Redskins

Andy Murray keeps his cool on a hot day

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Andy Murray keeps his cool on a hot day

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) On a hot day at the Australian Open, it was perhaps fitting for Andy Murray to be talking about short shorts.

And the weather, of course.

After soaking in an ice bath to cool down, Murray said he was thankful that his match went quickly on Thursday when temperatures reached 106 degrees - and the court felt like a sauna.

``There were very few long rallies. So it worked out well for me because it was really, really tough conditions,'' said Murray, who won in straight sets over Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.

Murray sat between changeovers sipping bottled water and with an ``ice towel'' slung over his neck - a towel packed and bound with chunks of ice.

Union Jacks and Scottish flags flew in the stands, where fans sang a song called ``Andy Style'' to the tune of ``Gangnam Style.''

After the win, a confident Murray tossed his racket to the ground and thanked fans by hurling his sweaty wristbands and a damp towel into the stands.

The 25-year-old Scot has been dubbed ``A New Andy'' at this year's Australian Open.

Unburdened by the pressure that followed him on previous trips to Australia, he arrives this year as the reigning major champion.

Now that he has ended the 76-year drought for British men at the majors, he doesn't have to field the same nagging questions about whether he has the talent to win a Grand Slam.

Which is why the world's No. 3-ranked player was talking about tight shirts and short shorts in his post-match news conference.

The subject of his shirt had come up in the first round when he explained he hasn't bulked up his upper body, but it may have appeared that way because he's wearing a tighter shirt this year.

Elaborating Thursday, he said the change of style was decided on by his sponsor, Adidas, but he didn't mind the snug new fit and preferred it to tops with low, baggy sleeves that can impede the elbow during swings.

``The less material there is on the shirt I think probably the better. There's less to get in the way,'' he said, with his typical deadpan delivery. ``So long as they're tailored somewhat, I think there's no real problem.''

Murray was then asked his personal view on certain men's players who seemed to be wearing shorter shorts this year in a nod to the 1970s.

``I actually wore a pair at Wimbledon,'' he said. ``Not quite like what Ivan (Lendl) and those guys used to wear on the court. I can't see a return to them, to be honest.''

Thinking about it made him smile: ``Yeah, they were a bit too short. Didn't leave too much to the imagination.''

Lendl, the eight-time Grand Slam champion, is Murray's coach and is the man he largely credits with his winning streak and an added aggressiveness that carried him through a breakthrough year in 2012.

On Thursday, Lendl sat in the stands watching Murray, leaning on a towel draped over the hot railing.

Since teaming up with Lendl, Murray was runner-up at Wimbledon, a gold medalist at the London 2012 Olympics and then won his first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open.

He has come tantalizingly close in Australia, where he was a finalist in 2010 and 2011 and a semifinalist in 2012.

Standing in the way of a potential second Grand Slam title for Murray is a likely semifinal against No. 2-ranked Roger Federer and No. 1 Novak Djokovic, whom he could face in the final.

Murray knows his next opponent well - qualifier Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania. The two have trained together ahead of past Australian Opens and practiced together earlier this month at the Brisbane International, where Murray defended his title just before heading to Melbourne.

The 22-year-old Berankis is playing his first Grand Slam in Melbourne and ranked 110th.

``He hits the ball pretty big from the back of the court. He plays aggressive. He's a very flat hitter of the ball,'' Murray said of his opponent. ``It's nice to see him do well because we spend quite a bit of time practicing together.''

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was — Under pressure, run game woes

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was — Under pressure, run game woes

Here is what you need to know on Saturday, September 22, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers  .

Talking points

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Skins add receiver Michael Floyd after signing Perriman — They aren’t looking for these guys to perform like first-round receivers. The Redskins are hoping that one or the other of them is an upgrade over Jehu Chesson, who is back on the practice squad. It is unlikely that both of them will be on the roster after the bye week. One or the other is likely to be cut to make room for another running back or possibly at another position that needs help. My money is on Floyd to stay but we will see.

Five observations from the Redskins Week 2 loss — The closest thing to a "hot take" here is that the Redskins defense did not have a bad day. They did, however, give up three scoring drives. While that’s not ideal, the Washington offense should be able to outscore a team that puts up 21 points especially when the defense also gets two takeaways, both in good field position. It wasn’t a dominant defensive performance, but it was good enough to win. 

Five Redskins under pressure vs. Packers — There is a lot of heat on Josh Doctson and deservedly so. But Jamison Crowder has been marginally less productive, and he is the one who they count on to be the volume receiver. Regardless of what Doctson does, they need more out of Crowder, who has five receptions for 40 yards. 

No answers for Redskins run game trouble — The Colts were set up to stop the deep pass, which means that the Redskins should have been able to run the ball against what often were six-man boxes. The Indy defense did run some unusual alignments, but it will be a long year if they can’t get the running game working consistently, especially against defenses inviting you to run.

Tweet of the week

This is a rare case of the tweet about an article generating a lot of buzz and discussion and the article itself not ranking very high on the popularity list. Many agreed with my take that over the past 18 games, Jay Gruden has called running plays on first down more often than he should have. The Redskins simply haven’t been successful enough to warrant such a heavy dose of running. 

But some complained that “the media” bash Gruden for not running enough at times and then in this post he gets criticized for running too much. Many of those are ones who reacted to the tweet but didn’t read the article, which said nothing about overall run-pass ratio. I’m not complaining at all, happy to have anyone join in on the conversation. But reading the article does make it a more informed exchange. 

Injury report

Game status

Out: Apke (hamstring), Lauvao (calf)
Questionable: Harris (concussion), Richardson (shoulder), Brown (oblique)

Full injury report here

The agenda

Today: No media availability

Upcoming: Packers @ Redskins (Sept. 23) 1; Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 16; Cowboys @ Redskins 29

In case you missed it

 

REDSKINS TALK PODCAST:

 

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Nationals fall to Mets as postseason chances continue to slip away

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USA Today Sports

Nationals fall to Mets as postseason chances continue to slip away

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jacob deGrom turned in a record 23rd consecutive quality start, lowered his ERA to 1.77 and boosted his record to .500 as he bids to earn the NL Cy Young Award, allowing one run in seven innings to help the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Friday night.

Throwing fastballs in the 97-99 mph range, deGrom (9-9) struck out eight and walked one while allowing just one run and three hits, all singles. Bob Gibson (in 1968) and Chris Carpenter (2005) each had single-season runs of 22 quality starts, the previous major league mark.

The right-handed deGrom has given up as many as four earned runs in only one of his 31 starts in 2018, back on April 10 against Miami. He's now up to 28 in a row allowing three runs or fewer, the longest single-season streak in major league history.

So this game was pretty much wrapped up by the third inning, which ended with the Mets ahead 4-1. Jay Bruce had two run-scoring hits, and Devin Mesoraco and Dominic Smith also delivered RBIs, all off Joe Ross (0-1).

Robert Gsellman worked around Anthony Rendon's RBI single in the ninth for his 12th save.

Washington began the day in danger of being officially eliminated from contention in the NL East, which it won the past two seasons under then-manager Dusty Baker. A loss by the Nationals plus a victory by the Braves would end any chance Washington has of catching Atlanta.

DeGrom is locked in what's considered a tight race for Cy Young honors -- and perhaps league MVP consideration, too -- with Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who is 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA and 290 strikeouts. Scherzer has won the past two Cy Young Awards in the NL, plus one in the AL when he played for the Detroit Tigers.

In the Mets' 5-4 victory in 12 innings Thursday, Scherzer gave up three runs in seven innings and struck out 13.

Entering Friday, deGrom boasted a majors-leading 1.78 ERA, 251 Ks and 45 walks, and ranked No. 1 in various other categories.

"I think that it says a lot about who he is as a worker. I think it says a lot about who he is as a competitor," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "He tends to step it up when it matters the most, and this is probably mattering the most out of all his starts, and he continues to pitch just as dominant as he was before. That's the definition of a true ace."

DeGrom looked good from the outset, striking out leadoff hitter Victor Robles with a 98 mph fastball, then getting Bryce Harper to swing through a 99 mph offering to end the first inning. Harper missed a 93 mph slider to strike out again in the fourth, then grounded out on a chopper fielded by deGrom in the sixth.

Washington's only run off deGrom came on Ryan Zimmerman's sacrifice fly on a ball hit to the warning track in deep center field in the second.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: Mesoraco hadn't played since leaving a game Sept. 3 because of a bulging disk in his back. He was 3 for 3 with a walk.

Nationals: OF Adam Eaton was out of the starting lineup for the fourth time in five games, because of what manager Dave Martinez said was a sore and stiff left knee, the one surgically repaired last season.

WE'RE GOING STREAKING!

Nationals 3B Rendon's second-inning walk extended his streak of reaching base safely to a career-best 29 games; he came around to score.

UP NEXT

RHP Corey Oswalt (3-2, 6.31 ERA) will start for the Mets on Saturday, while the Nationals wouldn't commit to a starting pitcher before Friday's game.

 

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