We Hold These Phillies Truths to Likely Be Self-Evident (And We Love It)

We Hold These Phillies Truths to Likely Be Self-Evident (And We Love It)

Our man Rev helps us get ready for opening day next week. These are his words.

Not
long ago I wrote a post urging you to recognize and appreciate just
how amazing an era of Phillies baseball we’ve been treated to. As
a result of this success, Phils-mania has swept across the entire
Delaware
Valley. It’s getting to the point where you cannot go anywhere without
seeing something Phillies related.  Case in point - while waiting
for a prescription to be filled at CVS there was a copy of the most
recent issue of Philadelphia Magazine on the chair next to me. I picked
it up, looked at the cover, and saw Chase Utley staring back at me.
The cover promised details on which TV shows various Phillies DVR, which

teammate they’d least like to play poker against, and other similar
People Magazine/US Weekly insights into the local nine. Apparently there

are four separate covers with either Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins,
or Shane Victorino mugging for the camera. Their Phils coverage even
included an article featuring Phillies WAG’s. Yes, that’s how much
this team has captured our attention…their wives and girlfriends are
deemed worthy of coverage.

Now,
by no means am I anti all of this Phillies mania. If nothing else it’s
a reminder of how far they’ve come. However, there are certain truths
about this team which will reveal themselves over the course of a 162-game schedule. That’s the beautiful thing about following a baseball
team over the course of a season. You pick up on certain quirks,
idiosyncrasies,
and habits of your squad. You follow them day in and day out to the
point that you can anticipate what’s going to happen in any given
situation. This is especially true with a team that’s been together
as long as this one. We’ve had enough of an opportunity to watch them
to the point that we can predict, with a degree of certainty, what’ll
happen. In other words, certain truths about the Phillies have become
self-evident.

Based
on past experience, what follows is a list of things we know we can
expect to see from the two-time defending National League Champions.

  • Jimmy will go through a
    stretch where seemingly every time he steps into the box he’s already
    down 0-2 in the count. He’ll be sitting first pitch fastball and
    they’ll
    pull the cord on him. He’ll be sitting on something offspeed only
    to swing over it anticipating a fastball. During this time the chorus
    of “Jimmy’s not a leadoff hitter” will resume in full throat.
  • Shane, on a night where
    he’s batting in the two-hole in order to give Polanco a rest, will
    get thrown out trying to steal third with two outs and Ryan Howard at
    the plate. Uggghhhh. Mikey Miss will spend the entire next day killing

    him for a lack of baseball smarts.

  • Despite Charlie’s best
    but ultimately unsuccessful effort to give him days off during the
    season
    come September Chase will wear down, start opening up too early, and
    will hit .214 for the month. Everyone will freak out wondering what’s
    wrong with him only to see him hit .328 during the postseason.
  • After flailing at off-speed
    stuff away for the entire month of August The Big Fella will
    exponentially
    reduce the amount of heat on Utley with his annual September power
    surge.
    He’ll resume hitting bombs to leftfield and driving in runs by the
    bushel. Based on his September performance he’ll thrust himself into
    the NL MVP debate.
  • Towards the end of the year,
    Jayson Werth will be approaching a 30-30 season and will be forced to
    deal with a barrage of questions about his impending free agency.
    Werth
    being Werth, he’ll deflect each and every question and will reiterate
    his desire to remain a Phillie, that baseball is a business, and all
    he’s focused on is winning another World Series.
  • Pop Pop Moyer will go through
    a stretch in July where he fails to go more than 4 innings in any
    start.
    All of Philadelphia will be clamoring for Kendrick to take over the
    fifth starter’s job. Come August 3rd Jamie will face the Marlins in
    Florida and twirl a seven inning two hit gem.
  • The Scott Eyre watch. Phils
    LOOGY’s will struggle mightily the first part of the season prompting
    the beat writers to pepper Ruben Amaro Jr. with questions as to
    whether
    he’ll reach out to Scott Eyre. Ruben will deny any interest in
    bringing
    him back, but Eyre’s unwillingness to completely rule out a return
    continues to fuel speculation.
  • The lack of AB’s for the
    bench guys. If the last few years are any indication, and barring
    injury,
    Ben Francisco, Greg Dobbs, Ross Gload, and Juan Castro presumably
    aren’t
    going to see a whole lot of plate appearances. I am not including
    Brian
    Schneider in this mix as he’ll likely see a fair number of Sunday
    afternoon and day game following a night game starts behind the plate.
  • Following up an 11 run 14
    hit game in which they’ve chased a top of the rotation guy in the
    4th inning only to be followed up the next day by a 1 run
    3 hit effort against some career journeyman making an emergency start.
  • Ryan Howard costing the
    Phils a game by sailing a throw into left after Cole Hamels or Jamie
    Moyer has a guy picked off of first.
  • Sarge saying “as well”
    1,037 times. Sarge talking about J.R. Richard 311 times. Sarge saying
    “slide piece” 418 times.
  • Me cringing each and every
    time Tom McCarthy says “Oppo Boppo”.
  • L.A. coming close to being
    fined by the FCC after freaking out following a blown call by umpire
    C.B. Bucknor.

Despite knowing
in advance that all of these things are likely to happen it will do
nothing to take away from the enjoyment of watching them. Whether in
person, on television, or on the radio following a baseball team over
the course of a 162 game season is comforting and familiar. They become
part of your daily routine. Who’s pitching that day? How did Chase
deposit two balls over Utley’s corner and into the seats against Johan
Santana? How hot is Howard going to get when they visit St. Louis? It
never gets old. The daily drama is the best.

T-minus one week
until Opening Day.

Penalties the only consistent theme for Doug Pederson's Eagles

Penalties the only consistent theme for Doug Pederson's Eagles

CINCINNATI — There’s one thing the Eagles are very consistent at, and it’s nothing to be proud of.

The Eagles continue to be one of the most penalized teams in the NFL, and with 10 more infractions in their 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, they increased their 12-game total to 100 — second-most in the NFL this year.

Five times they’ve been called for 10 or more penalties, and that’s one shy of the most games in franchise history with double-digit penalties in a season.

And there’s four games to go.

The Eagles have been cited for penalties seven or more times in all but three games. They’re on pace for the third-most penalties in franchise history.

Earlier this year, the Eagles committed seven or more penalties in four straight games for the first time in six years. The last month, they did that again.

This is not a disciplined football team. Not remotely.

“The penalties are hurting us,” said Brandon Graham, who was called for a personal foul after a low hit on Andy Dalton Sunday. “You kind of get frustrated a little bit and sometimes a lot of stuff starts happening. But we have to clean that up.”

The Eagles are on pace for 133 penalties. The franchise high is 138, set in 1994 by a Rich Kotite team that lost its last seven games. The 2005 team — torn apart by the Donovan McNabb-Terrell Owens feud — committed 134.

The only team with more penalties than the Eagles this year is the Raiders with 112. They always lead the league in penalties and at least this year they’re winning anyway.

The Eagles aren’t. Their lack of discipline has contributed greatly to their current stretch of seven losses in a nine-game span.

For the Eagles, it’s been just another part of the season that’s gotten away from coach Doug Pederson and his players.

“Penalties have got to stop,” Pederson said Sunday night. “Obviously, the turnovers and things like that too. It’s just not characteristic of how we coach and how we play.”

But it’s how this team has played. Consistently.

Only against the Bears, Cowboys and Giants have the Eagles committed fewer than seven penalties. When they commit 10 or more, they’re 1-4

“Some of it is focus, and some of it is anticipating the snap count,” Pederson said. “Some of it is a little on the quarterback, because we’re using so many snap counts and cadences to get indicators from the defense to tip their hat a little bit.

“Guys are geared up. We’ve got to focus in on that, because it’s something we work on every single week. Obviously the silent count we work on every week.”

Here’s a breakdown of the Eagles’ 100 penalties:

12 — Jason Peters

8 — Jason Kelce

7 — Nolan Carroll

6 — Zach Ertz, Allen Barbre

5 — Jalen Mills, Fletcher Cox

4 — Dorial Green-Beckham, Brandon Graham, Carson Wentz, Malcolm Jenkins

3 — Nigel Bradham, Rodney McLeod, Najee Goode, Marcus Smith, Brent Celek

2 — Jaylen Watkins, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Destiny Vaeao, Trey Burton, Matt Tobin

1 — Kenjon Barner, Darren Sproles, Ron Brooks, Jordan Matthews, Wendell Smallwood, Vinny Curry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Donnie Jones, Bennie Logan, Chris Maragos, Leodis McKelvin, Halapoulivaaati Vaitai.

And here’s a breakdown of the types of penalties the Eagles have been hit with:

22 — False start

16 — Offensive holding

10 — Unncessary roughness

8 — Defensive pass interference, offensive pass interference

7 — Defensive offsides

4 — Delay of game, illegal formation, defensive holding

3 — Roughing the passer, facemask, neutral zone infraction

2 — Chop block, defensive 12 men on the field, encroachment, illegal contact, running into the kicker

1 — Unsportsmanlike conduct, horse collar tackle, illegal block above the waist, illegal shift, offensive 12 men on the field, offensive offsides, illegal use of hands

Resurgent Penn State headed to Rose Bowl vs. USC

usa-brandon-bell-james-franklin.jpg
USA Today Images

Resurgent Penn State headed to Rose Bowl vs. USC

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State players and coaches rolled hopefully back into Happy Valley on Sunday, greeted as Big Ten champions by cheers and honking car horns.

They got off the team bus, filed into a meeting room and huddled around a giant projector screen as the College Football Playoff selection committee made its picks.

As the contenders were announced, it became clear -- this unexpectedly triumphant season was going to fall frustratingly short of college football's biggest stage.

The fifth-ranked Nittany Lions -- winners of nine straight, including a huge comeback against No. 8 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game -- won't be part of the four-team playoff. Despite a head-to-head win against No. 2 Ohio State, the Big Ten title and a run fueled by one of the country's most explosive offenses, Penn State was ranked fifth by the selection committee.

Instead of playing for a national title, Penn State (11-2) will face No. 9 Southern California (9-3) in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.

"I would say there were a handful of guys that obviously showed a little bit of frustration and body language and things like that," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "But 99 percent of the guys in there are just excited about staying together as a family and being able to play in such a historic bowl game."

News about the bowl destination quelled a bit of that disappointment, and some, including quarterback Trace McSorley , tweeted their excitement with rose emojis Sunday.

Franklin didn't sleep much on the flight back from Indianapolis and is about to start a six-day recruiting trip, but he was still clearly amped for the Rose Bowl during a phone call with reporters -- even though he believed his team had done enough to go to the playoff by winning what he called "the toughest conference in football."

"Obviously, our guys would've loved to have the opportunity to go to the playoffs and compete for a national championship," Franklin said. "But like I said during the week, I thought our guys would be appreciative of the opportunity to be able to stay together as a family for another week and play the great game of football."

They'll do so against a team that's on a similar trajectory.

The Nittany Lions and Trojans have combined to win 17-straight games and are among the hottest teams in college football. Both have mounted striking turnarounds after ho-hum starts, energizing historically strong programs that had struggled with the weight of NCAA penalties in recent years.

Franklin arrived at Penn State in 2014 and took over a program heavily sanctioned by the NCAA for the university's role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Although the Nittany Lions have a full scholarship load this season, they're still feeling the impact from reduced scholarship numbers and start just five seniors, with only 17 on the roster.

USC, meanwhile, incurred NCAA penalties, including the loss of 30 scholarships, in the wake of a scandal involving former football player Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo, who the NCAA determined accepted gifts in the mid-2000s.

This will be the third time the programs match up in the Rose Bowl -- the first was in 1923 and the other in 2009.

"I think it makes for fabulous TV, that's for sure," USC coach Clay Helton said. "And it makes for a great bowl experience and that's what this time is all about."