Monthly Archives: March 2010

Phillies Phocus: Goliathes Howard and Halladay Hit Their Spring Stride

So Temple and Villanova look like the nerds in the corner of the Big Dance and your bracket is probably busted harder than Dwight Gooden snorting and driving, again.

The NFL owners meetings are heating up on the golf course with a much needed new change to the overtime playoff rules (just playoffs?) while Donovan McNabb is looking better in trade talks than he ever did in the playoffs.

Don’t bite on the trade bluff McNabb’s gonna stay like that rash Homer got during spring break ’96.

And finally you can pick your poison as far as recent sports entertainment: “Dancing with the OchoCinco” or “Gilbert Goes to Jail.”

Not exactly Starz on demand.

Not exactly Major League Baseball.

Enough with the shenanigans already! Let’s get the season underway already.

Never has a Phillies season been so anticipated and never has the off-season drug out so much (yes that’s a high and tight one at you Ron Washington.)

The Phillies(10-7-1) in the Grapefruit League have had back-to-back walk off hits in their last two games and are picking up their stride right on time for Opening Day on April 5 in Washington D.C.

Although the Phillies have basically the same team on paper they look nothing like the boys of 2009.

High Hopes is going to focus on two Phils a day, well that’s the intention, barring McNabb doesn’t get traded or Allen Iverson gambles away his kids then we’ll flatten out a bit like a 2009 Cole Hamels fast ball.

Offensively:
Ryan Howard is having one of his best springs ever. The slugger is standing closer to the plate allowing him to drive off speed pitches on the outside of the plate to left and with a rigorous off season workout schedule, which finally included losing weight, he has more guns than Arenas. He is driving the ball to all fields, including a pair of dingers to left and right field Tuesday in the Phillies 4-3 win against The Rays(13-7) who currently sit atop of the league standings. Howard has better plate cover batting .356 with 3 bombs and eight RBI’s in 16 games so far this spring. He also has five walks, perhaps his first ever sign of patience at the plate just in time for free agency.

With all the TMZish rumors of a Howard/Pujols trade it’s obvious that Ry-Ry has taken it personally as he looks to terrorize the National once again as the most prolific power hitter in baseball since 2005.

Pitching:

Obviously were talking Roy “Boy” Halladay. He’s everything the organization dreamed he would be; unhittable.

With Seattle Mariner and former Phila heart throb Cliff Lee out for at least the first week of the regular season with a strained abdominal, the Halladay/Lee trade is looking better than ever.

Halladay is getting his innings and freak on in this spring. His velocity is better than it has ever been and his control is pinpoint. He has so much movement on his pitches that hitters cannot pick them up. Adam Eaton’s level of bad is the exact oppisite Halladay’s level of good and Eaton was bad.

Real bad in fact he was down right god awful.

Halladay is 1-1 in spring training, mind you these are games just to get players back in the groove for the regular season, with a 2.40 ERA. Halladay has had only one rough three-run inning against the Tigers on March 20, but besides that he has proven that he is the best pitcher in the game. As an added bonus, Halladay’s strikeouts are way up, not up like the UConn girls racking up a 90-36 score against Temple in the tourney, but up like two more K’s/ 9 innings.

Perhaps the best thing Halladay brings to Philadelphia besides an Opening Day starter not named Brett Myers, is a willingness to work with Hamels. Great news for the Phils who need a dynamic one-two punch in the rotation if they want to get back to October greatness.

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Temple Ready to Chew Up Big Red

Before you watch (5) Temple take on (12) Cornell stop by the nearest corner store grab some big red and Before you watch (5) Temple take on (12) Cornell stop by the nearest corner store grab some big red and pop a piece in your mouth.

Chew it for a minute.

It tastes good at first. Full of promise and flavor but the taste doesn’t last long and you spit it out.

That’s about all that Big Red has to offer. And although the chewing and spitting isn’t quite part of Temple Coach Fran Dunphy’s plan it’s something like that.

The under seeded Owls will have much to prove Friday at Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville Florida against a Cornell team that also has a seeding complaint.

Whatever non-prescription drugs the NCAA Tournament Committee is on doesn’t matter at this stage as the Owls who rock the nations’ fourth best scoring defense will look to lock down a Big Red offense that is tops in the nation from behind the arch.

Sorry all your bracket junkies out there. No upset here.

Don’t expect another Villanova/ Robert Morris match up- the Owls will win this one before overtime.

The ivy can only grow so thick and the Owls will add at least one more win to their streak of 10 before their season comes to an end.

This is the first meeting between the two programs and if Temple drop kicks the media driven love story between Dunphy’s and his former assistant now Cornell Head Coach Steve Donahue, it will be the Owls first tourney win since 2001.

A line the now veteran Owls, three straight dances, want to blow faster than Ron Washington off a Louisville Slugger.

The Owls will need to score early against the Ivy League champs, much like they did in the Atlantic 10 tourney outscoring the field 102-69 in the first half of their three games.

The key for Temple; score quick, score early and don’t bench your two best scorers.

Temple doesn’t floss a true center but forwards Lavoy Allen (11.7 ppg., 10.9 rpg., 49 blocks) and Micheal Eric (3.1 rpg.) will bang up seven footer Jeff Foote (12.3 ppg., 8.2 rpg.) down low en route to domination of the boards.

Guard Juan Fernandez (12.4 ppg., 3.7 ppg.) will bring flash backs of Stevie Nash’s bowl cut high short Santa Clara days and defensive blitzkrieger Ryan Brooks (14.3 ppg.)will knock down Cornell’s leading scorer Ryan Wittman (17.5 ppg.) like a Cliff Lee (97 mph) four-seamer to the skull.

Simply put, Temple, will be looking to break out the snare against a bunch of rabid Badgers in round duce after they send the only underachievers at Cornell back to the books.

Prediction:

Temple 63-54

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