Monday, June 16, 2008

Phillies Maul Red Sox, Restore Peace and Order to the Galaxy

When I was a kid, the National League kicked the American League's ass all over the place. All-Star games, World Series, you name it, they did it. When I look back at the roster for the 1988 LA Dodgers I still cannot fathom how they beat Oakland, and I still cannot understand how the NL won the 1987 All-Star Game. The NL has fallen on hard times in recent years, they haven't won an all-star game since Bill Clinton was President, and when they lose a World Series, they generally get swept (Colorado, Houston, St Louis). Many baseball people around the country likened the 3 game series in Philadelphia between the Sox and Phils a possible World Series preview, and if what we saw Monday night was any indication, the Phillies have a phighting chance (yes, I know, I know). Cole Hamels outpitched Bartolo Calzone, who left after 4 innings with back spasms (which were likely caused by having to bend over to get more hot wings at the Great American Buffet), Ryan Howard hit two home runs, and JD Drew was treated with the warmth and respect he normally gets in Philadelphia (booing, catcalls and a standing O after a strikeout in the first inning). The Red Sox are banged up right now, Manny Ramirez is hurting, Kevin Youkilis was scratched with back spasms, David Ortiz is still on the DL, but luckily they have enough depth to carry them through (barring a total pitching meltdown) in an American League that, honestly, is pretty weak at this point. Think about it, the two best team in the AL are a Red Sox team that is running on 4 out of 6 cylinders and a Tampa team that could keep on trucking or implode at any minute. In contrast the National Leagues two top dogs are the Cubs and Phillies, and I could certainly see either of those teams beating the AL team they would face in October. If the Phillies can win this series or even sweep it, I think it would be a huge confidence boost for this team as they aim to take it to the next level.



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