Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Bolts, Phils, Merkle

↵Today's Calls: Chargers vs. Brett Favre, Phillies vs. Mets, White Sox vs. Twins, Brandon Webb vs. Tim Lincecum, Lane Kiffin vs. Matt Millen, USC vs. LSU, Idaho cheerleaders vs. Fred Merkle and More. ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: Think the Chargers were ticked off much? ↵

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↵A week after that controversial ending in Denver and two weeks after losing to the Panthers on the last play of the game, they took it out on Brett Favre and the Jets. ↵

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↵THIS was the Chargers team everyone thought could make a Super Bowl run: ↵

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↵LaDainian Tomlinson rushing for 2 TDs (if less than 3 yards per carry on that gimpy toe). ↵

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↵Philip Rivers completing 76 percent of his passes for 250 yards and 3 first-half TDs. ↵

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↵Antonio Cromartie returning an INT for a TD and leading a D that hassled Favre into a Favre-like 2 INTs on his season-high 42 attempts. ↵

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↵Rather than derail them, the early losses -- particularly last week's screw-job -- appear to have motivated the Chargers. ↵

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↵If they go on a championship run (the Giants started 0-2 last season), maybe Bolts fans will thank Ed Hochuli for the favor. ↵

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↵MLB NL Playoff Push: The Phillies look like last year's Phillies. The Mets look like last year's Mets. Philly took a 2.5-game lead in the NL East (with 3 as magic number for clinching a playoff spot) with their 10th win in their last 11 games; the Mets lost -- are you surprised? (And now their WC lead is just a single game.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile, the D-backs moved within 2 games of the NL West lead behind Brandon Webb, who won his 22nd and won't easily hand over his NL Cy to Tim Lincecum. (Meanwhile, Stephen Drew became only third SS ever to have a season with 40 doubles, 10 triples and 20 HR.) ↵

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↵AL Playoff Push: The White Sox are 2.5 games ahead of the Twins heading into their not-wrong-to-call-it-pivotal 3-game series that starts tonight. The Twins MUST win at least 2 of 3. ↵

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↵NFL Injury Watch: Brian Westbrook is day-to-day with that ankle sprain. And Eagles fans are day-to-day on their violent mood swings. ↵

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↵Employment Watch 1: Matt Millen. Say this for Bill Ford Jr. He earns the cred of the entire Lions fan base (what's left of them) for saying he would fire Matt Millen if he had the authority. ↵

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↵Employment Watch 2: Lane Kiffin. As you ponder the "when, not if" nature of his employment with the Raiders, consider that most NFL coaches start their jobs with the exact same future ahead for them. It's just rarely so in-your-face. ↵

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↵Employment Watch 3: Hey, looks like Brian Cashman may get an office in the new Yankee Stadium after all. ↵

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↵NFL Must-Read: Mike Florio's 10-Pack. ↵

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↵CFB BlogPoll: Yes, I ranked LSU at No. 1 -- ahead of USC -- for this week, at least. Looks like I'm the only one to put the Tigers on top. ↵

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↵CFB Injury Watch: Ball State will miss WR Dante Love. But hopefully his surgery will allow him to recover enough for a normal, pain-free life -- if not football. Watch the 4-0 Cards rally around him for a BCS run. ↵

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↵It's the end of an era for Georgia fans: Longtime radio voice Larry Munson is retiring. Here's a classic Munson clip with a new-school twist. (h/t: Doc Saturday) ↵

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↵Idaho continues to have uniform issues: This time it's the cheerleaders. Oh, just let 'em wear what feels comfortable, ... ↵

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↵Olympics: Is it wrong when I heard that the US Olympic dressage team was DQ'ed for a positive drug test that I honestly wondered whether the horse or rider was the one who tested positive. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Merkle's Boner" has its 100th anniversary today. And it is a sports blogger's one day to use the word "boner," giggle immaturely, then remind you that the word means "blunder." ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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