Nationals

Huskies hope to reverse slump vs. No. 8 Arizona

Huskies hope to reverse slump vs. No. 8 Arizona

SEATTLE (AP) Washington picked the wrong time to go into a slide.

Losing three straight at any point of the Pac-12 Conference season is concerning. This skid by the Huskies (12-8, 4-3 Pac-12) could be even more damaging because of the schedule that lies ahead, beginning on Thursday night when they host No. 8 Arizona.

It would be one thing if Washington's nosedive came against the elite of the Pac-12. But the first two setbacks of the Huskies' three-game losing streak came against Utah and Oregon State, neither of which had a conference victory before beating Washington.

And while the Huskies played well before falling at No. 10 Oregon last Saturday, the slide leaves them little room for error going forward if they want to stay in the conference race.

``We need a good quality win, especially at home,'' Washington guard C.J. Wilcox said. ``We need to get this done now.''

For most of Lorenzo Romar's tenure as the Huskies coach, rebounding from losses to avoiding long losing streaks has been a strength. Since starting the Pac-10 season 0-5 in 2004 - followed by a dramatic turnaround that was capped with an NCAA bid - Washington has not lost more than four straight in any season.

But they will need an upset of Arizona to avoid their first four-game losing streak in nearly five years. The last time the Huskies dropped four straight was midway through the 2007-08 season when they were on their way to finishing the year with a losing record.

It's been a dramatic turn for Washington just in the span of the past two weeks. The Huskies went from leaders of the Pac-12 to suddenly facing a daunting task which if not handled well could leave the Huskies looking at postseason options that don't include the NCAA or NIT tournaments.

After hosting Arizona, the Huskies host surging Arizona State, then hit the road for the Los Angeles schools before coming home to face Pac-12 leader Oregon on Feb. 13.

``It's a big week. We see it as must wins for ourselves,'' Washington guard Abdul Gaddy said. ``We need to come out and play with great intensity.''

The Huskies' slump came on the heels of a stunning start to conference play where Washington started 4-0 with three of the victories coming on the road. That quick start was due mostly to the Huskies defense that has become a liability in the three losses that followed.

After beating Colorado at home on Jan. 16, Washington was allowing just 56 points per game in conference play. In the last three games, they are giving up 76 and allowed the last three teams to shoot nearly 55 percent.

``I think our mentality is a lot of it,'' Wilcox said. ``We came out with energy against Oregon but the games before I don't know what it was. I don't think we took them lightly but that's kind of how we came out and we had to play from behind and we're not really good at doing that. So we have to jump on teams early.''

If nothing else, the matchup with Arizona should be entertaining. Only twice in the past 10 meetings has the game been decided by more than 10 points and three of the last four matchups have provided at least one unforgettable moment.

During the 2011 regular season in Tucson, Derrick Williams came across the lane to block Darnell Gant's game-winning shot attempt in the final seconds of Arizona's victory. Later that season in the Pac-10 tournament championship game, Isaiah Thomas hit a step-back 20-footer as time expired in overtime to give the Huskies a 77-75 win. And last season in Tucson, Washington's Tony Wroten blocked Josiah Turner's attempt at a tying layup as time expired to give the Huskies a 69-67 win.

Thursday night will be the first time a ranked opponent has stepped foot inside the Huskies' home gym since Texas A&M in December 2009.

``We need to play at our highest level,'' Romar said, ``and we need the crowd to be at its highest level. And I know what that highest level is like.''

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Max Scherzer set to start Game 1 of the World Series

Max Scherzer set to start Game 1 of the World Series

HOUSTON -- The simplest decision often rests as the correct one.

In this case, the Nationals selecting Max Scherzer to start Game 1 of the 2019 World Series qualified as the simplest decision.

Washington let the options publicly simmer until Monday afternoon when Davey Martinez said Scherzer would start Game 1. Stephen Strasburg will follow. The Game 3 starter is to be determined.

Scherzer has not pitched since Oct. 12. Monday, he was in left field throwing, the crack of a catcher’s mitt among the few sounds in Minute Maid Park before the Nationals’ evening workout began, prior to skulking around on the center field warning track by himself.

The six-day break between games prompted by an NLCS sweep was key for the Nationals’ biggest strength, their starting pitching. Strasburg is No. 1 in pitches thrown in the postseason. Scherzer is No. 2. They are the only two to throw more than 300 pitches in the postseason. No pitcher in the major leagues has thrown more pitches than Strasburg this season.

Scherzer and Strasburg starting Games 1 and 2 in Houston means they are in line for Games 5 and 6, respectively. Patrick Corbin’s availability for Game 3 will be dependent on his bullpen role in Games 1 and 2. Corbin brewed a mess in his first relief outing of the postseason. He allowed six earned runs in ⅔ of an inning against Los Angeles in Game 3 of the National League Division Series before pitching more effectively in future relief appearances.

“I haven’t really thought about it because we’ve kept winning,” Corbin said. “That night stunk. The next day, after that series [I] was fine. Never really thought about it. Right now, I’ve had a lot of time off, about a week now, I’ll be fresh to come in and give what they want. I’ve felt fine. I’ve kind of developed a little routine down there to stay loose. If they need me, I’ll be available.”

The Nationals considered pitching Aníbal Sánchez in Game 1, which would bump Scherzer and Strasburg to Games 2 and 6, and 3 and 7, respectively. They opted to send out their biggest strength immediately in the series, then will figure out Game 7 (which would be the Game 3 starter on normal rest). Martinez will go step by step following the first two games. 

As for Scherzer, he opted to skip the canned answer and express his excitement about pitching the same game as Houston starter Gerrit Cole, who has dominated for more than a year. 

“Of course,” Scherzer said. “I mean, I've been in the situation, faced really good pitchers here in the National League over the years; [Clayton] Kershaw, [Jacob] deGrom, those guys. You just know you've got to come out there, you're going to be throwing up zeros. And you've got to try to match the intensity from your opponent.”

Taken away from Scherzer is his chance to hit. Howie Kendrick will be the designated hitter in the first two games. Scherzer said not being part of the offense alters the vibe of the game for him. 

“It's just a different feel to the game of not grabbing a bat,” Scherzer said. “I've definitely grown accustomed to doing that, it kind of keeps you in the game flow even more. It feels weird when you get to the DH and you're not in that flow of the game offensively.”

That will be his situation Tuesday night when he opens the World Series in Houston.

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How To Watch Nationals-Astros World Series Game 1: Date, time, TV channel, live stream

How To Watch Nationals-Astros World Series Game 1: Date, time, TV channel, live stream

With the Washington Nationals pulling off a clean sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, there was a rather long break before the team could make its much anticipated World Series appearance. But, that wait has reached its end, as Tuesday marks the beginning of this year's fall classic.

On Saturday night, the Washington Nationals learned of their opponent: the Houston Astros. The AL West division winners took care of the New York Yankees in six games, clinching a berth in the World Series with a walk-off homerun by Jose Altuve. For Houston, this will be the second World Series appearance in three seasons, as the team took home the title in 2017.

But, this team maybe even better than that one. The core of Altuve and Carlos Correa now also features a rising superstar in Alex Bregman and a stellar bat in Michael Brantley to make the lineup one of the most potent. As for the pitching rotation, it's equally as dominant. One could make the case for either Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole to take home the AL Cy Young, and the Astros have both. Oh, and they can also run out Zack Greinke for good measure. Cole hasn't lost a start since May (yes, you read that right) and while Verlander and Greinke have struggled at times in the postseason, they aren't exactly arms you want to face.

As impressive as Houston is, the Nationals pack their own punch as well. Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Juan Soto and NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick star in a lineup that has thrived on timely hitting in October. Add that to the four-headed monster of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez that handled the Cardinals with ease, and you have the formula for an exciting World Series.

It will be Scherzer against Cole in Game 1, here's everything you need to know about the series opener.

2019 World Series Game 1: Washington Nationals @ Houston Astros

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX.

Time: 8:08 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Broadcasters: Joe Buck and John Smoltz

Live Stream: FOX Sports

Radio: 106.7 The Fan (Washington DC Market), ESPN Radio (Nationally)

Weather: 70° F

World Series Schedule:

Tuesday, Oct. 22:
- World Series Game 1: Nationals @ Astros. Time: 8:08 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Wednesday, Oct. 23:
- World Series Game 2: Nationals @ Astros. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Friday, Oct. 25:
- World Series Game 3: Astros @ Nationals. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Saturday, Oct. 26: 
- World Series Game 4: Astros @ Nationals. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Sunday, Oct. 27: 
- World Series Game 5*: Astros @ Nationals. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Tuesday, Oct. 29: 
- World Series Game 6*: Nationals @ Astros. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Tuesday, Oct. 30:
- World Series Game 7*: Nationals @ Astros. Time: 8:08 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

*If necessary 

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