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The Philly Five Power Rankings – CHOOOOOCH!

Ten days have passed since the last Philly Five. It doesn’t sound like much but since then the Sixers and Celtics have played four games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (series tied 2-2), the Phillies knocked out 10 games (went a healthy 7-3) and Pat Burrell danced shirtless at a bar after his retirement ceremony. Who gets into the Five this week? You probably won’t be surprised at our choices.

So without further ado, here is the Philly Five for May 21, 2012…

The Chooch is Loose

1) Chooch – Carlos Ruiz is the best catcher in baseball up to this point in the season. I mean, even Tim McCarver said it on Saturday night. So it has to be true.
Let’s break down his season: .355 BA (#1), 21 runs (#1), 7 HR (#2), 29 RBI (#1), 2 SB (#2, Yadier Molina has 4!?!?).
Yes, the hitting is great, but you can’t talk about Chooch without talking about his game management, his handling of the best pitching staff in the majors. And he’s been the fan favorite for a few years, and now Chooch is finally getting some love around the league.

He’s got the stats, he’s got the memes (, #VoteForChooch, #Chooch2012). Now let’s get him to Kansas City.
Vote Here. DO IT!

2) Sixers – Ok, can we just forget Wednesday night, Game 3, even happened. That was a hot mess. Sixers fell behind big and never even made a dent in the deficit after halftime. But hey, those red t-shirts were pretty nice.

You Say You Want a Revolution?

But last Monday night in Boston? Wow. And what about that epic comeback on Friday night? That is a game we will be talking about for a looooong time around here. Down 15 points early, everyone writing us off, everyone on Twitter was doing an “I told you so” to all us Sixers believers.

Then the boys managed to fight and fight and chip away at that Boston lead by playing smothering defense, making clutch shots, and finally they were able to pull away in the final 2 minutes to ice the game.

I know that a loss on Friday would have put the mail in the coffin, but we won. And we proved to everyone who wrote us off that this young Sixers team can pull together and get the job done. Some nights it’s Iggy who takes over, some nights it’s Lou off the bench as the spark. Evan Turner even made a splash in the postseason. Great to see him getting in people’s faces on Friday, letting them know “we’re not going anywhere”. And the most unlikely of heros, shutting down KG, playing inspired ball, is the kid from Temple. He played so well that I gave him #3 this week…

3) Lavoy Allen – I could have listed a few players here, but I’m going with Lavoy. The pride of North Broad and Pennsbury High School. Allen came into the playoffs pretty much an unknown player, but after handling KG for the series, the league has noticed. Celtics fans had dismissed him for 3 games, but after Game 4 I think even they are turning into believers (“Ok, Maybe Lavoy Allen Is A Defensive Problem For Garnett” –

I even got into the fun on Twitter (hey, this got 24 retweets and counting, a personal record. Let me gloat a little)

Lavoy has had a fabulous series, and on Friday night he held Garnett to 9 points (3-12 FG). He’s leading the team in field goal percentage (58%), and giving us 8.5 ppg and 6.5 rebs. But more noticeably he has 10 offensive rebounds, which is a part of the game the Sixers sorely lacked coming into the playoffs.

From scrub to star

My lasting memory of Allen for this series will be Game 2, when he got an inbound pass late in a tight game with almost no time on the shot clock and nailed a clutch jumper. Cold blooded.

Back in August, in an idiotic attempt to rank all the NBA players prior to the season, ESPN actually selected Allen as the worst player in the league. Seriously. Whatevs, Lavoy is getting it done when it counts. He ended the regular season just hoping to be on the 12 man roster next season, now the question isn’t will he make the team but will be be a starter?
So, props to Lavoy. Good work, rook. Now let’s do it again on Monday night.

4) Sixers Fans – back in November there weren’t many of us. When I told people I had Sixers season tickets they were mostly like “why?” And I didn’t really have a good answer. But I saw that this team had potential, and I like watching hoops. And the 10,000 people who showed up on a random Wednesday night to watch them play the Hawks or Bucks in February always knew that this team was special.

This season started off great, but in January and February when the big names came to town we were usually on the losing end. I mean, besides the Lakers and Bulls games in February, we dropped most of the big games we played. Clippers? Chris Paul drops a shot at the buzzer to win. Mavericks? We fight hard but Dirk was just too much for us. Thunder? We almost had them, but Durant went off like the MVP he is and got his team the win. The Heat? Well, we won’t talk about the Heat. They owned us. But the fight was there.

And now it is paying off. Defense and some hot shooting is winning us games. Let’s hope that we can keep the streak going. Keep your chins up Sixers fans, this is the beginning of a new era.

12 for 12

5) Jonathan Papelbon –Not much else to pick from this week, so I went with the closer. He improved his save streak

up to 12 for 12. He came in on Friday night with a 6-4 lead against his old mates, and sent the Red Sox packing. We didn’t have too many highlights from the Red Sox series, but Paps getting a save on Friday night was nice to see.

When we got Papelbon last fall alot of Red Sox fans were happy to see him go. The common refrain from them was “Yeah, he’s funny and you’ll love his personality. But wait until he starts blowing saves and see how you like him then.” Ok, we’re still waiting for that.

The Gas Face:
999) Phillies Media Relations – So the Phillies 2 biggest stars, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, are hurt. And no one really knows how rehab is going. So an intrepid, longtime Phillies writer, Bob Brookover, heads to the Clearwater complex to see what’s up with Howard. And what do the Phillies do? They throw him out. No reporters can watch the rehab. Frank Fitzpatrick also raises some questions about how the Phillies treated Howard’s injury in the first place. Then Ruben goes all “Baghdad Bob” and tries to deny there are any problems whatsoever.

Everything is fine, I assure you

I understand that the Phillies want to keep rumors to a minimum, and stick to the company line on injuries and rehab progress. But the fans are curious, and when it seems like Ruben and the team aren’t being honest with the information, then I am all for someone trying to dig for the truth.

And this wasn’t some bloggers who showed up with a Flip Camera looking for a scoop, this was a veteran sportswriter trying to find out information that the fans want to know. How hurt is Howard, and what is he up to? When is he coming back? Dennis Deitch had a good take on this on Sunday,

..and this is true, Smug Ruben is only palatable when they are winning. And we’re not winning, at least not lately. And the natives are growing restless.

Do you agree with the Five this week? Disagree? Did I miss anyone? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@Fantasource).

See you all next week! We’ll be in the Eastern Conference Finals by then, right?

You can follow me on Twitter (@Fantasource) or email (


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