Nationals

Steele, Monmouth beat St. Francis Brooklyn 71-67

Steele, Monmouth beat St. Francis Brooklyn 71-67

NEW YORK (AP) Jesse Steele scored 20 points, including nine in a row during a second-half comeback that lifted Monmouth (N.J.) to a 71-67 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn on Thursday night in a Northeast Conference game.

Two free throws by Steele put the Hawks (7-11, 2-3) ahead to stay, 46-44, after they trailed 33-26 at halftime and 41-35 with 15:24 remaining. The senior guard added a layup for a four-point lead, hit a jumper after a St. Francis free throw, then sank a 3-pointer to make it 53-45 with 9:45 left.

Monmouth's lead reached 59-47 at the 7:45 mark on Khalil Brown's dunk, but the Terriers (7-9, 3-2) rallied to within 70-67 on Travis Nichols' 3-pointer at the 10-second mark. Dion Nesbitt added a free throw for Monmouth's final margin.

Ben Mockford scored 15 points, Akeem Johnson 14 and Jalen Cannon 13 for St. Francis.

Quick Links

Max Scherzer, Nationals undone by little things in St. Louis

Max Scherzer, Nationals undone by little things in St. Louis

Wednesday’s question around Max Scherzer centered on which version of the right-hander would do the pitching. Would it be the one from two starts ago who looked like the pitcher everyone was so accustomed to seeing? Or the one from his last start, less sharp, fastball a tick down in velocity and life?

Scherzer threw a first-pitch, 95-mph fastball Wednesday. He was loose and sharp. His outing also probably handed the Cy Young Award to New York’s Jacob deGrom.

The issues were less his doing than his teammates. Scherzer’s final line, 6 ⅔ innings, seven hits, five earned runs, 11 strikeouts, no walks, bumped his ERA to 2.81. But, Juan Soto lost a fly ball in the sun which otherwise would have ended the seventh inning. Catch it, and here’s Scherzer’s line: seven innings pitched, five hits -- two of which were bloops -- two earned runs, no walks, 11 strikeouts. Scherzer would be directly responsible for not throwing a cutter in far enough against wonder boy Tommy Edman, who hit it for a home run in the third inning. Otherwise, stellar.

Instead, a single drove in a run after the Soto mistake. A Matt Wieters pinch-hit two-run homer drove Scherzer out of the game following the single. Hence, the bloated line in a high-profile game. The rise in ERA, the loss, the box score telling a partial fib, all those things strongly enhance what was already a strong case for deGrom. Scherzer could never makeup the workload gap in the race, but could hang around or lead in all the peripherals. Wednesday’s outing made that much more difficult. 

The Nationals also never found a way to a damn-busting hit. Asdrúbal Cabrera’s deep fly ball to right field was prevented from going over the fence by a leaping Dexter Fowler, a would-be three-run homer turned into another sigh against St. Louis. The Cardinals made plays, Washington did not. St. Louis wins two of three in a series against Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Scherzer as a result.

Washington holds a one-game lead for the top wild-card spot before play begins Wednesday night. Chicago hosts Cincinnati. Milwaukee hosts San Diego. Things are tight.

The Nationals don’t play Thursday. A three-game weekend series begins in Miami on Friday. A sweep resets Washington’s season. It would also make it 16-3 against Miami this year. Anyting less? Not great.

Washington will have a slight advantage -- in theory -- going forward because it has the dual benefit of a lead (however small) as well as a game in hand on Chicago and Milwaukee. Who will pitch that extra game? Joe Ross is injured. The recent rotation shuffling for the weekend -- Aníbal Sánchez on Friday, Strasburg on Saturday and Austin Voth bumped to Sunday -- means Erick Fedde or Jeremy Hellickson would handle the day game Tuesday in Nationals Park. 

The Nationals are 6-10 in the last two-plus weeks. They haven’t lost their postseason spot --yet. However, it’s slipping, tenuous and in doubt, and Wednesday afternoon didn’t help.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

The 2019 Redskins are looking for their first win on their absolute least favorite night

The 2019 Redskins are looking for their first win on their absolute least favorite night

The 2019 Redskins could really use a win in Week 3 against the Bears. Like, really badly.

Unfortunately, the Redskins have played badly on Monday night (which is when they'll square off with Chicago this time around) over the past decade. Like, really badly.

Since 2008, Washington is 2-15 on the primetime stage. Two. And. Fifteen. 

Their last victory on that particular weeknight came in October of 2014. Furthermore, they haven't won a home Monday Night Football appearance since December of 2012, a streak they'll look to end when Mitch Trubisky and Co. come to FedEx Field.

Overall, they've lost seven straight, meaning there are almost-five-year-olds strolling around this planet who have no idea what it's like to see the Burgundy and Gold be successful on that part of national TV. Those poor children.

"I don't give a damn when we play," Jonathan Allen told reporters after the team's MNF loss in New Orleans last year. "We can play [expletive] Tuesday afternoon. I'm still going to be the same as I am today, Sunday night, Sunday morning, Saturday, I don't give a damn."

That is absolutely the attitude to take. Sadly, while the players say they'll be the same no matter the day, the franchise's recent record certainly indicates they aren't the same (they are undefeated on Tuesday afternoon this decade, though).

Now, if you're looking for something promising to hold on to — which you should be, because these stats are legitimately absurd — the Redskins have beaten the Bears seven times in a row. The last time they didn't came in 2003.

So, which run will come to an end: the team's horrendous stretch on Monday night or their dominance of the Bears? Well, knowing their luck, they'll probably just tie, bringing both to an unsatisfying conclusion.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS