Numbers unjust for Oswalt, Hamels

Disagreement is a major part of sports. After all, what fun would it be to discuss sports if everyone had the same opinion about everything?

It wouldn’t be fun at all.

But every great one in a while a topic comes up that just can’t be debated — at least it shouldn’t be.

This is one of those cases.

I will state is as unquestioned fact (or something like that) that no team in baseball has two pitchers with losing records that are better than the Phillies’ Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Oswalt took a no-hitter into the seventh today in the Phillies’ 5-1 win over the Dodgers. With the win he improved to an unjustified 10-13. I guess that’s what happens when you’re stuck on the Astros for 2/3 of the season.

If Oswalt is looking for sympathy he certainly wont get any from teammate Hamels, who somehow only has eight wins this year. One of the big question marks entering the season was if Hamels could find his 208 form, or if he would be the same guy who struggled in 2009. Well, Hamels has pitched like the 2008 version, yet is stuck with 2009-like numbers.

Trust me, when teams go against Hamels and Oswalt they are not licking their lips at the chance to face two guys with a combined 18-23 record. It’s quite the opposite.

Baseball is a team game and Oswalt and Hamels will be the first guys to tell you their numbers don’t matter as long as the team gets back to the playoffs.

Yet it wouldn’t seem justified for either pitcher to end the regular season with a losing record. Hopefully the offense can get on enough of a role to not only propel the team into the playoffs, but also reward a pair of pitchers who’s win totals just don’t seem right.



Houston we have a problem

For months Phillies fans trotted a sentence that went something like this: “If we can just stay in the race while our stars are out, this team will catch fire once its healthy.”

The team played well above expectations during injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz … and so on.

Now that the gangs finally all here, things were supposed to really take off. Instead, the team has gone into another funk. The Phillies lost to the Astros 3-2 last night, marking the third straight game it has dropped to the lowly Astros. Making matter worse is that two of those losses have come in games started by Brett Myers and J.A. Happ, two former Phillies.

While fans have been stunned by the way the team has played recently, they really should not be. When players are away from the game as long as Utley and Howard were, they rarely come back tearing the cover off the ball. It takes time to get back into a rhythm and unfortunately time in in short supply when you get to mid August. Utley’s swing isn’t quite back yet, while Howard is in a 2-19 funk since returning. That combination could have the Phillies reeling right now but thankfully for them the Braves have joined them in struggling this past week. Atlanta did the Phillies a huge favor yesterday, blowing a 10-1 lead in a loss to the Rockies. Meanwhile the Phillies remain in a tie with the Giants for the Wild Card lead.

I don’t expect the Phillies recent slump to last too much longer. Howard and Utley will get their timing back and the rest of the lineup will benefit from that. This team is still in great position to make another postseason run and has the arms to go up against anyone once they get into serious October baseball. The key will be riding out this storm.

It would also help if they won today. Getting swept by the Astros in a four-game series just isn’t palatable.



Catching up with Darren Daulton

Earlier this week I got the opportunity to see former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton while attending a baseball tournament down in Bridgeton, New Jersey. As a guest of the Bridgeton Invitation Daulton signed autographs for fans and took the time to speak about various topics includig the current Phillies, the 1993 Phillies and his life after baseball. I had an opportunity to listen to Daulton and put together this report, which can also be read here on nj.com.

BRIDGETON — The Bridgeton Invitational saw one of its biggest crowds in years Monday night.

That’s the type of presence former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Darren Daulton still has.

 Fans flocked to get autographs from a player who was at the heart of the 1993 National League champion team and spent the better part of 14 seasons behind the plate for the Phillies. Daulton, who was put on the Phillies Wall of Fame in Citizens Bank Park on Friday was surprised by all of the fans who came out to see him.

“I looks like you guys have about the same turnout as we did (Friday),” joked Daulton.

For Daulton, who is the second high-profile former Phillies player to visit the Invitational Greg Luzinski was the other Monday was not only his first time at the Invitational, but his first time in Bridgeton.

“Out of all my worldly travels I can’t remember ever coming through Bridgeton,” said Daulton. “It reminds me a lot of the town I grew up in in Kansas. I was joking with some of the guys earlier that I used to be a groundskeeper.”

Daulton was a career .245 hitter with 137 homers and 588 RBIs. His best seasons came in 1992 and 1993 when he hit a combined 51 home runs and drove in 214.

The 1993 Philadelphia squad was know for its crazy cast of characters headlined by Daulton, John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra and Mitch Williams. The team surprised everyone by going from perennial cellar dwellers to National League champions. Daulton said the reason the team was so embraced both in and away from Philadelphia was because of the blend of characters the team possessed.

“I like to say that we covered all the food groups,” said Daulton. “We had big buys, small guys, fat guys, skinny guys, smokers, drinkers, guys that were Jewish and guys that were Catholic and I think that’s why so many people around the country liked the team. You could pick any type of personality and we had someone that personified it.”

Though he spent almost his entire career with the Phillies, it wasn’t until Daulton was traded in 1997 that he finally won a World Series ring. As a member of the Florida Marlins, Daulton ended his career by helping the Fish defeat the Cleveland Indians in seven games.

“I started, obviously, with the Phillies organization and was able to play for 14 years,” said Daulton. “I was very fortunate to get traded down the stretch in ’97 to the Marlins. At that time I thought I was going to go to an American League club to be a DH. Jeff Conine was having a so-so year for the Marlins so they wanted me to come down there offensively for my bat and it just happened to work out. You couldn’t have written a better script.”

Daulton currently resides in Clearwater, Fla., but still keeps a watchful eye on the Phillies and appears periodically on Phillies Postgame Live. He admitted he wasn’t always as tuned in to his former ball club.

“For 10 years from 7-8 p.m. it was ‘Seinfeld,’” said Daulton. “Now when 7:05 comes around I want the remote because I want to watch these guys.”

Daulton, who took part in the Phillies’ Alumni Golf Tournament earlier Monday, said he will be working with Comcast SportsNet through the summer and will be featured on pre- and post-game shows should the Phillies return to the postseason. He raved about the team’s play this season despite all of its obstacles.

“I tried to think back as far as I have been in the game and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team go through what they have gone through this year,” said Daulton. “It’s just amazing. If you would have told me before the season started that they would be at this juncture (of the season) with all of their stars that have been on the DL, I would say there would be no chance that they would be in the playoffs. It’s really remarkable.”



The Werth Dilemma

I’ll say right up front that when Victorino went down with his injury, I groaned. Not just because Shane was hurt, but because, as I immediately texted my kid, “Werth isn’t going anywhere.”

In some ways, Werth is the poster child for this confusing Phillies offense — on paper his stats looks pretty good, but he’s “werthless” when it counts. And Charlie doesn’t have a clue what to do with him.

I’m going to ignore Werth’s pretty stats — the OPS, the doubles, the batting average — because he’s a great hitter when no one is on base. The real issue is that he continues to bat in an RBI position when his bat appears to have ball repellent sprayed on it when there is RISP. (Does anyone in baseball have an uglier strike-out swing than Werth?) If he does hit the ball, it’s a double play or a pop up. I’ve reached the point where when Werth is up to bat with a man on second and two outs, I go to the kitchen for a snack. And why not, I haven’t missed anything but ugly strikeouts and pop ups in a long time.

I wonder when (if) Charlie will ever figure out that Werth is hurting the team when he bats 4th or 5th. I know that others are wondering the same thing, and I saw a couple of comments around the sports sites that suggested Werth bat lead off — since he tends to hit best when no one is on base and maybe the middle of the line up can get him home.

I’d like to add another idea to that. I would bat Werth 8th. There is one thing that he still does better than any other Phillie — he walks. If he’s batting 8th, he might be more willing to take a walk and get to the pitcher’s spot and turn the line up over. Or, if he’s leading off, he’d likely get a hit, and the pitcher can bunt him over (if he doesn’t get picked off — being on the base paths seems to be another issue for Werth lately). It may even take some of the pressure off of him to be an RBI producer.

And when Victorino comes back? I wouldn’t even hesitate — I’d platoon Werth with Brown in right. It’s obvious that we miss Victorino’s glove in center, and Werth is an adventure in the field. Brown has much more upside and a much better arm.

Of course, it’s tough now with all the injuries, particularly to Howard’s and Utley’s power. The team needs to focus on small ball (something I think Greg Gross gets). Werth had his career year. The team can’t afford to continue to wait for him to be the right-handed RBI guy.



9th Inning Woes

It seems like a new sport has popped up in Philadelphia: Lidge bashing. He’s the closer, so that must mean all of the bullpen problems, particularly in the 9th inning, are his fault.

It makes me wonder if people actually watch all the games, or are just intent on playing Lidge Bashing. For example, let’s take last night’s game. Chad Durbin pitches a beautiful 8th inning. But in the 9th, he started to have a little bit of trouble. He was at 40 pitches over the 2 innings. He had two runners in scoring position and he was getting a little wild. Granted, the team had a nice lead and those 2 runners weren’t really bothering anybody. But the point is, Durbin didn’t have a clean 9th inning.

Mitch Williams, who made 9th innings more interesting than almost anyone in my Phillies memory, suggested JC Romero as the closer. Okay, let’s look at Juan Carlos in the 9th recently. Didn’t he just blow a save last week against Arizona?

The more I watch the season unfold, coupled with last season, the more sure I am that Lidge is NOT the problem on the backend of the bullpen. The problem is the 9th inning. It appears that the mentality of the pitching staff changes when the inning counter flips to 9.

Because the problem seems to be universal to the bullpen staff, I am lead to believe the real problem lies in the coaching. Are pitchers not prepared enough to come into the 9th? Is the pen being used properly? Is it time for a change in pitching/bullpen coaches?

It’s easy to Lidge Bash and focus on him as the microcism of the problem. He gives the 9th inning its face — and that perfect season has put ridiculous expectations on him. Not that I’m saying there are mechanical problems at work with Lidge; there may be. But the 9th inning problems lie much deeper than a solitary closer, and I believe the wrong person is being held accountable for the problems.



Howard to have MRI

Through all of the injuries the Phillies have endured this season the one constant in the lineup has been Ryan Howard. That figures to change for at least a few days as Howard recovers from an injured left ankle. The good news is that Howard does not think he will need to go on the DL even though he is currently on crutches.

David Murphy of philly.com is reporting that Howard will have an MRI today.

“I’m not worried that it’s long term,” Howard told NBC10′s John Clark at the airport before visiting team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti. “It’s been 2 days and I’ve been able to put pressure on it and just using the crutches for precautionary measures. Hopefully, maybe it’s like 4, 7 days. Maybe 10 days.”

Howard was hurt when he slid back into second base in the first inning Sunday against the Washington Nationals.

“It’s part of the game,” Howard said. “It’s a little frustrating. Right now the focus is just getting better and see what happens … It feels alright. I can put pressure on it … just need to see how long it takes.”

“There’s pain, there’s swelling. Once we get all the swelling out, we’ll see where it goes from there and what the MRI says and what ligaments are involved.”

If Howard is to go on the DL it will be a giant blow to the team. For all of the guys that have been out of the lineup at times this season – Utley, Polanco, Rollins, Ruiz – the big man has always been there to keep the lineup looking potent. With Howard out of the lineup the Phillies look a whole lot less threatening. The results of the MRI should be known tonight or tomorrow. That news may very well determine if the team can stay in the race.



Oswalt to Philly a done deal

The Roy-to-Roy combo is about to get underway. Various media outlets are reporting that the Phillies and Astros have completed  a deal that will send Roy Oswalt to the Phillies in exchange for J.A. Happ and two prospects.

Bellow is an ESPN.com report:

Roy Oswalt has officially accepted his proposed trade to the Philadelphia Phillies, the right-hander told KRIV-TV in Houston.

A baseball source said after considering his options and speaking with friends familiar with the Phillies’ situation, the Houston Astros‘ staff ace waived his no-trade clause in order to be dealt to Philadelphia.

“It feels pretty good actually to have al of this stuff out of the way and I can concentrate on baseball,” Oswalt said, according to the report.

Oswalt, who said he will pitch for the Phillies on Friday, said he loved his time in Houston but felt it was time to do make a change.

“I love the city of Houston and the Astros fans,” Oswalt said, according to the report. “They have been great to me and the Astros are a great organization. I think it’s time for us to separate and do something different.

“Philly has a great team with a chance to go to the World Series. I wanted this deal to be good for both the Astros and me and I think it is,” he said, according to the report.

The Astros will pay $11 million of the approximately $23 million that the 32-year-old right-hander is guaranteed through 2011, sources said.

Oswalt did not demand that his 2012 mutual option for $16 million be picked up by the Phillies, a baseball source told ESPN.com’s Amy K. Nelson. Instead, if either he or the Phillies chose not to pick it up, his $1 million buyout will increase to $2 million.

If Oswalt or the Phillies decline to exercise the option, then the pitcher will make $18 million next season. But both Oswalt and the Phillies must agree on the option for 2012 for him to stay with the team that season, the source told Nelson.

In return for Oswalt, the Astros would get back left-handed starter J.A. Happ and two prospects, according to sources.

With the Phillies already riding high on a 7-game win streak, this move is certainly a game changer. If the Braves haven’t already started feeling the pressure coming from the Phillies, this move will certainly do it. I’ll take my chances with Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels in a three-game series against anyone.



Oswalt a Phillie by the weekend?

If Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci is right, the Phillies will have the best 1-2 punch in baseball by the weekend.

The veteran baseball writer appeared on the Dan Patrick Show today and said:

“I wouldn’t be shocked to see Oswalt pitching this weekend for Philadelphia,” Verducci said. Verducci said although it’s not Oswalt’s first choice, he wants to go to a contender. Verducci explained there are some money issues, but they should figure them out.

You can read the full article on Dan Patrick’s web page.

It’s hard to take too much stock in what Verducci is saying because it sounds more like a guess than a source of information, but this is something that would bring a smile to Phillies fans – even at the price of depleting the system a little more. With just four days until the trading deadline Oswalt is the hottest name left on the market and the Phillies have been mentioned with him for a couple of weeks now.
It should be fun seeing how this all unfolds.


Oswalt talks hit snag

News spread all around the sports scene today that the Phillies were on the verge of acquiring Houston ace Roy Oswalt, but there has been snag that could prevent the deal from happening.

That snag? About $16 million in 1012.

Bellow is a report from ESPN’s Jason Stark.

Roy Oswalt’s contract demands could be on the verge of blowing up a potential deal that would send the Houston Astros ace to Philadelphia.

Oswalt is asking for the Phillies, or any team that acquires him, to guarantee his $16 million option in 2012 before he would approve a trade, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

And the Phillies, for now at least, are balking at that request. So unless one side or both changes or softens its stance, Oswalt could be staying put, and the Phillies could be forced to take their hunt for pitching elsewhere.

Oswalt, 32, has about $7 million left on his $15 million salary for this year, plus a guaranteed $16 million next season and either a $2 million buyout or that $16 million option for 2012.

The Phillies are believed to be amenable to paying most of the $25 million he’s owed through next year, but have shown no inclination to pick up the option year.

It was unclear Wednesday how close the Phillies and Astros were to agreeing on what players would be exchanged if they could resolve Oswalt’s contract issues. But there were rumblings from multiple baseball sources that pitcher J.A. Happ would be one of the players heading to Houston in any scenario.



ESPN’s Stark speculates Phillies closing in on big move

ESPN’s Jayson start is hinting that a the Phillies could be close to making a big deal for a starting pitcher. Bellow is an exert:


On the pitching front, the Phillies have discussed deals involving a number of starters. They’ve talked about Arizona’s Dan Haren, Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie and Oakland’s Ben Sheets, among others. But there were indications they’ve spent a lot of time in recent days exploring a trade for Astros ace Roy Oswalt.

Oswalt would have to approve any trade, and there were no signs he’d been approached about waiving his no-trade clause or that he’d been told any deal was close. He is also said to prefer to go to a team in the South or Midwest, so there were no guarantees he would approve a deal to Philadelphia.

Many teams have downplayed the possibility Oswalt would get traded at all, because he is owed more than $7 million for the rest of this year and $16 million next year, in addition to either a $16-million option or $2-million buyout for 2012.

However, the Phillies are looking to trade for a starting pitcher they can control beyond this year. And if they were to move Werth’s salary (about $3.5 million for the rest of this year) and the Astros pick up several million dollars of Oswalt’s money, it would even out the dollars for the rest of this season.

You can read the whole story here.
It’s good to know that at the very least Amaro is awake. Whether or not the Phillies have the pieces or the cojones to pull of a big deal will be seen.



Five keys for Phillies to survive injuries

As reported yesterday, the Phillies will be without Chase Utley and Placido Polanco for at least the next 15 days, and in all likelihood a little longer. The timing of the news is not great as the team had broken out of its hitting slump and looked poised to regain the lead in the NL East. Now with these injuries that becomes a lot more difficult. I still think the Phillies can hang right with the Braves and Mets over the next few weeks, but it will take a variety of factors coming together to do so.

Bellow are five keys for the Phillies to stay in the race despite these injuries.

1. Rollins must regain form: When a player is out for as long as Rollins was it is expected that the player will need a few weeks to find his swing. The Phillies can not afford Rollins that time, however. With their No. 2 and No. 3 hitters on the bench, the importance of Rollins setting the table becomes even more important. I’m not saying he needs to hit .350 the next month, but the team will need Rollins to at least maintain his .400 an-base percentage.

2. The Big Man must get on a tear: Over the past four seasons we have seen Ryan Howard get incredibly hot in August and September and at times single handily carry the team to victories. This time Howard can not wait until August. The team needs one of those power surges right now. Howard’s .295 average has caught everyone off guard and he is having a season that should put him back in the top five of the MVP voting. There is no reason to think he can’t catch fire over the next few weeks and lift his team once more.

3. Pitching: If you lose a little offense than the pitching must do its part to keep the opposition off the board. The Phillies staff has been hot and cold this season and needs to get hot again in a hurry. Roy Halladay is the only member of the starting staff that has an ERA under 4.00 and that simply won’t cut it over the next month. This team may need to win a couple of games by 3-2, or 2-1 scores and for that to happen the starters must show more than they have so far this season. Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick have the most room to improve and one may be pushed by a returning J.A. Happ.

4. A surprise candidate must emerge: This could come from anywhere. Maybe somehow Greg Dobbs will remember to hit again? Maybe Ibanez will go on a tear like he did the first half of last year? Maybe one of the team’s backup catchers has the best two weeks of his career? Maybe the Phillies reacquire Cliff Lee and none of this will matter? No matter where it comes from the team will need unexpected productions to keep moving forward in July.

5. The Braves and Mets slump: Most believe that the Braves and Mets have overachieved the last two months. If that is indeed the case it is fair to suggest that a downward swing is coming. The Braves (5-5) and Mets (4-6) may already be in the process of doing so as their last 10 games have not gone well. Consider that the Mets are just 15-22 on the road and have an 11-game West Coast trip coming in the second part of July and its not hard to see them falling off. As for the Braves, the Phillies can help themselves from July 5-7 when they host Atlanta for a big series.

So there you have five ways that the team can keep winning despite the recent injuries. If a few of these factors take place there is no reason that the Phillies can’t be right at the top of the pack when Utley and Polanco return.



Phillies place Utley and Polanco on DL

The mountain to climb to get back to first place in the NL East just got a little tougher for the Philadelphia Phillies.

And it has nothing to do with the schedule.

Just hours after finding out Chase Utley was being put on the DL the team announced that Placido Polanco will be joining him. That’s two All-Stars in one day.

Utley injured his thumb in last night’s loss to the Reds, while Polanco had missed the last three games with elbow soreness.

The news could be worse for Utley as CSN is reporting that he has a sprained collateral ligament in his right thumb. I’m no doctor, but is has the sound of an injury that could linger a lot longer than 15 days.

And all of this happens just after the team finally got a healthy Jimmy Rollins back.

So where will the team go to reinforce itself? Sadly, the moves have paved the way for Greg Dobbs to be called back into action — a week after it looked like we would never see him in a Phillies uniform again. Brian Bocock was also called up to fill in the hole at second.

The injury may also prevent Polanco and Utley from competing in the All-Star game which will be played July 13 in Anaheim, Calif. David Wright has closed Polanco’s lead over the last week from 130,300 votes to 23,000 and the injury may just doom him when it comes to the ballots. Even if he does hang on to the lead, this injury  may keep him from playing.

This is clearly a big blow for a team trying to hunt down the Braves and Mets in a tight NL East race. On Wednesday Phillysportsblogs will give its two cents on whether the team can make it through this stretch without falling to far back.

In the meantime, what do you think?



Welcome back Jimmy Rollins

Through his first 17 innings back with the team Jimmy Rollins hadn’t exactly announced his return. He was hitless in eight at-bats and had made a costly throwing error that helped the Cleveland Indians close in on a victory Wednesday night.

Then with one mighty swing in the bottom of the 9th Rollins reminded the city of Philadelphia just how valuable he is.

Rollins blasted a walk-off two-run home run down the right field line that gave the Phillies an inspiring 7-6 win. Though it is hard to believe, Wednesday was the first time in his career that Rollins hit a home run to an end a game.

Not everything went the Phillies way on this night. Kyle Kendrick was awful, allowing five runs in 4-plus innings, the Phillies made a pair of errors, and Chad Durbin strained his hamstring.

Yet by night’s end it was Rollins who had the final say. The Phils still have a long way to go to get back atop the NL East with both the Braves and Mets surging, but having Rollins back and healthy is a big step towards doing just that.



Phillies designate Greg Dobbs

The return of Jimmy Rollins meant that someone would have to go. As it turns out that someone is Greg Dobbs.

The Phillies designated  Dobbs for assignment, giving them 10 days to either trade, release or place him on waivers. To sum it up: Dobbs’ time in Philadelphia is over.

Bellow is an excerpt from a philly.com story:

Dobbs, who was one of the top pinch-hitters in the National League in 2007 and 2008, was 1-for-25 as a pinch-hitter while hitting .152 with one home run and six RBI overall.

The Phillies have also placed catcher Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list while recalling leftander Mike Zagurski from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

In 2007 and 2008, Dobbs hit .284/.331/.467 (.798 OPS) with 19 home runs and 95 RBI in 598 plate appearances. During the Phillies’ run to their title in 2008, he went 7-for-14 with two runs scored and two walks. But he struggled throughout last season, hitting .247/.296/.383 (.679 OPS) with five home runs in 169 plate appearances, including a 9-for-54 performance as a pinch-hitter.

You can read the full article here:

This is a great move by the management as Dobbs has been dead weight this season. He should be remembered fondly for his contributions over the past few years, but clearly he needed a change of scenery as he has provided nothing this year.



Guess Who’s Bizack

The Phillies….After seeing some much needed pep Thursdays night vs the Yankees.  The Phillies D ignited their O.  A couple of great plays from Jason Werth and Placido Polanco have many around town believing that it sparked the Phils offense.  After several weeks of seeming that the players were just going through the motions on both sides of the diamond, it was good to see some life.  That buzz carried over into tonight where the Phillies trounced the visit Minnesota Twins 9 – 5.  The score doesn’t show how much the Phils were beating on the Twins.  Scott Mathieson let up two runs late just for the Twins to get 5.  Which is another story in itself, the guys has come off two Tommy Johns surgery and still has a chance to throw in the bigs.  Throw is an understatement.  He was hurling at 98 and 99 mph.  On to the real story Joe Blanton.  The kid had a much needed bounce back game from his last two starts where he lasted 4 and 5 innings.  He earned just his second win of the season going 6 innings giving up 7 hits, 3 runs all earned, three walks, one two run shot off Nick, my first Hr of the year, Punto and only striking out one.  After Punto’s two run shot Blanton was relieved of his duties by skipper Charlie Manuel.  Blanton was noticeably upset, but I couldn’t tell if it was with Ruiz for pitch selection, or what.  After being in the dugout for a while, Blanton was still fired up and it took Pitching coach Rich Dubee to calm him down.  The star of the game definitely was Ryan Howard going 4-4 with two Hrs, a triple and a double, falling just a single short of the cycle.  It sucks when you fall a single short. He also scored three runs and had 3 RBI’s Chase Utley wasn’t too bad himself going 2 for 5 with a Hr, 4 RBI’s, and scoring twice.  Many players got off the slump having 11 hits in all.  So was a rematch of the World Series all the Phillies needed to get their offense jump started again.  Only time will tell. But don’t look now this time next week barring any set backs Jimmy Rollins, the catalyst and table setter for the Phils, will be back in the line up doing what Jimmy does best.  You know what it is, he is the spark plug for everything that is the Phils.  Watch out Braves, here comes the Phils……

Oh what is that I see a Sixers spotting.   I would like to Welcome back the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers.  After a brief 8 yeah hiatus, it’s good to see some life in that organization that I hold so near and dear to my heart.  After hitting the lottery and getting the second pick, and then hiring Doug Collins.  (I almost had a mental error and said Doug Mo) Could you imagine?  It appears that Ed Stefanski is the greatest Wizard in all the land.  Pulling a rabbit out of a hat and sending much maligned Sammy Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings.  In return the Sixers received scrappy Andres Nocioni. (See Dan Carcillo, Flyers) and Spencer Hawes.  So with Murphy’s law Dalembert will average 20 and 10 this year, much like Kenny Thomas and John Salmons preformed after they left.  Philly will love Nocioni instantly, he will apitamize every cliche and Philly slogan around.  Personally I think Hawes may be the gem of this deal.  If Doug Collins, who preaches D can get a hold of this kid and teach him how to play D, something Dalembert could never learn, he may be a player.  Hawes is a 7-1 viable low post presence, with a jumper from the outside.  (Which I hate.  Anyone of 6-11 should be down low busting bodies and rebounding.  But what do I know).   I wouldn’t be surprised if Andre Iguadola is gone draft night or shortly there after, having two many guys in the same position and him making too much money he should be on his way out.  Mainly because he ISN’T A MAX CONTRACT PLAYER.  After saying this Thaddeus Young will be traded and I will be upset.  So lastly I would just like to thank my 10, 9, 8, 76ers for giving me some basketball talk back in this town.