You Again: Cliff Lee Meets His Old Texas Buddies

You Again: Cliff Lee Meets His Old Texas Buddies

After a mid-season trade, Cliff Lee left behind his status as cellar-dweller staff anchor and became his new squad's presumptive ace, helping them get to the post-season and powering them to the World Series once there. Incredibly, it's a story in which Clifton Phifer played the lead character in two separate productions, once with each of the teams squaring off at Citizens Bank Park today. Of course, with the Rangers being Lee's most recent supporting cast for the plot, most assumed that he'd be returning to the role for this year and beyond once he became a free agent in the off-season, but much to our surprise and delight, he decided to stick with his original Philly crew for the long haul.

Lee has gotten off to something of a slow start in the first season of his five-year deal with the Fightins, going only 2-4 in his nine starts thusfar. But as has been the case with Cliff in each season since his incredible 22-3 Cy Young campaign in 2008, his record has been a poor indicator of how well he's pitched, with his 3.84 ERA, 68 strikeouts (good for 4h in the league) and just 13 walks, nearly half of which came in his last start against the Cardinals. To their credit, the Rangers staff has stepped up admirably in Lee's absence, with three regular starters (C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando and tonight's starter, Colby Lewis) posting ERAs under 4.00, though offensive issues (of the team's three best hitters last year, two are injured and one is now on the Orioles) have kept the team hovering around the .500 mark for the season.

Of course, the Phillies know all about injury-related offensive issues, as even with last night's Halladay-driven win over the Rangers, the team still has not scored more than three runs in a game since their 5-4 victory in Atlanta eight games ago. With half the team's starting lineup on the shelf, it was clear there were going to be stretches like this, but pushing this streak into double digits would still be a little much to swallow. If 57-year-old Jason Giambi can push four guys across the plate on his lonesome, a couple of our guys should be able to get hot enough to average a run every other inning. Is Domonic Brown the answer? I tend to doubt it, at least for the first few weeks, but lord knows with the kind of production we've been getting on the right side of the outfield lately—minus Benny's dinger last night—we don't have too many places to go but up.

7:10 first pitch from CBP. “I hope they respected the way that I went about my business and if they were able to learn some things, that’s being part of being a good teammate,” Lee said of his old Texas squad. “Other than that, I wish them the best of the luck except for the next couple of days.” Well put, Phife.

Draymond Green says what we all really think about Joel Embiid

Draymond Green says what we all really think about Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid has caught the eye of a Golden State Warrior.

At Golden State's shootaround Sunday night at the Sixers' practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, Warriors power forward Draymond Green said what we all think about Joel Embiid.

"He has a chance to be really f------ good," Green said.

Green and the Warriors will miss Embiid Monday when they tip off against the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center. Embiid will miss two more games to minimize the risk of aggravating his left knee injury. The Sixers are targeting Friday against the Knicks for his return (see story).

Embiid hasn't played since the Jan. 27 game against Houston and has missed 16 of their last 17 games. Still, the 22-year-old has shown, when healthy, he's a special player that Sixers can build around.

In 31 games -- with minute restrictions and missing 27 games, too -- Embiid is averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists. He's shooting 46.6 from the field, and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. Despite running a tremendous Twitter campaign for the NBA All-Star Game, he missed out being an All-Star in his first year. He won the NBA's Rookie of the Month for October, November, December and January. Yeah, we all agree with Green.

But how much of Embiid has Green seen?

"I haven't had a chance to watch him," Green said. "I think he has a chance to be damn good. He's figuring it out. He's versatile. He can do a lot of things."

For more from the Warriors on the Sixers' potential, watch the video above.

Best of NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky ties career high with 32nd win as Blue Jackets top Rangers

Best of NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky ties career high with 32nd win as Blue Jackets top Rangers

NEW YORK -- Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg each scored twice to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots to tie his career high with his 32nd win. Josh Anderson also scored and Oliver Bjorkstrand had two assists to help the Blue Jackets win for the fourth time in five games.

Columbus won for the second time in two days after its bye week and moved past the Rangers into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Blue Jackets won three of five in the season series -- including both games at Madison Square Garden -- after losing seven straight meetings coming in.

Rick Nash scored a tying goal for the Rangers early in the first period. Jesper Fast scored in the final second, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 26 saves (see full recap).

Surging Blackhawks beat Blues on late Anisimov goal
CHICAGO -- Artem Anisimov scored with 5:20 left in the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win and ninth in their last 10.

Anisimov beat Jake Allen on the glove side from the right edge of the crease for his 22nd goal after taking a pinpoint cross-ice pass from linemate Artemi Panarin. Tanner Kero added an empty-netter with 2.6 seconds left.

Patrick Kane assisted on Anisimov's winner and scored a power-play goal. Jonathan Toews also had a goal and an assist for surging Chicago, which pulled one point behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an assist for his 500th NHL point.

Magnus Paajarvi and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, who played their first game following their bye week and lost their third straight (see full recap).

Gaudreau's 2 goals helps Flames down Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and an assist to help the Calgary Flames beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Sunday.

Micheal Ferland also scored for the Flames. They have earned at least one point in six straight games, going 5-0-1 in that stretch to move into playoff position in the Western Conference.

Victor Rask scored on the power play for Carolina. The Hurricanes have lost six of seven to fall into last place in the Metropolitan Division.

Brian Elliott made 34 saves for the Flames, with his best coming with roughly 15 minutes to play when he stopped Jeff Skinner from point-blank range.

Eddie Lack finished with 21 saves. He made his second straight start for Carolina (see full recap).

Turris, Anderson lead Senators past Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kyle Turris scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period and Craig Anderson stopped 37 shots to lift the Ottawa Senators over the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Sunday night.

Zack Smith had an early short-handed goal for the Senators, who have won four of six.

Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida, and James Reimer made 31 saves. The Panthers have lost three straight after sweeping a five-game road trip, and dropped their last four home games overall.

Turris put Ottawa ahead when his wrist shot went over Reimer's glove at 9:58 of the second for his 21st goal of the season.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead on a short-handed goal by Smith. Reimer blocked a shot from Erik Karlsson, but Smith grabbed the rebound and poked in the puck at 6:28 of the first. Smith has 12 career short-handed goals (see full recap).