Redskins

A-Rod, Granderson still out of lineup for Game 4

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A-Rod, Granderson still out of lineup for Game 4

DETROIT (AP) Alex Rodriguez was benched twice for the same game.

Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson were still out of New York's starting lineup for Game 4 of the AL championship series on Thursday, a day after the game was postponed by rain.

New York trailed 3-0 in the AL championship series against Detroit. Manager Joe Girardi has juggled his lineup throughout the postseason, trying to find the right combination.

The Yankees kept their lineup the same as it would have been Wednesday - with Rodriguez on the bench for the third time in nine postseason games.

``There's really not a whole lot to change because of rain,'' Girardi said. ``Our decisions aren't made on a whim.''

Rodriguez pinch hit for Raul Ibanez in the sixth inning when Jim Leyland brought in left-hander Drew Smyly. A-Rod hit a flyball to center field to end the inning with runners on first and third. He dropped to 3 for 24 with no RBIs in these playoffs.

Granderson joined Rodriguez on the bench after another hitless night in Game 3 dropped the center fielder to 3 for 29 with 15 strikeouts. Granderson hit 43 homers with 106 RBIs this season.

``I wasn't in yesterday. I didn't expect it to change. I'll be ready whenever they need me,'' Granderson said. ``My swing is OK. It could be better, but it is OK. It's hard to get a lot of hits when you are swinging at pitches out of the zone, and that's the big problem right now. It's a lot simpler if you swing at strikes.''

Nick Swisher, benched in Game 3, returned to the lineup in right field and had an RBI double in the sixth inning. Eric Chavez started at third base in place of Rodriguez. Brett Gardner started in Granderson's normal spot.

Chavez entered 0 for 14 in the postseason.

``His at-bats have been OK,'' Girardi said. ``I thought he got the barrel of the bat to (Detroit ace Justin) Verlander three times.''

Rodriguez has looked particularly overmatched against right-handers, going 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts in the postseason. Detroit's entire playoff rotation is right-handed, including Game 4 starter Max Scherzer.

Rodriguez's rocky postseason - he's also been removed for a pinch-hitter three times - raised questions about his future with the Yankees. He has $114 million and five years left on his contract, which includes a provision that he can't be traded without his approval.

``I feel he can help us. I don't worry about rumors. Any time you have a player of Alex's stature, it's going to be a hot-button,'' Girardi said. ``No one knows what tomorrow holds for any of us.''

New York ace CC Sabathia was slated to take the mound Thursday against Scherzer.

In Game 3, Girardi let Ibanez hit against left-hander Phil Coke in the ninth inning, and Ibanez ended the game by striking out. The switch-hitting Swisher - not Rodriguez - was in the on-deck circle preparing to pinch hit.

``I was ready to hit, and I was just waiting for my number to be called,'' Rodriguez said Wednesday. ``Any time I'm in any lineup, I think that lineup is better and has a better chance to win. ... Any time I'm in the box, the game can change, and everyone knows that.''

Wednesday's rainout also put the Yankees in a tough position with their starting rotation, making it less likely that Sabathia would be able to start Game 7 if the series lasts that long. Phil Hughes left Game 3 in the fourth inning with a stiff back, but Girardi says the prognosis on him is good.

``We believe that he's going to be OK, and he could be available,'' Girardi said.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Various sources

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

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

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

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USA Today Sports Images

Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

Vernon Davis has long been a fan favorite in the D.C. area since his University of Maryland days. The 34-year-old is almost always well-dressed and respectful to the media. 

More recently, he has been outspoken about his interest in acting after his football career. A true renaissance man who just so happens to be a force in the National Football League. 

In April, NBC Sports Washington ran into Davis at the Team USA Awards where he was serving as guest speaker. 

He took his smooth nature to a whole new level Tuesday while vacationing in Ocean City, Md. with his girlfriend Kayla. 

Dressed in all white on the beach, Davis proposed in an epic way. 

The best motivation I ever had. #shesmyrock

A post shared by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

Check out the whole video produced below. We won't spoil it for you, but there were skydivers involved. Take a look: 

Davis will suit up for his third season with the Redskins when training camp opens July 26 in Richmond.