Live Blog: NLCS Game Two

7:43:  Okay, here we are for Game Two, in very unfamiliar territory.  This is the eigth Phillies playoff series in the in the past three years, and this is the first time the Phils have found themselves in an 0-1 hole.  So, it should be really interesting to see how this team, which is so resilient, responds to a deficit.  Let’s not call this a “must-win” because with the pitching staff that the Phils possess, they can certainly come back from 0-2, but I’d rather not have to find out.

7:46:  Tonight’s pitching matchup:  Roy Oswalt versus Jonathan Sanchez.  At first, it seems like a big advantage for the Phils, but it’s not.  Sanchez has been murder against the Phils in his career, and he’s throwing as well as he ever has.  But, still, if I had to pick, I would definitely take “Little Roy” tonight.  He need a big game from the little guy.

7:50:  Lineups have been announced, and there is an interesting change to the Giants lineup, as Uribe has been replaced at shortstop by one of the two way overpriced veterans sitting on the Giants bench, Edgar Renteria.  Renteria, who has a lot of postseason experience, including the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, will hit 8th.  Last night’s hero, Cody Ross, has been upgraded to #6.  But, the Giants change is not quite as big news as the Phillies change.  The Phils are going with the same 8 guys, but Charlie has made the interesting move of flip-flopping Utley and Polanco in the order tonight against the lefty.  Utley will hit 2 and Polanco will hit 3.  A very interesting move, especially since, as Doogan has explained in a couple posts, Polanco’s power has almost completely disappeared since the All-Star Break.  Interesting, and I actually like it because I think people are sometimes too concerned by “traditional” lineups.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a contact-spray hitter hitting 3rd if he gets on base for the big boppers, Howard and Werth.

7:55:  If you’re nervous, like me, and looking for something to get your mind off of the game–we’re still 20 minutes away…ugh–I just put up a quick post on today’s Eagles game.  Spoiler alert:  they looked really good.

8:14:  I know everyone is in love with Jonathan Sanchez and his “stuff,” but I’d like to see him get through a game in The Bank before we exalt him as an elite left-handed pitcher.  I actually expect him to get rattled tonight and struggle.  I also expect Lil’ Roy to come through big.  Oh, in case you were wondering, I’m a very unbiased observer of this game.  But, honestly, the big thing tonight, for the Phils, is putting Sanchez out when he’s on the ropes.  We can’t let him off the hook if he’s on the ropes because I think he really might implode.  Plus, he can get pretty wild, so with this patient team, we could take advantage.

Continue reading “Live Blog: NLCS Game Two”

Live Blog: McNabb’s Return to Philly

Sunday, October 3, 2010

4:11:  The one thing I never thought I’d see, but am not that upset that I’m seeing is about to happen:  Donovan McNabb is going to play at the Linc as a visiting player.  I think this calls for a BSB live blog.

4:14:  So, the fans, apparently, greeted Donovan with an overwhelming chorus of cheers.  Yet another disappoinment to the national media, who was DYING for another story of the stupid Philly fans who boo everything (a huge post on this coming soon…).

4:16:  Joe Buck and Troy Aikman here announcing.  If you told me fifteen years ago that these two (the Cowboys QB and the son of Jack Buck) would be the major national announcers, I would probably say that I would really like one of them and really hate the other.  But, I would say I’d probably hate Aikman and love Buck.  But, no, I actually kind of like the ex-Cowboy quarterback (as an announcer), and I HATE the son of the great Cardinals play-by-play guy.

4:18:  Quick note on Sav Rocca, that I wanted to say before that return, and now it doesn’t look as “prophetic.”  Through the three years of watching him punt now, he always hits boomers (averaging over 50 yards a punt), but they are always line drives, which gives the opponents great chances at returns.  I don’t like him very much.

4:19:  There you go, national media – we booed…

4:21:  After a great punt return, a bad penalty, and a strange scoring drive, the Redskins are – just like that – up 7-0.  What just happened???

4:25:  Honestly, there have certainly been better quarterbacks than Michael Vick, but has there ever been a better athlete to play this sport?  Even now, at 31 years old and going through what he has been through, he still makes everyone else look like they’re running in slow motion.  He doesn’t even look like he’s at full speed and he just flat-out runs by these professional athletes.  It’s like a high school team where that one guy on the field is just a lot faster than everyone else.  It’s awesome to watch.

4:27:  Stuffed again on 3rd and short.  You would think that the change from McNabb to Vick would really help the short-yardage packages this year, but it just hasn’t been the case.  It’s so frustrating.

4:31:  Okay, I didn’t really “openly laugh” watching McNabb miss a WIDE OPEN receiver, but I did chuckle a little bit to myself.  I want the best for the guy, but it’s nice to see him miss receivers for someone else.

4:33:  I think Trent Cole might be the most underrated Eagles player I’ve seen in my lifetime.  The guy is a monster and you never hear anything about him.

4:34:  Well, the Phillies (and their 8 pitchers) finally lost to the Braves, 8-7.  So, this assures that they will not face the Giants unless San Fran loses today and tomorrow and beats the Braves on Tuesday.  It’s pretty unlikely, so that’s good.  And, it also means that we are one Padres win away from a dream scenario as a baseball fan–a three-way tie and back-to-back one-game playoffs.  I’m salivating just thinking about it.

4:36:  Let’s keep talking about the Phillies because it’s now 14-0 Redskins.  This is bad…

4:38:  In the last two minutes, I watched Donovan McNabb throw a touchdown to the tight end in a Redskins uniform, and I saw Pat Burrell pop out to the secondbaseman wearing a Giants uniform…weird.

4:42:  Another nice play by LeSean McCoy.  I thought he was a big question mark coming into the season, but he’s been really good so far.  He’s a VERY important player for the next 5 Eagles seasons, I would say.

4:44:  Vick is a lot faster this year than last.  He couldn’t turn the corner last year like he is doing this year.

4:45:  Another note on McCoy.  I always really liked the nickname “Shady,” but I never thought it would catch on quite to the extent that it has.  I was listening to last week’s game on the radio, and I don’t think Merrill Reese or Mike Quick ever said “LeSean” all game.  They only referred to him as “Shady.”

4:47:  A fourth-and-inches conversion!  Interesting.  I’ve said this a thousand times on the blog–I HATE going for it on fourth down.  I don’t necessarily mind it so much at this point on the field because the field goal is long and the punt doesn’t really help, but I really hate it, in general.

4:48:  I’m really surprised by the lack of production from Brent Celek this year.  Especially considering how good Vick was at using the tight end (Crumpler) in Atlanta, it’s really surprising that Celek has been so absent from this offense.

4:50:  It’s a dangerous game we play when we want our quarterback running around like that all the time.  Hey, at least we have our “future” as a backup…

4:52:  Great, and now the field goal is even longer than it would have been if they hadn’t gone for it the first time on fourth down.  See, it doesn’t pay off.

4:53:  Okay, I guess we have to think a little bit now about what it means that Kevin Kolb is in the game.  McNabb on one side, at the Linc, and now Kolb has three quarters to try and make up a 14-point deficit.  Not to be overdramatic, but we could be looking at one of the definitive moments in the next generation of our football team.

5:02:  Interestingly, the Eagles were one of the worst teams in red zone offense last year.  This year, with Vick, they are #1.  The Redskins, with McNabb are #30.  Just sayin’…

5:06:  Well, they just reported that Vick suffered a rib injury and is questionable to return.  Just when we thought this QB situation couldn’t get any more messed up.  A rib injury means that Vick will be “okay” to play, but not 100% for most of the season.  What does that mean?  Do they play him because he’s physically able to play?  Do they play Kolb because Vick isn’t 100%?  Not good, not good.  I would almost rather he have torn his ACL…almost.

5:10:  The Giants have a 2-0 lead on the Padres in the 4th.  Come on, Pads, it’s just one game away from a dream playoff scenario.  As the Phillies are concerned, a Giants win assures a matchup with Cincinnati on Wednesday.  The Reds have named Edison Volquez as their Game One starter.  Obviously, we’ll have plenty of time to talk about this, but I like the matchup.

5:12:  Kolb’s first play on his first drive “back:”  he drops the snap and then throws the ball into the back of a lineman.  Please tell me this won’t be a circus.

5:15:  Now that Jeremy Shockey has left the NFC East, has DeAngelo Hall become the hardest player in the NFL not to hate?

5:17:  It is interesting to see just how different this offense looks like with the two very different quarterbacks.  It just reaffirms my belief that this team would be at its best if they had a 60% Kolb-40% Vick “quarterback platoon” situation.  Can you imagine trying to gameplan a defense to stop that?

5:21:  Someone I know showed me this ESPN article written in January laying out all the reasons why Marty Mornhinweg is the next great NFL head coach.  It’s interesting, at the very least.

5:35:  A delay of game penalty after a booth review AND a timeout???  How the FFFFFF does that happen?  That’s unbelievable.  I don’t have the words right now.  Aikman and Buck are trying to let the Eagles off the hook, but I don’t agree.  That absolutely CANNOT happen, and it’s absolutely on the coach and the quarterback.

5:38:  Okay, it’s halftime, and the way it ended was a perfect ribbon to put on a VERY BIZARRE first half of football.  The defense didn’t look that good, but the offense was effective.  The last drive, though it ended with just 3 points, was encouraging.  If I were a gambling man and had access to the worldwide web, I would absolutely put a hefty wager on the Eagles at -3.5 for the second half.  Actually, now that I think about it…be back in a minute.

6:01:  These penalties are killing me!  I’ve said time and time again that this game is won and lost on third down–both offense and defense.  You have to extend drives on offense and you have to get off the field on defense, and these penalties are just killing the defense.

6:02:  I love that McNabb just threw an interception to the “McNabb compensation pick.”

6:05:  The problem with Kolb has been his “happy feet.”  He seems a little bit more aware in the pocket today, but he still doesn’t look poised.  Happy feet are what derailed the careers of more talented guys like David Carr, Ryan Leaf, and Andre Ware, while poise in the pocket has allowed less talented guys like Jeff Garcia, Drew Brees, and…ahem…Donovan McNabb have great careers.  Hopefully, Kolb can find some poise in the pocket.

6:09:  Another great play by Stewart Bradley.  He has the ability to be a superstar in this league, if he can stay healthy.  He might be the most important player on the Eagles defense.

6:10:  Say what you will about the Philadelphia fans (and I know you will), they are so educated.  The crowd just went nuts when they saw McNabb throw one at the feet of Chris Cooley.  A seemingly mundane play was incredibly exciting to this crowd because we recognize that those passes have been the cause of so much frustration over the years.

6:14:  I don’t know about Philly, but here in Baltimore it’s about to rain – and maybe hard.  So, it might be important to get back in this game now and not rely on a passing game to get back in it late in the fourth.

6:21:  It’s a young team.  It’s a young team.  It’s a young team.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that these growing pains are going to happen.  But, it’s so f’ing frustrating sometimes.  If this McCoy fumble is actually a fumble, that’s absolutely gigantic as far as momentum here.

6:26:  All credit is due to the Redskins defense here, which has played a very good game, but the Eagles are just killing themselves here with penalties and stupid plays.  Ugh…

6:27:  Oh, and Mr. McNabb?  He’s been extremely mediocre.

6:29:  Even with a bye week, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman can’t help but talk about the Dallas Cowboys, huh?  They’re great…

6:38:  Okay, down 11 with thirteen minutes left.  This drive could be one of those season-definers.

6:43:  These holding calls might cost me a remote control.

6:47:  A terribly inaccurate deep ball to an open Jackson, a very costly holding penalty, and completely ignoring a wide open Maclin.  Let’s hope that drive wasn’t “season defining.”

6:52:  Buster Posey just hit a solo HR off an absolutely exhausted San Diego bullpen, and it looks like we won’t have any one-game playoffs this year, and the Phils can get set to host the Reds on Wednesday.  The Giants now lead 3-0 in the bottom of the 8th, so the Padres have to get out of this inning and then somehow find 3 runs against Brian Wilson.

6:59:  Will someone please tell these guys that it’s the fourth quarter.  All these dinks and dunks are great (I actually love that offense), but we’re running very short on time right now.

7:08:  Not that I want to disagree with Joe and Troy again (oh, wait), but I think the defense has actually done enough today.  The offense is to blame for this loss.  The defense has played a decent game, all things considered.

7:09:  Then again, they have to get off the field right now…

7:12:  One minute, a whole field and we need a touchdown.  Kevin Kolb, let’s see what you can do, kid.

7:13:  As much as I don’t really like Rocca as a punter, this Bidwell guy for the ‘Skins is atrocious.

7:17:  How big do things like the McCoy fumble, the missed 2-point conversion, and the STUPID delay of game penalty at the end of the first half look right now?

7:19:  Four seconds left and we need a TD, it’s a shame we lost Riley Cooper earlier in the game…oh ya, and some guy named Vick.

7:22:  Jason Avant has a shot, but can’t come up with the catch in the end zone on the last play of the game, and the Eagles lose to a pretty bad McNabb-led Redskins team, 17-12.  It was one of the most frustrating games I’ve seen in a long time.

Okay, now the difficult part of a 16-game season is knowing exactly how to put one game into perspective.  It’s natural to exaggerate the significance of a single game and make knee-jerk reactions.  And, usually these knee-jerk reactions are overstated.  But, then again, there are only 16 games in a season.  Last year, if the Eagles had not lost to the pitiful Raiders, they would have been able to rest all their starters in Week 17, with the division and the bye locked up.  And, how different could the postseason have been if they got a bye and then a home game?  Two years ago, the Eagles tied the Bengals, which looked like it would be the difference between making the playoffs and watching from home.  So, it’s also wrong to just throw out games as not important.  This one could hurt…a lot.  But, right now, they are still tied for the lead in the division.  But, the hard part of the schedule is upcoming, and Kevin Kolb looks shaky.  Obviously, a lot more on this coming up on the blog.  For now…

Let’s go Phils!