From Comcast SportsNetSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants have no plans to bring back suspended outfielder Melky Cabrera for the postseason if the club is still playing when he is eligible to return.Manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that he and general manager Brian Sabean are meeting to finalize their 25-man roster for the best-of-five division series. Cabrera would be allowed to play in the NLCS if the Giants advance that far, but -- at this stage, at least -- they have no intention of adding him to the roster at any point in the postseason.An announcement regarding Cabrera is expected before the NL West champions leave town after a three-game series against Arizona that began Tuesday night.First, they would need to alert all the parties involved: Cabrera, Major League Baseball and the players union. Cabrera can start working out at instructional league in Arizona 10 days before his suspension ends, so that factor weighs into the mix."Right now, we'll discuss that. We'll probably have something before the end of this homestand as far as Melky," Bochy said. "We're talking about a lot of things, and that's one of them. I'll probably have an answer for you before we leave here to go down to San Diego. I think both on our side and Melky's side, you're getting down to the time period where he can start working out and doing some things. I think he needs to know and we need to know."San Francisco's 40-man roster is full, so when Cabrera is eligible to be reinstated the Giants would have to make a roster move. They could keep Cabrera on the 40-man roster just in case.Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, is batting .346, which is the highest mark in the National League.He was suspended for 50 games Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test. On Friday, Cabrera asked to be removed from contention for the batting crown, saying he had no wish to win a tainted title.The Giants have succeeded without Cabrera's big bat, clinching their second division crown in three seasons Saturday night against San Diego. And they are pushing ahead with the roster they have."Right now, we're focusing on the future and what's going to happen, the playoffs. We're not thinking about that," center fielder Angel Pagan said. "They'll make the decisions. We are the soldiers. If they bring him, we're teammates. We'll receive him with open arms. But if not, hey, we've got to respect the decision and move on, move forward."Reliever Jeremy Affeldt has said he wants to fight with the faces who are currently in the clubhouse -- as they've done just fine in the month-plus playing without Cabrera."Exactly, and I'm sure that's the way the team thinks, too," Pagan said. "I respect any decision that the team makes. We have a job to do. And we have the mentality to go out there and finish the season strong and start the playoffs the right way."Catcher Buster Posey said the Giants will accept whatever the front office decides regarding Cabrera, who is set to become a free agent after the season."I don't think it would bother us than just the extra questions," he said. "That would be the main thing, the extra questions."Posey's .332 batting average was third in the NL behind Cabrera and Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (.336) entering games Tuesday night. Cabrera was batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season with San Francisco and is five hits shy of 1,000 in his big league career."I've been outspoken on the penalties. If he serves his suspension and pays the price, whatever it is, you guys know I spoke out and said I think there needs to be more of a deterrent, but if he serves his penalty, I guess I'm really not against it. That's their decision," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "If he's caught again, I think he should be done."
A shorthanded Capitals team marched into Colorado and took a 3-2 overtime win over the Avalanche on Friday.
Here are five reasons the Caps won.
A big glove save
With no T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov or Braden Holtby, the Caps were a bit shorthanded heading into the game. After the Avalanche took a 1-0 lead just 68 seconds in, it felt like it could be a very long night for Washington.
It could have been if not for an early breakaway save by Pheonix Copley.
Soon after the goal, Nathan MacKinnon grabbed the puck on a breakaway. MacKinnon is one of the best offensive players in the league and not the guy you want to see going in alone on Copley on a breakaway.
Copley, however, flashed the glove and made the save to keep the game at 1-0.
One year ago to the day, the Caps lost 6-2 in Colorado. With the injuries Washington was dealing with, it’s not a stretch to think this game could have gone off the rails quickly had the Avalanche jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
The Caps struggled through the first period to get any real penetration on Colorado’s defense and were kept largely on the perimeter with very few high-danger opportunities. The Avalanche defense got a bit more porous in the second and Washington took advantage.
Travis Boyd collected the puck in the offensive zone below the goal line. As he skated along the wall, he found himself face-to-face with four Colorado players who were all just following the puck. As far as defense goes, that’s not an ideal situation. Boyd found a wide-open Chandler Stephenson on the cross-ice pass, Stephenson goes back left to Devante Smith-Pelly who had an empty net to shoot on to get the Caps on the board and tie the game at one.
After six seasons in Washington, Philipp Grubauer has faced literally thousands of shots from Alex Ovechkin in practice. But he never faced one of those shots in a game until Friday. Those shots come off the stick a bit faster when it counts as Grubauer learned.
Nicklas Backstrom entered the offensive zone with the puck and backhanded it to Ovechkin. Backstrom kept driving to the net drawing the defense with him except for Tyson Barrie. Backstrom’s passed to the left, but Ovechkin collected it going right which caught Barrie flatfooted. Ovehckin easily skated around Barrie to find an open shooting lane, then snapped a shot past Grubauer to put the Caps up 2-1. Ovechkin’s celebration was almost instantaneous, he knew he had Grubauer beat.
A late penalty
The referees really put away the whistles in the third period. They even missed a clear high-stick to Dmitry Orlov that drew blood and should have been a double-minor. Colorado came back to tie the game, but Smith-Pelly finally drew a blatant holding penalty from Ian Cole with just over a minute left to go in regulation.
The Avalanche survived to force overtime, but Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winner on the power play just 22 seconds in for the win.
Tom Wilson making a Tom Wilson play
Space is important in hockey. That’s what makes a four-on-three power play harder to cover than a five-on-four power play. You know what’s even better? A three-on-two.
The Caps entered overtime on a power play which gave them a four-on-three to start. Tom Wilson had the puck on the wall and took a hit from Carl Soderberg. He saw the hit coming and took it so he could make the pass to Backstrom. He won the board battle and the hit took Soderberg out of the play, giving the Caps a three-on-two in the offensive zone to work with. Backstrom passed to John Carlson who passed back to Backstrom. He had all day to fire the game-winner and it was all thanks to a tremendous play from Wilson that most people would not have noticed.
Backstrom top cheese for the win! Sorry not sorry Gruby 😬 pic.twitter.com/KjCEtbBVJv— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) November 17, 2018
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CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- The Washington Wizards were finally feeling better after that 2-9 start to the regular season. Three wins in a row with three games remaining on the homestand starting with the Brooklyn Nets Friday night. They didn’t conquer all of their problems. But at least they could breathe a bit easier, smile more natural. Heck, they were only 1 ½ games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and three back of third place.
“And we’ve been playing terrible," John Wall said to NBC Sports Washington Thursday night at the point guard’s annual turkey giveaway. “That’s how shaky it is. You never know how it’s going to go, but we can’t look at that aspect. ... Have to take it one game at a time. Our focus is on Brooklyn right now. Try to win to make it four in a row.”
Last season Brooklyn was one of those non-contending teams that flummoxed the Wizards. Brooklyn finished 28-54, yet won two of three over Washington. While the current momentum was compelling, the reporter told Wall he’s heard such focus talk before and witnessed mixed results. The point guard nodded in acknowledgment.
“You put yourself in that situation, you have to answer (questions) and [reporters] have to ask," Wall said.
Another batch of questions came at Wall and the Wizards Friday. Brooklyn, a try-hard squad lacking high-end talent, dumped Washington 115-104.
The Nets, who lost leading scorer Caris Levert to a nasty ankle injury this week, turned a 56-54 halftime lead into a 19-point margin in the fourth quarter. They also converted 13 Washington turnovers into 19 points.
The Wizards, now 5-10, finished 3 of 17 on 3-pointers. Their defense lacked oomph at the point of attack.
“They were more aggressive than we were, offense and defense,” Bradley Beal said. “They forced us to turn the ball over. We couldn’t make shots [and] we definitely couldn’t guard them. Our one-on-one defense was suspect.”
Wizards coach Scott Brooks echoed the defensive struggles.
“The problem was that we couldn’t stay in front of the basketball tonight,” said Brooks, addressing a broad topic he largely could skip during the recent winning.
Washington no longer ranks last in scoring defense thanks to the woeful Atlanta Hawks, but the 116.9 points allowed per game serves as a reminder that Friday’s struggles were no one-off.
Brooklyn had its own defensive woes during a three-game skid entering Friday. Second-year center Jarrett Allen, the player the Nets selected 22nd overall in the 2017 NBA Draft with the pick acquired from Washington in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade, missed the previous two contests. His return fueled an interior turnaround.
Those stops led to Brooklyn’s generating offense. The Nets, who often used no more than one traditional big man, outscored the Wizards 13-2 in fast-break points. They hit 13 of 15 free throws in the third quarter and finished 30 of 38.
“I thought because we got stops, (we) got into transition, got easy buckets,” Nets forward and ex-Wizard Jared Dudley told NBC Sports Washington. “I thought they were fouling so much we were on our drives. We kept attacking. … I thought defense opened up our offense.”
Wall opened up the postgame Q&A session with reporters in Washington’s locker room. He noted Brooklyn’s constant use of pick-and-rolls with the Wizards switching one through four didn’t work. “Just about every time they drove, they got a foul.”
Wall lives a fishbowl existence. People pay good money to watch him work. That means they witness the highs and lows, the advancement and the learning. Teammates also have eyes on him. All observe the five-time All-Star reacting to some whistles or non-calls he deems incorrect, or his body language during a tough loss.
Wall, 28, acknowledges his role as the team leader. He accepts that fishbowl reality and knows when those frustrations show, everyone can see.
“It’s fun. It’s a challenge," Wall said of being a leader to NBC Sports Washington Thursday. "Every day you have to be perfect. Nobody is perfect, but you have to be good every day. You can’t take a bad day or dwell on something. You have to let that slide because when it gets bad or gets shaky, everybody is looking at you. If your head is down, everybody else’s head is down. That’s something I have to learn."
Despite the streak-busting setback Friday night, Wall stuck with his big picture, no panic approach.
“They just came out and played better tonight. That’s all it is,” Wall told NBC Sports Washington. “We didn’t make shots. We didn’t do a great job of executing. They attacked us defensively. We lost one game. We have to get past and prepare for Sunday with a good team in Portland coming in.”
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