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Monday, November 2, 2009

The 4-4 Jets Need the Bye Week Now

I wonder why there is so much fuss about a team that has reached the halfway point in the season and has gone four and four. It must be a New York state of mind. Perhaps I've been away from the Big Apple too long to remember that all New York sports fans want to and expect their team to win every game no matter what. That's what makes them New Yorkers.

There are many fans out there before the beginning of the season who would have been very satisfied with a .500 record before the bye week. The fact that the team started 3-0 including a huge win against the New England Patriots raised their expectations through the roof.

Well the Jets have backed down to earth despite the fact that they totally out played the Dolphins on both sides of the ball in their 30-25 defeat. Somebody, however must have forgot to tell them that Special Teams also need to be on the same page.

This is what Special Teams Coordinator Mike Westhoff said, " this was the absolute worst performance by any of his units in his 27 NFL seasons." Ouch!

When a return artist like Ted Ginn Jr returns one for 100 yards and a score that's a pretty good deal. When he does a second one for 101 yards in the same quarter that's certainly great for him and the Dolphins, but an unimaginable for Jets Special Teams Unit.

This was the first time in my memory that this achievement has been accomplished during my football watching days.

Now Head Coach Rex Ryan has beaten himself up and down and behind the barn, he has given his team the next 6 days to get away from football. He expects that the rest is a good thing and his team will come back invigorated and ready to make a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season.

The Jets have Jacksonville, Carolina, Atlanta and Cincinnati at home and New England,
Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis on the road.

A 4-4 record seems to be achievable but Ryan and his Jets expect more. They will need to go at least 6-2 and possibly even 7-1 to get tho this years dance. Based on the first eight games, the odds of the Jets getting to the playoffs this year are slim to none.

Jet's fans will have to demonstrate a little more patience with their patient. He is right now in stable condition with a pretty good chance for a full recovery. How long until fully recovered remains to be seen. Consider this however, they are not on life support and in many areas showing marked improvement every week.

That's OK by me.

Phillies Down, But Not Out

Charlie Manuel says he's team is resilient. He points out the fact that the team has lost 22 games this season where they led after the 7th inning. That sounds like the 2008 New York Mets to me. But in this case it was the Phillies this year and not the Mets last year who ultimately wound up winning the World Series. (ouch)

I too am quite confident that this series is far from over. On the Yankee side all one must do is just look back a short 5 years when they were one game from eliminating their most hated rival,the Boston Red Sox and unless you've been hiding in a time capsule you know what happened there.

For the Yanks to close this puppy out they are going to have to do it on the arms of A.J. Burnett, who like his counterpart C.C. Sabathia, will be pitching on three days rest. If he doesn't get past Cliff Lee they will have to use Andy Pettitte once again on three days rest and if it goes to a seventh game it will be CC once more time on the short rest period.

Personally I can't see this as a formula for success therefore my unwillingness to count the Phillies out just yet.

With Cliff Lee on the mound tonight I see the Phillies regaining their swagger that has been missing in these first two games at Citizens Bank Park. Charlie Manuel has made a couple of questionable calls in this series going back to not starting Cole Hamels in Game Two in Yankee Stadium. In my opinion last night's was a doozy.

I have always been taught as a coach and listening to countless hours of Baseball Tonight, that in a tied game at home you never bring in your closer to pitch the top of the ninth inning. You save that guy for extra innings. I have seen it done too many times this year and the home team gets beat in extra innings because the visiting team is facing a much less tougher opponent.

It was also Lidge's first appearance in more than a week and after two straight very quick outs he lost control. Three runs later and another blown appearance, Lidge is anxious to get this series back to New York for an opportunity to face these guys again.

I think he will and I would like nothing better than to see him close out Game Seven. That's a long way off and the odds of that happening aren't too good especially here in Vegas. However if you want to make that prop bet that the Phillies will come back and win the next three games, I know 60 places that will take your bet and most likely your money.

Prediction: I correctly picked the "Skankees" ( " Now there's objective reporting ") to win Game 4. I stand by it will be the last game they will win. After Game Two I picked the Phillies to sweep the next three. I apologize for being premature with that pick. So now I give it again, the Phillies will sweep the next three games and repeat as World Champions and be the first National League to do that since the Big Red Machine in the mid 70's. By the way tonight's game; Phillies 7 Yanks 2

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Game Four Preview: What is a Fan to DO?

For the first time since they were down 2-0 to the Colorado Rockies in the first round of the 2007 playoffs, the Phillies find themselves in a very uncomfortable position. They are behind for the first time in six previous playoff appearances and instead of having their ace to bring back for a tying series victory, they are forced to start a guy who has given up only 30 home runs during the regular season.

This, and C.C. Sabathia again is what the Phillies have to face to get even in this 2009 World Series. The only saving grace is the Phillies are confident they can handle C.C. here at Citizens Bank Park. They will flashback to the last year's NLDS where Shane Victorino parked a Grand Slam Home Run on Sabathia fastball sending him and the Brewers to the showers and virtually out of the 2008 post season.

In Game One this year, Sabathia was effective going seven innings allowing only the two Home Runs to Chase Utley who by the way has disappeared since then.

Alex Rodriguez finally put a bat on the ball last night with a questionable two run homer. I say questionable only because it had to be reviewed officially being the first time Instant Replay has been used in a World Series. Given the vast number of poor calls during the post season, I'm sure we will be seeing some changes in the Instant Replay process.

Here's my dilemma regarding this series. As a reporter I'm trying to be as objective as I can possibly be by not taking sides and hopefully offering quality insight of a fan who has watching baseball since 1951. If I had to grade myself so far, and I'm a former Teacher and School Principal, I feel I'm qualified to give an unbiased grade. I would give myself an A.

The problem is I've always been an intense and loyal fan first. I have reading my favorite blogs, sports sites and as much of the media outlook as I can and one of the main topics is which team should loyal New York Mets fans root for in this World Series. For those who said I'm not going to root or even watch the Series to you I say forgetitaboutit, you're not baseball fans and I couldn't care less what you think.

There are amazing arguments for both sides. One fan friend of mine says if the Phillies win it will help them generate more income and re-sign their better players and put them in position to be more active in the free agent market which they were after the 2008 World Series. That's from a 15 year old who is as passionate of a Mets fan as I am.

Then there's another fan who says he would rather stick needles in his eyes than see the Yankees win another title and rub it in the faces of Mets fans everywhere validating their superiority once again for bragging rights in the Big Apple.

I'm perplexed, so after hours of thought after last nights game which messed up my nice predictions by the way, I have decided that I'm not rooting for either team to win, but I will delighted to see either team loss on that particular day. In the end I will be so so about the winner of the 2009 World Series and hope I covered it thoroughly but I will be overwhelmed with happiness for the team that loses. Fair enough NICK A?

Prediction: Talk about a must game for the Phillies this is surely the one. I think their over anxiousness is going to hurt them. I still like them in the series but after today’s game they will need to win three straight. Lee, Pedro,and Hamels however will still get it done and for the record how great would it be to see the “Skankees” blow a 3-1 series lead. By the way they did it before. I believe it was 1957 and the opponent was the Milwaukee Braves. Look it up.