Thursday, August 30, 2007

Phils Sweep Mets!

The Mets are just one of those sports teams where, I not only hate the team, I intensely dislike their fanbase. Not all of them, mind you. Just the miscreants who are showing up at Citizens Bank Ballpark to douche-bag it up with their cheesy little chants and synchronized clapping. I beg Mets fans: Please stay in North Jersey or Queens or wherever the little crappy hovel is that you call home. Don't come to Philadelphia to watch sporting events. We just don't want you here.

Today, the Phils completed a sweep of the Mets with an 11 - 10 thriller down at the Cit House by raking former Phil Billy Wagner, who for some reason, always feels compelled to comment on the state of the Phils despite not having played here now for over a year and a half.

With the score 10 - 8 in the 8th inning, Mets manager Willie Randolph reveals his abject desperation to salvage one game in this series and brings in notorious choke artist Billy Wagner into the ballgame to try to close down the Phils. Now, anyone who remembers Wagner when he was a Phillie remembers him for two things:

1.) You cannot bring him into anything but a 9th inning save situation.
2.) Even if you bring him into a 9th inning save situation, he will choke up the lead in a big game that has playoff bearing (remember the 2005 Astros series in Sept? Don't remember? Check here and here).

Anyway, Wagner enters the game and promptly gives up a dinger in the 8th to his archnemesis Pat Burrell to make the score 10 - 9. That was Burrell's 2nd home run of this game and the 4th of the series. I can't imagine any of Burrell's homers have been as sweet to him as the homers he gets off of hated nemesis Billy "The Rat" Wagner. The Phils died after that, so it was then onto the 9th and the Phils bring in Tom Gordon.

Tom Gordon pitches the top of the 9th and did so flawlessly, which was no mean feat itself with the way he's been pitching lately. Then, with Wagner still in the game, he gives up a single to Jayson Werth. Not only did Werth get on base, but he inexplicably was able to steal both 2nd and 3rd base. Pinch hitter Tad Iguchi singled him home to tie the game and he then able to steal 2nd base with Jimmy Rollins at the plate. How the tying run in Jayson Werth was able to get to 3rd is bad enough, but to allow the winning run to get into scoring position was positively amazing to me. Further galling anyone with any knowledge of the Phillies, Wagner then intentionally walks Jimmy Rollins to get to....(wait for it).....Chase Utley? The same Chase Utley who hits lefties at a .359 clip? Really? All-star Chase Utley? Really? I can almost picture Billy Wagner wanting to "bring his heat to announce his presence with authority" Nuke Laloosh style when he was facing Utley. Utley works the count full and promptly singles to right field, scoring Iguchi with the game winner and sending South Philadelphia into total bedlam by completing the sweep of the hated Mets.

Other happenings in this series:

- In Game 1 of this series on Monday, otherwise known as the "Chase Utley Returns" game, Phils win 9 - 2 as Utley goes 3 for 5 and is given a heroe's welcome with "MVP, MVP" chants during the game. His home run in the 5th going the other way was one of the most exciting moments of the year.

- Game 2 was brought home by the Big Man, Ryan Howard, who went 3 for 5 with a 2-run homer en route to a 4 - 2 Phillies win. Pariah Adam Eaton pitched into the 6th inning in this one and didn't hurt the team (hopefully a sign of things to come).

- Game 3 had the weird ending in the top of the 9th with Brett "The Hitman" Myers on the mound and the Mets threatening to at least tie the game. With the Phils barely hanging onto a 3 - 2 lead, Brett Myers struggling mightily, and Met runners at 1st and 3rd, Met Shawn Green hits a dribbler to Jimmy Rollins who tossed to Tad Iguchi for the first out. As Iguchi went to throw to 1st to attempt to get Green out, the runner from 1st, former Phil Marlon Anderson plows into Iguchi and the play is called by the umpire as "baserunner interference" (ala what happened to the Phils against the Padres last week). The result was that Green was declared as out and the ballgame was thankfully over. This was a fortunate turn of events for local members of the media who might have had to ask Myers why he choked again, risking life and limb in the process.

Other Phils/Mets stuff:

-Apparently, there was some trouble in the stands at last night's game as a Mets fan got jacked up. Where's Michael Irvin and the NFL Prime Time team when you need them? (, the best national sports blog on the internet, provided the link. )

-I didn't see this until today, but apparently, a writer from the NY Post thinks the NL East race is over. We might need this guy to keep up writing crap like this, because I think the Mets have lost every game since he wrote it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mr. Softee Weekend Update

This Monday post has been brought to you by Mr. Softee, because the summertime favorite is not only in wide consumption by the overheated denizens of the Delaware Valley because of the blast furnace like temperatures of the past week or so, but it also aptly describes the efforts of the local teams.

The Phillies

Holy Shit is it hot in this pennant race! No time like the present to drop 4 of the first 6 games of a pivotal homestand. Especially since the teams they lost to are contending with the Phillies for a playoff spot

The Dodgers took 2 of 3 from the Phils at CBP last week, including a 15 - 3 laugher that featured 10 runs given up by the softest portion of the bullpen, Jose Mesa and Clay Condrey. The next day, in a BPS, emergency starter Fabio Castro walked 6 in 5 innings of work, which, didn't necessarily lose them the game, but it didn't help. What really didn't help was the soft approach the Phils used by the Phils hitters in this game off of Dodger starter Chad Billingsly, who was made to look much better than I think he really is. For good measure, Tom Gordon faced 4 hitters and gave up 3 runs out of the 'pen, all without recording an out.

After the Dodgers smacked the Phils around, it was the Padres' turn to come into the Cit House and beat the Phils like they stole something. The series did startoff off on the right foot for the Phils, as Carlos Ruiz did the right thing and took out Marcus Giles in an attempt to break up a double-play (By the way, Greg Maddux: Go Fuck Yourself. I know playing on that pussified team that Atlanta trotted out every year made you a HOF pitcher, but just fucking stow it with the whole difference between a dirty play and a hard play. Like you'd know the difference as a pitcher! If those Atlanta teams tried either a dirty or a hard approach, they would have had more than just the one Championship. Does that liner that Morandini hit off your foot in '93 still hurt?). Unfortunately, the umpires didn't see it as the right thing, and they called out Ruiz and the hard slide unfortunately fired up the Padres as they whipped up on the Phils in a particular disturbing manner by a score of 14 - 3.

Worse than that, it brought out the best in league malcontent Milton Bradley, who postured and vogued his way to a 2 homer, 6 RBI game. Bradley even went on to hit another homer off of Tom Gordon to spur the 4 - 3 comeback win for the Padres. Normally, that kind of performance would get a player brushed back off of the plate or even hit (Memo to Phils pitchers: Utley has been out for a month and STILL fucking leads the league in HBP. STILL!). The Phils pitchers? Not so much. I think Bradley got brushed back by Lohse (I think), but that's about it. Fortunately, the Phils did have a manhood saving game yesterday, beating the Padres 14 - 2. These shenanigans leave them 6 games behind the Mets in NL East and 3 behind the Padres in the Wild Card. Just in time for football season....

The Eagles

Hoo-boy, is it hot out here! My electric bill is taking a beating from all of the hours that my central air conditioner is running. Know what else took a beating? The Eagles first team defense when they played against the Steelers last Friday, that's who. The final score (Eagles lost 27 - 13) and the second half matter only to those guys struggling for jobs. What matters to Eagle fans the most is a question of how the first team guys looked. Well, on defense, where the starters played most, if not all, of the first half, the following numbers tell the tale:

Steelers Time of Possession: 17:03 (out of 30 minutes)
Drives over 70 yards: 2
3rd Down Efficiency: 4/7

Those numbers tell me that the Eagles defense was softer than than anything you can get at the Boardwalk ice cream shop. It was obvious watching the defense that they didn't do a good job of getting off of blocks. They seemed to get pushed around, giving credence to what happened on the first drive of the Baltimore pre-season game when Baltimore took the ball the length of the field for a touchdown on the opening drive.

Sure, I understand it's preseason. I absolutely understand that these games don't count. But there were just too many bad things going on with the first team units that look to be a continuation of bad trends from last year that have not yet been addressed and don't look to get addressed.

The first team offense shouldn't be excluded from this conversation, either. They only converted 1 of 7 3rd downs and generally looked like they were just hoping not to get hurt or anything.

Some highlights:

- Kevin Kolb hung up good numbers (26/37 for 242 yds) and has looked better and better each week he has played, which is what you look for from him in these games. He also threw his first TD pass, a 4 yd pass to Lee Vickers.

- Tony Hunt had 7 carries for 36 yards and ran with authority when given the opportunity.

Fortunately, the Eagles don't have to wait long to play again and to try to get this effort out of the way. They play the Jets this Thursday at the Linc.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jeremiah Trotter and Dr. Cicotti

The news that came out today and tonite was very fitting of the unrelenting, miserable, shitty rain that has fallen down in waves over the Delaware Valley today. As I haven't written in a week, there is a lot to discuss.......

The Eagles

Fortunately, after last Monday's preseason debacle against Baltimore, the Eagles redeemed themselves with a 27 - 10 win against the Carolina Panthers. The game was never that close. As bad as they looked against the Ravens, they looked that good against Carolina. I'm not one to cut apart preseason games, but I do have a couple of observations:

- The number one story in this game concerned how Donovan McNabb would look on the field. Would he be able to move in the pocket? Would he be strong in the pocket? How bad would the rust be? The answers, in order: Yes, Definitely, Not so bad. Donovan will be fine this year as long as he remains upright.

- Paging "The Running Game". Paging "The Running Game". If anyone has seen "The Running Game", please call Andy Reid and that guy who used to coach Detroit who now calls our plays.

- Brent Celek and Rashad Barksdale continue to put in good showings and prove that they belong on this team. Celek had 4 catches for 45 yards and Barksdale had an interception. As a matter of fact, if I'm Joselio Hanson, I would seriously consider not getting a long term lease. Think "week to week".....

But the BIG STORY today was that the Eagles cut MLB Jeremiah Trotter. I am still in a little bit of shock over this story. My initial reaction was utter shock. I wouldn't have been more shocked if you told me that devout mormon Andy Reid was caught in a hotel room with a bottle of scotch, an 8-ball of coke, and a naked Lindsay Lohan (some fans would even rationalize it for Reid...."fucking guy should blow off steam at some point"). Even with Trott coming off what has been described as a sub-par year, all signs pointed to improvement. Trotter dropped weight and was described by camp onlookers as "flying around the field". The LBs around him were going to be improved with Takeo Spikes and Chris Gocong (who couldn't be any worse than Dhani Jones), taking pressure off of Trott to make all the plays.

Everyone knows the organization loves Omar Gaither, who was openly described last year as a potential successor to Jeremiah Trotter. I guess this means the future is now with Gaither.

Whether this was the right move or not remains to be seen. A lot of moves made by Eagle front office since the Lurie regime was put into place had been initially panned (namely, Bobby Taylor, Troy Vincent, Duce Staley, Hugh Douglas) only to work out later on. On the other hand, this is also the organization that gave us Doug Pederson, Torrance Small, James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, Mark Simoneau, Freddie Mitchell and Jerome McDougle. Maybe this will be more of the same, maybe not. If it doesn't work out, you can be sure Lurie and Reid will hear about it. One source of concern: Gaither is about 25 pounds lighter than Trotter (listed at 262 lbs). The last time the Eagles tried to replace Trotter, they used Mark Simoneau, a smallish LB, who eventually wore down to the point of ineffectiveness. If this does occur, look for the bigger rookie LB Stewart Bradley (6'3'' 254lbs) to potentially get a look at MLB.

The Phils

Coming off of a 3 - 3 road trip, where they should have been 5 -1 is a little frustrating. They lost two winnable games against the Pirates where they were up in both games by 4 runs, only to relinquish the lead in embarassing fashion both times.

The Phils start a 10-game homestand against teams they are competing against both for the wild card and for the division. The Dodgers are up first and are in for 3 games (I'm going to the Thursday afternoon tilt), then the Padres for 3 games, and the hated douche bags Mets for a 4 game series. The Phils need to come out of this homestand with a minimum of a 6 - 4 record in order to seriously consider themselves playoff worthy. Anything less than that, as these are teams they are in direct competition with for a postseason appearance, and the Phils will be courting another off-season of questions.

Lots of news from Dr. Cicotti today. ESPN posted a great round-up of the Phillies injury situation. As Chase Utley continues to recover, and the Flyin' Hawaiin due back this week, the Phils announced tonite that Cole Hamels might be missing for 3 weeks because of a sore elbow. Four or five weeks without Utley was bad. Hamels missing 4 starts would be devastating, I think. I would think the Phils would be due for some good luck this season (pitching in shambles and losing every player of note to injury at some point) but then again, the baseball gods have tiny, icy cold black hearts as far as the Philadelphia 9 go.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Whatever You Do, Just DON'T PANIC!

Before getting into the Eagles' preseason debacle, I wanted to mention that the Phillies start a 6-game road trip tonite in DC, with 3 games against the Nats and 3 more in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Kyle Lohse goes tonite for the Phils.

Birds Preseason Opener

I don't think this is what Andy Reid and the rest of the Eagle organization had in mind. The Eagles went down to Baltimore and got the crap thumped out of them 29 - 3. Now while this is only preseason and, as I documented yesterday, the Eagles are without several of their regulars. This means they went into their bench way before Baltimore did, but in spite that fact, the game and it's results was still disturbing.

The Eagles defense let up a 12 play, 93 yard drive with most of their first team on the field. Not only did they let up the long opening drive (a big bugaboo from last year you might recall), but they got pushed around in doing so. Come to think of it, not only did they get pushed around on defense, but the Baltimore defense blitzed incessantly and kicked the snot out of the Eagles offense. The way that Baltimore dominanted the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball means that the offensive and defensive line coaches should have the rapt attention of their respective units in the film room and during practice.

On the other hand, Baltimore looked like they actually game planned this one (teams don't always game plan for preseason games) and wanted it more than the Eagles (which is odd, because the game doesn't count). Furthermore, the Eagles will have the opportunity to make amends for this loss this Friday, when they take on Carolina. So, if they have a good showing this Friday, I think you can chalk this up to a bad night.

While I am concerned by the loss, I think there were some good things to take from the game:

- Brent Celek looked pretty good at TE.
- Jeremy Bloom makes me think we'll get a punt return TD this year if he can stay on the field.
- Rashad Barksdale didn't look totally out of place to me at CB. I thought he played well.

Other observations:

- I thought Kevin Kolb's play was uneven. He missed a couple of obvious blitzes. I wonder if he has the ability to audible, given his rookie status and this being a preseason game.
- The entire offensive line sucked all game, but where were Max Jean-Gilles and Winston Justice? You read all of these great things about them in the paper, yet they didn't look like much last night.
- Mike Patterson does not have enough credibility with Eagles fans to not show up and make a couple of plays in a preseason game.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Injury Bug Bites Home Teams

If there has been a common theme connecting the two local teams figuring prominently in the Philadelphia sporting consciousness, it is the appearance of the injury bug and the impact it's had (and is having) on the respective teams.

The Eagles

I haven't written much about training camp, mostly because I haven't had time (also don't feel the need to write about the riveting punter competition between the Austrailian rules guy and Dirk Johnson). But if there is one disturbing trend that I've seen emerge from training camp is that almost every Eagle of note is either coming back from an injury from last season or is nursing some sort of injury that keeps them out of practice. The list:

Jon Runyan (back spasms)
Brian Dawkins (achilles tendonitis)
Donovan McNabb (knee)
Brian Westbrook (knee swelling)
LJ Smith (groin problems after sports hernia surgery in the offseason)
Lito Sheppard (strained ab muscle)
Shawn Andrews (sprained ankle)

Every one of the players listed above is either a Pro-Bowl caliber player or a player that plays just below that caliber. This list represents the heart and soul of the entire team. Does this list make anyone else nervous coming into this season?

I am especially nervous about Brian Dawkins. Dawkins' injury, while it is thought to not cost him regular season time, could potentially lead to him tearing or further damaging his achilles tendon. It seems the achilles injury is the new season-killer amongst NFL players. Takeo Spikes tore his achilles a couple of years ago and is just now rounding back into the form he had before he sustained that particular injury. I'm sure Quentin Mikell is a good guy and an adequate backup at Dawkins' safety position, but he's no Brian Dawkins. Dawkins is the leader of the defense and I would argue he's every bit as important to the success of this team as Donovan McNabb. Dawkins' status during the pre-season warrants monitoring.

The other injury that makes me nervous is on the other side of the ball. And no, it's not McNabb, Westbrook, or even LJ Smith, who may well be done for the year with his groin injury which no doubt is related to his sports hernia. It's actually Shawn Andrews. "The Big Kid" has grown (literally and figuratively) into one of the best offensive guards in the NFL. He was on crutches and a walking boot at the end of last week. Any prolonged absence by Andrews could impact the ability of the Eagles to run the ball effectively as they promised they would do more of at the end of last season. The injured ankle is also the same one that Andrews had surgery on in 2004. Again, this injury bears watching.....

The Phillies

Two players who may not be coming back as quickly as hoped are Shane Victorino and team leader and the best 2B in baseball, Chase Utley. Both of these players have endeared themselves to the fans for their hardnosed style of play and their hustle has been missed since they've been injured (witness Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth's misadventures on the basepaths and in the outfield over the course of last weekend).
Victorino was supposed to start a rehab assignment over the weekend, but since he felt tightness in his calf, he did not make that assignment. He is now scheduled to begin his rehab this Tuesday for AA Reading. Hopefully, he makes it back by the weekend...they desperately miss his speed in the outfield and on the basepaths. Victorino's speedy backup, Michael Bourn, will probably not be back anytime soon either, as he sprained his ankle in the same game that Victorino hurt himself in.

It was hoped that Chase Utley could come back by August 23rd when he was originally injured. That looks like a pipe dream at this point. Utley is scheduled to see a hand specialist today and from what I've heard on the radio, might not be back until September. While the team has been able to hang in there in the NL East in Utley's absence, don't believe for a second this team won't need Utley down the stretch.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rantings From The Sleep Deprived

I had a long day and night on Saturday, drinking until late. I woke up Sunday and today feeling like crap and am in sleep deprivation mode. I think this is a good time to get some stuff off my chest:

- Why is Rob Charry allowed to talk about sports on the radio? Is there anyone less entertaining and less informed than Charry in the local Philadelphia market? This is the best we can do here? Really? Come to think of it, is WIP really all that relevant anymore? The morning show is really a one-trick pony sort of show (that trick being the Eagles) and the mid-day show is just OK. Hey Steve Martarano! Steve Fredericks called. He wants his radio schtick back. And then there is the unlistenable Howard Eskin. The only show on 'IP that I feel I must listen to is the Saturday Show with Glenn MacNow and Ray Didinger.

- Why does the Philadelphia Inquirer, supposedly the "paper of record" in Philly, have so few really good sportswriters? There's Tim Panaccio, maybe Jim Salisbury, and who else? Maybe Bob Brookover. Where is today's Sal Pal? Where's Frank Dolson? Bill Lyon? If Stephen A. Smith is considered the star of the Inquirer sports page, then we are in trouble.

- How the fuck does Abraham Nunez swing the bat on Saturday night after watching Derrick Turnbow throw 6 straight balls in the Eighth inning? Abe, that is why you will NEVER start in the big leagues.

- More power to all of those people showing up at Eagles training camp this year, but there was no fucking way you were going to get me to sit around in 90+ degree heat with 20,000 other people in cramped bleachers to watch practice, unless it was the Eagles cheerleaders doing the practicing.

- Gary Sheffield is an arrogant prick. How do I know? I finally saw the "Inside Sports" with the segment about Gary Sheffield, where he accused Joe Torre of treating African-American players differently from the rest of the team. I also saw the Bob Costas show on HBO that had Victor Conte associate Patrick Arnold. I just recently listened to the audio book version of "Game of Shadows". After ingesting all of this information, I've come to the conclusion that Sheffield is either a liar, an idiot, or he lies and thinks we're idiots. Does anyone really believe he had no idea what he was putting into his body when he started working out with Barry Bonds? The quote "Steroids is something you shoot in your butt" will live in internet infamy. Also - it's obvious that Joe Torre simply did not like Gary Sheffield as a person or a player. That doesn't make Joe Torre a racist. It just means he came to the same conclusion that Milwaukee, San Diego, Florida, Atlanta, and Los Angeles already came to in letting go or trading the talented slugger: that Gary Sheffield is an arrogant prick.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Phillies July 2007 By the Numbers

It's been discussed on talk radio, in blogs, and in barrooms everywhere, but "The Big Tease" is fully in progress. That's when, as a fan, you've written the Phillies off, only to have them peel off some wins such that they get back into the race and they FORCE you to pay back attention to them. Usually, this ends up with us, the fans, getting kicked in the balls, wondering when we would ever learn. Yet, you cannot simply shrug your shoulders, say "oh well", and simply move onto football season. This season ain't over yet, the Phils are in the thick of things regardless of how things seem, and August will tell the tale. But for now, let's review July......


The number of wins the Phils scored in the month of July. The Phils managed to win 5 more games than they lost in the month of July en route to a 15 - 10 record. With their success in July, they managed to close the gap in the NL East to being only 3 games behind the Mets and 1 game out of the wild card. They are doing all of this with one the worst pitching staffs in the Majors (24th out of 30, with a 4.72 team ERA) and have now lost their best player, Chase Utley, to a broken hand on a pitched ball for about a month. They ended the month with a flourish, winning 9 of their last 11 games and continue to do get along with their patchwork pitching staff. They also had quite a bit of home cooking, going 8 - 1 at the Cit House.


The ERA for Jamie Moyer during the month of July. The Phils have been asking alot of the 44 year old Moyer because of the injuries to their starters and maybe the old guy is just wearing down. In 4 of his 5 July starts, he gave up no less than 4 earned runs per start; including a staggering 10 earned runs against the Dodgers on July 16th. I don't think we are going to need Moyer to be Cy Young (or even Chris Young for that matter), but he will need to avoid getting pounded as he did in July.


The July batting average of one Patrick B. Burrell III. Burrell seems to have woken up to the point where he raised his BA a full 59 points from .201 to .260 and even chipped in 6 homers and 22 RBI. "Pat the Bat" will need to step up offensively with the injury to Chase Utley if the Phils are to have any hope to stay in playoff contention. If Burrell was just average in May and June instead of completely and hopelessly terrible, the Phils might be in first place right now.


The July batting average of Carlos Ruiz. I like Ruiz. He's a nice player. I think he's been hurt or something. It's obvious the team has no confidence in Rod Barajas at this point as Barajas had a meager 16 ABs in July. Regardless, if this keeps up.....I got a fever.....and the only cure is more Chris Coste behind the plate. I don't think Coste is Johnny Bench reincarnate or anything, but I KNOW he his better than Barajas right now and maybe even better than Ruiz right now.


The combined number of wins for rookie Kyle Kendrick and journeyman J.D. Durbin in July. If the Phils make any noise with respect to the playoffs, they can look back at the contribution of these two young starters in July. They also had a combined 3.32 ERA to go with their 6 July wins. With the acquisition of Kyle Lohse from the Reds, the Phillies will be moving Durbin to the bullpen, but the Phils could slide Durbin right back in there if they need to in an emergency situation. Durbin looks great in stretches, but seems to lose his concentration and go brain dead occasionally. Kendrick has good composure and doesn't get rattled no matter how bad things disintegrate for him during a game.


The number of men on the Phillies that have been accused of beating their wives (Brett Myers and newly acquired Julio Mateo). Can we trade one of our wife beaters for an outfielder on HGH or something? Or how about a functional alcoholic outfielder with power? Just asking....

Other Notable July Events:

- July 15th brought the event many of us had been anticipating for some time: the franchise's 10,000 loss. Actually, there was a good bit of national press about it at the time (check here for the SI article) and some anticipation by the fan base in the run up to the loss (check out this website). But when it occurred on July 15th, with a 10 - 2 thumping by the Cardinals, the fans applauded the current team on the field, as if not holding them accountable for the team's past. It is obvious there are quite a few players on this team that we have really embraced (Howard, Rollins, Utley, Rowand, Victorino, Hamels, etc.) to the point that the pressure is really on GM Pat Gillick to put some players around these guys we like so much and Manager Charlie Manual to put them in a position to win nightly. Most nights, we question whether or not Gillick or Manual have what it takes to get that done. The applause was a vastly underrated gesture by our fans that didn't get much notice, but it came because the current crop of players have earned our respect. It was for a franchise, however, that I'm not sure always deserves our loyalty.

-Outfielders Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn were both injured on the same game on the last day of the month against the Cubs. Both are on the 15 day DL and both should be commended for getting injured while trying to make a play. Victorino was hustling to avoid getting caught on a double play and Michael Bourn was injured running full speed after a foul ball. Bourn, even after badly spraining his ankle (it was obvious from the replays how he hurt himself), stayed in the game and finished the inning. He was ultimately pulled when he got back to the dugout for his turn at bat.

- Ryan Madson sustained the same (or similar) shoulder strain injury that shelved Brett Myers and will be out for the remainder of the regular season. Huge loss considering he was one of their most consistent right handed arms out of the pen. All of the attention was on losing Utley for a month, but looking back, this might be a loss fans ultimately deem more costly in the long run of the season.

High Point of July 2007:

I'd have to say taking 3 of 4 from the San Diego Padres in their home park. The Padres have the best team ERA in baseball and the Phils just flat out raked in that series, outscoring the Padres in four games by a score of 28 - 8. If we could have just bottled some of that....

Low Point of July 2007:

That's easy. The Chase Utley injury on 7/26. It is the injury that may just kill the Phils chances this year if they cannot keep afloat until he returns. One thing I have been impressed by to date is the play of newly acquired Tad Iguchi. He'll just fill-in at 2B until Utley gets back, but he's been so impressive so far (.444 BA in 5 games so far) that the Phils should look into playing him at 3B if he's capable of playing there. It is my understanding that he hasn't played it since he's been in the States, but according to what I heard Jody Mac say on SR 950 the other day, he did play some 3B in Japan.

Chew on this:

I actually kind of think they're screwed. Their pitching is terrible and thin. Utley is out for a month. But they are so close to being playoff eligible, that if they catch a little luck with newly acquired Kyle Lohse, Tad Iguchi, and if Durbin can keep it together in the bullpen, they can take this race into September and beyond.