Cliff Lee Steals Win for Phils Against Former Club

Cliff Lee Steals Win for Phils Against Former Club

The Phillies offense is still a little quiet, but a Ryan Howard solo home run was all Cliff Lee needed to beat his former team. John Mayberry Jr would add an insurance run, and Clifton and Ryan Madson combined for a 2-0 shutout of the Rangers.

Lee was phenomenal, notching 10 Ks against 5 hits and 2 walks. His curveball was beastly, which was key against familiar foes. Jim Salisbury reports that Lee tried to use his fastball less because his former Ranger teammates know how much he usually likes to throw it. Simple enough strategy, but it appeared to work like a spell, with flailing swings missing Lee's big hooks by a wide margin.

As if that weren't enough, Lee even stole second base after a fifth inning single.

It was uncontested by the Rangers with Wilson Valdez sitting on third, but still fun to see Lee add to his legend by swiping a bag.

The pitcher said he got a little help from the dugout, with Shane Victorino yelling for him to take second. Naturally. I can only imagine what that sounded like.

NOTES
Howard's homer snapped an 0-23 skid, and he'd later add a single to finish at 2-4 on the night. Domonic Brown got the start in right and batted second. He went 0-4, but had us all on our feet with a long fly ball with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth.

Madson earned his ninth save of the season, further solidifying his stake to the closer claim no matter who comes off the DL. Doggie allowed a single, but then induced a double play and a fly out to end the night for the Phifer.

POSTGAME GLOW VIDEO
Here's Charlie and Cliff after the game, with Lee giving the nod to Shane's SB advice.

UP NEXT
Roy Oswalt will face Matt Harrison as the Phils go for a home interleague sweep over the Rangers today at 1:35.

Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

temple-navy-matchup.png

Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

Temple (9-3) at No. 19 Navy (9-2)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Saturday, noon, ABC

It would have been hard to picture Temple in the American Athletic Conference championship game after the Owls’ first game of the season, a 28-13 loss to Army.

But that’s exactly where they are three months later, as Temple will take on No. 19 Navy in the conference championship game Saturday.

The Owls and Midshipmen have both been handling opponents as of late. Temple’s won its last four games by at least three touchdowns, while Navy has outscored opponents 141-62 in its past two games.

Let’s take a look at how one of the country’s top offenses and one of the country’s top defenses match up.

Scouting Temple
The Owls' defense seems to get better every week. Temple ranks No. 3 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense and No. 10 in scoring defense. The only two teams that rank higher than the Owls in both categories are Alabama and Michigan.

Teams haven’t scored more than 13 points against the Owls in their last four games, and Temple is outscoring opponents 123-23 during that stretch.

Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Haason Reddick was named a first team all-conference selection earlier this week. He leads the FBS in tackles for loss. Redshirt-senior Praise Martin-Oguike is coming off one of his best games of the season last week against East Carolina, in which he had two sacks, including a forced fumble. He has seven sacks this season.

On offense, Temple’s goal this week will be to sustain drives and keep Navy’s offense off the field. The Owls are currently No. 5 in the FBS in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 34 minutes per game.

Earlier in the week, coach Matt Rhule said senior quarterback Phillip Walker was questionable for Saturday’s game. Walker will likely play, but the Owls might be without one of their top offensive weapons.

Rhule said sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead is doubtful. Armstead has 842 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Scouting Navy
The Midshipmen have one of the simplest — yet at that same time one of the best — offenses in the country. Navy ranks No. 2 in rushing yards at 342 yards per game.

Quarterback Will Worth runs the triple option for Navy. He has 2,544 total yards of offense and 33 total touchdowns. He’s passed for 1,363 yards and rushed for 1,181 more.  Worth has a touchdown in 11 straight games.

Worth has attempted 258 rushes compared to 115 passing attempts. Four other Navy players have at least 40 rushing attempts this season.

Senior wide receiver Jamir Tillman is the Midshipmen’s best receiving threat. The 6-foot-4 wideout has 32 catches for 533 yards and two touchdowns.

Navy’s defense hasn’t been quite as elite as its offense. The Midshipmen have allowed 30 or more points in four of their last five games.

The Midshipmen are allowing 265 passing yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 313 yards and three touchdowns in their last three contests.

Storyline to watch: Can Temple find a way to stop the triple option?
The last time these two teams played was in 2014, when Navy ran for 487 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-24 win against the Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Temple’s most recent matchup against the triple option was when it lost to Army in its season opener. The Black Knights ran for 329 yards and four touchdowns. With only a week to prepare, Temple will have to find a way to cure its option woes if it wants a chance to win Saturday.

What’s at stake?
The Owls have only won one other conference championship in program history, when they won the Mid-Atlantic Conference in 1967. A win would also give Temple its third 10-win season in program history. If Western Michigan loses Friday night, Temple also puts itself in contention for a spot in the Cotton Bowl with a win.

Prediction
Temple has to figure out this option thing at some point, right? The Owls’ ability to convert on third down and sustain long drives will help slow Navy's offense. This one will most likely come down to who has the ball last, but the Owls are a little bit more well-rounded, so they get the edge. Temple 31, Navy 28