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.

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