Tag Archives: Brett Myers

When being a diehard fan is the wrong plan

Sports, and it’s passionate fans, are normally a beautiful thing. They offer camaraderie, entertainment, something to look forward to as we run around this globe like starving rats, ensuring our next meal/premium cable subscription. But from time to time, sports can rear its ugly head, causing an otherwise innocent fan to commit the most heinous and devastating of sins.

And I am guilty as charged.

Here’s the background. Currently, I pick up some supplementary hours working a few nights a week at a pharmacy in the city. This unfortunate predicament causes me to miss the broadcast of several Phillies games, often leaving me with the shakes on the corner after work, begging bewildered strangers for some loose “Phillies.”

I am a tortured soul.

However, I have found one way to, at least partially, resolve this situation. The radio. Doesn’t hurt that Scott Franzke and Larry Anderson are now the best Phillies announcers going. Good interplay, they get out of the way, and they seem to really care about this team and city.

But I digress.

Anyhow, last night I managed to convince my coworkers to let me put the game on, and kept one ear listening while I went about my pharmaceutical duties. And all was peachy keen until the top of the third inning, when disaster struck.

Bases loaded. Myers pressing. Adam Dunn walking to the plate. Two outs, and though its early in the game, tension is nonetheless high. Meanwhile, a young African-American woman, maybe 19, approached the counter. I noticed her, and walked over to offer my assistance, still keeping my ears on the game.

“Hi, how may I help you?”

“This one is pretty well-struck…”

“Do you guys have Plan B?”

“Ibanez is heading toward the wall…”

“Yeah, we keep it behind the counter.”

“…Ibanez goes back to the warning track…”

“Okay, I’ll buy one, please.”

“…And he makes the catch at the wall, and the Phillies survive without any damage done.”

“Well thank God for that.” Continue reading

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Filed under "Broken News", MLB, Phillies

Sure, the boos were out early…the real story happened late

Gosh, it sure is exciting to have baseball back again, isn’t it? The World Champs start their…

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Whoa, wait, what was that? 17 words into my sentimental piece about having the Phillies back for another year, and I already get booed? Sure, it wasn’t the greatest opening to an article, but damn, cut me a little slack – it’s the first post of the baseball season, for cripes sake. Continue reading

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Though Phillies optimism runs rampant, doubt still lurks in the shadows

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I am inherently fond of polarity. I discover balance by immersing myself in the extremes of any argument or genre, whatever the case may be. The exploration of contradiction in any subject, I find, lends a person an advanced sense of empathy, and facilitates the sort of intellectual antagonism that forges new schools of thought. And I’m fairly certain it explains why I love the Philly sports scene as psychotically as I do.

Because, with optimism at an all-time high for the approaching Phillies season, one question has bullied its way to the forefront of radio shows and newspaper columns.

What should we be worried about? Continue reading

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Everybody say a prayer for Cole Hamels

Oh, boy. I don’t need this nonsense before the season even begins. Apparently, Cole Hamels has a sore left elbow. Crap. Probably nothing serious, but just to be sure, repeat after me.

Dear God,

Please don’t let the elbow of Cole Hamels be seriously injured. C’mon, Big Fella – he’s our star pitcher. I know that You were more than kind to our Phillies last year, especially the pitching staff. You gave Brett Myers a second chance, and You’ve let Jamie Moyer continue to pitch successfully since the day he helped Noah build the ark, and You even blessed Brad Lidge with perfection. We are forever indebted for the parade You gave us last season. We don’t mean to be greedy and ask for another, it’s just that…well, sometimes it seems like the Eagles worship a God of Green, and the Sixers seem to need a bit more than a miracle, and I’ve heard that even You don’t watch hockey much. By the way, when are you going to make Martin Brodeur retire? I mean, he plays on the Devils, for God’s…um, for Pete’s sake. So please, if you could find it in Your divine and giving heart to ensure that his elbow is sore and nothing else, I would really appreciate it. Oh, and, you know, if You get bored or something, maybe have a Saturday afternoon without much to do, could You maybe help a guy to step up and take this fifth-starter spot as well? That would really be great. Thank you for your blessings,

Amen.

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The Pundit hands out some hardware for Philly’s best this year – It’s the first annual Punny Awards!

(Editor’s note: Ah, New Year’s. A time of year for all of the various articles handing out “best-of-the-year” awards to come pouring out. Not to be outdone, The Pundit has joined in the holiday tradition with his first annual “Punny Awards.” One quick note: These awards will not include the current Flyers, Sixers, or any of the college basketball teams. Everything will be from teams that played the majority of their season in 2008. On to the awards!)

Award shows are really where it’s at. I mean, they’re so ridiculous. Famous audience members pretending to not posture for the camera. Cheesy video montages. And, my favorite, the poorly scripted and unenthusiastically delivered introductions to each award by disinterested celebrities who are probably half-tanked. I think that’s how we’ll run the Punnies.

And so, with that in mind, please put your hands together for Samuel L. Jackson, who will be presenting the Punny for Quote of the Year. Continue reading

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The Pundit List presents: Things to be thankful for

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Pundit List, so it seemed like time. I decided to list the things I was thankful for both in the spirit of the holiday and because I’ve been so negative about the Eagles lately. My thanks will be primarily directed toward the sporting world, but I will undoubtably stray from time to time.  Obvious things, such as my family, friends, shelter, food, etc. will be left off of the list because they aren’t as much fun to write about. But they would be at the top. Probably. Anyway, on to the list.

8. The Flyers and Sixers – Eventually, I’ll actually start watching their games. I’m thankful I have something to look forward to once football is done for the year.

7. Emmananuelle Chriqui – You probably know her better as Sloan from Entourage. She might be the sexiest woman on this planet, at least in this humble Pundit’s opinion. If you aren’t familiar with the show, take a look– you won’t want to look away.

6. Beer – I don’t really need to go into depth here, do I? Though I will say, I am extremely thankful for my two favorite watering holes, The Pope (Pub on Passyunk East) and the South Philly Tap Room.

5. The BCS – The system blows, and I would like a playoff, but at least it gives me something to constantly bitch about on the site. The BCS, if for nothing else, is great for material. Think about how much has been written aruging that one team should be ranked higher than another, or about how there should be a playoff, and how it would be formatted. It’s a story-generator, and for that, and that alone, I offer my thanks.

4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Entourage, Generation Kill, John Adams, Weeds – After The Wire ended last year, I needed something to fill the gigantic void that was left in my soul from its wake. (Editor’s note: Oh brother). Any show and/or mini-series listed above either helped, or is currently helping, to fill that void. Rest in peace, The Wire – you were the greatest show ever crafted for television. Hell, I’m thankful I ever tuned in.

3. The Eagles – They are driving me absolutely crazy this year – how could I possibly be thankful for them? Well, much like the BCS, they constantly give me something to talk about. I mean, they tied the Bengals. Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb, and is starting him this week. They blew chances to win close games against the Bears, Redskins, Cowboys and Giants. Honestly, a few clutch plays, and this team could potentially be undeafeted right now. And honestly, that is what makes them so damn frustrating – wasted potential. But success wouldn’t stir conversation, now would it? The Eagles are like the girl in the neighborhood who sleeps around – everyone knows her business, has their own idea of how she should be living, and are constantly gossiping about her. (Editor’s note: So wait…are the Eagles like the town’s bike?) I suppose I’m just thankful for football in general, but as a writer, the Eagles specifically are wonderful for controversy. (Editor’s note: Kind of sad, really).

2. Change – More than everything except for one thing on this list, I am thankful for the possibility, and the hope, of change. It was what made the number one item on this list so very special. I am thankful that “Yes We Can” became “Yes We Did.” I am thankful for the possibility that the Eagles will move in a new direction after this season. I am thankful for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, college football will someday have a playoff. I am thankful that the Sixers brought in Elton Brand, the legitamate big man they haven’t had since Charles Barkley. (Editor’s note: What, no love for Dikembe “Cookie Monster” Mutombo?) I am thankful that, after 25 years of failure, we finally had ourselves a winner. Which brings me to number one:

1. The 2008, World Phucking Champion, Philadelphia Phillies – I mean, what is there to be said that hasn’t already been said? They brought us the parade we had been waiting for so long. They were a team full of players that were easy to embrace. Talented. Team-oriented. Focused. Unflappable. They were led by a manager with the waddle to the mound. The guy who had divine hunches. I offer my thanks to Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, J.C Romero, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins, Chris Coste, Eric Bruntlett, and So Taguchi. On second thought, not So Taguchi. Sorry, pal. I give my thanks to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies – it was one hell of a ride, and I sure hope to take it with you guys again.

I hope everybody a damn good Thanksgiving. Stuff your faces, take a nap while watching a football game, and enjoy seeing your family. But don’t use it as an excuse to be thankful for the things in your life – we should all be doing that everyday. (Editor’s note: I’m thankful for self-righteous advice!). Oh, and Rant: I’m thankful for you too, man. Rant has been the man. Many thanks go out to him. Now…bring on the feasting!

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The Pundit isn’t afraid anymore – talking about the Phillies’ chances

There are moments in life that perhaps on their surface seem innocent enough, but in actuality hold much deeper truths about the nature of things. Now, I don’t want to get into a philosophical conversation about what these things are, or even what they reveal, but I will mention one man who’s actions have started to make me believe in things far beyond the man himself.

That man is Brett Myers.

Brett Myers has been sublime in the strangest of all places – at the plate. He didn’t pitch particularly well yesterday, giving up 5 runs, but his impact went far beyond his arm. Mr. Myers went 3-3 with 3 RBI’s, one a timely two-out single to keep the inning alive. When your starting pitcher, one who had all of 4 hits in the regular season, is the spark that is igniting your offense, something strange is occurring. See, while I don’t want to take anything away from Brett’s achievements, I can’t help but think that he’s channeling something deeper here. I’m almost afraid to say it, but I can’t keep it in any longer. Here goes:

The Phillies are going to win the World Series.

God, that felt good to get out. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Pundit, sir, how could you jinx us? Why would you say something like that? Sure, we can sense something special going on, but good grief, man, don’t put it out there like that – you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

Well, you know what? Fuck that. Most of my life as a Philly fan, I’ve lived with a fake optimism, acting as though I thought my teams would win but never really believing they could do it. I’ve done all of the stupid superstitions, worn the lucky shirts, never tried to jinx the team. Hell, if I was on a bad streak where when I watched the team lost, I would stop watching until they won again. I was committed, and desperate, and mostly I just didn’t think they could do it, so I figured I’d help out as much as possible.

Well, this year, I really believe. I believe that their starting pitching is good enough to keep us in the game, and that the bullpen will seal the deal, and yes, I believe that Brad Lidge will remain perfect. I believe that we’ll continue to play solid defense, and make the smart play. I believe that our big bats will hit, and somebody unexpected will continue to emerge as the hero we need. I believe because the Phillies fans have been absolutely unbelievable, and I don’t think we’ll lose a playoff game at home. This isn’t some hopeful rant of optimism to promote a positive atmosphere that will somehow propel our team to greater heights – I truly think we’re going to win the whole damn thing, and I think it would be sweet to beat the Red Sox to do it.

And I believe because of Brett Myers. Because, in baseball, it doesn’t matter who gets the hit, or makes the play to spur the team on. Myers got into CC Sabathia’s head, and was, along with Shane Victorino, our biggest bat in game two. When he steps up to the plate, it just feels like something is going to happen, which makes me feel as though this team feels as though something is going to happen. Sometimes, the key to success is just believing you will succeed, and focusing on that and that alone. Seems to me as though this team is doing just that.

So I won’t hide my feelings away. I won’t get lost in a bunch of worries about superstition or jinxes or any of that crap. The Phillies are going to win the World Series, and that’s just all there is to it.

(Editor’s note: The Pundit sends his condolences to Charlie Manuel, Shane Victorino and their families for their recent losses. There is much more to life than baseball, and the death of a family member is a painful reminder of this. All of Philadelphia’s thoughts and prayers are with you guys and your families.)

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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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The Week in Review (9/15/08 – 9/21/08)

No-Show/s of the Week

So, he’s been the ace for the second-half of the season. That makes this harder. But Brett Myers, you can’t give up 10 runs in 4 innings of work against the Marlins. I know, the Marlins have been hot, and you were due to get hit hard one of these games, but this is a bit much. Everyone has off days, I am privy to that; but you can’t be this off, especially when every game is so valuable. The offense scored 8 runs, which should almost always be enough to win. Hopefully, Brett will take it for what it was – one bad start – and focus on the next one. I truly believe that, if Brett maintains his dominance, Cole Hamels keeps finding ways to win, and Jamie Moyer continues to be the ageless blessing he’s been all season, this team could legitimately make a run to the Series.

Stud/s of the Week

The entire Eagles defense and Jim Johnson. 9 sacks, a safety and 3 turnovers against the Steelers will get you Stud recognition every week. We’ll just ignore the fact that technically Monday night’s game against the Cowboys falls within the dates I listed in the title; they more than made up for it this week. The front four generated a rush on its own; Big Ben never knew where the blitz was coming from; Dawkins was soaring through the air and causing mayhem; Asante Samuel made a beautiful interception; Willie Parker had 20 rushing yards. 20! And they didn’t allow a touchdown. As dominating a performance, against a good team, as I have seen from this unit in a while. They were solid across the board, and will need to be again next week, as a game against the Bears, potentially without Brian Westbrook, will probably be another defensive struggle.

My All-Encompassing Thought of the Week

This isn’t about Philly, but bears mentioning – last night was the last game ever played at Yankee Stadium. Now, you may not like the Yankees; God knows I don’t. But it is still sad for me to think that a place that fielded the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, and yes, we’ll someday say Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, will no longer be hosting MLB games. Yankee Stadium is our Colosseum, though it wasn’t a place where warriors were beloved for defying death and committing acts of violence. (Editor’s note: That sounds more like a description of the Vet and its fans). No, Yankee Stadium was a place where perhaps otherwise ordinary men captured the imaginations of people everywhere while playing a child’s game. Where Babe Ruth, a man who looked more akin to the chubby guy on the corner playing cards than a great athlete, represented an American love of excess and just having a good time. For every home run, there was a beer, a woman, and a hot dog to go along with it. Yet the measure of his power, especially when compared to his peers, will likely never be duplicated. Babe Ruth often hit more homers in a season than some teams did, and did so without ever missing a good time. A deity amongst mere mortals. Contrast him to Lou Gehrig, who’s work ethic and consistency perfectly mirrored the blue-collar lifestyle of so many Americans. Fittingly, Gehrig was vastly underrated, and remains so, though I believe him to be one of the five greatest hitters ever. Than there was the tragic figure of Mickey Mantle, whose Herculean abilities were only stymied by his constant injuries and habits. Yet, if you ask anybody who ever saw him play to describe the experience, they will remember it with a certain degree of awe and reverence that is rarely reserved for athletes. Certainly, we all admire the athletic prowess of our favorite sports figures, but to hear someone talk of Mantle is to hear them describe something more than simply a ball player; he was Superman, a man lacking weakness on the diamond. And yet, he was also the protagonist in his own tale of Greek mythology, befallen by tragic flaws but an important reminder that even the most spectacular of us is simply human. Joltin’ Joe dated Marilyn Monroe and hit in 56 straight game; Yogi Berra was always a quip away from profundity.

The Yankees, and how they’re received outside of New York, are strangely representative of America itself. Many people don’t like them, but they win more than they lose, and many of the most important accomplishments in baseball history have come from their players. They’re the big spenders, the guys with money, the team that’s got it made. And yet, much as they are despised, they have traditionally set the bar for success in baseball. The best players in baseball want to play for them. Any true fan of a team from another city will tell you that they despise the Yankees; what they won’t mention is how much they respect them, at least their legacy. Farewell to Yankee Stadium; you may now take your place next to all of the greats you hosted, firmly entrenched in both baseball and American history, and perhaps more fittingly, forever etched in our imaginations.

My Painfully Specific Thought of the Week

It doesn’t bother me one bit that the Yankees will miss the playoffs this year.

Moment of the Week

Yesterday was awesome, and frightening, but mostly awesome. The Eagles D looked great, but seeing both Westbrook and McNabb leave the field with potential injuries was horrifying. The Phillies won, but Lidge sure made it more exciting than it needed to be. So, after three games, the Eagles look like, if they stay healthy, one of the NFC’s top teams, and the Phillies, with 6 games left and leads of 1 1/2 in the division and 3 over the Brewers for the wildcard, look as though they’re headed to the postseason (Editor’s note: Somebody knock on some frickin’ wood, for God’s sake!). I mean, the following things happened yesterday: Big Ben was hit so many times by Eagles defenders, he had to leave the game; we beat the pesky Marlins and don’t have to play them again until next year; the Mets’ bullpen blew another game. A beautiful Sunday, and though it most certainly is not always sunny in Philadelphia, it sure as hell is today.

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The Pundit senses a Phillies postseason run – here’s why…

I don’t know about you, but I just have the feeling that the Phillies are headed to the postseason. Normally, I don’t tend toward such blatant optimism, but this team has “the look.” Here are the reasons I think they’ll make the playoffs.

Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins have been smoking hot this September. If Jimmy sets the table, and Howard keeps clearing it, this lineup is soooo dangerous. Ryan Howard has the look of a guy that can carry his team into the postseason, and the look of a guy who is going to finish his season very close to 50 homers and 150 RBI’s

Brett Myers has been absolutely dominant. He is their stopper. It hasn’t been Hamels, though Cole is always capable of shutting the opponent down. But Myers, suddenly, is the ace of this staff, and unless he randomly melts down, should continue to be a force.

The lineup seems to have found a flow. Rollins-Utley-Werth-Howard-Burrell-Victorino-Feliz-Ruiz/Coste-Pitcher. This lineup seems to work for the Phils. I don’t understand how, after a season of tinkering, the Phillies ended up with this particular lineup, but they’ve been winning with it, so why change now?

Brad Lidge. Honestly, need I say more? He has been, consistently, the most valuable of the Phillies over the course of the entire season. Do I worry that he may blow a save late, and suddenly become the ghost of Brad Lidge in Houston, post Pujols? Yeah, a bit, but anytime you watch a man make Chipper Jones swing as silly at a slider as he did tonight, your confidence in the guy increases.

J.C. Romero. Huh? Romero? Remember how clutch he was last year? How he almost always came in and shut down the opposition in September? He’s only pitched 55.1 innings this year, so he should be fairly fresh, and he’s got the stuff to pitch to both righties and lefties. The back end of the Phils bullpen should be rock solid.

The Mets and Brewers. The likelihood of one of these teams choking, if not both, is almost certain. The Mets not only have to have last year in the back of their mind, they’ve also got four against the Cubs. And the Brewers – I don’t think they’ll ever recover from the sweep against the Phillies. That was a statement. (Editor’s note: “Hey Brewers, could you quiet down? Yeah, the grown teams are talking”)

They always believed. All season long, we heard them saying it: “We’re going to hit.” Well, they’re hitting. But the point here isn’t the fact that they believed they would hit – this team has always believed it would win. They didn’t panic; they didn’t start worrying and losing belief in themselves. Their play-it-cool approach is sometimes frustrating, especially to the passion junkies that are Philly fans, but Charlie Manuel has got these guys playing with something that is absolutely priceless in baseball – an unwavering, cool confidence. They’ve done this before; they’ll do it again.

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