Nationals

Mystics run away from Liberty 82-55

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Mystics run away from Liberty 82-55

NEW YORK (AP) -- Candice Wiggins walked around the Sept. 11 memorial earlier this year spending hours talking to people and hearing their stories.

The New York Liberty guard had her own memory from that day. Fourteen years ago, Wiggins was a sophomore in high school thousands of miles away from New York where her sister Cassandra was starting her freshman year at NYU.

"There weren't really cell phones back then and phone service was bad that day. We couldn't reach her. I remember being so scared," Wiggins said after the Liberty lost to Washington 82-55 on Friday night. "We had no idea if she had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was agonizing."

Finally Wiggins recalled, they got a call from her sister that she was OK after spending hours stuck on a subway.

"I just wanted to give her the biggest hug," Wiggins said choking up while recalling the story. "We were lucky, so many other people never got a chance to give their loved ones another hug."

The Liberty played at home Friday for the first time on Sept. 11 since the terror attacks. Before the game, a group of police officers and firemen unfurled a large flag during the national anthem which was sung by police officer Lauren Leggio.

"It really sunk in hearing that national anthem," said Liberty center Tina Charles, who grew up in Queens. "It's something special to be playing on this day for New York. I just wish we could have put on a better show."

Charles said her mom worked at the Empire State Building and she felt fortunate she couldn't fully comprehend what was happening that day. The MVP candidate said she'd probably been more scared knowing where her mom worked and how it could have been a potential target.

Washington center Kia Vaughn grew up in New York and was at school about two miles from ground zero. Word spread quickly that something had happened at the World Trade Center and the principal ushered the students into the basement. An hour later, Vaughn was making the trek home to the Bronx, walking for hours from midtown Manhattan.

"I just remember seeing so many people on the streets," Vaughn said. "It was a long walk. To be back here and playing a game is something special."

Teammate Stefanie Dolson grew up on Long Island and couldn't bring herself to watch the television this morning at the hotel. It was just too hard.

"I have a lot of memories from that day," Dolson said. "It just so emotional thinking about it."

New York got down early to Washington, which shot 70 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the first half. The Mystics (18-15) led by 13 at the half and never looked back in the second half as the Liberty (23-10) scored just seven points in the third quarter.

With the victory, Washington remained a game behind Indiana for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. A win on Sunday over Atlanta and a loss by the Fever to New York would give the Mystics the third spot.

Otherwise they'll be back in New York next Friday to play the Liberty again in the first round of the playoffs.

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Soto's 2-run HR lifts Nats past Yanks 5-3 in resumed Game 1

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USA Today Sports

Soto's 2-run HR lifts Nats past Yanks 5-3 in resumed Game 1

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Juan Soto's latest feat: homering in a game played before he made his major league debut.

Huh?

The 19-year-old Soto delivered a tiebreaking, pinch-hit, two-run shot in the sixth inning of a game that began and was suspended because of rain last month, five days before he was called up from the minors for the first time, to lift the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees in the opener of an unusual doubleheader Monday.

Game 1 resumed with the score 3-all and the Nationals about to bat in the bottom of the sixth. After Bryce Harper -- who had a full beard back on May 15, when the game began, but was clean-shaven this time -- struck out, and Anthony Rendon singled, Soto drove a 97 mph fastball from Chad Green (4-1) to the back of the second deck in right field.

"I thought he had a good chance to hit the ball hard," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "That was hard."

It was Soto's sixth homer since he was brought up from Double-A Harrisburg on May 20 -- and second against the Yankees. Soto stood and admired this one before beginning his trot around the bases.

"A pitch right in his hot zone. Soto got us again," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Obviously a really good looking player. Two pretty big shots he's hit against us."

Soto also was involved in a double play while playing left in the seventh. Didi Gregorius lined to Soto, and he lobbed the ball to shortstop Trea Turner, who sprinted to second base to double off Gary Sanchez.

Soto's stats -- and all others from Game 1 -- will count as being part of the originally scheduled game on May 15, but Soto's official debut will still be considered on the actual date it happened, according to the Nationals, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I wish he was climbing the ladder more routinely. He should be in about Double-A now," Boone said. "What can you say? Nineteen and obviously doing really well."

Wander Suero (1-0) got the win for 1 1-3 scoreless innings -- one inning on May 15, and one out on Monday.

Sean Doolittle struck out Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton and got Gary Sanchez to fly out to center in the ninth for his 18th save.

Game 2, which was completely rained out May 16, was to begin a half-hour after Game 1 finished, with Washington's Erick Fedde facing New York's Sonny Gray.

The Nationals had lost five of six games entering the day.

In the month-plus since the games were supposed to be played, both teams' rosters changed, of course. Aside from Soto's arrival, two position players who started the game for Washington, Howie Kendrick (out for the season with an injury) and Andrew Stevenson (demoted to the minors) are no longer around. For the Yankees, their original starter at first base, Tyler Austin, is in the minors.

Martinez said the closest thing he could compare this situation to was Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, when the Tampa Bay Rays -- he was Joe Maddon's bench coach then -- wound up losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in a contest that began on a Monday, was halted in the sixth inning because of rain, and concluded on a Wednesday.

"It's weird, man," Martinez said.

STREAK ENDS

Another oddity: The loss means the Yankees' streak of winning eight consecutive series now gets retroactively shortened to seven series, because it's as if Game 1 took place entirely on May 15.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: OF Brett Gardner was not listed in the lineup for Game 2 because an MRI exam showed swelling in his right knee, although Boone said he didn't expect Gardner to go on the DL. ... With Gardner's status uncertain, the Yankees recalled OF Clint Frazier from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre and optioned INF Ronald Torreyes to that minor league affiliate.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson, on the DL for two weeks with a strained right hamstring, took fielding practice before the start of play Monday and said he "felt fine." Hellickson has taken two bullpen sessions and "felt 100 percent," so expects to be able to return soon. ... 1B Matt Adams was "still a little sore" after getting hit by a pitch on a finger Friday.

UP NEXT

The Nationals open a three-game series at home against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, and Martinez has not yet announced who his starter will be. The Yankees return to New York for a three-game set against Seattle, with RHP Domingo German (1-4, 5.23 ERA) pitching on Tuesday against Mariners LHP Marco Gonzalez (7-3, 3.42).

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Term, not money, was the main sticking point in Brian MacLellan's negotiations with Barry Trotz

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USA TODAY Sports

Term, not money, was the main sticking point in Brian MacLellan's negotiations with Barry Trotz

Despite winning a Stanley Cup less than two weeks ago, the Capitals found themselves without a head coach on Monday with the stunning news of Barry Trotz’s resignation.

At Wednesday’s breakdown day, Trotz told the media he wanted to be back in Washington. General manager Brian MacLellan said he wanted Trotz back. But both alluded to possible issues that had to be sorted out in any contract negotiations.

Obviously, those issues were not resolved.

“[Trotz’s] representative wants to take advantage of Barry’s experience and Stanley Cup win and is trying to negotiate a deal that compensates him as one of the better coaches in the league, a top four or five coach,” MacLellan said in a press conference with the media on Monday. “He’s looking for that kind of contract.”

But if you think money was the main sticking point between the two sides, that’s not the case. Money was a factor, but there was a bigger factor that held up negotiations, according to MacLellan.

“I think the five-year term is probably a sticking point,” he said. “We have a coach that's been here four years. You do another five, that's nine years. There's not many coaches that have that lasting ability. It's a long time and it's a lot of money to be committing to that, to a coach.”

Of the head coaches currently employed in the NHL, only Joel Quenneville has been the head coach of his current team, the Chicago Blackhawks, for over nine years.

Trotz’s contract included a clause that would extend his deal a further two years if the team won the Stanley Cup. While the team was comfortable with that clause and did engage in talks on renegotiating the contract after the season, they were not willing to sign him to a deal as expensive or, more critically, for as long as Trotz sought.

“I don’t think all teams pay that type of money and years," MacLellan said. "Certain teams are open to it and the rest of the league isn’t.”

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