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Fifteen Years Too Long October 16, 2008

Posted by Dave in Philadelphia, Phillies.
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They’re back! Celebrate Philly. After 15 long years, the Phillies are back in the Fall Classic. After 24-year-old Cole Hamels, the NLCS MVP, threw an unbelievable game, the Fightin Phils will await their competitor in the last series of the 2008 baseball season.

Cole Hamels was phenomenal in the NLCS finale. He is the NLCS MVP (Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images).

Going 2-0 in the series, Hamels went seven innings tonight allowing five hits and had a 1.93 ERA. His masterful performance allows the Phillies to advance. He is known for his change-up, but tonight the Phillies ace got his fastball working, and working fast. In front of 56,800 Dodger faithful, the Phillies made it known they wanted to end this series tonight.

Jimmy Rollins who has struggled all post-season, led the game off with a home run which set the tone. Ryan Howard who also was much criticized for his performance in this series, got three hits in the NLCS finale.

This amazing win will surely fit the Phillies slogan and paint the town red tomorrow. Last season was remarkable when the Phillies held a rally at City Hall after their first post-season berth since ‘93. I can only imagine what will happen tomorrow. I envision Obama-like lines in front of Modell’s tomorrow morning when I at least attempt to purchase my NLCS Champion hat.

2004 was the last time this city saw a team in a championship game. That is still a vivid memory for most, when Eagles fans took over Jacksonville, FL and turned an innocent city into an Eagles Passion-fest. The New England Patriots were a great team, and Eagles fans were optomistic, especially with Terrell Owens returning, but I think this event will be even bigger.

Shane Victorino gets doused with champagne after the Phillies win the NLCS (Jeff Gross/Getty Images).

The Superbowl was only one game. This best-of-7 series will last days, and the passion, energy, and will of Phillies fans will run through the streets of the entire city and bleed into the suburbs.

I await what comes like a toddler on the eve of Christmas. I can’t wait to see the smiles, the high fives, the red that will infest this city as the Philadelphia Phillies await their challenger in the 2008 World Series.

You all saw the interviews. The players are at a loss for words for the most part. As a journalism major I know certain things that I should be saying, but as a fan, I am also at a loss. I’m in shock.

The post-season is all about how hot a team is, regardless of the sport. No one is hotter than the Phillies right now. My early gut feeling tells me that this 2008 Phillies team has the best chance at the “C” word (rhymes with smansionship) than any team in recent memory. For now though, let’s just celebrate the fact that the Philadelphia Phillies are National League Champions, and they will be in the World Series. Just let that set in.

2-for-4 in Philly Sports This Weekend October 13, 2008

Posted by Dave in Eagles, Flyers, Philadelphia, Phillies.
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Well, even though .500 is not really spectacular in the world of sports, this isn’t as bad as one might think. Let’s put the four games we saw from the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and Phillies into perspective.

Brett Myers went 3-for-3 Friday night including this single that knocked in 2 of his 3 RBIs (AP Photo/Rob Carr).

Brett Myers went 3-for-3 Friday night including this single that knocked in 2 of his 3 RBIs (AP Photo/Rob Carr).

Friday Oct. 10 - GAME 2 - Phillies 8 Dodgers 5
Wow. What a game by Brett Myers. It really didn’t have much to do from his work on the mound, but his work at the plate. First he draws an epic 9-pitch walk against C.C. Sabathia in Game 2 against the Brewers, then goes 3-for-3 against the Dodgers. His astonishing success at the plate was historic. He became the first pitcher to collect three hits in the same game in a League Championship Series.

On the mound, Myers was not quite as impressive. He gave up five runs in five innings on six hits while striking out six. Although it was nice to see a high strikeout count considering the time he was out there, he’ll have to pitch better his next time out if the Phils are going to have a chance to win. Myers knocked in nearly half of the runs Friday night, something that while welcomed, the Phillies can’t rely on.

Supposed team catalyst Jimmy Rollins went a disappointing 1-for-5. He hasn’t really hit at all in the postseason this year, and as a team leader and one of the longest tenured athletes in Philadelphia, absolutely needs to step up and lead this offense off in the right direction.

Shane Victorino was huge in this game knocking in four runs. Ever since he hit that grand slam in the division series, he has been on fire, and undoubtedly the best Phillies hitter.

Of course, the game wouldn’t be any fun without some drama. Closer Brad Lidge walked two men on, but ultimately struck out Nomar Garciaparra to end the game and send the Dodgers back home facing a two-game deficit in the best-of-seven series.

Luca Sbisa, 18, made his NHL debut Saturday night in impressive fashion (Getty Images).

Luca Sbisa, 18, made his NHL debut Saturday night in impressive fashion (Getty Images).

Saturday Oct. 11 - Flyers 3 Rangers 4
This was an interesting game to watch. Marty Biron was pulled 13 minutes into the game after the Rangers stepped out to an astonishing four-goal lead. One of the goals was especially weak, as Biron clearly misplayed the puck and was nowhere to be found when Fredrik Sjostrom tallied his first goal of the season on a wraparound.

Stevens sent a message by pulling Biron so early, and it worked. Backup Antero Niittymaki was a perfect 13 saves on 13 shots in relief, and the Flyers nearly completed the comeback.

Simon Gagne scored a goal which was great to see in his return from multiple concussions. He skated well all night along with Danny Briere and Mike Richards on the top line. Gags was credited with a blocked shot and a hit to go with his first goal of the season.

Captain Mike Richards tallied as well. He snuk past the Rangers defenders and one-timed the Danny Briere pass behind Stephen Valiquette. Although Richie played well, he wasn’t the most impressive Flyer.

Rookie defenseman Luca Sbisa who made the opening night roster in part due to injuries to Ryan Parent and Randy Jones, looked phenomenal. He was poised throughout the game, and started pinching in, late in the contest, looking to tie the game. He made many great defensive plays and was tied for second on the team with a pair of hits. He made one mistake, turning the puck over in his own end, but hustled back to the net and sprawled out to save a wraparound attempt when Niitty wasn’t in position.

The Flyers went on to lose the game, but remember, the Rangers entered this game already having played three regular season games. (more…)

NFL Week 6 Picks October 12, 2008

Posted by Aaron in Football, NFL, Philadelphia.
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I said last week that baseball has drastically overtaken football in Philly, and if that was true last week, it’s ten times as true today. Beat L.A.! And how about that Rays game last night? Amazing. But the football…it must go on. The picks are below…

Season Up To Date:

Dave: 43 -31 (upsets: 3-2 )   -

Aaron: 43 - 31 (upsets: 2-3)    -

Byes: Bills, Chiefs, Steelers, Titans

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12

Chicago Bears (3-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-2) –1:00 PM FOX

Aaron: Dave:

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Miami Dolphins (2-2) at Houston Texans (0-4) –1:00 PM CBS

Aaron: Dave:

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Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Indianapolis Colts (2-2) –1:00 PM CBS

Aaron: Dave:

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Detroit Lions (0-4) at Minnesota Vikings (2-3) –1:00 PM FOX

Aaron: Dave:

(more…)

Why the NLCS Will Last 5 Games October 9, 2008

Posted by Aaron in MLB, Philadelphia, Phillies, baseball.
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Phillies, Dodgers: you’ve heard the hype, you’ve heard “experts” predictions, and you’ve heard players on both sides speak about a potentially long series at hand in this NLCS. You’ve heard that the home team has won every game in the season series and that these teams are so strikingly similar, it might be closer than any series in recent memory.

That’s wrong. This series is going to last 5 games, no more, no less. Which team will take it? My feeling is that the Phillies have every piece going for them at the right time and have players just waiting to bust out (Utley…). But it could very well be the 84-78 NL Garbage Division Champion Dodgers. Either way, we should know the outcome of this series by next Wednesday, right around 11:30pm ET. Just after game 5 has ended.

The Phillies Case for Winning in 5

Granted, the Brewers are a different beast than the Dodgers are, but when you look at the NLDS series against Milwaukee, pitching won it for the Phillies - no question about it. Hamels delivered a gem, possibly establishing himself as a big game pitcher, the true ace of a staff we’ve been anticipating. Myers, after 2 shaky starts to end September, threw a hectic first inning but pitched near perfect the rest of the way. Moyer was the sole question mark, going only 4 innings and getting beat up. He didn’t establish his strike zone, and we all know he needs a generous umpire behind the plate. He didn’t get it versus Milwaukee, but the crafty lefty won’t be rattled. Joe Blanton, starter number 4 to round out the rotation, was all the Phillies could have wanted and more. Strikeouts, ground balls, and he didn’t even work into any major jams that he had to scramble out of. The bullpen was also stellar, with Lidge looking calmer and better as the series went along.

When you look at the hitting, something that has been so inconsistent all year, there were huge home runs (Victorinos slam, Burrell’s 3-run jack), and not much else to score runs. During the Milwaukee series, the Phillies didn’t score a heck of a lot of runs at all. But they got guys on base: by walk, by hitting, and everything else. They had somewhat awful situation hitting, but when it mattered most, they came through in a big way. Look at the plus side: the tone setter, the guy who gets it going, Jimmy Rollins - batting over .350 so far in these playoffs. Compare that to his average well below the Mendoza line last year in October. This team is going to score, they’re going to have a big game or two, and the pieces are falling in place for that to happen. If they rattled Sabathia, they can rattle Billingsley or Kuroda.

People are talking about the Dodgers being the hot team right now, and for the most part, being hot at the right time can propel a team farther than anyone expects. But what happens when that team takes almost a week of play off? Rust, it disturbs the momentum and flow. If the NLCS started the day after they swept Chicago, we would be talking differently. Also, these Phillies, for once, are the more experienced group. Sure, LA has their Manny’ and Lowe’s, but the Phillies aren’t happy at all after last year or even after a first round win - they know the bigger job that needs to get finished.

Lastly, the home crowd is huge. We all know the teams split the series 4-4, the home team winning every time. CBP will be louder than it has ever been tonight and tomorrow, there is no doubt. If the Phillies get on the board first, the Dodgers could get very uptight, wanting the big hits to get back in it too quickly - remember, they didn’t trail Chicago at all. Hamels and Myers have seen these guys before, and the Dodger hitters haven’t faired well against them - especially Manny who hit .212 against the Phils this season. If Hamels and Myers do their job, they are both better pitchers than their counterparts, the Phillies will ride a 2-0 lead to LA. There, I will give the Dodgers a game. But Blanton in game 4 or Hamels in game 5 will shut the door.

The Dodgers Case for Winning in 5

The hot team. It’s what every team strives to be going into the postseason, and not just baseball either. Remember last year’s football Giants? They were 10-6 but were on fire going into the playoffs and won 3 in a row followed by a monumental upset of the evil juggernaut Patriots. But look back to these playoffs: is it coincidence that the Angels, who wrapped up their division in what seems like May, bowed out in the first round in 4 games? They rested players, their mindset was not aggressive, and they faltered. The Dodgers are at the opposite side of the spectrum. Every game for them had been like a playoff game in September as they made up the deficit in the NL West to overtake Arizona. They are hot right now. Sure, the teams they beat in September were the likes of San Fran, San Diego, and other garbage teams who put up no fight, but you win the games you’re supposed to win - and they did that.

The Cubs could have also been too rested and too uptight going into their series against the Dodgers, but give L.A. some credit. They got hitting from 1-8 in their lineup and their pitchers shut down an extremely potent lineup. Derek Lowe, game 1 starter tonight, didn’t look overpowering at all, but he got the outs and carried his team to an easy win. They won on the road and they won at home. Obviously, there’s the Manny factor. You may despise the guy’s attitude and work ethic that we see during games, but he’s a stud in October. Any given at bat he can send the ball out of the park to completely change the dynamics of the game. And with Furcal back, and hitters like James Loney, Matt Kemp and Blake DeWitt around him, that’s a very underrated lineup.

Home field now comes into play. As mentioned, the series starts tonight in Philly. If the Dodgers get a stellar showing from Lowe again (he is 2-0 with a sub 2.50 ERA at CBP) and enough runs to steal game one, panic will set in around the Delaware Valley and the series will change dramatically. People will start ranting and wondering where the big bats are. People will ask what Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have done if they continue to struggle (each batting sub .200 so far). This team is resilient like no other I have seen in years. They can put up a 5 spot in the 9th inning at anytime - they just don’t quit. But in the playoffs, against these Dodgers pitchers, that’s going to be leagues harder to accomplish. L.A. may not have the star power in their rotation, but they are solid and they shut down the Phillies bats to a tune of a sub .240 average in the 8 games this season. Jonathon Broxton is also a very good closer.

A lot of this series rests on the shoulders of Lowe and Hamels tonight. The Dodgers could very well bring back Lowe in game 4 on just three days rest if they need him, but a strong outing and a win tonight sets the table. This series is going to be shorter than people think, 5 games to be exact. I have a feeling that the team that sets the tone tonight will take it. If Utley can brake out. If Hamels can dominate. If Manny continues to rise…or fall like he has against the Phils. If the bottom of the lineup on either team contributes. If either bullpen should falter. All of these edges seem to favor Philly - and that’s why I think I’ll take them in 5.

NLCS Schedule

Game 1: Dodgers at PHILLIES, Thursday Oct. 9, FOX, 8:22 p.m.

Game 2: Dodgers at PHILLIES, Friday Oct. 10, FOX, 4:35 p.m.

Game 3: PHILLIES at Dodgers, Sunday Oct. 12, FOX, 8:22 p.m.

Game 4: PHILLIES at Dodgers, Monday Oct. 13, FOX, 8:22 p.m.

*Game 5: PHILLIES at Dodgers, Wednesday Oct. 15, FOX, 8:22 p.m.*

*Game 6: Dodgers at PHILLIES, Friday Oct. 17, FOX, 8:22 p.m

*Game 7: Dodgers at PHILLIES, Saturday Oct. 18, FOX, 8:22 p.m.

3 Hours of Stress and Frank TV Commercials October 5, 2008

Posted by Aaron in Philadelphia.
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Tomorrow I will face one of the greatest challenges in my young life. Tomorrow I must make not a choice, but many choices. I will have two options to choose from, both of them utterly important and fantastic. This isn’t politics, this matters far more tomorrow, this is sports on television. Tomorrow, at 1:00pm ET, the Eagles will play the Redskins and the Phillies will play the Brewers. The same time. Let me break this down for you:

12:30pm - feeling good, eat some Frosted Flakes

1:00pm - in disaray. more lost than I have ever been.

- Redskins (3-1) at Eagles (2-2) — We all know the Eagles have done a hell of a job beating themselves this year in their 2 losses. Should they be 4-0? Probably. But that doesn’t matter, this league isn’t about what teams should have done. Today, the Eagles play host to a division rival in Washington that has won 3 straight including a huge win on the road in Dallas last week. Jason Campbell is on fire. The Skins are one game up on the Birds right now, but this is essentially a must-win. If not for the standings right now, then for the moral of this team - if you can’t beat the good teams consistently, like Washington, forget about the playoffs. Huge, huge game.

- NLDS Game 4, Phillies lead 2-1, Phillies at Brewers — The Fightins managed a whopping 1 run in the loss Saturday. Howard showed life with a couple of hits including a double. Moyer had a shaky first inning but ended up settling in. This team remains one win away from the NLCS and a date with the Dodgers who swept the Cubs tonight. This game is monumental on many fronts. For one, it’s the playoffs - every game is huge. But think about a win today, a win puts the Phillies on the doorstep of the World Series against a hot team, yes, but not the Cubs who have a rotation and hitters that were the best for most of the season. A loss today means a game 5 to prevent a historic collapse, facing CC against Hamels. Gigantic.

So as I think of tomorrow, I realize I will have to be quicker than ever with the remote. TBS and FOX, only two stations you may say, but after every down in the Eagles game, I switch over. After every out in the Phils game, I switch over. Nobody said it was going to be easy…God speed to the rest of you fans out there. Let’s hope come 4:00pm ET, the Eagles will be 3-2 and feeling good with a divisional win, and the Phillies will be one step closer to a championship.

It’s Sunday at 1pm - Who are you watching?

Go Birds.

Go Phils.

Seriously, enough Frank TV. The 400 commercials-per-game don’t make me want to watch it anymore than before.

(photo: Julie Jacobson AP, tbs.com)

The ADD Show’s NFL Week 5 Picks October 4, 2008

Posted by Dave in NFL, Philadelphia.
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For the first time in a long time, baseball has completely outdone football here in Philadelphia. Phillies madness has swept every part of the city. And with the Cubbies down to their last game, these baseball playoffs have been, well, awesome to watch. But the football…it must go on. The picks are below…

Season Up To Date:

Dave: 38 -22 (upsets: 3-1)       -

Aaron: 34 - 26 (upsets: 2-2)   4gb

Byes: Browns, Jets, Raiders, Rams

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5

Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-1) –1:00 PM CBS

Aaron: Dave:

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Chicago Bears (2-2) at Detroit Lions (0-3) –1:00 PM FOX

Aaron: Dave: (upset)

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Atlanta Falcons (2-2) at Green Bay Packers (2-2) –1:00 PM FOX

Aaron: Dave:

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(more…)

Phillies Win Game 1, But Will That Performance Do? October 2, 2008

Posted by Dave in Philadelphia, Phillies.
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Ah, a drought is over. No, not a championship, not yet anyway. But it had been 15 long years since the Phillies won a playoff game. On the left arm of one Cole Hamels, that is exactly what the Phillies did Wednesday afternoon.

It is almost unanimous throughout the baseball community that Cole Hamels is among the best young pitchers out there, but if there was one criticism of him, it was his ability to play in big games. King Cole started game 1 last year against the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS. Hamels who was considered the ace then too, allowed three runs in six and 2/3 innings against the wild card Rockies.

Cole Hamels Fact #1833: Former Brewers manager Ned Yost was not fired by his GM, Doug Melvin; he resigned rather than risking having to face Cole Hamels again in the playoffs (Yong Kim/Philly.com).

What a difference a year makes. Tonight Hamels was absolutely masterful. Responding to his critics, Hamels went a full eight innings haunting the Brewers while only allowing two hits and no runs. For the first time all season, a team was actually looking forward to facing Brad Lidge just so they didn’t have to feel the wrath of the Phils young lefty. While Lidge remains perfect, he allowed the Brewers only run in the ninth surrendering two hits and one walk. The only concern with him is that it looked like the Brewers were getting a good look at his slider and may be on their way to solving it.

But how often can the Phils rely on their pitchers to bail them out of not producing at the plate?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Phillies fan tried and true. I think it’s fantastic that they won today, but if they continue to play like that, can they possibly make it to the World Series?

Our Fightin’ Phils mustered only three hits off of Yovani Gallardo who entering the day had worked just 24 innings this season, most recently spending 1/6 of his season working four-innings on Sept. 25.

Yes, it’s great that the Phillies were able to score three runs on only four hits, but that kind of performance won’t really cut it. The 22-year-old righty Gallardo walked five this afternoon and followed his Sept. 25 performance by going only four innings again. In the remaining eight innings of pitching from Milwaukee the Phillies could only get one single solitary hit. That is utterly pathetic.

This is the playoffs. If you think you have a shot at winning the Fall Classic, you’re going to have to make things happen at the plate. Jayson Werth went 0-for-4. Pat Burrell 0-for-2. Only Ryan Howard was able to do something productive while not hitting the ball. He walked three times.

Tomorrow the Phils face C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia clearly has Cy Young stuff. He is really the biggest reason why Milwaukee is in the post-season. Every five days he gave the Brewers a ridiculously good shot to win and even helped himself out. In his first game he hit a home run. The Phils can’t get caught up in “C.C. Nation” though. Sabathia is 1-1 in his career against the Phils. He has a 4.97 ERA in those games. He can be beaten although it isn’t easy. Tomorrow they can’t win from the pitcher’s mound like they did today. They will have to show up and hit consistently against this excellent pitcher who after this season will become very expensive.

Brett Myers didn’t finish the season all that strong. He lost his last two outings, but before that he was stellar after returning from a minor league stint. He’ll need his best stuff to keep the Phillies in this game, but the lineup will absolutely have to help him at the plate.

MILLER LITE
For those that don’t know there is an unofficial ban of Miller Lite this series. See, the Brewers play at Miller Park up in Milwaukee. Consuming 3.2 grams of carbohydrates, 96 calories and 4.2% Alcohol By Volume will have to be done in some other fashion than downing Miller Lite. Looking for an alternative? Bud Light is first of all not afraid to use the right spelling of the word. (What are you hiding Miller?) They also clearly have a preference in this series as evidenced by their bottle. Come on fans, we’re at war, pick a side.

October: Impossible to Predict (I’ll Try) September 30, 2008

Posted by Aaron in MLB, National, Phillies, baseball.
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Jim “my wife is my rock” Thome (I hope you Phils fans remember that classic press conference) jacked a mammoth homer to lift the South Siders into the playoffs by a 1-0 score and thus completing the 8 team post-season field. In the AL: Angels, White Sox, Rays, and Red Sox. In the NL: Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, and Brewers.

When I look at what to try and breakdown first, I remind myself of something paramount: Major League Baseball playoffs are remarkably difficult to predict. Out of the 4 main sports, no other sport comes close to the inexplicable moments, the ridiculous upsets, and surprise champions that baseball presents year in, year out. Football? There’s almost always a 1 or 2 seed matching up. Basketball? It was Lakers, Celtics, gimme a break. Hockey? Now, hockey comes the closest, but still doesn’t match the sheer unknown of the baseball playoff landscape. Remember the Seattle Mariners in 2001, the team that won an MLB record 116 games? They survived the Indians in 5 games and then got smoked in the ALCS in 5 games. That’s inexplicable. That’s just unbelievable. That’s playoff baseball.

So, with that, here’s a quick look at each of the 4 LDS series with predictions of course. I wouldn’t be shocked if the 4 teams I choose to win all lose, the parity right now in the sport is unbelievable. Here goes…

FULL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE HERE

ALDS: White Sox v. Rays

Young versus old, experienced versus the newbies, been there and done that versus eyes wide open. This series couldn’t pit teams that are more different than the south siders and the upstart Rays. The White Sox are in the playoffs for the first time since winning it all just a few years back, and this might be their last good shot in quite a while. The core of this team is old and Griffey Jr, Dye, and Thome could be making their last push for a ring. On the other hand, the Rays are still a surprise to many. Who are these kids, and what have they done with our beloved losing Devil Rays of years past? Well, when you have Longoria and Upton and a ridiculously good starting rotation, success finally came. So, where’s the edge?

The young power hitting is nice, but pitchers like James Shields are what make the Rays scary good. (AP/TampaBay.com)

The difference in this series is what separates the winners in October from the losers: starting pitching. I saw John Danks throw 8 scoreless innings tonight in a huge game, but can he do that again? Tampa’s pitchers: James Sheilds 14-8, Edwin Jackson 14-11, Andy Sonnanstine 13-9, and Percival at the end have all been so good and so consistent. These kids can pitch and while they don’t score a lot of runs as compared to some other AL teams, they won over 95 games for a reason. The White Sox are a home run hitting team, like the Phillies last year (and somewhat this year too). I don’t expect Chicago to get rattled if they drop the opening 2 in Tampa, but I do expect the Rays to show that experience won’t matter in this series.

Rays in 5

ALDS: Red Sox v. Angels

Talk about starting pitching, my goodness. Take a look at the probable pitching match-ups for the first 3 games of this series…Game 1: John Lackey (12-5) v John Lester (16-6), Game 2: Ervin Santana (16-7) v Dice-K (18-3), Game 3: Josh Beckett (12-10) v Joe Saunders (17-7). Are you kidding me? The game three starters are a world series MVP and a 17 game winner? Need I mention K-Rod on the Angels who broke the single-season save record, or Papelbon who’s closed out a world series clincher on his own? Expect low numbers, very, very low numbers in these games.

The Angels game 3 starter is Joe Saunders, who was 17-7. Game 3 people. (Morry Gash/AP/MLB.com)

The Angels game 3 starter is Joe Saunders, who was 17-7. Game 3 people. (Morry Gash/AP/MLB.com)

These two teams are more similar than you would think looking at them on paper. You’d think of Boston as the big bats with Ortiz, Drew (who will play), and Youkilis - he set career highs in just about everything. But they’re deceptively fast, good baserunners, and can play good small ball. Dustin Pedroia made his MVP case racking up 213 hits and Ellsbury is a man possessed when he gets on base. The Angels counter with their own small ball: after all, this team was 10th in the AL in runs scored. But they play efficient baseball - they move runners over and they get them in. What could separate this series is if one starter gets rocked for some reason unexpectedly. Otherwise, these teams are both experienced and know how to get it done. If there’s any edge, it’s to the Angels, who have the first 2 at home and a possible game 5 - that will probably be necessary.

Angels in 5

NLDS: Dodgers v. Cubs

The Dodgers are this years Rockies - that team playing the right kind of baseball at exactly the right time of year. Except…they aren’t as talented. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good team in LA, but the Rockies had it all going last year - power, speed, starting pitching, and relief. Look at the teams the Dodgers faced in their crucial month of September: San Diego (three times), Arizona, Colorado, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco (twice) - just one of those teams finished the season above .500, Arizona at 82-80. You win the games you’re supposed to win, they did that, but Chicago is a different beast.

Manny has been Manny and more in L.A., but Cubbies pitching should silence him (REUTERS/Phil McCarten/Daylife.com)

Manny has been money in L.A., but Cubbies pitching should silence the dreads (REUTERS/Phil McCarten/Daylife.com)

Chicago’s first 3 starters: Ryan Dempster 17-6 (14-3 at home), Carlos Zambrano 14-6 (no hitter few weeks back), and Rich Harden 10-2. Uh, yikes. Chicago won 5 of 7 this year from the Dodgers, including 2 games in LA. But while this could be a quick 3 game sweep preparing for the NLCS, remember, playoff baseball…..ah nevermind, Cubs are just better with pitching and with hitting. The Dodgers won the awful NL West, their pitching isn’t all that great, and I don’t think I’m going to even give them the gentleman’s one win here.

Cubs in 3

NLDS: Brewers v. Phillies

Everyone is picking the Phils to take this series in 4 games which makes me completely and utterly nervous. Remember last year? All the experts said Phillies in 3 or 4, their offense is just too potent for the nice feeling story that were the Rockies. A sweep later, and a no show from Utley, Howard, and just about everyone else, it was one and done after 14 years out of October for Philadelphia. This year is remarkably different, and not just because those same hitters have the experience of last year and are still, well, good hitters. The pitching is what makes the Phillies this year. Jamie Moyer, age 45, is winning, winning, winning. Joe Blanton, after 85 no-decisions, is 4-0 and doing well. It’s truly unreal how the strengths of this team have shifted. They also caught a tremendous break when Ben Sheets was declared out for the year. This leaves just CC as the Brewers pitching, and he can’t pitch every single day.

Expect Chase Utley to thrive on mainly right-handed pitching and make 2007 a distant memory (AP/PennLive.com)

Expect Chase Utley to thrive on mainly right-handed pitching and make 2007's October a distant memory (AP/PennLive.com)

The Brewers have a tremendous offense: Ryan Braun hits for average and power, Price Fielder even with a down year had some pop during the stretch run, and guys like Corey Hart and JJ Hardy are tenacious at the plate and can scorch some pitches too. But even with that offense, it all comes back to pitching. And it all comes back to September. The Phillies have Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge. The Brewers have CC, and uh…Eric Gagne? I’m not saying it’s a shutout that’s going to happen every game, that’s ridiculous. We’ve seen Cole not handle high pressure situations like an ace, but when he doesn’t handle it, he still gives the team a chance to win. Giving up 4 runs over 5 innings is a struggled outing for him, but this Phillies offense can kick this series in the butt at any time. The Phillies also had the better month of September, and as it is in any sport, playing hot going into the post-season is crucial - something the Brewers did not do at all.

Phillies in 4

Bottom line - anything at all can happen. Enjoy October.

FULL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE HERE

NFL Week 4 Picks (and a little Phils!) September 28, 2008

Posted by Aaron in Eagles, Football, NFL, National.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

First of all….WOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations to the 2008 National League East Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies! Back to back division champs. We here at the ADD Show are ecstatic to say the least, and having watched and covered this team since spring training (we were there too), it’s clear that this October should be much different than last year. We’ll have complete 2008 MLB Playoff coverage starting early this week. Congrats Fightins!

And now, a little football…

Season Up To Date:

Dave: 31 -16 (upsets: 3-0)       -

Aaron: 29 - 18 (upsets: 2-1)   2gb

BYE: DETROIT…INDIANAPOLIS…MIAMI…NEW ENGLAND…NY GIANTS…SEATTLE

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

(2-1) ATLANTA FALCONS     @ (2-1) CAROLINA PANTHERS   — 1pm FOX

Aaron: Dave:

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(0-3) CLEVELAND BROWNS     @ (0-3) CINCINNATI BENGALS — 1pm CBS

Aaron: Dave:

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(0-2) HOUSTON TEXANS     @ (1-2) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS — 1pm CBS

Aaron: Dave:

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(3-0) DENVER BRONCOS     @ (0-3) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS — 1pm CBS

Aaron: Dave:

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(more…)

WHEW! Phils Defend Division Dramatically September 27, 2008

Posted by Dave in Philadelphia, Phillies.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far
Jamie Moyer won his 16th game on Saturday, clinching the NL East title (Tom Mihalek/AP).

Jamie Moyer won his 16th game on Saturday, clinching the NL East title for the Phils and apparently lost his dentures in the process (Tom Mihalek/AP).

It’s funny how something as awesome as winning the division can’t get old. Granted it’s only the second straight year the Phils have conquered the NL East, the display was just as incredible as it was last season.

The scene was a bit different than it was 362 days ago when the Phillies won their first playoff berth since 1993. this time Brett Myers was in warmups in the Phillies dugout rather than tossing his glove in the air in jubilation.

Brad Lidge continued his excellency getting his 41st save of the season (we can only hope that somewhere Billy Wagner is sobbing). He did momentarily think about blowing it. He allowed the bases to load with only one out and remarkably threw a ball to Ryan Zimmerman that ended up being a ground ball double play to end the game.

Jamie Moyer got the Phils in excellent position. He allowed six hits in six innings and surrendered only one run. He got one strikeout and allowed one walk. Interestingly enough it was Moyer who started the game last year on Sept. 30, clinching the Phillies first title in 14 years. He allowed only one run during that game as well. Who did he beat? The Nationals. Talk about deja vu.

An interesting play happened in the eigth inning when Jimmy Rollins made a phenomenal catch over his shoulder. But it may have come at a cost. He collided with center fielder Shane Victorino in shallow center. Although Jimmy held onto the ball, Victorino lay in a heap for a couple minutes with his glove over his face in clear frustration. He got up limping, but returned to the game. After the game was over FOX showed a shot of him limping down the tunnel. Hopefully there won’t be any lingering effect for the center fielder who went 3-for-4 this afternoon.

You never want to see players injured in celebration, and the Phillies are no exception. Taking no chances, Chris Coste and Pedro Feliz paraded around the warning track on bicycles that belonged to Philadelphia police officers. Ryan Howard sat shotgun as Jayson Werth drove a cart around the field. Hey, if the Phillies are lazy doing anything, at least it’s celebrating.

It is yet to be seen whether they’ll play the Brewers or the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs. That will be decided tomorrow.

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