Singler set to cap legacy at Oregon


Singler set to cap legacy at Oregon

The Oregon Ducks will depend on dependable E.J. Singler even more this season.

The 6-foot-6 forward, a mainstay as a starter for the past two seasons, is one of just three returning seniors on a Ducks team that features nine newcomers this season - six of them freshman.

Singler averaged a career-high 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season. He led the conference in free-throw percentage, hitting 110 of 121 attempts.

For his career at Oregon, he has 1,114 points and is the Pac-12's active scoring leader. He has started the last 79 games dating back to his freshman season.

``E.J.'s been an anchor for us the last two years. He's done a great job of stabilizing our team. His work ethic is really good,'' Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ``Two years ago he was a sophomore with some experience, but he had a great year and really helped our team last season. `'

It's only natural that Singler would be compared to big brother Kyle, who is considered one of the best prep basketball stars from the state of Oregon. Kyle was heavily recruited and ended up playing for coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. He was the 2010 Final Four MVP with the Blue Devils before becoming a second-round pick in the NBA draft. Kyle Singler now plays for the Detroit Pistons.

But the younger Singler long ago established his own identity as the ``anchor'' with the Ducks. He joins 6-11 center Tony Woods and 6-5 wing Carlos Emory as returning seniors on the roster.

While Singler has been battling tendinitis in his knees and sat out the Ducks' first exhibition match against Concordia, he is expected to be ready to go when the season opens at home on Nov. 10 against Northern Arizona.

Oregon went 24-10 overall last season, finishing 13-5 in the Pac-12 and tied for second place. The team's 24 wins were its most since the 2006-07 season.

The Ducks were picked in the preseason to finish seventh by the reporters who regularly cover the conference.

Oregon added nine newcomers, including junior college transfer Waverly Austin, a 6-foot-11, 275-pound center who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds last year at Palm Beach State College to earn Florida JC player of the year honors. Oregon hopes the junior will bring some inside scoring and rebounding.

Freshman Dominic Artis is also getting a lot of attention. The 5-foot-11 guard from Nevada led Findlay Prep to a 32-1 record and a national title his senior season.

``D.A., because we lost two senior guards, will have an opportunity to play a lot early,'' Altman said. ``He's really worked hard this summer and he had a great fall.''

Another newcomer - although not right away - is Arik Armstead, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound forward who plays defensive tackle on the No. 2 Oregon Ducks' football team.

``Hopefully our football team will be playing way into January,'' Altman said. ``So we don't anticipate getting him until sometime mid-January. But Arik's big. He'll be physical.''

Meanwhile, Oregon was awaiting word from the NCAA on the status of senior forward Arsalan Kazemi, who transferred from Rice in September. The Ducks submitted a waiver request to allow him to play immediately, but a decision may not come until mid-November.

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Past Nationals relievers: Where are they now?

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Past Nationals relievers: Where are they now?

It’s no secret that the Nationals bullpen is one of the weakest units in baseball this season. Fans in the nation’s capital have spent two months watching relievers cough up leads and put games out of reach, and the numbers speak for themselves. 

Washington’s team ERA among relievers is an unsightly 7.09 entering Memorial Day Weekend, nearly a full run higher than the 29th-ranked Orioles. As a unit, they’ve pitched fewer innings than any other bullpen, yet have allowed the second-most earned runs.

No one has been immune. Sean Doolittle, by far the best option in 2019, has seen his ERA balloon to 3.68. Justin Miller is the only other regular reliever with an ERA below 5, and he’s at 4.02.

It’s caused much consternation in the fanbase, and for good reason. Where did the Nationals go wrong in building this bullpen? What could they have done differently?

To answer that question, let’s take a look at four relievers who are experiencing various levels of success while no longer in Washington.

Felipe Vazquez

Vazquez has been lights out in Pittsburgh in 2019. He ranks top-10 among relievers in WAR (0.9) and top-12 in ERA (1.25). He holds the sixth-best K/9 (14.54) and is tied for the fourth-most saves in baseball with 13.

Every one of those numbers would lead the Nationals with ease. At 27, Vazquez has turned into one of the elite relievers in the sport. He’s been terrific all three years with the Pirates, and 2019 looks like his best season yet.

Of course, he wasn’t ready to be this guy in 2016 when the Nationals traded him for Mark Melancon. It was a necessary trade at the time, and one that worked out well in a vacuum. Melancon pitched well in Washington and didn’t allow a run in the 2016 postseason.

Right now, the Nats could really use a Felipe Vazquez, but the logic behind their trade at the time was sound.

Blake Treinen

Treinen has already allowed as many earned runs in 2019 (seven) as he did in all of 2018. It’s not a knock on his performance this season, where his 2.59 ERA would still lead the Nationals, but a recognition of just how dominant he was in 2018.

In the modern era of Major League Baseball, it’s just about impossible for a reliever to win the Cy Young. Even with just 80 innings pitched last year, Treinen finished sixth in Cy Young voting and 15th in MVP voting. 

That’s right. He was so good, he got down-ballot votes for MVP. It was a sensational year.

His usually-elite ground ball rate is down this season, which has led to some regression, but it’s still notable he put together a 2018 season that far outshines any individual season the Nats have seen.

It was clear in 2017 he wasn’t capable of performing as the team’s closer, eventually earning a demotion before being traded to Oakland.

Despite his enormous success in the years since the trade, it’s hard to question the Nationals here. Not only did it seem apparent Treinen wasn’t going to figure things out in D.C., but the trade brought back Sean Doolittle, the lone consistently great reliever the Nats have had in recent years.

Brandon Kintzler

Kintzler pitched parts of two seasons in Washington, but ultimately spent exactly one year with the Nationals. In that year, he tossed 68.2 innings while striking out 43 batters and walking 18.

His ERA with the Nationals was 3.54, too high for a high-leverage reliever. He struggled mightily in 2018 after being traded to the Cubs, but has settled down this season to the tune of a 2.96 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 24 innings.

As is the case for just about any halfway-decent reliever, the current Nationals bullpen would benefit from having him, but this isn’t nearly the loss Treinen or Vasquez were.

Shawn Kelley

Kelley was up-and-down in his time with the Nationals. His ERA was below three in 2016 and 2018, but the 2017 season was marred with injuries, inconsistency, and a tendency to allow home runs (a whopping 12 in just 26 innings).

Of course, Kelley was pitching better in 2018, but it wasn’t performance that led to his departure. 

In a blowout Nationals 25-4 victory over the Mets in July 2018, Kelley allowed three earned runs, including a home run. After the home run, he slammed his glove on the ground while staring at the Nats dugout.

The next day, he was designated for assignment as a result of the outburst and never pitched for the Nationals again, traded away a few days later. 

In his 33.2 innings since the trade, Kelley has been terrific. He posted a 2.16 ERA with the Athletics in 2018 and currently holds a 1.59 ERA in 2019 despite pitching his home games in Texas. He’s even filled in at closer with the Rangers, recording five saves so far this year.

Though his removal wasn’t for performance issues like Kintzler's or to acquire proven closers like Treinen’s and Vasquez’s were, the loss of Kelley can be felt just as hard. As is the case with each of these relievers, Kelley’s numbers would lead the Nationals bullpen in just about every category.

For the most part, these moves made sense at the time, for one reason or another. But the Nationals have yet to adequately replace most of these arms, and the 2019 team is suffering as a result.


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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Free agent Gerald McCoy to visit Baltimore

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Free agent Gerald McCoy to visit Baltimore

Kick off your holiday weekend with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. One of the most obvious needs for the Ravens is help rushing the passer, and they're hoping to find some of that help on the interior in the form of free agent Gerald McCoy. The longtime Buccaneer DL visited Cleveland last week, but left town without agreeing to a contract.

Reportedly interested in playing for a contender, the former top-five pick is scheduled to visit the Ravens on Tuesday.

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is still struggling to throw the ball, as he noted things aren't right yet when it comes to accuracy. Media members noticed the ball wobbling through the air on many throws, and Jackson told them he thinks his hand is too high on the ball. If he's going to successfully run Greg Roman's new offensive scheme, Jackson will eventually need to be able to hit his receivers in stride with greater regularity.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.