run 1st inning. Worley clearly didn’t have his best stuff today and the Phillies AAA lineup could only muster 5 runs. Even with the 9-5 loss today, they were able to take 2 of 3 and have now won all 3 series versus the Mets this season. The Phillies once again got great starting pitcher during the 1st two games and were able to get late runs off of the Mets bullpen to pull out the wins.
Over the last week we have seen the return of Chase Utley, a 19 inning marathon where our other 2nd baseman was the winning pitcher and the sudden reappearance of our bats. The Phillies were able to take 3 of the 4 games from the defending NL Central Champs. It could have been a sweep as they led 3-1 in the game they lost on Tuesday night. The Phillies scored 28 runs during the 4 game series! This was the same offense that had just scored 9 runs in their previous 6 games. It’s hard to ignore the impact Chase has on their offense. He had just 2 hits and 1 RBI during the series, but his presence in the lineup and in the dugout instantly makes this team better.
When the 2011 baseball season comes to a close there is no doubt that we will instantly recall the Wednesday night/ Thursday morning 19-inning marathon vs. the Cincinnati Reds. Those that weren’t man enough to stay up or stay at the park will no doubt stick to their story that they saw the whole game. After getting home from work around the 11th inning I managed to make it to the early morning to catch the ending, a choice I definitely did not regret. Okay so I did fade out a couple times during the 15th and 16th innings but I was awake for the finale!
The Eagles offense was not the problem last season. With the play of Mike Vick they become one of the most explosive and most feared offenses in the league. Last season, they were 2nd in the NFL in yards per game, 3rd in points per game and 9th in passing yards per game. Maclin was tied for 7th in the NFL in receiving touchdowns and DeSean Jackson earned his 2nd straight Pro Bowl selection. The Birds also have one of the best and most consistent slot WR in Jason Avant and rookie Riley Cooper showed some flashes of being a solid player. So you might make the observation that WR isn’t a position of need for this team, but we have recently heard some whispers that they might be interested in a certain free agent wide receiver.
Even with an 0 for 5 return it was very evident what Chase Utley brings to this team. After scoring a total of nine runs in the last six games combined the Phillies went off on Bronson Arroyo and the Reds for an action packed 10-3 victory Monday night at the Bank. The adrenaline that ran through 45,841 phans strong, a Citizens Bank Park attendance record, when #26 was first announced seemed to be running through the clubhouse as well. With Utley back in the building the Phillies bats came alive in a big way.
The bats once again decided to take another series off as the Phillies were only able to score 5 runs during the 3 game set. They were able to get strong performances from all three of the starters this weekend. Today Oswalt received the loss because the bats made a mediocre pitcher look like Cy Young. But even with the inconsistent offense they were able to take 2 of 3 from the defending American League Champions. The best news that came out of Philly this weekend wasn’t the series win over the Rangers; it was the news that our beloved second basemen Chase Utley will phinally rejoin the team tomorrow night!
The Phillies were able to take 1 of the 2 games from the Rockies due to excellent starting pitching by Cole Hamels on Wednesday night. His great pitching performance was needed again because the offense was only able to score one run against a pitcher they have owned in the past. Over the last 5 games, the Phillies have scored just 6 runs, last night Rockies 1B Jason Giambi drove in 7 runs by himself. It may seem ungrateful to be criticizing a team that has the best record in the National League, especially with the dreadful years the phans have had to endure during the history of the franchise. But with the teams past performance and the players they have acquired since the 2008 World Championship, it has given the phans a World Series or bust expectation.
There was a time during the start of the season which many thought this team might not lose three games in a row. People said that the pitching is just too good to go on a prolonged losing streak. Well after tonight’s losing, the losing streak is now 4 and the pitching has actually been very good during the 4 games. They have given up just 13 runs over the last 4 games but the Phillies bats have been nonexistent. Players like Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez shouldn’t be in a championship contending team’s lineup and they have batted 2nd during the losing streak.
I don’t know what’s tougher to watch, Ben Francisco as our everyday right fielder or seeing Doc throw a complete game yet again and still coming up with the loss. As the season continues to progress there have been some clear signs of what this team is capable of and also some clear signs of where this team needs some help. The positives still remain: Chase is returning soon, the young arms in the pen have been a great surprise, Mayberry should be our every day right fielder, Dom Brown is still a second half option, and Cliff Lee hasn't even touched on what he is capable of.