From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Jimmy Rollins swigged champagne after winning a division title, went wild when the Phillies won the National League pennant, and took a ride on that unforgettable parade down the heart of Philadelphia after a World Series championship.The Phillies have done it all the last five years.Well, except win a wild card berth.Rollins connected on a two-run homer and Cliff Lee pitched seven strong innings to lead the streaking Phillies to their seventh straight win, 3-1 over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.The second NL wild-card spot is firmly in sight for the Phillies with 19 games remaining."We're in it," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We're dead in it pretty good."Oh yes, they are. And they show no signs of slowing down.The Phillies continued their late push with a three-game sweep of the Marlins. Up next for the Phillies, four games in Houston against the NL-worst Astros. Then it's three games in New York against the going-nowhere Mets.Philadelphia pulled within three games of St. Louis for the second wild card after the Cardinals lost 3-2 in San Diego.The Phillies (72-71) are on a season-best winning streak and have won 15 of 19 to move over .500 for the first time since they were 28-27 on June 3."If we can continue to play the way we have since the All-Star break, we have a pretty good chance," Lee said.The clubhouse TVs had on a pair of games that will shape the NL wild-card race: St. Louis at San Diego and Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.The Phillies will have to at least get past the Cardinals and Pirates, two fading teams, to snag a postseason spot.This September has a familiar feel from 2007 when the Phillies trailed the Mets by seven games with 17 to play. The Mets collapsed and the Phillies would win their first division title since 1993.With Manuel calmly leading the way, the Phillies haven't skipped a postseason since, winning the World Series in 2008."We're in it pretty good," Manuel said.Phillippe Aumont worked a scoreless eighth and Jonathan Papelbon completed the four-hitter with his 34th save. Papelbon fanned Gorkys Hernandez with two runners on to end it.The five-time defending NL East champions have made an amazing run since they seemed out of contention at 37-51 on July 13. Fueled by a rotation that has found its groove, and unexpected contributions from role players, the Phillies have become one of the hottest teams in baseball.Their 15-4 record since Aug. 23 is the best in the National League and they are 21-8 in their last 29 home games.Josh Johnson (8-12) did his best to shut down the Phillies early, taking a no-hitter and a 1-0 lead into the sixth.Rollins led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice and scored on John Mayberry Jr.'s two-out single to center.With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley slumping, the Phillies have relied on clutch hits from unheralded players like Mayberry during this recent streak. Mayberry beat Colorado on Sunday with the winning single in the ninth inning.But it's the stars like Rollins, who declined to talk to the media, who still need to shine during the stretch drive.Lee (5-7) seemed headed toward a tough luck no-decision until the offense came through with timely hits in the seventh.Pinch hitting for Lee, Pete Orr hit a two-out single. Rollins followed with his 19th homer, a two-run shot to right, that sent the late-afternoon crowd into a frenzy and gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead.With little expected at the start of September, the Phillies are playing loose and having fun."Nobody's saying we've got to win 20 in a row," Orr said.Lee struck out the side in the fourth inning and fanned Hernandez to open the fifth. He tossed four-hit ball and struck out six in seven innings to earn only his second home victory of the season.Lee has regained his Cy Young form after making 13 starts to open the season without a win. He also had a stint on the disabled list and even had a 10-inning scoreless outing wasted against San Francisco when the Giants won 1-0 in the 11th."It's their pitching, that's how they're back in it," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.Lee allowed only an unearned run in the sixth after two straight Marlins batters reached on errors.Rollins, who leads all NL shortstops in fielding percentage, booted Donovan Solo's grounder. Jose Reyes hit a one-hopper that Lee snagged wide of the mound, whirled around and threw wide to second for an error. Carlos Lee followed two batters later with an RBI single to right for the 1-0 lead.That's the kind of sloppy play that might have done in the Phillies before the All-Star break.Not this month.Notes: The Phillies are on their longest winning streak since a nine-game run from July 29-Aug. 6, 2011. ... Philadelphia's starting pitchers are 15-5 over the last 28 games. ... The Marlins head home to start a three-game series with the Reds. ... Marlins RF Justin Ruggiano was ejected in the second inning for arguing balls and strikes.
The Ravens liked their draft, and so did Las Vegas.
In mid-March prior to the draft, the Ravens had 40-1 odds to win Super Bowl 51, according to Bovada. After their 11-player haul in the draft, the Ravens’ Super Bowl odds have improved to 33-1, according to Bovada.
Here are the six teams whose Super Bowl odds improved most dramatically after the draft, according to Bovada:
Browns – 150-1 to 100-1
Redskins – 50-1 to 40-1
Jets – 50-1 to 40-1
Giants - 33-1 to 25-1
Raiders – 33-1 to 25-1
Ravens – 40-1 to 33-1
Despite quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension being upheld, the Patriots remained the favorites for Super Bowl 51 (7-1), followed by the Seahawks (8-1), Packers (10-1), Steelers (10-1), and Panthers (11-1).
As for the AFC North, the Ravens still have their work cut out according to Vegas. The Steelers and Bengals (18-1) still have better Super Bowl odds than the Ravens.
So if you believe the Ravens are a better team after the draft, Vegas would agree. However, it remains to be seen if the Ravens will be improved enough to get back into the playoffs.
Bovada has released their updated World Series odds after the first month of the 2016 MLB season and the Nationals are rising the ranks. They are now tied for second in best odds to with the World Series with the New York Mets. The only team ahead of them is the Chicago Cubs, who they face in their next series beginnning Thursday.
Here are teh full updated odds courtesy of Bovada:
Odds on 4/4/16 Current Odds (5/316)
Chicago Cubs 5/1 5/1
New York Mets 12/1 10/1
Washington Nationals 18/1 10/1
Boston Red Sox 14/1 12/1
Chicago White Sox 33/1 12/1
Toronto Blue Jays 10/1 12/1
Kansas City Royals 14/1 14/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 12/1 14/1
San Francisco Giants 8/1 14/1
Texas Rangers 25/1 18/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 20/1 20/1
St. Louis Cardinals 18/1 20/1
Detroit Tigers 20/1 22/1
Seattle Mariners 40/1 22/1
Arizona Diamondbacks 25/1 28/1
Baltimore Orioles 40/1 28/1
Cleveland Indians 18/1 33/1
Houston Astros 16/1 33/1
Los Angeles Angels 40/1 33/1
Oakland Athletics 66/1 40/1
Miami Marlins 50/1 50/1
New York Yankees 25/1 50/1
Tampa Bay Rays 40/1 50/1
Colorado Rockies 150/1 75/1
Philadelphia Phillies 150/1 75/1
Minnesota Twins 50/1 125/1
San Diego Padres 125/1 150/1
Cincinnati Reds 125/1 200/1
Milwaukee Brewers 125/1 200/1
Atlanta Braves 150/1 500/1
PITTSBURGH -- Left wing Marcus Johansson is expected to be in the lineup tonight in Game 4 when the Capitals look to even their second-round playoff series against the Penguins at Consol Energy Center.
So is defenseman Mike Weber, who told NHL.com he will be in the lineup tonight against the team he grew up watching. Weber is expected to replace Nate Schmidt, who was a minus-1 in Monday night’s 3-2 loss in Game 3.
While most of his teammates participated in an optional morning skate on Wednesday, Johansson played a spirted game of soccer knockout with teammates T.J. Oshie and defenseman Matt Niskanen.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Johansson will be “available” to play tonight but said reporters would need to wait until warmups to see if Weber, who grew up in nearby Cranberry Township, would be in the lineup. Weber is expected to be paired with Taylor Chorney, while Dmitry Orlov, who was benched in Game 2, is expected to be paired with John Carlson.
“I was born here and raised here, but I want to compete for the Stanley Cup, so any game it’s nice to get in,” Weber told NHL.com. “It’s nice to be able to compete with my teammates here.”
As for Schmidt, who logged 13:31 of ice time in Game 3 and was on the ice for Carl Hagelin’s goal, Trotz said he’d like to see better decision making from the 24-year-old blue liner.
“You have to be acute at this time and I didn’t think we were as good in that,” Treotz said. “We don’t have time to pat the guy on the back. You just move on. … Nothing’s personal; it just needs to be done and you have to make those tough decisions.”
Trotz said he thought Weber was “real solid defensively” in his only playoff appearance this post-season, a series-clinching 1-0 win over the Flyers in Round 1.
Trotz on Letang: Asked his reaction to the one-game suspension issued to Penguins defenseman Kris Letang for his open-ice hit on Johansson, Trotz replied: “My reaction to the suspension is the league dealt with it and he’s not playing today so we have to take advantage of them missing a real terrific defenseman.”
With Letang out of the lineup it appears defensemen Justin Schultz and Derrick Pouliot will make up the Penguins’ third defense pairing, and Brian Dumoulin will be paired with Trevor Daley on the Pens’ top unit.
“All of us D men have to step up,” said Schultz, who has not played since Game 1 of the first round. “He’s a hard man to replace. I don’t know if you can replace him.”
Dumoulin said all of the Penguins’ blue liners need to be aware of the Capitals’ strong forecheck, especially after seeing the Caps deliver 58 hits in Game 3, nine of them from Alex Ovechkin.
“He’ll definitely take that extra step and try to finish you and we have to be aware of that,” Dumoulin said. “We know he’s going to finish sometimes a little high, too. We’ve got to be prepared and brace ourselves for those hits.”
Fehr out? Penguins forwards Eric Fehr and Bryan Rust did not participate in the Pens’ optional morning skate and both could be out of the lineup tonight, with Oskar Sundqvist and Tom Sestito possible replacements.
Sundqvist, 22, is a 6-foot-3, 209-pound Swede with one career playoff game. Sestito, a hard-hitting, glove-dropping, 6-foot-5, 228-pounder from Rome, N.Y., also has one game of NHL playoff experience.
In 141 career NHL games Sestito has 41 fights and 451 penalty minutes.
“We’ll have to keep our heads up,” Capitals right wing Andre Burakovsky said.
Goalie carousel: Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he’ll go with Matt Murray as his starting goaltender for Game 4, even though Marc-Andre Fleury appears to be ready to return from a concussion.
"Matt is obviously playing really good hockey right now and Marc is trying to establish his game and hasn't played in a while,” Sullivan said. “With as well as Matt is playing, common sense would suggest that we should probably stay with him. Having said that, we think we have two really good goalies that we can rely on to help us win."