I’ll have a more significant post coming later in the day, but since all three active Philly teams played once again last night, I thought I should quickly comment. I’m sure there was some nifty remote work going on in some households last night, but I think the smart people just stuck with the Flyers and rode the wave. If you stayed up for the extra-inning Phillies affair, you ended up going to bed disappointed. One resounding theme from each game…
Sixers: Eye-Popping Talent Discrepancy.
I’m not going to pretend that I watched the Sixers game. I also will say I had a pretty good feel for the outcome of this one before it even started. If you can remember back to when the Sixers were relevant, back in 2001, they faced the Lakers in the Finals. They put everything on the table, won game one, and then got swept away. This year’s team is a 10 cents on the dollar version of that team. They went max effort, almost won game one, but now they’ll likely end up getting swept. Sometimes you can’t overcome the deficit when the other team has more horsepower. I said before the series started that it might be the biggest differential in starting-5 talent in playoff history, and it looked that way last night. Expect a parting shot from Sixers mini-donkey later in the week.
Phillies: Something About Leopards and Spots.
We’re about a week into a Phillies offensive scuffle that is reminiscent of what we saw last year several times. I hope no one is too surprised. They took two of the four best hitters out of a declining offense. Can we get a stat head in here to predict what was going to happen? What concerns me most is that Charlie Manuel is lamenting the lack of home runs. I hope the guys don’t read the papers. The last thing they need to be doing is trying to go deep. You’ve got one legitimate power hitter on this team. You’ve got one pure hitter in Placido Polanco. The rest are just streaky SOBs. When a couple of them get going bad at the same time, you’re going to see the Phillies offense you’ve seen the last week. They’ve also faced some better pitching, but these guys are who they are. You don’t hit home runs by wishing. Have to focus on a solid 10-5 start, and hope to keep scratching out enough close ones.
Flyers: All Set (For Now)
Saving the best for last. The Flyers survived in Buffalo Monday night to nose ahead 2 games to 1 in the best of seven series. I’d say the best sign was killing off some penalties in the later periods (including a 5 on 3), and the ability of Brian Boucher to stabilize things in goal. The fate of Bobrovsky, not dressing the game after being a starter, is a tough one to comprehend. The Flyers, and Lavy, don’t really coddle goaltenders, though. They burn through them. They discard them. If Bob is scarred for life from this benching, well they’ll just bring someone new in next year. If Boucher goes bad, well, they’ll go to Leighton. Or build Bob up again. This is how it goes. Constant state of flux, it just so happens that right now Boucher looks to be in control and the team has the upper hand as well….for now.