No-show(s) of the Week
Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton, come on down! Let’s combine the stats Blanton and Kendrick offered up against the Nationals this week: 8 innings pitched, 14 hits, 10 runs allowed, 6 walks, 3 K’s. And guess what? The Phillies lost both games. To the Nationals. Not cool. The Phillies have been getting quality, quality starts from Cole Hamels, Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer. Hell, call Myers the Second-half Messiah, ‘cuz he resurrected, baby! (Editor’s note: Now hold your horses – that’s just sacrilegious). The Phillies can’t afford such a drop in performance from Kendrick and Blanton; I’m not asking them to suddenly channel Nolan Ryan, but 10 runs allowed in 8 combined innings is a surefire formula for failure 2 out of every 5 games. It puts an incredible amount of strain on the bullpen and a lot of pressure on the offense. You are, as they say, only as strong as your weakest link(s).
Stud of the Week
I don’t care if it was against the Rams, though it certainly helped: Donovan McNabb looked sharp. 21-33 for 361 yards and 3 TD’s. Yeah, that’s a damn good start. He made smart decisions, was accurate when he had guys open, and showed solid pocket presence. That, and he’s my starting fantasy quarterback. I don’t think I need to say much more than that, do I? Oh, and a quick shout-out to the Eagles receiving corps and L.J. Smith – a job well done, gentlemen. Doesn’t mean I’m retracting on my Anquan Boldin stance, because the Rams secondary was, um…well, were they even on the field? (Editor’s note: They were there in spirit, I think). But, a nice job turned in by all. Bring on the Cowbitches.
My All-encompassing Thought of the Week
God, its awesome to have football back. Does any sport cater to a gathering quite like football? Wings, veggies, dip, chips, some brews, a bunch of good people, and good ol’ Eagles football. It’s heaven, just pure bliss. Football has something for everyone, even the most casual fans. Big hits, graceful catches, ridiculous runs, bone-crunching hits. Yup, I love football. (Editor’s note: Understatement much?) I don’t think I’m going to have anything else to say about that, mostly because I’m recovering from a few too many cold ones and a bunch of greasy food. And that’s just the way I like it.
My Painfully Specific Thought of the Week
Yeah, Pat Burrell is AWOL. I didn’t want to No-show him again this week, especially because Kendrick and Blanton were far too detrimental to the Phillies against the Nationals, but the Fightins could really use his production right now. Burrell had an absolutely horrendous August: he hit .181 with an OPS of .618 and 29 K’s, the worst numbers he put up in those categories all year. To his credit, Burrell was huge early in the year, along with Chase Utley. But for the Phillies to really make their push, they’ll need Burrell to wake up. Charlie has been trying to compensate for his lack of production, mostly moving Jayson Werth all over the lineup. If Burrell starts hitting like he was early in the year, and the Phillies keep their bats hot, they’ll swing their way back into the postseason. They may do so anyway, but Burrell is a very important part of this lineup, especially hitting after Howard, When he’s swinging well, teams aren’t as likely to pitch around Ryan Howard. But if he can’t get it going again, Howard will see less pitches to drive, and the juggling lineup routine will continue.
Moment of the Week
The Red Bull Soapbox Race was an absolute blast. The fact that it was pouring all day actually made the event even more fun, in no small part because of the hordes of beautiful women walking around in wet t-shirts. It was a sloppy, wet, drunken mess of humanity (Editor’s note: Reminds me of all that was good about college) that booed when the racers didn’t crash at the end of the course and cheered when they did. The group I was with managed to find the perfect vantage point, perching on top of a small utility garage right behind the finish line. It was certainly better than standing ground level, where you were lucky to see past all of people crowding around the guard rail. That, and truly motivated drinkers requesting showers of beer made for a great downtime activity. While all of the above was classic, the highlight of the day had to be the Michael Jackson Car. The car itself was simple, with Michael Jackson hunched over on a small platform attached to the back of the soapbox. The car rocketed down the course, crossing the finish line without breaking. As the car neared the emergency hay bales, the crowd started hollering, hoping and praying that Michael Jackson was going to go balls-out in his game of chicken with the hay. We were not to be disappointed; the Jackson car rammed into the the bales head first at roughly 30 MPH, as the crowd exploded with excitement. That explosion, however, was not nearly as epic as the soapbox’s, which flipped both itself and its two inhabitants clear of the sizable stack of hay. It was a glorious collage of arms and legs and wheels and hay decorating the rain splotched sky. Michael Jackson probably got a good 8 feet of air as he somersaulted toward the pavement. It was horrifying and spectacular and utterly ballsy and one of the craziest things I have seen in a good while. (Editor’s note: Does anybody else get the impression that the Michael Jackson car was some sort of religious experience for The Pundit?) The entire day was a testament to human ingenuity, enthusiastic, drenched and drunken Philadelphians, and some good old-fashioned soapbox racing fun. Lucy and I termed it the Carcrash Downpour Derby. Thank you Red Bull for a truly fun day – we hope you will come back soon.