Verlander terrific as Tigers shut out Orioles


Verlander terrific as Tigers shut out Orioles

Maybe the Orioles were watching Justin Verlander in the All-Star Game. If they were, they saw a much different pitcher on Sunday than the National League did.Verlander allowed just three hits in eight innings as he won his seventh game in as many decisions against the Oriolesthe best record he has against any team.Sundays 4-0 Orioles loss to the Detroit Tigers before 30,439 at Oriole Park wasnt terribly disheartening because they know how difficult Verlander is to beat.He may not be the American League MVP again this year, and he likely wont equal his 24-5 record, but he looked nearly unhittable .After the All-Star Game, I thought were going to have a good shot of lighting him up, but I think he was just setting us up, Chris Davis said.Joking aside, Davis was hitless in three at-bats and is just 1-for-9 against Verlander.I felt like at times he was just toying with us, Davis said.Jim Thome had a first-inning single and a third-inning double, and those were the only hits against Verlander until Mark Reynolds singled in the seventh. Thome is 14-for-52 with seven home runs against Verlander (10-5). When he had some struggles in the All-Star Game, I wasnt too excited about it, manager Buck Showalter said.I kind of had an idea he was going to be on top of his game today. We shouldnt feel like hes picking on us. Hes been doing that to a lot of hitters.Detroit (46-43) scored a run against Miguel Gonzalez in the firstor was that Gonzales? The Mexican-born right-hander making his second career start wore a jersey with his last name spelled incorrectly in the first inning. Austin Jackson hit a home run on Gonzalezs second pitch, his 10th of the season.In the second with Gonzalez wearing a proper jersey, the Tigers made it 2-0. Brennan Boesch led off with a double, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Jhonny Peraltas single.I had two jerseys here, but I didnt know which to wear, so I just grabbed the first one I saw, and they just told me it was wrong. So I just changed it after that, Gonzalez said.Gonzalez (1-1) worked into the sixth inning with a 3-0 deficit and the bases loaded after 100 pitches. Alex Avilas RBI single gave Detroit a three-run lead in the sixth.Robert Andino injured his left shoulder diving in an attempt to stop Avilas hit. He left the field and was replaced by Ryan Flaherty.Showalter said Andino would stay in Baltimore and receive an MRI. Roberts as tough as they come. For him to come out of a game, it gives you some concern, Showalter said.The Orioles have to make room for Zach Britton, wholl start Tuesdays game, and they hope that moving Andino to the disabled list isnt the move theyll have to make.I dont think Ill go on the DL, Andino said. It should be like a few days, hopefully. For me to come out of the game, its got to be something.If the Orioles have to place Andino on the disabled list, Flaherty and Steve Tolleson can both play second base.
Gonzalez gave up six hits and three runs in 5 23 innings. He walked five and struck out three.I kept the team in the game. Thats what Im trying to do, Gonzalez said.Verlander struck out eight and walked two. After he fanned J.J. Hardy to end the eighth, Verlander walked off the mound, shaking hands in the dugout, his hot day done.After his disastrous All-Star Game start on Tuesday, Verlander had a much easier time with the Orioles (46-42).I just needed to tell myself that thats not the pitcher that I am. I think everybody that has watched me or follows the Tigers or myself knows that thats not me; thats not the way I normally pitch, Verlander said.Steve Johnson, recalled earlier in the day, made his major league debut, walking the first two batters he faced in the eighth. He retired the last three and was allowed to pitch the ninth.With one out, Miguel Cabrera hit a long home-run to right-center, his 20th of the season for a 4-0 lead. After the game, Johnson was returned to Norfolk, making room for Chris Tillman, wholl start Monday.Jose Valverde pitched the ninth, allowing a hit, preserving the shutout.NOTES-The Orioles were shut out for the seventh time this season, all in the last 38 games.-The Orioles begin a four-game series in Minneapolis on Monday. Tillman (1-0, 0.00) faces Scott Diamond (7-3, 2.62).

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Another test

The Wizards continue their difficult stretch coming out of the All-Star break against a very dangerous Sixers team. Philly has proven to be very streaky this season, but right now they are rolling. They come to Washington having won their last seven games dating back to Feb. 6 when they beat the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards are also playing well, having won eight of their last 11, despite their loss to the Hornets on Friday.

The Sixers are currently seventh in the East and appear on track to make the playoffs. If they keep rising the standings, they could meet the Wizards, who are currently fourth, in the first round. 


Season series

Speaking of the playoffs, this game could end up looming large for postseason seeding. The Sixers have won two of the three matchups between these teams this year. If they win on Sunday, they will take the season series and own the tiebreaker over Washington.

If the two teams tie head-to-head and end up with the same record at the end of the season, it will then come down to conference record. The Sixers currently have a better record against East teams than the Wizards. But if they can beat Philly this time, the Wizards will have a chance to secure the conference tiebreaker down the stretch of this season.


Sixers are tough to guard

The Wizards have found out the hard way this season just how difficult it can be to match up with the Sixers, who are led by two emerging stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid is 7-foot-1 with rare abilities to stretch the floor and beat opponents off the dribble. Simmons is 6-foot-10, yet can lead the fastbreak with rare speed and vision to find his teammates with crisp passes.

The mobility for their size is almost unmatched and it has not been easy for the Wizards to answer. In their last meeting earlier this month, Simmons had 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Embiid had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Wizards have to try to limit those guys while also dealing with other challenges like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Reddick.


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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 25, 17 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Five Redskins who will have to step up in 2018

Originally published 12/26/17

WR Josh Doctson—This list is in no particular order but if it was, Doctson would be right here at the top. The watchword for Doctson is consistency. He makes some incredible catches and then there are throws that he drops or doesn’t quite seem to make enough of an effort to catch. There is promise there. The first-round pick has shown his ability and his teammates say he has a chance to be elite. But the potential must translate into production on the field, week in and week out.  

RB Samaje Perine—There is plenty of chatter about the Redskins’ need to sign or draft a top running back. But a look at this team’s recent history tells us that they are unlikely to invest major assets in the position. That means that Perine, a fourth-round pick in 2017, will have to become a more consistent runner. It’s not all his fault that he hasn’t done much since he had back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 11-12; tough defense, offensive line issues, and game score situations have slowed his production. But he needs to be consistently productive in 2018 no matter who he lines up against.

CB Josh Norman—Unless he gets a pick against the Giants, he will go through the year without any interceptions. Sure, they don’t throw his way all that often and INT’s don’t give you the complete picture of his play. But a CB taking up $20 million in cap room needs to get a couple of picks almost by sheer accident. Norman battled some injury problems and if he wants to justify the final two years and $23 million of salary remaining on his contract, his age 30 2018 season needs to be more impactful.

OLB Preston Smith—The third-year player started strong, with at least half a sack in the first five games. And he’s finishing strong, with three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in the last two games. But in between, he had a total of just half a sack in eight games. This follows the pattern he displayed his first two years in the league of being dominant in some games and invisible in others. If he can develop some consistency in his 2018 contract year, he could cash in huge in free agency the following year.

Head coach Jay Gruden—Normally I only include players on lists like this one but if Gruden doesn’t do something to get the Redskins out of their near-.500 rut then nothing else will matter. He needs to change up something, whether it’s pushing the players hard in training camp or perhaps fine tuning his friendly approach to the players. Sure, better luck regarding injuries and a schedule that right now appears to be a bit less challenging will help. But Gruden needs to look at what he can change, too.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 4
—NFL Draft (4/26) 60
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 196