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.

NFL notes: Jordan Reed, Trevor Siemian ruled out for Week 13

NFL notes: Jordan Reed, Trevor Siemian ruled out for Week 13

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed will miss Sunday's game at the Arizona Cardinals with a sprained left shoulder.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced Friday that Reed would sit out. It'll be the third game missed this season by Reed, who leads the Redskins with 59 catches. He has 630 yards receiving and five TDs.

Reed hurt his shoulder in Washington's Thanksgiving Day loss at Dallas, then was sidelined for practice all week.

Gruden said he hopes that with an extra week of treatment, Reed would be available to play at NFC East rival Philadelphia on Dec. 11.

Also out for Washington (6-4-1) against Arizona (4-6-1) is defensive end Anthony Lanier (lower leg).

Starting offensive linemen Brandon Scherff and Ty Nsekhe, cornerback Bashaud Breeland, defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, running back Chris Thompson and long snapper Nick Sundberg were all listed as questionable for Washington.

Broncos: Trevor Siemian ruled out against Jacksonville
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos ruled out Trevor Siemian for Sunday's game at Jacksonville, meaning rookie Paxton Lynch will make his second start.

Siemian had hoped to return to practice Friday but the training staff put him right back in his walking boot and informed coach Gary Kubiak the second-year pro was a no-go against the Jaguars (2-9).

Lynch lost to Atlanta in Week 5.

The Broncos (7-4) are scrambling for a playoff spot after their loss to Kansas City in which Siemian threw for a career-best 368 yards with three TDs and no interceptions but was sacked six times.

The Broncos also promoted speedy punt returner Kalif Raymond from the practice squad with rookie fullback Andy Janovich going on injured reserve following ankle surgery.

Bills: Sammy Watkins expected to play against Oakland
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills receiver Sammy Watkins is expected to play in his second consecutive game though questions persist about the severity of his left foot injury.

On Thursday, Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said Watkins still has a broken bone in his left foot. Watkins returned from injured reserve last week after missing two months of action.

Watkins spoke with reporters Friday but was vague when pressed about Lynn's comments. Asked if he still has a broken bone in his foot, Watkins responded: "Not necessarily. You hear a lot of things."

Buffalo's top receiver had surgery in April to repair a stress fracture in the injured foot. It was aggravated in Week 3 when a teammate stepped on Watkins' foot at a walk-through.

Watkins returned against Jacksonville on Sunday and provided a major spark to the league's worst passing attack, catching three passes for 80 yards. He missed Wednesday's practice due to foot soreness but participated on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday.

"Playing the game, you come out a little bit sore being out for eight weeks," Watkins said. "So we expected that, I expected that myself. I'm fine. I got through the game last week, I felt pretty good, didn't have any hiccups, and really just keep doing the things in the training room."

Watkins said the soreness did not come until after the game against the Jaguars, not during. He's expected to again be on a snap count this Sunday at Oakland.

Watkins was also asked about the possibility of a second surgery, along with his status for the rest of the season.

"Right now I'm really just focusing on the Raiders," Watkins said. "After the season, if I need to get that done then we will, and if I don't we'll be fine."

The Bills are depending on Watkins to contribute due to reduced personnel at wide receiver. Robert Woods (knee) and Percy Harvin (illness) are out. Marquise Goodwin is expected to play after suffering a wrist injury in practice Thursday.

Starting cornerback Ronald Darby (concussion) is out. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is expected to play after leaving Sunday's win over Jacksonville with an abdominal strain.

Dismissal deal done in Johnny Manziel's domestic case
DALLAS -- Prosecutors say they have an agreement with Johnny Manziel to dismiss a domestic violence charge against the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office said Friday that Manziel will have to meet certain conditions for a year before the misdemeanor charge will be dismissed. The former Cleveland Browns player was accused of hitting and threatening former girlfriend Colleen Crowley during a night out in January.

Brittany Dunn, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors, said the agreement was filed Friday without Manziel present.

Details of the agreement weren't immediately available. A spokeswoman for the former Texas A&M star didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Judge Roberto Canas said at a hearing last month that the sides had reached a tentative deal on a conditional dismissal (see full story).

Jaguars: Ivory, Hurns ruled out; Thomas doubtful vs. Denver
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without two offensive starters Sunday against Denver and maybe a third.

Coach Gus Bradley ruled out running back Chris Ivory (hamstring) and receiver Allen Hurns (hamstring) on Friday. He also listed tight end Julius Thomas (back) as doubtful to play against the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos (7-4).

Receiver Rashad Greene (Achilles tendon) and defensive end Jared Odrick (shoulder) also are out, leaving the Jaguars (2-9) with four healthy receivers heading into the game. Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee will start, with Arrelious Benn and Bryan Walters serving as backups.

Without Ivory, T.J. Yeldon is expected to handle the bulk of the carries. But Yeldon (ankle) was limited in last week's game and again in practice this week.

Phillies DFA OF Cody Asche, claim LHP David Rollins off waivers

Phillies DFA OF Cody Asche, claim LHP David Rollins off waivers

Cody Asche's time with the Phillies has come to an end.

The Phillies claimed LHP David Rollins off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, Asche was designated for assignment. The Phillies had until 8 p.m. on Friday to tender a contract to the outfielder, but they instead chose to free up the roster spot for Rollins.

Asche played four seasons with the Phillies from 2013-16 after he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011. The St. Charles, Mo. native had a .213/.284/.350 batting line this past season over 71 games. His best season with the Phillies came as their starting third baseman in 2014, hitting 10 home runs and driving home 46 runs in 121 games.

Rollins has been on four different rosters this offseason. He pitched 31 games in relief for the Seattle Mariners over the last two seasons, sporting a 7.60 ERA over 34 1/3 innings. He was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs 15 days after the World Series and then subsequently claimed again by the Rangers. 

Rollins was a 24th round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2011 MLB Draft and was traded a year later to the Houston Astros. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners picked Rollins in the Rule 5 draft after the Astros chose not to protect him.