In a move that should come as no shock to anyone who has watched the Eagles defense perform in the preseason, it was leaked today that current nickle linebacker Omar Gaither will return to his former starting middle linebacker position.
“I’m going home, Gaither said. I feel like Dorothy. I didn’t click my heels. I got on my knees and did a lot of praying. It’s good though. I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be exciting for me.”
It’s been a strange journey for Gaither over the last couple of seasons in Philadelphia. A 5th rounder from Tennesee, he started out as the backup WIL and earned a starting role by the end of his rookie year. In his second season he was tagged as the heir apparent to Jeremiah Trotter in the middle, where he started all season. Last year, Stewart Bradley was inserted into the middle which moved Omar back to the weakside. The move did not work out well for Gaither who was relegated to backup duty in the second half of the year as he was replaced by the speedy Akeem Jordan. Rumors swirled that the demotion was not for his on field performance however. A report from Gary Cobb stated that Gaither had turned down a mid-season long term contract extension and that the organization was making him pay for it with less playing time. All sides denied the rumor, but the story persisted to hover around Gaither. To his credit, Omar was arguably the Birds best special teams player when he was placed there. He never stopped hustling and kept his impact to a maximum on the few snaps he was given.
The move certainly shows that the organization did not like the progression of second year backer Joe Mays. Mays was the talk of the preseason last year, as he led the team in tackles through all 4 contests and surprised many by making the active roster as an undrafted free agent from little known North Dakota State. Mays is noted for his physical play but in the 3 exhibition contests so far in August, he has been hesitant in his pursuit not showing the attacking downhill style that earned him his job last August. Mays’ spot on the 53 man roster I’m sure is safe, but at least for now he’ll be relegated to special teams duty and probably short yardage situations.
Well we all knew it had to happen eventually, but I’m sure we didn’t expect it to be quite as ugly as it was tonight. In just 5 innings of work Phillies ace Cliff Lee was torched for 10 hits and 6 runs (all earned.) The Phils lost the game after a rain shortened 7 1/2 innings 9-1. Lee was repeatedly victimized by the long ball giving up 3 bombs, which is exactly 3 more then he had given up in his previous 5 starts for the defending world series champs. He lacked the pinpoint control that had made him so effective so far in his brief national league career.
The Phillies offense also continued it’s astounding inability to capitalize with runners in scoring position. Ending the night with 11 men left on base. Keep in mind those 11 stranded base runners came on a rain shortened evening, had the game been allowed to go the regulation length I’m certain that Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez could have managed to blow another opportunity or two. Tonight was another example of this team’s inability to score recently without ripping the ball out of the yard.
The rubber match of this division series is tommorow night on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at 8pm. “Heavy B” Joe Blanton vs Jair Jurrjens.
Shawn Andrews WILL practice today per Andy Reid’s 11am press conference. Also Herremans had successful surgery 3-4 weeks recovery time but no set in stone return time. In two weeks they will reevaluate.
In case you’ve missed it…
Over the last couple of weeks Shawn Andrews who has been battling back problems and suspected depression issues posted some odd videos on youtube of himself in a recording studio stating he’s the happiest he’s been in years and that he was “getting his Michael Phelps on”.
Check the link…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYzDB5dXIIk
The Eagles offensive line took another shot to the stomach yesterday as it was announced that starting left guard Todd Herremans underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. The 6’6 Herremans was probably the most consistent lineman during last years’ run to the NFCCG. The nasty streak that he displayed in ’08 could be something the line will heavily lack this year with the departure of longtime right tackle Jon Runyan. Road graders Nick Cole and Max Jean Gilles have been filing in for Herremans and will continue to compete for the starting job for at least the first two weeks of the regular season.
Much maligned closer Brad Lidge finished off tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves with his most dominant performance in recent memory. Lidge appeared to pitch backwards to Atlanta’s hitters by starting them off with sliders that he was able to throw for strikes. Lidge has been criticized this season (justly, I might add) for having to throw his fastball for strikes early in counts due to his inability to locate his slider. Lidge’s fastball has had little to no movement all year and any hitter worth their salt in the majors can crush a straight fastball. Are the lights back on?
Oh by the way… in case you havent noticed Ryan Howard is the hottest player in baseball. He was the Phillies offense tonight going 3-3 with 2 homers and 3 rbi’s. Over his last 15 games “The Big Piece” is hitting a lusty .339 with 11hr and 29rbi’s. It’s not even September yet when he usually heats up.
How frustrated do you think Pedro Martinez is that Jamie Moyer’s 2 most impressive performances in the last 3 months have been on nights that Pedro was removed due to the weather?
Interesting Note: The Phillies have won all 9 combined starts from their July pitching acquisitions. (5 for Cliff Lee and all 4 of Pedro’s starts.)
Tonight at 7 against the division rival Atlanta Braves , Pedro Martinez is scheduled to make his 4th start in a Phillies uniform. However the weather may not be cooperating with Pedro as the Delaware Valley has been drenched all day with heavy rain and dark gray skies. A lot of the heaviest rain is still to the south of Philadelphia (6pm) and there is a high probability that they might not get the matchup versus Braves rookie Tommy Hanson in tonight.
This would be the second time in his last three starts that mother nature could play a key role. In his last home start against Arizona, Pedro only threw 3 innings before the rains came. He was relieved by the sulking Jamie Moyer, who fresh out of the pen went 6 shut out innings against the lowly D-Backs and got the win. It’s an important start for Pedro tonight as he continues to try and assure his new employers that they made the right decision by bumping Methusala from the rotation. He’s been good nowhere near great but that’s really all you can ask from a 5th starter. Even one who is a sure fire first ballot hall of famer.
Side Note: Tonight’s rain could also bump resident Superman Cliff Lee from his scheduled faceoff against Derek Lowe tomorrow. If you have sunday tickets and want to see Lee, I suggest you start doing a tribal rain dance right about now.
Get ready for Philly’s newest sports blog (like there aren’t enough already, amirite?). I’ll bring you some creative content covering all 4 of our beloved teams (yeah, even the Sixers) and some national news as well. You won’t just see reposts from espn.com or rumors from your boys myspace page. We’ll get right down to it in the upcoming days. So bookmark us, favorite us or just remember the name.
If you’re born in Philly, you have to be Phour for Phour.