As the Kastles look to extend their 22-match winning streak they'll face a tall task in dismantling 6-foot-6 Sam Querrey and the Sacramento Capitals.With Querrey (and his crushing serve), the Capitals will seek retribution in the form of a W after their 25-14 loss in DC last season. Ranked No. 55 on the ATP tour, Querrey is 3-0 in tour competition versus Kastles' closer Bobby Reynolds. However, he has struggled against the Kastles men in doubles, losing four of five match-ups with Leander Paes and two of three with Reynolds.So far into their 6-0 season, the Kastles have only dropped 1 of 18 sets when Paes, Reynolds or both have been on the court. Meanwhile, Querrey is 2-0 in men's singles and 1-1 in doubles paired with former World No. 1 Mark Knowles.Tonight's match facing 4-2 Capitals is projected to be a glimpse of the WTT Finals as both teams are in the top spot in their conferences.For more information, log onto: www.washingtonkastles.com
LAS VEGAS -- Marlins Man walked into a modest eatery Sunday here in Las Vegas to look over the options. His bright orange jersey stood out among the cowboy hats and zombie-like Sunday exodus inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
While another Las Vegas weekend closed, sending an army of roller bags across the casino floor toward the exit and airport, baseball started to creep into the home of the 2018 Winter Meetings. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wandered across the marble floor. Media members from cities across the country became situated. Television stations raised their studios and radio talkers began to ramble. Everyone is wondering if the show in Vegas will be filled with drama or just another stall along the way to the offseason’s biggest news.
We know Rizzo turned in his homework early. Patrick Corbin’s money and introduction arrived late last week. Corbin, presumably, is the Nationals’ largest offseason expenditure. Surprising comments from Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner to 106.7 The Fan on Friday made that seem to be the case. He described Bryce Harper as all but gone, speaking wistfully, if not definitively.
Which means Rizzo is here for smaller shopping and the rest of baseball waits on Harper and Manny Machado.
A look through the Nationals shows few remaining gaps. Rizzo publicly contends he feels all right about starting the season with a Wilmer Difo/Howie Kendrick platoon at second base. The outfield is clear without Harper. Joe Ross and Erick Fedde will fight for the final rotation spot. Two new catchers have arrived. The bullpen was upgraded. Rizzo didn’t wait and watch what other teams were doing.
“We like the club we have at present,” Rizzo told NBC Sports Washington last week. “But, we’re never satisfied. There’s tweaks and combinations we can go after. We’ll be looking for values out there. What works for us, how do we construct the periphery of the roster. You can never have enough pitching and we’re always on the look for good starting and relief pitching. That could be something we attack either via the free agent market or trade market.”
One thing the market remains full of is left-handed relievers. The Nationals currently have three. One of which is Sammy Solis.
Washington decided to tender him a contract and the sides reached a one-year deal. There was consideration not to tender him a contract, which would have ended Solis’ time with Nationals. Instead, he’s back despite two back-to-back poor seasons following a strong 2016. Last season was a wreck. Solis finished with a 6.41 ERA. The other two lefties, Sean Doolittle and Matt Grace, were excellent. So, are the Nationals in the market for one more left-handed reliever to be sure?
“We’ve got right now on the roster three really competent left-handed pitchers,” Rizzo said, “in Doolittle, Grace who had a magnificent season last year and Sammy Solis, who we feel is a bounceback candidate. We feel good about the left-handed spot. We feel good about our bullpen as a whole.”
The Nationals were mid-pack last season in relievers’ ERA in both the National League and Major League Baseball. Their bullpen does appear close to done: Doolittle, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough, Koda Glover, Grace, Solis, Justin Miller and Wander Suero are eight quick spots down there.
One upside here for Rizzo is he can wait. He doesn’t need to jump at the flush reliever market, which includes several decent left-handed options, because of the team’s prompt signings. A discount may arrive later. A factor to remember in regard to Solis is the Nationals would only be on the hook for 1/6th of his salary if they cut him in spring training. That’s a small penalty if someone in West Palm Beach appears more capable.
Washington also needs a left-handed bat off the bench that can play first base. Matt Adams, Justin Bour and Lucas Duda are names that could fill that slot. None will rattle the meetings.
This is life on the periphery, as Rizzo puts it. Will they talk to a lot of agents here? Yes. Will they consider an upgrade at second base? Of course. Are they part of the gigantic Harper and Machado storylines unlikely to conclude in Las Vegas but en route to dominate the conversation? Not really. At least not if Lerner’s public declaration is filled with flat facts. They offered Harper, he can do better elsewhere, and now life is quieter, even in Las Vegas.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS
- Unlikely return: Lerner hints at Bryce's departure
- What did we learn? ARod set the stage for Harper
- Landed: Nats agreed to terms with Patrick Corbin
- Bryce in La La Land: Will the Dodgers land Harper?
A frequent question Redskins players have had to face this past month is, in some form or another, "What's wrong with the defense, and what's changed?"
Washington's defense was, for the most part, effective and at times dominant during the team's 6-3 start.
But in this losing streak that extended to four games after the disgraceful performance against the Giants, the unit has been a trainwreck on top of a dumpster fire.
DJ Swearinger was the latest 'Skin to be asked the increasingly common question in the FedEx Field locker room postgame. His response was noteworthy.
"We just didn't execute, we just didn't get the job done," he said. "That's the answer they want me to give."
Swearinger attracts some of the largest media crowds when he speaks because he's passionate and never holds back with his quotes.
However, some recent comments from No. 36 about the Redskins' practice habits caught Jay Gruden's attention to the point where the coach explained in one of his weekly pressers he'd prefer the safety keep those thoughts in-house.
So, is Gruden or another coach or front office person the "they" that Swearinger referred to following the Giants blowout? You'd have to assume so.
Regardless, it's obvious that he wanted to say more, but instead, he kept his full, unfiltered opinion to himself — this time. If things continue to trend downward and his frustration continues to trend upward, though, don't expect him to keep giving the answers "they want."
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