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Cliff Lee’s rough night, Manny Ramirez the fraud, and are the 2011 Flyers pulling a 1964 Phillies?

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Joe Vallee's TWO MINUTE DRILL

The good people at P2P have decided to give you our (sometimes) humorous yet accurate (at least we think so) thoughts on some local sports topics in a brief 120 seconds. It really shouldn't take any longer than that to read. And if it does, "I really need to do a better job of putting my readers in a better position to read faster."

Phils drop opener vs. Braves

It just wasn’t Cliff Lee’s night.  He wasn’t hitting his spots, and Shane Victorino’s best Curt Flood impersonation didn’t help either. Who knows how the game would have turned out if those three runs didn’t score. Lee however, who historically doesn’t pitch well at Turner Field, was overall very inconsistent.

On a positive note, the bullpen looked great. Antonio Bastardo could be a very viable asset to this team if he keeps pitching like he did Friday night. Bastardo’s six consecutive strikeouts tied a team record, and is certainly nothing to sneeze at with this Braves lineup.

The Braves were undoubtedly ready to exact some revenge on the Phillies in regards to last year’s divisional battle, which of course the Phillies won.

A 5-2 start is still great, but Atlanta is more of a true test as opposed to bottom feeders like the Astros and Mets. It's huge for the Phils to take the next two in Atlanta.

Manny Ramirez retires as his legacy is tarnished

After the Phillies defeated the Dodgers in the 2008 NLCS, I went on record saying that Manny Ramirez was not only the greatest right handed hitter of our generation, but maybe be the greatest of all-time.

What a joke that turned out to be.

Ramirez announced his retirement from the Tampa Bay Rays Friday after reportedly testing positive for a banned substance. As you know, Ramirez was suspended 50 games in 2009 for testing positive for a female fertility drugs.

This latest incident regarding Ramirez most likely put the final nail in the coffin for his banishment from the Hall of Fame. The .312 lifetime average is fradulent, along with his 555 career home runs and 2,500 plus hits. Why make the same mistake twice?

The Flyers epic collapse continues

What in the world has happened to the Philadelphia Flyers?  All season long, the team never dropped below the top two spots in every NHL Power Ranking poll on the internet. The long awaited parade down Broad Street  looked more like a possibility as the months went on.

My how things have changed. The Flyers have lost five consecutive games, lost the Eastern Conference to the Washington Capitals, and are in danger of losing their division to the Penguins, who have not had two of their superstars for most of the season. Evgeni Malkin is reportedly going to be ready for training camp, and there is still no timetable on Sidney Crosby’s return.

Are the Flyers just bored and waiting to return to the playoffs? Is the reported tension in the locker room shifting to the ice? How bad does the team really miss Chris Pronger? Whether the explanation is here or not, this collapse is one of epic proportions. The last team (although it’s a different sport) I can recall who faded this badly down the stretch in sports was the 2006 Cardinals, who promptly won the World Series, so what do I know?  

It’s bad enough that the orange and blacked coughed up the best record in the Eastern Conference, but losing the division to a team without its two superstars is like losing a fist fight to a guy with one arm. Unacceptable.

Is this 1964 all over again?

The playoffs start next week.   

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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