Nationals

Sanchez set to take the mound for trailing Tigers

Sanchez set to take the mound for trailing Tigers

DETROIT (AP) Justin Verlander already lost. Doug Fister pitched gamely, but his fine effort wasn't good enough either.

Now, with their World Series hopes slipping away, the Detroit Tigers turn to Anibal Sanchez - the least physically imposing member of their postseason rotation.

``We need to start over,'' Sanchez said. ``We need to forget what happened in San Francisco. I know we've got the talent. That's why we're here. We've got a pretty good team, so we're going to fight it to the end.''

Sanchez was acquired to help the Tigers make the playoffs - they were in the middle of a tough AL Central race with the Chicago White Sox when he arrived in a deal with Miami shortly before the trade deadline. The right-hander held up his end of the bargain, but now Detroit is playing for even higher stakes, and Saturday night's start in Game 3 of the World Series against San Francisco might be his most important test yet.

Although he went only 4-6 as a Tiger in the regular season, Sanchez began to pitch better down the stretch. That carried over into the postseason, where he's 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA.

The last time Sanchez pitched, he shut out the New York Yankees for seven innings in Game 2 of the AL championship series. That's the type of performance the Tigers were hoping for when they traded top pitching prospect Jacob Turner to the Marlins and acquired Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante.

``I had seen him pitch on TV and stuff, but I didn't really know the young man,'' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ``Once he got in his comfort zone, I think he's done absolutely very, very well. He's a very, very good pitcher.''

The 6-foot Sanchez is 5 inches shorter than Verlander and 8 inches shorter than Fister. He was shaky after first joining the Tigers, but he posted a 2.43 ERA in his final six regular-season starts.

``I know I've got pretty bad starts in the beginning of my trade,'' Sanchez said. ``I didn't know too much, the hitters, but after that I make my adjustment.''

The trade for Sanchez was Detroit's last big move of the season. The Tigers were more than willing to trade a potential future star to acquire two players who could help them compete for a World Series title this year.

Detroit's starting rotation was marvelous against Oakland in the division series and the Yankees in the ALCS. But the Tigers were stung in the World Series opener by the Giants, losing 8-3 when Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in a game Verlander started.

In Game 2, Fister took a line drive off his head but still managed to pitch into the seventh inning. San Francisco won 2-0.

Right-hander Max Scherzer looked like Detroit's best pitcher at times during the second half of the season, but his throwing shoulder acted up in September, so he's been slotted for Game 4 during the postseason, starting once per series.

So Sanchez is in line to pitch Saturday, with the season seemingly on the line and the prospect of a short series hanging over the proceedings.

``He's pitched pretty well against the Giants in the past, and obviously we're saving Scherzer to give him a little more time to keep recouping a little bit,'' Leyland said. ``But Sanchez has really gotten acclimated here in Detroit. I expect him to pitch a good game. The key is we're going to have to get some runs on the board, obviously.''

Sanchez shut out the Giants last year and held them to a run in seven innings in an outing this May. But in his most recent start against them - on May 24 - he was touched up for five runs.

``He'll throw any pitch at any time. He throws quality strikes,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ``We've had our tough times against him. He's a good pitcher.''

The Tigers faced elimination once this postseason already, when Verlander shut out Oakland in the fifth game of the division series. In fact, Detroit has been staring down the prospect of a disappointing finish seemingly all year. For much of the season, the Tigers were underachievers before they overtook the White Sox in September.

Then they went on their postseason run before encountering one more difficult roadblock.

If they're going to overcome the Giants, they'd better turn this series around soon.

``I think everybody is going to be relaxed,'' Sanchez said. ``We know we are home, we play really good here. We're going to keep doing the same.''

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Nationals Roundup: Rout of Miami guarantees series win for Nats

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Nationals Roundup: Rout of Miami guarantees series win for Nats

The Nationals used Sunday's nine-run offensive outburst to skate past the Marlins, 9-6. The win marks the team's first three-game winning streak of the season. 

Here are your news and notes surrounding the 2019 Washington Nationals as they head into Monday's series finale against the Miami Marlins. 

Players Notes:

NATIONALS (22-31): 

Erick Fedde's second start of the season went well for the 26-year-old. He pitched five scoreless innings of four-hit baseball, walked three Marlins and fanned four. 51 of his 83 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Washington erupted offensively Sunday. Howie Kendrick enjoyed a 3-for-5 afternoon, including a solo shot and three RBIs.  Anthony Rendon's 6th inning triple marked his first of the season, and brought two across the plate. 

Juan Soto's 8th inning single marked his 10th game (tied career best) in a row he's reached base safely. 

James Borque made his major-league debut Sunday, and it did not go as planned. He fell short of completing one full inning, surrendering four earned runs on three hits and walking two Marlins. He threw 29 pitches. 

MARLINS (16-34):

Miami starting pitcher Caleb Smith was bounced after just three innings. The Nats knocked him for five hits and cashed in for five runs. The 27-year-old entered Sunday's start with a 2.38 ERA. 

Neil Walker had a 2-for-5 afternoon which featured his 8th inning 2-run home run that got Miami on the board. 

Injuries: 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 31

RP Justin Miller: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 31

SP Anibal Sanchez: hamstring, expected to be out until at least Jun 6

OF Andrew Stevenson: back, expected to be out until at least May 24

1B Ryan Zimmerman: foot, expected to be out until at least Jun 1

RP Koda Glover: elbow, expected to be out until at least Jun 6

RP Trevor Rosenthal: viral infection, Expected to be out until at least May 27

RP Austen Williams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least Jun 13

Coming Up:

Monday, 5/27: Nationals vs. Marlins, 1:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park 

Tuesday, 5/28: Nationals @ Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET, SunTrust Park

Wednesday, 5/29: Nationals @ Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET, SunTrust Park

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How the Wizards could buy into the second round for another draft pick

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How the Wizards could buy into the second round for another draft pick

The Washington Wizards would probably be smart to add at least one more pick in this year's NBA Draft. They hold the ninth overall selection in the first round, but nothing in the second round. They have no second round picks until 2023 and that one is protected and was acquired in a trade.

Like most teams, they need more young players on cheap contracts with high upside. The best way to find those is in the draft.

The Wizards could always strike a trade to land more picks, either in the first or second round. But they also have the option to purchase a second round pick. 

The Golden State Warriors are well-known for employing that strategy. They got Patrick McCaw in 2016 and Jordan Bell in 2017 by buying into the second round.

The Wizards have been doing their due diligence scouting players who could fall in the second round. They met with a collection of players at the NBA Combine that would not be considered for the ninth pick. 

If Washington wants to add a second round pick, they will have the option to. But it won't be cheap, at least initially.

The whole reason for buying into the second round is to get a player on an inexpensive contract. The Warriors have done it a few times to add depth within the confinement of their championship payroll. 

But you have to pay money to get such a player. There is a maximum money limit tied to the salary cap. Last year, that limit was set at $5.1 million. The price can vary on how high the pick falls in the second round.

Last June, the Rockets paid $1.5 million to land the 52nd pick in the back-end of the second round to take Vincent Edwards of Purdue. The year before, in 2017, the Warriors paid $3.5 million to get the 38th overall pick from the Bulls to take Bell. That $3.5 million was more than the total contract he then signed with Golden State, about $2.2 million. 

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis would essentially have to sign on for overpaying a young player. During Leonsis' tenure, they have more often been on the other end of such deals.

Former team president Ernie Grunfeld had a habit for trading away second round picks and sometimes only for cash considerations. In 2014, the Wizards infamously traded the pick that became Jordan Clarkson to the Lakers. They received a little less than $2 million in return.

Like anything involving the draft, it is an inexact science. But getting another pick, one way or another, seems like the smart move for the Wizards right now. Buying into the second round is one of their options.

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