Jamie Mottram & Dan Steinberg on the EaglesRedskins Game Tonight

Jamie Mottram & Dan Steinberg on the EaglesRedskins Game Tonight

With the Washington Redskins in town this evening for the Monday Night Football extravaganza, I thought I'd ask D.C.'s two brightest sports minds what they thought about the matchup.  Nope, not Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser.  We'll get plenty of Tony K. tonight.

An in depth look at the game tonight with these two television stars, after the jump.

Dan Steinberg and Jamie Mottram are the stars of Comcast's hit television show Blog Show!  You can watch past episodes here.  Dan and Jamie do their work at The Washington Post's D.C. Sports Bog and Mister Irrelevant, respectively.

Enrico: We Eagles fans are used to looking down towards the bottom of the
standings to see how the Redskins are doing.  Going into the Monday
Night Football game this week, the Birds are 0-1 while the Skins are
1-0.  I don't like it.  How do you feel about being tied for the NFC
East lead after one week of football?

Jamie: You Eagles fans are also used to looking around and seeing
a lot of insufferable assholes wearing green, so, all things
considered, I think you'll be just fine. Anyway, how do I feel about the
Skins being in first? I feel like they opened with a W over a five-win
team at home (in OT no less), but that won't diminish the rippling beer muscles
I'll be throwing around come Monday Night.

Dan: Oh snap! Except
I think the Dolphins had six wins last year. Maybe not.

Enrico: I couldn't agree more.  I really can't stand the Saint Patties day festivities in Philadelphia.

Dan: Anyhow, I'm not
a Redskins fan, despite the fact that I live in D.C., but living here
and interacting with the people with whom I interact, it's impossible
not to believe that the world will end if the Skins don't finish 16-0,
and that God is on their side.

Enrico: Now,
you guys actually have a decent quarterback for the first time in a few
years and Antwaan Randel El put up some huge numbers in week one.  With
Lito Sheppard going down and the weaker Will James stepping in, is that
something you expect the Skins to exploit?

Dan: The
odd thing no one's pointing out about Randle El is that his day went
from "above average" to "huge" because he caught a tipped hail mary at
the end of regulation. Also, that B-Lloyd was invisible, and that
Cooley and Moss didn't do much. This team won't succeed with Randle El
as its offensive weapon. I'm expecting a ton more Cooley this week, but
yeah, sure they'll test James. Wait, who am I, Mort? I have no idea.
I'm just trying to make fun of Eagles fans in the parking lot.

Jamie: JC 17 is the first QB in DC able to really throw the ball downfield
since a certain Super Bowl hero named Mark Rypien. The problem in Week 1,
however, is that Campbell was deadly inaccurate. Plus, 'Tana Moss dropped
two easy downfield passes and Captain Chaos stayed in to help on pass
protection after Jon Jansen went down in a twisted heap of agony early on. So,
yeah, McNabb won't be the only QB with something to prove on Monday Night,
and Sheppard being out will only help.

Enrico: Wow.  Mark Rypien.  I forgot about that guy.  So, big game Monday night
in Philly.  Would either of you two care to make a wager?  I was
thinking I could mail you a Geno's cheesesteak if the Skins win and you
guys could mail me... um?  A foreign diplomat? What are you guys famous
for in DC?  A Ben's Chili Bowl half smoke?  I hear Bill Cosby is a fan.  Seriously though, how bout
a ticket to the Nationals/Phils game this weekend?  Steinz prob gets
them for free anyway, that way if the Eagles win, I won't really have
to deliver.

Jamie: How about a Geno's cheesesteak vs. an Eagles visor (don't ask, but I have
one)?

Enrico: No.

Jamie: How about a cheesesteak vs. me not kicking your ass?  For real, Steinz and I will stomp the yard on that ass!

Enrico: Okay, Jamie's lost his marbles.  I'll end this weak attempt at football
analysis with my pick.  I'm predicting a huge night from McNabb, maybe
3 TD tosses.  Eagles 34 Redskins 13.  How do you like that beatdown?

Jamie: McNabb better have a huge night, or you know what time it is
... it's Kevin Kolb time.  Prediction: Redskins win a close one on the strength of their
running game and defense. Get ready for the grind, Philly. It's gonna be
like Eric Nies up in this bitch! 

Dan: As
the only impartial member of this email thread, I think I'm obviously
closest to the truth. Eagles win but, most importantly, do not cover.
Call it 20-19 or something like that. How 'bout the Eagles score on a
second-half turnover, just to get extra specific.

Enrico: Alright! Many thanks to the DC folk for sharing their thoughts.  Go Birds!

Seth Smith would be a logical, low-cost trade target for Phillies

Seth Smith would be a logical, low-cost trade target for Phillies

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Tuesday night he'd still like another veteran bat in addition to Howie Kendrick, though he understands the front office is conscious of not blocking young prospects.

The Phillies need offense and the clearest area to upgrade is an outfield corner. But don't expect to see the Phils go after Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders or anyone of that ilk, because those players will require multi-year guarantees and everyday playing time. If you sign one of them, you're basically telling two of Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr that they won't be needed much the next three years. 

That would be unwise. The whole point of rebuilding is filling a roster with young, inexpensive talent and then eventually supplementing that core with established players who fit. Look at what the Cubs did. Look at what the Astros are doing now, adding older players like Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Nori Aoki and Josh Reddick to fill in the holes around Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman.

For that reason, a player like Seth Smith would be a worthwhile addition for the Phillies.

Smith, 34, makes $7 million in 2017, the final year of his contract with the Mariners. When Mackanin discusses "professional hitters," Smith is the type. He has one of the better batting eyes in baseball, chasing about eight percent fewer pitches outside the strike zone the last three years than the league average.

He's a career .261/.344/.447 hitter who averages 29 doubles, 16 homers, 56 walks and 102 strikeouts per 162 games.

The left-handed Smith can play both outfield corners, and he's always been very effective against right-handed pitching. He has a .272 career batting average with an .827 OPS against righties compared to .202 with a .594 OPS vs. lefties. 

Smith is a fit for the Phillies for several reasons. They need more offense from the corner outfield. Logically, that outfielder should be a left-handed hitter because the Phillies' projected middle of the order has four right-handed bats in Maikel Franco, Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp and Kendrick.

Furthermore, Smith, unlike Saunders, for example, does not require everyday playing time. Smith shouldn't start against lefties. That would provide opportunities to Altherr and Quinn in 2017, while protecting against ineffectiveness from Altherr and another injury to Quinn.

And lastly, Smith is not going to cost anything meaningful via trade. He's a 34-year-old platoon player in the final year of his deal. The Phillies could likely land him for an insignificant prospect, perhaps a pitcher who had a high strikeout rate last season in the low levels of the minor leagues. 

For Seattle, it would be more of a salary dump. The Mariners' 2016 payroll is already $20 million more than it was last year, and per reports, they seem willing to spend to improve their starting rotation.

Smith is not a game-changer, that's not the argument here. He's not J.D. Martinez, a much bigger name and better player. Martinez would also fit the Phillies as a one-year option, and they'd likely be interested in keeping him around longer if they could acquire him. But any trade with the Tigers for Martinez wouldn't be nearly as painless for the Phils as acquiring Smith. 

So perhaps more than other available outfielders, Smith would be an offensive upgrade and a player who fits the Phillies' goal of improving without stunting a top prospect's growth.

Connor McDavid, Oilers' speed, skill present Flyers with 'real good challenge'

Connor McDavid, Oilers' speed, skill present Flyers with 'real good challenge'

VOORHEES, N.J. — They are among the very best – and highest scoring — lines in the NHL this season.
 
And they’re gunning for the Flyers on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
Connor McDavid’s unit with Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl have a combined 30 goals and 78 points worth of offense. 
 
Among them, the lightning quick McDavid leads the NHL with 36 points. All 11 of his goals are even strength. 
 
He doesn’t have a single power-play goal, but is tied for the league lead with several players, including Claude Giroux, with 10 power-play assists.
 
You can expect to see Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s unit with Chris VandeVelde and Dale Weise against this line with defenseman Ivan Provorov drawing McDavid for the first time this season.
 
“Speed and skill that Edmonton has up front presents a real good challenge for our team,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “We have to be better with the puck tomorrow. 
 
“We didn’t do enough when we had the puck. Gave it up a little too easily and because of that, you end up playing defense a lot of the night and that’s what happened last night to us.”
 
Bellemare, who had his share of forward battles with Jaromir Jagr in Tuesday, likes to analyze the matchups against McDavid.
 
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Bellemare said of the 19-year-old McDavid. “It’s tough not to be excited when playing against a guy who plays like this. He competes every second he is on the ice. That line is an impressive line.”
 
The Flyers better have some bad, choppy ice to slow McDavid down. Edmonton has some of the fastest ice in the league and the Oilers use it to their full advantage. 
 
Asked of McDavid’s tendencies, Bellemare said, “Is that a tendency? To be super fast?”
 
Yes it is. 
 
“When you play against them, he is a kid who is freaky fast right from the start,” Bellemare said. “Against that line, you saw [against Buffalo] that everyone knows how fast he is and he still had two breakaways.”
 
Which means the Flyers need to watch their turnovers, especially in the neutral zone where McDavid can go 60 feet in a flash.
 
“Even blue line to the top of the circle, you can’t turn the puck over,” Bellemare said. “Or he’s gone. This is a tendency we have to be careful of. All of the ice, you can’t give him any time or space. The less time you give him, the bigger chance you have to frustrate a player like this.”
 
Bellemare did some talking with Jagr a couple times in Tuesday’s game. So did Provorov. Bellemare says it helps to add psychology to the mix.
 
“You try to be in his face,” Bellemare said. “If you can win that battle against that line and our first line can win the battle against their fourth line, then it’s a win-win situation. I was trying to be in [Jagr’s] face.”
 
Jagr actually got angrier at Provorov and it showed with his hooking calls. But when Bellemare and Jagr went into the corner, Jagr got testy with his stick there as well.
 
“He was trying to give it to me a little harder,” Bellemare said. “Exactly what I need. If he is less focused on the puck, then maybe I have a chance to win that puck.”
 
McDavid’s focus will be solely on the puck.
 
“McDavid has been playing some pretty good hockey,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “They’re a high-tempo team. A smart team. We’ve got to be ready.”
 
Loose pucks
Boyd Gordon came off long term injured reserve onto the active roster to give the Flyers 13 forwards. In doing that, Matt Read (oblique pull) went on injured reserve. … Defenseman Michael Del Zotto will sit against the Oilers while Radko Gudas returns from an illness. Gudas will be paired with Mark Streit, as Ivan Provorov remains with Andrew MacDonald for now. … Steve Mason, who did not practice Wednesday, will start in goal.