Lee vs. Gee: Phillies Try to Block Mets Sweep

Lee vs. Gee: Phillies Try to Block Mets Sweep

Cliff Lee returns from the 15-day disabled list tonight, just in time to attempt to stave off an embarrassing three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets -- but can our hero succeed?

Lee failed to pick up a win in his previous three outings this season, a victim of non-existent run support and bullpen woes behind him. It's almost as if he's been fighting a battle at two fronts out there, dueling his own mates while staring down the enemy.

The Phillies managed to score only three runs over Lee's starts, while the pen failed to hold on in extra innings twice. In fact, the last time we saw Clifton, he was being all kinds of awesome for 10 frames of shutout ball, only to watch the game slip away in the 11th, a depressing 1-0 loss in San Francisco.

Lee is 0-1 with a 1.96 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, and 18 Ks. Coincidentally, he picked up the loss against the Mets on April 13, striking out seven over seven, but done in by a pair of long balls. Last season, he was 1-0 with a .064 ERA in two appearances against New York.

Gee-Unit
The Ny Mets squadron will toss Dillon Gee, a righthander working through his second full season in the bigs. He's 2-2 with a 4.50 in 2012, but he's been strong in his last two trips, going win and no decision while lowering his earned run average from 5.21.

Gee has had mixed results when facing the Fightins. He pulled out a W the last time they clashed, allowing nine hits, but holding Philly to two earned over six innings in a 6-3 victory on September 24. However, he got shelled on August 22, accepting responsibility for eight runs in a 10-0 final.

Lifetime, Gee is 2-1 with a 7.85 ERA versus the Phils.

Batter vs. Pitcher
Gee stands a bit better of a chance tonight though, as he's had the most trouble handling Ryan Howard (2 HR, 6 RBI), who obviously remains unavailable.

Among the guys in tonight's lineup, Jimmy Rollins is still batting 1.000 against Gee (3 H, 1 BB), and Shane Victorino has been an all-around terror (.500 OBP, 2 RBI, 1 SB). John Mayberry is the only active member in the clubhouse who has taken Gee deep, a three-run blast for his only hit.

Inside the Box Score: The Month of May-berry?
Speaking of the enigma, after mostly watching baseball in the latter half of April, Mayberry has been seeing more opportunities recently. He's started both games of this series against the Mets, going 3-for-7 with a run and an RBI. For the month of May, Mayberry is 5-for-18 (.278), and has crossed home plate four times while bumping his season average up 20 points to .224.

A sign of things to come? We'll see. Mayberry still has just three extra-base hits and 3 RBI in 2012, with 21 strikeouts to one lousy walk, so the stroke isn't all there yet. We'll see how he progresses.

Flyers' disallowed early goal costly for team struggling to score

Flyers' disallowed early goal costly for team struggling to score

It was just pouring out of Flyers swing forward Dale Weise after Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

A disallowed goal because of him.

A strong game in every respect from his teammates.

A realization that things never seem to change for Dave Hakstol’s club.

“We come out with a great start,” Weise said. “Get on the forecheck. The building is lively. We score what we think is a first goal which we haven’t done a lot this year.

“I’m not going to say it’s a game-changer. Whatever it was, it didn’t end the game. But that’s a pretty big part of the game.” 

Weise ended up grabbing Caps goalie Braden Holtby. He said he did so for support or he would have knocked him over since he was trying to position his stick.

Funny things is, Holtby apparently never felt the contact. When the Caps challenged Jakub Voracek’s goal on the first shift of the game, it was overturned.

“Yeah, I obviously didn’t see the interference part I just kind of followed the puck and next thing I know it was kind of out of the play so a little fortunate, a great call by our video coaches,” Holtby said.

Weise wasn’t sure what he did amounted to much because it happened before Voracek’s shot and not during the act of shooting that would have prevented Holtby from getting position.

“To be really honest with you I don’t think I really touched him that hard,” Weise said.

Goals are so hard to come by these days for the Flyers. To score one a half-minute into play in a huge rivalry game, with them so desperate for points, and then to lose the goal and the momentum early, it becomes a significant event in the overall outcome.

The Caps made the most of their chances. Just like Calgary did last week.

“Winning and losing is so thin in this league and when you’re playing a team like that who just has loads of offensive talent, you give them one, two opportunities and they score on it,” Weise said.

“For a team like us that doesn’t score very often, that’s tough. We are playing behind the eight ball every night. It’s frustrating. I’m not going to lie and say it’s not in our head when we get down because you can see the way we play.

“We’re gripping the sticks. I really liked our effort though. I thought we played hard the whole night. Full marks to our team but it’s just kind of the same story every night.”

It’s trite but the term “snake bit” has been used a lot lately in talking about the Flyers since their 10-game win streak ended.

“That’s a good way to put it,” Weise said. “Look at that one there. Touch the goalie, goal disallowed. [Ivan Provorov] hits the cross bar. We had a couple other chances in tight. Snake bitten, I don’t even know if there’s a word for how I feel right now.”

It doesn’t get any easier this weekend with the Flyers' playing in their first outdoor game in five seasons.

Another even more bitter rival: the Penguins at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on Saturday night. Taking two from the Pens will require a supreme effort and maybe a little luck for a change. The Flyers have been real short on luck all season.

The Flyers' dressing room after games, of late, has the feel of a morgue sometimes. Over the last 10 games, the Flyers have seven losses (including overtime). In six of those losses, they have scored one goal or no goals.

“We got a pretty positive group in here,” Weise said. “We try our best to come in every day and be positive. It’s a tough situation right now. Every day we’re fighting for our playoff life so that’s in the back of everyone’s mind.

“It makes it more frustrating when you’re playing, so well. I thought we played a pretty good game tonight. That goal disallowed we come right back. They make it two nothing on the power play.

“We kept going. We played well. We had a lot of chances. Good start to the second period again. We came out strong but we just can’t seem to finish.”

Veteran defenseman Mark Streit said they're playing well, but losing doesn’t make up ground in the standings. The Flyers remain three points out of the wild card going into the weekend.

Of their remaining 22 games, 19 are against the Eastern Conference, so mathematically, they have a chance to recoup points.

“We keep telling that we’ve been playing pretty well but lose a lot of hockey games,” Streit said. “We just got to find a way ...

“We have to find a way to turn it around, to get the bounces, just to get a little bit lucky out there, and to get the ugly goal. It’s tough. It’s frustrating. But it’s also the bloody truth.” 

Joel Embiid reacts to Nerlens Noel trade on Twitter: 'Trust it'

Joel Embiid reacts to Nerlens Noel trade on Twitter: 'Trust it'

Nerlens Noel was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday morning and the move caught much of Philadelphia off guard. Jahlil Okafor was the player who was rumored to be most likely to be dealt, so when news of Nerlens broke, the emotions were flowing.

One person who didn't overreact was The Process himself, Joel Embiid, who called Nerlens his "best friend on the team."

"Gonna miss my best friend but I'm happy for him... He represented the process since he was here from the start.. One more time>>> Trust It," Embiid tweeted.

Nerlens was also spotted at the Sixers' training complex in Camden giving out some goodbye hugs.