SPANISH HARLEM – This is the first time I have written about the Philadelphia Eagles since Carson Wentz went down for the count. Right then I knew it was over. All the joy that I felt about the season, all the hope I had… GONE! I felt a little bit of sympathy for Angry Ward in his column yesterday because I realized that as an Eagles fan, I have been through some difficult times myself. That stops today because if I can’t be all in for an Eagles playoff game, then I shouldn’t be an Eagles fan at all… With that, there are Three Things Philadelphia Needs To Do To Win. We’ll get into that after I will try to imagine/speculate what My New York Yankees Starting Lineup should be to start the season. Let’s start there.
Ever since the Yank got Giancarlo Stanton via trade, many have speculated where he would bat in the lineup. The possibilities are endless when you consider how good Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge where for the team last year. I have heard many predict that Greg Bird would find himself somewhere in the middle of that group, to balance out the lineup, but my eyes tell me that Didi Gregorius should be mentioned as well, and he is most certainly an after thought because his power doesn’t match those already mentioned.
I love how Didi has developed with the club. He went from replacing a legend to becoming an All-Star in his own right and deserves to get as many ABs as possible. Ideally you would want to bat him 2nd but then you double up on lefty’s – if Brett Gardner is your lead-off man. Judge went from batting 3rd to eventually becoming the everyday 2nd place hitter, with Sanchez behind him. Analytics have changed the game and a person like Judge would never be considered for that spot in the lineup but now the numbers tell us, the higher you are in the lineup, the more at bats you get.. so hence Judge hitting 2nd.
When you think about Stanton, you can say he fits the mold of a 3rd or 4th hitter. The guy has power for days and is one of the most feared hitters in baseball so the question you have to ask yourself is Who do you want getting the most at bats of the players they have? Unless Aaron Boone is looking to change things up you would think that Gardner stays the lead off man… but then what?
- Brett Gardner – He takes a lot of pitches and sets the tone for the rest of the team.
- Aaron Judge – Sure, he struck a lot but he also the set the Walk record for a first year player. A ton of power but also takes pitches.
- Didi Gregorius – Yup, this is where I have him. He proved to me that he could hit high in the order and that’s where I want him.
- Giancarlo Stanton – A Power guy for a Power spot! And think about the numbers he would put up if the players ahead of him get a on base.
- Gary Sanchez – Being compared to Manny Ramirez as a hitter is no small feat. He deserves to be higher but someone has to bat 5th.
- Greg Bird – The scouts love his swing but he has the most to prove when you compare the guys ahead of him, so he starts here.
- Aaron Hicks – Switch hitter with great defense and pop.
- Gleyber Torres – Should he start with the team on opening day, you bat him low. Takes the pressure off and allows him to just play ball.
- Miguel Andujar/Todd Frazier/Ronald Torreyes – Sorry, you drew the short straw.
The gamblers have made my Eagles the first #1 seed to be underdogs… ever. That hurts! Why? Because this team would be looked at differently if Wentz where still the starting QB but these are the cards your dealt. The Atlanta Falcons are a really good team, coming off a really good win. The Eagles, without Wentz, will need to do these Three Things to steal a victory:
-Contain Julio Jones and Company – The Eagles have a stout run defense but have issues in the secondary. Matt Ryan completed over 70% in his last game so the Falcons will throw often to expose the defense as much as possible. Julio Jones will make his share of catches but limiting his gains will play a major factor if the Iggles want to win this game.
-Protect Nick Foles – Uh… doy! Foles is not as adept at getting out of the rush as Wentz, so the offensive line will need to give Nicky F’s time to make his throws. When Foles had that big year under Chip Kelly, the offensive was based on quick reads and he excelled. I predict that Doug Pederson will add those plays in the playbook that offer Foles quick reads to get the ball out faster. The more time he has the better the Eagles will be.
-Get to Matt Ryan – The Eagles defensive line is one of the best at getting pressure on quarterbacks but Matt Ryan has been red hot under pressure in the post season. Jim Schwartz will have to devise a plan and confuse Ryan into making some mistakes. I’m not sure it’s possible the way Ryan is playing but you also don’t want to give him all day to throw.
That’s it. Leave a comment and come back tomorrow for @Different_Matt, who’d rather drink Zima in Speedo at a Mets game than hear any more about the Eagles. Also, you can find us on Twitter @BuddyDiaz19, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook pages, Meet The Matts & Buddy Diaz.