Reasons to get excited for Phillies baseball: At least we get to watch Cliff Lee every fifth day

Reasons to get excited for Phillies baseball: At least we get to watch Cliff Lee every fifth day

They're not really built to be a win now team. They haven't been bad enough over the past few seasons to have promising young pieces to look ahead to a bright future. And their spring was one for the crapper.

So aside from "it's always nice to have baseball around" and "the lines at Citizens Bank Park won't be very long," what do Phillies fans have to look forward to over the next 162 games?

Admittedly, there aren't many reasons that will get you super stoked for baseball in Philadelphia this season, but it's opening day and we're trying to be optimistic here.

Cliff Lee

Without a doubt, the most redeeming quality about your favorite baseball team this season is that you can bank on Cliff Lee taking the ball every fifth day and working with incredible precision. Plus he's got that attitude many have come to love. No matter how bad the guys playing behind him are, you can count on Cliff to throw a gem every couple of weeks. That's certainly worth tuning in for.

Jimmy, Ryan, Chase, Cole

They're getting older, absolutely. But there's no denying these were the guys who gave us the greatest run in recent Phillies memory. Perhaps it's a bit foolish to hold on for so long, but we do have one last campaign with these players. There's probably something worth savoring in there.

Kid ain't afraid to get dirty

Cody Asche and Dom Brown

From a late season call up in 2013 to your opening day starter in 2014, Asche is one of the young guys who we're just getting to know who could be around when this team ever turns back into a legit contender. You could put Dom Brown in that category as well, but obviously he's had a rockier path. We know a little bit more about what we have in Brown, but we don't know if he plateaued in 2013 or if there's room for him to turn into one of the game's greats.

Ryne Sandberg

Loved Charlie Manuel to death but it was time. Ryne Sandberg clearly has a different attitude in running his club. We got a taste of it last year, but this is the first time it's his club from day one. It'll be fun to watch and learn what we have in a manager all season long. Early indications point to him wanting things done the right way all the time.

Ben Revere

Watching him run into a wall in centerfield every once in a while is pretty entertaining.

Franzke and L.A.

If anyone can make bad baseball a little more fun, it's these two.

Jamie Moyer, Matt Stairs, and Michael Jack

This is going to be one of the biggest changes to the fan experience this season. I don't think we got enough out of spring from these guys to really know what we have from the new TV crew.

Maikel Franco and Jesse Biddle In Waiting

The kids could be the next studs we grow to love. Could get our first glimpse of them at CBP later in the season.

Nobody Expects a Damn Thing Out of this Bunch

Maybe Ruben Amaro Jr. does but everyone else expects very little out of the 2014 Phillies. When you expect next to nothing, they only have to play a tiny bit above expectations to surprise you. So maybe we'll all get a pleasant surprise this summer.

Hopefully it'll be fun for more than a few weeks.

First pitch today shortly after 2:00 pm.

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.

The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks -- and had another dustup with King James in the process.

James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.

Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas (see full recap).

Thomas explodes for 17 in fourth quarter to lift Celtics over Hornets
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late -- scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight -- all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period (see full recap).

Wizards remain hot with win over Trail Blazers
WASHINGTON  -- Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as the Washington Wizards took a page from the Portland Trail Blazers' playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers in a comfortable 120-101 victory on Monday afternoon.

The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc in their 12th consecutive home victory. The 3-pointer-heavy Trail Blazers shot 8 of 26 on 3-point attempts.

After Washington coach Scott Brooks called Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as good as any backcourt in the league, Beal and John Wall outplayed them. Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.

The Wizards have won four of their last five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.

Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with two assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.

The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge (see full recap).

Eichel scores twice to give Sabres' 4-1 win over Stars
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored 19 seconds into the first period. Ennis returned after missing 30 games with a groin injury that required surgery.

Jake McCabe also had a goal and Robin Lehner made 31 saves after missing the past three games with an illness.

The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Stars for the first time in four matchups.

Radek Faksa scored for the Stars in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots. Dallas has lost two in a row and six of eight (see full recap).

Bishop anchors Lightning to 2-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Boyle scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Ben Bishop made an early mistake that led to Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings, but bounced back to make 31 saves in his second start back from a three-week absence with a lower-body injury.

Tyler Johnson scored in the first period for the Lightning, who won for just the second time in seven games.

Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for the Kings.

Both teams played without stars due to illness. Kings captain Anze Kopitar missed his first game since Nov. 20, and All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman missed his first game of the season for Tampa Bay (see full recap).