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Phillies fail first test against Braves as Cliff Lee strikes out 16 but loses, Flyers swept by Bruins and prove 2010 was a fluke

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  Joe Vallee's TWO MINUTE DRILL

The good people at P2P have decided to give you our 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."

Cliff Lee is the new Cole Hamels- Hamels seems to have passed the “victim of no run support” crown to Lee. The Phillies have scored just one run in Lee’s last two starts.
 
Lee’s performance was classic, and he truly deserved better fate. He was dealing, and needless to say he was in complete command.
 
Truth be told, I was quite peeved as was several people in our section that Lee wasn’t allowed to either tie or break Art Mahaffey’s Phillies record of strikeouts in a game during the eighth inning. I’m not Charlie Manuel, and Lee did have 117 pitches, but would ten more pitches next inning really mattered?...........

Either way, it’s a loss. And the Phillies $120 million dollar man has just as many wins as Vance Worley.

The Phillies’ offense cannot hit junk ballers, or many high quality starters- How this team can get to Aroldis Chapman and his 179 miles per hour fastball but they can’t hit Derek Lowe remains a mystery. Lowe is on the downside of his career, but it doesn’t stop him from giving the Phillies fits. Even when the Phillies threatened in the bottom of the seventh, their fourth, fifth and six hitters all came up small.

The fact that you can’t get a single run home with nobody out by means of a sac fly is unacceptable. You’re not going to be facing John Lannan every night. Championship caliber teams find a way to get at least one run home in that situation. I don’t care what anybody says, this team needs to be shaken up offensively. I just don’t know how it can happen.

Danys Baez is attrocious-  And I will keep saying this until he is out of town. Have you ever seen a pitcher who throws a 95 mph fastball who can’t strikeout batters?  Hopefully, Scott Mathieson can show some promise in his most likely short stay while Roy Oswalt recovers from whatever the issue is with him. Newcomer Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo have also stepped up when called upon. It’s a lot of pressure for these guys at a young age. But as they say, sometimes the best experience is getting thrown into the fire. And could they be half as bad as Baez?

The injury front-  This is getting so crazy to where I don’t even flinch when I hear of the latest Phillie to “drop.”  In this week’s episode, Roy Oswalt and possibly Carlos Ruiz will stop by the disabled list. And oh yeah, Placido Polanco left the game with a toe contusion.

Is this team really that old? Or is what is happening here in regards to injuries just flat-out bizarre? Or both?

Roy Oswalt- I know, I know, I wrote a piece on Oswalt last week about family coming first ahead of baseball. I am not backing off my remarks. However, I am adjusting them.

Reportedly, either Oswalt retweaked his back while home is Mississippi, or he simply is not ready to pitch this weekend. Either way, Oswalt is being placed on the disabled list, but might pitch Friday. What?

It’s one thing if Oswalt is visiting his family to look over the situation, it’s another to do manual labor and you suffer an injury when you are getting paid the salary you are when you also have a responsibility to your employer and your teammates.

With Lee losing Friday, and Kyle Kendrick having to pitch for Oswalt tomorrow, the Phils could be odds-on favorites to lose this series. With all the talk this week about playing competitively against winning teams, this is not a good sign for the Fightins.

And now onto the Flyers:

What a difference a year makes.

I don’t want to say I’m necessarily embarrassed to be a Flyers fan right now, but I’m not exactly proud, either.

It’s going to take quite some time for the orange and black to recover from the egg they layed in this series against the Bruins. Sure, Boston had a heavy ax to grind with the Flyers, but watching that series was flat-out painful.  Now, they can go home knowing they were the NHL’s best team for 75% of the season and have absolutely nothing to show for it. As a whole, the Flyers looked indifferent, unprepared, and at times like they just didn’t give a crap. Watching the Bruins tally up that score Friday night was just insulting, and it was really a microcosm for the entire series.

The Flyers early exit makes me wonder exactly how much of this should be placed on Peter Laviolette? Has the team quit on him already like they did with John Stevens? Then, there was the running joke of “Who is playing goalie tonight?”  Sure, his lack of a number one goalie going into the playoffs was anything but enviable, but the revolving door of netminders over the last few weeks most likely didn’t help team morale, either.  

Sure, losing Chris Pronger for the period of time that you did furthermore shows what an anchor he is on the defense. But either way, it’s safe to say now that overall, this team is not as talented as we or the organization was led to believe. They milked everything they could from a shootout and a Stanley Cup appearance.  And don’t even go there by telling me this was because Jeff Carter was out. While there won’t be a total overhaul with the team, there is an excellent chance that you’ve seen some of these guys in a Flyers uniform for the last time.

The way things are going right now, I’m not sure the Ed Snider will ever see another Stanley Cup parade during his lifetime.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

 

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