Donald Hunt: Weekend unkind to Philly teams

Ryan Howard reaches for his left foot after falling down while making the last out against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. Howard ruptured his left Achilles tendon on the play and will require offseason surgery. — AP PHOTO/ALEX BRANDON

It’s been a rough week for Philadelphia fans. The St. Louis Cardinals eliminated the Phillies – who were supposed to give us a parade down Broad Street — in five games in the National League Division Series.

The Phillies had the best pitching staff in baseball with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. Moreover, they won a historic 102 games with just 60 losses. They finished the regular season with the best record in baseball, but couldn’t even score a run in the final elimination game at Citizens Bank Park, where they played in front of a sold-out crowd all season.

The Eagles are 1-4 coming off another disastrous loss, this time to the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles “Dream Team” is turning into a nightmare, dropping its fourth straight game. Michael Vick, Eagles quarterback, threw four interceptions, but did throw for 315 yards and two touchdowns. He had five carries for 90 yards. He also broke Randall Cunningham’s all-time rushing record with 4,948 yards. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough. And now the Eagles will face divisional rival Washington on the road Sunday, October 16.

One thing is for sure: the Phillies and Eagles are in for some interesting days ahead. With the Phillies season ending so abruptly, everything comes into question. This team has to wonder what next year is going to be like with first baseman Ryan Howard on the shelf with a rupture of the left Achilles tendon. He sustained the injury on the series’ final out as he tried to run out a ground ball.

Howard cannot have surgery until the swelling resolves. Recovery time won’t be known until after the surgery is complete and there is no guarantee he will be ready for spring training. Howard is a big man in the Phillies batting lineup with his home run and RBI power. He hit .253 with 33 home runs and 116 RBI in 2011. But the Phillies slugger really struggled against the Cardinals, hitting just .105 with one home run and six RBI. If Howard isn’t ready when the season begins in April, the team will have a big hole to fill.

The Phillies could have a big hole at shortstop, too. Jimmy Rollins is a free agent. Rollins hit .268 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI during the regular season. He had great year with the glove and was the Phillies best player position player in the postseason. Although he went 0-for-4 in the last game, he did hit .450 for the series.

Rollins, the 5-foot-8, 170-pounder, led the Phillies to the 2008 World Series championship. He has been the team’s catalyst and is reportedly seeking a long-term contract. The Phillies need him, but will they give Rollins what he wants? This makes for a very unsettling offseason.

The Eagles situation appears to be shaky as well. There are only five teams who have started 1-4 and made the playoffs. The Eagles will have to go 9-2 the rest of the way to more than likely secure a playoff spot. With the way the way the Eagles have been playing defense, this seems very unlikely.

If the Eagles don’t make the playoffs, head coach Andy Reid should be on thin ice. He has been here for 13 years, been to a Super Bowl and has won a lot of games. But it’s time for a change. He has to take weight for this debacle. This is one of the most talented teams in the NFL. In spite of that, they have an offensive line that can’t protect the quarterback, a defense that struggles tackling and play calling that has been questionable. The coaching staff has been unable to make the right adjustments.

This was supposed to be an exciting time for the Philly fans. It’s been anything but.

 

Contact staff writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or dhunt@phillytrib.com.

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