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Friday, April 3, 2009

Phillies Return; Villanova Looks to Win It All

Villanova fans can rest easy. I don’t think they’ll be playing in the championship game Monday night after playing North Carolina in the Final Four on Saturday night. Since I’ve been wrong about much of the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats will probably be hoisting the trophy sometime around 11:30 PM Monday night. Again, I’m a ‘Nova fan, and they’ve made a believer out of me after they beat Duke. The Pittsburgh game was the best of the Tourney, and if they win it all the Scottie Reynolds buzzer-beater will rival the double-play that put the Phillies in the playoffs last year in Philadelphia sports lore (except for ‘Nova haters).

In fact, I think Villanova is the second best team in the Final Four. But with Ty Lawson apparently recovered from his toe injury, the ‘Cats are playing the best team. Villanova’s guards are the strength of their team, but Lawson may single-handedly cancel them out. Despite the people that think Dante Cunningham is bound for the NBA, which I don’t see at all, Villanova doesn’t have anyone to counter Tyler Hansbrough. I’m not saying ‘Nova gets destroyed, but I don’t see them pulling off the upset.

Predicting the Final Four makes a lot more sense than trying to forecast the Phillies 2009 season, though that doesn’t seem to have stopped any of the local sportscasters. Baseball is the truest marathon season out there. It’s absolutely impossible to know what the roster will even look like in mid-August. But what the hell . . .

Once again the offense looks almost unstoppable. I haven’t seen any spring training games, but reports are that Ryan Howard is already in a groove. If he can bring that up to Philadelphia and help this team avoid their traditional slow start, fans might not be biting their nails on the last weekend of the season. Of course the health of Chase Utley and Cole Hamels is even more critical, but amazingly (at least in Utley’s case) it appears their injuries will do nothing more than push back Hamels’ first start a few days.

There are a few things to be concerned about. Jamie Moyer has to show his age at some point, doesn’t he? Chen Ho Park beat out Kyle Kendrick and J.A. Happ for the fifth spot in the pitching rotation, which seems to leave the Phillies’ top pitching prospects in limbo. Considering the team had to be giving Kendrick and Happ every chance in the world to win the fifth spot, this isn’t just a concern for the future.

So, with New York having made some major upgrades in their bullpen, my best guess is that the Phillies will get the Wild Card. But the Mets will eventually choke, which seems to be what they do, leaving the Phils to meet that other team from New York in the World Series.

I’ll predict that when and if it happens. But if any rotation can shut down the Phillies, it’s those damn Yankees.


Anonymous said...

MDefl posting.

Rob, I like your blog and will add it to my favorites. I don't agree with everything you have written but life would be boring if we all agreed on everything. May I suggest something? You may want to add tags (if you are not already) to your postings. In the post itself, you should then italicize or bold the key word a few times that you have tagged. Also, you could include photos with captions bolded (also tagged. Of course, you have to be careful not to violate any trademarks with photos.

This usually results in your blog being closer to the top in search engienes and should drive more traffic to your blog. I really like your style of writing.

Rob said...

Thanks for all the comments; I think the blog just set a record for comments in a day! I don't always respond but appreciate any comments in good taste whether they agree or disagree.

Verizon's television service is not available (to answer one of your other comments) in my area.

I am utilizing tags, thanks. As far as using bold and, I don't know. I try to be professional with my writing, and while we all want the almighty hit count to rise, I didn't want to get too nuts with it. was a good tip.

Anonymous said...

Try photos. Another blog I was involved with saw a 10 fold increase in traffic after making just a few adjustments.