As a sports fan, I’m absolutely frustrated. As a sportswriter, I’m equally as frustrated. Two times in one weekend, the baseball and the football teams of the City of Brotherly love have put a knife right in my heart and the hearts of all that are Philly sports fans. Just because it makes me ill, I will get the Eagles out of the way as quickly as humanly possible.
How do you screw up a twenty point lead? Seriously. I would pay at my own expense to sit down with Andy Reid to explain that one to me? I am sure I am not the only that that is tired of hearing, “Oh I screwed up and will do better.” We’ve had three of those this year already. The Eagles honestly don’t have any outside entity affecting their loss this time apart from themselves. No concussions, no broken hands. They screwed this one up all on their own The game against the 49ers should have been won not just for their standings, but so they can rebuild some of the goodwill that is slowly being drained from the Philadelphia sports community. But maybe this loss is a good thing. Hopefully if enough of these leads get blown we will finally be rid of Andy Reid.
Next on my list is the Philadelphia Phillies in their continuing endeavor to win the National League Division title against the St. Louis Cardinals. After last night everything got tied up at one apiece, but even after the masterful performance by the Phillies hitters in Game One, it almost got thrown away. Roy Halladay took a little bit of time to warm up in Game One, but once he got dialed in he was absolutely surgical. Nothing could stop this guy and his support on the mound made a Phillies victory by almost ten runs a possibility.
Then we get handed Michael Stutes. I know that any of the folks watching the game on Saturday were just cringing in fear with every pitched Stutes hurled towards the plate. After he allowed those runs, the only thing that went through many people’s minds probably was that Charlie Manuel may have not done the right thing in leaving David Herndon off the playoff roster. If they really want to do us a favor, they should put Michael Stutes in a box marked Reading, Pa and mail him back to the minors. It will save a lot of people from having to take their heart medication whenever they give Stutes the ball.
But the three run homer by Ryan Howard and then the two run shot by Raul Ibanez definitely cemented the fact that when all parts of the Phillies machine are dialed in they can crush an opposing pitching staff at any time.
Game Two could have been a repeat of this fact. But after racking up a four run lead, and starter Cliff Lee getting well into a hundred pitches, the Phillies began to blow the lead. It’s one of the problems that plague great teams. Every now and then, they become so into their own greatness that they fail to realize that they can be beaten at any time. Leaving Cliff Lee in as long as they did was the wrong move. He may almost be as surgical as Roy Halladay, but even the best surgeons get tired and make mistakes. They left him in past the point of no return. The Cardinals relief staff made a mockery of the Phillies power hitters by leaving them in the dust for the rest of the game.
Game Two was a game that Philadelphia should have won, but maybe overconfidence got in the way. Hopefully, Sunday’s game will serve as a wakeup call and the Phillies will go on to win the NLDS. If not, they’ve nobody to blame but themselves. They are far better than they were in game two.