Lee Vs. Kershaw with Phillies Going for Fifth Straight

Lee Vs. Kershaw with Phillies Going for Fifth Straight

Until last night's comeback, the last time the Phillies reeled off four consecutive wins was before Memorial Day. Even though they're still ten games below .500, there is a certain excitement with the team suddenly that you could almost touch, something that's been missing since then, maybe even all season. The excitement is fragile, but it exists.

No, we're still not using the P-word around here, just saying it's fun having the whole band back together -- and winning.

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That feeling could go up in smoke at any moment, but today the Phils are trying to do something they haven't accomplished all season: a three-game sweep. The way events have been unfolding lately, we couldn't think of a much better person to follow Roy Halladay than Cliff Lee. However, we'll settle for cautiously optimistic today, because Lee will be head-to-head with the L.A. Dodgers and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw (7-5, 2.84) is off to another fine season in 2012 for the Dodgers [Ed. note: despite having truly awful taste in music], but not quite as untouchable as a year ago when he led the league in wins, earned run average, WHIP, and strikeouts. He still cracks the top 10 for WHIP (6th) and Ks (4th), but run support has often betrayed him, and thus his record.

Despite his recent success, the splits suggest the Phillies have owned Kershaw. In seven regular season starts, he's 0-4 with a 4.95 ERA against Philly, and in four playoff appearances it's a far worse 0-1, 8.31. However, all but one of those games came prior to 2011, when the 24-year-old's career really took off. The Phils somehow dodged the bullet last season, and in their meeting on June 4, Kershaw held his own in a no decision, allowing three earned off eight hits over seven innings. Fightins won.

Of course, the Phils were without Chase Utley at the time, too, and he has enjoyed facing the right-hander. Utley is 4-for-13 with a couple of doubles and a home run off of Kershaw. He's in the lineup for the third day in a row, so we'll see if he can do some more damage.

Meanwhile, Lee (1-6, 3.92) has been pitching better of late, earning his first W before the All-Star break obviously, but it didn't translate into number two last time out. He battled through six innings in Colorado over the weekend, surrendering nine hits, but holding the Rocks to three runs, two of them earned. Not dominant Cliff by any means, but effective Cliff -- unfortunately, also losing Cliff.

Lee has incredible numbers against the Dodgers, sporting a 2-1 and 0.90 in four starts. On June 5, he held LA to two runs over 7.2, and struck out a season-high 12.

We wouldn't go so far as to say the Phillies hold the upper-hand in this pitching match-up, but we like the way it breaks down on paper. We like the way things have been breaking on the diamond over the past week as well. If they can keep it up today, we'll be staring at the second longest winning streak of the season. Not sure what the appropriate reaction will be, but we hope to find out.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Eagles bring back Taylor Hart after stint with Chip Kelly

Eagles bring back Taylor Hart after stint with Chip Kelly

The Eagles have brought back a familiar face to take Ron Brooks' roster spot.

On Monday, the team claimed defensive tackle Taylor Hart off waivers from San Francisco. Hart was just waived on Saturday by the 49ers, who claimed him after the Eagles waived him at final cuts.

So, Hart is coming back to Philly after a stint with Chip Kelly in San Francisco.

Hart, 25, played in one game for the 49ers this year. The Eagles are light at defensive tackle thanks to Bennie Logan's groin injury. While head coach Doug Pederson on Monday said Logan was getting better, the Eagles still brought in more depth by claiming Hart.

While still with the Eagles, Kelly had a hand in drafting Hart, an Oregon product, in the fifth round of 2014.

Hart worked hard this offseason to learn how to play in Jim Schwartz's aggressive 4-3 defense, which is very unlike the ones he had played in during college and in the NFL.

Brooks has been placed on IR after rupturing a quad tendon during Sunday's game against the Vikings. He'll have surgery this week.

In addition to adding Hart to the active roster, the Eagles also added cornerback Aaron Grymes to their practice squad.

Grymes, 25, was having an impressive training camp and preseason with the Eagles before injuring his right shoulder. He was waived shortly after that.

After coming out of the University of Idaho in 2013, Grymes didn't make an NFL team so he went to Canada. He ended up as a starter and All-Star on the Edmonton Eskimos and won a Grey Cup in 2015.

To make room for Grymes, the Eagles cut OL Matt Rotheram from the practice squad.