Posted on: January 8, 2009 10:23 am

Catching questions

The Phillies traded one of their catching prospects, Jason Jaramillo, to the Pirates earlier this offseason for Ronny Paulino. It sort of made sense to trade Jaramillo, after all Lou Marson is heralded as the top Catcher prospect and he seems just about ready to make the last step to play in the Majors.

But why Paulino?

 The Phillies has Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste at the position and they have both played well. Ruiz is the starter, mainly because of his ability to handle the pitching staff. Coste, who has been a little better offensively - not least in the clutch, also generally has been at his best when having a couple days off between starts and therefore in a way was the perfect backup to Ruiz. With Marson coming through all seemed well.

Is Paulino merely a trade chip to be used to acquire somebody else at another position?

Is the idea to let Paulino be the new backup instead of Coste and to trade him or Marson? Ruiz, after all is the logical starter come opening day.  Coste is getting older but he has not showed any clear signs of slowing down that much and the question is if Paulino would be that much of an upgrade.

If Marson stays, there´s no sense in keeping him with the Iron pigs, at least not for any extended amount of time, and it´s hard to believe they will have four catchers on the roster.

If nothing happens before spring training this will be an interesting competition for roster spots.
Category: MLB
Tags: Phillies
Posted on: December 30, 2008 11:31 am

Mood swing

Which is more likely?

Oakland beats Tampa Bay who are fighting for a playoff spot, Chicago,also  fighting for a playoff spot, loses to Houston and the Eagles beat Dallas who, incidentally, are fighting for a playoff spot, all on the same day?


The Eagles beat Minnesota and the Giants again and Atlanta, Arizona or Carolina?

Isn´t it funny how a long season can be turned upside down so completely in just a few hours on the last day of regular season, and when the gloom that most of us have felt for so many weeks has kind of  vaporised and disappeared, the mountain that looked insurmountable suddenly appear almost as a smallish hill. It is not of course but by no means are the Eagles out of it. They actually have a real chance here. In fact, counting preseason (which one shouldn´t of course but what the heck!) the Eagles have beaten every NFC playoff team this season  except the Vikings who they didn´t play and they haven´t excactly looked unbeatable during the course of the season.

I was thinking about posting something about the Flyers, that they might become the next championship team in philly (and the first in, like, 25 long weeks or so!), given how well they have been playing and how complete they have been looking as a team and blah blah blah. That will have to wait a while now.

First I will enjoy this playoff run.
Category: NFL
Tags: Eagles
Posted on: December 26, 2008 7:14 pm

Let them break the bank

Why does everyone hate it when the Yankees spend gazillions of dollars to get the players nobody else can afford? It just makes it all the more fun when they miss out on the world series yet again!

Category: MLB
Tags: Yankees
Posted on: December 26, 2008 3:47 pm

The state of the Big 5 (plus one)

Christmas break, a good time to take a look at the state of the College teams I follow, namely the Big 5 and Drexel. What have they achieved so far and what can be expected.

St Joe´s: The loss to Holy Cross seemed a little unnecessary and I thought they would be closer to both Alabama and Creighton. Combine that with the fact that a win over Indiana certainly isn´t as good as it looks and they´ve been rather disappointing. However lately there have been signs of improvement and the next game against Siena could be pivotal for the whole season. The two games after that they should win and early league play doesn´t look too daunting so hopefully they can gain some confidence before they face the bigger guns of the conference. Ahmad Nivins is the key player averaging a double-double and two blocks per game. He´s been shooting 68,3% from the floor so far. They have been relying very heavily on their starting five and hopefully the bench can start contributing as well. A place in the NCAA tournament is possible but they really cannot afford many more losses. A place in the NIT is more probable.

Villanova: Only one loss so far but the schedule hasn´t been too difficult. They have some nice wins against Rhode Island, St Joe´s and La Salle but that tell us they would fare well in the Atlantic 10. Now we want to see if they can compete in the Big East. Before that however they will try to wrap up the Big 5 with a win against Temple on Monday. Casiem Drummond has transferred but he has contributed very little, in part thanks to injuries, and the Wildcats has a deep roster so that is not so worrying. As always life in the Big East is not easy, especially this year but I think they have a good chance of repeating last years place in the sweet sixteen. They certainly aren´t a worse team than last year. Wildcats always seem to be a bit underrated and I think maybe teams like Marquette and Louisville are just a tad overrated.

Penn: The game on Monday at Central Florida will be the first for the team in three weeks! It must feel like they start the season all over again. And maybe that would be a good thing, the Quakers have only one win so far. However they have been playing some decent teams and they don´t have many experienced players so it´s not that big a surprise. Apart from Kevin Egee and Harrison Gaines they´re mostly sophomores and I actually think that come Ivy league play they will be able to compete there. It will be hard to get by Cornell and maybe Harvard but it´s not like they´re out of it. They will not win many before league play however and will have to use the rest of the non-league schedule to gel as a team. The future looks brighter than most think though with promising players like Tyler Bernardini and Zach Rosen.

Drexel: Blowout losses against Georgetown and Memphis. Coach Flint suspended for one game. Only two wins. There hasn´t been many positive signs so far on a Drexel season that started out so well with a win on national tv against the neigbours from across the street. The problem has been the shooting. The Dragons average only 33,1% from the floor and that can´t continue. Looking at league rivals the second worst team is Hofstra at 39,1% with every other team above 40%. Imagine what their record would be if their shooting had been just a bit better in all those close losses they suffered in december. The way it looks there will be no postseason play for Drexel this season but hopefully they will pick things up once league play starts in earnest.

La Salle: A bit of an enigma this team. They´re playing UConn close and they have lots of trouble beating Bucknell. However if they can get some consistency they will be a very good team. They might just land in the NCAA tournament though it will take a phenomenal run in the A10 to get there. Rodney Green and Kimmani Barrett are the best scorers on the team, however they like to spread it out with six players averaging 7 or more points per game. Mississippi state transfer Vernon Goodridge hasn´t been bad but will get even better when he learns to adjust to the Explorers style of play. He is a very good shot blocker, he already has 22 blocks in 10 games.

Temple: What a great win against Tennessee! And with those losses to Buffalo and Miami of Ohio they might need it to get into the NCAA Tournament. Or they could just repeat the A10-tournament win from last year of course. Clearly the goal has to be a place in the Tournament but it won´t be easy to get there and they can´t afford any more losses against supposedly inferior teams. It will be interesting to see how Juan Manuel Fernandez will fit with the team when becoming eligible next game at Villanova. The talk so far has been about Dionte Christmas of course(20,8ppg) but Lavoy Allen is nearly averaging a double-double, Sergio Olmos has been shooting really well and so on. They have a few players who can step up and be gamewinners and that´s a good sign. And they still have the chance of winning the Big 5!
Posted on: December 20, 2008 9:01 pm

Hamels and a bunch of uncertainties

The world champions and their starting rotation. Set in stone? Hardly. Let´s look at what we got.

Cole Hamels: Undoubtedly the ace. Still young. Capable of handling the pressure of being number one it seems.

Jamie Moyer: Just had a really great season. But he is old. Some day he will slow down. Hopefully  there´s one or two good seasons before that happens.

Brett Myers: When he´s good, he is really good. But he must be more consistent. He can´t afford any more spells like the one that made him play triple-A for a while last season. Basically he played well for less than half the season and that can´t continue.

Joe Blanton: Was better than expected since acquired. Has to show that was not a fluke.

Kyle Kendrick: Played really well for most of last season, I thought he was a tad underrated, but the collapse he had towards the end of the regular season that effectively kept him out of the playoff squad is very worrying.

Adam Eaton: Well, what´s left to say about Eaton? He will not be in the rotation the upcoming season.

J.A Happ: He is a nice prospect, but is he a man for the rotation? He has only started five games in the big league so far.

Carlos Carrasco: Exciting prospect with no big league experience. I get the feeling the Phillies want a little more seasoning which could mean he at least starts out in the minors. Is it just the stats that are lying or did he slow down a bit last year?

Chan Ho Park: Interesting acquisition. Starter or reliever? With all the good relievers the phillies have I´d like to think he can compete for a starting spot. At least early on before maybe Carrasco or someone  else is ready.

Being the defending world champions certainly the rotation has more question marks than I would like. Last season worked out of course. But looking at these starters I don´t see a rotation for a championship team. Hopefully I am wrong. I would have been last season!
Category: MLB
Tags: Phillies
Posted on: December 18, 2008 3:32 pm

Winter Classics I want to see.

Panthers - Lightning at Dolphin stadium.
Stars  -  Wild at Cotton Bowl
Kings - Ducks at the Coliseum.

....or more seriously...

Rangers - Islanders at Yankee stadium/The new Mets stadium
Flyers - Devils at Franklin Field
Oilers - Flames at Commonwealth stadium
Maple Leafs - Canadiens is of course a great matchup for a winter classic although I would like it to be played in a stadium with a more wintry feel than Rogers Centre!

Btw, what a terrific idea this game was. Great to see it succeed in this way.
Category: NHL
Posted on: December 15, 2008 9:53 am
Edited on: December 15, 2008 9:54 am

MAC rant

Looking at the standings in the MidAmerican Conference you find that in football this past season there was only one winning team in the east division (Bowling green also was 6-6) whereas over in the west there were three teams with a winning record plus Northern Illinois at 6-6. In Basketball thus far there is no team with a winning record in the west while there are three in the east plus Bowling green who are 4-4. Comparing total wins The West leads the East in football 51-34 while the east has an advantage in basketball 27-16. Bowling green and Temple placed second and third in the East division this football season with a combined record of 11-13 (8-8 in league play) while Western and Central Michigan took second and third in the West at 17-7 (12-4) I´m not certain what it all means but it sure looks a little funny. Maybe they should just rename the divisions the Basketball and Football divisions!

Looking at the scheduling we find that in Basketball teams play their divisional rivals twice and the teams in the other division just once. This is probably why they have the divisions to create some stability in the schedules. However this also means that Eastern teams play a much tougher schedule than Western teams and seeds in the tournament are based on conference records. When the difference is this big they should just do away with the divisions and create more equal schedules!

In football teams in the Eastern division don´t even get to play all the teams in their own division! For example Temple and Bowling green didn´t play each other this year so there was no real tiebreaker for second place in the divison. What if that happened for first place? Who gets to play in the Championship game? As a Temple fan, I appreciate what membership of the MAC has meant to the football program but still, I don´t think this is satisfactory in the long run. Maybe they could do as the Pac-10 and play nine conference games so at least you get to play all teams in your division!

Blah-di, Blah-di
Category: General
Tags: MAC
Posted on: December 13, 2008 3:38 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2008 6:25 pm

Actually, this can turn out real good!

Temple just beat Tennessee. By 16 points!!

So far in December, the Owls have lost the game everyone thought they would win ( Miami of Ohio), won a close game (Penn state) and won big in the game everyone thought they would lose. That´s a topsy-turvy development I can live with! I guess Santa can look forward to some national recognition now after scoring 35 points on a top ten ranked team, but if you look at the statsheet it wasn´t even all him. Olmos scores 19 and Brooks has a double-double. Well done Owls!

And now on to Kansas!
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Owls, Temple
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