If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Philly Fans Pushing Panic Buttons?

Surprise: sports content on my blog! It's been a while. However, there are a few things that need to be discussed.

First, let's not go overboard on the Flyers just yet. Sure, they had a four-game losing streak before last night, losing to teams ranging from middle-of-the-pack to the bottom of the standings (including a 7-0 embarrassment against the New York Rangers). And the win that broke that string wasn't exactly impressive (after a dominating first period, they allowed the poor Edmonton Oilers to stay in the game right to the end). But they're still in first place in the Eastern Conference and it's best to get the bad games out of their system before the playoffs start. Also, apparently a combination of a flu bug and -- believe it or not -- too much practice took a lot of energy out of them last week.

On the other hand, it might be time to worry about the Phillies just a little. I repeat: just a little. For now.

Chase Utley hasn't played in a game all spring due to a right knee problem. While it doesn't seem to be getting worse (it's not getting better, either, which is the problem), the pronouncements from the Phillies seem to get a little less optimistic each time. It's gone from "just sore and needs a day or two of extra rest" to "MRI shows tendinitis, needs more rest" to "getting a cortisone shot in the knee" to "doing another MRI, mild patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia." Some (and by "some" I mean rabid talk-show callers) have decided it's time to make a major trade because Utley's out for the season. This is soooooooo way off in the future. They're going to give the knee rest and treatment and worry about possible surgery if that doesn't work.

But it does seem likely that Utley won't be in the lineup at the start of the regular season. The Phils already have the Jayson Werth hole to fill. That right field job seems to be Ben Francisco's to lose, since Domonic Brown went 1-for-16 to start the exhibition season before breaking a bone in his hand and undergoing surgery that will have him out for up to 6 weeks. After that, I'm sure Brown will go to the minors until either Francisco (and other possibile fill-ins such as Ross Gload and John Mayberry Jr.) fails or Brown is crushing triple-A pitching so much that the Phils bring him back. If Utley misses significant time, it'll add a little more pressure on Ryan Howard and the rest of the lineup. Even the Phils' mighty starting pitchers can't win games if the offense struggles.

Although there's no panic button being pushed here, I have to mention the 76ers. They've been on quite the run. They lost tonight in overtime, letting a 5-point lead get away in the last minute, but they've still got a winning record (33-31, 30-18 since their 3-13 stumble from the gates). Everyone who follows basketball says that right now they're a fun team to watch, but that fun isn't selling tickets as their attendance is still terrible. I have a dream, though: that the Sixers knock off that ridiculous Miami Heat team in the first round of the playoffs. It's likely a pipe dream, but wouldn't it be awesome?

No comments: