Nnamdi Asomugha?!? Say it with me now, NAHM-dee AH-sem-wah. It’s a name that every Philadelphian will learn to perfect in the next five years and a name that you will be hearing plenty of in the days, weeks, and months to come. As free agency officially launched the Eagles made the biggest splash in this whirlwind of a week signing CB Nnamdi Asomugha to a five-year 60 million dollar deal on Friday evening. On a night that involved the Phillies trading for Houston Astro Hunter Pence you could say all is well in South Philly.
Ruben Amaro has done it again; the Phillies have acquired Houston OF Hunter Pence in exchange for 4 minor leaguers. The price that the Phillies ultimately had to pay for the services of Pence was high, but this team is on a World Series or Bust campaign and an upgrade to the offense was needed. Pence is a good but not great player but his ability and Chase Utley style of play will make him an instant phan Phavorite. He will be plugged into the middle of the Phillies lineup and instantly become their everyday right fielder. Another plus that Pence brings to the table is that he is under team control until the end of the 2013 season.
The Phillies and Pirates spent many years battling in the same division until they were separated in 1994. Both teams and fan bases had a similar rivalry to that of the current one between the Flyers and Penguins. Since Pennsylvania’s two teams were put into different divisions, the rivalry between the two has all but faded. The dying of the rivalry isn’t the complete work of being in different divisions. From 1994-2006, neither of PA’s teams were able to reach the postseason. Now after the Phillies have established themselves as perennial World Series contenders, the Pirates are trying to do the same. This weekend the teams will battle it out in Philadelphia in a 3 game series that starts tonight.
The season ended a lot sooner than most of us expected last October. Behind our starting rotation everyone expected a third straight World Series appearance and the 2nd parade down Broad Street during the last 3 years. The image of Howard looking at strike three still gives most phans a sick feeling in their stomach. But this season is a new season and our expectations are even higher. There is no need to dig up the bitter feelings from last season but some regular season revenge would be nice. This is the only trip the Giants make to the City of Brotherly Love this season. The teams will start a 3 game series tomorrow night at the Bank.
A lot of phans expected the Phillies to show their dominance against one of the worst teams in baseball and sweep the 3 game series against the Cubbies. But that just wouldn’t be the 2011 Phillies. They have been a team that hasn’t’ been able to sweep teams that often, but they are a team that simply doesn’t lose many series. The Phillies were able to beat the Cubs in the final two games of the series, but their inability to beat the heat prevented them from sweeping those loveably losers. The Phillies have now won 8 straight and 11 of their last 12 series. Tonight the Phillies will start a 4 series with the San Diego that will end on Monday afternoon. The Phillies enter the series 4-0 against the Padres so far this season.
As summer rapidly flies by, faster than offensive comments out of James Harrison’s mouth, we continue to hear rumors of this torturous, painful lockout coming to an end. From the rookie wage scale to the revenue split we have heard the same story for what seems like weeks now, “the lockout is close to being over.” As both sides battle it out in what seems to be the final stretch I can’t help but get excited for what is to come. We anxiously await Eagles football!
It’s actually scary how consistent this team has been throughout the season. I’m not talking game to game because every team will have a bad game every now and then. During the course of 162 game schedule teams will have their bad days and Saturday afternoon was a prime example. The Phillies continued their consistent play this weekend as they took 2 of 3 from the Mets. A sweep against the Mets might have been what everyone wanted, but taking the series is all they need to do. After the series win in New York they head to the windy city to take on the struggling Chicago Cubs. They start a 3 game series at the friendly confines of Wrigley field tonight at 8:05.
The Mets have been able to stay around .500 despite having to deal with a lot of injuries but the rivalry just isn’t the same as it was a few years ago. With the Phillies dominate play both against the Mets and in the standings, the dislike between the teams has faded. But as a Phillies phan it is still fun to beat them while they are down, I would want to see them lose if they were 100 games back. Tonight the Phillies start a 3 game series with the New York Mets at Citi Field. This will be the Phillies 2nd visit to Queens this season and have had moderate success against the Mets. They will enter the series 6-3 against them overall and 2-1 while playing in New York.
It has been an exciting first half of baseball so far this season. As Phillies phans, it is great to see our team with the best record at the all-star break. The most memorable first half moment has to be Wilson Valdez pitching a scoreless inning in the 19inning marathon win over the Reds. And you can’t forget the 1st half’s put together by Halladay, Hamels and Lee. But the 1st half was full of great moments for all baseball fans. It offered us a pair of no-hitters, a player’s 3,000th hit and two walk off grand slams. Throughout the first half, the pitching has been able to dominate the hitters more than usual. The amount of pitchers that can throw in the upper 90’s is staggering. With the steroid era now hopefully behind us, I would expect to see the pitchers to continue this trend.
The Phillies and Braves may be the two best teams in baseball right now and they will square off this weekend in the final series before the all-star break. If you haven’t been paying attention to the standings, you would think that the Phillies have widened their gap in the division based on their play over the last month. But the Braves have played just as good if not better than the Phightin’s and have cut the gap in the NL East to just 2.5 games. People like to over dramatize series before the break but this series is worth all of the talk. It could be the start of the Phillies running away with the division or the start of an epic division battle.