Category Archives: From the Nosebleeds

From the Nosebleeds – The Philthy Phillies

As you may or may not know, From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pundit, where anyone with the itch to write their take on the sports scene has their forum. Again, please feel free to email me with any material you may have. I will do some editing, and add my own take from time to time, but the floor will be yours.

By Hoffman

It’s been well documented over the years that in the city of Brotherly Love, “we” (Editor’s note: We really do lump ourselves together with the teams and a whole slew of people we don’t even know, as though “we” are connected through the force, or something along such mystical lines) have been without a world championship among the four major sports. For the time being we will forget about pseudo-championship won by the Philadelphia Soul, the arena football team. (Editor’s note: Who?). I tend to think they won not because of great coaching, solid players, and the execution of a good game plan, but rather raucous shouting of Ron “JAWS” Jaworski and the flowing locks of owner, Bon Jovi. I would like to make something extremely clear: I have a strong dislike for Bon Jovi, and I would appreciate if he would find another town to crap in. (Editor’s note: Clearly, Mr. Hoffman wants Bon Jovi out of this town – dead or alive!)

So, going back to my original thought, that being the lack of winning in Philadelphia, I believe that could very well change in the coming weeks. (Editor’s note: People, knock on any wood you have near you, immediately. If you jinx us Mr. Hoffman, I swear to all that is sacred, I’ll get you. Believe that!). After watching a rather lackluster performance by the Eagles this Sunday, I was warmed by thought of the Phillies hosting Game 1 of the NLCS. Oh, and by the way, I’ll be attending, ignoring the burning $200 hole in my pocket. (Editor’s note: You can’t put a price on love, people).

For about the past few seasons, the Phillies have been on the cusp of greatness, or at least a playoff berth, dragging true Philly fans along until the last day of the season. Last year they ended a 14-year playoff drought, ending the Atlanta Braves division dominance, all while the Mets stumbled to the finish line (HAHA!!!). I believe last year at this time the Phillies were just happy to make the playoffs. It was a huge hurdle to jump. Obviously, we know how last year ended. The Phillies got in the way of a locomotive, in the form of the Colorado Rockies. (Editor’s note: Ok, I don’t know if it was intended, but I instantly thought about those stupid Coors Light commercials, where the train rolls through the hot areas, making everybody cool, which, if the metaphor was intended, was precisely what the Rockies did to us last year). How torrid they were, winning 14 of 15, and 11 in a row to close the season. They then went on to sweep us in 3, the D-Backs in 4, only to get swept themselves in the Fall Classic against the Red Sox. (Editor’s note: They cooled off. The mountains turned blue. Mmmmmm…beer).

For the last couple years the Phillies have been picked to be very competitive within the very competitive NL East (Braves, Marlins, Nationals, The Mess. Wait, sorry, I meant the Mets). The Phillies can hit and have three legitimate MVP candidates in J-Roll, Utley, and Howard. Everyone knows we can hit, though they haven’t as consistently as I, the fans, and even they would like. Conversely, the pitching has always been thought of as average at best. A group of decent pitchers that give up a lot of hits is something I have become way too accustomed to. But as the Phillies seemingly displaced the wild card winning Brewers with some amount of ease, and the most overwhelming part of the four game series was the quality of the Phillies pitching. It was vital, and dare I say, borderline brilliant.

Cole Hamels has been given the title of staff “ace,” which is a term used much to often around the league these days. When I think of what makes an “ace”, I think of a pitcher who is around the Cy Young Award discussion from the beginning of Spring Training to the first pitch in the autumn air. To be completely honest, Cole isn’t quite there yet. He has all the qualities and attributes to have a great career in this league. Being just 24 years old, his future looks extremely bright. But for now lets leave the “ace” talk for those who truly deserve it, i.e. Brandon Webb. (Editor’s note: I tend to disagree here – I think if Cole Hamels had been given more run support, and thereby gotten more wins, his name would have surfaced more in the Cy Young discussion. He was second in the NL in innings pitched with 227.1, was sixth in ERA at 3.09, was sixth in strikeouts with 196, was fourth in strike out to walk ratio with 3.70 K’s per walk, and was fourth in hits per 9 innings with 7.64. He’s an ace). Cole in game 1 was absolutely stunning. It was an amazing performance, by a guy with seemingly sparse big game experience. That start will propel him throughout the playoffs and probably the next several seasons as he continues to mature.

Brett Myers looks like his old self, or rather a new, better self. Throughout his career in Philly, Brett has had all of the talent, passion, and fire to be great pitcher. But it always seemed like something was getting in the way. And then I figured it out. He couldn’t get out of his own way. His emotion seemed to get the best of him more often than not. His first half of the season, he looked very bad. He couldn’t spot his fastball or even throw it with any sort of velocity. His curveball, which made him a dominant closer in the 2007 season, was non-existent. After coming back from the minors (with the good ol’ Iron Pigs”), Myers has been fantastic, making pitches, throwing with authority and fight, and most importantly, keeping those volatile emotions in check. There have been a few battles between him and manager Charlie Manuel in the past several months regarding Charlie pulling Brett out of the game, but his heart is in the right place.

Game 2 with the Brewers was the pivotal game of the series. Myers was pitching against arguably the best pitcher in the second half of the season, if not the league. CC Sabathia has been pitching out of his mind, posting an 11-2 record with a 1.65 ERA, throwing seven complete games and three shutouts since joining the Brew Crew (show him the money!). But coming off of his fourth straight start on 3 days rest, he was noticeably fatigued. The Phillies bats took advantage of that fatigue, getting out to an early lead with Victorino’s grand salami. They were even able to score runs without help from the glove of Rickie Weeks or Mike Cameron (see Game 1 highlights, or lowlights for the Milwaukee More Taste League).

I’ll quickly touch upon Game 3, as it was a fairly disappointing game, one I missed some due to a little bit of camping. From what I heard and saw as far as highlights, it was not a pretty game. All I have to say is that we need Jamie Moyer (Souderton Graduate in 1981) for the playoffs. We really need him to do well. It would be great if he could throw three consecutive no-hitters, like he did in high school. I mean, seriously…that would be sweeeeeeet!

Joe Blanton has been a great addition to this pitching staff. (Editor’s note: Well, I don’t think I’d go that far). While his midseason numbers were less that spectacular, he did have some playoff experience, which he gained during this days in Oakland. If he can be the pitcher he is capable of being, the Phillies can go a long way this postseason.

I’ll be honest; the Dodgers kind of scare me. They are playing really well, as good as anyone in baseball. They have one of the best modern-day postseason pitchers in Derek Lowe, in my opinion the best hitter, especially in the postseason, and worst left fielder I have ever seen, in Manny Ramirez, and one of the best postseason managers of all-time, in Joe Torre. That is quite a scary combination, but one I am looking forward to face this Thursday. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I’ll be at the game, and you probably won’t. (Editor’s note: Jerk). With everything I have mentioned above, I still just have a feeling about this group of players, a feeling that winning is not just a destination, but also a journey, a journey that will hopefully end dancing down Broad Street.

I hope to be a regular or irregular contributor to this publication. I can only hope my writing can quench the large thirst of the Pundit. (Editor’s note: To do that, you’ll probably need to bring over a case of beer next time you’re around, Mr. Hoffman).

Long Live the Pundit of Pattison! (Editor’s note: I swear to God, I didn’t add that myself. Seriously. All his doing).

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Filed under From the Nosebleeds, MLB, Phillies

From the Nosebleeds – Why we all should have known Oregon State would beat USC

From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pattison Pundit. Essentially, anytime one of the Pundit’s buddies, or anyone else decides that they have something they need to get off of their chest about the sports world, this will be their forum. I’ll edit the post and add my own take, but the floor is yours. Feel free to email me anytime with your rants, raves, concerns, critiques and/or analysis. Today we have Jacobs, who saw the Oregon State win against USC coming, and thinks you should have, too. Jacobs, the floor is yours.

So I talked to you earlier this evening about watching the USC game, right?  Your answer, as I expected, was “Oh yeah, that’ll be a good game…or not. Are you kidding me, man?  They’re going to kill Oregon State!  Didn’t you see what Penn State did to them?”

A typical answer, and honestly, most college football enthusiasts wouldn’t have disagreed.  Not me. I just knew. (Editor’s note: Alright Miss Cleo, just relax). I knew that Oregon State had good players.  Not just playmakers that have been drafted in the past, like Chad Johnson and T.J. HoushmaMillyVanilly, but playmakers right now.  Playmakers like junior quarterback Lyle Moevao, who somehow, after getting wrecked by Penn State, has averaged almost 275 passing yards per game, throwing 8 touchdowns. Though, to be fair, he has thrown four picks.  And this is the same single caller who beat USC two years ago. (Editor’s note: Actually, that was Matt Moore. Moevao’s lifetime stats for 2007-08: 174 – 304, 57% completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions. A playmaker? Haven’t really seen him enough to give an accurate assessment, but judge for yourself).

Wait, did I mention they have playmakers now? (Editor’s note: Yes, I believe you suggested it).  Like receiver Sammy Stroughter, who overcame severe depression and mental problems, quitting football for over a year (even though he was considered to be a possible All-American candidate) to come back and play his last eligible year at Oregon State to show people he can still rip it up. And you can’t forget about freshman Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed 37 times for 186 yards and 2 TDs (all 5’5”, 176 lbs. of him). (Editor’s note: Raise your hand if you live outside of Corvallis and had ever heard of the guy). By the way folks, say what you want about the PAC-10, but they have (and know how to produce) kick-ass running backs. (Editor’s note: They have turned out some killer backs. But enough about O.J. Simpson…)

I most definitely won’t forget how Penn State blew Oregon State out of the water, but this is the mother of all rebounds! (Editor’s note: I think that broad Patty I was with last night might disagree).  Against #1 USC, who is supposed to be ready for everything and penciled into the BCS National Championship game after their crushing defeat of Ohio State. Whatever. Oregon State proved that they can still play with the big-timers. But wait! (Editor’s note: Oooh, is there a surprise?) They have beat USC three out of the last five times they’ve played them.

Hmmmmmm…..interesting.  As I said before, Oregon State is a pesky team for USC, kind of like Minnesota has been for Penn State for the past decade. (Editor’s note: Since 2000, Penn State is 2-3 against Minnesota).  They play hard against USC and still have good players and excellent athletes. Did I mention they have playmakers? (Editor’s note: YES!!!)  Regardless, Oregon State executed poorly against and planned poorly for PSU. (Editor’s note: And they traveled across the country and played them in Happy Valley, an environment I’m not sure they were quite used to). However, I think they learned a few things from that severe ass-whooping and moved on to bigger and better things. In other words, they put that loss in the rearview mirror and realized they had bigger fish to fry…but only if they could handle it. (Editor’s note: Two clichés are better than one, people – can you handle that?). In this case, it was #1 ranked Southern Cal.

I applaud the performance, even though the Oregon State coaches backed off and got extremely conservative in the 2nd half.  In fact, the only connection this game had with the Penn State game was that the Oregon State coaches must have taken pointers from Jay Paterno and Galen Hall about being huge pussies at the end of an important game. (Editor’s note: Somebody’s feeling a bit saucy, eh?)

Surely, the conservative and trusted coaching mentality would have been to run the clock out, but you could see that USC adjusted and started gaining momentum in the 2nd half.  Instead of continuing the balanced offensive attack that gouged the USC defense in the 1st half, Oregon State turned almost exclusively to the ground game in the 2nd half.  This was unacceptable to my semi-educated football mind – KEEP PRESSURING THEM! (Editor’s note: Hey, he said it).

I rooted for Oregon State not only because I am sick of USC dominance/&^@% kissing/*$@# sucking (Editor’s note: Wow, even I’m blushing), but because I want to see how many eraser shavings can be accumulated from weekly AP voters’ ballets. Plus, this defeat will only help Penn State to move into the AP top 10 – a place where they belong if they can execute against Illinois in the same way that they executed against an Oregon State team that beat the overwhelmingly favored and top-ranked USC Trojans.

-Jacobs

PS: The most important topic I chose NOT to discuss begs the following question: Honestly, can you be THAT surprised by the outcome of this game after what last year taught (and showed) you?

The Pundit responds: Ok, where to begin. First of all, I have never been a believer that the past performances of one college program against another should help to dictate future ones, unless one program is traditionally powerful while the other is, well, Temple. The Oregon State team that beat the USC team two years ago is not the same team, with the same players, as it is now, and neither is this USC team. That was then, and this is now. Secondly, after watching Oregon State get absolutely dismantled by Penn State, you can’t tell me that anyone with any sort of football brain at all would think that this team wasn’t completely overmatched, on paper, against USC. A USC team that, even if you weren’t penciling them into the BCS title game yet (which I wasn’t, because they seem to have one meltdown a year), seemed pretty dominant after last week. Ohio State may not have had Beanie Wells, but I’m not sure that he could have saved them. Third – Oregon State did not have nationally recognized playmakers, at least before this game. They may have had great players who played out of their minds, but you can’t tell me that Jacquizz Rodgers was on your radar. He may turn out to be the truth, but I sure as hell had never heard of him until last night. Four – if Penn State beats Illinois, that itself should be enough to push them into the top ten. Illinois is a quality opponent, and Penn State has absolutely embarrassed everyone they’ve played so far. And finally, shouldn’t I have expected this upset after the giddy mayhem that was last year’s college football season? Well, truthfully, no, because the entire idea behind an upset is that you aren’t expecting it. If enough people thought that Oregon State could beat USC last night, then it wouldn’t have really be an upset, right? I mean, who in their right mind would have thought that Stanford would have beaten USC last year? You may keep the possibility of an upset in your mind, but that doesn’t mean you actually think it will happen – which, of course, is what makes it so fun and exhilarating when it does.

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Filed under College Football, From the Nosebleeds, Penn State