Phillies Notes from a Weekend of Indifference: You've Got to Read How Ryan Howard Broke His Toe

Phillies Notes from a Weekend of Indifference: You've Got to Read How Ryan Howard Broke His Toe

If you're a die-hard, you've probably been keeping close tabs on the Phillies even as this season winds down. We know a healthy number of you tuned out to some extent though, certainly since they were officially eliminated from postseason play on Friday, if not much earlier.

Well, the Fightins were plugging along in Miami anyway over the weekend -- those of them who are still healthy enough to go on at least. You see, Ryan Howard's season ended a little earlier than anticipated on Saturday. Officially, the slugger has a broken toe, which is true of course.

But really, it's because he's clumsy.

Before an at bat on Thursday, Howard was swinging one of those heavy, metallic practice bats in the on-deck circle. The pipe slipped out of his hand, as he put it (another phrasing would be he dropped it), and landed right on his big toe resulting in a hairline fracture.

"It hurt."

You don't say.

It's not exactly Adam Eaton stabbing himself with a knife while trying to open a DVD, or Hunter Pence walking into and shattering a glass door. And we can all laugh about it now since it's not expected to impact his offseason. Just, you know, be careful.

Halladay's, Hamels', Cloyd's Seasons Over; Cole Sets Personal Milestone

There was some debate as to whether Roy Halladay was going to, or should for that matter, make his final start of the season on Saturday. He did, but it was nothing memorable.

One week after his worst outing as a Phillie where he allowed seven runs in 1.2 innings of work versus the Braves, Doc's performance to close out his 2012 was only modestly better. He was yanked after five-plus, surrendering four, but managing to come away with his 11th win thanks to a nine-run outburst from his mates.

Still, the last two starts jumped Halladay's ERA from 4.03 to 4.49, his highest figure since 2000.

Cole Hamels also made his final appearance of the year on Sunday, setting the bar even higher for 2013 and beyond. With a 4-1 victory, the Phils wound up taking two of three off of the Marlins, with Hamels raising his season win total to 17, a personal best. Afterwards, Charlie Manuel was adamant the lefty can top that, too.

"Without a doubt, before his career is over, he’ll win 20. I’m still looking for him to have a really big year, 22, 24 wins. It’s in there. Things just have to go his way."

Two great pitchers, perhaps heading in two remarkably different directions. Hamels finished with a 3.05 ERA and 216 strikeouts, figures bolstered by seven frames on one-run ball on Sunday.

Finally, 25-year-old Tyler Cloyd will not start Tuesday's game as scheduled, with Ruben Amaro citing the tank is on E. Cloyd went 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA over his first six big league starts. No word yet on who gets the ball for Tuesday in the send-off series at Washington.

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).