Javy Vazquez vs. Cliff Lee: Who You Got?

Javy Vazquez vs. Cliff Lee: Who You Got?

Some double-header, huh? Whether your thing is more come-from-behind wins thanks to last-second heroics or suspense-less blowouts where business gets taken care of early, yesterday probably left you feeling pretty good about being a fan of the Fightins. After the two wins over the Marlins, combined with the Braves getting shut out by a group Mets effort from Dillon Gee, D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Parnell and Francisco Rodriguez (snicker), we are now five games up in the NL East, and an incredible 10.5 games above Florida, once considered the greatest threat to the Phils' division supremacy. Nice.

And now, for a final act, the Phillies look to close out the four-gamer against the Marlins and beleaguered starter Javier Vazquez. After a Cy Young-caliber season for the Braves two years ago, Javy has struggled to achieve anywhere near that level of success with his next two teams–the Yankees last year, and the Marlins in 2011, for whom he has a 3-6 record and a 7.09 ERA (yikes!) Vazquez is walking more people and striking out less, and has gone more than six innings only once in his 13 starts this year. The last time the Phils saw Javy, they roughed him up for six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, which is about par for the course for Vazquez these days. We couldn't ask for a better guy to go for the sweep against.

Meanwhile, taking the mound for the good guys is Cliff Lee, on something of a tear since experiencing one of his roughest starts of the season a few weeks ago in Washington. In his last two outings, Cliff has pitched a combined 15 innings, given up just 1 run and struck out 17 batters, as he and rotation co-anchor Roy Halladay continue to pass off the league lead in Ks to one another like a couple of LeBron Jameses in the fourth quarter. (Ho!) With our offense finally starting to come around a little, if our rotation keeps up the work they've been putting in lately, five games could be absolutely nothing compared to just how far we can pull away in this division.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Early 1:05 start from CBP against the Fightin' Fish. A note, though—through 69 games last year, we were 37-32, six games behind our 43-26 start to this season. And we ended up winning 97 games last year. Just sayin'…

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets crush Islanders, 7-0

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets crush Islanders, 7-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Unlike some other NHL teams coming off their bye week, there wasn't a spot of rust on the sleek Columbus Blue Jackets.

In their first game following a five-day break, the high-energy Blue Jackets blew out the New York Islanders 7-0 Saturday as backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo earned his first career shutout.

Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno each scored twice, and David Savard had a goal and three assists. Boone Jenner and Jack Johnson also scored to help the Blue Jackets end New York's three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Zibanejad scores in OT to help Rangers beat Devils again
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York Rangers are finding ways to win, and the New Jersey Devils just aren't.

Moments after goaltender Antti Raanta stopped Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway, Mika Zibanejad scored 1:16 into overtime and the Rangers rallied to beat the Devils 4-3 on Saturday.

"I had to redeem myself after that letdown on the breakaway the other way," said Zibanejad, whose mistake gave Palmieri a chance to complete a hat trick. "Rants came up big and it's nice to see that puck cross the goal line once again and win the game."

The goal was Zibanejad's first in 16 games and it gave the Rangers their ninth win in 11 games (9-1-1). Struggling New Jersey got its fourth loss in five games (1-3-1) (see full recap).

Shaw's OT goal gives Canadiens 14th straight win over the Leafs
TORONTO -- Andrew Shaw scored 1:06 into overtime and the Montreal Canadiens beat Toronto 3-2 on Saturday night for their 14th consecutive victory over the Maple Leafs.

Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk had the other goals for the Canadiens, who increased their Atlantic Division lead to four points over Ottawa and five on Toronto. They are 3-7-1 in the last 11 games and 2-2-0 under new coach Claude Julien.

Carey Price stopped 32 shots for Montreal, including a breakaway by Auston Matthews in overtime. The 19-year-old Matthews scored twice to reach 30 goals in his rookie season, and Frederik Andersen was sharp with 25 saves for Toronto (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

DALLAS -- Harrison Barnes scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks ended a three-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 96-83 on Saturday night.

The Pelicans fell to 0-2 since trading for DeMarcus Cousins and pairing him with Anthony Davis.

Davis had 39 points and 14 rebounds but scored only 12 in the second half. Cousins finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Seth Curry scored 10 of his 13 in the fourth quarter to help Dallas pull away. His 3-pointer with 4:49 to play gave the Mavericks an 84-72 lead, and the Pelicans never got closer than six after that (see full recap).

Harden leads Rockets past Timberwolves in 142-130 shootout
HOUSTON -- James Harden had 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 142-130 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves as both teams set season scoring highs in a Saturday night shootout.

Houston won for the sixth time in seven games, handing the Timberwolves their first road loss in more than three weeks.

Minnesota committed a season-high 25 turnovers that led to 38 points for the Rockets.

Playing against Houston's guard-heavy rotation, Minnesota went inside all night and outscored the Rockets 68-44 in the paint. Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 points and 22 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins added 30 points (see full recap).

Bulls benefit as James sits with strep, beat Cavs 117-99
CLEVELAND -- Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler recorded a triple-double, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 117-99 victory Saturday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without LeBron James.

James missed the game with strep throat, and coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn't sure how long the Cavaliers would be without the four-time MVP. Cleveland struggled as it often does without its star - they are 4-19 without him since he returned to Cleveland in 2014, including 0-4 this season.

Chicago has won all three games against Cleveland this season. It took advantage of James' absence to win its fourth straight overall (see full recap).

George ejected, Heat stay hot with 113-95 win over Pacers
MIAMI -- Paul George had another frustrating night in Miami.

Hassan Whiteside scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Dion Waiters added 22 points and the red-hot Miami Heat pulled away late to beat the Indiana Pacers 113-95 on Saturday night. Miami outscored Indiana 42-22 in the final 16 minutes, all with George watching from the Pacers' locker room after an ejection.

"It felt like a playoff-type game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said (see full recap).