Red Sox-Phillies: A Series Preview

Red Sox-Phillies: A Series Preview

It's nice that we can have ourselves a Boston-Philadelphia series these
days without the primary storyline having anything to do with the city
of New York. In 2011, the Phillies and Red Sox are good enough and
established enough in their own right that there's no second-city
inferiority complex necessary—these teams have more than enough positive
recent history now, and they're building a nice little rivalry of their
own. And this time, the two will meet as arguably the two best teams in
baseball, in a series that will see the phrase "World Series Preview"
mentioned more than once
.

Sox-Phils has made for some great interleague action the last few
years, though unfortunately for us, most of it has ended up favoring
Boston. Last year alone, there was Daisuke's no-hitter through seven,
Daniel Nava's grand slam in his first-ever at bat, and a combined 22-4
Boston beatdown of Philly over the course of two games. Boston won four
of six in that season and 11 of 15 total since they started visiting
Citizens' Bank Park. "I think we’ve had a hard time beating them
in the past, the last five or six years I’ve been here," Charlie
recently reminisced. "It would be nice
to win
a series. We need to come out Tuesday and make sure we play good against
them." 

Yeah, it would be nice. The Phils are 5-4 in
interleague play this year—a respectable record, but hardly the
authoritative beatdown that the NL's best and brightest should be
providing of the hated AL, especially considering the team has been
facing off against the weak squads of the AL West. A series win against
the Red Sox, something the Fightins just haven't been able to secure
even in their contending years against the Beantowners, would be huge
for the guys, proving they can hang with the big guns of the AL and all
but ensuring them a winning interleague record.

As is almost always the case at this time in the season, neither
team will be arriving at the showdown with their arsenal fully stocked.
The Phillies are still down two starters and two closers, and with Roy
Halladay pitching on Sunday night against Oakland, the Sox will be
getting a reprieve from facing off against their old friend from
Toronto. Meanwhile, the Sox are missing two big guns from their starting
lineup—big off-season acquisition Carl Crawford, who had finally
started showing signs of being the player the Sox thought they purchased
for $142 mil in December but is now out with a hamstring injury, and
David Ortiz, on pace for one of the best seasons of his career, but
relegated to pinch-hitting duties in this series due to the DH being
unavailable in interleague play. Still, there should be plenty of star
power to go around between the two teams, as evidenced by the marquee
matchup of tonight's series opener: Cliff Lee vs. Josh Beckett, two of
the hottest starters in baseball right now.

The eyes of the baseball world will be on Philly this week for what
is in all likelihood the most highly anticipated interleague series of
the 2011 season. Maybe it's a playoff preview and maybe (probably) it
isn't, but as far as regular-season action goes, you're not gonna get
much more exciting than this. Soak it all in these next three days—and
if you happen to head down to the ballpark, be sure to say hi to JD Drew
and Terry Francona for us.

Best of NBA: Heat stun Warriors on Dion Waiters' 3 with 0.6 seconds left

Best of NBA: Heat stun Warriors on Dion Waiters' 3 with 0.6 seconds left

MIAMI -- Dion Waiters' 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left capped his 33-point effort, and the Miami Heat beat Golden State 105-102 on Monday night to end the Warriors' seven-game winning streak.

The Heat wasted a 10-point lead in the final 4 minutes, and Kevin Durant tied the game on a dunk with 11.7 seconds left. With no timeouts, Waiters walked the ball up the court and drilled what became the game-winner over Klay Thompson.

Stephen Curry missed a 3-pointer as time expired for the Warriors (see full recap).

Rivers, Crawford lead Clippers past Hawks
ATLANTA -- Austin Rivers scored 27 points and Jamal Crawford broke out of a shooting slump with 19, helping the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Atlanta Hawks 115-105 on Monday night.

Crawford had eight points in the fourth quarter, including a driving basket after Atlanta cut the Clippers' lead from 24 to five points.

Kent Bazemore led the Hawks with 25 points. Dennis Schroder had 21, and Dwight Howard added 16 points and 12 rebounds (see full recap).

Wizards beat Hornets behind Wall’s 24
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- John Wall firmly believes the Washington Wizards are a good team with plenty of playoff potential.

The key, he said, "is we just got to believe it every time we step on the court."

Wall had 24 points and seven assists, and the Wizards looked plenty confident as they continued their run up the Eastern Conference standings with a 109-99 win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night (see full recap).

Kings snap skid with win over Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with a 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.

Ty Lawson added 19 points and helped Sacramento turn the game around with a strong second quarter. Lawson scored nine points in the second, and the Kings outscored the Pistons 37-24 in the period to take a 65-62 lead into halftime.

A 3-pointer by Lawson put Sacramento up 101-90 in the fourth, and the Kings held on from there to stop Detroit's three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Jones, Holiday lead Pelicans past Cavs
NEW ORLEANS -- Terrence Jones filled in brilliantly for injured All-Star Anthony Davis, scoring a season-high 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking LeBron James' dunk attempt in the fourth quarter, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-122 on Monday night.

Jrue Holiday added 33 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, and Langston Galloway capped a 12-point night with a clean steal on James' drive in the final minute, preventing the Cavs from erasing a deficit they had trimmed from 22 late in the first half to three with 1:32 left in the game.

Kyrie Irving scoring 35 of his 49 points in the second half, but the Cleveland fell to its fifth loss in seven games. James had 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Henrik Lundqvist's 36 saves leads Rangers past Kings

Best of NHL: Henrik Lundqvist's 36 saves leads Rangers past Kings

NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots to lead the New York Rangers over the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday night.

Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel and Mats Zuccarello scored to help New York win its third straight since a three-game skid.

Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford scored, and Jeff Zatkoff finished with 14 saves for Los Angeles, which has lost four straight and five of seven.

Lundqvist has given up just four goals on 84 shots during the winning streak -- including a 1-0 shutout at Detroit on Monday -- after allowing 20 on 113 shots the previous four games.

The veteran goalie needed to be at his best in this one as the Kings, who last played Saturday across town against the Islanders, seemed a step faster from the start and controlled play for most of the first two periods (see full recap).

Caps top 'Canes to extend point streak to 14 games
WASHINGTON -- Defenseman Dmitry Orlov scored twice and the Washington Capitals kept the offense rolling to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 on Monday night and extend their point streak to 14 games.

Orlov doubled his goal output for the season and Justin Williams, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller also scored for the Capitals, who have won three in a row and haven't lost in regulation since Dec. 27. Washington scored on six of its 25 shots on Cam Ward and handed Carolina its fourth consecutive loss.

Braden Holtby made 25 saves for his 23rd victory of the season. The only goal he allowed came from Jordan Staal on the power play in the first period.

The Capitals allowed the first goal for the first time in 11 games but scored six unanswered to continue their winning ways. They've scored 44 goals in their past eight games (see full recap).

Kadri reaches 20 goals as Leafs beat Flames
TORONTO -- Nazem Kadri scored twice to tie his career high with 20 goals this season, Frederik Andersen stopped 26 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs ended a two-game winless streak with a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

Kadri beat Brian Elliott twice, and Andersen captured his second shutout as a Leaf.

Rookies Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman also scored for Toronto, which sits third in the Atlantic Division with 53 points.

Elliott gave up four goals on 28 shots, dropping his fourth consecutive start.

The Flames have lost three in a row and five of the past six. They are a point up on Vancouver for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference (see full recap).