Monday, November 30, 2009


The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Redskins in an utterly chaotic game at the Linc yesterday afternoon. On the blog, I’ve been away from the Eagles for a bit lately. I sort of gave them a pass for last week’s sloppy road win over the Bears. Any road win versus a desperate outfit (the biggest intangible in pro football) is a good win. But this unholy mess from Sunday against a bad, banged up Washington outfit is another matter altogether.

As usual around here, the papers are all killing Andy Reid for the many curious game day choices. For one thing, the game again featured the over-coaching so common from this Reid regime: the on-side kick to start the game, the ongoing Vick follies, the frequent digressions into the “throw every play offense”.

As a result, the Eagles were down eight points in the fourth quarter, just about left for dead. That is, left for dead until veteran wide out Jason Avant came up with two huge courageous catches en route to the tying score.

Who is Jason Avant? Well, he is emblematic of the best thing Reid has done since arriving in Philadelphia: get endless, positive contributions from the 23rd to 45th roster spot.

The Eagles really ought to be sunk. They are missing two of their first three skill people: Curtis and Westbrook. The offensive line has been in flux since day one- only Jamal Jackson can be counted on week to week. McNabb has missed a couple of starts. The linebacker corps is decimated- starting two guys who weren’t even on the team six weeks ago. The safeties are suspect and the corners are a revolving door of health.

Yet they are a sporty 7-4. And that is because they find guys down on the roster who can play every week.

Example: Avant is a back-up, yet veteran, wide-out. Classy, down roster, multi-year veterans are a rarity in a capped League- if you aren’t economizing at the fourth/fifth wide out spot, where are you economizing?

Further: David Akers makes all his kicks. The back-up running back (McCoy), quarterback (Kolb), wide receiver (Maclin), offensive guard (Giles) and offensive tackle (Justice) all can play at a sustainable, even plus, level. Three, maybe four, of those five would start right now for Washington. The Eagles have literally started probably a dozen guys from the second line on the depth chart- and not one was a disaster. Maybe Joe Mays at linebacker- but he was three deep.

So, if we are going to kill the coach for the nonsense Sunday, and there was a lot, perhaps we might also point out the two constants from this regime: consistent deep roster spot contributions and a “keep moving forward” attitude.

Obviously, the road map to the play-offs is a lot easier at 7-4 than 6-5, particularly in light of the fact the Eagles are really a complete mess on the injury front right now- eight, nine starters out now most weeks, major reinforcements probably not coming (some of these back-up are not going to be supplanted) except as the corners heal up. But with a pair of winnable home games left to play- the 49ers and Denver- 10-6 and a play-off game seem increasingly likely.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

JP Wins The UFL

JP Losman wins the UFL!

He was knocked out in the first half on a brutal combo hit- but no Tulane fan was surprised to see him come back out there pitching.

JP had an "arrogant" reputation- but the guy also had guts. He has had the pulp beaten out of him at both Buffalo and Tulane- and he keeps moving forward.

Back in July, I wrote the UFL would be good for him- and it will be. He'll be in the League next year.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let's Get This Over With

Due to the holiday, we’ll get Prediction Thursday over with today. The New York Post puts SMU -17.5 over Tulane this morning. Last year, Tulane was an 18.5 point fave (Tulane did not cover, but did win 34-27)- an astonishing 35.5 point swing you can lay at the door of Coach Toledo, the man “who would teach us how to win”

35.5 points. Sheesh.

It is so frustrating, because this line is indicative of playing out the string. The last two times out, the Mustangs beat Marshall by four and UTEP by three (ed. note: CrazyWave is right- see comments- the Mustangs lost to Marshall by four, but did beat UTEP). Tulane played those two outfits pretty tight- yet they are 17 points ‘dogs here? That isn’t a talent disparity “play”. This big line is a perception that Tulane is a bunch of guys who have quit on the coach, fans and season.

It is a perception that is deserved.

By that, I wish I could sit here and write that this game came down whether Tulane could control nifty RB Shawnbrey McNeal or survive SMU’s brilliant NINE blocked kicks this year. But really, it comes down to whether Tulane feels like playing.

It is frustrating beyond belief. Because, although the chat boards and the players seem to have checked out to off-season concerns, there is a lot to play for here. Just like last week, a fourth win means they were pretty decent and improving, outside of LSU and BYU. But that was true last week too- and we saw how that turned out.

I mean, the quit thing aside, this line is completely stupid. SMU isn’t good; their defense is a wreck. Forget about covering. Putting forth the UTEP-style effort, and Tulane could win this game outright. Had the Wave tried last week, lost a decent effort, this line would be -8.

Again, SMU is terrible on defense- routinely allowing 400+ yards. UTEP and Marshall don’t have offenses better than Tulane’s version- and they both went for 31. Tulane could score 28 here- making -17.5 ridiculous.

But, quitting is hard to unlearn. A blocked kick, a disheartening turnover- and the Toledo fortitude comes to the front. If they were to make a movie called “Tulane Defense”, Bert Lahr would have to be disinterred to star.

I don’t want to pick this game- but the sporting side of me says finish the season. Due to this completely insane line, I’m hoping to steal this game. 17.5 is just so disrespectful- particularly since SMU has nothing to play for. The Mustangs are going to the Hawai’i Bowl no matter what. I just can’t give those points- so I guess I got to take them? I’m hoping that the senior skill position players and Ryan Griffin decide to play- each has something big to prove.

When in doubt this year, I’ve sort of gone with Tulane to cover. And at 7-4 ATS, it has worked out. So I’ll take the Wave. It makes me sick- but what can you do?

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Monday, November 23, 2009


Some quick thoughts on the BlogPoll:

4Boise State
6Georgia Tech
8Ohio State 2
9Oklahoma State 2
10Oregon 2
11Pittsburgh 2
12LSU 4
13Brigham Young
15Penn State
16Houston 5
17Utah 1
19Miami (Florida) 1
20Southern Cal 2
21Oregon State 4
22Virginia Tech
25Central Michigan
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#17), Stanford (#19).

I'm not budging on Florida and Alabama- as I am pretty confident the winner of the SEC Championship game will go on to win the BCS title. In fact, I'm not sure I'd move the loser out of the number two spot.

Penn State stays behind Iowa- they're both at the same level obviously- but Iowa whipped them straight up. I was pretty charitable to the Tigers- I cannot in good conscience actually vote for Ole Miss- but I bet the Rebels would straight up beat most of the teams ranked 15 thru 25- and both Pitt and Cincinnati at a neutral venue.

Temple, Navy and Central Michigan are my salutes to the gritty mid-major programs. I don't know if they could beat, say, Nebraska- but it isn't like Nebraska going to travel, ever, to a place like Central Michigan to find out. Let them get some votes- it isn't like Nebraska is going to be hurting for a few ballots.


Saturday, November 21, 2009


This is embarrassing- this display in Florida. I’ve never been ashamed of Tulane- but this effort today... it is hard not to be furious.

I remember those Toledo-nauts belittling the doubters- “Coach Toledo is teaching Tulane how to win”. Remember that ‘nauts!? Well, he sure as heck taught them to quit. Toledo is a joke.

Quitters. Quit on their school, fans, coach and families.

We fans don't quit. We send money, attend repeated ruthless beatings... and this "performance" is the result. Are you kidding me Toledo?

UCF is not 50 points better than Tulane. Period. It takes laying down like dogs to get beat like that by this mediocre C-USA outfit.


Bring On LaSalle

Moving to Tulane basketball, that was a nice winning effort versus the Penn State Nittany Lions yesterday. In hindsight, the openers versus Georgetown and Miami helped. Tulane looked ready for the size they saw- looked a little more "developmentally ahead" than they normally do this early in the season.

My father is a cranky LaSalle alum- a veteran of Philadelphia's Holy Wars between St. Joseph's, Villanova and LaSalle. This is an important match-up for me. Got to get those Explorers- might not have another chance for many decades. I can’t find a morning line though- a clue perhaps to the game's national importance. But if Tulane is going to flirt with 18 wins (I think their is real upside on this team if healthy), this is the sort of game they need to get.

Due to the popular metrics around the Tulane community, the Wave should crush LaSalle. The Explorer gym (Tom Gola Arena) is way worse than ours and they have ZERO money for anything.

Still, the Explorers might get more caring and love from the University President.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Second Game Versus Knights

Well, the Rice Owls stung Frank Helps You Think It All Out- using a semi-garbage time score to cost us our backdoor cover. This drops the blog to 7-3 ATS (straight up versus McNeese State)- and I’ll look to get the game back looking at Tulane +22 over UCF.

UCF? I struggle to remember the Knights. It has been a long time since they played. One nice thing about the blog is that it is old enough to act as a sort of archive. Tulane did beat UCF in the Dome a few years back when, like Army this year, the Knights missed a very make-able field goal to win the game.

Reading that old post, I was struck at how similar this encounter feels. Just like that game, these last two tilts are not unimportant for Tulane. Get a fourth win on Saturday- well, that would make them a not altogether bad 4-5 in games versus their class (ex-BYU and ex-LSU- with one still to play). This Tulane fan would see it as a sign of some progress if they could play something near .500 against C-USA level competition for a whole season. For one thing, it is an argument Tulane couldn’t make, something near .500 versus their peers, since beating UCF three years ago.

So, on to the Knights. The 6-4 Knights have swept out the bad C-USA outfits they’ve faced this year: blew Rice out, a solid win over Memphis, squeezed by Marshall by one. They’ve played two other suspect out of conference outfits- narrowly beating Samford and Buffalo.

That is five games against bleah teams- and only one effort that would cover the 20: Rice. And I’m not sure that cover is real relevant. As the Tulane fan knows, the Owl quarterback has found himself a little, made his team a whole notch better, the past two weeks.

Even more encouragingly, Tulane has not been blown out since their own quarterback stepped up two games ago. Further, Tulane has scored a very good 68 points in these two games. Marshall, Memphis, Buffalo and Samford scored well into the 20s here- why can’t Tulane? Put together another competent day from Ryan, one hundred pedestrian yards for the third week in a row from Andre- there is a formula for three TDs, at a minimum, versus this “just okay” Knights defense.

It is hard to reach 45 points- and get the needed 22 point separation- if Tulane is possessing the ball enough to score 24. Worse, in the sense of chasing a big number, UCF is probably inclined to rush the football here. Play it safe, get Brynn Harvey 35 carries again this week, run the game clock, and grind the Wave into dust. But again, that is not a Knight game plan designed to chase a large number in the 40s.

The Knights just don’t strike me as a team that is good enough on offense to get a certain three TD edge- particularly on a Tulane team frankly playing a little better on offense (at least at the all important C-USA quarterback position) as the season progresses. 22 is a big head start- I’ll take Tulane and the points and root for the clock.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rice Is Now 1-9

The less written directly about Tulane's brutal 28-20 loss to Rice the better.

Still, the Green Wave must move on. It always a fine line about when you start looking toward next year- particularly with the allocation of playing time. In college football, you owe your seniors every shot to get to that sixth win. Well, now that is past- and frankly, we need to see a whole lot less of Andre Anderson.

He had one big run yesterday- and took him 26 tries to get it- which I think we can all agree is not a good enough ratio of big play to snap ratio for this crazy League. The rest of his day was barely pedestrian: 25-94. If you want to know how Tulane turned 400 yards of offense into 20 points- well, you might look at the snaps wasted at three yards a pop here.

Maybe it is the offensive line, whatever. And I like Andre- he was darn good last year- and I doubt he forgot how to play. Maybe he is hurt, maybe it is the rotating quarterbacks… But Andre is not justifying his workload right now. So try something, someone else. The stauts quo is bad- but the new might either bring some improvement (admittedly doubtful) or groom next year’s option(s). Let's see some of these TB recruits Coach Toledo and those camp observers were in love with not three months ago.

I want to see the new tailbacks next Saturday in sustained action- particularly since all Tulane skill positions are going to be devastated at graduation. We have two games of developmental snaps left- and a whole lot of those snaps need to be devoted to letting the candidates for next year see the elephant.

Next, and I cribbed this from some poster on yogwf,(ed note: the poster was QuarterbackU) with practice time at such a premium in I-A, does Tulane have time to practice a double-reverse on a kick return- and not on getting punts and extra points performed competently?

In fact, I’ve had it with all the gimmick plays. I don’t have any numbers- but does this nonsense ever work? Have we had any bolt of lightening plays to justify the time and effort we put in, both in practice and and on game days, to substantiate this tactic. I hate it; please stop. Tulane is a bad team- so they need to do all the little things right. Rice largely beat Tulane not because they had more talent or resources or better game plan- but because they could run the requisite kicking plays semi-orderly.

Maybe we could use the freed up practice time on the two minute drill? Last two possessions: eight plays, zero yards, twice ball turned over on downs. Against Rice?

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Andre Anderson

In my Prediction Thursday post I called out Andre Anderson a little- and last year's breakout Green Wave player is definitely struggling this year.

Folks on another site have pointed out the indifferent offensive line and quarterback play as an excuse- but I am not sold. I’m agnostic as to whether this year’s offensive line is worse than last year’s version- could be with Troy Kropog gone. I'm even more agnostic about the quarterback play. But either way (better or worse), there ain’t that much difference in the line and quarterback play from the previous year- and Andre was super last season, despite being being the player keyed on.

Once he became a thirty touch guy last year (starting w/ ECU), Andre was a monster: 157 versus UL-M, 219 versus SMU, 107 versus Army, 255 versus UTEP. He averaged an amazing 5.0 yards a pop.

Where is that guy? Take away his 199 yards versus I-AA opposition- and it is ugly.

Last year he was 174 carries for 864 yards against I-A teams. This year he is 143 for 579- a whole yard less. That is really is incredible if you know the stats of football. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any uninjured college player with his workload who declined a full yard over his previous season.

Worse, last year in six full games against I-A teams, he had thirty carries four times- and over 20 once. This year, against EIGHT I-A teams, he has NEVER carried thirty times, and only gotten twenty plus once. That is a staggering workload decline: 17 carries versus Army? 18 versus Marshall?, 11(!!!) versus LSU.

You can dismiss the yards with offensive line and quarterback protestations- but that does not excuse his declining number of touches- like 12-15 fewer per game.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Owl Bet

The New York Post delivers the Green Wave as an underdog- getting three points in this tilt with winless Rice. A brisk slap in the face of the joy of Tulane’s surprise upset win over pretty okay UTEP.

The 0-9 mark that Rice sports is not deceptive- they’re pretty bad, in steep decline after last year’s nifty run. The Owls’ defense was never great shakes- but they had the lethal C-USA style quarterback in Chase Clement. Replacing him has been hard- and Rice cannot generate the five TDs a game needed to win in this League.

Of course, that is the Tulane song and dance too- until Ryan Griffin woke up last week. But Rice woke up too, narrowly losing to SMU, when their sophomore quarterback got better quick. Nick Fanuzzi, the one time big Alabama Crimson Tide recruit, threw three TDs.

I’m sure that is how Vegas sees this: two teams that have the exact same sort of credible story. That story: finally, after a goodly part of the season, the right quarterback is playing and getting better, improving team-wide prospects in a big number League. Call it a toss up- give Rice a field goal for being at home.

Yes, Rice does not have three wins- but they had no Army/McNeese level softies. Frankly, their out of conference schedule could be the best in the country: three BCS teams and Navy. And I’m not sure, the actual victory aside, their effort last week versus SMU was any worse than Tulane’s verve against UTEP. The line seems very fair.

Nevertheless, I’m taking Tulane +3 over Rice.

I’ll be the first to say it; Andre Anderson has had a disappointing season- from a potential all C-USA player to a guy who is in the bottom half of the League rushing. But here he has a chance to dominate his opponent. Rice can’t score because Rice can’t rush the football (an astonishing 2.8 yards an attempt). Until last week, the Owls' red zone offense really sputtered as they are very one dimensional down at the goal line.

Stopping the run is always the scary thing for the Tulane defense. That ought not be a problem Saturday- and if Andre can get going, this might be a day where Rice struggles to keep Ryan Griffin and company off the field- and in a pretty even tilt, Tulane would enjoy a real sustained advantage.

And I like the intangibles. I was impressed by the Wave’s tight road game at Army earlier in the year- so I don’t think being away from home means much here. Their special teams are as bad as Tulane’s version- no secret advantage there.

Just like last week, I think this game is pretty darn close- would not be surprised if either team won. But Tulane has a better story at running back and I get three points for picking Tulane. So we will try to get to 8-2 ATS with the Green Wave.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tulane Plays Best Game of Season

One of my favorite bloggers is Dr. Saturday. Today, his blog devolved a series of light chastisements (perhaps like a father) to a series of other blogs wrestling with their teams machinations within the BCS. As I read the gentle corrections, I was struck how utterly ungrateful they all are. I'd love to tie a "successful" 4-8 season on USC- do you know how much suffering goes into deeming 4-8 successful? Along those lines, Tulane played its best game of the season, picking up a spirited and entertaining overtime win, and you will not catch me kvetching- particularly after being chastised for over analysis in lieu of joy this week on

Still, while I must admit I am surprised at how well Ryan Griffin played, I still thought it felt like a game the Wave could win. As I pithily wrote in the comments after the game, when UTEP is bad, they are bad. And, this Wave team, even pre-season, just does not feel like a 2009 style 2-win bad outfit. Mind you, they don't feel five-win good either. But having stuck with a 4-8 pick through the bad beatings, I believe the core belief- that Tulane is better than 2009- will be vindicated in the end. It just doesn't take much to win four games- and the Wave simply was too soon labeled by many as again horrid.

A lot of the chats and forums featured repetitive posts and strings the past few weeks about both “whom to blame” and “how to fix” Tulane football: the evil Cowen, incompetent Toledo, the lacking facilities, lack of institution commitment. There are perhaps parts of truth is such ruminations.

But you could do all those things- clean house and spend a zillion dollars- and still be a mess.

I don’t really obsess about such wholesale changes because I have always believed the quickest, sanest, rock-solid way to back-to-back seven, eight win campaigns is not a new coach, or new President, or new facilities.

Instead, find just one young man who can play quarterback at the level Ryan played at Saturday for 20 out of 24 starts in 2010 and 2011. It is also a lot more sane and do-able plan. It isn’t even particularly nuanced- and evidence of success is everywhere: Rice recently, Houston, etc.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Let's All Try For A Degree Of Relevance

The New York Post puts the UTEP -7 over Tulane- so for the first time since Marshall, the Wave figures to be in a contest it could win without shocking everyone involved.

On paper, UTEP is pretty easy to figure- outside of the Houston shocker anyway. Like most okay C-USA teams they can be counted on to score something around thirty, while conveniently allowing thirty on the other side of the ledger. Take away the BCS games- Kansas and Texas- you have a very typical .500 C-USA team.

I can’t see Tulane getting to thirty with this offense again in flux at the quarterback position. So they have to probably keep UTEP to some sort of manageable number.

Unfortunately, UTEP had over 600 yards of offense last week- but UAB was able to hang around (and eventually win) because UTEP couldn’t complete their drives via a pair of interceptions. In fact, Miner quarterback Trevor Vittatoe is the problematic wild card here. Vittatoe is a below average C-USA quarterback, six picks in his last three conference games, immobile. The Tulane fan really knows what knotty immoblie quarterback play means in a quarterback League. The Miners could play well on offense- and struggle to get to 28-plus points.

Consequently, my head is screaming to take Tulane here- I mean, you’re getting seven versus a very up and down team, a mediocre defense, a bad quarterback that couldn’t beat Memphis or UAB straight up.

At 6-2 ATS (McNeese was straight up), this is the most tricky pick of the season- because the UTEP team that beat Houston and played Tulsa credibly wins by three TDs here-and the Miner team that lost to the Blazers and the Tigers could very well lose. I can’t figure what Miner team we’ll see- but their quarterback is definitely slumping. And Tulane can score 21 here (they scored 17 versus Army outside).

I must admit I’m also struck by the line bouncing between -7/-6.5. I really thought it would be more like ten… makes me wonder about some unknown UTEP poison?

I clench my teeth and take Tulane here. Sort of like the Army game- use the old handicapping maxim that if you wouldn’t be shocked that an underdog wins the game, and you’re getting a TD, take the points.

So, don’t you dare screw me Coach Toledo. And give me Tulane +7 over UTEP.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009


As I type, the ninth inning of the 2009 World Series is lurching to its unsatisfying conclusion on my television. Listening to Manhattan cheerily celebrate around me is a lonely feeling. 28th and Third Avenue is surely Yankee country.

Here at the end, I’m satisfied the Yankees are better. Frankly, it feels a lot likewhen I was station ed in Germany back in 1993. The Phillies simply ran out of reliable starting pitching (as if Tommy Greene, Terry Mulholland and Danny Jackson were still here trying to be a second reliable option)- and even worse out of the bullpen. Philadelphia only won games when Cliff Lee pitched and pitched deep. And they were big Vegas underdogs in games he didn’t. In the end, the Phillies trusted Pedro Martinez- a guy who was on vacation in July- to make two Series’ starts over any of their normal rotation options. Conversely, the Yankees got real bulldog outings from their rotation in five of six games.

I also point out that while the Yankees and Phillies core hitters had similar struggles- Utley and Matsui aside- Damon and Jeter were on base repeatedly, Rollins was not. They set the table for the occasional spurts of production and gave the Phillies' pitching few easy innings. This week, Jimmy’s MVP season recedes ever further in the distance. Obviously, among the Phillies franchise players, Hamels and Lidge had very rough campaigns- but the day after day drain that Rollins took on the offense in bot hthe regular season and play-offs with his poor OBP is the team’s biggest weakness. Just look at Utley’s in-season indifferent RBI total (93!!). And Rollins salary makes this a tough issue- but I cannot imagine this guy is not off-season secret topic number one: what to do about Jimmy Rollins?

Next, the Yankees left-handed starters were able to put the clamps on the Phillies left-handed hitting (again, Utley aside). The DH was a killer in this Series- the Yankees got great production from Matsui- and the Phillies could not generate a right handed match up bat (Francisco was terrible). All year long Philadelphia worried that the left-handed power the Phillies sport in bunches could be neutralized. Finally, it was. Plus, Ibanez is probably looking at a 2010 more like the second half (rather than his MVP first half)- so a right handed bat to take some of the load off him, hit some quality DH, play when he is hurt, is a top of the list item.

So, they face an off-season with some real hard organizational questions- it is a lot easier to strategize a move from 80 to 90 wins than 90 wins to 100 wins. We mock the Yankess $450 million dollar off-season- but with the Phillies window open only a few more years, we might be looking at a $300 million version of our own. First, there is wrapping up Lee. He is a legit number one, the Phillies need a Cy Young style pitcher for the next three years, he makes as much sense as anyone else in baseball and frankly Hamels doesn’t look like a guy you can pencil in for even fifteen wins right now.

Second, the narrow window means Philadelphia probably needs to think long and hard about another top starter and yes, that means someone like Roy Halladay. It is pricin dollars and players (Rollins?), but they need another pitcher to tamp down these AL power line-ups.

The Yankees won this Series because they had three quality rotation options versus one. The Phillies simply can’t be sure of moving that number to two quality options with Hamels in 2010. Again, he very likely might be more a fourteen win pitcher (that most of his career has suggested) than a true MVP style player (that singular great play-off run). And the Phillies can’t let the window close without trying hard to find that second top guy- they owe that to three million fans who pay to see them.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Sackcloth and Ashes

Watching A-Rod's line drive sail down the left field line last night, I was hit with a feeling of resignation so complete, so thorough, that I slept surprisingly soundly. Rather than aggressively searching for solutions to chronic club issues, the Phillies have been "satisfied". All season, the Phillies have been nursemaiding three problems with not a single thought to improving them: Jimmy Rollins miscast as a lead off hitter, Brad Lidge being terrible and Cole Hamels, well, in general. Last night's game was lost in August, when the Phillies refused to use the remaining calendar to look for any options at those three jobs. Consequently, it isn't my fault.

Gosh, baseball does end up exposing your deepest roster problems. Over a seven games series, let alone 162 game regular season, all your key contributors get evaluated. Somehow, the Phillies forgot that.

Last year, I was struck at just how hard it is to win this thing- combining complete health, a power line-up, an MVP style top of the rotation option and a rock solid bullpen (while not managing three intractable problems)- a lot of moving parts coming together. Which is why I am shocked at how absolutely passive the Phillies have been this sason, this past week and in game.

I mean: fine, we got these three roster problems. But the corollary to that is when you are playing someone better than you- and the Yankees clearly are- the status quo is not your friend. You need to change it- try to gamble away the crippling impact of Hamels, Rollins and Lidge.

The Yankees should not be the team taking chances- benching struggling guys, shuffling the line-up, pitching guys again and again on short rest- the Phillies should be. The Yankees have guys struggling this Series too. But Jeter gets on again and again, tuning their fortunate innings into crooked numbers- while the Phillies passively watch Rollins flail about in a role EVERYONE knows is wrong for him.

Utley's many dingers soar into the night- he circles the bases alone, because Rollins is a horrible table setter. Has been all year too- which is why Utley has so few RBIs for his offensive totals.

Philadelphia has passively rolled out the same guys failing at the same stuff for months now, surviving on their outstanding core group- and the Yankees are the first team good enough to call them on it. Again, this game was lost in the dog-days of summer- no sustained attempt to develop a closer or lead-off hitter because we wanted to spare feelings. Somehow the third best left-handed starter gets to fail again and again while exhibiting the worst body language, while the viable alternative (Happ) languishes- chained to a giant rock labeled The Existing Way Things Are.

In a short series, you have to abondon the existing power structure quickly if it is known to be rotten. Howard struggles- well, he stays in because he isn't rotten for the last two months. Hamels and Rollins- way past time to try something else. (ed. note: Rollins is particularly infuriating, because it has been obvious for years he is mis-cast as an OBP generator).

Worse, the Phillies play in game oh so passively. The one "catch lightening move" last night- Howard stealing second- gave the team and building some energy. But otherwise, the team resolutely does nothing to move the Yankee infield around, make them make decisions under durress. For example, rather than passively waiting for Sabathia to humilate another group of left handed hitters, try and get something going. Taking a few in-game chances is necessary when the status quo is certainly going to get you beat.